Keeping your German Shepherd entertained will work wonders for ensuring they live a healthy life. These dogs are hardworking and playful creatures that require both mental and physical stimulation each day.
Importance of Toys for German Shepherds
Toys are a fantastic tool for mentally stimulating your dog and/or giving them exercise. Like they always say, a tired dog is a well-behaved dog – and a happy dog, I’ll add! Here are all the ways toys benefit the life of your GSD doggo.
German Shepherds are known to be one of the most intelligent dog breeds. Without proper mental stimulation, German Shepherds can become destructive in search of entertainment. Damaged furniture, chewed up shoes, and ripped up clothing are a few of the consequences of not meeting your dog’s needs.
By no means are these behaviors a moral fault of your dog and can be easily resolved by ensuring your dog can access activities that bring them joy. By testing out different dog toys, you can determine which toy types your dog most positively responds to. Provide your dog relief from boredom by giving them a nice variety of toys they enjoy.
Not only are German Shepherds brilliant dogs, but they are also physically powerful creatures. This breed enjoys high physical endurance, strong muscles, quick reaction times, and above-average agility. By improving these natural talents with skills training, your dog can reap the benefits of both a healthy exercise routine and intellectual challenges.
Each dog toy type presents unique challenges to your dog’s physical skills and should be switched out every few weeks or so. By giving your dog some variety, they can improve their abilities in several areas. With these dogs, you really can’t have too many types of toys!
Great as Training Aids
Just like humans, dogs can easily be motivated to learn new skills provided the activities are fun. Incentivize your German Shepherd to learn new tricks by adding their favorite toys to your training routine.
Building Strong Bonds
You can ensure a strong relationship with your dog by simply spending time with them. Using dog toys allows both you and your dog to have tons of fun while strengthening your bond. Not only can you use toys to play with your dog at home, but you can also bring them on outings.
Try getting dog toys good for outdoor activities to spice things up. You can take toys for your hiking journey or use waterproof dog toys to bring to the beach or a nearby lake. Whatever the toy is, it is bound to make your trips that much more special.
At the end of the day, your German Shepherd is going to be at their happiest with you. Playing with them will make a world of difference in how your dog feels about you. Toy sessions aren’t too bad for giving yourself some needed stress relief as well.
How to Choose the Best Toys for German Shepherds
German Shepherd Toy Recommendations by Age
Best Toys for German Shepherd Puppies
When purchasing puppy toys, it is important to consider the needs of your young German Shepherd. Besides providing your puppy much needed mental and physical stimulation, soft toys allow relief for teething.
As your puppy’s teeth grow in, they may experience discomfort. Since they will want to chew on something, their chewing object must be safe. Toys for adult dogs may be inappropriate for your puppy as they tend to be a bit harder. Check out these puppy toys that your puppy is bound to love.
From soothing your puppy’s need to teeth to playing fetch, this toy does it all. There are so many things to love about the Kong Puppy Toy. Many veterinarians recommend this US-made toy that can even be used for stuffing treats.
Simply load your puppy’s Kong with their favorite treats or even freeze peanut butter inside to keep them busy for hours. If you want something easy for your puppy to indulge in, you can check out Kong’s special stuffing.
Promote positive chewing behavior from your puppy with these soft Kong puppy binkies. Each Kong Binkie is designed specifically for growing puppies and their baby teeth and gums. You can make this toy even more enticing to your German Shepherd puppy by stuffing it with delicious snacks.
Challenge and entertain your dog with the ZippyPaws woodland friends interactive toy. This large puzzle toy will keep your puppy preoccupied during the times you are busy. Next time when you are cooking dinner or checking your e-mail and need a moment, offer your dog this super fun toy.
Add some extra excitement to your puppy’s puzzle activities with this squeaky plush toy. The Outward Hound ‘Hide a Squirrel’ plush dog toy functions as a hide and squeak toy that’ll keep your furbaby busy for hours! It is safe enough for young dogs and challenging enough to be offered to adult dogs as well.
The SmartPetLove snuggle puppy behavioral aid toy helps you crate train your puppy. Reduce negative behaviors like barking and whining by using this toy to comfort your pup. Even if your dog isn’t being crate trained, this will work fantastic for any anxious pooch with its “real-feel” heartbeat. Say goodbye to sleepless nights caused by thunderstorms and fireworks.
Otterly Pets puppy rope is a great chewing toy for puppies who need relief from their growing teeth. It is 100% washable and even improves dental health. If you need a convenient puppy-friendly interactive toy that is easy to clean, check this toy out for sure.
Best Toy for German Shepherd Adults
German Shepherd adults need mental and physical stimulation, just like puppies. The main difference is that their teeth are much stronger and larger, and their energy levels are higher. No longer in need of afternoon puppy naps, your adult dog will need a toy that can withstand their teeth and physical endurance.
The classic KONG toy has become one of the most recognized dog toys available. It is extremely durable and has the extra function of being a feeder. Stuff your KONG with peanut butter or freeze a dog-friendly yogurt and watch your pup enjoy. They’ll be kept busy for hours when you are preoccupied with chores, and when you are ready to play, the KONG will be ready for a game of catch.
Best Toys for German Shepherd Seniors
Like German Shepherd puppies, senior German Shepherd dogs will need extra care for their teeth. No longer as strong as before, your senior Shepherd’s teeth will need toys that are much more gentle. To avoid breakage, choose soft but durable toys that your dog can enjoy.
KONG has you covered from the puppy to the senior stage of your dog’s life. You can give your senior German Shepherd the stimulation and exercise they need without worrying about harming their sensitive teeth and gums. The KONG will keep dogs of any age preoccupied with its random and unpredictable bounce. This is an especially great feature for German Shepherd dogs with a strong prey drive.
This scented senior dog play rope from Playology will keep your Shep engaged while cleaning their teeth. Your dog will be able to enjoy the delicious taste of all-natural pork sausage while improving its dental hygiene.
Best Feeder Ball Toy
If you need to keep your German Shepherd distracted for a little bit, this feeder ball will work wonders for keeping them entertained. Simply fill it up with your dog’s kibble and let it loose in your living room. Your dog will have a blast retrieving their kibble over time while you have time to do those important tasks.
You can also use this feeder ball if you happen to have a Shep who eats their food too quickly. It will force them to slow down and work for their food. This is important as German Shepherds who eat too quickly are at risk for choking and even bloating.
Best Squeaky and Plush Toys for Comfort
German Shepherd absolutely LOVE toys that make sounds. Whether the toy makes the classic squeaking sound or even a slight grunting sound, your dog will really get a kick out of it!
The VANFINE indestructible squeak dog toy is made from eco-friendly rubber and non-toxic materials. To make it extra enticing for your dog, 100% natural beef flavor ingredients have been infused into this bone. This company really stands by their product and will replace or refund your dog toy in case you are not satisfied.
How adorable is this grunting plush toy? Oscar the Octopus is bound to provide your dog with hours of fun as he comes stuffing and a squeaker for maximum entertainment. It is the perfect size for large dogs and is chew-friendly.
Best Waterproof Toy for the Outdoors
Sometimes you want to take your dog out for a water-based outing. Whether you are going to the lake or headed to your backyard pool, your dog will appreciate this toy that floats. With its brightly colored fabric, it will be easy to retrieve in water environments.
Best Interactive and Puzzle Dog Toys
Encourage your dog’s natural foraging instinct and enhance their sniffing skills with this easy-to-fill snuffle mat. The wooly snuffle mat from Paw5 is machine washable and easy to fill with your dog’s food. Simply hide your dog’s kibble in the mat and watch them enjoy the mental stimulation of sniffing it out with their nose.
The Outward Hound Nina Ottosson interactive puzzle game is an absolute favorite of many dog owners. With many different types and difficulties, you can easily find the perfect puzzle to fit your dog’s needs. These puzzles have been praised for not only being stimulating but great for dogs experiencing anxiety.
Best Indestructible Toys for Aggressive Chewers
This ABTOR dog chew toy satisfies your dog’s instinctual need to chew. It is great for easing anxiety, training, teething, and weight management. Each toy features a layered texture and nubs to clean your dog’s teeth and control tartar effectively. To make it even more enticing, you can stuff it with peanut butter.
This unique pineapple chew toy design is a match made in heaven for dogs that enjoy chomping down on everything. It is made from bite-resistant rubber and tested on German Shepherds, Pit-bulls, American Foxhounds, Mastiffs, and many other aggressive chewer breeds. This chewing toy works great for freshening your dog’s breath, relieving boredom, and intelligence training.
Best Fetch Toys for German Shepherds
Is your German Shepherd a hardcore lover of playing fetch? These supreme fetch balls fit the most aggressive chewers and work fantastic for short and high-energy games of fetch. These balls come in two sizes and can be paired with a ball launcher.
The Chuckit! ball launcher is one of the best ball launchers for active fetch sessions. It works by throwing your dog’s ball much further than you would be able to only using your arm. For dogs that love to run and need plenty of exercise, this is one of the fundamental toys you should own.
Best Tug Toys for German Shepherds
Dogs who love a good ‘ole game of tug of war will appreciate this toy. It is made of non-toxic materials like North American cotton and will help floss your dog’s teeth. Keep in mind that this is not a regular chew toy and should not be left unattended with dogs prone to aggressive chewing and swallowing. Ropes are not meant for 24/7 access and can pose a digestive risk to your dog if he chooses to eat them.
If you prefer a tug of war rope toy that is easy to grab, this is one of the best options. The Hartz bacon-scented dog rope will drive even the laziest dogs to play with it due to its irresistible scent. Like the other rope toy, be sure not to leave this one out as it poses a choking hazard.
Guide for Buying Your German Shepherd Toys
German Shepherds are varying stages of their lives will need different types of toys based on their age, personality, size, and chewing habits. Here are the factors you should consider when buying new playtime toys.
How to Choose the Best Toy for Your German Shepherd
Age – While your dog is a puppy, he will need something soft to chew on to relieve teeth and gum sensitivity caused by growing teeth. Adult dogs will need something a bit more resilient as their teeth are very strong, and Shepherds are known to be aggressive chewers. Once your dog is 7-years-old or older, you will want to switch to softer toys as their teeth will decline in strength.
Size – When it comes to toys for German Shepherds, most will end up being too small. If a toy is too small for your dog, you risk your dog choking on it. Be careful of tennis balls as they are a common reason German Shepherds will end up choking; they are roughly the size of their throat and get easily lodged. Although not as common, some toys can be too large for your pup, and they won’t be able to fit their mouths around them.
Chewability – Known for being aggressive chewers, German Shepherds will prefer toys that feel good in their mouths. Ultra-durable toys are essential and the most cost-effective option for your dog. Kong toys are known for being resistant to constant chomping.
Design – German Shepherds have such a high prey drive and will go nuts over toys that are brightly colored, noisy, and bounce in unpredictable ways. You can meet the needs of your dog by looking for toys with these characteristics.
Materials – The pet toy market is absolutely saturated, and while that means there are plenty of quality toys to choose from, it also means there are many low in quality. Avoid low-quality toys that contain harmful chemicals to your dog. Rubber toys like Kongs are known to be some of the most durable. If your dog is one of the more aggressive chewer types, avoid the rope toys as your dog may ingest them.
Is the toy safe for my dog to play with?
The most important part of your search for dog toys is safety. If a toy looks like a ton of fun, but you are worried it could be unsafe for your dog, it’s never worth the risk.
Read labels to see if the toy is a choking hazard for certain types of dogs. If your dog is a typical German Shepherd that often chews things apart, you will want to avoid easily breakable toys at all costs.
Two types of toys – ropes and tennis balls need to be carefully considered for their risks before purchasing. Aggressive chewers should not be allowed to play with rope toys and tennis balls should not go unattended after playtime.
Does my dog enjoy playing with that type of toy?
Although German Shepherds will typically gravitate towards certain toys like squeaky or bouncy toys, each dog will have its own personality. Please pay attention to the toys that resonate the most with your dog and give them plenty of those.
Which toys are bad for German Shepherds?
German Shepherds are active players and will require durable, clean toys to play with. Getting toys that are easy to clean and will withstand frequent use by your dog is important.
The most crucial part about the toy choosing process, though, is safety. Depending on your German Shepherd, you may want to avoid rope and/or tennis balls.
Types of Dog Toys
Treat-dispensing toys are great for slow feeding your dog if they eat too quickly or even keeping your dog busy when you want to do quick tasks around the home. These toys work as a puzzle and keep your dog engaged and happy.
Frisbees are a great tool for exercising your German Shepherd. These toys can be thrown very long distances with minimal effort. Also, frisbees will allow your dog to hone in on its agility and catching skills.
Squeaky toys are a type of toy most German Shepherds will lose their minds over. They get a big kick out of chomping on these toys and triggering the sound mechanism. It gives them a similar satisfaction that they would receive if they were hunting in the wild.
Plush toys are perfect for early-stage puppies who are taking lots of naps. Young dogs appreciate having something soft to fall asleep with. Place your puppy’s plush toy in a laundry basket filled with your used clothes for added benefit. This will allow your scent to rub off onto the toy, and your dog will find a lot of comfort in it.
Chew toys can work as a relief for many German Shepherds as they adore chewing. Be sure you get a chew toy that is resilient and made out of ultra-durable materials such as rubber, deer antler, or nylon.
Make sure to pick out a frisbee that is specifically designed for dogs. Regular frisbees can be prone to breakage and too hard if they accidentally collide with your dog’s face.
Balls and launchers are convenient to get your ball as far as possible during catch games. With an abundance of energy, your German Shepherd will love chasing a ball that can travel longer distances. This is especially wonderful for exercise sessions.
Fun Games for German Shepherds
Many exciting games can be created from these fabulous dog toys that will provide your German Shepherd with both mental stimulation and exercise for hours.
Teaching your Shep these games typically involves offering treats. If you love giving your furbaby wholesome treats, be sure to check out these homemade pumpkin treat recipes.
Mental Stimulation Games
Treasure Hunt – If you are looking for a low-effort game that your pup will adore, this is one of the first you should try out. To play the game, simply follow these steps.
- Ask your German Shepherd to sit and stay so that you can hide a treat for them. The first time doing this, you will want to hide the treat in an obvious place so they can learn the game.
- Use the command you have designated for them to eat their food. For example, if you taught them ‘take it’ means to begin eating or take their treat, you can use this as your search command.
- Once your Shepherd has begun to understand the game, start hiding the treats in progressively more difficult to find places. Be sure to not ramp up the difficulty too fast or your dog may become confused.
Hide and Seek – Playing hide and seek is a great way to have fun with your dog on the cheap. It has no toy requirements, just the attention of your dog. Here is how you play.
- Command your German Shepherd to sit and stay so you have the opportunity to hide somewhere. Start out in an easy to find place so that your dog can begin the learning process.
- After you have found your hiding spot, call out your dog’s name so they can begin searching for you.
- Once your dog has found you, give them plenty of love to know they are doing a good job.
- Over time, make your hiding places more and more difficult to find so they can improve their searching skills.
Stuffed Kong Game – Stuffing a Kong is a great way to give your German Shepherd mental stimulation and physical exercise. It is so simple and can be set up in a few minutes and keep your dog preoccupied for up to an hour.
Either stuff your dog’s Kong toy with peanut butter, or if you want to give them something really special, freeze the peanut butter overnight. This will present them with a bigger challenge when they try to get the filling out.
Indoor Agility Course – If you lack the time to go outside, live in an area with moody weather, or just want to try out a new activity, consider creating an indoor agility course. It is a great way to engage your dog’s mind while providing much-needed exercise.
- Grab some common household items such as blankets, toys, and chairs and set them up in an obstacle course style.
- Here are some ways you can use these items:
Blankets can be an area where they are required to do a trick.
Towels can be jumped over.
Chairs can be walked around.
- Ask your dog to come over to the beginning of the obstacle course and slowly guide them through.
- Increase the difficulty of the obstacle course each time you play so your dog can enjoy new challenges.
Obedience Fetch – Ramp up the challenge of fetch by using this game as an opportunity for your dog to sharpen their obedience skills.
- Throw your dog’s ball as you would in a regular game of fetch.
- Once your German Shepherd has retrieved the ball and dropped it in front of you, ask them to perform a trick.
- Once they have done the trick successfully, proceed to throw the ball again.
- Over time, teach them to do a series of tricks before you throw the ball again.
- You can increase the challenge further by encouraging them to speed up the pace at which they perform each trick.
Have Fun Playing With Your Shep!
There are so many great ways to keep your German Shepherd engaged. I hope you enjoyed this list of the best toys for German Shepherds along with some games to get you started.
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