Being hyper is a common trait in German Shepherds.
So they could be quite a handful for some people.
But, is it true that they’ll get calmer as they age?
If so, when does it happen?
Continue reading to find out:
- When do German Shepherds calm down.
- At what age are they the most hyperactive.
- 19 common reasons why they won’t settle down.
- 5 practical tips to manage their energy level as they grow.
- And so much more…
Table of contents
- When do German Shepherds calm down?
- German Shepherd Hyperness Timeline (age by age)
- 19 reasons why some German Shepherd won’t calm down
- #1: Genes
- #2: Breed
- #3: Hyperkinesis
- #4: Not enough physical exercise
- #5: Lack of mental stimulation
- #6: Boredom
- #7: Little attention
- #8: Overstimulation
- #9: Innate playfulness
- #10: Diet
- #11: Stress
- #12: Anxiety
- #13: Separation anxiety
- #14: Improper socialization
- #15: Poor training
- #16: Vocal in nature
- #17: Reinforcement
- #18: Hyperthyroidism
- #19: Raging hormones
When do German Shepherds calm down?
German Shepherds will start to calm down around 2 to 3 years of age. And this will continue as they get older. Then at 7 or 8 years old, owners might see significant changes in their behavior. The dogs will still be active, but not as hyper as before. Also, they’ll rest more and be content with it.
German Shepherd Hyperness Timeline (age by age)
To discuss their energy levels as simply as possible, I’ve broken them down into 5 stages.
And they’re as follows:
Phase #1: 3 weeks to 1 month
At 3 weeks, German Shepherd pups will start interacting with others.
They’ll also be curious and explore their surroundings more.
So this is when their playfulness will begin to show.
Phase #2: 2 to 4 months
Next, German Shepherds at this age will be more active than before.
Because of this, they’ll have a short attention span. So have more patience if you’re planning to teach them some basic commands.
And like other whelps, they’ll also have frequent sudden bursts of energy.
Phase #3: 5 to 12 months
Just when you think that the previous months are the hardest…
There comes the ‘adolescent stage.’
This is the age at which German Shepherds are most hyper.
Puppies will have so much energy that they’re only calm when asleep.
And at 5 or 6 months, they’ll be sexually mature. So aside from being playful, they may also show other behaviors, such as:
- Urine marking.
- Being aggressive.
Phase #4: 2 to 6 years
German Shepherds might reach maturity at the beginning of this stage. Either at 2 or 3 years old.
So as adults, their attention span will start to increase. And they may also calm down a bit.
However, they’re still more hyper than other dogs of their age
Phase #5: 7 years and above
Finally, in this period, parents will start to notice a big change in their dog’s energy levels.
German Shepherds were reported to have calmed down at 7 or 8 years old.
However, don’t expect a 180-degree change right away.
They’re still going to be hyper. But this time, they’ll rest more than usual. And they may also get tired fast as they’re now entering their senior years.
Note: This is generalized. So your doggo can experience it earlier or later. As there are other factors that can affect this.
What are they?
Let’s dive right in.
19 reasons why some German Shepherd won’t calm down
“It’s all in their DNA.”
One reason for their excitability must also be deep within them.
Scientists found a certain allele (a type of a gene) in German Shepherds. Which is linked to hyperactivity in dogs. As well as impulsiveness.
It’s called the ‘tyrosine hydroxylase gene.’ Or the TH gene.
And it’s also discovered in Siberian Huskies. Which are known for having heaps of energy as well.
Aside from their genes, this might also have something to do with their origin.
So what’s their history?
You may know this already. But the 1st registered German Shepherd was a sheepdog.
His name was ‘Horand.’ So technically, they were herding canines at first.
Their ancestors used to run and control thousands of sheep before. This is why being active must be in their blood.
But then, Max von Stephanitz, the breed’s founder, was impressed by Horand.
And from then on, German Shepherds were trained more as working dogs. Which is a wider category and has many roles.
Such as assisting people in need or doing search and rescues.
So with this origin, they’ll be hardly content with just laying on the couch.
Wanna know more cool trivia about them?
Check out also: 101 German Shepherd Facts And Myths (#9 Is Weird And Fun)
This is the canine version of Attention Deficit Hyper-Activity Disorder a.k.a. ADHD.
Or hyperactivity in layman’s terms.
According to a study in Finland…
German Shepherds are the most hyperactive dogs. With a prevalence rate of 22% among all 26 breeds in the study.
This could be due to their active nature. As working dogs were bred to do a lot of things.
But, hyperkinesis can’t be diagnosed with high energy alone. Because there are many other signs, such as:
- Short attention span.
- Increased heart rate at rest.
How can you tell if your dog has hyperkinesis?
#4: Not enough physical exercise
It’s already given that German Shepherds are highly active.
So because of this, they need plenty of exercises daily.
And if this isn’t met…
They’ll be frustrated and have lots of pent-up energy.
What to do?
According to PDSA, German Shepherds need at least 2 hours of exercise daily.
So, walk your dog longer than usual. And try more extreme activities that you can do with them. Like hiking, running, or swimming.
Oh, they’ll also appreciate playing fetch or catching frisbees.
Note: If you have pups or senior Fidos, take them for shorter walks instead. For puppies, multiply their age in months to 5. And you’ll get the total minutes of exercise they need per day.
#5: Lack of mental stimulation
Did you know that German Shepherds are the 3rd smartest breed?
So, if they’re not given enough mental exercises in a day…
They might find another outlet to use their minds. And this is where the chaos starts.
What to do?
Engage your dog in more challenging activities. Both physically and mentally, such as:
- Dock diving.
- Learning tricks.
They’ll also enjoy scent works. So, hide some treats or toys with catnip inside a room. And make your dog find them using their nose.
Interesting fact: Experts say that German Shepherds have around 225 million smell receptors. This is why they’re excellent in detecting odors. While Fox Terriers have 147 million. And Dachshunds only have 125 million.
German Shepherds are working dogs.
They don’t get tired easily. Plus, they need to do a ‘job’ throughout the day. Or else, they’ll get bored.
So if they have nothing to do, they’ll create their own fun.
And develop undesirable behaviors. Like digging, chewing, and being overly excited.
#7: Little attention
It might not be obvious for some at first glance (due to their police dog image)…
But, German Shepherds are gentle fluff in real life.
Well, they can be quite aloof to strangers. But, they’re loyal and affectionate to their humans. (You can attest to this!)
This is why they’re great family dogs.
And since they thrive on social interaction, they may not do well with little attention.
Once they feel lonely, they can get excited easily. Or do all sorts of things just to be noticed.
You may also wonder: Why does my German Shepherd sit on me?
German Shepherds may not also calm down if they’re overstimulated.
“What does it mean?”
Exercising produces cortisol in the body. Both in dogs and humans.
It’s a hormone that helps us deal with stress.
Running, for example, raises our cortisol levels.
And when Fidos are overexerted, they may release a lot of it. Which may cause physical stress.
Or it could be that they’re extremely tired. And this is the reason for their cranky and ‘nippy’ behavior.
#9: Innate playfulness
Although adult German Shepherds may appear mature…
Most of them might still be a puppy at heart.
This is even backed up by research. Which was made to determine the rank of dogs based on playfulness.
And the results?
Herding and sporting dogs were found to be the most playful ones. And their scores were even higher than perky toy breeds.
So, this only proves that German Shepherds are indeed balls of energy. Who’ll have trouble calming down most of the time.
German Shepherds are huge canines. So they sure consume a lot.
And if they’re ingesting the wrong ones, it could also affect their energy levels.
“What are the things that could make them hyperactive?”
Vets say that food high in fats influences dogs’ emotions. As well as their impulse control.
While too many carbs give them more energy.
Note: Carbohydrates must be 50% of a dog’s diet based on PetsWebMD. While fats should be 5.5% And treats may only take up 5% to 10% of their calories per day.
Sometimes, being unable to settle down can also be a sign of a stressed pooch.
“What may have caused this?”
It could be due to loud noises or changes in their environment. Saying, moving houses, or rearranging furniture.
And VCA says that dogs will also show other signs, such as:
- Excessive barking.
Stress can also trigger excessive worries or anxiety in dogs. And German Shepherds are no exception in this.
One of its signs is restlessness. Along with repetitive behaviors. Like constant licking or chewing on things.
So it may look like dogs have boundless energy.
But the truth is…
They can’t keep calm because they’re anxious.
#13: Separation anxiety
Since German Shepherds tend to form strong bonds with their humans…
They’re also prone to separation anxiety.
“What is it?”
It’s when dogs find it hard to be away from their parents – even for a few seconds.
They’ll go into panic mode when they don’t see them.
Dogs may also destroy things and whine excessively. And they’ll become overly excited around their humans too.
“How did they get this condition?”
Research says that this is common in dogs who are:
- From shelters.
- Males (gender-related).
- Separated early from the litter.
For further reading: 13 Reasons Why Your German Shepherd Is So Clingy & Needy
German Shepherds are very social dogs.
So what will happen if they’re deprived of any interaction?
It can lead to anxiety. As well as over-excitement. Especially when they go outside.
This is why puppies need to be exposed to different things at an early age.
Experts say that this must be done before the ‘socialization window’ closes. And it happens around 12 to 16 weeks old.
Note: Older dogs can still be socialized. But, expect that it’ll be a long journey. As they have less flexible brains than puppies.
#15: Poor training
A dog who gets out of control?
This could also be a training issue.
German Shepherds are smart and active breeds. And they tend to do well in training.
If they didn’t receive any or it’s incomplete, it may also be a cause of the disaster.
As they might go on their own way without proper guidance just like other dogs.
Note: PetMD advises parents to start teaching their pups basic commands at 8 weeks old. Like “sit,” “stay,” and “come.” And make each session at least 15 minutes per day.
For adult dogs, it isn’t too late for some training. But to have better results, seek help from a dog trainer who can guide you along the way.
#16: Vocal in nature
Whine here, bark there.
Some German Shepherds may also ‘talk’ nonstop.
They might sit in front of their humans and tell them all sorts of stuff.
But, they may also do it when throwing a tantrum. Say if they want some food, walkies, or attention.
Like this cute doggo here:
Read next: Why does my German Shepherd whine so much?
It could also be that they’re rewarded for being hyper by accident. And their parents aren’t aware of it.
“How could this happen?”
German Shepherds are naturally active, right?
So it might be that their humans only want their dogs to calm down. And they thought they would stop by giving them treats or attention.
However, this could further reinforce the behavior instead. As canines may think that all they have to do to get those is by acting hyper.
Aside from genes, hormones can also affect a dog’s behavior.
When canines produce more thyroxine or thyroid gland…
They may become hyperactive. And also eat more than usual.
Merck Vets say that dogs may show other symptoms, like:
- Weight loss.
Note: This is usually treated by surgery. Or in some cases, chemotherapy.
#19: Raging hormones
The last reason that can even add up to this dilemma is their surge of hormones.
“But what’s causing this?”
This is common in all dogs. And it can hit German Shepherds as early as 5 months.
In this stage, their hormones will increase. This then results in sexual behaviors such as humping and excessive peeing.