You’ve just brought home your dream dog: an adorable German Shepherd puppy! Now you’relooking into German Shepherd dog training. This coveted dog is sure to be a treasured and faithful companion- with the proper training! In just 6 steps, you are on your way to enjoying life with your new best friend.
German Shepherd Dog Training Where to Begin?
I have outlined a few goals for German Shepherd dog training and the simple steps to help achieve them.
Remember to have lots of patience with your pup; they are always learning new behaviors, and it takes time and consistency to see progress. Every dog is unique, and that’s what makes them special!
The steps listed below are organized in order based on your dog’s approximate age. Each step builds on the previous one.
So if you and your pup are ready, keep reading to find out how to easily begin your German Shepherd dog training
Step 1 Socialize Your German Shepherd | From Birth
When speaking of German Shepherds dog training the process should begin with socialization the very day they are born. In most cases, the breeder will be responsible for getting the litter socialized until they go home to their new families, around 8 weeks of age.
Why It’s Important
German Shepherds are very protective by nature, so you want them to be able to distinguish harmless people and routines from threats. Puppy’s also have a critical socialization period that ends at about 4 months of age.
It’s important to understand that socialization starts in puppyhood but does not end there. It’s an ongoing process, so you want to continue socializing your dog with other people, places, and things you expect your dog to behave around. Socializing your German Shepherd builds on their confidence, which allows them to be relaxed and behave as they accompany you in your day-to-day life, as well as when exploring new places.
Tips for Socialization
- Your puppy is very observant, so take it with you to places you expect him to behave as an adult dog. That way, your pup can take note of how you act around other people, animals, and events (ex: if you expect your dog to be around farm animals, bring your puppy around farm animals, likewise if you expect your dog comfortable to be around a city, get your puppy around trucks, cars, and crowds.)
- From a young age, allow your puppy to explore different environments with different sounds and smells (the more, the better!)
- * Before taking your dog to the vet or groomers, be sure to familiarize your pup with the veterinarian, the vet office, and the groomers.
These places have different smells and sounds. You want to prepare your puppy before actually getting your dog groomed or checked by the vet. (That way, your puppy’s first experience is positive and isn’t scary)
You don’t want to bring your puppy to a new environment and “hope for the best” because if his first experience is negative, your puppy will grow to dislike the groomers or vet.
Instead, set your puppy up for success!
To learn more about puppy socialization, read our definitive guide for puppy socialization that goes over everything you need to know!
Step 2 Crate Training | From 8+ Weeks
One of the first things you will have to work on when it comes to german shepherd dog training with your new puppy is crate training. If you feel bad for crating your puppy, think of it this way: You’re providing your puppy a safe space where they can relax.
You are also beginning to teach your puppy some critical skills covered below.
Why It’s Important
Crate training will teach your German Shepherd how to be comfortable being alone instead of developing separation anxiety when you are away.
The crate is also a great way to prevent your puppy from making mistakes while learning the house rules.
It’s important to understand that puppies have no clue what is “right and wrong.” It’s our job to teach them how to live in our world.
This is why we use the crate to prevent your puppy from developing any bad habits while not under our supervision—things such as chewing furniture, peeing in the house, and much more are easily preventable with the use of the crate.
(if we are not in a position to guide our puppy, then the crate is the best option instead of allowing them to “figure it out o their own,” which is a recipe for disaster.
Once your puppy learns to love its crate, leaving him alone or putting him in will be a breeze!
Tips for Crate Training
- Select the crate based on durability and comfort for your German Shepherds anticipated adult size
- Make it a rewarding experience by offering your dog a treat in the crate or make it a game by throwing a toy inside
- Go out and leave your dog crated for a short time initially, and build from there, but never leave your dog in its crate all-day
To learn more about crate training your puppy, read our complete guide on crate training
Step 3 Housetraining | From 8+ Weeks
Housetraining your German Shepherd can take just a few days if you are consistent and supervise your dog closely.
Why It’s Important
Let’s face it; no one wants to sleep with a mop in their hands. We all know that having to pick up after your pet soils your floor or furniture can be frustrating.
Once your German Shepherd is housetrained, you will be relieved of what causes many dog owners much stress
Tips for Housetraining
- Take your dog outside to relieve itself regularly, around every 2-3 hours at first
- Leash your dog and let it follow you outside, giving it a treat once it goes potty outside
- Create a potty schedule and stay consistent
- Use crate training to prevent your puppy from having any accidents around your house.
To learn more about house training, your puppy read our 7 easy tips for potty training your dog
Step 4 Obedience Training | From 3+ Months
Many dog owners choose to enroll their pups in classes for obedience training which is an excellent option. However, there is a lot you can do at home to teach your dog to listen to you and enjoy taking your direction.
One excellent option is our online dog training course The A-Z of How To Train Your Dog.
This dog training course goes over German Shepherd dog training or training any dog from start to finish, on your own time!
This is the same thing that I go over with clients that pay thousands of dollars to get their dog trained in person.
Why It’s Important
German Shepherd dog training is one of the most critical things to do, so that you and your dog are on the same page and so that you can communicate with your dog effectively.
If you want a dog to enjoy everyday life with, bring it to public places, go the beach, on a calm walk, or eventually be reliable off-leash, then obedience training is a must!
German shepherds are genetically high-energy dogs with high prey drive, and if left mentally and, physically unsatisfied many behavioral issues will develop from barking, lunging, biting, and much more!
So if you want a well-mannered german shepherd, don’t assume he’ll “grow out of ” problem behaviors or that he’ll “grow into” a well-mannered dog.
If you don’t train your dog and satisfy its innate genetic needs, your dog will develop bad habits.
Tips for Obedience Training
- Don’t try teaching your dog many commands at once
- Keep training sessions short
- Start with basic commands like sit, stay, and down
- Remember dogs don’t “grow out” of behavior problems; they only get stronger with repetition ( think of it this way, if you do bicep curls every day, that muscle only gets stronger the more you work it out)
Step 5 Recall Training | From 3+ Months
In line with obedience training, your German Shepherd dog training should include teaching your dog to come when called over in any setting or circumstance.
The recall command is the most important command that you can teach your dog. You can have a dog that doesn’t “sit or give paw,” but you can’t have a dog that doesn’t come when called.
Why It’s Important
Mastering the recall with your German Shepherd is one of the most rewarding things to accomplish for both you and your pup.
Having a good recall can prevent your pup from getting hurt if you think your dog may be in danger.
For instance, one of my clients accidentally dropped their dog’s leash; instead of panicking, he just called his dog back and enjoyed the rest of the walk.
You can also begin enjoying off-leash freedom knowing that if you call your dog, he’ll fly straight towards you!
Tips for Recall Training
- Reserve one command cue for recall training (ex COME, or HERE)
- Start in an indoor or enclosed area that your dog feels safe with no distractions
- Play games where you get your dog’s attention, ask them to “Come,” and reward them with a game of fetch or tug once they approach you!
Step 6 Impulse Control | From 6+ Months
With any German Shepherd dog training, you want to teach your dog to control their urges successfully.
Once your German Shepherd can control its impulses, there are many benefits, such as being able to master teaching your dog that there is a time and place for everything.
Why It’s Important
With proper impulse control, you can avoid your German Shepherd misbehaving.
For instance, just because you see another dog doesn’t mean I want you to pull me towards them impulsively; just because you see a squirrel doesn’t mean I want you to forget about me and chase the squirrel impulsively.
Tips for Impulse Control
- Practices the obedience commands your dog has learned when there are distractions; for instance, if your dog loves other dogs, work obedience at a distance from other dogs.
- You can ask your dog to “sit” when serving their food and give your dog a release word to eat
- Ask your dog to “down,” then use your dog’s toys as a distraction. After play with your dog for listening and not impulsively trying to bite the toy
To learn mor on how to work on impulse control with your dog read our article training impulse control in 4 easy steps
Awaken Your German Shepherd’s True Potential
By following the 6 steps outlined above, you and your intelligent German Shepherd can enjoy everyday life together without the stress.
Following these tips and joining The A-Z Of How To Train Your Dog will help you reach the goals you have for your German Shepherd dog training, whether it be entering competitions, teaching your dog to be the best version of themself or help you exercise!
Without spending tons of money, you can train your German Shepherd with these easy tips, but remember- consistency is key!