We all want to have an obedient dog we can be proud of. The fastest way to reach your goal is by perfecting your German Shepherd training techniques and becoming an expert on German Shepherd training commands. In other words: Knowing how to teach and knowing what to teach.
When Can I Start Training My German Shepherd Puppy?
German Shepherds are most receptive to training when they are 12 weeks old but you can start as soon as 8 weeks! The first 8 weeks weeks of the puppy's life should be with the mother. During this period, they learn from their mother how to "be a dog". After this point, it is very important to start both socialization and obedience training.
Socialization and Obedience Training
Socialization is all about teaching your dog how to cope and appropriately respond to negative, frightening, or uncomfortable situations.
Start introducing your dog to new situations in a safe and positive way:
- Interacting with other people, and especially how to act around strangers they meet.
- Teaching your dog how to cope with loud noises such as cars, bikes, crowds, or sirens.
- Interacting with dogs of all sizes. A special focus should be made on small dogs because they are so different.
Obedience training is all about making sure your dog listens when it counts.
All dogs can become aggressive, but the difference between an aggressive Chihuahua and an aggressive pit bull is that the pit bull can do more damage. That's why it's important to make sure you are a hundred percent ready for the responsibility if you own a 'power' breed, like a pit bull, German shepherd, or Rottweiler.
Socialization is just as important as obedience training. A dog that trains in isolation from everyone else will be easily startled and scared when they are in public. And on the flip side, dog that is super friendly but runs off without your permission is just as dangerous. Now let's start learning those training commands!
German Shepherd Training Commands
German Shepherds are very smarts dogs. The amount of commands you can teach them is overwhelming. You don't need to use the exact wording I have chosen for the commands. What is important is that the command is short and that you use the command consistently. Remember that you need to show them what you mean when you say a command first.
I have grouped the commands into 4 levels: Basic, Intermediate, Advanced, and Expert.
This is the most important one. Your dog will learn the fastest with positive reinforcement. Pet them or give them a treat and show some excitement!
Your dog should stop what it is doing and sit. You can push their bum to the ground to get the ball rolling.
Your dog should lay down. Try pressing down on their shoulders at first. This command can be confused with the Sit command. Try alternating between Sit and Down until it is crystal clear.
Your dog should not move until told to do otherwise. Try putting a treat in front of your dog and make them stay as long as possible before allowing them to eat it.
Your dog should come to you. Use a long leash and after saying Come, if your dog doesn't come, then pull the leash in and give the dog a treat. Then say Okay. This releases them to play again.
This is the release command. It lets your dog know they are free to go. If you want to really test your dog, say similar words such as Oklahoma, or Okie Dokie, or Orange, or Octagon. Your dog should only be released when you say Okay.
Use this word whenever you make a corrective action. Afterwards, show your dog the correct action and say Good Dog!
Your dog should go pee or poo right away. Praise your dog after every time and let them go play. Potty Training Your German Shepherd right away is critical.
Your dog should get up. Try lifting up the dog from the belly so that he understands.
This is performed with a hand gesture. Point to where you'd like your dog to go and say Here. You can use the leash to pull on if the dog isn't listening.
Go Out / Go Inside
This command should be used at an entrance. Use a hand gesture to waive them in the right direction as you say the command.
Your dog should go back to his crate. You can also say Go Bedtime. To start, stand with your dog beside the crate and point to the crate as you say the command. You can increase the difficulty by distancing yourself from the crate.
This is very important for your dog to walk with you properly. The dog should never walk in front of you. Whoever walks in front is the leader. Use this command and pull the dog behind you.
Your dog should let go of whatever they have in their mouth. Try practicing with a toy. This will come in handy when your dog brings you something gross like a dead bird feather or a dirty bone.
Your dog should not attempt to pick up whatever has its attention. This command will likely be taught during walks.
Your dog should freeze on the spot. Try practicing this while you are going for a walk. Have the dog on your side, and say Whoa. Make your dog stop and then give a treat. Continue until your dog stop on his own.
Say your Dog's Name
Your dog should stop what he is doing and look at you. You can train your dog by placing a treat by your face and rewarding him when he looks at your face.
The dog should fetch whatever you've asked him to go get. This is best with a long leash and a toy or stick. If the dog grabs the toy but doesn't come back, then pull the dog back with the leash.
Your dog should jump over what is in front of it. Try stacking a few pieces of wood at first in a lawn. Use a short leash for this exercise. Your dog will walk alongside you towards the wood and then point him over the wood and say Jump.
Your dog can bark on command. Start by letting your dog taste a delicious treat and then waive it around in front of them. When they bark or even make a really small noise say Speak and give them a treat. Keep repeating until they bark every time as well as associating this action with the command Speak.
This command can only be taught after you have taught your dog to Speak. First tell your dog to Speak, then after they bark, say the command Quiet and put a treat in front of their mouth. When they they are quiet, give them the treat!
Your dog will be able to follow a scent on the ground towards a person or thing. This is best done when there are no distractions around. Try the early morning.
First, place a glove on the ground with a tasty treat such as a piece of hot dog on top. Nearby, place another hot dog and step on it with your foot to get the smell on your foot.
Then start placing hot dogs every 6 or 7 feet while dragging your foot along a path until you are about 20 feet from the glove. Now take your dog and tell him to Track!
Stay behind him and let him figure it out. He will find the first hot dog and start sniffing for more. Every time he finds a hot dog encourage him. When he gets to the glove, praise him and give him a treat. You can make the trail more complicated by making it longer introducing turns in the path. WikiHow has a great article on tracking. Click here to see more.
I hope this has given you a good overview on what German Shepherd training commands you can teach. Remember that consistency in the way you teach and frequent training is the key to success. Just like humans, practice makes perfect, and if you never sharpen your skills, they will become dull and forgotten over time.