10 Jobs for German Shepherds At Home (To Supercharge Their Lives)

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Are you looking for fun jobs for German Shepherds at home to rescue your active, intelligent dog from boredom?

Imagine you could give your German Shepherd Dog a job that keeps them busy and helps improve their behavior. 

Sounds impossible? It’s not with a bit of training and patience!

Try these simple household jobs for a German Shepherd that they can do almost anywhere, even if you don’t live on a farm.

What does it mean to give a German Shepherd a job?

your german shepherd with a job versus your german shepherd without a job
German Shepherds are born to work!

The German Shepherd is the perfect breed for a job around the house. They’re naturally hardworking and you’ll be amazed at their intelligence and their need to have a job to do.

German Shepherds are so trainable and do so many jobs already, ranging from their service in the military, police, tracking, search and rescue, and they are even used to sniff out cancers!

They also work for pennies, well for cuddles and treats, so they’re affordable! 

Dogs that are left without a job tend to become bored and even destructive.

People tend to forget that the German Shepherd is more than a family pet, he’s a highly intelligent dog that needs something to do to prevent boredom. 

Good Household Jobs for German Shepherds

good household jobs for german shepherds to prevent boredom
Jobs help give your dog something to look forward to.

Consider that a job doesn’t need to be complicated or hard to teach.

There are only a few things you need to remember about how to give a German Shepherd a job. 

Keep in mind the definition of a good job is:

  • an activity or event that gives your dog an opportunity to use their mind (mental stimulation) and bodies (physical abilities),
  • performed on a schedule and at regular times,
  • an action where it is expected and consistent behavior(s) when your German Shepherd is doing the job, and
  • rewarded and reinforced when the work is complete and well done.

Contrary to what you might have heard, the best jobs to give your German Shepherd around the house don’t have to involve herding, barking and guarding, or take months to teach. 

Keep your active breed engaged with you and their world by giving them one of these exciting household jobs for German Shepherds.

1.  Tidy Those Toys

putting away their toys is a job
Like a clean house? Teach your dog to put away their toys!

Training your dog to pick up after playing with their toys is not only cute, it’s a useful skill that you can transfer to other tricks.

First, you’ll need a few of their toys and a basket or box that you want to have them put the toys in. Your dog will already need to know the ‘retrieve’ and ‘drop’ command, so teach that first.

Hold your hands out over the basket and ask your dog to retrieve their toy. Praise them greatly when they bring you the toy. Next, ask them to ‘drop’ the toy into your hand (which you’ll then open to drop their toy in).

Have them repeat this a few times before asking them to simply ‘drop’ the toy while they’re reaching over the box to give you the toy in your hands. 

Reward them when they drop the toys in the box!

After more successful rounds of this game, give it a name, such as ‘tidy toys’ or ‘clean up’. After your dog’s next playtime, ask them to tidy up after themselves and watch the fun!

2. Close the Door Behind You

close the door behind you
Hands full? Ask your dog to close the door for you.

Ever forget to close a door and wish your dog could do it? Well…

Here’s your chance to teach them!

For this job, you’ll need to have taught your dog how to ‘target’. It’s an easy skill to teach, but you’ll need to practice this before teaching your German Shepherd how to close the doors. It’s best taught through clicker training.

You can read about how I taught my German Shepherd to ‘target’ along with dozens of other tricks using fun games and brain training here: Brain Training for Dogs Review (Was it worth my money?)

Spoiler alert: I’ve never had so much fun training my dog than with the Brain Training for Dogs system!

Once your dog knows how to target, teaching them jobs around the house is so much easier for both of you! When using the target training your dog will learn to touch the target where ever it is. You simply place the target on the door, teach them to touch it with their nose or paw, and reward them. 

Never be caught with an open door in your house when you can teach your German Shepherd to do the job instead!

3. Find Your Dinner

Hiding their dinner for “the hunt” makes meal times more fun.

No, not your dinner…

Your dog’s dinner! 

This is one of the best jobs for German Shepherd puppies to learn quickly. Instead of just letting your dog eat their meal the same old boring way every night, take 3 plastic plates and divided their dinner onto them.

Next, hide the plates in different locations around your house. 

In the beginning, start with hiding the plates while your dog watches you make the job easy for them. Later, have them wait in another room while you hide the plates so they don’t see you.

German Shepherds have excellent noses, so this is a job they love to do! 

You can vary up how easy or hard this game is depending on your dog. Once they are familiar with this job, give it a name, like ‘find dinner’ and watch the grin on their face as they take off to look for their food!

4. Indoor Balancing Act

indoor balancing act
Balancing boards are a way to increase your dog’s health and fitness while having fun.

Ever hear of balance boards?

They’re pieces of training equipment that help your dog learn about positioning their feet and controlling their movements. 

The best part is…

they’re great for German Shepherds to help them work their minds and body! Talk about a great job to give your German Shepherd! 

Using the balance board doesn’t take much space so you can do this in a small home. Lure your dog onto the board using a food treat, have them hold different positions for just a second or two at the start.

Then, work up to more complicated positions for longer times, for example, two paws on the board for 30 seconds.

Here’s a great balance board that will also help improve their muscle tone and coordination: FitPaws Balancing Disk for Large Dogs

It’s one of those house jobs for working breeds that you can do no matter where you live to keep them happy and fit.

5.  Puzzle King (or Queen)

puzzle games are a good job for your german shepherd
A good job for any age German Shepherd is to become a puzzle master!

Want your dog to be smarter than your 3-year-old?

Then teach them how to work their own puzzles! 

There are so many benefits to your German Shepherd learning how to complete puzzles as their job at home.

Benefits like:

  • increased mental skills
  • more impulse control
  • greater dexterity

A puzzle can be as hard or easy as you like, although it’s best to start with easier puzzles to make sure your dog understands what their job is.

I’ve found one of the best puzzle games is this Nina Ottoson puzzle game because it’s easy enough for puppies to figure out, but fun enough for even your energetic German Shepherd to stay interested. 

Teaching your dog puzzle games is a great low-key activity that keeps energetic dogs busy. Set up a puzzle for your dog, and he’ll see it as his job to figure it out, especially the inquisitive mind of the German Shepherd.

6. Carry Your Stuff

teach your german shepherd to carry your stuff

Your German Shepherd is the perfect candidate to follow you around and carry your things for you.

It’s a simple enough task to teach as long as the things aren’t heavy and your dog has convenient handles to put in their mouth. 

You could even have a special bag you place items in as you walk around your house and let your dog carry for you. This simple task of carrying things is hugely satisfying to a working breed dog driven to do a job for their owners. 

How about training your dog to carry in the grocery bags from the car for you?

Or what about getting them to help carry your newspaper or mail inside?

How about strapping a doggie backpack to them and letting him carry his own treats and water on your next walk?

Not only does this give him a job to do, but the slight extra weight, as long as it’s not too heavy, will help tire him out.

7. Balance A Treat On Your Paw

balance a treat on your paw

This is an easy job for older or less active dogs, but even an energetic, boisterous Shepherd can be taught to balance a treat on their paw with patience. 

Start off with your dog in a down position. Place a treat on one of his front paws. Put up the treat or cover it with your hand if they go for the treat immediately. You can say ‘leave it’ if your dog knows this command. 

Once they are waiting, even for a second, and not going straight for the treat, tell them to ‘take it’ so he can enjoy a job well done! 

Advance this game by placing a treat on the opposite paw… 

then on both paws! For an even harder job, work on balancing a treat on their noses!

8. Balance A Treat On Your Nose

balance a treat on your nose
What a job for a German Shepherd… food on his nose!

With such a long muzzle it’d be a shame to not teach your German Shepherd how to balance a treat on their nose. Plus, what a hard job for an energetic Shepherd to do when the food is literally on their face! 

Ask your dog to sit in front of you. Take the treat and touch it to their nose for just a split-second and then say ‘take it’ and give your dog the treat. 

The next time, touch the treat for a second longer, building up the time you have the treat touch your dog’s nose. Do this until he allows you to place the treat on his nose all the way. Now when you say ‘take it’ your GSD will flick their noses and move their heads to reach the treat.

It’s OK if your Shepherd chooses to snatch the treat out of the air or let it fall to the ground.

It’s a hard job either way!

9. The Cup Challenge

the cup challenge
Adding in more cups makes this job a lot harder to accomplish!

This game is also known as Magic Cups because it’s similar to the street game where you have to follow the cup with the red ball or dice underneath to win the prize. In this case, the prize is tasty treats for a job well done! 

Take 3 plastic cups and have your dog sit in front of you. Place a tasty treat under one of the cups and move them around. Ask your job to ‘pick’ a cup and see if they choose correctly.

Some dogs are immediate experts, while others take a few rounds to pick up on the game. 

If they choose incorrectly just don’t respond. This way your dog knows the job is to find the cup with the treat to win the prize! 

10. Zigzagging

zigzagging around cones
This is a good job for a puppy, too!

This is a fun name and a fun job for a German Shepherd adult or even zippy puppies!

It’s one of the best jobs for German Shepherds at home since you can play this game indoors in limited space and it ties into their herding roots. 

The aim of this game is your dog to weave in a zigzag pattern between some cones. In agility competitions, this is done with weaving poles, but since you want a job indoors the cones are a great setup for a small space. 

Set the cones up in a straight line with space for your dog to move between them. Use a treat to lure your dog in and out of the cones.

As he begins to understand the pattern tighten up the course by bringing the cones a little closer together. Remember to keep enough space for your German Shepherd to move their body and hips through. This isn’t about speed when playing indoors, it’s about learning new patterns and ways of moving for your GSD.

Once you’ve played a few rounds you can reduce the treats and begin only rewarding your dog when they’ve completed the full pattern.

Do German Shepherds Like Having Jobs?

do german shepherds like having a job
The GSD isn’t a breed that likes to be idle, so put them to work!

Maybe you’re thinking…

but these jobs look like games. I didn’t want games! 

Well, isn’t work supposed to be fun for you and your dog?

And…

what did you expect your German Shepherd to do?

Cook your breakfast? Drive the kids to school?

Write out your grocery list? Tell you who to vote for?

He’s a dog that’s now living in a world far removed from his original job. So, you make adjustments that suit his more modern lifestyle with games that encourage him to work for his rewards and entice him to use his mind and body in a different way. 

If you don’t give them a job they’ll make up their own job to do…

and you probably won’t like it (think digging in the garden and excessive nuisance barking).

Your German Shepherd likes having a job because it prevents you from becoming upset with him and he earns his rewards.

Most importantly…

he spends time with his favorite person. You! 

Why do German Shepherds need a job in the house?

why do german shepherds need a job in the house
Your dog is capable of so much more than fetch!

I have seen more German Shepherds with behavior problems than other breeds. And in most cases, the reason for these behaviors was caused by a lack of stimulation and exercise in their daily lives.

You could hire a dog walker to give your dog some extra attention, or…

You could spend more time bonding with them by getting involved in some fun German Shepherd job training!

Give your German Shepherd mental stimulation and the right type and kind of physical exercise for the German Shepherd Dog breed to keep them satisfied in their lives.

Good jobs for German Shepherds at home give both you and your dog an emotional boost that makes you feel happier for spending time with your dog while keeping them healthy and strong.

They need a job because that is what they were bred to do…

work!

Conclusion: A Job Well Done

Keeping up with an active German Shepherd can feel like a job on its own! They need a daily purpose to be satisfied, but that doesn’t mean you need to make it hard. Especially when you follow these job tips.

Your German Shepherd isn’t picky about the type of work they do for you as long as you’re working with them.

You see…

your German Shepherd just wants to be a part of your life in the best way possible.

Help them apply for some of these fun jobs and find what makes both you happy. You never know, you might have just found your perfect employee!