Do German Shepherds Like to Play Fetch?

By John Martin - May 3, 2021

German Shepherd playing fetch on a tennis court

German Shepherds look menacing, don’t they? However, the truth might take you by surprise. Not only are they quite friendly and aloof around their owners but also quite loyal to shielding attributes.

German Shepherds are known for their fearlessness, and they also prove to be amazing guarding dogs. This breed is based in America and is quite prominent in the US. At some places, these handsome dogs are also known as ‘Alsatian.’ Let’s get into details, do German Shepherds like to play fetch?

Do German Shepherds Like to Play Fetch?

The answer to this question has to be ‘yes’- with an ‘obviously’ added to it! Now that we know that German Shepherds being the guard dogs, are quite protective, active, and fast learners, they naturally know how to fetch and also seem to like it. To back up this statement, we have the required facts.

The Art of Fetching

It is quite an established fact that German Shepherds are exemplary and excelling fetching companion. They find it very elementary to fetch objects.

In a few instances, some dog owners might have issues with their dogs regarding their responsive nature to the fetching game. It is for this reason that for a high energy breed like German Shepherds, teaching them to fetch objects is one of the best ways.

It helps in making sure that they do not just stay active but also have a go-to game to play, whether it is in the home with a soft toy or in their favorite park with a ball.

How Receptive are German Shepherds at Playing?

German Shepherds are quite the ‘cheerleaders’ of the group! Although it takes time for these shepherds to be friendly with humans, once they open up, then there is no going back.

Since they are as friendly as humans, it becomes effortless to make them play with the owners. Some research shows that these German Shepherds can even play with their younger versions by running around the house.

When these dogs are taken to their favorite parks or garden, they can simply spend their time chasing a tennis ball all day long.

What Games Do They Tend to Like?

Well, the game these German Shepherds play is less of wrestling and more of jumping on another. They are also seen to be playing ‘bitey face’ a lot. It is not a risky game as it sounds; it just involves two Shepherds playing with each other by gently biting each other’s faces.

Tug comes into the picture only when humans become a part of this game where the humans are required to hold the toy from one end and let the dog grab the toy from another end. Now, let’s venture deeper into why they like to play fetch and how to make them habitual to it.

How to Teach Them to Play Fetch

German Shepherds possess sharp memory and are very intelligent. However, they might still need some assistance when it comes to making them learn to fetch an object. It is quite natural for these dogs to chase the ball, but what is required to be taught is the way to fetch it back to the owner.

By now, we know that even if these furry little ones have the sense to chase a ball, they need a bit of training to fetch the ball back to the owner.

Therefore, regardless of how old your shepherd is, there is always a scope for him/her to learn fetching the ball back and then place it in your hands.

There are a few steps or tips that have proven to be quite helpful in that regard:

The Back-Chaining Technique

Experts have come up with an amazing trick to make your doggo learn to fetch the ball, and that technique is called ‘back chaining.’

As the name suggests, this technique starts from the last step to be done in the first place. In other words, we got to start to form the end. The final step is to make them learn and pick up a ball and place it in your hands.

Make Use of Their Favorites

Using a favorite toy as a means to make them learn. Yes! Another most efficient way of making your dog learn this lesson is by using their favorite object, whether it is their chewing toy or that bright colored ball or anything that your dog really loves or enjoys to play with! This helps in attracting them to listen to you and try and play fetch.

Therefore, it is an effective way to get started with playing fetch with your German Shephard.

Increase the Distance Bit by Bit

Now, moving further! Wait! Moving further involves the toy to move further, too. Once your dog has learned to pick up the toy and also started to place it in your hands, you can start dropping the toy away from you but don’t start with a long distance.

Never Forget to Appreciate Your Dog

One of the most crucial things is to always keep praising your doggo. Kind words, sweet gestures, etc., can go a long way and prove to be very significant to make them grasp something.

Every time your doggo holds on to the object or the toy for a descriptive amount of time, provide them with plenty amount of praise and encouraging words.

Related: How High Can a German Shepherd Jump?

Why is Fetching (or Any Other Activity) Important?

It is a well-established fact that all dogs require some sort of physical activities in their schedule.

Walking, running, swimming, or sports can do well for the energy that the dogs have to expend. However, this game of fetch proves to be the simplest of them all, and it is inculcated in the schedule by the majority of dog owners in this world.

It also helps the owners to bond better with the dogs while providing stimulation, exercise, and training. The working class of dog uses fetch as a useful technique to channel he excess energy into a better means of physical activity.

Things to Keep in Mind

The owners will have to ensure the right vaccination for the dog considering their health aspect. This or any other physical activity is perfect for an adult doggo to learn and can be taught to them in a matter of two to three days, but with the puppies, the case is quite sensitive.

Factors You Need to Consider While You Teach Them to Fetch

A clap always needs two paws, one is of the dog, and the other should be of the owner! If the owner carries with him a few attributes throughout the process, then it could be easy for him to make the process less complicated for him and for the dog as well. These points can be summarised as such:

Patience is the Key

This is a long process, which might be difficult at times, but you need to maintain calm and try not to go hard on the dog. It is because it can create an undeniable impact on your dog’s brain, and he might end up disliking the entire system as well. And, then it’s going to be even difficult for you.

Eliminate the Distractions

There can be a number of things that distract your dog and keep them away from learning. So, you need to make sure that it gets eliminated at its most. These factors can include playing with other dogs or engaging in some other activity etc.


Home is the best environment where you can get your dog to learn things quicker because that’s where he/she feels most comfortable. These dogs have a sense of recognition that this space is the safest for them, and whole learning something new, they wouldn’t hurt themselves.


Consistency is the key to success. Keep repeating the sequence every day or every two days till the dog gets familiar with it the process. So, when you repeat it for the fifth time or so, your cute doggo would recall the whole lesson learned previously and may do it quickly.

Related: Can German Shepherds Swim?

Summing It All Up

So, what we learned from the above study is the need to make all the dogs active, which in turn helps them to become friendly. Not only it proves to be healthy for your German Shephard, but it also enhances their life span.

These handsome doggos need a lot of love, care, and patience to be held with. Fetching the ball is not the only thing you can do to ensure their health, but there are other activities too that can be done in that matter.

Taking them for long walks, bringing them to the pools for swimming, teaching them to jump high for grabbing their favorite snack, or any other activity that you can think of that can prove to be beneficial. Therefore, getting friendly with your Shephard, and teaching the furry pet to play fetch is an excellent choice. Don’t delay much! If you are a pet parent looking for some tips to make your German Shephard play fetch, we hope we got you covered!