There is no doubt that on any day German Shepherds top the list of most clever dog breeds. As they are curious and eager to learn knew things, training them is relatively easy. But, still you need to be patient in training and will require to give time.
In this long article My Love My pet tries to cover almost all training tips related to your German Shepherd Dog.
German Shepherd Training Age, When to Start?
Time to start training matters a lot. A puppy German Shepherd can be easily molded into desired personality, whereas adult GSD are strong dominant and they can become reluctant to training by showing aggressive behaviour.
Start training your GSD puppy when he is 7 to 8 weeks old. Before this time do your homework. Make a descriptive plan for training your puppy. Gather some information and training tips from your friends who own German Shepherd or a trainer.
Remember, your puppy is like a baby he doesn’t understand your language or commands. He also doesn’t know which behaviour is acceptable and which isn’t.
GSD Puppy brain may take time to comprehend the meaning of your commands. Therefore, at start it is necessary to be patient and consistent.
Basic Commands Training for German Shepherd Dog
This is a first step of training your German Shepherd and is a prerequisite to other training practices. In this practice your GSD is introduced to training process and learns his first basic command.
The very first thing your German Shepherd Dog needs to learn is to recognize his name. He will certainly recognize his name, if you look at him and call him by his name. You will have to repeat it several times then he will start understanding his name.
Other basic commands which your puppy need to learn are ‘come’ ‘sit’ ‘stay’ etc. Associate these commands with different actions or hand gestures, so it becomes easy for your dog to learn.
Consult a trainer or your GSD owner friends to know how to teach your German Shepherd these commands. Unfortunately these commands cannot be covered in this article as they require a lot of practical demonstrations.
Keep your commands short and simple. Always use the same words. Do short training sessions and give a break between them. Do several repetitions of every command. 95% of GSD learn new commands in five repetitions.
Positive reinforcement will help you a lot in getting results. Build a healthy relationship with your German Shepherd.
Potty Training for German Shepherd
The first rule which your German Shepherd puppy need to learn after you’re brought him home is to urinate in a specific place and not everywhere.
Take advantage of new environment and start potty training of puppy the day you bring him home.
If a puppy remains with his mom for first few weeks he already would have an idea not to urinate in his living area.
Crate training can help you a lot in potty training your German Shepherd puppy. It actually makes them understand that their living area shouldn’t be made dirty.
Allocate a particular area. That area should be used by your puppy for the purpose of potty.
It could be a potty pad or a specific area in your yard. Once established in his mind, your GSD puppy will go to that specific area by himself, whenever he need to potty.
If you have a schedule for potty that means your GSD puppy will go for potty at specific times which will make your life much easier.
Some recommended times for taking out your puppy are
- In the morning
- Before puppy goes to bed
- Almost 20 minutes after eating some food
- After playing for some time
- After taking a nap
If you notice any one of the followings, most probably it means, your German Shepherd puppy needs to potty. So take him outside as soon as possible.
- Puppy cries or whimper
- GSD puppy stand in front of door and looks at you
- If he scratches the door leading outside
- Walking oddly or circling
Remember potty training doesn’t happen overnight, it takes time.
Giving rewards in the form of treats or praise will be more helpful. Associate going to potty with a specific command it will make your life easier. So, when you give that command your puppy will go for potty.
Crate Training for GSD
Keeping your German Shepherd in a cage Crate may look cruel at first, but in reality it is one of the most effective ways to control and train your GSD.
To your surprise, living in a crate like places is in their nature. Because, wild GSD used to make dens in caves and trenches to live there.
Crate training can help you in a number of ways:
- Controls dog aggressive behavior
- Helps a lot to potty train your puppy
- Dog feels safe and comfortable
- Helpful in dog separation anxiety
- A safe place for your dog when you are away
Being the owner of a beautiful GS Dog it is your responsibility to know about the crate specifications.
Some of the available crate types in the market are
- Wire mesh type
- Plastic type
- Wooden box type
It is totally up to you, what kind of crate you want for your GSD.
However, ideally you should find a crate which meets following requirements
- Enough space for dog to stand turn around and sleep comfortably
- Bottom of crates should be soft and comfortable put a blanket or towel there
- Crate should have space to put some dog toys. So when your dog gets bored, he can play with these toys.
- Fresh water and food should be available close to crate
Put the crate in a place where your dog spends most of the time, the recommended place is bedroom.
How long the crate training should be? Well, each German Shepherd dog is different. That’s why there is no exact time period for crate training. It can take days or weeks for your dog to get comfortable with crate.
Leash Training for German Shepherd Dog
One of the main obedience training your German Shepherd need to learn is leash training. It is required to keep your GSD safe and under control whenever you take him outside.
The best time to start leash training is when your dog is a puppy. This way he will learn those leash manners quickly.
Finding the right collar and leash for your GSD is very important. A soft collar and a strong short leash would be a perfect choice for your dog to keep him in your control and prevent him from going away. That’s why short leash are advisable.
Leash pulling is the main problem you will face while leash training your German Shepherd Dog. It is a natural behaviour of any dog. So don’t worry and don’t yell on your GSD.
Use pause method to overcome leash pulling. When your dog tries to pull the leash and drag you towards a direction or object, just stop and don’t move with your dog. Your GSD will look back at you and will understand you don’t want to go there.
This way he will come to know what he is supposed to do. Repeat this every time your German Shepherd tries to wander away. It will teach your puppy that, he should follow you whenever you both are outside.
Like any other dog training process using rewards and treats will help you a lot in leash training your GSD.
At first, use treat to lure him into leash. Make sure to associate treats & praise with walking nicely in leash. Using force may create negative association between your dog and leash. Don’t make a tight noose or pull hardly if training a German Shepherd puppy.
How to train GSD to Stop Biting?
There are many reasons why German Shepherds start using their mouths.
- Their teeth start to develop so they practice chewing toys and hands
- They didn’t get proper training about biting inhibition when they were puppy
- They use their mouths to explore play within taste different objects
- It is also about pact dominance. More dominant German Shepherd use biting to show their dominance over other GSD.
This is something important that you need to know. Biting is totally normal thing. Every dog starts biting when they are pup. Many of them continue the same even in adulthood if they were not trained properly in young days. It is not specific about your dog so take it as a normal thing.
To let your GSD know that biting is unacceptable behaviour discourage him. You can do it by several ways.
- Through hand or body gestures when he bites you
- Saying ‘NO’ after he bites you
- Showing grief on your face
- Stop playing and moving away
Bite inhibition is another practice in which your German Shepherd puppy comes to know that biting is not good and is a wrong behaviour.
Under this concept you will play with the German Shepherd puppy. During the play he bites you, no matter that was intentional or not. Now you make a Yelp sound to show that you are hurt. Also, your hand goes limp and you ignore the puppy for some time.
Your GSD witnesses this whole thing and understands he has done something wrong. This way, he might associate biting with a prohibited behaviour and may not repeat it in the future.
Repeat this practice several times till you get the desired results. Using toys could be an easy way to handle your GS Dog and teach him not to bite. Use a soft rubber or fluffy toy. Your GSD will soon learn that he should use his biting skills on toys and not humans.
Be an Alpha Leader
To make a pact and become leader of the pack is an important step for training your German Shepherd puppy.
You don’t need other GSD for pack formation. You can make a pack of you and your German Shepherd puppy. This pack instinct and a leadership demand is in the genes of dogs and it is because of these they adjust themselves easily into our families.
Make sure you assume the charge as the Alpha leaders so that rest of the training process goes easily.
If you fail to establish yourself as alpha in that case your German Shepherd will take the charge by himself and will be reluctant to follow your commands or show a rude behaviour.
Becoming an alpha leader doesn’t means that you should create fear in your puppy or yell at him. Instead you need to make a love bond with your puppy and also teach him that you are the one in charge.
Positive Reinforcement Training
Positive reinforcement is the key to your German Shepherd training. This will help you to make an association with your dog and to enforce your commands more efficiently.
Using food treats and toys are very effective, also praise your GSD whenever he follows you commends.
Punishing or using force during training will ruin your relationship with your German Shepherd.
Consistency in Training is Necessary. Don’t give up you. You will not be able to train him well if you want results very fast.
Having a well-trained German Shepherd as a life companion is worth all the time being spent on its training
Understand the Dog Psychology
Each dog is unique and behaves differently so is every German Shepherd. Gain some knowledge about GSD psychology and his common behaviours. Talk with your friends who have German shepherds, consult dog trainer and watch few classes about German Shepherd training.
Don’t lose patience. Your dog can sense your anger and frustration from your body gestures and voice tone.
if not working on a specific day, take a break and start a new session later when you both are fresh.
If you want to read about the comparison of German Shepherd Dog VS Doberman Dog click here.
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