Keeping a german shepherd indoors: What to expect?

Dogs belong to wolf families and had forests as their natural habitat. By moving near to civilized establishments, they became a part of human-centric living habitats. Gradually, the love, care, and loyalty shown by dogs, especially German Shepherd, earned them the title of pet animal. However, their tendency to adjust to life in an apartment or within the closed premises takes some effort to develop. With better training, socialization support, and balancing of outdoor and indoor time, the owners find it manageable to help the German Shepherds adjust to living inside the house without them causing any serious mess in the house.

All these activities related to training the dog to live in apartments require you to be an experienced dog parent. If you have just got the new German Shepherd puppy home and are planning to keep it indoors, read on to know what to expect and how to keep avoidable conditions at bay.

First things first, What is safe for German Shepherd – Outdoors or Indoors?

German Shepherds are social animals. They love leading the pack and taking care of the clan. Wild by inherent nature, they may start liking staying outdoors, which can wash away all the socialization and behavior training that you spend time on. So, to keep the German Shepherds’ well-mannered and house-trained, they should not be left outdoors unattended for long hours.

Secondly, outdoor conditions may tend to go against the good of the German Shepherd if the weather is not right. It is found that temperatures below 400 F are considered cold for these dogs. In cold conditions, they may develop frostbite, postural issues, gait problems, and may slip into hypothermia if exposed to too cold temperatures for extended hours.

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Though German Shepherds are dogs with a thick and dense coat, still, they are better off in fairly ambient temperatures. Similarly, when working out, outdoor temperatures should not be too high. They may tend to pant and salivate a lot and may show signs of dehydration if made to slog in heat. Hot temperatures reduce their stamina and boggle them down mentally too.

So, to keep them healthy, leaving them outdoors for long is not advisable.

Having said this, German Shepherds are not the dogs to be locked indoors for long. They require exercising, games and physical activities, and a little time in nature for walking to stay happy, active, and agile. The dog parents who need to go out to work may take them out for walks and play with them before leaving them indoors.

A separate open space like a backyard or a portion of garden area converted into a kennel does marvel for a German Shepherd managing indoor time alone. They can play in these areas with their toys and treats, or fellow pets and get the workout they need. While staying outside the room but within the house’s boundary, they define their safe boundaries through training and tend to stay within those confines.

German Shepherd needs company and is not to be locked indoors alone!!

German Shepherds are typically big dogs but are sufficiently suited for apartment living. Though big, they tend to remain within close proximity of their family members. When all are at home, they try to bring the family together in one place. Also, you will find a GSD mostly sitting beside the feet of the parent or nearest to the coach.

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German Shepherds, when locked indoors alone, exhibit separation anxiety. They may tend to feel depressed and sad. So, you have to find some way out to make the dog feel well-attended or to connect with him through voice or video message when you are away. You may also need the help of a family member to give him the company indoors when you are away. Else, your German Shepherd may become a bit destructive in an attempt to vent out their anxiety.

Let’s take a look at possible outcomes of leaving the German Shepherd alone indoors.

Possible outcomes of leaving the German Shepherd indoors alone

German Shepherds vent out their insecurity by showing the following behaviors[1] when they are locked indoors:

  • Constant howling and barking
  • Scratching and chewing on furniture, drapes, and other house contents
  • Attacking tendency if the dog lacks training
  • Restlessness and lack of sleep
  • Inappropriate toilet habits
  • Tend to cling all the time when the parent is around

Mostly, it is because of the lack of care that German Shepherds misbehave. So, if you are not ready to make changes in your life after bringing a German Shepherd home, this is not the dog for you!

A few easy German Shepherd indoor time management tips

Agreed that your world cannot come to a halt when you have brought a German Shepherd home. After all, you will have to work to manage the dog, right? So, here are some management tips you can follow to make indoor time easier for the German Shepherd.

1. Walk the dog out and play with him sufficiently before going to work. Dogs feel tired and want to relax after a good workout. So, they will mostly be resting and will not notice you going away.

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2. Hire a dog-walker. He can take the dog out for walking and give him the required physical activity

3. Keep a stock of engaging toys and treats. German Shepherds enjoy activities and develop a liking for engaging toys instantly. They can spend hours altogether playing with toys that offer some challenge or activity. It helps manage their alone time at home quite well.

4. Given them a company. Family can be your support system when you want someone to be with your dog in your absence. If your German Shepherd is the only companion you have, then think of hiring an assistant or learn about the dog care facilities available in your area.

To conclude,

The keyword is ‘don’t leave GSD alone’, whether indoors or outdoors. Both the outdoors and indoor times need to be balanced to give a healthy ambiance to the German Shepherd. When walking him out, put him on leash training, and when left alone, give him toys, treats, people, and some source of engagement so that you do not find the home a mess when you come back from outside.


[1] Canine separation anxiety: strategies for treatment and management, Author Sargisson R, School of Psychology, University of Waikato, Tauranga, New Zealand

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