9 Fun German Shepherd Games for Mind and Body (That You Shouldn’t Ignore)

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One of the best shortcuts to training success is using creative German Shepherd games that entice their minds and give their hearts a workout. 

Mind games encourage independent thinking, give your job an outlet for their energy, and tap into primal instincts that ordinary daily life simply can’t. 

And these fun German Shepherd games will leave your dog begging for more! 

Mind Games for German Shepherds

This list is jam-packed with German Shepherd activities that’ll get your pup’s mind racing and improve your dog’s behavior when played consistently.

Pick several activities off the list and try them a few times a week. 

Which one of these fun German Shepherd Dog games will give your pet a grin a mile wide?

1. Sherlock Bones

Sherlock Bones dog game

German Shepherds rank superior in their tracking and sniffing abilities. Give their sense of smell a real brain workout by letting them follow a treat trail. This game for intelligent breeds offers your GSD a chance to explore their environment through their nose. 

What you’ll need:

  • Healthy Treats
  • Dog gate or leash
  • The mind of a cunning detective

What to do:

Take the healthy treats and squeeze them between your hands so that their potent scent is transferred to you. Next, place the treats to the side and call your GSD, announcing “Sherlock Bones” or “Treat Trail.” 

Place them on their leash or behind the dog gate temporarily so they can’t follow you around. Ask them to sit and offer them one piece of the treats as temptation. Now, place the first few treats on the floor in easy-to-find spots nearby. 

Do this while he watches since he’s new to the game and might need a bit of help. Place the treats about every 10 steps apart.

Choose a spot that’s easy to find for some of the treats and sometimes place the treat behind a table leg or object. After he’s successful in the game make the trail harder and hide the treats in more difficult places. 

Now, release your dog from behind the dog gate or let him off his leash and tell him to FIND. This is one of the easiest games for German Shepherd puppies since you can make a straight trail right in front of them as they learn.

2. Working for Dinner

a german shepherd puppy working for dinner

Few dogs have to work for their dinners these days. This can cause disinterest in meal times or even boredom. Any potential for mental stimulation during meals is long gone when fed from a bowl routinely… every day of their life! 

Instead of offering your GSD’s dinner in their usual way (How boring is that?), set-up a fun-filled foraging experience! Dogs love to search for their dinner in new and unusual places.

What You’ll Need:

  • Your dog’s dinner portion
  • Dog gate or leash
  • 3 or more small, non-breakable dishes
  • A hungry dog!

What to do:

Start with 3 small dishes to place your dog’s dinner portion in for this fun game. This is one of the best dinner games for intelligent dogs to increase their mental stimulation and reduce boredom.

After you’ve placed their dinner into the dishes, leash your dog or place them behind a dog gate to keep them away while you go outside to hide their dinner. But put them in an area they can watch you hide the food dishes. You can also hide the dishes indoors if you’re looking for inside games for dogs.

Hide the dishes under unused pots or boxes, behind bushes, or in other locations that are safe for your dog. The first time you play, set one of the dishes right in the middle of the yard or room so that it’s easy to find. 

Now, release your dog and say FIND. You may have to help your dog find the hiding places in the beginning. Give them plenty of congratulations when they find their food!

You can increase the difficulty of the game by hiding the food in more challenging places or not letting your dog watch where you place the dishes.

3. Magic Cups

magic cup game for german shepherd with treats

Your Shepherd dog loves a challenge! And Magic Cups is excellent for even the most intelligent dog or puppy. The cup game is great mental work that’ll really have your GSD excited and ready for more. 

What you’ll need:

  • 3 plastic cups
  • Tasty treats
  • Your magic hands

What to do:

Magic Cups is useful to add to your list of inside games for dogs when the weather isn’t cooperating. The aim of the game is to stimulate your German Shepherd mentally and increase their brain activity. 

Take 3 plastic cups and the tasty treats, while having your dog sit or wait nearby. Let them see which cup you place one of the tasty treats under. Tell them to FIND the treat and when they alert you to the location (by nosing the cup, pawing it, or knocking it over) let them have the reward. 

Now, shuffle the cups and play again while your dog sits or waits. To make the game harder have your dog wait outside the room where the cups are at. Or, use more cups so there’s more to sniff and think about. 

I learned about this game through an exciting online dog training program called Brain Training for Dogs which is…

the best training I’ve used for my German Shepherd!

Be sure to sign up for the program while they’re running their special launch pricing so you get a steal of a deal!

Here’s where you can find my helpful review and official links to buy: Brain Training for Dogs Review (Was it worth my money?)

4. Fun with Flying (or Rolling) Disc

a german shepherd puppy playing a game called fun with flying disc

Playing games with your dog help to stimulate him mentally. Games that involve both physical and mental agility give a full workout for both the mind and body. Plus, your breed loves to jump and run for this game. 

If you have a GSD puppy under 12 months of age, don’t let them jump to avoid any damage to their bones and joints. Even better, roll the discs along the ground for them to chase!

Read more about easy, gentle exercises for your German Shepherd puppy to avoid stressing their joints and causing longterm damage!

What you’ll need:

  • A set of flying discs or toss rings
  • Healthy treats
  • A German Shepherd that loves to play

What to do: 

This game is easy enough to teach even the beginner dog new to training games. Take one of your discs or rings and get your dog excited about it by moving it around in the air. You can also take a couple of steps back to tease your dog into playing.

Now, toss the disc just a short distance and encourage your dog to FETCH or BRING it back to you. If they don’t, simply jog to get the ring and bend down and pat your knee to call him over. Most dogs understand the concept, but if they don’t keep trying and offer a treat when they bring the disc back. 

If you have a puppy, keep the disc throwing very low to the ground and only play in the soft grass. To make this game more mentally stimulating, have the other discs or rings in your hand and immediately throw the next disc when your dog brings back the first.

Watch for your dog or puppy becoming overtired as that’s not the point of the game. Let your dog rest as necessary. 

Wondering what discs to buy? I like the Kong Classic Flyer because it’s soft rubber is easy on both little mouths and big alike!

5. Wobble and Roll

wobble and roll game with a kong toy

Playing with toys is a great way to have your intelligent breed use their mind. And you don’t need to spend lots of money on expensive toys and games to play with your German Shepherd. 

Simple toys offer hours of enjoyment, like the Wobble feeder. 

What you’ll need: 

  • Wobble feeder
  • Healthy treats
  • Some fast-moving paws!

What to do:

Robust toys have been developed for strong German Shepherds that keep them amused. Many different sizes and shapes of foraging feeders are available and your dog will enjoy the movement of the toy as they nudge, nose and paw for their food. 

Simply place a mixture of treats or their regular dinner food in the feeder and let your dog enjoy their dinner entertainment while you watch with a smile. You can also place the feeder in an easy hiding spot before you leave the house, but don’t let your dog see you hide the toy. 

Check out the Kong Wobbler Feeder for a nearly indestructible feeding toy.

Wobble and Roll is so easy that it’s a great game to play with a German Shepherd puppy to develop coordination and balance skills.

6. Puzzle Pleaser

puzzle pleaser games with german shepherd

A classic mind game for German Shepherds is a puzzle that surprises your dog with treats as they uncover new areas of the activity. Puzzle brain games are inexpensive and range in a variety of levels to challenge even the most intelligent breed. 

Start with a Level 1, or easy, mind game for your GSD. 

What you’ll need:

  • Puzzle toy, easy to advanced level
  • Healthy treats or regular kibble
  • A dog with a clever mind and agile paws

What to do:

New dog toys entice your German Shepherd to use their brains and bodies in order to win a tasty prize! Simply place a few treats in the slots beneath the surface of the puzzle toy to conceal the food. 

You might have to show your dog how to play a few times and encourage them to find the treats. But German Shepherds are one of the most intelligent dog breeds with superior scenting ability, so they’ll have no problems.

The best part is, this game for German Shepherds is available at all levels, so you can increase the difficulty from puppy to adult as your dog learns how to play the game! 

Start with a Trixie Activity Flip Board since you can adjust how easy or hard the game is for your German Shepherd.

7. Ring Stacker

ring stacker mind game

Do you have an advanced GSD that needs a harder challenge? Then Ring Stacker if the game for you! 

What you’ll need:

  • Ring stacking toy
  • Healthy treats
  • A lot of time and patience

What to do:

First, set up your ring stackers and make sure your dogs know a fetch or retrieve command. Once they know these commands, direct them toward the ring stacker with their hoop.

This game could take weeks or months for your dog to learn since it takes advanced skills. Eventually, your dog will stack the rings in order of size with ease!

8.  Where Are My Keys?

where are my keys dog training game

Yes, you guessed it! You can even teach a German Shepherd dog or puppy to find your keys! Start with an old set of keys first, just in case you can’t remember where you’ve hidden them.

What you’ll need:

  • Spare set of keys
  • Soft cloth or material
  • Healthy treats
  • A Shepherd who likes to find lost things

What to do:

You’ll need to attach a soft piece of cloth to the keys so that your dog can pick them up easily first. Next, play a quick game of fetch with them and when your dog reliably brings them back to you, say the cue “Keys!” when he picks them up.

Now, place the keys with a small group of other toys and ask your dog to find the keys. 

When he does, reward him greatly with treats and praise. On your next few walks, practice a “FIND KEYS” command by dropping them occasionally and rewarding with a treat when he picks them up.

Finally, hide them indoors in easy spots at first and ask him to find them! German Shepherd games can be useful for you, too!

9. Name That Toy

name that toy dog training game

Wouldn’t it be fun to ask your German Shepherd puppy to bring you their toys by name? Well, you can easily teach this game to your puppy with a bit of practice and patience. 

What you’ll need:

  • A Variety of toys
  • Healthy treats
  • Names for your toys

What to do: 

Begin with only one toy if your puppy or dog is new to the game. As you play with the toy and toss it for a retrieve, begin to name the toy as your dog picks up the item.

You can name the toy whatever you want, but remember to always use the same name. 

When your puppy learns the name of one toy reliably, give the next toy a name. You can even begin to introduce new toys that you bring home with their name almost immediately when your puppy catches onto the Name That Toy game! 

Conclusion: What are the best games for your German Shepherd?

Some games for German Shepherds use more mind than body, while others will leave your dog’s heart racing with excitement.

In a nutshell, the best games get your German Shepherd playing for a happier, healthier companion! Don’t ignore the benefits of structured play with your lively breed.

Remember, German Shepherds love to learn new things and interact with you! German Shepherds are so smart for a reason!

This isn’t the type of dog breed that you can just leave with a few toys and expect them to entertain themselves. You must interact and show your dog how to play games or they’ll make up their own games which you won’t like (since it involves getting into trouble!).

Keep your interactions fun and positive and your dog will love their German Shepherd games and your time together!

Looking for more mental stimulation for your dog?

Then read “15 Stimulating Mental Exercises for German Shepherds” to find even more exciting and challenging games!