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German Shepherds are quick to learn tricks and commands. However, it’s also true that they were originally bred to protect herds and dwell in packs.
Therefore, these dogs are naturally dominant and love being the alpha-leader every where they go. This is one of the main reasons to instill training from a young age. Instead of whiling away this puppy years thinking he is too cute to dominate or create havoc in the house, starting training him for obedience.
This way, you will become the proud owner of a well-behaved, docile yet watchful GSD that embodies the best of his breed’s traits!
Here, we will walk you through all the aspects of training a German shepherd puppy, right from German shepherd training commands to important ways to implement them.
Table of Contents
Owners that lack experience with German shepherds often find themselves helplessly wedged between different training methods.
While there are tons of methods out there, they all have different efficacy.
Also, you need to remember that it’s not easy to alter the genetics of a GSD. Training will require consistency, regularity and patience.
Verbal commands are incredibly effective for training German shepherds. This is simply because these dogs are naturally alert to sounds. They are also able to hear voice signal and interpret its meaning by gauging its frequency.
So when you say “NO” in a strong voice, he will know you’re dead serious and not really looking on him with a favorable eye.
And if you say “Good boy” while smiling, he will interpret it as a praise or a happy tone. Make sure not to flash your teeth while you smile though, because in dog language, showing teeth is considered an aggressive display.
Verbal German shepherd commands are very useful in training unruly GSD pups.
Hand signals can be used on aged German shepherds who are unable to hear very well.
So, when verbal signals are not effective, you can always take help from hand signals. These are used to make your GSD obey your commands.
They are quite helpful in making him learn different kinds of tricks.
5 IMPORTANT THINGS to REMEMBER
#1 – The German Shepherd Was Bred for a Specific Purpose
Your German shepherd hails from an ancestry of working dogs. He has an illustrious league to brag and you wouldn’t want to snatch that away from him.
Whatever be the purpose behind training, don’t forget that the GSDs were bred primarily to function as herding and guarding dogs. They also make wonderful sniffer dogs and excel in rescue operations.
Agility, alertness, domination all lie in the very nature of a GSD.
So with any training method, make sure it’s more about him and less about you. Keep him busy all the while and don’t drag the sessions. Throw in refresher lessons in between. With training, you not only have an obedient dog but also a busy one who channelizes his undying energy in productive ventures only.
#2 – Your Dog is a Dog, not an Unruly Child
As humans, we think our dogs are humans too, dressed in a furry suit.
As much as you love your GSD, you need to understand that he doesn’t have the same emotions or desires as you. He operates mainly on instincts and his instincts have evolved over the years to help him survive unfavorable environments and keep his pack alive.
Another thing to note is that dogs tend to reflect their owner’s personality. So treating your GSD aggressively or punishing him for little things is not going to go down well with him. He may try to get back at you, or even worse, retreat into a corner and grow up to be a fearful dog.
#3 – Understand His Basic Needs
There is one thing in common between a cute puppy and an old dog, and that is the need for safety.
When you understand, half the job is done. Before you start off with any training, you’ll have to gain the trust of your new GSD. This will prove him that you’re an able leader and that he doesn’t have to demonstrate aggressiveness or splatter about his nervous energy as you are there to protect them from danger.
Focus on establishing yourself as a good leader. Do not get panicky in front of him. Also, when he gets a little older, allocate a different space to him that is private and way from the humdrum of life outdoors.
#4 – Your Dog Communicates Differently
Dogs are adept at understanding body language. As a matter of fact, they are more receptive to body language than German shepherd command words.
However, we as humans, cannot wag our tails or twitch our ears to communicate. That’s not our forte.
But there are still verbal commands and hand signals that are also very effective. Just remember to focus on the tone of voice when you use verbal commands. German shepherds interpret different sound frequencies differently.
Use simple, direct, one-word commands. This will convey your message better. Use a clear and emphatic tone while delivering them. Do not yell or throw your hands up to stop him from getting unruly.
#5 – Positive Reinforcement is The Key to Success
Your GSD will respond remarkably well to training that is coupled with positive reinforcements. Yelling and punishing him will cause him to mistrust you and fear you.
And once your dog has mastered obedience, you can remove all the treats and use only praise as reward. He will relish that with equal zest.
Once you have brought your German Shepherd pup, start training it while it’s still young because GSDs can get very dominant if coaching is not meted out at the right time.
Another mistake is that most GSD owners make is to yell or punish their dogs badly.
Remember, German shepherds are not like the friendly breeds or mild teacup dogs. Nature has made them tough and leader-like. If you treat them aggressively, they will retaliate.
The aim of obedience training is not to mellow him down completely, or keep him from reacting altogether. Instead, the main purpose is to help him adapt to his surroundings and behave well.
With the right kind of obedience coaching, you’ll finally have a GSD who is exactly like you want to be.
There are two components in a GSD’s obedience training. One of them is imprinting as well as socialization. This method of training includes commands and certain types of tricks.
Irrespective of the style you adopt, you’ll also need to use lots of hand signals and verbal actions.
When you yell or punish your GSD pup during its coaching, he is likely to grow up as an aggressive dog. This is because dogs mirror the attitude and treatment they receive from their owner. This is called imprinting.
However, when you treat him with affection and smother him with praises, he learns to associate obedience with rewards. That quickens the coaching altogether.
Socialization should be seen as a major part of the training procedure. It is advisable to start socializing your GSD pup with people and other animals in the vicinity when he is just 8 weeks of age.
This way he will grow to be comfortable of his surroundings and not look at every new experience with fear and skepticism.
In this section of the training process, you’ll need to teach your German shepherd to stay calm in the face of danger and be responsive to your commands.
German Shepherds are highly energetic and tend to get hyper very fast. That is why when you train them for obedience, ensure to follow these commands in an energetic manner.
To help them understand the meaning of every command and instill patience within them, you’ll have to coach them differently.
Consider the following tips to induce good manners and discipline in your GSD:
# Teach your dog to sit down or stay for a couple of minutes. You can do this by introducing him to these commands.
# Teach him to sit on your instruction and say ‘stay” when he begins to gets geared up for a chase. The period of ‘stay’ should be around 2-4 minutes. This training will help him stay calm when the situation demands it.
# Tell your dog to walk briskly or at a normal pace even when you keep the leash loose.
# Tell your GSD to stop or sit down when he starts jumping on your furniture and guests.
To simulate real life circumstances during the training sessions, ensure to introduce distractions in between training.
This also keeps your dog interested. Also, doing so will help you know how well he is trained and can ignore distractions whenever you command it to stop, stay, etc.
There is no doubt that German Shepherds are intelligent. Yet, their intelligence and energy can become an absolute nuisance if you don’t channelize it in the right way and show even the slightest bit of laxity in training.
It doesn’t matter if your little German Shepherd looks cute while scratching the door or shredding the sofa.
When you start training him with some basic commands, you make him productive, well-behaved and presentable, all without compromising on his cuteness!
During the training process, you may end up facing situations that you were unaware of.
Hence, in order to make the sessions smooth sailing, ensure that you are prepared with at least a wee bit of common sense, a couple of training aids and loads of patience and perseverance!
But before starting, ensure to equip yourself with a lot of training aids like nylon leash and nylon collar. As far as positive reinforcements are concerned, a couple of high-value treats would do.
Do not forget to arm yourself with his favorite toys too, just in case he decides playing is more fun than eating.
Also, keep the training periods short and teach him one command at a time. This way, your pup learns faster and the training stays ingrained in his memory.
Teaching too many commands in one session would only serve to confuse him further.
Ideally, each sessions should be no longer than 15-20 minutes.
Don’t be stingy on appreciative words! Motivate your cute pup with warm, praises from time to time. He loves them!
Based on their level of difficulty, training commands can be divided into two major types- basic and advanced.
While the basic commands make your dog well-behaved, the advanced commands train him to be a better version of himself with respect to greater agility, higher intelligence and ability to learn various tricks.
Basic commands are useful for both off-leash and on-leash training sessions.
A lot of positive reinforcements like treats and compliments must be used while training the dog for these commands.
Your German shepherd will most probably master them over 4-5 training sessions with 20-25 repetitions of every command.
Ensure to start the training with the basic commands before moving on to the tougher, advanced commands.
Advanced dog commands are helpful in trick training, training for providing assistance to the disabled, increased agility, as well as other working situations.
They are also useful both on-leash and off-leash. These commands are grouped under the “advanced” section because your dog will need some more time and probably more rewards to master these commands.
You must have surely decided your name for your German shepherd pup? If not, then you have to do so before you start off with the obedience training. This is because if he doesn’t learn to respond to his name, training will be an impossible task to accomplish. You can teach him to recognize his name by making sure he hears it a lot. Use it plenty of times and in an animated tone whenever you’re with him. And if he responds to his name, smother him with affection and praise.
8 COMMON BASIC COMMANDS
The basic commands that you must teach your little German Shepherd are one-word instructions like “Come, down, sit, drop it, stay, heel and roll over”.
Teaching these simple commands will make life easier for both you and your pooch.
The following is a simple method to train your German shepherd pup to come to you when something else has caught his attention.
Teaching this command is important because it keeps from getting too distracted and also forms the stepping stone for further communication between you two.
Remember, the “come” command is the most essential thing you can possibly teach your German Shepherd. Who knows, it might save his life one day!
By learning this command, your German Shepherd will become a well-behaved and obedient dog that impresses all your guests with his politeness and well-bred nature.
To teach this method, you will need to arm yourself with lots of tasty treats. However, once this behavior gets ingrained into his nature, you won’t need treats anymore as this will be his second nature.
The importance of the “down” command is that you can use it to calm him down when he gets agitated by new sights and sounds. It is a great basic training command to use on aggressive dogs.
This is another life-saving command. It helps him to respond in the face of danger and avoid any threats that are unknown to him. Also, it serves to build trust between the two of you.
It is advisable to train for this command when your German shepherd is at the puppy stage.
Usually puppies have a lot of nervous energy about them and tend to vent it out by resorting to destructive methods like chewing and biting on household items. That is when this command comes handy!
This command will come handy when you need your dog to stay on his spot silently instead of running all out to catch that little squirrel or say hello to the neighbor’s cat.
Eventually, he will learn to respond even in the absence of treats as rewards.
This command trains your German shepherd to walk alongside you and trot along as you go about your hiking expeditions or explore the woods for adventure.
Majority of GSD owners have to face a lot of trouble in getting their dog to leave a certain object that they are chewing or pouncing upon. If your German shepherd is behaving badly by biting on cushions or tugging on furniture, make them learn to leave it. With this command, you can get him to obey you.
This action will enable your dog to associate obedience with reward and he’ll learn to stay away from a thing when you say this command. Over time, you need to make sure he responds even in the absence of a reward.
The aforementioned basic German dog commands are just a few out of a many dozens. Other equally important basic commands include:
#Attention!- This command teaches your dog to shift his focus on you. This is useful during advanced training wherein you’re giving him many commands together to train him for higher intelligence objectives.
#Here: By learning this command, your dog positions himself near you or in front of you whenever you say him. You can accompany this command with a hand gesture.
#Stand: With this command, your dog learns to stand up from the seated or “down” position.
#Go Out: This command is important because it instructs your dog to leave the room when you need some privacy or when he is vying for your attention but you’re trying your best to concentrate on the task at hand.
#Go Inside: This command teaches your dog to enter the room and come over to you. You can use this command when there are guests over and you would like to introduce him to them.
#Good dog!: This command is generally used as a praise when the dogs executes a certain command correctly and in time. You can couple its usage with a hand signal or physical attention like patting.
#Let Go: This command is quite similar to the “leave it” command which is discussed above. The aim of using this command is to urge him to drop any item that’s in his mouth.
#Crate: This command teaches your German shepherd to climb back to his crate or kennel whenever you want him to. You’ll need to use this command a lot during crate training.
#No: This is a simple command and self-explanatory. It tells your dog to stop doing something and wait for your next command. While using the command, be firm but not loud. You want him to obey you, not get intimidated and confused about his place in your life.
#Eat food: How many times has your German shepherd leapt up from his seat to grab the food meant for the guests? Well, if the answer is yes, then this command will teach him to stop that habit. Your dog will learn to eat only after you’ve given him to permission by saying this command.
#Stand Still: This command is generally used during “off-leash” training. It teaches him to stop in his tracks and stay put in his position, regardless of the surrounding distractions.
#Okay: There is so much to the word “okay”. It is instantly reassuring and has a calming effect on all, with dogs being no exception. This command teaches your German shepherd to mellow down after a bout of watchfulness or playful chase. It tells him that the situation is in order and that he can go back to being the gentle and placid dog that he was before.
Once you’ve taught your GSD to respond to these basic GSD training commands, it’s time to move on to the advanced commands. The purpose of these is to sharpen his intelligence and turn him into a working dog. Simply put, it is to make him true to his breed.
#Jump: This command urges your dog to jump over an object, maybe a mini bridge or a small puddle. Over time, you can even use this command to train him for shows.
#Fetch: The aim of this command is to get your dog to fetch a particular item, like the newspaper, the milk packet or a ball that is thrown in his direction.
#Track: By learning this command, your dog sets his energy and attention into tracking a specific item or person whenever you instruct him to.
#Bark: With this command, your dog barks upon your instruction. This is very helpful for warding off unwanted strangers or pests from your garden.
#Bite: This command should be used sparingly for the safety of all. Your dog learns to bite on command.
#Quiet: This command is extremely important for a barking GSD. Also, if you have taught him to bark on command, make sure to train him to quieten on your command too.
#Go Ahead: This command is largely used in agility competitions wherein your dog trots ahead of you on your instruction.
#Guard: This command teaches him to stay alert of plausible intruders and guard your entrance or your toddler while you’re away pruning the garden.
Humans speak many languages and a GSD can be trained to understand any of them provided their own body language is included in the conversation. So, if you speak German, your GSD too can learn it.
Here are six basic dog commands in German:
Hier: That means “come” in German. It is pronounced like “here” in English.
Sitz: That means “sit” in German.
Bleib: Bleib means stay in German. German for stay is bleib. It is pronounced with the “i” sound of eye.
Platz: Platz means “down” in German. It is pronounced as “plots”.
Fuss: Fuss means “heel”. It is pronounced like you pronounce “foos”, which is, in fact, German for foot.
Pfui: Pfui, pronounced just like fooey means get off that sofa or stop doing that.
There are many more German shepherd German commands you can use on your GSD. For example:
So, to revise, how do you say sit in German? The answer is “bleib”. How to say lay down in German? The answer is sich hinlegen.
German is a great language for training your GSD as the words are simple, short, easy to pronounce and even convey the right message to his canine brain. You don’t have to be loud whilst you use them, just be clear and emphatic.
Teaching your dog German commands gives you the assurance of knowing that he will be less likely to confuse your instructions with someone else’s when you are walking him outdoors or are at a busy dog event.
Moreover, the burglar in your house at midnight won’t probably know how to respond to the command “aus”. So, your brave German shepherd can instantly nab him unawares and ward him off.
Once your dog has learnt the German shepherd commands in German, refrain from adding the same ones in English as this will only serve to confuse him.
Once you have trained your German shepherd to be patient and obedient, you will finally become a proud owner of a dog that is excellent as a buddy and lifelong companion. Training a German shepherd puppy becomes a breeze with the aforementioned German shepherd training commands. Remember, the key is to be persistent and use treats as motivators to get your GSD responsive to your commands. Lastly, keep the training sessions lively and short because if he gets bored, he’ll react in a completely opposite manner to your commands.
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