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Knowing even a handful of German Shepherd puppy training tips can make or break your early training efforts.
And these tips are so good they’ll not only give you a solid start with your dog obedience, they’ll give you the confidence you need to live happily with your soon-to-be powerful breed.
All you have to do is keep reading to learn the best tips for training your German Shepherd puppy with confidence and ease.
1. Have Fun!
Training should be fun for you and your dog. Research studies confirm that when dogs look happy with a wagging tail and wide eyes, they learn more quickly (source)!
Therefore, your dog’s happiness during training is connected to their success! Keep obedience light and don’t stress your pup out.
If you’re feeling stressed, skip training for a day and try later.
2. Find the Right High-Value Rewards
Reward, reward, and then reward! Positive motivation is a key component of highly trained dogs (source).
Keep trying different rewards to get the behavior you want. Increase the tastiness or toy-value if your pup doesn’t respond.
You don’t even need food. Try petting or scratching your dog and words of affection, as many dogs perform well without food rewards.
3. Socialization is a Priority
The American Veterinary Medical Association says the first 3—14 weeks is the most important time for your pup (source)!
keep your pup isolated in the home. Take them around town with you, out hiking
and exploring, and expose them to unusual sounds or activities in the home.
Let them meet different people, animals, see weather patterns, hear unusual noises, and walk on a variety of surfaces.
4. Puppy Proof Your Home
Tie up loose cables that puppies will find and chew, put away the good bed sheet and blankets, and remove any objects that are valuable.
Get on your hands and knees and take a puppy view tour of your home to discover anything that looks even remotely interesting.
Remove those items, as your pup will find them even more interesting than you! As your pup grows they’ll find new objects to explore, so make regular “crawl-throughs” on all fours as your dog grows.
5. Create Boundaries
Don’t wait until your dog destroys your favorite rug or carpet to decide you should have installed baby gates.
You can close off doors, but German Shepherd puppies prefer to see their families and a closed-door can contribute to anxiety.
Don’t buy a regular baby gate, as your dog can get their head caught inside the bars. Instead, buy a pet-safe baby gate that won’t allow your dog to have any accidents if they try to push through.
Baby gates help introduce your dog to boundary training. Boundary training teaches your dog what areas are off-limits and are a useful tool as your pup gets larger.
6. Keep Family Rules Posted… and Follow Them
to have a family meeting to discuss the rules for the dog. Get the whole family
involved to help with a balanced pet and happier home.
Print off a set of commands to stay consistent. List what behaviors are and aren’t allowed and your dog’s basic commands.
Set the rules for your pup early. Then, follow them!
7. Expose Them to Grooming Early
Do you want an easier to groom full-grown Shepherd? Then groom your dog as a puppy now!
Begin exposing your pup to grooming early so that when you want to groom them as adults, they are happy to comply.
8. Use Simple Words
make your commands any harder than you must. Dogs prefer short and easy
use whatever commands work for you. But remain consistent in their meaning so
that your dog understands you better. Shorter commands of one word work better
than multiple word commands.
“sit down” because that’s two commands (sit and down). And don’t say “come over
here” when “come” will work. Pick what works for you and stay consistent.
9. Use Positive Training
Use rewards and steer away from punishment. It’s shown that physically hurting your dog leads to anxiety and aggression.
Use positive words, treats, toys, and physical touch to encourage positive behaviors. Don’t verbally demean your dog or use a harsh tone. When your pup is misbehaving try a redirection of their attention instead.
Puppies have a short attention span. Don’t train your pup over 2-3 minutes at a time.
The best German Shepherd puppy training tip I’ve learned is that short sessions throughout the day with only a couple minutes of training, rather than long sessions, keep a dog more engaged and eager to learn.
11. Build Upon Your Puppy’s Success
Help your dog learn the result you want by building upon their successes first. Work in small steps to achieve the behavior you desire.
For example, if you only can get your pup to sit for a few seconds, don’t expect them to sit for 3 minutes in the next session. Build into their sit each session by just a few seconds. See each session as a building block.
You must master each small block to build larger, longer or more complicated training.
12. Dogs Need Rest Days
you have bad days and can’t focus or concentrate, so does your dog.
your pup an off day if they don’t seem interested, are agitated, or grumpy.
Return later in the day to see if they’re ready to learn. But don’t force
them through a session if they aren’t interested.
Maybe they’re just bored and need a walk. Or, maybe there’s something more serious you should see your vet about.
13. Teach House Manners
House manners include a respectful door greeting, no jumping on guests, you or your furniture (unless you want them on the furniture), no unnecessary barking, and no chewing on unapproved items.
your dog through training doesn’t make your dog learn any faster!
It takes time and repetition to gain a new skill. How long does learning a new skill take?
It depends. But your German Shepherd is one of the top 3 smartest breeds. So, you have a shorter time to wait than most.
19. Get Regular Check-ups
and keep your appointments so your puppy or dog stay healthy and strong. Don’t
skip a routine exam because you think nothing is wrong with your pet.
Vets train to look for the smallest details and can spot small issues before they become big ones. A sick puppy can go downhill quickly.
Your GSD also needs a set of vaccinations in order to train outdoors and around other dogs.
20. Buy a Crate that Grows with Your Dog
Buy a crate that is built for a growing German Shepherd. And teach your pup how to love it.
Don’t purchase a small crate and keep buying a larger one as your pup grows. Instead, buy a crate with a movable divider.
This saves you time, money, and stress!
Don’t be the pet parent with 5 different sizes of a crate in your garage storage. Pick the best crate size for a German Shepherd to ensure a great fit and show your pup that a crate is a safe place to relax.
20. Teach Handling Skills
Handle your puppy with the intention to train them to tolerate later real-world situations.
Inspect their ears like your vet. Brush them and cut their nails, as your groomer would. The American Kennel Club suggests a daily dog massage to introduce and acclimate your pup to touch, which gives them confidence (source).
Associate your handling with good things, and when an adult your dog will not fear routine, necessary events in life. This includes getting them used to baths.
But few of these collars break away to save your dog’s life.
Break-away collars snap away from your dog’s neck when there is enough physical pressure applied. But they are strong enough for walks on a lead.
If your dog is ever in trouble and they catch their collar, the break-away design allows for a safe release.
This is a collar that is a must for everyday wear, especially with a young, active, mischievous puppy.
German Shepherd Puppy Training Tips That Last a Lifetime
Training is only the beginning of your life with your puppy.
These helpful German Shepherd puppy training tips will get you started, but there’s much more to caring for your new puppy.
Your dog is counting on you to provide not only the basic commands but also a commitment to their health and guidance to teach them how to live in your world.
GSDs are one of the world’s smartest breeds and need an owner who will take the time and patience to train them. They are independent thinkers that need guidance to live a happy home life with you and your family.
Have you considered enrolling in an online training program that encourages your breed’s superior intelligence while working on all the basics?
You need German Shepherd training to get the best behavior from your dog and enjoy a happy life with them. Read these posts to find out what type of German Shepherd training works the best for your breed.
Your German Shepherd’s health, as well as your dog’s specific breed history, contributes to their overall life span. These posts will help you become aware of your dog’s health problems and how to help solve or improve them.