How To Train A German Shepherd Tips & Tricks
German Shepherds are highly intelligent animals, and with time, patience, and dedication, they are typically easy dogs to train. A well-trained German Shepherd dog is a wonderful animal to live with, and they are one of the most popular dogs in the United States largely for this reason. That said, the intelligence of these dogs can also make them stubborn at times, and theyll need a firm but gentle hand in training, as well as a systematic, consistent approach.
We highly recommend positive reinforcement training methods with German Shepherds. Although they are strong, confident animals, they are also sensitive to harsh training methods. Reward-based methods also help establish a high level of trust and a strong bond with your dog, and in our experience, they are the most effective techniques for training.
German Shepherds are ready for basic training at around 6-7 weeks and the earlier that you get started, the better. If youve just brought home a German puppy and want to get them well trained, youve come to the right place! We put together this step-by-step guide for you to help you train your GSD properly, methodically, and successfully. Lets get started!
How To Train Your German Shepherd Puppy Not To Jump
While having your German Shepherd puppy jump up enthusiastically is cute when they are little, the novelty wears off pretty quickly. A 20-pound puppy may be unlikely to knock you over a 100-pound adult is another story.
Luckily, teaching your pup not to jump isnt rocket science. Its a matter of conditioning. The first step in training your German Shepherd pup to keep calm when they greet you is to set the mood: if you are relaxed, your puppy will learn to be relaxed as well.
Here are a few tips:
- Keep greetings low-key. Greeting your puppy enthusiastically and loudly is a great way to encourage them to jump up. Instead, come in the front door quietly and wait a minute or so before saying hello to your pup.
- If your dog jumps on you, ignore them. Resist the urge to pet them. Petting them when they jump up reinforces the negative behavior. Turning away from them when they jump will show them that jumping does not get your attention.
- Only pay attention to your dog when theyre sitting. As soon as you get in the door, tell your dog to sit, and only reward them with attention when theyve done so.
- Be patient. Because your German Shepherd pup is so happy to see you when you walk in the door, it may take them a while to realize that they will only get the attention they want when all four paws are on the floor.
How To Socialize An Older German Shepherd
The best time to socialize a dog is when he is in the early development stages as a puppy. Unfortunately, this is not always possible. Sometimes, you may end up with an older German Shepherd who has not been properly socialized and has trouble accepting anything new, whether experiences, people, or other dogs or pets. The good news is that you can still socialize an older German Shepherd, but how?
To socialize an older German Shepherd, start by taking the dog out on walks and expose him to new places, smells, sounds, people, other dogs, and different animals. Invite family and friends around one at a time, monitor your dogs progress, and slowly work up to a dog park.
When socializing an older German Shepherd, take things slowly to avoid fear, anxiety, or aggression in the dog. Introduce one experience at a time, dont overwhelm him, and use lots of praise. Consider the GSDs prior experience, temperament, and adaptability before any new situation.
Simply exposing adult animals who lacked early exposure to social situations will not likely meet their needs. These animals can benefit from individually paced interventional programs.
If your GSD barks or performs negative behaviors while meeting other dogs, dont yell or harshly tug him away. This will excite him even more and create a negative experience that he will learn to relate to meeting others. You can also consider the use of a muzzle at this stage.
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Use The Right Tools For The Job
Use the right tools for your puppy or adult and follow the training steps below to begin basic training with your German Shepherd. Teaching obedience without these supplies makes the work harder on you.
Dont make your life harder!
Buy the right tools.
Here are some of the best examples of great tools for your training.
Going Into The Crate On Cue
This was not included as a step because it could go anywhere in the process.
Rather than picking him up and putting him in, you want a cue that when he hears it, he knows what to do.
For example, youve decided to use the words in your crate. When hes walking into the crate to get his food or toy, say in your crate.
Eventually, he will associate those words with the action, and wherever he is, he will know what to do.
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Teaching Your Dog The Command Down
This command is handy in helping your dog calm down especially when it is agitated by a new site or sound.
Step 1: Wait until your GSD is seated, and then place a treat between your thumb and index finger. Move your hand close enough to his face so that he can see and sniff his favorite snack. Step 2: Next, move the treat towards the floor while preventing him from getting up from his sitting position. Use the word down as you prevent him from getting up. Step 3 : Also use the command down when he tries to get a hold of the treat while lying down. Step 4 : As soon as he stops trying to reach for the treat and is completely rested, pat him affectionately and praise him so that he can know that you are pleased. Give him the treat. Step 5 : Repeat this exercise until he can respond to the command even without a treat.
Keeping Four Paws On The Floor
Puppies jump up for many reasons. Life is good, what can they do? Its perfectly normal and natural behaviour but its not something we want to encourage since it wont be so cute when they do so as adults.
How to do it
- Lets prevent jumping up by asking your puppy to sit when you know its likely theyll jump up. Do it just before, just like youre beating them to the jump.
- Dont get cross or punish them if your puppy jumps up, theyre just trying to show us that they love us! Its kind of lovely they like to do that to be honest.
- Heres an important tip. Remember that everyone in your household MUST do this, otherwise its confusing for your puppy and they will keep trying to do it!
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Out For A Walk: Teaching Your Puppy Not To Pull On The Leash
There are many things that tempt your dog when youre out for a walk, like new smells and other animals. Your dog will try to get where he wants to go, even if that means pulling you along with him! If he pulls on the leash and you allow him to, youve reinforced him for pulling, and your pup got what he wanted. Once youve allowed him to do this, hell do it again. AKC’s, Mary Burch, Ph.D., offers the following 2 techniques:
- When Fido starts to pull on the leash, stop in your tracks. Stand still and dont move forward with the dog.
- Wait right there where you are. Your pup will pull, but hell eventually stop.
- When he does stop pulling, praise him and move forward again.
- Anytime he starts to pull, repeat the procedure and stop where you are. It wont take him too long to figure out that youre not going anywhere as long as he pulls on the leash.
- When your pup begins to pull off in his own direction, briskly turn around and begin walking in the opposite direction. Fido will have to come along, and most likely hell hurry up to keep up with you.
- When Fido begins to follow in the direction you are walking, praise him. If youre at the beginning stages of training your pup, give him a treat. This will train your dog to watch you when youre out for a walk and not pull on the leash.
Based on information supplied by The American Kennel Club, Inc.& Mary Burch Ph.D. and Certified Animal Behaviorist
Choose Your Learning Environment Wisely
Like you, in order to learn something, your GSD will excel in an environment that is conducive to learning. Ideally, you would not go to the food court of a busy mall to sit down and study for an upcoming exam. Instead, you would choose a quiet room in your home, or perhaps a library or coffee shop. Why would you do this? Because there are no distractions.
Similarly, you must choose an environment that is conducive to learning for your German Shepherd in order to give him the best chance for success. What this means, practically speaking, is that you want to choose an environment such as a quiet room in your home, or even your own backyard. The idea being that it must be some place that your GSD is familiar with and that will not lend itself to distractions.
You should not consider training your GSD around people that he is unfamiliar with or in a new or busy environment, such as a dog park full of other dogs competing for your GSDs attention.
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Teach Them The Command
Once your German Shepherd is comfortable with basic commands, its time to try the attack command. The best process is to put on your gloves and tap on the face and nose of your dog. This action will cause annoyance, and eventually, they will respond by biting the gloves. When this happens, state the command attack.
How To Train A German Shepherd Puppy To Come
- Start in a fenced-in yard or, if thats not available, another room in your house.
- Hold your arms straight out to the sides, so youre shaped like a T. As you move your arms into position, say the command Come.
- When your puppy obeys, reward him with a treat and a pat on the head.
Its good to incorporate the arm gesture with this command, in case your dog is far away from you. Even if hes down the street and cant hear your command, hell be able to see it from a distance.
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Training Your German Shepherd To Sit
This is a crucial command that will assist your dog to become well-mannered and obedient.
Step 1 : Wait for your dog to stand or sit in front of you. Hold his favorite treat in your hand and then flash it before his eye and make sure he sees it. This should get him excited and grab his attention. Step 2 : Slowly hover the hand holding the treat over his head towards his rear side. All the while, ensure the treat stays in line with his nose so that he can sniff the treat to fuel his excitement. Step 3 : Your dog will automatically drop his rear to the floor in a sitting position to maintain eye-contact with his favorite treat. Once, his behind hits the floor, hand him the treat and praise him for a good job. Step 4 : Do not use the word sit at this level. Instead, practice this exercise until he can sit on seeing the treat on your hand. Only introduce the word sit after a few days of practicing. Step 5 : Have the treat in your hand and then use the word sit. If he is not able to respond by sitting on the ground, gently press his coup down and then repeat the command. Do not reward him with the treat until he can respond to the command. Keep practicing until your dog can sit even without treats.
How German Shepherd Training At Home Helps You
German Shepherd training at home is important not only for your dog but also for you and your family. Obedience teaches your dog how to experience success both inside the home and out.
Training your German Shepherd at home gives you the opportunity to practice as much as you want when convenient for you. It saves you time and money.
But there are many more amazing benefits!
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An Attack Dog By Nature
Some dog breeds are more prone to aggression than others, and German Shepherds are one of them. They are, by nature, attack dogs and often used by law enforcement for this reason.
Since they already exhibit this trait, you must learn to control your dogs tendencies to ensure they only attack when you command. It will keep both you and your dog safe.
How To Train Your German Shepherd To Listen To Your Commands
Okay, we know what should we do, but how do we get our German Shepherd to listen to us?
To get the attention of your German Shepherd, you need to build a strong bond between him and you, and to do that, you can start with some interesting dog games. Play tug and war with your dog, with sticks, throw him a ball, have a great time, and then, you can start teaching him dog commands.
If youre interesting to your dog , your dog will start listing you way faster! They love to play almost any game, and through games, we can teach them.
To get the attention of your German Shepherd much easier and faster, you can try these sneaky tricks:
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How To Stop Your Gsd Puppy Whining In The Crate
Before we begin, lets review the basics.
If we have those covered, it will be easier to understand what to do about whining or barking in the crate.
- bought right size crate so your dog is comfortable
- put a nice comfy, chew proof bed inside, with a toy and water bowl on the side
- set it up in a high traffic area during the day, your bedroom at night
- youve gone step by step through the process of getting him to like the crate
- hes not in the crate for hours at a time
- he gets plenty of supervised playtime with the family
- you take him out during the night, so he doesnt soil his crate
- you cover the crate if there are too many distractions and he cant settle
So, youve been doing great, and he still wont stop. What now?
Basic Commands You Can Teach Your German Shepherdteaching Your Dog The Command Come
This command will help you get your dog to come to you, even if something else has caught his attention. It is also the stepping stone for other communication between the two of you.
Step 1 : Always start this training indoors. Wait until he is playing with his toys and then call out his name. When he responds by looking at you, show him his favorite treat and urge him to come get it by saying the command come. Step 2 : When he comes, shower him with praises and giving him his treat. This way he will learn the positive association of responding to your commands. Step 3 : If he does not come willingly, gently tug on his leash and repeat the word come while showing him his treat. Do not be excessively forceful or harsh on your dog when teaching him this command. Be patient enough, and try different treats until he can respond to your command. Give him a treat whenever he responds positively Step 4 : Take your training outdoors after two days of training and repeat the exercise. Step 5: Keep escalating the training by increasing the distance between you and your dog and repeat the exercise until he can understand the command come without the need of a treat.
This is one of the most important commands you will ever teach your GSD as it can help keep him out of trouble.
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Method No3 Reverse Direction
Walk together with your dog. When your dog pulls, turn away from him and change your direction. Change your direction slowly without jerking on the leash. Your dog might be reluctant in the beginning to follow up. Call his name to get his attention and when he follows you praise him and give him a reward then continue your walk again.
When he pulls again, repeat the same steps. The main idea of this method is to teach your dog that pulling wont be rewarded while walking by your side will be rewarded. Give him a reward when he finally understands to walk calmly by your side.