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Why Are German Shepherds Hyper?
Sometimes you think your German Shepherd, Legend, is more loyal than your best human friend. He always has your back, and you adore this creature beyond belief, but you are aware of Legend’s imperfections, and the most apparent annoyance is his hyperactivity. Yes, Legend is like a wind-up toy that never stops. He jumps, runs, and always wants to be doing something. You have no idea how he has this insatiable amount of energy, and you do your best to keep up with him, but sometimes you feel that you can’t entertain him enough. Is there any way you can calm Legend down once in a while? As he jumps up and down frantically and then paces back and forth, you question this possibility.
The Root of the Behavior
When Legend 's excessive energy begins to annoy you, realize this trait is part of his nature. It all goes back to history. In 1891, there was a German organization called the Phylax society whose mission was to breed dogs for appearances and work. This organization disbanded only after three years but ended up encouraging private dog breeding. Max Von Stephanitz discovered one of these new bred dogs at a dog show named Hektor Linksrhein. He was so impressed with the intelligence, beauty, and strength of the creature that he bought him and renamed him Horand. Von Stephanitz then bred Horand with other dogs with similar traits, such as agility and athleticism with an end goal of creating the perfect working dog. This led to the German Shepherd breed that we have today. This history reminds us that German Shepherds were bred to have energy because they were expected to work in the fields, not lay in on our lush couches.
Your German Shepherd's hyperactivity stems from the fact this breed is a herding dog, and his ancestors before him ran with his packs to control other animals. This trait affects the way German Shepherds interact with humans because they want to be the pack leader, which now means leading you. This German Shepherd personality trait sometimes leads to owners thinking that their dog is excessively hyper when they are just more eager to outdo humans than some other breeds.
German Shepherds are also engrained to guard. For years, this breed has had to be on edge and ready to protect their herd. Your family has become Legend’s herd, and he will do anything to protect you: jump on your neighbors, run around a stranger’s feet, bark at a passerby, etc. Your German Shepherd also has a lot of energy because his ancestors ran freely for years. Unlike breeds like the Bulldog and Pug, German Shepherds are known for their athletic shape. And in order to maintain this, they need to not only go on walks, but they also need to run, preferably in an enclosed area for safety. Knowing Legend's roots might reassure you while he runs in circles around your kitchen.
Encouraging the Behavior
Although German Shepherds are a breed associated with hyperactivity, as an owner, you can still take action to make sure it does not become a problem. Your German Shepherd, Legend, most-likely just wants to take care of you as if you were his sheep. Offer him affection and include him in your activities. German Shepherds are fearfully loyal and crave your attention, but you also need to make sure that you set boundaries. For example, encourage Legend to run and play outside, but let him know that running and playing with the ball in the house is a no-no. To do this, ignore him if he runs around the house, but offer him lots of attention when you two go outside. He will soon associate different places with different expectations.
Herding dogs also require an immense amount of mental stimulation; because back in the day, herding sheep was not physical. Think about it: German Shepherds had to plan, calculate, learn what worked and didn’t work, and constantly be aware. This is why owners need to provide mental stimulation to this very intelligent breed. Give Legend a doggy puzzle, design an obstacle course in your yard, and say commands to him throughout the day. You can decrease Legend’s hyperactivity if you take on the effort to nurture his mind and soul.
Other Solutions and Considerations
Since German Shepherds are known for being hyper, they need more exercise than some other breeds. Make sure you are aware of this when choosing the breed of your new furry friend. If you have a German Shepherd, make sure that you exercise him often. In addition to one or two walks a day, play fetch with Legend, tug-of-war, and even let him join in the family soccer game. In addition to exercise, engage in training with your German Shepherd every day. If all you have time for are simple commands, this is okay, the mental stimulation of even basic commands daily will drain some energy out of your hyper pup.
Another way to calm your ecstatic Legend is aromatherapy. Use aromatherapy to calm Legend down before any guests come over for dinner. Use Lavender and Chamomile to not only make your house smell appropriate for company but also let these fragrances mellow Legend out. Although German Shepherds are a breed associated with hyperactivity, as an owner, you can still take action to make sure it does not become a problem.
You are happy you delved into the history of the German Shepherd and realized that Legend is not crazy, he was just bred to run. You decided to fence in your yard so that Legend could prance around safely. You even busted out the essential oil diffuser that your mom gave you for a Christmas gift years ago. Furthermore, you set your alarm ten minutes early, so you could provide Legend with a few commands before you both begin your day. Legend loves this extra attention, and when you offer these commands to cure his boredom, he is all ears.
By a Retriever lover Amanda Clark
Published: 04/03/2018, edited: 01/30/2020
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