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5 Effective Ways To Calm a Hyper German Shepherd

Last Updated: December 29, 2023

German Shepherds are known for their intelligence, loyalty, and energy. However, sometimes, their boundless vigor can be a bit overwhelming, especially if you’re dealing with a hyperactive German Shepherd.

If you’ve ever found yourself at your wit’s end trying to manage your furry friend’s energy levels, you’re not alone. In this blog, we’re diving into the heart of the matter: how to calm a hyper German Shepherd.

To calm a German Shepherd:

  1. Display a calm demeanor
  2. Exercise your dog in a risk-free environment
  3. Stop (unintentionally) rewarding hyperactivity with attention
  4. Reward calm behavior
  5. Use calming products if all else fails

Understanding the nuances of their behavior is key to a harmonious relationship.

We’ll explore various techniques and strategies, from exercise routines to mental stimulation, to help transform your hyperactive companion into a calm and contented pooch.

A GSD Running in the snow.

Recognizing Hyperactive Behavior in German Shepherds

It’s vital to recognize when your German Shepherd is displaying hyperactive behavior so you can address the root cause. Some signs include:

  • Jumping up excessively when greeting people or other animals. Your German Shepherd may bounce around without self-control.
  • Constantly moving and unable to settle down. Your dog finds it difficult to relax and will pace, run in circles, or jump without pause.
  • Rowdiness during playtime that doesn’t stop. Play sessions should have clear beginning and end points, but your GSD may get too wild.
  • Barking or whining frequently without provocation. Your dog may vocalize when overstimulated rather than out of need.
  • Difficulty focusing on commands. When hyper, your German Shepherd has trouble paying attention to you.

Knowing these signs will help determine when your dog needs help calming down through exercise, training, or other relaxation techniques.

How To Train a German Shepherd To Be Calm

In the quest to find balance and tranquility with your energetic German Shepherd, you must understand the right approach to managing their hyperactivity.

Here are five practical tips that will guide you in creating a serene and harmonious environment for both you and your spirited German Shepherd, helping you both find your Zen in everyday life.

German Shepherd exercising in a field

1. You (the Human) Should be Calm

A hyper GSD is a dog with a lot of pent-up energy. If a hyper dog gives you anxiety, it could make your dog even more agitated. That’s because the same anxious energy that results in worry also results in hyperbehavior.

And given that German Shepherds are intelligent and can pick up on their owners’ emotions, your calm demeanor will assure your dog that he does not need to be hyper.

German Shepherds aren’t quick to mirror their owners’ demeanor but eventually match their owners’ state of mind.

Their emotional intelligence and empathy help them calm down if they don’t have too much pent-up energy or sexual frustration. Some of the things you can do to signal your calm demeanor are as follows:

  • Lower your voice – Speaking in a low baritone makes your calmness more noticeable to a German Shepherd.
  • Draw out your commands – Instead of saying “heel!” you should say, “Heeeeeel.” Try this with all orders while the dog is hyper.
  • Minimize physical movement – Do not wave your arms or move too much when getting your GSD to calm down. Your physical stillness can inspire internal peace in your dog.

The goal of you being calm and showing it to your German Shepherd is to get him to control the excess energy. Doing so doesn’t neutralize the energy because he still needs an outlet. But if you do this step right, step #2 will be safer.

Watch Our Video on How To Calm a Hyper German Shepherd…

2. Exhaust Your German Shepherd in an Isolated Environment

When your German Shepherd is constantly hyper, the two most likely reasons are:

  1. You have delayed his exercise.
  2. He (or she) wasn’t neutered (or spayed) early enough.

In either case, your dog is not in an ideal state to exercise around the public. As long as you have a backyard, you can let the German Shepherd Dog run around, exhaust at least some of his pent-up energy, and then take him on a long walk.

But if you have the German Shepherd as an apartment dog and neglect his exercise, getting him to calm down safely can be rough.

Look into getting him a physically engaging dog toy and let him play with it while you sit next to him, calm as a cucumber.

My German Shepherd loves KONG dog toys. You can check out this article for her favorites: Best Kong Toys for German Shepherds.

3 German Shepherd Puppies sitting on grass

3. Do Not Reward Hyper Behavior

German Shepherd puppies are cute and manageable, making owners inadvertently condition them to be hyper. When you come back home, your dog is likely to be excited. And of course, you’re happy too.

Your puppy might jump on you, and you might pat him. This transaction rewards the dog for being hyper, reinforcing the behavior.

And as the puppy grows, you have to reckon with the consequences of having a large dog trained to be over-energetic.

Treat your German Shepherd puppy as a fully grown large dog when setting boundaries. And, regardless of whether your GSD is a puppy or an adult, you can always start holding back on rewarding behavior when the dog is hyper.

Usually, attention is the unintentional reward humans give when a dog is hyper. To avoid rewarding a German Shepherd for being too energetic, you should ignore him when he starts acting up.

To be clear: This doesn’t mean ignoring the dog’s needs because your German Shepherd still needs (and deserves) to be exercised.

4. Reward the Dog (With Attention) For Being Calm

If you ignore your German Shepherd unless he is barking or displaying hyper behavior, you might unintentionally incentivize him to be more excitable.

Even negative attention can be satisfying to a GSD that is usually ignored. And when a large dog crosses a certain threshold of hyperactivity, you cannot afford to ignore it.

This creates a vicious circle where you cannot stop rewarding negative behavior with attention, and the GSD doesn’t understand that over-energetic behavior is not a good thing.

That’s why it is crucial to pay attention to your dog when he is calm and actually reward him while he is in the process of calming down.

Two German Shepherds Playing in snow

5. When All Else Fails: Use Calming Products

As mentioned earlier, rewarding the dog while progressively getting calmer can instill the importance of relaxation in your canine. If all previous (natural) techniques fail, you can try calming products.

Usually, these products are meant to help the dog feel less anxious around loud noises like thunder or fireworks or help with separation anxiety and travel sickness.

Some of the most effective calming products on Amazon for GSDs are:

  • Zesty Paws Calming Dog Chews – Calming chews work unbelievably well on German Shepherds because they have over 40 times the scent perception capacity of humans. These soft chews help with hyperactive and aggressive behavior.
  • ThunderShirt Classic Dog Anxiety Jacket – The Thundershirt applies pressure on the dog’s torso that feels like a hug. It releases oxytocin and helps the dog calm down when it is anxious.
  • ADAPTIL Calming Dog Diffuser – A vet-recommended pheromone diffuser that calms down your German Shepherd by mimicking a mother’s natural nursing scent. This study of 32 dogs found that aromatherapy (diffused lavender odor) for canine travel-induced excitement calmed the dogs down.

Note: Clicking the above link(s) will take you to Amazon or an online store where we have an affiliate relationship. If you make a purchase, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Final Thoughts

To get your German Shepherd to calm down, you must calm yourself first. Speak with a low baritone voice and drawn-out words to soothe your dog and reward him for calming down.

You may use products like a calming jacket, scent, or calming chews if needed.

Above all, the most healthy way to calm your GSD is to spend time with him and give him plenty of exercise to exhaust that excess energy.

Sharon Waddington
Sharon Waddington is the founder of World of Dogz. With over 30 years of experience working with dogs, this former Police Officer has seen it all. But it’s her trusty German Shepherd, Willow, who steals the show as the inspiration behind this website. As Sharon’s constant companion Willow has played a pivotal role in shaping her passion for dogs. Recently, Sharon has become deeply passionate about the plight of rescue dogs and is an active advocate for dog rescue, striving to make a difference in the lives of dogs in need.

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