For new dog owners that have either rescued or procured a German Shepherd puppy, one of the main things they have to look into is training.
This is not only because German Shepherds are one of the most intelligent dog breeds, it is also a way to fully bring out your dog’s potential.
Training is beneficial for both parties.
With the right training, German Shepherds can be your best friend and your knight in shining armor, without the artificial shine.
According to the American Kennel Club, German Shepherds rank third as one of the most popular dog breeds. This is because they are literally the valedictorian of all dogs and can be easily trained for different purposes.
Training helps dog owners and the dogs themselves have a more progressive relationship.
Although training is strongly recommended, it doesn’t have to be some sort of rigorous police dog type of training. The simple tips here can be done in the comfort of your home and at you and your dog’s own pace.
Are German Shepherd Puppies Easy to Train?
The quick answer is yes, German Shepherd puppies are easy to train. Why? Well, this all stems back to history. If you couldn’t already tell, German Shepherds originate from Germany. They were originally used by farmers to herd domestic animals such as cattle and sheep.
As time moved on and agriculture went through a drastic phase of modernization, their original use was diminished – although they still can and will herd cattle if need be.
They are quite an intelligent breed. They still hold value despite the changing times. Currently, they are being utilized by a number of military and police forces worldwide.
Another reason why GSD’s are easy to train is because they are a people pleaser. They’re always happy when their owners are happy. Couple that with their incredible intelligence and that’s a recipe for an incredibly easy to train dog.
New dog owners may sometimes be a little overwhelmed at the thought of training their dog but it’s actually reasonably straightforward as long as you follow the right process.
When Should You Start Training Your Puppy?
It is recommended by breeders and trainers that as early as possible is a great time for German Shepherd puppies. Like human children, Shep puppies have a growth window where they pick things up faster and use that as their learning basis.
This growth window is typically between 12 and 16 weeks so it’s important to start the training process around this time. Not only is this a period great for training, it is also a good time to get your puppy socializing with other humans and dogs.
This is a way to teach your puppy to discern between friend and foe. With the right training GSD’s can be mostly calm instead of switching to defense mode and often being aggressive to people they don’t know.
How Can I Train My GSD from Home?
Training your German Shepherd puppy is divided into a series of phases.
Here’s the training process underlined in a variety of phases that will allow pet owners to fully train your German Shepherd puppy at home, while removing professional trainers from the equation.
1. Basic Command Training
This step must be completely fulfilled in order for you and your puppy to communicate.
2. Crate Training
Crate training is important while traveling and solving the problem pet-owner dependency.
This will allow pet owners to understand the right way and the wrong way to discipline their puppies.
4. Potty Training
This is a must have to help you dodge the poop bullet. It takes patience and time.
So lets have a look at each one of these separately…
Basic German Shepherd Training Commands
You need these commands in order for you to start conditioning your puppy. It also makes for a great starting point when you’re trying to get them used to the training process.
The first command they should learn is name recognition. Get your puppy to recognize their name. Do this repetitively while looking at them. This is to condition them to respond when called.
Other commands include: sit, stay, heel, paw etc. Basic commands are always first on the training list.
How to Crate Train a German Shepherd Puppy
Crate training can be done at intervals in the course of the day. When you need to do your chores, take a shower or before feeding time, you can slip them into the cage.
Another thing is not to allow your puppy to sleep in your bed at night so that they can get used to the crate and not your bed.
If you like you can add a few toys to stir the pot. Puppies love toys and putting them in there makes them feel safe and happy. Also make sure that the crate is located in one place – no moving it around.
New dog owners may wonder if crate training is necessary to the training process. It is important because it reduces the risk of your puppy having separation anxiety.
It may seem sweet at first that your puppy needs you so much, but separation anxiety can be detrimental to a dog’s mental and physical health.
What’s more, when separated, your puppy can sometimes choose not to eat, or go rampant in the house, tearing up things as they go.
How Do you Discipline Your Pup?
Disciplining your German Shepherd is dependent on the type of training method you choose to use. The two types of training methods are:
• Reward-based training
• Discipline based training
Reward-based training instills positive discipline. This is because each time your puppy does as they have been conditioned to, or rather done as requested to, they are rewarded with treats, praise, toys, pats or pets. Something they generally like and want from their owner.
This is to equate good behavior with good things. They will be conditioned to that.
Discipline-based training instills negative discipline to your puppy. This is because each time your puppy does something they were not supposed to do or they did it the wrong way, they are met with scolding or other negative responses.
This is so that the dog can equate some bad behaviors with bad things.
According to dog training specialists, a German Shepherd puppy can pick up on training behaviors and their reactions up to five tries. This is a testament to the high intelligence that German Shepherds tend to have.
It should also be noted that despite their intelligence, German Shepherds are highly sensitive. They can be a product of their environment. With negative discipline, it could have a much negative impact to your adoring puppy.
It is recommended that new dog owners should utilize reward-based training that brings about positive discipline. This is not only for the sake of your dog, but also you and the people around you.
You don’t want to end up with an aggressive dog as a result of poor training at the end of the day.
The goal of the entire training process was to reduce the risk of aggression from your puppy completely.
How to Potty Train a GSD Puppy
Puppies are really easy to read. After eating, usually around 10-30 minutes, they want to use the bathroom. Time this period and quickly get them outside so that they can associate grass with a bathroom break.
Another thing to consider is your reaction as the puppy parent. Whenever the puppy does number 1 or 2 outside, fill them with positive discipline. Praise them, pet them and tell them they’ve done a great job.
German Shepherds are a people pleaser, they will want to go to the bathroom outside all the time in order to get that positive reaction from you.
Finally, make a routine so that they are conditioned to schedule their potty breaks.
This is the endurance part of this race. It will take time and patience to get this right. The main idea is to condition your dog to not go to the bathroom inside the house.
German Shepherd puppy training doesn’t have be hard. In fact this breed is uniquely suited to quickly learn new skills in order to please their owner.
Take your time, teach them basic commands and go from there. You’ll be surprised how quickly they will pick things up.
Elise is the owner of HMD. She has spent her whole life around dogs starting from when she was growing up on her parents farm. She is a prolific writer and blogger who passionately writes about her love for her canine friends.