A German Shepherd can be trained into a guard dog and yet remain a comfortable family dog. While German Shepherds are trainable, they have a strong-willed personality with certain powerful characteristics.
The best time for German Shepherd puppy training is between 2 and 6 months of age. This is the critical period for laying the foundations so your puppy can live harmoniously with the rest of the family. Older German Shepherd dogs can still be trained effectively though.
Basics on How to train a German Shepherd puppy
There are 2 main things to keep in mind: reward positive behavior and extinguish negative behavior. It is also crucial to maintain consistency. A puppy learns faster with practice, and if he receives constant reactions to specific behaviors.
The most basic things to train your puppy on are:
- Potty training
Being the Alpha
According to the best dog training books, an owner’s very first responsibility is to establish the alpha position. German Shepherds have a strong personality, and it is crucial for your puppy to know and accept you as his alpha. Without this, training will be in vain.
Establishing the alpha position means being strong and confident, calm, and composed. You do not have to shout at your puppy.
Shouting is not good. It will only make your puppy afraid of you. You can assert your authority with a calm voice.
Fear will not promote obedience. Your puppy will more likely react in self-defense and disobedience.
That’s not what you want to achieve.
How to train a German Shepherd to sit
This is the next important thing to train your puppy with. Obedience training can start with a simple “Sit”, “Stay” and “Stand”. All these will help your puppy accept and acknowledge you as his alpha.
These are also the foundations to make your puppy learn obedience. This will make other training sessions in the future much easier.
Teaching your puppy to sit is not just for show. It has many uses.
It is one of the most effective ways to calm your puppy when he gets excited or when he starts to charge at other animals or people.
Train in a quiet place, away from any distractions. Have a handful of treats for rewarding correct behavior.
Get the puppy’s attention by having him sniff at one of the treats on your hand. Do not allow him to eat it.
Hold the treat directly above your puppy’s nose but out of his reach.
Say the command “Sit” in a clear, authoritative voice but do not shout. Move the treat at the same time high above his line of sight.
This will force him to naturally take a seated position. When he does, tell your puppy he did a good job and give him the treat.
Continue this at the same time and frequency until he learns to associate his seated position to your verbal command “Sit”.
Never make the error of forcing your puppy into a seated position by pushing his body down.
You might want to try teaching obedience using dog commands in German. Some of the most helpful ones are:
- Sitz (Sit)
- Platz <plats> (Down)
- Bleib <bly’b> (Stay)
- Fuss <fooss> (Heel)
Training requires patience and consistency. The fastest and easiest way is when your puppy sees you as his alpha, and you follow a strict schedule.