A German Shepherd puppy requires caring for their needs such as providing them with love, food, water, sleep, training, and exercise.
So, a dog parent must take care of them in all aspects if they want them to grow into well-adjusted dogs.
Exercise is one of those important factors that make your puppy grow healthy and strong.
Some dog parents wonder whether running is a good idea for their German Shepherd puppy to do.
So, should German Shepherd puppies run?
No, German Shepherd puppies shouldn’t run at all because they can develop bone deformities such as those happening in the joints, injury to their growth plates, tissue damage from running.
It’s important to wait until they grow older when the cartilage and bones have developed to avoid harming your dog.
However, it’s alright if they are running on their own because they know when to run and when to stop.
Why is running bad for your puppy?
Running with your puppy can cause them so much harm. It is very harmful to your German Shepherd puppy because their body is still developing.
The reason is that you shouldn’t let your German Shepherd puppy run is because, during their first year, their cartilage and bones are developing.
Your puppy is prone to injury because their growth plates are softer than other parts of the bone so they can’t tolerate vigorous exercise.
Also, if your puppy experienced trauma in their growth plate, they can have severe bone deformity.
Some of these traumas include being dropped, hit by a car, a rigorous activity such as running can lead to bone deformities.
Permanent bone deformities happen when the damaged cells stop growing while the healthy areas continue growing.
This mainly happens when your puppy is still growing.
If the problem isn’t diagnosed early and corrected with surgery, your German Shepherd puppy will develop arthritis, abnormal joint movement, and loss of function in the affected limb.
When can I take my German Shepherd puppy running?
The best time to take your German Shepherd puppy running is when they are 6 months of age.
However, some large and giant breeds may not be ready up until 12 months.
Any time earlier will risk affecting your puppy’s joints and muscles growth.
You can also check with your vet to know exactly at what age their body is mature enough.
You can do so by performing an X-ray to know that growth plates have been closed.
What are the alternatives for your puppy other than running?
There are safe alternatives to running that your puppy can do and they will be alright.
Playing includes chasing, wrestling, or tugging. Your puppy will love to play a lot because it’s a fun activity where they will enjoy their time.
When you play with your puppy, you also ensure that your puppy stays fit and doesn’t get heavy.
You can also take your German Shepherd puppy to a walk for a specific set of time. They will enjoy walking in areas such as a dog park or a walk in the streets.
You can also let your puppy walk on different surfaces such as grass and pavement so they get introduced to new surfaces.
Playgroups and obedience classes
Playgroups and obedience classes cause your German Shepherd puppy to move their body.
There are playgroups where your puppy can engage with other puppies and socialize with them.
They will learn how to interact with them and be really comfortable around them.
When you also enroll your puppy in obedience classes, they will learn basic obedience commands and perform them so they will move their body.
You can also teach your German Shepherd swimming where they will enjoy it and stay active.
Swimming is good for your puppy’s whole body and moves all their muscles.
It stimulates their mind and body because they are a different activity.
Also, it’s a safe activity where your puppy tires out at the end of the day helping them sleep better.
Because puppies and dogs, in general, have a harder time staying cool, it’s important to find ways to keep their bodies hydrated.
Swimming is a great activity to keep their bodies cool.
How much is too much exercise for a puppy?
Any puppy, regardless of the breed, has to only 5 minutes of exercise per month of age.
Any amount more that time will cause your puppy to have serious problems such as having bone deformities.
So, if your German Shepherd puppy is 5 months, you can exercise them for 25 minutes. This includes playtime, walking, swimming, and obedience training.
You can also exercise your puppy’s mind through mental stimulation like giving them a puzzle toy or asking them to perform a specific command.
It’s important to combine both physical and mental exercise so your puppy’s mind stays sharp and their body becomes fit.
Another aspect that is very important to puppies is the amount of sleep. Provide your puppy with a comfortable place for them to sleep short naps throughout the day.
As well as providing them with sleep throughout the night so their body will rest and can easily move again when exercising.
Signs that your German Shepherd puppy had too much exercise
There are many signs that your puppy has exerted too much energy from too much exercise. These signs include:
- Excessive panting during or after exercise
- Missing commands and cues that they normally don’t miss
- Being so thirsty
- Lagging behind when normally they are at the front
- Limping or lameness in their movement
- Overtiredness, sleeping, or laying down more than normal
- Being reluctant to go out for exercises such as a walk
Always look out for these signs so you know when your puppy is too tired and when they aren’t.
If you find that your puppy is very tired, limit the amount of time that you exercise your puppy. Never overdo it so your puppy bones and muscles don’t get affected badly.
How to exercise your puppy safely?
- Check the temperature outside: Avoid hot temperatures because they can cause your puppy’s body to overheat. So it’s best to exercise your puppy either early in the morning or late in the evening where the temperature is cooler. Hot pavement can burn your puppy’s feet.
- Avoid exercising your puppy after they have eaten: If you exercise your puppy immediately after eating, they can have problems such as bloating and other stomach problems.
- Consult your vet for ways to protect your puppy: Talk to your vet about ways to protect your puppy from paralysis ticks which your puppy may pick up from exercise.
If you are walking your puppy on a leash, you have to follow certain tips such as:
- Walking your puppy at a normal pace without rushing them the whole time. Your puppy is still getting used to walking and exercising so its best to not rush them.
- Stop to rest when your puppy sits or lies down so they don’t become overtired and rest their body for a while.
- Stop the exercise if your puppy becomes tired because your puppy needs to get rest so they don’t develop problems such as limping and heavy panting.
- Avoid overexercising your puppy so they don’t develop problems in their muscles and bones.
If your puppy is playing, swimming, or taking obedience training, you have to put a specific period of time for exercise.
As mentioned, the amount of exercise depends on your puppy’s age where you add five minutes per month of age.
Exercises to avoid
There are certain types of exercises that your puppy has to avoid while they are still young. These exercises include:
- Jogging or running
- Long and faced paced walks
- Excessive frisbee or ball fetching
1.) How far should an adult German Shepherd run?
German Shepherds are really strong dogs that can run from 5 to 20 miles. This can happen only if they are trained very well and the environment is good.
Training consists of first letting your dog on short walks so they get used to walking. Then, teaching them a cue about running such as “let’s go”.
If you want to teach your puppy to run on cue, combine short periods of running or jogging while telling them the cue.
With time, you can gradually increase the time that your dog runs and train them to run more miles.
2.) Are German Shepherds easy to train?
German Shepherds are easy to train because they are very intelligent and quick learners.
They are considered one of the top smartest breeds in the world. A German Shepherd can be trained to work as a military, police, service, or therapy dog.
They fit many different roles due to their ability to easily adapt.
A German Shepherd is a very active dog making them suitable for training because they won’t tire out easily.
A German Shepherd puppy shouldn’t run at all because they are too young for such a vigorous exercise. This doesn’t mean that they don’t need exercise.
It means that you have to give them exercise that is low in its intensity so your puppy doesn’t get harmed.
Share your experience. What type of exercise does your puppy do and how did you teach them?