German Shepherds are large dogs that were originally bred for herding sheep, but today they work as police dogs, search and rescue dogs, drug-sniffing dogs, and more. German shepherds can be quite intelligent and loyal to their owners. So what does this mean for apartment living? Can they live in apartments?
German Shepherds can live in apartments if you are responsible and provide them with their basic needs. The only thing to consider is that managing the energy of an active dog in a small space can be hard, especially if you don’t have a large yard and a lot of patience.
Why German Shepherds Make Good Apartment Dogs?
Most people believe that large dog breeds such as German shepherds can only do well in areas where they have large space to walk on. However, the truth is that a dog’s size doesn’t play any role in determining whether they can make good apartment dogs or not.
Whether you have the pint-sized Chihuahua or the ginormous Mastiff, the quality of their life isn’t dictated by the amount of space they get but by how well you meet their basic individual needs. That means that your German shepherd, just like any other dog, will do well in apartments.
So, what apartment space is enough for your GSD? Well, any space is just fine to give your GSD a happy life. Of course, we don’t rule out the fact that dogs need large space to roam around and stretch their muscles.
However, that shouldn’t prompt you to live in large and expensive apartments that are high above your budget. Provided that you afford them enough room for lounging and playing with their toys, your GSD will live a happy and comfortable life just like other GSDs in areas with lots of space.
Important Considerations Before You Bring GSD To Your Apartment
Now that you’ve known that it’s possible to enjoy the company of your GSD in the limited space, there are a few things you need to consider before you can make him part of your life. Below are a few.
German shepherds are excellent guard dogs. They are very protective and can portray a bit of aggression towards unfamiliar faces. That’s why some landlords ban bringing this breed to their apartments.
That said, before you get a puppy or adopt a mature German shepherd, ensure that you confirm the apartment policies to see if your landlord permits that type of breed. If you already have the dog and are now apartment hunting, it’s nice you consider apartments that don’t restrict having your furry friend around.
While some people might be tempted to provide false information about their dog, it’s always good to be sincere with your landlord. Ensure that you reveal every detail they need about your GSD puppy. After all, the little pup will grow with time and you won’t be able to defend your lie.
German shepherds belong to the category of working dogs. Therefore, they are among dogs that pack lots of energy. In fact, they will need about 2 hours of daily exercise to keep them physically fit and happy.
A daily walk with your GSD is enough to help them get rid of the excess energy. Other options include hiking, swimming, and play.
While it may be fine to skip exercise by a day or 2 when living in a large fenced home, you can’t afford to go even a day without exercising your GSD if you live in an apartment.
Lack of enough exercise leaves these lovely dogs with enough energy to direct to undesirable behavior such as aggression. As polite and innocent as your trained GSD seems, he may become a grave threat to your neighbors if he has a sufficient amount of energy for that.
Therefore, before you bring your GSD to your apartment, ensure that you have well laid-down plans on how you are going to keep him physically active.
If you don’t have enough time for one long exercise session, splitting the exercise sessions into several is still an option. For instance, you can schedule a 15-minute play with your GSD before you go to work, another 45 minutes of play after coming from work, and 30 minutes of a walk afterward.
Whether you have a German shepherd or any other dog, we can’t emphasize enough the importance of training. Training helps shape the behavior of the dog to conform more to how you want it. It’s simply making less of the undesired original “doggy” behavior and more of what you want when utilizing the natural capability of the dog.
The good thing about German shepherds is that they have everything it takes to make training sessions run smoothly. Actually, they are among the easiest dog breeds to train.
If you have a GSD puppy, beginning the training at the age of 8 weeks is nice bearing in mind that their natural temperament develops by the seventh week. However, in case your GSD is past the puppy stage, there is still some good news- your dog can still excel in training.
Among the most basic things to teach your GSD to prepare him for apartment living includes potty training, crate training, some cues, and socializing.
Also, before you welcome your GSD to your apartment, ensure that you have already invested enough time in discouraging unwanted behaviors such as chewing- lest you come back to ripped sofas one day.
German shepherds were originally bred for guarding sheep. They were expected to watch over them from any predators, a job that requires a high level of intelligence, quick reasoning, and the ability to make independent and sound decisions.
This means that German shepherds are among the dog breeds that love to keep their minds at work.
Therefore, as you provide physical exercise, it’s important to know that mental stimulation plays an equally essential role in these furry friends.
Failing to provide adequate mental stimulation can attract negative behaviors such as chewing, whining, unnecessary barking, and many more bad habits that may deprive you and your neighbors of peace mind.
Luckily, most of the physical exercises provide mental stimulation to dogs. For instance, by taking your dog out for a walk, you are providing an opportunity for them to master new routes, meet new people and friends, and learn more about their surroundings.
Play also works well for keeping your dog mentally fit. A game such as a tug-of-war is fun for both of you and will stimulate your dog mentally and physically. When you don’t have enough time for play, a puzzle will keep the minds of these four-pawed colleagues engaged as you run a few errands.
The Wickedbone chew toy keeps your dog’s mind busy as you attend to house chores. Still, you can opt for agility training. In fact, since dog agility is very mind-challenging, it is perfect for smart dog breeds such as German shepherds.
While it’s impractical to do it in apartments, enrolling your dog for weekend agility classes is the best way to go for the “busy bees” living in apartments.
The Right Supplies
As you bring a GSD dog to live with you in an apartment, you want them to give you the best company when getting the best life. That’s why you should have all the necessary preparations in place before you welcome one in your house.
Having all the proper setup in place will help keep the apartment life comfortable for both you and your German Shepherd. So, what exactly do you need to buy for your German shepherd dog? Well, here are a few suggestions.
10 Must-Have German Shepherd Accessories For Apartment Living
With the already limited space, you need to be considerate of what you buy for your German shepherd friend. Avoid any unnecessary stuff that will “eat up” your space. However, as you look into what to buy and what not to, the following essentials are a must-include in your pet accessories’ shopping list.
A Dog Potty
We all know the kind of mess dogs can cause in homes when they don’t have a place to relieve themselves. Things may turn even worse when living in smaller spaces such as apartments. Therefore, as you go out shopping for your dog’s essentials, get a decent dog potty for your GSD.
Apart from that, be sure that your dog has taken much-needed potty training. After all, it would be fit to term it a waste of money if you buy a dog potty that your GSD won’t utilize even a single day.
When buying this accessory, consider the size and weight recommendation. Also, pick a very attractive one. Real grass dog potties in this case are the best way to go.
A Dog Crate
Apart from your apartment, German shepherds need their own house. That’s why you also need to give buying a dog crate a thought. This essential accessory serves as the place to find comfort when your German shepherd is under stress or anxiety. It helps keep him from destroying things in your house when he goes nuts.
When buying a dog crate, get one that will provide enough space for your German shepherd. The house should be roomy enough for him to stretch out and stand inside.
If you have a puppy, it’s better to get a large crate with dividers so that your puppy will grow into the space without having to reinvest in a larger crate in the future.
That said, a GSD crate needs to have a length of about 48 inches while the width and the height should be about 30 inches and 33 inches respectively.
For an accessory with such a large size, you have to be keener on the features. For instance, you should prioritize getting one that has a collapsible design. This feature will allow you to fold it and stand it at the wall or hide it under the bed when not in use.
A Dog Feeder
Since they are working dogs, German shepherds will need a lot of food to keep them going. A well-balanced diet is good for building muscles, boosting their immune, and giving them the amount of energy they need to tackle daily tasks. As you feed your German shepherd with that delicious meal, a dog feeder is necessary.
While some people don’t pay much attention to the type of feeder they buy, taking a few things in mind as you shop for one will save you plenty of mess in the long haul, especially now that you have a limited amount of space.
For instance, you need to buy a kick-proof and spill-proof feeder. These 2 features will prevent food and water spills in your space to save you a great deal of work.
A Paw Cleaning Mug
You have scheduled walks with your German shepherd already. Now, one thing you might have learned about dogs’ paws is that they pick up as much dirt, mud, snow, and grass as they are capable.
To keep your floors sparkingly clean, you should invest in a decent paw cleaning mug. These mugs do an excellent job of cleaning your dog’s paws from all the elements he’s likely to pick up on the way.
The paw cleaners have gentle but very effective bristles at removing all the unwanted mess. The mugs are also very straightforward to use.
Just add an adequate amount of water and dog shampoo and plunge your dog’s paw into the mug several times as the bristles take care of the dirt. Remove the paws and dry them using a microfiber towel. And that’s it!
An Engaging Toy
German shepherds always desire to spend more and more time with their beloved. That’s why separation anxiety is a very common condition in dogs when left alone for many hours.
When your dog begins to experience separation anxiety, it’s more likely to begin attacking your valuables. Therefore, before you switch to apartment life with your GSD, ensure that you have a way of dealing with separation anxiety.
That’s where an engaging toy comes in handy. A nice toy for your GSD keeps him mentally engaged when not around. For a large and energetic dog with a strong biting force like the GSD, you need nothing less of a high-quality toy that will stand up to the heavy abuse by your GSD.
If you choose to bring the GSD dog into your apartment, one thing that is likely to suffer most is furniture. German shepherds have two things that can be a real threat to your valuable sofas; their sharp teeth and nails.
That’s why a high-quality furniture protector should be among the basic accessories. Apart from protecting your seats from the wrath of your GSD’s teeth and nails, these covers maintain your furniture in tip-top condition.
When choosing a furniture protector, ensure that it is large enough to cover the entire seat. The guard should also have a reliable mechanism to keep it from sliding off when your dog’s paws touch it.
Also, protectors with a reversible design will be good since they can serve twice the usual amount of time before cleaning.
A Good Grooming Brush
The German shepherds have a double coat that is of medium length. They are great shedders and that’s where we get the name ” German Shedders”.
They will shed heavily twice every year; spring and fall. Therefore, before you welcome a GSD to your apartment, be ready to deal with hair almost everywhere if you fail to get ahead of the curve.
One way to minimize the amount of fur they scatter in your apartment is by brushing them daily. Brushing your GSD regularly removes the loose fur that would have eventually fallen on your beautiful carpet.
Plus, adopting this routine will keep them looking more spectacular and develop a closer bond. However, since they are double-coated, you will need 2 brushes; an undercoat rake once they’ve shed and a basic brush for other times of the year.
A Pet Security Camera
If you are really attached to your GSD, chances are that you aren’t willing to spend a few minutes away from him. Now, if you have a busy schedule that requires you to spend a longer time than you feel comfortable from your GSD, you will need to invest in a decent wireless pet camera.
This camera provides a way for you to interact with your four-pawed member of the family when away. It makes it easy to monitor the behaviors of your dog when at work with a simple tap of your smartphone screen.
If your GSD is among the many dogs that suffer from separation anxiety, it’s better to invest in a more advanced pet camera. For instance, you can buy one with 2-way audio communication and a noise-cancellation microphone. This way, you will have a way to interact with your dog when miles away from home.
Although it’s possible to buy dog food in small quantities, buying your German shepherd food in bulk will save you a bundle in the long-term. It will also mean fewer trips to the market and more time to interact with your pet. However, before you pay a huge amount of money for the food, get a perfect place to store it safely.
Remember that there are many contaminants and other elements that can make your dog’s food go bad easily. That’s why we see a food storage container as one of the basic accessories you need to make apartment life with your GSD more comfortable, cheaper, and more fun.
When making this purchase, choose a size that works best for the amount of food you intend to be buying.
A Food Dispenser
Your adorable German shepherd dog needs to get his food at the right time all the time- even when you are away. That’s why you should add an automatic food dispenser to your shopping cart.
This meal dispenser allows you to set the amount and the time for availing the food to your furry friend. Some of them will even let you schedule several feeding sessions when away. Therefore, it just serves as an exact version of you when it’s mealtime.
While a good number of these appliances rely on the power outlet, it’s better to get those that can switch automatically to using batteries in case something happens to the power supply.
Dispensers of this kind are more reliable and will keep your mind at ease that your furry friend will get their fair share when the right time comes.
Other Important Essentials
The above 10 dog accessories fall in the category of must-haves. Therefore, you will still need to invest in more if you want a more comfortable apartment life with your GSD. Other essentials that you can consider buying include air purifiers, robotic mops, floor mats, and more as you see necessary.
The ability of German shepherds to thrive in apartments doesn’t rely on the available amount of space- it’s a matter of how best you can manage him within that space.
Management requires you to understand your German Shepherd in and out. It also involves having everything in place to make life more comfortable for your German shepherd.
Therefore, provided that your apartment policies don’t prohibit having these furry friends around, it’s possible to live happily with your German shepherd in the limited space.