Sam Shephard is an experienced German Shepherd owner and has learned
throughout the years how to optimize the breed’s health and wellness.

German Shepherds are a smart and energetic breed.

German Shepherds are a smart and energetic breed.

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German Shepherds Need Obedience Training

German Shepherds are extremely intelligent and active dogs. And just like
intelligent and active human children, they need to be given both stimulation
and boundaries in order to be happy and well-adjusted. Some owners forget (or
perhaps do not realize) that these large, active dogs need obedience training.
Not because they are bad dogs or difficult to handle, but because obedience
training establishes you as the alpha in the pack. This makes sure that your
dog knows the commands and signals that will keep him safe and will provide
him with the structure that he desires.

While taking your shepherd to an obedience training class is always a good
idea, here are some basics to get you started:

Socializing Your Dog Is Important

Socializing your dog is going to be very important. Those that are not
properly socialized can become anxious, fearful, and aggressive around other
dogs as they grow older. This is especially true of the German Shepherd, who
is naturally protective and will want to protect your pack from outside
influences if he is not taught that there is no need for alarm.

Once he has had all of his vaccinations, it might be a good idea to start
taking him to a local dog park, where there are other, friendly dogs that he
can play with. Learning that other dogs and people are friendly will help your
dog be better adjusted in the long run.

Socialize your dog with other animals.

Socialize your dog with other animals.

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Begin With Imprinting to Create a Bond

Your first task as an owner begins even before your dog is old enough to start
learning basic obedience. Imprinting helps your dog understand that you are in
charge and that what you say goes. It bonds you together. German Shepherds
are, at their core, working dogs. They want to know what their job is, and
they want to know where they fit into their pack. In order to do both of these
things, you will need to make sure you treat your shepherd how you want him to
act.

Dogs that are yelled at and cowed during training will be aggressive and
unpredictable as adults (because that is how he views your behavior). Dogs
that are firmly, but lovingly corrected, given plenty of attention and praise,
and are rewarded for good behavior, are well-adjusted adults.

How to Crate Train Your German Shepherd

Some owners will start their dog off in the crate from day one. If this is
your plan, you need to have everyone in your family on board. Your puppy will
probably cry and cry while he is in the crate and you will start to believe
that you are torturing the poor thing. If you want your dog to come to
understand the purpose of his crate and to love it, you will have to be strong
for the first couple of nights while he is crying in his crate. Eventually, he
will learn to soothe himself and to recognize his crate for what it is, his
den.

Leash Training Your German Shepherd

The size and power of this breed make it very important to properly leash
train your dog. Leash training will be one of your first obedience lessons. It
will teach him to listen to you and to respond to your movements, instead of
trying to direct you on the lease. The right-sized leash is important—it
should be short enough to give you control, but long enough that it is not
tight.

Use treats to reward good behavior. If he starts to pull, stop, and wait for
him to stop pulling. Only start moving again when the leash is slack. If you
let your dog pull you around, he’ll learn early that this behavior is okay,
and when he is 80 pounds of muscle, you might not be able to correct the
behavior.

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Teach Basic Commands: Sit, Stay, and Heel

The most important obedience commands for a German Shepherd are “sit,” “stay,”
and “heel,” Choose whichever words work best for you (those are the ones that
you will remember in a moment of stress). Sit, stay, and heel will be useful
for protecting your dog during a dangerous situation. They are also great for
keeping him well-behaved in a high-energy moment (like when someone they know
and want to greet comes through the door). “Stop” is another excellent command
for your dog to learn. This will enable you to immediately get him to stop
chewing on or eating something that you do not want him to chew on or eat.

Most German Shepherds are old enough to start obedience training at around
eight weeks. You can start the imprinting and socialization process earlier,
but eight weeks is a good place to start for training that requires focus.
Never force training these young dogs, be gentle and patient.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It
is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription,
or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional.
Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a
veterinarian immediately.

© 2016 Sam Shepards

Comments

rajan3887 on October 02, 2018:

These basics tips on GSD’s are very important for us. I have learn a lot about
GSD and one of the expert book i always admire.And It’s Not Like Any Other
Book You’ve Ever Read On GSDs This is the secret handbook on german shepherb
dogs : bit.ly/germanshepherdhandbook1

Gwen Evans on August 17, 2018:

I just adopted an 11-month-old German Shepherd from someone who was going to
take her to a shelter. While I think 11 months old is a late time to start
training, I am confident that with the right guidance, she will be on track in
no time. She knows the basic command of sit and shake (giving me her paw), but
I have yet to train her how to come when called, stop jumping on visitors and
especially how to stop chasing my 3 cats. I am willing to work with her and be
very patient but wondering if these are habits that will be hard to break.
This website is a great place to start and looking forward to reading any and
all articles that relate specifically to the German Shepherd Dog. Great
articles so far. Keep up the good work!

Sam Shepards (author) from Europe on July 26, 2018:

Thank you for you comment. I’m happy to hear you have a young german shepherd
full with potential. I will try to put up more articles on obedience training.
I’m working on some more about, Sitting, standing, waiting, walking on a
leash, with specific instructions and training guides.

Randy Branscum on July 23, 2018:

I’ve been looking over PetHelpful and Hubpages and I decided that this may be
where I can learn the most for me and my dog. I have just purchased a 11 month
old German Shepard, which knows very little in commands and walking or
leading. For that matter I know little about how to teach him. So this will be
a leading experience for me too!