How to Discipline a German Shepherd Puppy (11 Positive Tips)

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Imagine you knew how to discipline a German Shepherd puppy the right way so that your bond with your dog grew instead of fell short!

Wouldn’t your life look more peaceful, calm, and happy?

Learn how to communicate with your pup and get the behaviors you want using these simple and easy methods.

Learn How to Discipline a German Shepherd Puppy the Right Way

GSD pup lying in grass

A dog of 8 to 12 weeks old doesn’t have the maturity to fully understand their bad behavior. While you can redirect their attention to wanted behaviors or away from their undesired actions, it’s best to not discipline a pup while they’re this young.

They may become frightened of you or fear your presence, depending on how severe your discipline is. Anxiety may even develop with too much punishment or useless corrections.

A pup of 12 weeks of age or older still needs positive reinforcement for the best behavior changes. Disciplining your GSD should not involve hitting, kicking, slapping, or yelling.

Do you want your puppy to correct their behavior and turn into the sweet angel you want them to be?

Then follow these easy disciplining tips that will keep your relationship with your German Shepherd strong, while still overcoming bad behavior.

1. Start early and remain consistent with your expectations.

start early with german shepherd discipline

While you shouldn’t begin disciplining your puppy as soon as you bring them home, you SHOULD have a set of rules to live by and stick to it.

Shepherd pups are one of the smartest dogs on the plant and learn quickly what you expect of them.

You should show them what behavior is unacceptable in your house. This means that you must stay consistent when responding to their behavior. If you aren’t consistent, it will confuse your puppy, which makes it harder to prevent bad behavior.

For example, if your pup jumps on you and you tell them to stop. Then, your pup jumps on your friend but your friend lets them and you say nothing.

Your dog will be uncertain about when they shouldn’t jump. This makes it likely that your dog will jump on whoever they feel like in the future.

2. Use reward-based training.

reward based training

Reward-based training helps your puppy recognize when something is a bad choice. When your pup performs what you ask, offer a tasty treat and words of praise. Your pup learns those good things happen when they are doing what’s asked.

For example, have your pup sit when you are by the front door getting ready to go for a walk. Get them to perform this command before you even open the door.

This teaches them that when they behave, they are more likely to get what they want. Begin your positive training using this easy guide to train your German Shepherd.

3. Ignore jumping when your pup wants attention.

ignore jumping

When your dog tries to get your attention by jumping on you, it’s best to ignore them. Think about what your puppy is trying to get when engaging in bad behavior to determine when to ignore them.

When your pup jumps on you when you come home, they probably want your attention. Withholding your attention shows them they need to act differently to get your approval.

Ultimately, your puppy learns that good behavior earns your affection and attention more quickly. Your dog soon understands that they get nothing from you when they act badly.

4. Use distractions and redirects.

redirect your puppys attention

When your pup is taking part in bad behavior, get your puppy’s attention by making a distracting noise. Try clapping your hands and firmly saying “no” when you catch your puppy doing something unwanted.

The noise and disapproving tone distract your dog from bad behavior. Now, redirect their attention to more desirable behavior.

Pay attention to your dog’s behaviors when they are near known distractions so you can prevent the bad, unwanted action before it even happens.

For example, if your dog chews inappropriately on a pair of expensive shoes, get their attention by making noises or calling them to you and immediately offer the correct approved chew item, like a Kong.

5. Use time-outs appropriately.

use time outs

When your dog engages in bad behavior, remove them from what is causing the unwanted behavior. Put them in a different environment instead.

Respond immediately to the bad behavior and use the same routine every time to maintain correct discipline.

Time out should take place in a location away from anything your dog may find reinforcing, for example, a kitchen or a quiet bedroom.

Don’t put your pup outside since this provides an opportunity for them to engage in the outdoor environment, like chasing birds, digging, or running around. Some of the best spots for time out are bathrooms and laundries.

Time out should not last over 1-2 minutes. Watch for when your puppy is calm and quiet for a very brief period (15-30 seconds long of calm) and then let them out.

And don’t close a young puppy inside a room! This can cause anxiety. Use a pet-safe partition gate to separate them off from the excitement that caused the unwanted behavior.

Don’t allow them out of time out while they are barking, whining, scratching, or otherwise acting out. This only serves to reinforce the unwanted bad behavior and doesn’t discipline them effectively.

6. Ignore the unnecessary barking.

ignore your dog barking

Ignore your dog’s barking for as long as they take to quit. This means you don’t give them any attention at all while they’re still barking.

Don’t talk to him, touch him, or even look at him. When they finally quiet, even if only for a few seconds, reward them with a treat.

To have success, wait as long as it takes for them to stop barking. If they bark for a half an hour and you finally just yell at them to be quiet, then next time they’ll bark for an hour because they’ve learnt that if they bark long enough, you’ll give him attention.

But if they continue barking despite your inattention, figure out why they’re barking at and remove the item.

For example, if your puppy barks at joggers out the window every morning pull the blinds or curtains. If the behavior continues, place your dog in another room for a couple of minutes and repeat the time-out procedure every time they bark at the joggers.

Even better, get a friend to help and have them walk and jog past your window and work on redirecting your dog to a toy or treat you have. This teaches them how to focus on other rewarding things (toys and treats) and not bark at people running past.

7. Keeping your pup from nipping and chewing on you.

keep your pup from nipping and chewing

Puppies are energetic and must learn their limits for playing too rough. When your dog nips you, say “ouch” immediately and yelp.

Don’t immediately jerk your hand back, as they see this part of the game and could also tear your skin. Ignore your dog for 10 to 20 seconds after they release your hand.

This teaches your pup you don’t tolerate nipping.

During play, work on the signal “easy” when your pup plays too rough. When they stop biting or nipping reward them with verbal praise and pets.

If they are still too rough, use a toy to show them what’s acceptable to bite or remove yourself from playing for a few minutes. Return later to try playing with your pup again and repeat the procedure.

Read this information for all the tips to stop your German Shepherd puppy from biting and nipping you.

8. Catch your dog being good and reward them out of the blue.

reward german shepherd good behavior

It’s easy to get caught up in scolding when your pup when they are getting into trouble, but rewarding him out of the blue for being good shows them they’re doing the right behaviors.

Keep small bits of treats in jars around the house out of reach of your pup or in your pocket and use any opportunity your catch your pup doing good to reward them.

For example, if they’re lying calming on their mat, give them a piece of a treat. But don’t make a big deal of the situation or you’ll wind them back up.

Discipling your German Shepherd isn’t always about catching wrong behaviors, but also about rewarding good things your dog does. Dogs like to do things that you reinforce.

If you only worry about punishment and corrections, then you’re missing out on the opportunities to reinforce positive behavior.

9. Avoid physical punishment and harm.

avoid physical punishment

Research shows that physically punishing your dog (for example hitting, kicking, growling, or staring them down) increases aggression in your dog. 

Never use physical punishment to correct undesirable behavior. Not only can this punishment injure your puppy, but it also ruins your relationship and causes anxiety.

10. Use the right tone and body language to communicate.

use the right tone and body language

Dogs aren’t born understanding the words “no” or “sit”. You must understand when your new puppy arrives and doesn’t understand the human language.

The different tones of your voice and body movements are better understood by your dog. The actual command words are of less importance to your puppy.

Use a commanding tone and body language that matches what you want to say to your dog. But don’t lean over them and intimidate them or your dog will begin to fear you.

For example, when your GSD is tearing up your favorite shoes, stand tall, project your voice, and say “no” like you mean business. Then, offer them another toy appropriate to chew and take away the other item they’re chewing.

Learn the list of helpful German Shepherd commands and begin obedience today. Don’t neglect the basic commands and house manners.

11. Persevere in your training.

stick with your puppy discipline

Shepherd pups want to please and have order in their home. Create more consistency for them and you’ll see fewer problem behaviors.

To do this, stick with your training. Don’t confuse your dog by having different rules for different days or times.

Begin with a plan in place and disciplining your GSD will go smoother from the start. Don’t give up when your pup doesn’t understand what you want the first few times. Persevere with your training and discipline.

Remember that your German Shepherd is highly intelligent and needs your help to get the best from them.

Learn how to make them smarter by reading Why Are German Shepherds So Smart? ( Secrets To Their Intelligence)

Conclusion: Disciplining a German Shepherd Puppy with Fairness

Even the best of owners can sometimes do bad things.

The worst advice is to punish the pup, and if that doesn’t work, keep punishing them more.

Your best course of action is to prevent the bad behavior in the first place by watching your pup and not leaving them unsupervised. Learning how to discipline a German Shepherd puppy is difficult, but it can be done with consistency and patience.

Don’t give up! Use positive training and catch your dog when they’re being good and reward those behaviors. Ignore the actions you don’t like and they will begin to fade away.

The truth of the matter is that if you’re reading this you are a loving owner who wants to learn more about living with their German Shepherd.

Have you seen how thousands of other like-minded thinkers have read my review of the Brain Training for Dogs program that you can use from the comfort of your home to increase good behaviors?

Train your dog with compassion and science.

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