German Shepherd dogs need to be trained so they can learn to become a well trained and mannered dog.
So, How to train a German Shepherd on Basic obedience training and other things?
You can train a German Shepherd in basic commands such as come, sit, down, stay, heel, leave it, drop it, forward, easy, stand, no, and okay.
When you complete this training, you can move up to advanced obedience commands such as fetch, speak/ quiet, jump, and guard.
Below are the steps to basic command training and advanced command training for German Shepherd.
Two types of training of German Shepherds
There are two types of trainings for German Shepherd. They are either verbal or hand commands.
In this type of training, a German Shepherd listens to the sound of you talking and telling them a command. In doing so, they interpret the frequency of the sound and understand what it means.
For example, when you tell your German Shepherd a stern “no”, they will actually listen to the tone and sound of your voice to understand that what they are doing is wrong.
While if you tell your dog ” Good boy” and giving them a smile, they will know that this is praise and they will understand that they have done something good.
Another training method used in training your German Shepherd is hand signals.
Hand signals can be used on German Shepherd dogs who can’t hear well and also on other dogs who don’t have a hearing problem.
When verbal signals aren’t effective for your dog, you can use hand signals instead to show your dog what to do.
Combining both hand and verbal signals will definitely help your dog learn basic command training and many others.
2 categories of training commands
1.) Basic obedience commands
These commands are useful for on-leash and off-leash training. They are also simple commands that a German Shepherd dog and puppy can learn.
Your German Shepherd will most likely master them with 20 to 30 repetitions over 3 to 4 training sessions.
It is also important to teach your German Shepherd these commands before you move to the next category of commands.
They are easier and some of the more advanced obedience commands require that your German Shepherd knows the basic obedience commands.
2.) Advance obedience commands
These commands are used in sports such as training, agility, and working situations.
They are also useful in on-leash and off-leash training.
Your dog will need more time to master these commands because they are tricker.
Tips and German Shepherd training equipment
- You could either use on-leash or off-leash training.
- Puppy training encompasses the basic obedience commands while advanced dog training encompasses both basic and advanced obedience commands.
- The equipment needed for training is a collar, leash, treats and toy for reward, harness, and a clicker.
- To have the best effective training, you may also have to focus on socializing and building a bond with your dog so they can easily understand you.
Basic commands to teach your German Shepherd
1.) Teach your dog the command “come”
This command will help your dog to come to you; it’s used as a means of communication between you and your dog.
Step one: Start your training indoors where you will be able to communicate with them easily.
Step two: You have to wait until they are playing with their toys so you can call them by their name.
Step three: When they look at you, show them a treat and tell them the command “come” so they can come to you.
Step four: Once they come to you, give them lots of praise and attention so they learn that you have been. When you do so, you are making them positively associate the behavior with treats and reward.
Step five: This time try it without treats by kneeling down and calling them by name. When they are focused on you, tell them to come.
If they don’t come, give a gentle tug to the leash and repeat the command. However, you got to be careful that you are not harsh or impatient with your dog; you have to not rush the training.
Step six: Once that they have come, you can give them praise and practice with still manage to practice with them on a leash.
Step seven: Take them outdoor and repeat the exercise. This time do so by increasing the distance between you and the dog so they learn to come even if at a distance.
Step eight: When they have learned to do the command effectively, ask them to come without using a treat. You can substitute the treats with praise instead.
2.) Teach your dog the command ” sit”
Step one: Start this method while your dog is sitting or standing in front of you. Then, hold their favorite treat in your hand but make sure it’s out of their reach.
To make them get excited about the treat, flash it before their eyes one or two times so they want to grab it. Make sure you make direct eye contact.
Step two: Hover your hand while it is carrying the treat so that you move it above your dog’s head toward their rear side. However, make sure that your dog can sniff it while it is in line with their nose so that they get excited to get it.
Step three: When you perform this move, your dog will naturally and automatically drop their behind so they can be at the same level as the treat. Once, they are sitting on the ground, give them the treat and lots of praise.
It’s best that, at this point, to not use the word sit at the time instead practice the exercise without saying the command “sit”.
Step four: Repeat the exercise for a couple of times.
3.) Teach your dog the command “down”
Step one: First, let your dog be in a sitting position.
Step two: Keep the treat between your thumb and index finger and then move your hand to their face so they can smell the treat and get excited.
Step three: Move the treat towards the floor. Make sure to use the command down to ask your dog to lie down.
Step four: Let your dog lie down on the ground and when you see them lie down, ask them the command down.
Step five: As soon as they are laying down on the floor, praise and pat them excessively. Also, make sure to give them the treat.
Step six: Repeat this exercise lots of times until they learn that they can do this exercise without treats.
4.) Teach your dog the command “stay”
Step one: Your dog must have known and learned the “down” position before you can teach them to “stay”.
In this step, you will use the “down” command to ask your dog to remain in this position while keeping their palm over their head.
Step two: It’s important to always maintain eye contact with your dog at all times while asking them to stay.
Step three: If your German Shepherd happens to rise from this position, then repeat the same exercise so that they learn that they have to stay.
Step four: Praise them excessively and give them treats if you find out that stay down on the ground.
Step five: When you repeat the exercise, gradually increase the time that you let your dog stay. While always at the end, give them treats.
5.) Teach your dog the command “heel”
Step one: Start while your dog is playing where you can teach them this command very easily.
Step two: Put a leash on them before taking them outside.
Step three: When you interrupt their play, at first, they might resist at first and pull the leash. so, if this happens, wait until they relax so you can easily take them on the leash outside.
Step four: As soon as they stop pulling, give them lots of praise for staying calm.
Step five: Over time, change the position that you put on them the collar by putting on them at a counter-clockwise movement.
Step six: Give them the command ” let’s heel” while using hand signals that urge them to walk alongside you. When they do so, toss them a treat.
6.) Teach your dog the command ” leave it”
Step one: Hold the treat in your hand and then call out your German Shepherd dog.
Step two: Drop the treat so your dog will see it. As soon as your dog tries to sniff the treat, move your leg over it and get it away from them.
Step three: Don’t step over it instead block the treat from them. Then, say the command “leave it” so they will leave it on their own.
Step four: Pick up the treat and move backward. Then, drop the treat again on the floor and repeat the same action over again.
Step five: If they don’t take the treat and listen to you, then offer them a treat.
Another way to teach your dog to leave it is through another way:
Step one: Watch your dog pick up something that isn’t theirs.
Step two: Tell them a stern “no” so you get their attention away from the object.
Step three: Praise them and give them a treat when they ignore the object.
7.) Teach your dog the command “drop it”
Step one: Let your dog have a training session in which they will have their toys.
Step two: If they hold the toy in the mouth and chew it, say “no” and ” drop it”. To make it an easier process, you can instead hold their favorite treat close to their nose to excite them about taking the treat.
Step three: If they release the toy to grab the treat instead, praise them a lot and give them the treat.
Step four: If your dog doesn’t respond to your command and drop the object, then don’t try to take it by force and pull it from their teeth. This will automatically cause them injury.
Step five: Repeat this exercise until your German Shepherd learns to leave it.
8.) Teach your dog the command ” forward”
Step one: Leash your German Shepherd and ask them to sit beside you.
Step two: Hold the leash in the hand that is closest to your dog. For example, if your dog is sitting on the left side, get the leash on your left hand.
Step three: Using the other hand, guide your dog forward by making a sweeping motion from back to front so you can signal your dog to move forward. All of this, while voicing the forward command to your dog.
9.) Teach your dog the command “easy”
This is a useful command that is useful to use when your dog is pulling the leash too hard.
Step one: If your dog is pulling the leash too hard, tell them the command “easy”.
Step two: If they are still pulling the leash, then stop walking altogether so your dog understands that they shouldn’t pull.
Step three: Wait until they have stopped pulling. Then, tell them the forward command so they will continue walking forward.
Step four: Repeat for a number of times so your dog learns not to pull again.
10.) Teach your dog the command “stand”
This is a useful command to let people pet them or for grooming purposes.
Step one: Start with your German Shepherd in a sitting position and hold a treat in front of their nose to excite them to take a treat.
Step two: Step back while telling your dog the stand command.
Step three: When they stand up, give them the treat and praise them.
Step four: Practice this a few times. Then, practice the same without any treats in your hands so you can teach them to stand without the use of treats.
11.) Teach your dog the command “no”
No is the command that your dog is doing something wrong. You tell it to your dog when you want them to stop doing something.
Here are the steps that you can do to teach your dog the command “no” when chewing on shoes.
Step one: If your dog is doing something that isn’t acceptable such as chewing shoes, you got to use the command no.
Step two: Take the shoe from your dog’s mouth.
Step three: Correct them with a firm “No”.
Step four: If we are in the example of the dog chewing the shoe, then give them another toy and provide them with praise for leaving it.
12.) Teach your dog the command “okay”
This command lets your dog know that it’s okay to do what they want to do. For example, you are grooming your dog, let them know that you finished by telling them “okay” so they are free to go.
Step one: Ask them to sit or stand for a few minutes.
Step two: When they do what you ask them to, tell them “okay” so they will feel free to go.
Advanced basic command training for German Shepherd
1.) Speak/ Quiet
To teach your dog to speak on command:
Step one: Find something that gets your dog very excited such as a favorite toy or ball.
Step two: Excite them for the object and get them to bark by waving it around enthusiastically and be excited yourself.
Step three: As soon as your dog barks, mark it as a good behavior through using the words “good” and “yes”. Also, reward them with a treat or play with a toy.
Step four: To put the behavior into use, whenever your dog barks, tell them the command “speak”.
To teach your dog to be quiet on command:
Step one: Create a situation that will cause your German Shepherd to bark such as getting them excited by making them see another dog.
Step two: Let your dog bark for some time.
Step three: Wait until your dog stops barking so that you can give them a toy or treats.
Step four: Repeat this step while each time waiting a longer period of silence before giving your dog the treat.
Step five: Once your dog remained quiet for many times, add the cue “quiet”. This is so you can use whenever you want your dog to stay quiet.
Step one: Get your German Shepherd excited about the object that you are going to throw. You can do so by waving it around, making some noise while you hold it, and putting it in front of your dog’s face before tossing it.
Step two: Use some smelly treats and rub them on the toy or ball to give it a different smell. This method is used because a German Shepherd has a strong sense of smell so they are more likely to chase the toy or ball.
Step three: Toss it just a distance away to encourage your dog to go after it.
Step four: As your dog gets used to the distance, you can further increase the distance so your dog will run a bigger distance.
Step five: Repeat the same steps for a number of times so your dog will continue to go after it and gets used to it.
In this type of German Shepherd training, you will have to teach your German Shepherd dog to jump over an object such as a hoop, you have to teach them certain steps.
Step one: Let your dog get familiarized with the hoop by letting them approach it on their own without holding it up. Do this for a few times until your dog gets used to seeing the hoop.
Step two: Let your German Shepherd become more comfortable and move around and inside the hoop. As soon as they put their legs inside the hoop while it is faced down, give them treats and praise them.
Step three: Gradually, lift the hoop a few inches of the ground using your foot or rock. In this step, reward them only when they step inside the hoop. Let them learn how to walk through the hoop by themselves.
Step four: Continue to practice with your German Shepherd to keep on walking through the hoop. Introduce the word ” jump” for your dog so they will start to associate walking through the hoop with this command at first.
Step five: Again, lift the hoop up more, say the command “jump” and see how your dog will act. If they find trouble jumping in the hoop, lower it a bit and let them pass through. When they do learn to jump at the hoop, give them lots of treats.
Step one: Take your German Shepherd to a grassy field and do so early in the morning so to eliminate distractions and scents of others.
Step two: Put your dog on a leash while your friend is occupying them in the opposite direction so you can easily make a trail.
Step three: Drop a few dogs treats on the ground from a distance away from your dog and squash them on the ground. Twist your shoes on the treats so the scent will remain on the grass.
Step four: Walk in a straight line away from your dog and keep placing treats every 6 ft. After 20 ft, place a clothing item such as sock and put on it a treat.
Step five: Walk over to your dog and untie them from the leash or you can leave the leash on. It’s your choice.
Step six: Point your dog to the direction of the trail and let them continue walking on the trail. Ask them to find the item that you put on the trail. Always be behind them so you can encourage them.
Step seven: You can then encourage them by making new trails that are longer so your dog gets the practice that they need.
Step one: Socialize your dog so they are comfortable being around other dogs and people.
Take them to training classes and dog parks. It’s very important because it also helps your dog understand what’s good and what’s bad.
You can also socialize them with family members. They will learn and distinguish between good and bad behaviors.
Never leave your German Shepherd alone for a long time because they do need you to be with them.
Step two: Teach your dog basic obedience commands such as come, sit, and stay so they are trained to listen and understand you.
Step three: Also, teach your dog to speak or bark on command so they can then learn to bark when there are strangers at the door.
Step four: It’s equally important to teach your German Shepherd to be quiet on command so they don’t bark excessively everywhere.
Step five: Show your German Shepherd the area that they have to protect such as your house. Let them walk outside so they know the area that they will protect and not bark at friends or strangers outside the property.
When to start training your German Shepherd
The best time to train your German Shepherds is when they are puppies. Their minds easily absorb and learn what you train them to do, however, don’t give them all the heavy training.
To start training them, teach them basic commands such as “sit”, “down”, and ” stay”.
The heavy training has to be delayed until your dog is 6 months old.
Always, use positive reinforcement and treats when training your German Shepherd so they learn to associate the rewards with the training.
Where to start the German Shepherd’s puppy training?
The best place to start training your German Shepherd puppy is at home. Your home is considered a great place for your German Shepherd puppy where it’s safe and your puppy is comfortable in it.
When they reach the right age for formal training, you can get a dog trainer who will take them to dog parks and give them training or you can learn how to teach your dog to perform dog training.
What are the phases in the training process?
When you train your German Shepherd, they will go through specific training phases so their dog becomes well trained.
1.) Alpha dog or dominance
This phase mainly relies on the pack mentality that all dogs have on creating an alpha dog and followers.
In this phase, you have to establish yourself as the alpha so they respect and listen to you.
Some of the methods used to teach your dog that you are in a leadership position are projecting confidence and always staying calm.
It’s always important to be the one in charge so your dog doesn’t become the one in control.
2.) Positive reinforcement
Positive reinforcement is used to train your dog on the basis of doing a specific action and getting rewards such as treats and praise in return.
Popular among many dog trainers, this training method guarantees the best results. If you do treat your dog badly such as scolding or punishing them, they will not listen to you and so you won’t be able to train them.
Positive reinforcement should be a consistent method used by every person in your house so your German Shepherd doesn’t get confused.
3.) Relationship-based training
Relationship-based training is about building a relationship between your dog, trainer, and dog parent.
This method combines different methods but focuses on building a relationship with your dog.
In this training, you must know the body language of your dog and the rewards that they like so you can connect with them. It also helps them to socialize with their dog parent easily.
How to train a German Shepherd puppy
To train a German Shepherd puppy, you must first build trust between you and your puppy. Establish yourself as the leader that they can trust and listen to for guidance.
To establish a calming and trusting bond, you have to first do the following:
- Establish single clear commands
- Be non-threatening in your body language
- Have a firm but calm tone of voice
- Be consistent in all of the training so your dog doesn’t get confused
- Give rewards such as praise, treats, and pats for their good behavior
Also, use positive reinforcement throughout your training to teach them about what behaviors they can do.
The best way is to treat obedience as something that should be earned, not demanded. This is only achieved through positively reinforcing the behavior instead of using fear tactics.
German Shepherd puppy crate training
Crate training a puppy is crucial for a German Shepherd. In the past, dogs used to live in dens where they felt comfortable and safe.
A crate is a perfect solution for teaching your puppy to sleep in it and for housetraining them. It is also a valuable tool for when you are not at home and need to leave your puppy in a safe environment.
An important note to know is to never use the crate as punishment. It’s your dog safety place so never take this away from them.
Here’s, how to crate train a German Shepherd puppy.
Step one: Choose the right size crate
Choose a crate that will be large enough for your puppy to stand in, turn around, and lie down easily.
Any crate larger than that will ultimately leave your puppy to eliminate in an area.
Step two: Create a cozy environment
Bring blankets, bedding, and toys so your puppy becomes more likely to love the crate and want to stay in it.
At first, use treats inside the crate so you can lure your puppy inside of it.
Step three: Shut the crate’s door
Shut the crate’s door and allow your German Shepherd puppy to sit for about 10 minutes inside of the crate.
If they whine or cry, then sit beside the crate, while they whine and cry, and comfort them with talking to them softly.
Step four: Let them out
After the ten minutes have passed, let them out with of the crate and reward them with a treat.
This is important so they learn that they have done a good job and positively associate the crate as a good place.
Step five: Repeat
After an hour or two, repeat the same steps and this time leave them in the crate for 20 minutes.
Gradually, increase the time that your puppy is inside the crate up to an hour at a time.
When your puppy is very young, they won’t tolerate extended times in the crate so you have to be careful. As a rule, add one hour to your puppy’s age.
For example, if your German Shepherd puppy is two months old, they shouldn’t be inside the crate for more than 3 hours.
How to housetrain a German Shepherd puppy
Crate training a German Shepherd puppy goes hand in hand with potty training them.
You can actually let them stay in the crate for a specific amount and then let them out to potty when you hear them whimpering and crying.
There are important times to take your puppy out to eliminate; these times are at night before they sleep and early in the morning when they wake up.
Also, when you feed your puppy, take them out after 20 minutes because they will need to go potty.
Don’t let your German Shepherd puppy potty in different areas; however, make sure they eliminate in the same area every time so they don’t get confused.
Teach your German Shepherd puppy the command ” go potty” by doing the following steps:
- First, every time they go potty, say it and mark the behavior by either positive words such as yes or clicking a clicker.
- Second, after they are finished, give your puppy lots of praise and a treat.
- Third, the next time that they go potty, give them the cue “go potty” before they go eliminate.
- Fourth, after they are finished, mark the behavior with either a “yes” or a click on the clicker. Don’t forget to always give them treats when they finish so they become potty training.
For potty training to be effective, you have to be consistent with the timings and routine so your puppy will hold it in until the timing arrives.
Untrain your German Shepherd puppy’s bad behavior
Some German Shepherd puppies like to jump on people, chew furniture, and bite people.
Your German Shepherd puppy needs to unlearn these behaviors so they wouldn’t hurt other people or themselves.
Here is the solution to each problem:
- If you find that your German Shepherd puppy jumps on people, it’s best to ignore this behavior and only reward them only when they greet people calmly and in the correct way.
- When your German Shepherd puppy bites you, you can make a high pitched noise such as a yelp and wait 10 seconds until your puppy calms downs before resuming playing with them again.
- If your German Shepherd chews furniture, you can use a safe repellant spray to use on things that you don’t want your dog to chew on and instead distract them with their favorite toy.
When your puppy stops these behaviors, always reward them with praise and a treat.
How to train an adult German Shepherd
- Begin with the basics: Start with basic commands such as sit and stay. If they are new to them, then teach them the commands like you would teach a puppy. Always keep sessions short and fun with breaks in between.
- Give rewards quickly: Rewards can come in the form of treats, toy, or praise. However, it’s important to give the treat to your dog completely after they finished the task.
- Use a clicker: It’s not always necessary but many dog parents find it effective when training a dog. A clicker associates a sound with a reward and action making a positive association with the behavior.
- Apply the same training of a puppy to an adult German Shepherd: Basically, this means that you teach them to crate training, potty training, basic commands just like a puppy. You can also add advanced basic command training to your dog’s training.
- Get your dog to go to a training facility: They will learn more about the best kind of training to get that will help them know more about the training.
Common mistakes made while training
1.) Using a forceful and violent approach
Some people think that being aggressive means being alpha. When acting aggressively, they might yell or react violently when their dog doesn’t obey their commands.
If you are forceful and violent with your German Shepherd, they will actually act out and become violent.
Thus, it’s best that you use positive reinforcement when dealing with your German Shepherd so they can learn to positively associate the behaviors.
2.) Not being consistent and not repetitive
When you use different methods, your dog is more likely to get confused. Thus, it is best to use the same commands and actions so your German Shepherd can actually understand them.
You should also be repetitive when training your German Shepherd. Be repetitive in your task and training so your dog will understand over time the training.
Some times multiple family members want to train them using different methods that aren’t repetitive. By doing so, they confuse the dog very easily.
You can make a rule that only one person will train the dog or you can sit with all your family members and establish the schedule and routine that they will be into it.
3.) Not Socializing your dog
When your dog isn’t socialized from an early time, they can become very aggressive. This will definitely lead to aggression with strangers and other dogs later in their lives.
This will definitely scare people from all of the aggression that they have.
Be sure to let your German Shepherd socialize with other dogs and people when they are young so they get used to them when they are older.
4.) Lack of crate training
Lack of crate training will definitely make your dog not know how to stay in their crate for a period of time.
They won’t be able to sit in the crate when you are away for a period of time. They also will not be trained to potty train through crate training.
5.) Not teaching them manners
Teach your German Shepherd manners about how to walk with you without pulling the leash.
You could also teach your dog to not jump on other people and bite them. This is through teaching and training them the appropriate manners.
Your German Shepherd needs to get trained so they can do tasks that we ask them to do.
To start off when training a German Shepherd, start with basic obedience training when they are a puppy and then move on to advanced obedience training when they are adults.
German Shepherds need to also be trained in other things such as crate, potty, and unlearning bad behaviors.
To know more about how to stop a German Shepherd from biting, check Top 10 Ways to Stop German Shepherd Puppy Biting.
Share your experience with us. How do you train your German Shepherd?