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German Shepherd 101 Owners Guide

They Can Be Pretty Easy To Train

Things to know as a new German Shepherd owner | Mistakes made by new owners

Training a dog is never easy, but it does help when you own a dog thats considered highly intelligent like the German Shepherd is!

As long as youre willing to remain consistent with your training and reinforce good behavior, training your German Shepherd wont be too difficult of a task.

If you want to learn about the right way to train your German Shepherd, I highly recommend Zak Georges Dog Training YouTube channel. Zaks methodology and ethical manner of teaching are so helpful that hes become somewhat of a celebrity trainer. And while popularity is not always an indicator of quality, it certainly is in this instance.

You can also check out this excellent article for more insight, How to Train a German Shepherd: 7 Quick and Easy Ways.

German Shepherd Puppy Training Socialization Tips:

  • Never separate a puppy from his mother and littermates before the age of 7-8 weeks. During this time, mom teaches her puppies some important rules of the dog world like body language communication and they start to learn bite inhibition by plying with the other puppies.
  • After you get your baby German Shepherd and visit the vet, start socialization RIGHT AWAY! Unfortunately many vets will tell you not to take your puppy out of the house until they have had all of their shots. This is old school thinking and can have extremely bad consequences that will become apparent only when your canine becomes an adult.

Without the full set of shots, your puppy is vulnerable to infectious diseases, however taking your pup to early socialization classes where all other dogs have also been immunized reduces the risk for becoming sick AND will make your German Shepherd a confident, well adjusted and friendlier dog. The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior promotes early socialization, even before the full set of vaccines are given to the pup.

  • Take socialization in your own hands. Spend the first 4 weeks holding parties at your home! What???? Yes, parties! Invite all your friends and family for Karaoke, sports watching, boardgames, etc. Ask them to bring their kids too! And always make sure socialization is about positive interactions. If any of the kids or adults make your puppy a little scared, simply remove the threat and let the puppy explore other things.

Training Goal #: Begin Obedience Training

The German Shepherd Dogs work ethic is legendary, and you can encourage your dogs best working traits with early and ongoing training. GSDs excel at obedience, so begin teaching your puppy basic commands like sit, down, and stay, as well as loose-leash walking, from an early age. Enrolling in a puppy obedience class can be extremely helpful both for teaching these commands as well as socialization, and its not too early to begin thinking about CGC training as well.

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Training A German Shepherd Positive Interaction

The best way to promote positive interaction and socialization is by bringing a new dog to the pack.

Many problems may arise when German shepherds interact with others such as a territorial dispute, aggressive behaviors, and more.

With that said, its imperative to follow the following German shepherd training tips strictly to avoid potential drawbacks:

  • Never leave the two dogs unattended as it may lead to violence that may result in injuries, especially for the new dog.
  • Just like any other habit, the best German shepherd training tip is to take it slowly and calmly.
  • Vaccinate both the dogs so there may be no chances of infection.
  • Familiarize both dogs with the scent of the other so they may not act aggressively later on.
  • It is best to introduce both of them in a location where theyve never been before. This is to avoid their mindset of their territory getting threatened.
  • Include the new dog when training an older German shepherd.

German shepherds are energetic. The best way to conserve YOUR energy is to allow them to play with a dog as energetic as them.

Additionally, training an older German shepherd will tend to become less exciting due to less activity. Having another dog to stimulate their very existence will prove to help them become more energetic.

With that said, you must understand that you wont always be there for your German shepherd.

German Shepherd’s Benefit From Consistency

German Shepherd Breed Characteristics

This is true for most things in your German Shepherd’s training

Consistency in daily training.

And here I recommend doing at least two training sessions per day. Keep them short and sweet 5 minutes each is plenty!

Consistent boundaries.

I’m a positive reinforcement trainer, but I also believe our dogs should have consistent boundaries.

Positive doesn’t mean permissive!

So if, for example, you prefer your dog not to sleep on the sofa, be consistent.

Sometimes is anytime for a dog! And if you allow it sometimes and other times not, you’ll confuse your dog.

Consistent cues.

Cues are a pretty black and white scenario for dogs. So if you train a cue to mean something, don’t change the cue or the meaning!

Consistency in your German Shepherd’s training will equal harmony and understanding, so it’s worth being mindful of this!

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Why Is My German Shepherd Suddenly Aggressive Towards Strangers

It can be shocking and heartbreaking at the same time when our German Shepherd suddenly shows aggression towards strangers. It hard to believe your dog would have behaved like that. It feels like our options are limited for activities that we can involve them in, including just a walk around the neighborhood. German Shepherds can

Are German Shepherds Good For First

Now that you know what you should be looking for in the ideal good first dog, were going to spend some time going over the major characteristics and traits of the average German Shepherd. These are all important things to consider when youre deciding if this breed will be a good first dog for you.

Keep in mind that not all of these characteristics will be considered positive. However, they will definitely allow you to understand what you should expect when you buy or adopt a German Shepherd and determine whether or not you think you can handle a German Shepherd for your first dog.

Learn All About The GSD In This Video

Okay, so lets get right into the 9 things to know

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German Shepherd Puppy Training For Beginners Part : Crate Training

There are so many benefits of crate training.

A crate can keep your pup safe when she sleeps at night or you need to be away for a short period. It also works hands in hands with housetraining by teaching your puppy to control her bladder because puppies have a natural tendency to keep their bed clean.

Key takeaways:

  • Puppies literally like dark and confined places because it makes them feel safe.
  • Ideally, the crate should be put inside your bedroom next to your bed
  • You might also have another crate placed in a room where people hang out in the house for the day
  • Do not leave your pup in the crate unattended for an extended period of time

Watch this video from McCann Dog Training to learn about the importance of making the crate a fun, comfortable, and happy place for your puppy to love being in.

Training Goal #: Socialization

Dogs 101 – German Shepherd

Puppies of all breeds have a critical socialization window that closes at 12 to 16 weeks of life, and your GSD puppy is no exception. In fact, for GSDs, who by nature are protective guardians, socialization is extra important so that your puppy learns which strangers are friendly and not a threat.

GSDs are very observant, and your puppy will pick up on your cues and reactions around new people and new situations. During this critical period, having exposure to many different kinds of people in non-threatening situations will help your puppy be confident among friendly strangers rather than fearful or aggressive. And even during times of social and physical distancing, you can still socialize your puppy safely.

Proper socialization cannot be overemphasized for this breed as Adams notes, The foundation for most training is confidence. It is critical that the GSD puppy is well socialized from an early age onward. Safely exposing the puppy to new sights, sounds, and smells is absolutely critical for development. Good socialization translates to confidence.

Certified dog trainer and CGC evaluator Jacqui Foster, CPDT-KA, echoes this sentiment: I tend to lean more towards developing self-confidence in the puppy. For this I recommend short, fun, three-minute games that engage the puppy with the owner as well as in noises, weird and uneven surfaces, family members, etc., throughout the day. A confident puppy is a happy puppy.

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Positive Reinforcement Produces Positive Results

This golden rule really is a culmination of all of the other truths we’ve just looked at.

Science has repeatedly shown that positive reinforcement training builds relationships that drive positive results.

Whereas using punishment-based methods destroy relationships, devastates trust, and slows down learning.

And punishment-based trainers often criticize positive reinforcement training, calling it a bribery system.

But if we’re honest

No human on earth would work for no pay. So why should our dogs?

Positive reinforcement is a system of payment for a job well done. It starts with food, but as you progress with your German Shepherd’s training, you’ll rely less on food.


Well, through training, there are a host of other experiences that naturally reinforce your dog.

Here are a few

  • Established behaviors in and of themselves become rewards.
  • Life rewards like going for a swim, jumping into the car for a ride.
  • A game of tug or fetch with you.
  • Permission to go off and sniff the shrubs.
  • They Can Live Up To 13 Years

    When it comes to your first dog, you want a dog thatll live a long and happy life without any major health issues. As long as you properly exercise and feed your German Shepherd, youre looking at an average lifespan of anywhere between 9 and 13 years!

    But never underestimate the importance of nutrition, as high-quality food is essential for your dogs overall health and longevity. Heres my giant guide where you can learn much more about the best diet for German Shepherds, including nutrition, types of food, and what they can and cant eat.

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    Training A German Shepherd As Schutzhund

    Schutzhund translates to protection dogs. It can be a way of training a German shepherd that requires the combined effort of the owner and the dog.

    German shepherds are guard dogs, in essence, no matter how they were bred. Thats why its beneficial for German shepherds, as well as easier for them.

    • Self-Control: It helps the German shepherd to learn self-control, helping them maintain their composure even when put in a difficult or startling situation.
    • Perceptiveness:Training a German shepherd with Schutzhund will help them distinguish between those who are a threat and those who are not.
    • Calmness: German shepherds will have a clear-headed nature as they focus on the task assigned to them.

    Critics insist that there can be many drawbacks of this training, such as aggressiveness, but nothing could be further from the truth.

    The following are the common misconceptions and the truth behind Schutzhunds training of German shepherds.

    • They attack recklessly: The reality is that those with no training are the ones that tend to attack without considering the consequences.
    • They act independently: Schutzhund-trained German shepherds are also said to be able to act without the consent of others. However, those that are truly trained have a set of rules that they were trained to follow.
    • They always bite: While German shepherds trained in Schutzhund have greater biting strength, they are more aware that they shouldnt do it recklessly.

    The Malinois: The History And Development Of The Breed In Schutzhund Detection And Police Work

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    The Malinois is one of the most effective working dog breeds in the world, prized for their intelligence and high energy level. This breed, which for centuries served as the ultimate sheepdog, has become increasingly popular among police departments and militaries that recognize its unique suitability for detection and police work.

    to learn more and to purchase.

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    Teaching A German Shepherd Whos The Alpha

    German shepherds are bred to be family dogs. They are intelligent and loyal, but sometimes they can be too dominant.

    Its important to do this with German shepherd puppy training. If not, they may be like this throughout their lifetime.

    Having a mindset of a leader will push German shepherds to display poor behavior. Thats why its important to prevent such a mindset from developing.

    There are many ways to establish whos the real alpha between you and the dog, and here are some of the best German shepherd training tips:

    Even when training an older German shepherd, you must show that youre superior. If youre able to establish whos the alpha, you can easily do the same when you bring a new dog to the pack.

    German Shepherd Puppy Training: Potty Outside

    Another important item on your German shepherd puppy training list is House training. It can be a bit stressful, but if done correctly, you can accomplish it very quickly. Just keep in mind that depending on your puppy in can take anywhere from 1 week to several months to complete potty training.

    The following info-graphic has some simple rules to follow and make german shepher potty training easy and effective:

    • Take your puppy out for a potty break every 2-3 hours.
    • Take your puppy out for a potty the break after every meal.
    • Take your puppy out for a potty break after a nap.
    • Take your puppy out for a potty break after a play session.

    The main idea when potty training a German shepherd puppy, is to take him out as often as he needs to and reward him after he is done. The infographic above gives you an idea of how often a puppy needs to go out. However, you need to know your own puppy.

  • For a couple of days write down the TIME and PLACE your puppy peed or pooped. This way you will know how often he is relieving himself. You may also notice if he does it after every meal or nap.
  • Now that you know the schedule, TAKE your puppy out and WAIT for him to do his business.
  • Reward with a treat after he is done!
  • Repeat steps 2 and 3, you should start noticing that after a couple of days or weeks your puppy chooses the correct place more often than other places.
  • NEVER punish your dog for accidents, this can stress him and even make him do his business hidden from you .
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    Your Gsd Doesn’t Communicate Like A Human

    Secretly we all wish that our dogs could speak a human language!

    We also know that they don’t come with a pre-installed language program!

    Although your Shepherd can’t speak, they can communicate. And as I mentioned earlier, dogs are masters of body language!

    If you want to learn more about how dogs communicate using their body language, check out Dog Decoder. It’s available on iOS and Android for a small one-time fee.

    With that being said, here are a couple of tips for using words and cues in your German Shepherd training plans

    • Short and sweet cues are more useful than longer phrases.
    • Be mindful of your tone and volume. Giving a cue in a different tone or volume can mean the difference between your dog responding or not.

    They Need A Lot Of Daily Exercise

    5 Things You Must Never Do to Your German Shepherd

    German Shepherds are the perfect fit for anyone with an active lifestyle that wants to take their dog with them on their adventures. Adult German Shepherds require a ton of exercise, a minimum of two hours per day, to eliminate their pent-up energy and prevent behavioral problems.

    This exercise should include walking but also running off-lead in a safe area. They also need playtime for mental stimulation and ongoing training.

    Remember, puppies will need to gently build up to this amount of exercise to prevent harm to their fast-growing joints and bones. As a general rule, aim for exercising your puppy for five minutes per month of age, twice a day. .

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    German Shepherd Puppy Training: Stop The Biting

    Socialization is hard work, bite-inhibition is even harder! But it is one of the best things you can ever teach your pup. Dogs have really strong jaws and can learn to apply just the right amount of pressure with it.

    Bite inhibition teaches your canine friend how to properly apply force with his/her mouth without harming anyone. Adult dogs that have had this kind of training can get into fights and defend themselves without drawing blood.

    This is so important to avoid any type of dog-human or dog-dog bite accidents.

    German Shepherd puppy dogs have sharp teeth for a reason:

    to learn how to use their mouth properly.

    Teach your puppy to bite without hurting!

    To teach your pooch not to hurt human skin you will need to yelp like a puppy every time you feel teeth in contact with your skin. Engage in puppy play and Yelp when you feel teeth. Your pup will most likely stop in surprise. As soon as he has stopped, wait 5-10 seconds and resume play. Repeat as many times as needed.

    • Start with those bites that really hurt or scratch. If you yelp every time you feel teeth, your puppy will think it is how you play. It may take a few weeks for you to notice that your pup is not hurting as much…only then, start yelping for the next level bites, those that bother. Progressively teach your pup to play without hurting you. This make take a couple of months!
    • Never punish your puppy for play-biting, this can lead to aggression or your puppy fearing “hands” near his face.


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