So, your German Shepherd is in need of a few new toys, and you’re trying to figure out what to get. With so many unique options on the market, it can be difficult to figure out which of them are the best toys for German Shepherds. If you’re looking for a few pointers, here’s everything you need to know about picking the perfect toy for your German Shepherd!
Why Are Toys SOOO Important for German Shepherds?
So why exactly does a German Shepherd need to have toys? It’s cute to see them having fun of course, but having the right toys for them to play with regularly is essential to their well-being. Let’s go over a few of the most important roles dog toys play in your German Shepherd’s health.
1. Toys Provide Physical Stimulation
Have you ever felt the need to do something with your hands? Nothing specific, you just feel like your hands have to be moving, and most of the time, you just find a small, repeated movement like twiddling your thumbs. German Shepherds are the same, and often feel the need for some sort of physical engagement.
The difference, however, is that they feel the need to do something with their teeth, which usually means chewing. Without toys to keep them busy, your German Shepherd will start chewing anything and everything they can get a hold of. As such, it’s important to figure out your pup’s favorite toys and make sure they have plenty available.
2. Toys Provide Relief
In another case of dogs being remarkably similar to humans, your German Shepherd will often use their favorite toy as a security blanket of sorts. If you’ve bought your pup a toy before, you may have noticed that they seemed to carry it everywhere or ran to go find it whenever they felt stressed.
This is because a familiar toy helps soothe their mind by giving them comforting scents and physical stimulation. If your dog has plenty of the right toys, they’ll generally be less stressed than they would without, making them an important part of your German Shepherd’s mental health as well as physical.
3. Toys are Great Training Aids
As with anything your German Shepherd enjoys, the right dog toy is an excellent motivator during training. Just use it like you would any other training aid, giving them a bit of time to play with it after they successfully follow a command. This will allow your German Shepherd to associate training with play, creating a much more fun and positive experience for all parties involved.
4. Toys Help Build Strong Bonds
Of course, having plenty of dog toys also provides you with the opportunity to bond with your German Shepherd. While your pup gets their exercise in, they’ll also be creating fun memories with you, forming a closer bond than ever. In addition, toys give your pup new ways to play with you, so even if fetching a stick isn’t their thing, you can figure out what they enjoy doing. It’s best to start playing with your pup from a young age if possible, but it’s never too late to start!
5. Toys Prevent Boredom
As we mentioned before, German Shepherds need steady sources of physical stimulation, and this stimulation helps to stave off boredom. Bored dogs may become depressed or anxious, causing them to embrace destructive behaviors such as chewing. Essentially, giving your dog plenty of fun toys is a way to keep them happy and healthy and your belongings undamaged.
What to Look for in Toys for GSD?
First of all, the toys you buy need to be tough. German Shepherds are always chewing on something or other, so a fragile toy isn’t going to last long. However, be careful of the material you’re choosing as well. Unfortunately, many low-quality pet toy manufacturers aren’t committed to using safe materials, meaning that they often have unsafe chemicals.
From there, look for variety. Your pup should have access to a variety of toys, textures, and functions. Go for a mixture of hard toys, soft toys, chew toys, puzzles, and anything else your pup will enjoy!
What Are The Best Toys For German Shepherds?
The best toys for your German Shepherd appeal to their natural instincts as a herding dog. They’re naturally inclined to enjoy chasing and herding objects, so something like a frisbee or herding ball will be perfect.
In addition, you need to consider that German Shepherds are particularly prone to separation anxiety, so they should have a mentally engaging toy to keep themselves occupied, such as a treat puzzle.
German Shepherd Exercise Needs
German Shepherds are large, energetic dogs, so they need about 1-2 hours of exercise per day. You should try to give them a variety of activities aside from your standard walk such as wrestling, chasing, or searching for objects. A good combination of mental and physical exercise will keep your pup happy and healthy!
The Best Toys for German Shepherds
With all the basic information out of the way, you’re probably looking to make a purchase. If that’s the case, take a look at ten of our favorite German Shepherd toys!
1. Super Chewer Tough Dog Toys & Treats Box
First up is the Super Chewer box from Bark Box! It comes with a variety of items your pup will love, with two ultra-tough toys, two bags of diet-adjustable bags of treats, and two delicious chews. From hours of entertainment to a wealth of delicious snacks, there’ll never be a dull moment for your German Shepherd with this box!
Buy From Bark Box | $40
2. Indestructible Beef-Flavored Bone
This indestructible chew toy comes with a delicious beef flavor that will keep your German Shepherd entertained and always ready to play. It’s made of an ultra-tough, food-safe rubber that won’t tear into fragments, and is guaranteed by the manufacturer to last at least a year against even the most persistent of chewers.
Buy From Amazon | $13.99
3. Orka Bone Dog Chew Toy
This dog bone is unique, serving both as your standard chew toy and a treat puzzle. Just pop a treat each into the two treat compartments and let your dog gnaw on the resilient rubber bone!
Buy From Amazon | $9.86
4. Naturals Jute Puzzle Rope Dog Toy
This toy is perfect for when you want to play with your German Shepherd, made of a tough, plant-based material designed to withstand game after game of tug of war.
Buy From Amazon | $14.99
5. Tennis Maze Craze Dog Puzzle Toy
This toy allows you to play with your German Shepherd when you have the time as well as keep them entertained when you don’t. It works much like a standard puzzle toy, but once your furry friend gets the tennis ball out, you can treat them to a good old-fashioned game of fetch!
Buy From Outward Hound | $21.99
6. Dog Tornado Interactive Treat Puzzle Dog Toy
If the standard puzzle isn’t cutting it for your pup, this Tornado Puzzle will provide a trickier challenge. It features twelve treat compartments across three layers, so it’ll keep even the smartest German Shepherd entertained for hours on end!
Buy On Outward Hound | $18.99
7. Tux Tough Treat Dispensing Dog Chew Toy
For more persistent chewers, this puzzle toy from Tux is incredibly tough, but also tricky enough to provide a solid challenge. It’s perfectly designed to meet your pup’s needs for mental and physical engagement alike!
Buy From Amazon | $17.95
8. Kong Classic
A staple in dog-owning households around the world, this list just wouldn’t be complete without a Kong. It’s perfect for keeping your German Shepherd entertained when you’re away, and it’s extremely easy to get set up. Just fill the Kong with your pup’s favorite treats and let them enjoy it!
Buy On Amazon | $13.99
9. Nylabone Power Chew Double Bone Bacon Flavored Dog Chew Toy
This Nylabone chew toy is ultra-durable, ultra-delicious, and ultra-fun for any German Shepherd! Its design makes it easier for your pup to get ahold of, while the bumps and ridges can even help clean your pup’s teeth!
Buy On Chewy | $21.99
10. Harry Barker Cotton Rope Tug and Toss Toy
This toy is designed for humans and pups who love playing together, perfect for the two most popular games: fetch and tug of war! Needless to say, it’s built to last, so you and your German Shepherd can look forward to hours and hours of playtime.
Are There Any Bad Toys for German Shepherds?
While there are plenty of good toys for your German Shepherd to play with, there are also plenty of bad ones. When you’re buying a toy, there are a few things you should watch out for to ensure your German Shepherd has a safe and fun playing experience.
One of the greatest dangers certain toys present is their size. If a toy is designed to be size-appropriate for a chihuahua, for example, it’s far too small for a German Shepherd and may become lodged in their throat, posing a severe choking hazard.
Next, consider how it’ll hold up after long play sessions. Many toys, especially plastic ones, can be chewed down to a sharp point after a while, which then poses a risk of choking or injury. (And doesn’t exactly feel great to step on, either.) Avoid buying flimsy toys if you think this may be an issue, and be sure to check in on your pup’s toys every now and then to ensure they’re still safe. If you notice that a pointy tip has been formed, the best thing to do is toss the toy out and buy a new one.
Finally, stay away from toys with frills or ribbons as well as those that resemble common household objects. If a toy has parts that are easily torn off, there’s a fairly high chance that they’ll be ingested, causing any number of issues. Toys that resemble household objects, on the other hand, can promote destructive habits. For example, if your pup’s new toy looks like a shoe, your actual shoes probably aren’t going to fare too well over the next couple of weeks.
Between criteria for a great dog toy and a few recommendations, you’re more than ready to pick out the perfect toy for your German Shepherd! Your pup is sure to be happier, healthier, and absolutely thrilled with their new toys!
Best Toys for German Shepherd FAQs
Need a few quick tips on picking the best toys for your German Shepherd? Here are a few of the most commonly asked questions!
German Shepherds will enjoy just about any toy you give them, but they definitely prefer toys that engage their natural instincts. Toys such as frisbees or tennis balls that allow them to chase will appeal to their herding instincts, while treat puzzles will help keep them mentally engaged. Of course, everyone needs a bit of mindless entertainment, which your standard chew toy will deliver perfectly.
German Shepherds are an extremely intelligent and active dog breed, so they need a fairly high amount of exercise and mental stimulation to keep them from becoming bored or depressed. Most vets recommend getting in around 1-2 hours of exercise or playtime with your German Shepherd, as well as keeping around a variety of toys so that they have multiple ways to keep themselves mentally engaged. Of course, they have to be able to keep themselves entertained sometimes, but nothing beats direct engagement, so try to play with your German Shepherd directly whenever you have the time.
German Shepherds all have standard dog hobbies such as walking and wrestling, but their instincts as herding dogs mean they also have a few unique interests. They love doing anything that allows them to exercise their natural herding instincts, whether that’s chasing an object such as a ball or frisbee or herding something like a large ball. (Or sometimes even their humans!)
Being the little balls of energy they are, German Shepherd puppies need plenty of toys to learn and grow. Once you reach the teething stage, chew toys are going to be an absolute must to allow them to teeth without destroying your valuables. In addition, you want to promote their natural spirit of curiosity and adventurousness from a young age, so be sure to keep them mentally stimulated with a variety of puzzles as well.
The best interactive toys for German Shepherds typically have some sort of food reward involved, giving your pup incentive to focus on the toy. German Shepherds are commonly known to suffer from separation anxiety, but having something like a puzzle or a kong will keep them busy enough to prevent that anxiety from setting in.
Naturally, it’s very important that they have an outlet for this anxiety to prevent nervous behaviors such as excessive chewing, boredom, or depression.
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