Easy German Shepherd Training at Home (Step-by-Step Obedience)

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You don’t realize it yet, but in the next 10 minutes, you will learn how quickly German Shepherd training will change your life following a simple step-by-step guide. 

Imagine what it would be like if you could get your dog to listen the first time, without hesitation.

Instead, they act like you don’t even exist. 

But it doesn’t have to be this way!

By the time you finish reading this article, you’ll begin to feel real success by using proven techniques to train your German Shepherd like a seasoned professional. 

Voice: Your Most Powerful Training Tool

person using their voice to talk through a tin can with a string

Your voice is your most powerful training tool that communicates to your dog your expectations. 

It commands respect, offers comfort, and can warn of danger.

Dogs are more likely to respond to the tone of voice rather than to your actual command. If you’re having problems with your dog listening, then voice training will help. 

How to Use Your Voice to Train Your German Shepherd

During training, pay attention to your tone. Don’t use a happy/high tone when you need a more authoritative/low tone. Don’t expect them to understand the verbal command when your tone doesn’t match. Match your tone to your message for the most effective communication.

Use a clear voice in the right tone and volume while commanding your dog (source).  With time, you will give commands once and your dog will obey.

  • Your voice must not be too loud or too quiet.
  • Don’t yell at your dog. This will either frighten or confuse them.
  • Use a firm, confident volume and tone for most commands.
  • Use a louder voice for emergencies and danger.
  • Use a lower and deeper tone in your voice to make commands. 
  • A higher tone is for praise and encouragement, such as in “good boy” or “come”.

How German Shepherd Training at Home Helps You 

black german shepherd sitting next to a blonde hair woman kneeling in a grassy field

German Shepherd training at home is important not only for your dog but also for you and your family. Obedience teaches your dog how to experience success both inside the home and out.

Training your German Shepherd at home gives you the opportunity to practice as much as you want when convenient for you. It saves you time and money.

But there are many more amazing benefits!

Obedience training benefits:

  • Safety from dangers
  • Predictability so you can be more at ease in new situations
  • A fun and friendly dog
  • A closer bond between you and your dog
  • Increased satisfaction in ownership
  • More freedom for you and your dog to explore your area with confidence

The first item is the most important: safety from dangers.

Without proper training, your dog will find themselves in harm’s way!

A dog who understands and responds to a handful of basic commands is easier to keep safe and out of mischief. Teaching “stop” is crucial if your dog starts to cross a busy street.

What age to start training a German Shepherd puppy?

The best age to train a German Shepherd puppy is around 8 weeks old. He can understand simple commands, such as sit, stay, down, and come as he gets older. Their attention span is short, but using quick sessions will show great progress!

Don’t expect perfection at first. As your dog grows, he will learn more quickly. 

Be patient and positive.

German Shepherd Training Schedule

Sessions Puppy Adult Basic Commands
Morning2–3 min3–5 minsit, stay, down, come
Afternoon2–3 min3–5 minsit, stay, down, come
Evening2–3 min3–5 minsit, stay, down, come

Aim for 3 to 6 sessions daily of no more than 2 to 3 minutes each for a young puppy and 3 to 5-minute sessions for an adult. Adjust the time based on your dog’s attention span and mood. 

GSDs have a high energy drive and will become destructive when not trained and exercised properly, such as chewing excessively. Start raining from day one with basic training commands.

Can you really train your German Shepherd in 5 minutes?

Yes, but only if you follow the schedule, train them most days, and use positive training methods.

Tips to Train A German Shepherd Puppy or Adult

  • Dogs get bored, especially with repetitive commands. Vary your commands during training sessions.
  • While puppies are intelligent, they are also easily distracted. Cut sessions short if you see your pup grow disinterested.
  • End your session on a positive note with a command that your dog knows so they will be successful.
  • Train in different areas to help your dog learn to cope with distractions but first, start in quieter places so get their attention.
  • If they seem lethargic or behave unusually, give them time off and get them checked by your vet.
  • Use rewards of all kinds. Treats, pets, or praise are all rewards that motivate your dog to perform.

How to Train A German Shepherd Dog or Puppy

Follow these training guidelines for a healthy, happy, well-rounded puppy.

  1. Develop their confidence through positive socialization.
  2. Show them where and when to eliminate with potty and house training.
  3. Keep them healthy and fit using wholesome foods and a feeding schedule.
  4. Show them how to enjoy being handled through positive touches, such as through a regular grooming routine.
  5. Avoid lifelong health issues with a proper, gentle exercise routine.
  6. Show them love and affection to increase your bond.
  7. Crate train your dog so they learn how to relax and can travel with you.
  8. Teach them to walk nicely on a leash for exploration and pack walks.
  9. Train them to basic and advanced obedience commands for a better relationship.
  10. Offer fair and consistent discipline to develop rules.

Training your German Shepherd puppy involves teaching them how to be successful in your world and life. This means they need to understand what you expect of them and how you communicate your expectations. 

Use the Right Tools for the Job

Use the right tools for your puppy or adult and follow the training steps below to begin basic training with your German Shepherd. Teaching obedience without these supplies makes the work harder on you.

Don’t make your life harder! Buy the right tools.

Breakaway Safety Collar

The breakaway collar will save your dog’s life in an emergency.

Daily Walking Leash

A heavy-duty leash keeps your dog near you and helps with control.

Long Line Training Leash

Use this long line leash to train your GSD safely outdoors.

Having the right tools makes all the difference. 

You also need some tasty treats. Use pea-sized pieces of cheese, small bits of cooked chicken or other healthy treats of your choosing. These tasty bits are your dog’s reward and motivation during their training sessions.

You don’t work for free and your German Shepherd shouldn’t either!

How to Train a German Shepherd to Sit

how to teach a german shepherd to sit

Teaching your dog sit is one of the easiest German Shepherd training commands for your puppy or dog. It’s a basic skill and a great place to start your training.

Your pup sits hundreds of times in a day. Now all you need to do is connect the motion to the command.

Teach Sit Step-by-Step

  1. Start with your dog in a standing position. Have your reward treat in your hand. Show your pup the treat is in your hand.
  2. Move your hand over their head as you keep the treat near their nose.
  3. As their head raises to look at the treat, their bottom begins lowering to the ground. The second your dog’s bottom reaches the floor, give them a treat.
  4. Don’t use the sit command yet. We want your dog to associate the correct motion with the reward first.
  5. After a few sessions, say sit when their entire bottom is on the floor. 
  6. Remember to reward them only when their bottom is on the floor.

Once you are sure they know the command, increase your distance from them when you give the sit command. Your goal is to say sit from a long distance and your puppy performs. Practice in different rooms inside your home and use a variety of distances while training indoors.

Move to the outdoors with a secure long leash when your pup is ready for more distractions and distance.

If your dog doesn’t hold the sit while you’re far away, move back to the previous distance he was sitting. Start with the last success. It’s better to build upon smaller steps than to have your pup fail and not understand.

How to Teach a German Shepherd to Stay in Place

german shepherd performing a stay in front of their handler

Stay teaches your dog to remain in one spot. It’s a skill you need when moving on to advanced commands. Stay keeps your dog in one spot until you release them.

For advanced training, use stay to transition from one command to the next. For example, as in “sit, stay, come!”

Teaching the Stay Step-by-Step

Have your pup in their collar and 6-foot walking leash. Begin indoors in a quiet area free from distractions. 

  1. Hold the leash in your left hand. Use the right hand to signal to stay while standing directly in front of your dog. 
  2. Raise your hand and turn your palm toward your dog.
  3. Say “stay” with confidence while your palm is facing your dog.
  4. If he tries to move, say “no” or “uh-oh” and move one step toward them.
  5. When he stays with success, walk toward him and give him the treat. 
  6. Don’t call him toward you, as then you reward him for coming instead of staying. Now add in the word stay when your dog performs the stay behavior correctly.

Increase the stay time your dog is in the stay position beginning with 5 seconds and working up to one minute or more. Don’t rush them to hold their stay, though.

Next, work on extending the distance between you and your dog while in the stay. Take a few steps back each time you train. Your goal is to reach the end of your leash while your pup stays in place. 

This could take many sessions over weeks or months.

Advanced Stay Techniques

Once you are at the full distance of your leash, drop the leash and work on having your dog stay while you move into different rooms. Don’t forget to come back to your dog to reward him, so he doesn’t develop the bad habit of moving during a stay.

Add in distractions, such as friends walking around while you train your GSD. For the final steps, have your dog on the long leash and train in your backyard.

Extend the leash as far as it will reach and have your dog stay in place for 30 seconds or longer. Move to outdoor training at a quiet park and repeat the steps for increasing distractions.

How to Train a German Shepherd Dog to the Down Command

teach your german shepherd to lay down on command

Teaching your dog down keeps them on the ground for a few moments.

You can use this time to plan for the next command or simply to have them wait on you. Use “sit” and “down” together for a more challenging move when you think your puppy is ready.

Teach Down Step-by-Step

  1. Start with your dog or puppy in a sitting position. Have a tasty treat in your closed hand. Let them see you put that treat in your hand.
  2. Take your closed hand and now move it in front of your puppy’s nose.
  3. Move your hand toward the floor in front of them. Your pup will follow the treat into a down position.
  4. Offer them the tasty treat and praise them immediately when they are in the down position.
  5. Don’t use the down command yet. You want to make sure they know the motions first.
  6. Continue practicing this technique throughout the day. 
  7. After a few sessions with your pup performing the correct motion, add in the word down.
  8. Only use the command down when you’re sure they will go into the position. 
  9. Give him his tasty reward when he is in the down position. 

Practice in different rooms to ensure your dog knows the command. Move to areas where there are distractions, such as a busy room in your house, and even outside while on a leash.

Use the long leash for outdoor sessions and safety.

Increase the time your dog is in the down position by taking a long time to offer the treat. Don’t forget to reward them with a good boy to let them know they are performing well.

Teaching Your Dog the Come Command

teach your german shepherd the come command

You use come daily for a variety of tasks you need from your dog. Don’t use come to punish your dog, or they’ll develop a negative association with the command and refuse to come to you.

A reliable recall (come) is part of your basic obedience training.

Teach Come Step-by-Step

  1. Once your dog is responding to their name, use a fun voice and slap your leg or crouch dog to get your dog’s attention while taking a few steps back to entice your dog.
  2. When they come to you, reward them with a happy voice and a good boy. You may want to step a few feet backward while calling him. This lures him to follow you.
  3. Don’t use the word come yet, as you want to make sure they understand the action of the command first.
  4. Choose different distances, but make sure they’re short. Once your dog reliably moves toward you when you call them, add in the word come
  5. Reward them and repeat the exercise using different distances and the word come now.

Increase the distance you are away when you call him inside the house. If your German Shepherd performs the command reliably, add in farther distances. Reward them when they respond correctly.

Practice many times with the word come while you are in the same room. Now, call him from farther and farther away in different rooms.

Use distractions in the home while practicing. Call him while other people are in the room. When he’s successful, change up the rooms you call him from.

Next, use both different rooms and a variety of distractions together. You want him to know that come means he’ll get a reward of treats, praise, and pets. But only if he ignores multiple distractions.

  • If he responds correctly during multiple training sessions, leash him with the long leash and train outside to work on concentrating with outdoor distractions.
  • Repeat the process you used indoors practicing with varying distances and distractions outside.

Come keeps your dog out of trouble when they’re heading for danger. Don’t underestimate the power of a strong recall!

Practice with Distance, Duration, and Distraction

Remember to include the 3 D’s of dog training in your obedience lessons—distraction, distance, and duration. The 3 D’s help reinforce your German Shepherd’s training and give you more reliability over your dog.

They familiarize your dog with the many ways in which they might get asked to perform their commands. These extra steps are invaluable to the quality of your German Shepherd obedience home training program.

Examples of the 3 D’s of Dog Training

  • Increase the time your dog is one position by taking a long time to offer the treat.
  • See how long you can have your dog stay while you move into different practice areas and work on increasing the time.
  • Try to keep his attention on you during his training despite other distractions in your room, inside your house, or outdoors.

If your GSD seems to have forgotten their command, take them back to the last place they were successful and begin training from there. It’s not unusual for you to have gone too fast or expected too much. Not all of your days are perfect, right? Adjust your training as needed.

Continue building on your dog’s knowledge and your desire for a responsive companion and you’ll see amazing improvements in their good behaviors and in your ability to control your German Shepherd. 

Help Your GSD Have a Happy Life

Your breed loves to stay motivated and happy, so don’t stop with the basic commands. Instead, make sure you have a well-rounded training program:

Conclusion: How to Train a German Shepherd for Life

Getting a German Shepherd Dog is an exciting time in both of your lives! 

Use brief training sessions and practice frequently. End training with a command you know your pup will perform and reward them at the end. Include the 3 D’s of dog training for reliability.

Rare thinking people like you already know that your German Shepherd’s full potential is through positive training and desire to learn more. 

Use these breakthrough techniques to help you feel confident training your German Shepherd at home along with scientifically-based brain training that has helped thousands of other dog owners feel successful.

Achieve the life you’ve always wanted with your German Shepherd! Visit ShepherdSense.com for valuable information to help you create the dog of your dreams.

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