The German Shepherd is a large dog breed recognized for being an excellent working dog.
They are very intelligent dogs with a noble and kind nature. They are known for being loyal and protective dogs and an effective guard dog.
So, are German Shepherds good apartment dogs?
Although they are not the ideal apartment dogs, German Shepherds can adapt well to apartment living when they have plenty of exercise, mental stimulation, and are socialized appropriately. It is a very adaptable, intelligent, and obedient dog with a friendly, loving, and very loyal personality, ideal characteristics for apartment life.
But an in-depth understanding of German Shepherd breed’s temperament and needs is necessary to consider whether we are able to meet his needs by living in an apartment.
What You Should Know About Living with a German Shepherd
German Shepherds are considered one of the smartest breeds out there.
They are large, strong, and agile dogs with a very noble and friendly personality. They are known for being guard dogs, but they also make excellent working and service dogs.
Is a German Shepherd a Good Family Dog?
German Shepherds can be great family dogs if they are properly trained and socialized.
They are friendly and loving dogs and, above all, very loyal and protective of their family.
German Shepherds are very playful dogs. They enjoy children’s attention and, when properly socialized since they are puppies, are very patient dogs with children of all ages.
Although German Shepherds are very adaptable dogs, being very active dogs makes them an ideal breed for active households.
The German Shepherd dog needs a family that can offer him the care and physical activity that he needs to stay physically and mentally healthy.
Do German Shepherds Need a Lot of Exercise?
German Shepherds are working dogs with high energy.
They are dogs that need around two hours of exercise daily. When a German Shepherd doesn’t have enough exercise he tends to become somewhat destructive and develop behavioral problems.
Also, keep in mind that by being very intelligent dogs it’s essential to keep them mentally stimulated.
Daily walks are important to a German Shepherd not just because of the exercise it provides. Taking a walk also helps keep them mentally stimulated through the variety of smells, sights, and sounds they encounter on their way.
A German Shepherd needs around two hours of exercise daily.
The most recommended for a German Shepherd is to have a couple of walks between 45 to 60 minutes daily.
A daily routine helps dogs a lot. It’s worth trying to take them for walks around the same time each day.
It’s always recommended to have several short walks daily rather than a very long walk a week.
Being extremely active dogs it’s advisable to provide them with high energy activities.
If you like running, hiking, or biking, the German Shepherds are great companions for this type of activity.
They are dogs with a lot of endurance and can travel long distances. You just have to take care to gradually increase the intensity and distance of these activities to prevent any injury.
Do German Shepherds Need to Be Groomed?
The German Shepherd sheds constantly and a lot. Some people even call him the “German Shedder”. He has a thick, medium double coat that sheds heavily, mainly in spring and fall.
A German Shepherd needs to be brushed at least once a week to keep loose hair under control.
They are quite clean and odor-free dogs so it’s not necessary to bathe them frequently. Having a bath about every three months is more than enough for a German Shepherd.
Bathing them frequently causes them to lose the natural oils of their coats and can cause skin problems.
In addition to this, you should try to cut their nails every week in case they do not wear them naturally, and brush their teeth frequently to avoid bad breath and prevent mouth diseases.
Can German Shepherds Be Left Alone?
German Shepherds are dogs that need attention and they love to be around their people. They are also very intelligent dogs that need to be mentally stimulated if not easily bored.
It’s also quite common for German Shepherds to develop separation anxiety when left alone for long periods. This can lead to excessive destructive behaviors and barking.
This does not mean that they cannot be left alone. But there are some considerations and precautions you have to take before leaving your dog home alone.
In general, an adult German Shepherd can stay alone for up to six hours, although some may be alone for up to eight hours.
But a German Shepherd puppy should not be alone for more than two hours because they can’t hold their bladder for long and are not used to being alone.
Since they are very energetic and very intelligent dogs, it’s a breed that is easily bored when they are left alone. A bored German Shepherd is going to look for ways to burn his energy and entertain himself.
Some tips to help your dog better manage the time he’s alone are:
- Gradually increase the amount of time he is left alone. Avoid leaving your dog alone for a long time at once. You have to start slowly, leaving him alone for a few minutes and gradually increase the time.
- Make sure your dog has a high-energy exercise session just before he is left alone. A tired dog is calmer and tends to spend time sleeping.
- Leave him some chew and puzzle toys to keep him entertained and mentally stimulated. It’s advisable to vary the toys so he doesn’t get bored with them.
- Install a Pet Cam in your apartment that allows you to monitor his behavior while he’s alone. Some models even allow you to talk to him and treat him.
Are German Shepherds Easy to Train?
German Shepherds are very intelligent and easy to train dogs. They are fast learning dogs and are always eager to please, being one of the best breeds when it comes to training.
It’s important to start training them from an early age.
When training a German Shepherd you must establish yourself as the leader of the pack from the start. This doesn’t mean punishing your dog and reacting violently. They do not react well to harsh treatment and can respond aggressively as self-defense.
Establishing yourself as the leader of the pack means being confident, calm, and consistent. You have to be firm but without resorting to violence or fear.
It’s good to start by teaching him the rules and limits of the house. You have to stay consistent in order to see results quickly. The lack of consistency causes your dog to feel confused and not know what you want from him.
It’s important to consider that an essential part of the development and training of a German Shepherd is socialization. You need to start socializing him at an early age.
Socialization consists of introducing our dog to a variety of environments and situations where he can interact with various people and with other pets.
Socialization allows a German Shepherd to be calm and confidently in various social situations. This helps prevent a dog from growing into a fearful and suspicious dog.
Are German Shepherds Easy to Potty Train?
Being the German Shepherds recognized for being easy and fast to train makes potty training relatively simple.
For the training process to be successful, the secret is to be consistent, patient, and dedicate enough time to it.
When you live in an apartment you have to teach your dog to go to the bathroom outside.
For this it’s necessary:
- Choose an area near the apartment that is preferably a grass surface. Dogs develop a preference for doing their thing on certain surfaces.
- At first, you have to frequently take your dog outside to the designated area to go to the bathroom. Puppies need to go to the bathroom every one to two hours.
- Every time your dog successfully goes to the bathroom in the designated area, praise and give him a delicious treat. Slowly your dog will understand where he should go.
- Accidents are inevitable. When you find your dog red-handed doing his things, immediately take him out to the designated place and let him finish there. Praise and reward him when he is done.
- When you find an accident in your apartment, there is no point in scolding him since he will not relate the accident to scolding. Just try to clean the area well with an enzymatic cleaner so that there is no trace of odor.
Do German Shepherds Bark a Lot?
Originally the German Shepherds were bred as herding dogs who are always alert and have great guarding instincts.
These traits cause German Shepherds to tend to bark a lot.
When you live in an apartment the loud and strong barking of your German Shepherd can lead to problems with your neighbors and landlord.
The main reasons why German Shepherds barks are:
- Boredom and Frustration
- Guardian Instinct
- Pain and Discomfort
Normally when a German Shepherd has enough exercise and mental stimulation on a daily basis, they are less likely to bark for any small reason. They will only bark when they have something important to say.
Is a German Shepherd a Good Apartment Dog?
German Shepherds are generally not recommended dogs for apartment living because they are large dogs that need a lot of physical and mental activity.
But in reality, a German Shepherd can comfortably live in an apartment as long as he is properly socialized and his exercise and mental stimulation needs are fully met.
Some of the characteristics of German Shepherds that make them good apartment dogs are:
- They are dogs that easily adapt to different lifestyles
- With proper training, they are very obedient and well-behaved dogs
- With the right amount of exercise are calm dogs indoors
- They are dogs with a noble, friendly, loving, and loyal personality.
- With proper socialization, they are very social dogs.
Tips for Raising a German Shepherd in an Apartment
Check the Dog Breeds Restrictions of Your Apartment
You need to look for German Shepherd friendly apartments.
Some apartments have dog breeds restrictions. There are apartment buildings that prohibit having some dog breeds because they are considered dangerous and unmanageable.
Dog breed restrictions vary a lot from one place to another and it also depends a lot on the landlord’s decisions.
In addition to dog breed restrictions, there are also usually restrictions on the size, weight, and age of dogs.
Unfortunately, German Shepherds are often one of the most common breeds on the lists of dogs not allowed in apartments.
It’s necessary to check with your landlord or the manager of the apartment building the rules related to dogs.
In some cases, your dog may be allowed in the apartment but it will be required to get a pet insurance to cover the damage to the property.
Establish a Daily Routine
Dogs thrive when they have a routine, especially when they live in an apartment.
A routine lets a dog know what to expect during the day. This helps a dog feel more secure and helps prevent anxiety and stress.
It is not necessary to be extremely rigorous with the routine since any change can cause your dog to feel insecure. Mixing the routine with new activities from time to time allows the dog to learn to enjoy new experiences.
Your dog’s routine should primarily include meals, exercise, and potty breaks. Although you can also include naps and some playtime.
By feeding him at the same time every day, you can know at what time he will need to go outside to go to the bathroom.
It’s also very helpful to have an exercise routine at around the same time every day. This allows your dog to distribute his energy throughout the day and use the time he can to rest and sleep.
Keep Your Dog Mentally Stimulated
German Shepherds are considered one of the smartest dog breeds out there. This has its advantages and disadvantages.
The advantage is that the German Shepherds are one of the easiest breeds to train. But the downside is that smart dogs need a lot of mental stimulation or else they get bored and frustrated easily.
As mentioned above, going for a walk is not only a good physical exercise but also an excellent way to provide mental stimulation.
It’s important when we go for a walk with our dog to allow him to explore the environment. This allows him to discover the smells, sights, and sounds around him.
A dog that is allowed to explore the environment often ends up being more tired than a dog that only goes for a walk without stopping.
Another way to provide your dog with mental stimulation is with puzzle toys. There are interactive toys with different levels of difficulty that allow you to keep your German Shepherd mentally challenged for quite some time.
The Nina Ottosson Interactive Dog Puzzles are one of the most recommended mentally stimulating dog toys out there. Take a look here if you are interested.
But the best way to mentally stimulate your German Shepherd is with obedience training.
In addition to offering mental stimulation, obedience training has many benefits as it makes it easy to have an obedient and well-balanced German Shepherd.
Also, obedience training helps address specific behavioral problems such as excessive barking.
In the beginning, it’s recommended to enroll him in professional obedience classes. It allows your dog to have solid foundations and gives you the necessary tools so that later you can continue on your own.
When we think of an apartment dog, it is often thought that small dogs are a better option than large breeds. But in reality, the size of a dog is not usually a problem when it comes to living in an apartment.
The most important thing as a dog owner is to thoroughly understand the needs of the dog, and honestly consider whether we can meet its needs by living in a small apartment.