German Shepherds, originally bred as herders, are known for their guarding instincts, courage, and loyalty, which is why most people choose them as pets. However, because of their nature, are German Shepherd puppies hyper?
German Shepherd puppies are hyper because they were bred as herders. Therefore, they have a lot of energy, especially if not adequately exercised. They can also be hyper due to boredom, lack of proper training, and separation anxiety.
In this article, we will list and elaborate on the reasons why your German Shepherd puppy is hyper and the ways you should know on how to calm them down.
Reasons Why Your German Shepherd Puppy Is Hyper
Like all puppies, German Shepherds are playful. They are most commonly brought home from a breeder at the age of 8 weeks to 6 months.
This is also the juvenile stage when they start acquiring negative or positive habits. German Shepherd puppies can be hyper because of the following reasons:
Lack of Exercise
German Shepherds were bred to carry out tasks that require a lot of energy, such as herding. As a pet, they most likely don’t get to do high intensive tasks.
Therefore they need exercise to stimulate them. Puppies are always full of energy and therefore tend to run all over the place.
They are also naturally built as strong, athletic dogs, and hence require a lot of exercise.
Rewarding Bad Behavior
When your German Shepherd puppy is hyper, giving them what they want, such as attention or food, to calm them down, encourages bad behavior.
The puppy learns that to get what they want, they have to exhibit excited behavior .
Hyperactivity in German Shepherd puppies can result from boredom. In most cases, dogs are left home alone as parents go to work and children go to school.
An untrained puppy will end up re-arranging the house (and not like an interior decorator!) due to high energy levels as they try to keep themselves busy.
Lack of Training
A German Shepherd puppy may act hyper if she is not properly trained.
This is because they don’t understand commands given and, instead, behave however they want.
Therefore, regular training is essential to teach your GSD puppy discipline from a young age.
This will help your puppy to know the difference between playtime and when to listen.
Feeding the Wrong Food
Dog owners tend to be overly kind to their puppies and may share food with them. However, certain foods may lead to their hyperactivity.
Apart from causing hyperactivity, some of these foods, like chocolate, can be toxic to puppies leading to illness or death.
If you are uncertain about what to feed and what not to feed your German Shepherd puppy, consult your vet.
German Shepherd puppies often suffer from separation anxiety when their owners leave for business trips or vacations without them.
This can also happen when the owner simply leaves for the day to go to work.
They can express themselves by being destructive or peeing in the house while you are away.
Here are some great tips on how to keep your German Shepherd busy while you are at work.
German Shepherd puppies who run around outdoors, just like a child, have to be bathed.
If a dog owner does not have a blow dryer to dry the puppy’s fur, it results in hyperactivity to dry out and get warm again.
For best results, we recommend purchasing a purpose-made dryer for your puppy’s fur like Shelandy Adjustable Speed Dryer.
This dryer comes with adjustable heat settings, a wide selection of air speeds, and a great warranty to boot.
How to Calm Your German Shepherd Puppy
As much as you love your puppy, all the hyperactivity and destruction can be overwhelming. The following are ways to calm a German Shepherd puppy.
Properly Train Your Puppy
Training enables your puppy to obey your commands. While you can train a German Shepherd to follow complex commands, only the basics are necessary.
Commands like “sit” or calling your puppy to “come” to you are essential to teach from an early age – preferably the day that you bring your puppy home.
Make sure to always train your puppy in an area where there are few distractions, such as in your home or yard, and then progress to more distracting environments.
This slow acclimation will also help to properly socialize your German Shepherd, which is essential for your puppy to grow in to a well-adjusted adult.
When giving commands to your puppy, be sure to use an authoritative voice and issue them in a slow-low pitched voice.
High-pitched commands which are spoken rapidly will only serve to over-excite your puppy.
Below is a YouTube video showing you some simple and effective ways to train your German Shepherd puppy:
Give Your Puppy Enough Exercise
German Shepherds have more energy than most other breeds, and walking by itself as exercise will not be enough to keep excess energy at bay.
Playing games such as fetch, going for runs, walking on hilly areas, and teaching your puppy to swim are healthy ways to wear your puppy out and curb hyperactivity.
If you do not have adequate time to exercise your German Shepherd puppy, consider getting a dog walker.
Playing Frisbee With Your German Shepherd?
Did you know that German Shepherds are great frisbee dogs? This fact escapes most GSD owners, and because of this they often miss out on some great fun to be had with their dogs!
Read this great article all about German Shepherds and their ability to play frisbee. It’s full of useful information that will help you and your GSD maximize fun while keeping your dog safe from injury.
Socialize Your Puppy
As we mentioned above, a great way to calm your puppy is by regularly socializing her with other puppies, adult dogs, as well as other people and animals in general.
Socializing your puppy will tire her out both physically and mentally, while at the same time making her the well-adjusted dog that you want her to be.
As opposed to giving your puppy what she wants whenever she’s behaving hyper, rewarding her for calmness will reduce hyperactivity.
This is because your German Shepherd puppy will learn that to be rewarded, she will have to behave appropriately, and that bad behavior will only result in being ignored.
Essential oils such as vanilla, ylang-ylang, lavender, sweet orange, and chamomile can be soothing to your dog.
Test some of these on your German Shepherd puppy to see which one works best. However, be sure that you don’t let your puppy close enough to eat any of these oils.
It’s also wise to consult with your veterinarian to know which essential oils are safe for your German Shepherd puppy.
For more information on aromatherapy and its benefits and potential harmful effects on dogs, check out this great article below:
Create a Routine
Creating a routine that your German Shepherd puppy can follow will help her learn when to be excited and calm.
For example, your puppy will be appropriately excited at feeding time and when it’s time to exercise, but remain calm when it’s sleeping time.
Setting up a good routine for your puppy is your responsibility. Make sure to not feed her too late at night, and always make sure that your puppy gets at least a moderately long walk before bed.
Give Your Puppy Treat Dispensing Puzzle Toys
Toys that stimulate your German Shepherd puppy’s mind can help in keeping her calm.
A useful practice is putting food in a dog toy when your puppy becomes hyper. This will enable her to shift focus from hyperactivity to concentration.
One great toy for this is a Kong Treat Dispensing Toy.
This toy is designed to be filled with any number of goodies, and will keep your GSD puppy occupied for a long time!
Some great examples of treats that you can put into a Kong are:
- frozen mashed banana and yogurt
- mashed potatoes and rice
- frozen Xylitol free peanut butter
- pureed and frozen watermelon and strawberries
- pureed and frozen turkey and cranberry mixture
Essentially, if you can dream it, and it is safe for your puppy, you can stuff it into a Kong and keep your puppy occupied.
Additionally, there are a number of other treat dispensing puzzle toys that will work to accomplish the same goal of reducing hyperactivity in your puppy while increasing mental focus.
For a more complete list of puzzle toys with full descriptions, we’ve put together a great guide for you: The Best Toys for German Shepherd Puppies and Adults.
Reducing hyperactivity in you German Shepherd puppy begins with you.
Puppies pick up on the energy you put out. If you become excited around them, they will copy you and start running around or barking loudly.
To them, they are doing nothing wrong. In fact, a puppy will think that it is doing a great job by imitating you, the pack leader. So it is important that you set a good example for your puppy through your own behavior.
Things to Remember
- Your German Shepherd puppy’s most energetic phase starts from 3 months to 3 years.
- It will take time to train and calm your German Shepherd pup because they are naturally energetic, strong, and athletic dogs – they love activity!
- Be consistent in your training so that your puppy doesn’t forget what she’s learned.
- Always use positive reinforcement as opposed to punishing your German Shepherd puppy.
German Shepherds are loyal, courageous, make excellent guard dogs, and bred as herders. Therefore, they have high energy levels to carry out a full day’s work.
Therefore, a German Shepherd’s athletic and robust body requires adequate exercise and training to reduce hyperactivity.
German Shepherd puppies are generally hyperactive from the age of 3 months to 3 years.
Later on, they become more mature and calm. Training puppies from 8 weeks to 6 months enables them to acquire and retain positive habits.
Dog owners need to properly socialize their puppies, play with them, and use toys not only to challenge them mentally but also to require their full concentration, thus reducing their hyperactivity.
Consistent training is also essential. If you are unable to do this on your own, we strongly suggest reaching out to a professional dog trainer.
This will be a great long-term investment, and save you the difficult task of teaching an old dog new tricks.