The total Guide to German Shepherd Training
German Shepherds especially good German Shepherds are an investment, which I am sure you know since you are reading this article! Not only are they an investment financially they are also an investment emotionally (since your heart gets involved right away) and an investment that requires your time!
Over many years German Shepherd Dogs have almost morphed into different breeds with different aspects to their health, train-ability, and temperament.
Understanding What You Have Got Yourself Into
You have the working line German Shepherds that are known for excelling in police, protection, guide and sport work that have a straight top line and a very thick body (often these are sable); and you also have the show or confirmation line German Shepherds that have more slanted top lines that make them less able to do the rigorous work of a working dog. And, then you have the ones that are a bit in between.
First, working dog lines are harder to live with, they need more discipline and training because their genetics tell them to guard and protect and think on their own. These dogs have been genetically designed for decades to be efficient and effective workers.
Confirmation line German Shepherds or mixes thereof are usually easier to live with but a bit more likely to have back, hip and other health problems due to their structure.
Either way, German Shepherds are known for their loyalty and intelligence!
Whether they are staring in Rin Tin Tin or the remakes thereof, guiding the blind, or protecting our homes and children a German Shepherd needs a job to be happy. His mind and body also have to be stimulated to make him a good pet.
Intelligent dogs need training and stimulation and if that is not provided they begin to fulfill their needs on their own. Just like children would not do a good job of raising themselves, neither can a good German Shepherd, even though he innately wants to please his owner he has requirements that need to be met. For help with training your German Shepherd Dog or Puppy click here for our complete German Shepherd Training System guaranteed to help you with any negative puppy glitches.
German Shepherd Puppy Training Tips
Because German Shepherds have been breed specifically as police and working dogs for so many years it is crucial to socialize your puppy with other dogs and as many people as possible early (before socializing with dogs you don’t know make sure your pup is completely vaccinated and safe)! When my puppies are super young (before they are fully vaccinated), I carry them to places to socialize with people this way I don’t have to worry about them picking up disease but I am also not waiting too long for some good socialization.
Give people treats and monitor who you allow to play with your puppy. I never let small children interact with young puppies for fear a negative experience can influence how your pup feels about kids. I also never let anyone else pick them up!
Crate Train Early
These big guys usually go through some radical chewing stages and crate training your puppy will be essential to save your precious things and also to give you some sanity and peace of mind when you leave.
I am an emphatic crate training proponent. I think all dogs and puppies should be crate trained. There are times you may need to leave him at the groomer or the vet or even a boarding kennel and if he is use to a crate at home he will adapt much easier to it when he sees one in other places.
Dogs that have never been crated trained have a horrible time at the vet, not only are they already scared but they feel caged in, but dogs that are crate trained feel safer in their own space.
Crate training also helps with potty training and keeping your things safe when you’re gone and a crate is also good for mental sanity! I always keep my puppies close so that they don’t develop bad habits but sometimes I need a break to do some work or make dinner or just crate train to help him be more comfortable in his space. I also play games with him and feed him in there to teach him that crates are fun!
Make sure that the crate you get will be big enough for him to grow into, usually he or she will be a comparable size to their father so when I purchase a crate I get one that would be big enough to comfortably fit the sire. Whereas it is true that your puppy could be bigger, chances are he will be close to the same size or smaller.
I also block part of the crate off for small puppies so that they don’t have a HUGE space to wander in, this helps with potty training. If your puppy can comfortably urinate or defecate in an area of his crate and then go to another spot to lay down he will be harder to potty train.
It is also important to note that puppies are like babies and gain bladder control at different times. A puppy should never be left in a crate more than a couple of hours. A good rule of thumb is however many months they are plus one… so an 8 week old puppy has to go outside every 3 hours.
In the beginning all puppies scream and holler and German Shepherd Dogs are usually no different. Their intelligence and desire to be with their humans and their “pack” will make them want to pitch a fit to be with you. But, be sure not to give in!
As soon as you allow your puppy out of his crate when he
screams he will learn to use his mouth to get whatever he wants!
German Shepherds are way too big and intelligent to allow them to train YOU; YOU must be the trainer and be in charge from the moment you get home or you will be in for a difficult road of dog ownership ahead.
And, another tip: When potty training be sure to go outside with your puppy to make sure he is “attending to business” and also keep an eye on him around the house. The moment you puppy is out of view chances are he is doing something naughty!
Always Be Kind and Consistent
Make sure you are kind and consistent with your puppy! Dogs such as German Shepherds and a few other breeds will resist compulsion training by trying to defend themselves with their teeth. Remember this was a dog bred to take on criminals, gun shots and still keep on coming. This is a breed that needs a soft intelligent hand and hands off training methods!
German Shepherds also uniquely (unlike most breeds) have a strong desire to please their master; I think this quality is what makes them stand apart as a family dog. Most have a sincere desire to do what you want, so with consistency and happy, healthy, positive training you will likely have a dog that lives to please you instead of one that wants to fight with you for using physical force and compulsion.
I love clicker training and I have never met a German Shepherd adult or puppy that didn’t either. Clicker training allows you to shape behaviors you like, get rid of behaviors you don’t like, and teach your puppy to play an interactive game that you will use to teach him new skills for the rest of his life.
Don’t get me wrong; once you have trained a behavior you don’t need the clicker or the treat anymore but when you want to teach your old dog a new trick he will remember the game of clicker training and be willing to do just about anything for you!