German Shepherd Training
How to Get Results in German Shepherd Training
German shepherds are one of the most intelligent and obedient dog breeds in existence. That is one of the reasons why they’re such a popular choice for police work, guide dogs and as a lovable companion. However, like any dog breed, a German shepherd training regimen requires a lot of work and patience in order to be truly effective. Here are some German shepherd training tips to help ensure that training goes smoothly and sticks with both dog and master.
Select the Type of German Shepherd Training
Since they are such versatile and obedient dogs, there are various types of German shepherd training that you can implement. Pinpointing exactly what you need the German shepherd training for will help customize the regimen to be more effective. Do you need German shepherd training tips for teaching the bare basics to a puppy? Are you trying to help an older dog behave? Are they going to be performing services such as security, police work or assisting handicapped individuals? Some types of German shepherd training may require the assistance of a professional to achieve while others can easily be done at home.
German Shepherd Puppy Training
There’s no better time to start German shepherd training than when they’re puppies. They won’t be able to grasp complicated commands, tricks or actions during this time, but the earlier that you start on German shepherd puppy training the more effective it will be.
German shepherd puppy training should start between the ages of two and six months. This allows the dog to gain a good foundation on the basics of training.
One of the most useful German shepherd training tips to utilize very early on is securing your stance as alpha. German shepherds are pack dogs, meaning that they have a pack mindset of leaders or alpha dogs and followers. If you don’t take the reigns as leader, they may take that as meaning that they’re the alpha dog around the house. When a dog believes that they’re the alpha, they become preoccupied with the protection of their pack and have difficulty respecting the commands of their human masters during German shepherd puppy training.
Taking a stance as the alpha dog does not mean yelling or being too stern. It can be achieved through clear and stern commands, repetition, trust and caring.
Patience is especially vital when going through German shepherd puppy training. All of the German shepherd training tips in the world cannot help you if you don’t have the patience to continue proper training. Remember, puppies are energetic, playful and just learning about the world around them. It will likely be difficult to maintain their attention for long during German shepherd training sessions. If you’re getting particularly frustrated, take a break. Play with the dog, rest for a bit or go do something you enjoy, and come back with a clearer head later.
Contrary to what some may believe, German shepherds are not inherently aggressive. They are no more likely to bite than any other breed. However, puppies love to chew and nibble on nearly anything they can get their teeth on, especially when they’re teething, and nipping is a common action when playing. As natural as it may be, it’s also dangerous, and preventing bites is one of the most vital steps in German shepherd puppy training.
One of the best German shepherd training tips for this lesson is to avert their biting to something acceptable like a toy. Always have a soft toy nearby or in hand when playing with the puppy. When they look like they’re about to bite, give them the toy instead. This will help teach them that toys are a more suitable option for biting.
If they manage to bite you, immediately let out a sharp yelp or high pitched cry similar to that of an injured puppy. Once they let go, give them a proper toy to chew on.
One of the most important German shepherd training tips for leash training is not jumping into public walks too quickly. This can be very stressful and awkward, especially in German shepherd puppy training as they feel a sense of restraint in new areas and around other people or dogs. Start with some baby steps first.
Ensure that the collar is just loose enough to be comfortable while not being so loose that the dog can slip out of it. You should be able to easily wiggle your fingers in the space between the neck and collar.
Put a medium sized leash on the dog, and let them walk around the house to allow them to adjust to the feeling. The leash should allow for a few feet of freedom that is comfortable for the dog and owner. If the leash is too long, it can give a dog too much freedom and make subsequent training on a leash harder. Not enough slack can easily hurt the dog and keep them from sniffing around, which is a vital natural instinct.
Dogs are so used to running and playing freely, that they will likely not enjoy the feeling of a leash at first. They may start chewing on it, rolling around or pulling too hard to get away, but the dog should relax after a short while.
Next, take the dog for a walk in the yard with the leash. You may feel like playing to keep them comfortable, but this can make them associate leashes with play time. Instead, take this time for some light training. There will be plenty of time for fun once a good degree of training has been established.
One of the biggest problems with leash training is tugging. Many dogs love to pull on their leashes to get something they want or merely to move faster than their owner. To teach a dog not to pull on their leash, stop in your tracks as you’re walking. They’ll likely fight and continue tugging for a bit before resigning to your side. Once they stop and return to you, praise them and continue walking. Keep this up every time that they decide to pull. It’s truly a battle of who’s more stubborn that determines whether it will be effective. Do not yank on the leash on try to reel it in as this can easily hurt the dog’s neck or throat.
German shepherds are one of the most common dogs for home defense. They’re big, strong, intimidating and dedicated to protecting their masters. However, this can be a nuisance when friends come over or when a package is delivered to the house. This is a bit of a tricky area because you want the dog to bark at threats but not at innocent people.
When a dog barks at an innocent person coming to the house, walk up to them, investigate through a peephole or window, praise them for alerting you to the intrusion and answer the door. If they keep barking, give a verbal cue such as ‘all done’ and then give them another job such as obeying a command. If they obey, reward them. If not, keep up repetition in the command until they do.
Responding When Called
An especially difficult hurdle to jump in German Shepherd puppy training is getting them to come to you when called. Puppies are easily distracted and can get very preoccupied with other dogs, animals, people, strange scents and activity. One of the best German shepherd training tips for this command is to create a good balance between freedom and control. You want to give them the freedom to sniff around, investigate, learn about their surroundings, discover new things and relax. However, you want to have enough control to keep them away from dangerous areas or to prevent them from running off when kept off of a leash.
Clearly and sternly give the command to return to your side. It’s best to have a solid command for recalling your dog instead of merely using their name as this can confuse them.
If they respond, immediately praise them and give them a treat. If not, keep repeating the command until they come over. It’s best to pepper this command in a German shepherd training regimen. Focusing on this command too much, especially when done on a leash, can make a dog feel overly restrained. Try to avoid using this command if they’re sniffing their surroundings or investigating something. Unless you’re worried they may attack something or someone, it’s best to let them finish first.
One of the best German shepherd training tips is properly utilizing rewards. When a dog obeys your commands, verbally praise them in a happy and upbeat voice. You can even offer treats as a tasty bonus. Always remember to include verbal praise no matter what secondary reward you give them. They need to know that you’re happy with their actions, not that they’ll always get food or toys for obeying.
Punishments can be tackled in a similar manner in German shepherd training. If a dog does something like bark at you for their food, withhold the food until they stop barking. You can also give a verbal command such as “sit” and wait until they obey to give them the food.
Yelling at, hitting a dog and other punishments should never be an option. They’re not very effective at deterring bad behavior, and they usually instill fear in the dog.
No matter if it’s adult German shepherd training or German shepherd puppy training, the most vital aspect of properly teaching a dog commands is repetition. Just like when you studied in school, the best way to make the material stick is to go over it again and again.
Another one of the more important German shepherd training tips is practicing consistency. If you’re inconsistent with your commands or rewards, the dog will get confused in what they’re supposed to do. For instance, if you train them through commands to sit when you open the door for company, they may get confused if you neglect to do that the next time that someone comes over.
Manage the Workload
Being dedicated to training is great, but it’s best to restrict training sessions to about 20 minutes or so per day. When going through German shepherd puppy training, you may want to lower that even further to 10 or 15 minutes. Patience wears thin, the attention span of puppies starts waning and dogs get tired quickly after this time frame. It’s always best to acknowledge when enough is enough and end the session.
Another one of the more vital German shepherd training tips is to set aside plenty of time to play everyday. After all of that work, both of you deserve a good dose of fun.