How Long Does It Take To Train A German Shepherd: 6 Steps to Speedy Success

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning we get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through our links, at no cost to you. Please read our disclosure for more info.

Are you excited to begin training your German Shepherd and wondering, “How long does it take to train a German Shepherd,” because you’re eager to get started?

I’ve trained German Shepherds and will show you the quickest ways to get the behaviors that you want.  

By the time you’re done reading this, you’ll have learned the best ways to train your German Shepherd in the shortest time possible.

How Much Time Will I Have To Train My German Shepherd? 

how much time will i have to train my german shepherd
Commit to training your German Shepherd daily.

Be prepared to train your dogs for at least 15 minutes a day of obedience training.

You’ll want to break up the 15 minutes throughout the day to make sure your German Shepherd doesn’t get bored of the same routine commands.

Aim for five three-minute sessions daily. There are exceptions to this rule since your GSD is a working breed and some GSDs will enjoy training for longer. But start with no more than a few minutes in a short session and gradually build onto each individual session longer times.

During each session work on just one command so that your dog learns the right way to perform the command. You can add in a second command they know if they’re struggling to learn the first to keep the session positive.

Ready to start training?

Then you’ll enjoy The Ultimate German Shepherd Commands List (For Boss Level Training)

How Long Does It Take To Train A German Shepherd?

german shepherd puppy or adult training times
How long it takes to train a German Shepherd depends on many factors, for example, if you have a puppy or adult.

Usually, most 20 week old German Shepherd puppies are house trained, crate trained, and understand a few basic commands if you’ve trained them correctly. Your puppy is capable and ready to learn at 7 weeks old many simple obedience commands. 

Crate training will take about a week to introduce slowly and have your dog or puppy go into the crate on their own to relax. But if your dog has had a bad experience with the crate it could take months.

Keep in mind that if you have an adult Shepherd who has already lived with another owner (or many dog owners) then you may have to undo improper training or behavior problems. This means that you have many months ahead of you of training.

Some GSDs are aggressive or reactive and it may take years before they learn to relax around other dogs calmy. While other German Shepherds have excellent dog social experiences from the start and can mix in with other dogs on a whim and quickly pick up their training basics.

German Shepherd Training Timeline

How long does it take to obedience train a German Shepherd?

how long does it take to obedience train a german shepherd puppy
German Shepherd puppies are ready for simple training as young as 7 weeks old.

It takes anywhere from 8 to 12 weeks to train a German Shepherd to learn basic obedience commands.

Leash training is rather quick when you gently place the leash on your dog or puppy, use food rewards or play, and don’t use the leash to jerk your dog around the house or neighborhood.

It took me only about a day to train my German Shepherd to sit and wait using lure and reward training. Loose lead walking takes about 10 to 14 days, but for many GSDs who have built up bad walking behaviors, it takes months as this is a hard skill to learn for many dogs.

My GSD took about 5 days to sit and wait at doors before barging out, but she only takes a day to unlearn this behavior if I relax on it and let her out without waiting. 

After a couple of weeks, she knew sit, stay, and down, as well as her name. Although a reliable off-leash come (recall) usually takes about 6 to 8 weeks of proper dog training.

A simple trick, such as ‘spin’ took me only a day, but more complicated tricks could take weeks or months.

It depends on how consistent you are and how well you support your dog to understand the commands. You must also consider your GSDs age and abilities, and whether you are using the right training methods that are simple for your dog to understand.

The most effective and easy-to-understand system for German Shepherds to learn is called clicker training. Using a clicker allows you to mark the specific behaviors your German Shepherd gets right at nearly the exact moment they do them.

The best program to learn this from is the Brain Training for Dogs official program. 

Setbacks That Slow Training

setbacks that slow down training
Be aware of any setback that will slow down the time it takes to train your German Shepherd.

A German Shepherd will forget everything they’ve learned if you don’t hold them accountable and to a standard, skip their daily training, or let them perform a bad behavior and unintentionally reward them.

Harsh punishments and the wrong types of corrections can cause your dog to become fearful of you. Stick with positive dog training, or reward-based training, for a better bond with your special breed.

Remember, any lack of training on your part is still considered training! You are the dog trainer and must learn the right ways to train a German Shepherd.

6 Steps To Speedy Success

6 steps to speedy success
There are simple steps you can take to make training easier and quicker.

These training tips will help you decrease the time it takes to train your German Shepherd while making sure you’re teaching them the right ways to live with you.

Remember, your dog is a brilliant breed, but you must give them the time and attention they need in order to see the most success. 

1. Vary up your training environments

When you start your training sessions at home, you probably use a quiet room, turn off the TV, and maybe even close the door to your practice area so that you can pay attention to your training. While this is great in the beginning phases of training it’s detrimental in the long run.

Why?

Because your dog doesn’t understand the command when you go outside and there’s kids running around, or other dogs and people to grab their attention!

In order to have a trained German Shepherd you must teach them to behave and respond correctly in any situation he’ll face: groups of people, barking dogs, the groomer or vets, in the park, around town, out on a patio, when the weather isn’t nice, loud noises – ANY place or situation you could possibly think of. Think of real-life dog training environments.

2. Train consistently

Training skills will go quickly downhill without regular practice. Skills you once thought your dog knew can be unlearned without consistent repetition.

If time goes by and you or your family let the training routine slip, an enthusiastic German Shepherd who likes to jump to greet visitors will resort back to their natural instincts to jump on people and might be punished when your lack of training consistency is the real problem. Set aside time each day for specific command training, but also remember that every interaction with your German Shepherd is a training opportunity! 

3. Train your German Shepherd throughout the day

You don’t have to use a structured training session to train your German Shepherd. In fact, I’ve found the best way to get my German Shepherd to learn new commands is by incorporating them throughout the day.

For example: When I play tug with my German Shepherd I have her ‘down’ before I let her have the tug occasionally.

For example: Before I feed her I have her go to her ‘place’, ‘down’, and ‘wait’ until I’m done preparing her food.

For example: When getting ready for walks I have her ‘sit’ and ‘wait’ at the door until I give the command to go out. 

Look for training opportunities during your day to get the most training benefits. If you want the best results, practice the 15 minutes more structured sessions IN ADDITION to using everyday obedience in real-world circumstances.

4. Use high-quality rewards for high-quality learning

Find out what treats really motivate your dog. Some German Shepherds will work for lower quality rewards, like their regular kibble, while others may need more motivation.

I have a dog that will work for praise and attention, but I’ve found my German Shepherd prefers tiny, pea-sized pieces of hot dogs. You don’t need a lot of treats when they’re small!

Ian Dunbar, a renowned dog behaviorist, says that freeze-dried liver treats are the Ferrari of high-quality food rewards.

5. Don’t rush training

All dogs learn very differently and at a variety of paces. Don’t feel you need to rush to catch up to German Shepherds you see on YouTube or Instagram. This will only set you back. 

Instead, build up in small steps by starting in a distraction-free area with your basic German Shepherd training. Even in the most desirable situations, your dog may struggle with particular commands.

Don’t rush the training or your dog won’t learn the skills properly and reliably.

6. Use a training program to keep you on track

Staying on top of your training is hard when you don’t know what to teach next.

Instead of just guessing if you’re doing the right thing using a training program designed to build upon your dog’s skills. Online training is easy and simple to follow, and the step-by-step directions guide you through the correct ways to train your German Shepherd with the best results.

Try out the Brain Training for Dogs program for online training from the comfort of your home that has a done-for-you schedule. This training system also includes games to play which improve your Shepherd’s behavior and mental health. 

Training Lasts A Lifetime

german shepherd training lasts a lifetime
Training begins early… and never stops!

Don’t focus on how long does it take to train a German Shepherd, as this can cause you to rush through training, make mistakes, and neglect the fun you and your GSD will have training together! 

Instead, concentrate on the good things your dog does and LET HIM KNOW you like the behavior by offering praise and rewards. Don’t try to train him only when he is bad. 

You can speed up his training by using the right methods to train a German Shepherd. But know that all dogs learn at different rates, and it’s better to focus on the fun of training to make the time more enjoyable for both you and your dog! 

Training a German Shepherd lasts a lifetime, and you’re never really done with training.