Owning a dog is one of the best experiences any person can have. It is no wonder why a lot of people secure a dog or two in their own homes. Their dogs are addition to their families. As much as it is a delight to own a dog, it does not come without any challenge. In fact, there are a lot. Let’s talk about owning a German Shepherd. When you decide to have one, the first question you will have in your mind is how do I train this German Shepherd of mine? If this question has been bugging you, you are in the right place to know the answers. We’ll teach you the essential basics and extremely useful tips on how you can train a German Shepherd.
Treats – you will use treats to reward your dog for successfully executing your commands. You can look for the best dog treats online or in the nearest pet store. See also best food for German Shepherd Dogs.
Clicker – this is an item that makes a clicking sound. You can use this to indicate to your puppy that it did very well in following you when you sound a click with this tool. You can also buy a good clicker from the local pet store or in online stores like Amazon.
Training Manual – though not really needed, it might be a big help if you can secure yourself a training manual or a guide to training German Shepherds made by the expert trainers of dogs. Reading this manual will help you a lot in proceeding with your German Shepherd training.
How to Train a German Shepherd Puppy?
Animal trainers and veterinarians recommend to train all dogs, including German Shepherds, as early as possible. However, there may be variations when it comes to the exact time to train your puppy depending on its breed.
Start of Training
You should start training your German Shepherd puppy when it is about 8 weeks old. The general rule is to gently handle its paws, ears, tail, nails, and other delicate parts of its body. This will allow your puppy to become used to these parts being touched on them so you won’t have any problems in the future when you take it to the vet. You can start with trimming its nails, cleaning its ears, and checking its temperature.
You may then proceed to teaching your German Shepherd puppy some basic commands like sitting, staying, and heeling. Of course, the start may be difficult because your puppy is not at all familiar with these commands. But just be patient and you will surely bear the fruits of labor.
German Shepherds can become highly motivated in following your commands if you reward them with treats. That is why we said from the start to prepare plenty treats that you will use in training your German Shepherd puppy.
Dealing with Feeding Aggression
There may come a time when your German Shepherd becomes aggressive towards protecting its food in the food bowl. It may think that other people will try to steal their food if them come near it. You can solve this by adding food to its food bowl while it is eating. This will let your puppy think that people will approach its food bowl with the sole reason of putting food into it.
Taking Advantage of Feeding Time
Like us humans, our dogs also need to eat several times a day. You can actually take advantage of your German Shepherd’s feeding time by combining it with training. Practice giving commands to your puppy and reward it by giving its food.
Mastering Commands with Treats
Once your puppy has learned a command, it takes a little bit more practice for it to master such commands. You can proceed on that by rewarding your German Shepherd with a treat if it successfully follows a command you gave it. Remember to not overuse the treats because it might negatively affect your puppy’s behavior and might not become interested in such treats anymore.
Never Intimidate Your Puppy
Just like normal children, puppies can be overly playful at times and might not listen to our commands. It might help to train your puppy to recognize your frustration through your tone of voice and body language. But do not overdo it. Otherwise, your puppy might get intimidated of you.
How to Train an Adult German Shepherd?
Once your German Shepherd has grown into an adult, it is time for you to upgrade your dog’s training.
Continue with the Dog Training Basics
By this time, all the basic commands you have taught your puppy should now be mastered by it. if not, continue to practice a little but more. Just make sure to ensure that your training sessions with it are short and happy. Give your dog a break in between lessons and do not forget to play with it.
Motivate Your Dog
It is possible for your German Shepherd dog to get uninterested in training sometimes. If this happens, motivate it by using food, complements, and toys. Food will always remain a very powerful motivator for your German Shepherd’s training. Complementing it will make it feel happy and will let it know that you are happy that it did something you liked. Toys can also be recognized by dogs so try to use these to motivate them as well.
Training with Clickers
One of the most effective items you can use in training your dog is a clicker. You can use this tool to associate the sound of the click to positive behavior. Whenever your dog does something right, make the clicking sound. Repeated consecutive fast clicks can mean “very good”. Your dog will recognize this and can really help you in training.
Keep in Mind the Training Time
Whenever you train your adult German Shepherd, the general rule is to keep the training time to less than 20 minutes. But make sure that the entire 20 minutes is not just all training. You should insert some play times in between so that it will become like a “school” and not a military academy.
Seek Help from a Professional
Just like humans, dogs are different. Not all German Shepherds are the same. They also different in terms of characteristics and behavior. Some people may find it easy to train their German Shepherds while others find it difficult to do so due to various circumstances. If you think that you are having trouble training your German Shepherd, then it might be a good time to seek help from a professional German Shepherd trainer. In fact, there are basic puppy obedience classes where you can enroll your dog into. You can also look for accredited dog trainers in your local community.