Apartment Living With Any Dog Is All About Management
First, let me say that properly meeting your dogs physical and mental needs is key when it comes to any breed living in an apartment. Whether you have a ginormous Mastiff or a tiny Chihuahua, you have to address your dogs individual needs to give them the best apartment living situation. Exercise, separation issues, mental stimulation all of these things have to be addressed.
But were talking about German Shepherds today, so lets take a look at what it takes to make apartment living with a German Shepherd a success.
First things first. Youll have to find an apartment that accepts a dog as large as a German Shepherd. Youll have a few things stacked against you on this front. For starters, many apartment complexes have size and weight limits. In addition to that, many complexes put German Shepherds into the aggressive category, which means they wont allow them in any of their apartments. This is ridiculous, but what can you do?
I dont think I have to stress to you how important it is to be upfront and honest about your dog breed when applying for an apartment. Ive known a few people who thought they could just fib a bit and sneak a banned breed in after they signed all the paperwork. German Shepherds are very distinct breeds. No one is going to believe that hes just an overgrown chihuahua! Youll be busted the first time you take him for a walk.
Are Australian Shepherds Good Apartment Dogs
The Australian Shepherd, also known as the Aussie, is a very active and intelligent dog breed. They are good-natured and affectionate dogs who love to be in the company of their family.
But despite being very active dogs, are Australian Shepherds good apartment dogs?
Australian Shepherds are not the ideal dogs for apartment living. But Aussies can adapt well to apartment life with an active person or family who can provide high physical activity and mental stimulation they need.
But to answer this question well, you need to know the Australian Shepherds, their needs, and what it means to live with one.
Mental Stimulation For Your Australian Shepherd
This is critical if youre bringing an Aussie into your apartment. The Aussie is one of the smartest dog breeds in the world, and intelligent dogs require a lot of mental stimulation.;
Besides your daily physical exercise, its highly recommended that you do regular obedience training, tricks, or puzzles to stimulate their mind.
Obedience training is excellent; Aussies are super working dogs. They thrive when they have a job to do. Whether its obedience training or herding, they like a challenge. Be sure to have plenty of dog treats on hand.
Weather And German Shepherds
Another thing to consider is the weather where you live. German Shepherds can usually handle the cold pretty well, but you have to be willing to endure it as you take it out for walks and exercise.
It can be harder for an owner in the winter to want to come home after a long day of work and take their dog outside for a while, especially if there is snow and its dark. This is necessary, however, so that it doesnt get bored and act out.
In the summer, a German Shepherd has a harder time. Its typically fine outside for a little while so long as it has plenty of water and shade. If you dont like the heat, youll still have to spend time in it to allow your dog to play.
Mornings and evenings may be good times in the summer to exercise and walk a German Shepherd, so its not too unbearable. But you also need to consider the temperature in your apartment.
Last summer, I visited my sister in New York City. She doesnt have any pets, which was a good thing in this case. It was an incredibly hot and humid summer, with temperatures upward of 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
Her AC unit was also old and didnt work very well, so inside of her apartment was also extremely hot and humid- at moments it felt worse than outside because at least outside had some wind.
This could be dangerous for a German Shepherd. If youre gone for a long time and it is stuck inside a very hot apartment, it could suffer. It may not be as bad as being stuck in hot cars, but its still something to watch out for.
Positive Reinforcement Produces Positive Results
Your German Shepherd will respond best to training with positive reinforcement. Yelling or physical punishment will cause this intelligent breed to mistrust you.
Reward good behavior with treats or praise or both. Its the best way to show your German Shepherd that hes doing it right and its a motivator for him to continue with this behavior.
Remember earlier when I said that your German Shepherd actually wants to please you?
Well, once your dog has mastered the behavior, you can remove the treats and reward only with praise hell relish in it all the same.
You know by now that there are heaps of different training programs. Each program has a specific focus, function, and outcome.
Well take a closer look at some of these in future posts. So, for now, lets look at two basic programs
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Enjoy Some Weekend Bonding
Weekends are fun for your dog because you have more time for them.
Improve their quality of life by introducing them to more activities.
- Enroll in canine athletics.
- Organize play dates with other German Shepherds.
- Give your dog a job .
- Go to the jogging track or a stadium, and exercise together.;
- Visit a beach, let your dog dig if they feel like it its great for putting that energy into action.
- Go to a nearby lake or pond. Throw a floating toy in the water for your German Shepherd to fetch.
Find Different Ways To Play Indoors
Another thing you will need to do a little differently in an apartment is playing. ;You dont want your large dog jumping up and down to catch a ball when someone is living in a unit below you.; This will probably lead to complaints to the landlord.
More quiet ways of play are activities that require your dog to use more mental energy than physical energy.;Puzzle toys and mental exercises are great ways to keep German Shepherds entertained indoors but not cause a lot of ruckus.
Although a German Shepherd needs physical exercise, they also need to have their mind engaged on a regular basis.; If you have owned a German Shepherd you know their minds are always going, and they will try and outsmart you if you let them.; So mental games and toys are a way of stimulating their mind and tiring them out.
Of course, your dog still needs plenty of outdoor exercise. ;These indoor activities are just a way to keep them occupied, mentally engaged, and quiet while in the apartment.;
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Do You Really Have To Give Up Your German Shepherd Dog
People Problem: I Cant Afford My Dog Anymore
In todays economy, this has become a common reason that people need to give up their pets. But GSDs do not need to be an added expense if you can learn to balance their expenses. Not all of your GSDs necessities need to be purchased at the same time and sometimes not even in the same month.
Bottom line, your GSD really needs a collar and leash, rabies vaccination and food. If you can manage these items until your financial situation improves, then there is no need to give up your GSD.
Food. If your situation is such that you cannot afford dog food, vist MSPCA Angell page Massachusetts Pet Food Pantries for a list of pantries in Mass. If you live in another New England State, google Pet Food Pantries for your state.;
Medical. If your GSD has issues that require medical attention, organizations exist nationally and locally that may be able to help financially. Here are a few links that list these organizations:
The Humane Society of the United States posts a comprehensive list of pet financial aid-related organizations. You can search by state. Visit their page “Are You Having Trouble Affording Your Pet?”.
Please keep in mind that each organization is independent and has their own set of rules and guidelines. Therefore you will have to investigate each one separately to determine if you qualify for assistance.
People Problem: We’re Moving
To Encourage Your Landlord to Let You Keep Your Dog…
Dog Problem: Behavior Issues
German Shepherds Can Be Loud
Although this is just their way of communicating, in an apartment other tenants wont be too happy if your dog is always expressing themselves and disturbing their peace.;
Some German Shepherds are louder than others.; For example, my German Shepherd would NOT make a good apartment dog.; She will stare out the window and bark at every bird, squirrel, or deer that she can spot in the distance.;
Knowing your dog is key here.; If you know your dog is like mine, an apartment probably isnt the best place to live.; However, if you have a more mellow GSD than apartment living shouldnt be a problem.
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Are German Shepherds Good In Small Houses
If you do live in a small house or apartment its important to know that you could get a German Shepherd, however, this comes with a caveat!
German Shepherds can live in small houses or apartments. However, it will require a ton of hard work and dedication. If your dog is not exercised enough throughout the day, he will display behavior problems such as destructive chewing, excessive barking, or aggression.
Many new dog owners do not realize the amount of work, socialization, care, and training that a German Shepherd needs which sadly ends up with the dog having to be re-homed, and I for one, do not wish to see this happen.
In the United States, the smallest sized yard size is just over 4000 square feet, which is in the state of Nevada. Average yard sizes vary greatly state by state but even this smallest size yard is easily enough space for a German Shepherd, especially if you raise him to live outside.
But what if your German Shepherd is an inside dog? Most German Shepherds live inside homes as they are a very affectionate breed and like to be with their family. So, how much space do inside dogs really need?
To answer this question we need to look at how much exercise and care German Shepherds need. You will be able to see exactly what will be required and if this fits around your lifestyle before making your decision on this wonderful breed.
Keep Your Australian Shepherd Mentally Stimulated
For a dog as smart as the Australian Shepherd, mental stimulation is just as important and necessary as physical activity.
Mental activity can tire a dog as much as physical activity. Actually, for an Australian Shepherd physical exercise is not enough to tire him, its also necessary to challenge them mentally.
There are several ways to keep a mentally stimulated Australian Shepherd.
Allow Your Dog to Explore the Environment
When you go out with your Aussie for a walk, for a run, or a potty break, its a good opportunity to offer them some extra mental stimulation.
At these times we must take advantage and allow our dog to smell and explore the environment for a while.
A dog will be more tired after a walk where they can also smell and explore instead of just walking.
Provide Dog Puzzle Toys
Australian Shepherds love solving problems and being mentally challenged.
Dog puzzle toys are a great way to keep an Australian Shepherd focused and engaged indoors, especially in an apartment.
Train Your Australian Shepherd
Training an Australian Shepherd has several benefits. Training allows you to have an obedient, well-behaved dog and helps strengthen the ties between your dog and you.
Furthermore, training is one of the best ways to challenge and mentally stimulate an Australian Shepherd.
The best way to start training your Australian Shepherd is to enroll him in professional obedience classes. This allows you to start with solid foundations that will benefit you and your dog.
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Seek Help If You Have To Leave Your Aussie Alone For Long Periods
Australian Shepherds are dogs that dont handle being alone well. They are dogs that get bored easily if they have nothing to do and they also need to be around their people constantly.
There will always be occasions in which your dog will have to be alone. In these cases, there are some things you can do to help your dog.
- A long, high energy workout before he is left alone helps keep your dog calmer and rest the time hes left alone.
- Leave him his puzzle and chewing toys so that he stays entertained and has something to direct his attention and energy to.
- When he is left alone for long periods you can request the help of a friend to take your Aussie for a walk to reduce the time he is alone and have some extra exercise.
- Seek the help of a professional service of Dog Walkers or Dog Sitters to take your dog for a walk and keep him company.
- Leaving your dog in a Doggie Daycares is an excellent option if you have to leave him alone often and for a long time.
Consider that if you are a person or family that is going to have to regularly leave your dog alone for long periods, the Australian Shepherd is not the right breed of dog for you.
Give Your Dog Lots Of Exercise
The first thing you need to do to live happily in an apartment with a German Shepherd is to give them plenty of exercise.; If you own a German Shepherd you know they have A LOT of energy.; A tired German Shepherd is a GSD that is less likely to drive you crazy or destroy the apartment.
A German Shepherd puppy is easier to tire out than an adult dog.; With a young puppy, you can go on a few short walks each day and have some indoor play sessions and they will be good.;
However, with teenage and adult German Shepherds they will need a more vigorous exercise regime to tire them out.; There are many ways to exercise your German Shepherd, from walking to running, to biking, to playing fetch.;
Find a few activities that your dog loves that will also tire them out in the process.; Then establish a daily exercise routine and be consistent for the best results.
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How Much Space Does A German Shepherd Need
So, how much space does a German Shepherd need? German Shepherds need enough space to burn off their energy and keep their minds stimulated however, this doesnt necessarily mean they need a huge yard. As long as your German Shepherd is getting their recommended daily exercise and enough human interaction and stimulation they can happily get on in smaller spaces. ;;
Before you bring a German Shepherd home though you will need to decide whether your home and outdoor space is enough to cater to a German Shepherds needs when looking at the amount of daily interaction and exercise you will be able to give them. The following are factors that should all be considered to determine if your space is suitable.
German Shepherds Are Healthy
German Shepherd are one of the healthiest dog breed. They can live to up to 13 years if they are properly cared for. German Shepherds love to exercise, thus they are free from weight problems. German Shepherds are prone to several health risks such as hip and elbow dysplasia which later lead to arthritis, degenerative myelopathy and others diseases, but the risk of suffering from these diseases is greatly reduced if proper nutrition and veterinary care are given.
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German Shepherd Personality And Temperament
German shepherds often get a bad rap for their booming bark and a sharp set of teeth. If they are trained properly, your German shepherd may just be a big furry softy.
Because they are well known as police and military dogs as well as drug sniffers, this is where a problem could develop. They have herding and guarding instincts. Guarding is great if a burglar breaks in but not if friends come, calling and your German shepherd will not let them in.
German shepherds are extremely intelligent, loyal devoted and they can be wonderful family dogs and good with children. However, statistics are not in their favor because they are a breed well known for biting. They need to be properly trained. Because they are so large, you must assume the role of pack leader. This eliminates aggression and other problems. If you do not own the title of alpha or pack leader, your German shepherd can become aggressive or destructive and they are just too big to allow that.
Socialization as puppies is very important to have a pup that is well adjusted and is comfortable in any situation. Shepherds love with their family but can sometimes be aloof or wary with strangers. Socialization nips this in the bud.Exercise helps their personality immensely. They can become bored without enough exercise and boredom equals destructive tendencies and even aggression.