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Our canine companions have little say in some of the changes that happen in our life like having a baby, moving to a new home, or taking a job with longer working hours. We should of course consider the needs of our canines when making decisions that will impact them, but we’re often put in those same situations at a moments notice too. So how adaptable is the German Shepherd when it comes to the changes in our lives? Let’s find out.  ENERGY We’ll dive right in a look at a key factor in adaptability; energy. The German Shepherd reaches maturity around 3 years of age, and with their puppy and teenage years coming to a close, their energy level drops a bit. They are generally a pretty high-energy breed, but they will range closer to very high-energy for their first three years of life. They need several hours of exercise each day so having a larger fenced yard, and larger home, is ideal. Should your home and yard decrease in size then you’re going to have to be more creative and dedicated to working off their energy. This could mean more walks around the neighbourhood or brain games in the home, but you’ll generally find the GSD to be quite happy as long as they are with you and their family.  TRAINABILITY/INTELLIGENCE The German Shepherd is very trainable and willing to please their calm, consistent leader which can come in handy when their life is uprooted. Obedience work is a great way to focus their mind and energy in new places where they need to ignore the new distractions. Remember, your GSD’s ancestors herded cattle around the German countryside long before they were a family guardian so they’ll adapt pretty quickly to new surroundings. Keeping their routines as familiar as possible will help to transition them into their new life whether that be a new home, a new baby, or less time with you.  FAMILY & SOCIAL The German Shepherd is a devoted family canine that thrives when someone is with them but they can learn to be okay alone. It’s critical that you work on their confidence alone from an early age and build up the time they are left alone rather than jump in. GSD’s are capable (and more than willing) to destroy their kennel, chew the drywall next to the door, pace their paws raw, and any number of other destructive things when they aren’t trained to accept being alone. Loads of exercise, bonding, and crate training are going to be key in keeping your GSD from developing separation anxiety. Since you never know when you might suddenly start working more or be home later, it’s crucial that you teach this acceptance early on and keep this training maintained throughout the life of your GSD. It will make many of life changes easier for both your canine and you to adapt to at a moments notice. AFFECTION/INDEPENDENCE GSD’s are incredibly devoted and affectionate with their whole family so changes in their life that result in less time with you, or the rest of the family, are going to be the hardest for them to adjust to. If you’ve taken a job with longer hours and don’t have a family member that can be there, you’ll need to work extra hard when exercising and bonding with them in the morning and evening. If you or someone your GSD trusts can be there for an hour or two in the middle of the day to give them some extra exercise and cuddles then they’ll adapt much more easily. As with most things, it’s easiest to make the adjustment in stages if possible and get creative when making accommodations if it’s not. Keep in mind that if you know a life change that will directly impact the amount of time you can spend with GSD is coming, start adjusting to the new routine as early as possible. WRAP UP Overall, the German Shepherd is a fairly balanced breed when it comes to their adaptability, but you’ll want to train them in and for a variety of situations since it’s impossible to know what changes you’ll experience in their life. Separation anxiety and exercise are going to be two of your biggest factors when considering the overall adaptability of the GSD so start working on those early and then often throughout their life to make changes as easy on them, and you, as possible.

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