Successful German Shepherd training is essential if you want the most positive experience with one of the most popular and well-loved dog breeds in existence. Not only do GSDs make great family pets, but they are also the top choice of breed for police dogs, guard dogs, military dogs and search and rescue dogs. The German Shepherd is an intelligent dog that is both beautiful and easy to train if done right.
Unfortunately, many German Shepherd owners have a negative experience with their GSD not responding to their training efforts. This is so discouraging to me since GSDs are easily trained when you know which training methods to use. The hassle and headache is easily avoided when you know the correct training methods that German Shepherds respond to best.
The First Step to Successful German Shepherd Training– Choosing the Right German Shepherd Puppy
If you already have a GSD and you are simply looking for a German Shepherd training guide, then you can go directly here.
Here are a few important things to consider when choosing a German Shepherd puppy. First, be sure you inquire about the family history of the puppy your purchasing. Does the owner or shelter know who the sire and dam were? Did the sire or dam, or anyone in their lineage have any chronic diseases or behavioral issues? If the owner or shelter can’t at least answer these questions concerning the sire and dam of the puppy you are buying, then I would strongly consider looking elsewhere.
Other questions concerning whether or not you should choose a male or a female, how the dog will interact with children, how to go about adopting an adult German Shepherd, and how to choose the right breeder or shelter can all be answered on pages 17 to 26 of this guide.
Bringing your German Shepherd Puppy Home
Proper German Shepherd training begins when you first bring them home is absolutely essential to reducing their stress and anxiety, and making them feel safe in their new dwelling with an unfamiliar “pack”.
To most of us, pets often seem fine, and perhaps even happy, when first introduced into a new environment with new companions. However, you might want to remind yourself that a German Shepherd puppy up until the day you bring it home was can tenuously with its mother and littermates. It certainly is traumatic to be pulled away from all you have known since the day of your birth and suddenly introduced into a new environment.
This guide goes in to detail on page 26 on how to act towards your dog just after bringing her or him home. I’ll share a couple tips here to get you started.
First, try not to startle or over excite your new puppy. Remind any children to be extra careful with nurturing and being kind to the little creature. Second, two or three inexpensive stuffed animals for your new puppy to sleep and snuggle with would be helpful, since they are likely used to sleeping together with their littermates. A key factor in any method of German Shepherd training needs to include an understanding of where your puppy or adult dog is coming from and using that knowledge to make the transition as stress-free as possible.
How To Talk To Your German Shepherd
It’s true that dogs can learn verbal commands such as “sit” and “stay”. However, one of the keys to proper German Shepherd training is understanding that a large part of how any dog communicates is with tone, not vocabulary-based verbal commands. Pay close attention for a day or two at the different kinds of barks, crawls, and grunts that your dog makes. You may discover some whimpering in there to. All of these tonal communications have different meanings for dogs.
If you want to train your dog to repeat a certain behavior that you find acceptable, then you should continually reinforce that activity with praise in the form of a cheerful voice and a high pitch. Your German Shepherd will interpret this as reassuring and will want to repeat the behavior as he or she knows that it pleases you.
Alternatively, if you want to discourage bad behavior you should respond with very low, guttural admonitions. This is the same kind of low pitched growing that a mother would use to discourage one of her naughty pups from repeating bad behavior.
What is most confusing to a dog during the training process is inconsistency on the part of the owner. You need to train yourself to be consistent and only use high pitched cheer praise when the dog is behaving in an acceptable manner, and low, guttural sounds when you want to discourage bad behavior. If you mix this out, your puppy or dog is going to get confused.
Human anger is almost always interpreted by a dog as aggression and should never be considered a strategy for German Shepherd training. When faced with aggression, a dogs instinct is going to be to defend itself or run away. If you think that yelling in anger is going to discourage some form of bad behavior, you are absolutely incorrect.
Effective potty training can take a couple days and you may have to deal with a couple messes in the house. Don’t be too concerned about that. You can use the basic tonal communication covered above to potty train your dog in a couple of days. Here’s how it works.
The first few days your puppy is at home, be sure to take him or her outside frequently, especially just after waking up in the morning or from a nap and to bed. But of course as many times as you can in between as well.
While outside, let your dog run freely. As soon as you see that the dog is about to go to the bathroom, approach him or her and in a high-pitched voice, praise them.
Inside the house, and you see that your dog is about to go potty, calmly approach the dog and either carry them or guide them outdoors. Don’t respond in an angry way during this process. Simply bring the dog outside and let them finish relieving themselves. If you feel compelled to respond in some way, then use the low, guttural growl, saying something “like not inside”.
Once outside, praise the dog in a high-pitched voice for going to the bathroom outside. When you’re cleaning up any messes made inside, be sure to do it in a calm way without reprimanding your dog in any way.
Listen, successful German Shepherd training in this area is simple: follow these two rules. One, praise the dog as it’s going potty outside. To, calmly bring the dog outside if it starts to go potty inside. Do not get angry at your dog for trying to go potty inside and clean up the mess calmly.
In 2 to 3 days, your dog should be potty trained. Now, your task is learning to recognize when your puppy is telling you that they want to go outside to go potty. If you don’t respond immediately to these requests, then your puppy will get confused and the potty training will be compromised.