ARE GERMAN SHEPHERDS GOOD APARTMENT DOGS?
These days, more and more people are living in apartments with dogs. But for some dog breeds, like the large German Shepherd, such a small space is not ideal. So, what does that mean? Is living in an apartment absolutely out of the question with this energetic dog breed?
What are the Ideal Living Conditions of a German Shepherd?
On paper, the ideal living conditions for a German Shepherd are a house with a big garden in the countryside, so that they can roam free and run about whenever they please. Thanks to their past use as shepherd dogs, German Shepherds have a natural inclination to love nature and the great outdoors. They need an owner who is available, athletic, and prepared to spend lots of time with their dog to both train and play with them. Nevertheless, this doesn't mean that it's impossible to live in an apartment with your German Shepherd. Their adaptable nature allows them to easily evolve within an urban environment.
Can I Live in an Apartment with a German Shepherd?
Most dog breeds can handle apartment living, so long as certain conditions are met. This is the case with German Shepherds. Having a house with a garden is not everything, far from it! The happiness of your dog depends on many other criteria.
Of course, a studio apartment with a dog of this breed is strongly discouraged, both for you and for your pooch. There's just not enough space! But an apartment of 50m² or more should be fine, so long as your German Shepherd is exerting themselves sufficiently throughout the day.
More than the space available, your dog requires a certain amount of exercise every day to work off all their excess energy. German Shepherds are athletic dogs, who don't deal well with inactivity, in apartments and houses alike. Take your dog out for at least an hour and a half a day. If you're athletic and like to run, you can take your German Shepherd with you on your jogs. On your days off, take your dog to participate in canine activities such as agility, tracking, or treibball, for example.
At the end of the day, a German Shepherd who lives in an apartment, but spends lots of time with their master and exerts themselves enough every day, will be much happier than a German Shepherd who lives in a big house but is left to their own devices in the garden.
How Do I Make My Apartment Dog Friendly?
Living in an apartment with any dog requires some adaptations, whether it be a companion dog, working dog, assistance dog, or even guide dog. As good watchdogs, German Shepherds have a tendency to bark. This can create tension with your neighbours, especially if you live in an apartment. Training your German Shepherd properly is therefore essential. Likewise, if your dog is bored, they will let you know by barking. To avoid finding yourself in such a situation, make sure your dog has enough games to keep them busy while you're gone. Be conscious of the fact that German Shepherds don't cope well with solitude: if you have to be away from home for more than six hours a day, this breed may not be suitable for you.
If you are out at work, try to come home for lunch and take your dog for a walk to break up their day. Purchase some brain games for your dog to play with while you're gone, to stimulate their mind and keep them occupied. If you can't make it home, ask an acquaintance, friend, or neighbour to pop in on your dog; you can even hire a dog sitter. Once you get home, make sure to play with your German Shepherd and take them out for a walk. Take them out before you go to work, too! If your dog has exerted themselves enough, they'll probably take a little nap in your absence to recover.
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