Dog Training vs Dog Socialization


Big surprise!? Dog training is less important than socializing your dog! And for the German Shepherd Dog breed, comprehensive socialization is essential because this dog has been bred to react to the faintest unfamiliar stimulus that could threaten the herd that the GSD is meant to guard. For a family dog, the herd is your family.

Now if you don't systematically socialize your dog then this dog will feel alarmed (and thus stressed!) upon so little as a neighor two roads away mowing his lawn - unless earlier your dog has seen and heard the neighbor mowing his lawn while with you and staying calm. What your dog got accustomed to in the right setting will not alarm your GSD. Everything else will.

puppy 101

The widespread lack of comprehensive socialization is the reason why many people (including city officials) consider the German Shepherd to be barking too much, or even to be an aggressive dog. So make sure that your German Shepherd won't cause needless restrictions of any kind: Socialize your GSD to the MAX!

Many dog owners claim "my dog is very well socialized!", or worse they believe "my puppy is SO sociable, he greets and plays with every person!" - but in most cases I get to know, the dog owner couldn't be misled more:

Mark this and remember forever, recall it in your sleep: There is a HUGE difference between the impression "very well socialized" and systematic socialization! I've put a detailed socialization report in the Puppy Development Guide - Puppy 101 (it even includes Checklists). You can use all of that for the adult dog too, in fact if you haven't done so, it's even more important for your adult dog!

Every day, your first thought should be: "What socialization can I provide for my dog today?" And only your second thought should be: "What training repetition can we do today?" - Don't worry if your first thought of the day is your spouse or your children (or the taxman), just make sure it's not: "Which cool dog trick can I teach my dog today?"

Only once you're sure that dog socialization is your first priority, give the right dog training some consideration too.

More here:

German Shepherd Dog Training

Puppy Training

House Training Dogs

Clicker Training

Dog Commands

Dog Obedience Training

Dog Behavior Training

Dog Protection Training

Professional Dog Trainers

Schutzhund Training

Dog Bite Training



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    I am interested in learning on how to care for our new dog. Please provide me with information on this topic


      Okay I would study and apply our free Puppy or Adult dog Training Essentials, depending on what you get (puppy?), plus the free Feeding Routine Periodical, as a minimum.

      More comprehensively covered in the respective books on the left if you are prepared to spend money for your dog?


    We just got a GSP in November from the Pueblo Humane Society. We're guessing she's about 5 months old as she's lost about half her baby teeth. She looks like she may be a purebred Sable with a reddish gold medium length fluffy coat. That really doesn't matter though. We'd like to train her to be a family companion but also for protection too. We've began with basic commands i.e. sit, lay down, here. She's great at sit, but she's struggling with lay down. We're using training treats to help. She's also great at fetching even when she drops it halfway, she pick it back up and continue to bring it to me. She also loves tug a war. I'm curious what's the best way to train her? Oh we're also wondering if it's better to feed her twice a day using portion control or just fill her bowl and let her eat until she's full. We also keep her in the kitchen with a gate that divides it from the living room and rest of the house. Still working on potty training. She's usually good about going outside when we let her out which we do about once an hour. Sometimes she'll be put out and come in and pee on the living room floor. We have her food and water in the garage and she sometimes expels in there too. We've had some pretty cold days so I'm ok with her going in the garage for now. Thanks for listening.


      Jason, congratulations and thanks for rescuing a GSD!

      >we let her out which we do about once an hour

      the rest? Sounds like you're doing everything "wrong" that you can ;-)

      >Oh we’re also wondering if it’s better to feed her twice a day using portion control or just fill her bowl and let her eat until she’s full.
      Of course, let her eat until she's full and bursts, no need to ask.

      This is my sort of humor, sorry if you are always serious. :-)

      Okay, let me get serious too then (...putting the wine away...)
      Jason: Rather than what you're doing to her at the moment, in order to build a great relationship with your newly adopted GSD please consider following our Puppy Training Essentials - to the letter! They are proven to be the BEST way to get a great dog - instead of dropping off the GSD at the Humane Society when she's a strong adult dog and you can't handle her anymore! (Seen too many times)

      I would follow the Essentials from TODAY. Every day you postpone makes it worse/ more difficult.


    I have to admit I had no idea how the whole Amazon process works. Still a little confused. Thank you so much for all your hard work. The information has been greatly appreciated. I suppose the economy plays a.large part in this scenario as well. There is honestly no room in our fixed budget to do too much buying. All the same I wish you all the best and wanted to thank you for all you have done for our precious german shepherd family


    Hi Tim
    Leo is now 5months and loves the river, everytime it comes to drying him off before he can enter the house he becomes transfixed on attacking(playfully) the towel thats drying him. i have implemented your gesture feeding routine, recall is good, doesnt pull on the lead, has stop nipping and mouthing outside play times, sits, waits, heels,(still doesnt lay down but we are working on that).
    any suggestions how drying him can be easier.


      The problem may be
      1) the particular towel (eg color)
      2) the way you are approaching the drying experience(!)
      3) conditioning during litter socialization (breeder used towel exchange for playtime)

      If you test in this order, you know what needs to be done. ;-)

      Other than that Rob I have to be fair to everyone here, if you need more than I publish you really need to book the senior dog not puppy level. Would serve you well. Or at a fraction, a LOT is in the Puppy 101.

      Be aware that I am happy to make exceptions, but obviously depending on how much feedback the person has posted on what (s)he already received [hint]. You know a site like this can only exist based on reciprocity.


    I have a 3yr old shepherd , he has never been socialised with other dogs and desperately need to train him , now in his 3rd different class and feel it's not what he needs . Where is your nearest training classes ML6 0LE is my postcode .


    Having read all you have written that I have seen, re the importance of socialisation, I think that is my number one priority for my GSD Kaiya. What I am not sure is how to go about it In the correct way. She is obviously quite strong when lunging at another dog. I get nervous I can't hold her and end up with her on two inches of leash. That makes the situation worse. Would I be better using a muzzle? She's 7 and I still haven't worked out how to socialise her safely. Hence my normal avoidance of other dogs. In the past I have met with abuse from other dog owners who see her behaviour as dangerous. Kaiya has never bitten another dog but is more likely to rush at them. Even calm dogs don't seem to help her, it seems as though her aim is to chase them away, even when they just ignore her. I know from all my previous dogs that they would do the sniffing thing and move on, Kaiya doesnt seem to know what to do and because I'm not sure whether to stop, keep walking, ignore her, distract her (virtually impossible with voice or treats, toys, she doesn't take any notice of them when out). I had resigned myself to continuing my 5am or 11pm walks in the forest, for both our sanity, but am wondering having found your site if there is another way. Apologies for length or comment!


    Have just seen and bought your Dog Training Toolkit, so should probably read that before being lazy and asking! Hoping Kaiya gets it when I read it to her!


      She will Amanda, cause having the Dog Training Toolkit now you will behave it to her ;-)

      Edit: Oh, and as for your prior question (if I got it right, it's SO HARD to read without paragraph separation) the more you walk her where she can meet other dogs, the better for her socialization. Keeping a dog away from others in fear of difficulties only increases the difficulties.

      I am at the other end (of the leash, ha! - that refered to a book), I sometimes forget the leash at home!!! Only notice it later on the walk, and wonder: "Where did I put the leash??" :roll:

      Well, we all get old. Key just is, that our dogs behave so well by then that they don't need the leash. Yep!


    Thank you for replying. Apologies for lack of paragraphs!


      You are welcome. Let me know how it goes for you two with the Toolkit.

      Edit: Oh, and once you apply it, kindly do leave a review, hardly anyone does these days for me, but we depend on it.

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