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5 Quick Ways To Calm a Hyper German Shepherd

German Shepherds are majestic and popular because of their loyalty, intelligence, and size. And the size thing can be problematic when your German Shepherd becomes hyper. Unfortunately, saying “calm down” works about as well for dogs as with children, so you need to use alternative tactics to calm a GSD.

Here are five ways to calm a hyper German Shepherd Dog:

  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

Don’t stop reading because I dig deeper into the five ideas above. Not only will you discover how to apply each technique individually, but how to combine them to help your German Shepherd chill out.

A GSD Running in the snow. How To Calm a Hyper German Shepherd
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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 hyper behavior.

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 How To Calm Your GSD By Projecting Calmness…

Calm your German Shepherd with GSM & Rachel

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 neglected 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 to see her favorites, Best Kong Toys for German Shepherds.

3 German Shepherd Puppies

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

5. When All Else Fails: Use Calming Products

As mentioned earlier, rewarding the dog while progressively getting calmer can instill the importance of being relaxed in your canine. If all of the 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 on German Shepherds because they have over 40x the scent perception capacity as 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.

Conclusion: How to Get a German Shepherd to Calm Down

To get a German Shepherd to calm down, you must calm yourself first. Speak with a low baritone voice and drawn-out words to soothe the 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.

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  • 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. Find her on Linkedin!