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I rescued a 6 month old GSD puppy a few months ago. He is currently 11 months old. He's a handful!

The last GSD I had, she was a show line from a reputable breeder, a really mellow dog. Smart, athletic and beautiful, but not a working line dog. I'd hike with her for an hour every morning before going to work and give her about 15-20 minutes of playtime/training most evenings. A couple of times a week we did a longer 2 hour hike in the evening. That was enough exercise for her - she was totally chill in the house after she did her perimeter check. Every time we'd get home from a hike, she would do a quick patrol before settling down.

My current dog... I have to give him at least an hour and a half in the morning and I'm not talking about just hiking. I have to also throw his ball or incorporate hills, sprints, etc. Then, I'll be able to get some work done for a few hours, but then I have to give him another 20 minute walk around noon, a 20 minute training session in the afternoon and a 20 minute play session in the evening (I usually use the flirt pole for this). I have to do this every day or he goes stir crazy. On top of this, I take him to the dog park for about an hour a couple of times a week during which he goes all out running and playing with other dogs. I do this after our normal morning hike, so a couple of times a week he is going for 2 1/2 hour straight in the morning.

Is this normal for a normal GSD or did I accidentally rescue a working line dog?
 

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IMO, some exercise tires a dog out and leaves them in a beneficial hormonal state. Other exercise can ramp a dog up with detrimental hormones that backfires on the intention of tiring out the dog. Sometimes what exercise you do and when you do it should be given some thought. It varies with each individual dog.

High energy is not a trademark of any given lines.
 

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There needs vary go by what is in front of you and don’t get stuck in the “line” - important to know your dog. The more you do the fitter they become. Adequate exercise which includes running and challenging the mind is necessary but they also have to follow your schedule not the other way around. 11 months is not the easiest age but time goes by fast so fast so enjoy every second.
 

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You might try to incorporate a cool down period at the last part of your exercise period. Leash him if need be and just let him snuffle along slowly, zero excitement.
 
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Could you try puzzle toys or something that will engage his mind without you? I struggled with this too, until i found this! (you can get it other places than petco, this was just the one I saw online first). I put her kibble and a few small training treats in there and she rolls it around in the backyard for a while. She loves it.

I also sometimes put wet dog food into a regular Kong and freeze it. Freezing is key or she'll get the food out in minutes. Frozen, it'll buy me half an hour or so and then she's tired afterward.
 

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High energy and lack of being able to settle does not imply working line. I have two working lines, with wusv champion and BSP champion sires, and they do not behave that way. They are perfectly able to settle and chill while I work during the day and I would describe the one (regional level IGP 3) as medium drive and the other (young and untitled) as high drive.
 

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Could you try puzzle toys or something that will engage his mind without you? I struggled with this too, until i found this! (you can get it other places than petco, this was just the one I saw online first). I put her kibble and a few small training treats in there and she rolls it around in the backyard for a while. She loves it.

I also sometimes put wet dog food into a regular Kong and freeze it. Freezing is key or she'll get the food out in minutes. Frozen, it'll buy me half an hour or so and then she's tired afterward.
that is a great idea!!! thank you.
 

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High energy and lack of being able to settle does not imply working line. I have two working lines, with wusv champion and BSP champion sires, and they do not behave that way. They are perfectly able to settle and chill while I work during the day and I would describe the one (regional level IGP 3) as medium drive and the other (young and untitled) as high drive.
My dog is totally chill AS LONG as I give him about 3 hours of exercise a day. With my other dog, an hour and a half was enough... thanks for clarifying though! I think I am confused about the definition of working line.
 

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My dog is totally chill AS LONG as I give him about 3 hours of exercise a day. With my other dog, an hour and a half was enough... thanks for clarifying though! I think I am confused about the definition of working line.
The definition of a "working line" is in the genetics and pedigree. Not in how they act in regards to how much exercise it takes to make them chill. My working lines can be chill without any exercise that day if need be. In fact, they are both feet up in their crates sound asleep right now while I finish working.

The three "lines" are
Working line
West German Show Line
American Show line

When a study in the genetics was done, it showed little overlap between show and working. There was more of an overlap in backyard bred dogs to working lines. Which, IMO, really shows the bottleneck in show line breedings. If you just google those three lines, you will see distinctive differences just in conformation. If you find a club and watch them work, you will see the differences in working ability. It's all in the genetics. :)
 

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That may change in a couple months. Some WL dogs don't come into drive until later. It's not super common, but it happens.

I completely agree that the very best place to start is finding a breeder you trust that breeds the type of dog you want.
This statement isn’t just true for working lines. You can find it in show lines as well. I agree with everything that has already been said.
 

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Dogs get used to the amount of exercise you give them. I’ve never owned a German Shepherd that needed 3 1/2 hours a day. You might want to also teach settling techniques and reward for calm behavior. I had another herding breed before German Shepherds who was an outdoor dog by choice. He ran himself about 4 hours a day. It was his choice and he seemed to like it until he was a senior. He lived to be 16 1/2.
 

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Dogs get used to the amount of exercise you give them. I’ve never owned a German Shepherd that needed 3 1/2 hours a day. You might want to also teach settling techniques and reward for calm behavior. I had another herding breed before German Shepherds who was an outdoor dog by choice. He ran himself about 4 hours a day. It was his choice and he seemed to like it until he was a senior. He lived to be 16 1/2.
I disagree that dogs get used to exercise that you give them but I do like that you pointed out about teaching calm behaviors. I think most people don't know they should do this, don't know how to do this, it isn't taught in most classes, so people resort to corrections for what they have failed to teach their dogs.

Just want to add that you have multiple dogs that are permitted to interact, I think that makes a big difference in the quantity of exercise required.
 
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I disagree that dogs get used to exercise that you give them but I do like that you pointed out about teaching calm behaviors. I think most people don't know they should do this, don't know how to do this, it isn't taught in most classes, so people resort to corrections for what they have failed to teach their dogs.

Just want to add that you have multiple dogs that are permitted to interact, I think that makes a big difference in the quantity of exercise required.
What I meant is that if a dog gets used to a lot of exercise, they learn to expect it. I stand by my belief that dogs need both physical exercise and mental exercise, but you are right, I didn’t explain that. You are also right, my dogs play a lot, which I don’t consider formal exercise but they are moving and leaping and chasing, so I guess it is.
 

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If you push a dog, you will build an athlete. As their body adjusts by growing stronger and building endurance and cardio, it will take more to cause fatigue. The best way, by far, to wear a dog out is Nosework in open areas. The combination of running while sniffing is very tiring. Their respiration goes up to 180-200 and is shallow.


There's a price to pay to own one of the most amazing animals on the planet. I was hiking in the rain for 4 miles today. Was it necessary? Probably not. Valor has a great off switch for a day or 2. We had fun and it was great exposure.
 

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If you push a dog, you will build an athlete. As their body adjusts by growing stronger and building endurance and cardio, it will take more to cause fatigue. The best way, by far, to wear a dog out is Nosework in open areas. The combination of running while sniffing is very tiring. Their respiration goes up to 180-200 and is shallow.


There's a price to pay to own one of the most amazing animals on the planet. I was hiking in the rain for 4 miles today. Was it necessary? Probably not. Valor has a great off switch for a day or 2. We had fun and it was great exposure.
Ding ding ding we have a winner! But there is a finite point where the body can no longer build up or maintain and will start to break down. This stuff where there is no limit is a bunch of hooey. Best people learn how to build and maintain good physical condition in a healthy manner. Sounds like another thread for you to start.
 
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I need a list lol
 
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@Shefali are you comparing your old dog to your new dog at the same age? they’re only puppies for so long, it’s easy to forget those first 2 years.
 

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If you push a dog, you will build an athlete. As their body adjusts by growing stronger and building endurance and cardio, it will take more to cause fatigue. The best way, by far, to wear a dog out is Nosework in open areas. The combination of running while sniffing is very tiring. Their respiration goes up to 180-200 and is shallow.


There's a price to pay to own one of the most amazing animals on the planet. I was hiking in the rain for 4 miles today. Was it necessary? Probably not. Valor has a great off switch for a day or 2. We had fun and it was great exposure.

This and leave all the rest. Except teaching them to to settle to reset your schedule - sitting on the dog or crating to have them settle and that there is a big difference with energy levels between 11 months old and mature dogs. Most people rehome or get rid of dogs are at the 10-12 month old mark. The more you exercise the fitter the dog the becomes and the more difficult to get them tired especially at 11 months old was my entire point. Nose works is certainly a favorite.
 

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@Shefali are you comparing your old dog to your new dog at the same age? they’re only puppies for so long, it’s easy to forget those first 2 years.
No, I am comparing my new dog to my previous one at the same age. When my previous dog was a year old, I would give her about an hour every morning and that was sufficient, my new dog at almost the same age (11 months) seems to need a lot more than she did... he is also more willful than she was. I guess all dogs are different!
 
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