How to Train Your German Shepherd
Training a german shepherd requires that you first reflect for a moment what it is that you want, and what your GSD actually needs from you in a training situation. Then go after it and start your german shepherd dog training with exactly this. You do not necessarily need to participate in official GSD courses or GSD training, with few exceptions you can undertake your own effective german shepherd dog training - if you prepare well.
However, if you seek to avoid spending so much money on formal GSD training, you can actually do all the basic German Shepherd dog training yourself if you are well prepared. Our most popular GSD dog training recommendation has become The Online Dog Trainer Doggy Dan with his video training series, because it's so comprehensive and intuitive - definitely worth checking out!
German Shepherds Training
Too many people wrongly treat their pet dog almost like a human and expect similar reactions. But no matter how attentive and smart your GSD may be, always consider that it is a dog after all - with the typical needs of this kind of animal. As such your dog wants to be part of the pack, requires its own territory, and wants to be accepted. Being a German Shepherd, your GSD will try to dominate you if you let it, because by its nature a German Shepherd guards and controls a herd.
Hence if you want to adjust any German Shepherd behavior that you consider negative, then the best way to approach your dog is not to scold or yell at it, but to focus on changing how your dog expresses its genetic instincts.
Training German Shepherd Dogs
There are some basic points that every German Shepherd owner should consider when they train their GSD. These points can make your German Shepherd dogs training much easier in every respect. Below we have split German Shepherds training over a few distinct areas.
For all areas Clicker dog training is helpful too. It works particularly well for training German Shepherds.
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Crate Training Dogs
If your German Shepherd is already older but not yet trained to use the crate, it will take a lot of patience and perseverance on your side since GSDs can be a bit stubborn. So, how do you get an adult German Shepherd to use the crate instead of the couch?
First, place the crate in a corner of a room where family members don't permanently walk past, but not so far away from the family action that your dog feels lonely in the crate. In the beginning, walk with your dog to the crate, lead the dog inside, and remain for a while in the room where your dog is. Speak in a calm tone with your dog to make it feel at ease. Consider a treat once a while, but not everytime. Slowly increase the amount of time for which you leave that room.
Continue this Dog Crate Training and be patient. After a few weeks at most your German Shepherd should head for the crate on its own when you give the command or point the finger in the direction of the crate. At times, a German Shepherd will head towards the crate on its own when it feels like it. In this regard, give your dog as much freedom as possible.
We have dedicated articles for you on Crate Training Dogs.
Leash Training a Dog
If your German Shepherd is already an older dog but not yet trained to walk on the leash, again be prepared to show a lot of patience and perseverance.
How can you get an adult German Shepherd to walk on the leash?
Accept that leash training an older dog will probably take many weeks, at a minimum. The most important objective for you should be to teach your GSD to reach a calm and controlled state before you two leave the house. Put your dog on the leash a few minutes before you leave the house, and let your dog walk around with the leash, so that it first gets used to the leash before it has to get used to the leash being a restraint.
When your German Shepherd is in a calm and controlled state, it will allow your dog to respond to your dog commands immediately and without becoming too excited about the anticipated walk. In most cases, leash problems with German Shepherds result from being allowed to run freely for too long when a puppy, or on too short a leash to even sniff on the ground - which is a dog's genetic instinct that you should never try to break entirely.
If your German Shepherd pulls on the leash, make it sit and wait by your side before walking again - unless the ground is cold, then don't make your dog sit! If you do this initially every few meters, your dog will quickly associate the pulling sensation with the stop of its walk and its opportunity to use its muscles and agility. As the German Shepherd's nature is to be active, your dog will quickly learn to strike a compromise that satisfies you too.
German Shepherd Obedience Training
Your goal for your German Shepherd obedience training is to establish yourself as the alpha leader in the household. You want to display control over your German Shepherd by giving it specific, short dog commands. However, note that the alpha leader in the pack is very considerate with its mates in nature too. Being the alpha leader does not mean that you should attempt to subject your German Shepherd to an "obedience neurosis" on your side.
We have a dedicated article for you on German Shepherd Obedience Training. Much more you'll of course find in the MYGERMANSHEPHERD PERIODICAL when you read it regularly.
Some of the best German Shepherd training tips you can get will come from formal dog obedience classes. Such GSD training will teach new German Shepherd owners how to maintain the alpha leadership position, and how to display gentle, considerate control over their new dog. Whether you have a German Shepherd puppy or you are having trouble controlling your adult German Shepherd, you may want to consider formal dog obedience classes to supplement your dog home training or DIY dog training.
However, formal GSD courses with German Shepherd trainers can be fairly expensive. If you don't want to splash out on formal GSD courses, you may prefer to make sure that you learn from good German Shepherd training books and German Shepherd training video. The best ones can indeed teach you all you need to know in order to have the best relationship with your German Shepherd for life - and at a fraction of the price.
Probably the best DIY dog training or dog home training program out there is The Online Dog Trainer Doggy Dan with his video training series. Definitely worth checking out!
The most important German Shepherd training tips relate to your dominance in the house and outside, so that your dog accepts you as the alpha leader. Since your German Shepherd cannot know what it is that you want it to do or not to do, you must make sure that you train your dog with patience. Ensure that it learns that you are the alpha leader in the household and that you have control of every situation - without being tyrannical or a control-freak.
If done properly, your German Shepherd will realize that it can and must relax, and that it must follow your commands and stop worrying about your protection. But never forget: A German Shepherd is genetically programmed to guard its herd. So you should give your GSD as much freedom as is possible and safe, while maintaining your role as alpha leader.
German Shepherd Training and Consistency
One last point we must mention even in this brief article is that, like all other training, German Shepherd training too requires consistency in dog training. Although a German Shepherd may often appear rather smart, in the end every desired change in behavior goes against the dog's natural instinct, and so it requires repetition and patience.
For example, if before going out you only make your GSD sit when you feel like it, then your dog will get either confused or too excited, and it may stop following your dog commands altogether. Whatever rule you set, aim to be consistent with it and ensure everyone in your home does the same. This will make it much easier for your German Shepherd to learn how you want it to behave, and it will keep you more relaxed too.
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