If the Pack atmosphere has been pleasant for our dog over the past years (avoiding stressful Pack conflicts), then (s)he will find family events most joyful. German Shepherds more than many other dog breeds enjoy to have all their Pack around them, the complete family in this case. After all, they are herding dogs. So even if you think your dog behaves badly (still?) or is too fragile or whatever, aim to include your senior dog at all family events, whether in-house or away. Your senior dog will appreciate that a LOT! Provide pooch pads or even pooch pants when necessary.
Regardless whether in the past you only knew of Obedience Training, with your senior dog better forget all of that and only make use of our Behavior Training - explained in the Tim Carter books and also in several editions of the MYGERMANSHEPHERD PERIODICAL which you may subscribe to for free here. This is because a) senior dogs' behavior is predictable and quite considerate (often really good), and b) having been bred to act autonomously already adult German Shepherds must feel significantly annoyed by an obedience-focused owner. Then how much more misunderstood must an older German Shepherd feel?
Subject to behaving well in the house (read: subject to your interest in the right training) a senior GSD should have maximum freedom indoors - and certainly can safely have maximum freedom. Gosh! My new puppy has had free run of the house from before age 5 weeks, so why not a senior dog?
The same for outdoors: Unless your dog runs away (still?) or doesn't come when called (still not?), if you don't let your senior GSD run around off-leash then when? Local laws are an excuse but no hindrance: I've never had nor heard of someone's complaint when my dog or another dog seems controlled and behaves well. Then no one will complain. Hence why I've never cared about leash laws, and never will. Remember that laws only exist because some people don't know how to behave well, and in this case, how to control and train their dog well.
The more pleasurable we make the Together-time with our senior dog, obviously the more (s)he will enjoy it! When certain professional interest groups (it's always them) argue "Given good training, dogs enjoy to be locked up in a crate" (they mean kennel!) and "Given good training, dogs enjoy to be on-leash" (they mean tied at their neck!), then sensible dog owners can only laugh, right? Presumably even canary birds have enough consciousness that they hate to be locked up in a birdcage.
So, let your senior dog feel free and welcome, both indoors and outdoors, so that (s)he can be joyful during the final years!
Note that every key point raised above you can find more comprehensively explained in other places on this website. Here, links have been omitted only to keep this decision tree straightforward.
PLEASE NOTE: Posting a fragment of your overall dog problem in the comments below is not going to help. Provide complete details if you really seek the right solution. Of course we have a page for that as well: Dog Problem Consultation.
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