German Shepherds, or GSDs as they are popularly referred to, are one of the most popular breeds across the planet. And that is not an accident.
Courage, work ethic and athleticism. Thick coats, amazing expressions and those ears! Everything about them makes people love (or fear) them.
If large dogs are your thing, a German Shepherd is highly unlikely to disappoint you. And watching them in action is a joy forever.
Jumping with Joy?
How high can a GSD jump is a very common question. They are very energetic dogs with great bodies.
Whether they are jumping up and down in the park or causing trouble going over fences when they find one, there is more to this particular activity than meets the eye.
If you have ever had a GSD at home or have trained a service dog, you know it is true. Jumping is second nature to these dogs.
The height of their jump depends on a variety of factors like their height, what they eat, the amount of exercise they get. But you can train your German Shepherd to be the highest jumper in the neighborhood.
That he will also be the fittest in the neighborhood is just a bonus.
How to Train Your German Shepherd to Jump
Teaching German Shepherds to jump is an important part of their training. You have to do it the right way for them to take off (literally!).
But safety before everything else. If you don’t have professional experience in training a dog, especially in jumping, you might want to find an expert.
You also want to pick a place where they can move around freely, like a big enough backyard or an open playground with no kids around.
Otherwise, your dog could alarm them and get you into trouble. Or, he might end up chasing something (or someone) and get himself into trouble.
While it is a good idea to keep the leash on during walks and your training sessions, it is recommended that you let your dog free when training him to jump.
There is the danger of the leash getting in the way and your GSD hurting himself.
Jumping in Puppies
Dogs use the strength of their hindlegs to jump. So the stronger your German Shepherd’s hind legs, the higher he can jump.
But just because GSDs are famous for agility and like a lot of exercise, you shouldn’t burden the poor things. Do not overwork their joints, at least till they are two years old.
Begin the training when he is still a puppy. It is ideal to start with getting them to jump one or two inches off the ground. Their maximum jump should be limited to six inches for the first 18 months.
After that, let the expert decide if it is time to go higher. Continue with the short jumps till your dog gets confident enough for the next level.
German Shepherds take longer than the smaller dogs to mature. So be patient.
Bigger the Dog, Higher the Jump
Once your dog is adult enough (and get the thumbs up from the trainer) to do higher jumps, set a course for him. There are two commands to teach him before you start the next level of training: “Stay” and “Leave it”.
He needs to ‘stay’ in one place and wait for your command before the running and jumping begin. And he needs to ‘leave it’ after each jump. It being the toy.
The starting point, bars to jump over and the endpoint with a toy should be in a straight line. The dog runs, jumps and gets to the toy.
Don’t forget to reward your little champ after each jump.
If you don’t have the equipment, here’s a simpler way to do it. For a straight path, pick a fence or a wall and train next to it.
You can also just hold up a stick vertically above the dog like this and make him jump. Hold the stick higher after he gets each jump right and is able to do it effortlessly.
An average German Shepherd can jump up to four to six feet high. So you can push it till he gets there.
German Shepherds were initially herder dogs. So they are no strangers to physical activity and agility is their thing, unless they have a genetic or medical condition.
They jump when they are bored. These dogs are large and need plenty of exercise. If you keep them indoors doing nothing, they act out by jumping.
They are also hunter dogs and yearn for outdoor activity. Even if they get exercise indoors, take them out whenever possible and let them do their thing.
Some German Shepherds start jumping as puppies. This can be amusing and impressive. But you want to keep an eye on that because they grow into large sizes and uncontrolled jumping might be dangerous.
They could even hurt themselves.
When they jump over fences and get themselves into trouble, you know you need to fix it. But it is not a difficult task.
If your problem starts at home, increase the height of the fence. Seven feet is the recommended height.
Keep them engaged by playing hide and seek or fetch with them. If you have a small house, get puzzles for them.
If you have a large house maybe you can build a small obstacle course. Revise it once a week to keep them sharp.
Take them to a nearby swimming pool where dogs are allowed. German Shepherds are good with water when trained properly.
German Shepherds are highly intelligent dogs and have great instincts. They can be trained to serve and protect and do fun things too.
Don’t forget to keep them busy with outdoor activities. These dogs thrive in large houses with owners who have the time to handle them.
The only scenario where a German Shepherd doesn’t work out is if you maybe have a baby. You don’t want to play out Marley & Me in your home every day.