Across the world, amongst almost every pet parent, if there’s one dog breed that absolutely everyone loves, it is “German Shepherd”. German Shepherds are strong and noble dogs. They are known for their confidence, courage, intelligence, and loyalty.
New pet parents take German Shepherds for their muscular build and appearance. With that, people often wonder whether a German Shepherd can accompany them in small homes and apartments or not?
In this detailed article, we take a look at whether you can keep your German Shepherd dog inside. Can they be happy inside and how much space do they need? Can they be house dogs? How to live with GSD in a small apartment and how can you keep them safe inside? Let’s take a deep dive and explore all these questions.
Written By Sergey Uhanov – Certified Veterinarian.
Sergey Uhanov is a certified veterinarian for dogs over 10 years, breeding 3 dogs. He loves dogs and has his own pet clinic in Israel. He likes to help other people with their dogs by sharing his experience and knowledge.
Can German Shepherds be house dogs?
Yes, German Shepherds can be house Dogs and happily survive the same. German Shepherds will happily be inside as long as they have loving and responsible owners who provide for their daily needs and ensure physical and mental stimulation.
How much space does a German Shepherd need?
German Shepherds are one of the most adaptable dogs. No matter how much space you provide them, they will learn to adjust within that. However, to let all their energy off and have a good hour of exercise, German Shepherds need nearly 4000 square feet of open space.
This is nearly enough for these big-bodied highs on energy dogs to explore and run. For individuals who want to bring home a German Shepherd regardless of owning a small apartment, make sure you have a playground or other dog space nearby.
While your German Shepherd will remain indoors all day long, for an hour, once every day, they need a session of physical stimulation.
Living with a German Shepherd inside or in a small apartment
Bringing home a German Shepherd despite owning a small apartment is easy. However, until you cannot fulfill your dog’s daily needs, time can go tough for both pet and owner.
While you can keep a German Shepherd in a small home, do not expect them to stay inside every time. They are one of the hyper breeds that need more exercise than several other energetic breeds.
Keeping them indoors for a long time may show adverse effects in dogs. It can lead to anxiety, anger, and constant barking.
However, with a few tips, you can keep your German Shepherd happy even inside a small apartment.
- Make sure they are within proximity to the family member
German Shepherds love their owners and often prefer spending time along with them. You cannot leave them alone inside your apartment while you are out for long hours every day.
If you have a busy schedule, German Shepherds are not the right dog breed for you. German Shepherds exhibit separation anxiety when left alone for hours.
In such a situation, you can either ask your family member to accompany them. Or connect with your dog with voice or video messages when you are not home.
- Ensure their daily dose of physical exercise
German Shepherds have tons of excess energy stored in their bodies that they need to spend every single day. This dog is not for them for individuals who cannot give an hour or two of outdoor time to their German Shepherds.
As per experts, German Shepherds want around 2 hours of exercise a day. The fun is, they will love you involved with them. It can be a game of fetch, some race, or any game around. You can also take them for swimming or hiking on weekends.
Do not leave your German Shepherd unworked for days, or they will likely show destructive behavior.
- With physical exercise, make sure your German Shepherd gets his dose of Mental stimulation as well.
German Shepherds are intelligent; thus, they should be treated as such.
With the daily session of physical exercise, focus on their mental stimulation as well. And one of the best ways to ensure mental exercise is through dog puzzles.
Here are some good dog puzzle options to choose from:
- Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound
- Pet Zone IQ Treat Ball
- SPOT training treats
- Trixie Dog Activity Strategy Puzzle Games
- Invest in a Puppy Toilet
Because you live in a small apartment, and your dog is mostly inside, you cannot play with their Bladder. Also, because they, by nature, will not release in the place they live (your apartment), you need some training for them.
For the number of hours, you are inside, you can use specially made Puppy Toilets. Teach your dog to use them when in urgent need to release.
Here are some nice puppy toilet options to choose from:
PETMAKER Artificial Grass Puppy Pad Collection
IRIS Training Pad Holder (For small German Shepherds)
Outcomes of leaving German Shepherds alone inside
As we said before, a German Shepherd is prone to separation anxiety. Especially in apartments where they see no one around.
When locked inside alone for hours, they may vent out their insecurity showing certain behaviors. Here are a few signs they will possibly show:
- Being clingy whenever you are home.
- Constant barking, howling, and panting in your absence.
- Lack of sleep and restlessness
- Inappropriate peeing and pooping habits
- Development of anxiety and aggressive behavior
- Jumping and running all over the house
- Scratching and chewing everything they can inside the house.
How Can I keep safe my German Shepherd home alone?
Regardless of how well adjustable your dog is, you cannot leave them home alone for very long. However, for the minimal time you do so, there are some arrangements you must make to keep your canine safe.
- Firstly, Puppy-proof your entire house.
German Shepherds, or any other dog for that matter, are extremely curious. They want to scratch, snatch and chew anything they see around. Thus, make sure you do not leave any sharp or pointy objects available for them.
Also, avoid leaving detergents, chemicals, or any poisonous substance at your dog’s reach. Chocolates, too, aren’t safe for dogs; thus, make sure they do not even accidentally eat them.
Remove any small objects with which your dog may chock themselves in your absence.
Setup a Web camera and an Audio Recorder
Though every pet parent should have a webcam and audio recorder indoor, the ones who leave dogs behind must definitely. With these devices, you can keep an eye on your dog’s wellbeing and be back home quickly in any un-godly situation.
- Block all the suspicious areas of your home
Kitchen, Bathrooms, Stairs, Open Windows, or Low Balcony block all of these areas. Though instead of shutting the doors, use baby gates or dividers.
- Maintain temperature
The ideal indoor temperature for German Shepherd is between 75 degrees F and 78 F. With temperatures above 82 degrees F; they may suffer heatstroke.
Also, temperatures below 40-degree F may make your German Shepherd suffer from hypothermia and frostbite.
Additional things to do before leaving German Shepherds home alone
Tire out your German Shepherd so that they can pass out as soon as you leave. A good one-hour walk or a swimming session is the best way to ensure they have enough exercise until you come back.
- Make sure you fill their feeding bowls with adequate food and water.
- Keep a stock of their favorite toys available for them.
- If you are going to stay outside for long, hire your dog a Dog walker. This individual will take your dog out and ensure walking and other physical activities for them.
- If possible, leave a human back, who can give some company to the dog. You can ask your family members, keep a house help or opt for assistance from dog care facilities.
Why do some apartments not allow German shepherds?
You may want to keep a German Shepherd; however, your apartment owner may not allow for the same. Often renters are allowed to keep small dogs, ideally, couch potatoes which also barks less. These kinds of dogs are easy to keep in small spaces where several other individuals are around (neighbors).
At the same time, dogs like German Shepherds who are hyperactive can become destructive in confined spaces. Also, other individuals who are not fond of dogs may object to you for keeping such huge-sized dogs with muscular built.
German Shepherds are happy dogs who will love their time inside. As long as you shower them with love, attention, and companionship, they will do good even in small apartments.
Followed with, ensure adequate and regular physical and mental exercise for your dogs.
Until and unless you are providing them with a happy, healthy, and deserving life, German shepherds will accompany you living anywhere happily.