German Shepherd Puppy Training


So you've got a puppy? You want to know "How do I do ...?". "What have you done when ...?". "Why have you done that, not that?"

Right! You can see all of this. And much more. Everything! See, yes.


Other topics here:

Dog Training vs Socialization

German Shepherd Dog Training

House Training Dogs

Clicker Training

Dog Commands

Obedience Training

Protection Training

Professional Dog Trainers

Schutzhund Training



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    I appreciate all the written info, and the online training, but I need a specific program we both can attend with professional GSD training. Please advise.
    Thank you~ Elisa Abete and Noli (4 months)


      How can I? I have no clue where you are, who you are, and what you are looking for.
      Be careful with advice that you may get (elsewhere) if you ask with so much imprecision, Elisa.
      Directories of dog trainers you find here on the site as well. But always check yourself before you choose one, assuming you don't want your dog to end up as an emotional wreck!? LOADS of "dog trainers" have little clue WHAT they are doing (to the dog, and the owner). I could even show you where some professional dog trainers admit this themselves! Arguing they had to "learn a lot recently". Ha! Tsss

      Then rather learn sth that makes sense to you and meets your expectations, and then apply it yourself.


    Thank you so much for your site and wonderful advice! This gsd puppy has been a particularly stubborn and aggressive little guy. You have been a lifesaver!


    I have a two year old shepherd. He knows the property lines and almost always comes on command. However, when he is on a sniffing ordeal, he is not listening and this time he has run off doing this and I cannot find him. If he comes back, I am not sure how to stop this behavior. I take him ut on two mile walks every morning. He goes to daycare once a week. I spend time with him on lunch hour and quality time on evenings. Not sure what I am doing wrong.


      Ken, I am not going to tell you what you're doing wrong, cause I can't know. But a few questions that may help anyway ;-)
      - Is he neutered?
      - Any idea where he's usually going?
      - You mention "he almost always comes on command" - Do you have any idea of Behavior Training, and why your problem then would likely disappear?
      - Are you treat training him?
      - Is he your first dog?
      - Dogs in the neighborhood?
      - And what's the exact situation the moment before he disappears?



    Do you have a chart that shows how many minutes per day we should exercise GSD based on the dog's age?



    I guess I should have asked your opinion about how many minutes per day should I run my dog before 12 month of age and after 12 month. I have heard too much running can cause health problem for the GSD under 12 month old. Some say if you have 8 weeks old puppy you should walk them 5*8=40 minutes a day and for 9 weeks 5*9 and so forth. Do you think that is right?


      Allen, I think that is nonsense someone made up on a dull day and published it. As always, the herd then copies it...

      Didn't you see my earlier reply?
      ... we have something better, I think: GSD online health assessment

      Have you tried it? You will notice, it draws the line at 9 months of age (below: "be careful", above: "good").

      So, yes, puppies shouldn't be subjected to heavy exercise, and not to excessive jumping either. However, as you know, we understand exercise not as "dog walking" - that's exercising a Chihuahua but NOT a GSD.

      I think best is to gently stimulate a GSD with increasing age, and when you notice (s)he is too exhausted, do less. If you feel, as a GSD, (s)he's too soon exhausted, see the vet for an exam (or first, cheaper, use the linked tool! Enter all data you can, and you will see it gives a LOT of results). And the more people use it with full data entered, the sooner I can gauge it further. :-)


    Hi Tim. I wanna ask one question.. i have german shepherd dog puppy, Jarvis, and he is still eating stones/small rocks. Hot to stop this behaviour? He is 13 weeks old and now he lives with us inside because we have winter here in Slovaia andas soon as we go for walk or he is outside he eats everything what is made of stones/rocks :( but, of course his stomach can deal with rocks and he doesnt sleep all the night and he throws it out... help if u have any advice. thanks


      That is a huge health risk that must be stopped TODAY! There are several possible reasons, the most likely (but NOT in this order):

      1) Your dog is severely stressed. See the Prime Secret about dogs, the Pack conflict, as I explained it in the Puppy 101 and I think, also in the House Training Guide. Intense stress can lead to all sorts of behavior (and health) issues, incl. 2)

      2) Your dog may have what's called pica, which is an OCD (some people leave out the "O" because they think dogs can't think, but obviously I disagree there). So, Jarvis may indeed have an OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). Pica is rare with GSDs. It means that your dog - well you know that - compulsively mouths objects and sometimes even eats them (in your case). This can be caused by stress (see 1) but may alternatively be a hereditary disorder. To rule this out, can you please check with the breeder/shelter/prior owner if the dog's parents show any form of OCD?

      3) Your dog may merely seek your attention! To rule this out, observe if Jarvis only does that when you or another family member is around, or also does it when alone?

      Irrespective of the reason discussed above, do seek a vet immediately to ensure there are no objects left in his body.
      (The vet will likely not be able to cure the OCD though, if that's the case)


    my dad just got a german shepherd male dog 2 weeks ago and the dog is presently 8weeks old. i have been trying to train him to be obedient and he obeys some instructions like sit,get up,shake me, come.. i also learnt that i should introduce him to outsiders but am afraid it will make him not to guard the house properly especially when we are not around or in case of burglars..our house is highly fenced, do u think i should?. i also have another dog a mix of boer boar and alsatian, it always barks and whinnes towards any visitors esp.. children so that they would play with him..pls what can i do to stop it


      I'd urgently study the Puppy 101 you see BIG on the left, everything you need is in there, hence called Puppy 101.


    Hi Tim! We got a female German shepherd puppy when she was 2 months old. She used to bite the family members. She is now 4 months old and is still biting us. Is it teething? When is it going to finish? We are really worried...


      Hasshir, here come's the truth that - at the moment - you won't believe (but it's the truth nonetheless):

      If you don't take a VERY different approach ASAP, your dog too will end up in a shelter.
      Why? Because, a GSD puppy that hasn't learned from its owner at age 4 months when, and how much nipping(!) is allowed, and with whom, exhibits by the age of 6 months and older a bite force(!) that you won't want to bear anymore (cannot bear).

      As I've written on this site MANY times: If you don't want to fork out $9 for a Puppy 101 to prevent these exact problems that you complain about now, at least fork out $0 (zero dollar) and click on Ian Dunbar's site to download his book After you get your puppy. For free, yes.

      Otherwise, my own Puppy 101 you see on this very page (every page) on the left, hence I can't understand why you ask?
      If you can read this reply, you certainly can read the book. It's very easy to understand. :-)


    Hi, my gsd is 12 weeks. He is basically house trained crate trained and knows basic commands, sit, laydown, "paw", and doing great learning to roll over, all just at the snap of a finger. Occassionally, when we are outside walking he is complete opposite and won't listen to anything constantly tugging at his leash. And when I try to correct him by removing the leash from his mouth he snaps at me. What might cause this and how can I correct the issue?


    I am having trouble understanding the collar freeze from puppy 101. "Grab the outer underside of the collar(not at the neck)" is not clear to me. Is there a picture or more descriptive way to put this. Should I be holding the collar on the side of her neck? You mention not at the throat, so that make me think not underneath her head. But not at the neck? The collar is around her neck. Could you please clarify? Thanks!


      Hi Anthony, the Collar Freeze too is much more simple than it may seem, and the logic behind it is this:
      - If we hold the collar at the neck, then the dog can't even see our arm reaching towards the collar. It's like someone holding onto your pullover on your back! You wouldn't like that, and neither does the dog.
      - If we hold the collar at the throat, then our hand puts pressure on the larynx and trachea, which limits the dog's breathing. It's like someone grabbing the front of your throat! You wouldn't like that, and neither does the dog.

      But if we hold the collar on the left or right side (laterally, "outside"), then the restraint is visible out of the corner of the dog's eye AND it doesn't restrict the dog's breathing. And if we hold the underside of the collar, then the back of our hand/fingers touches the dog, we are not sticking our fingers into the dog's skin. It's like your spouse feeling your pulse with the back of her hand. That's a very nice gentle touch that you would like, and so does the dog.

      So just stand still next to the dog, your arms hanging down, and gently slip the back of your hand/fingers under the collar on the outside (ie "not at the neck or throat"). Did I write "grab"? Terrible, I should have bolded "gently touch". Indeed so gentle that the dog likes it.

      Funnily, I now realize the misunderstanding/ambiguity comes from the fact that in English everything between head and torso is called neck - while in German that "everything" is called "Hals" and only the part at the back is called "Nacken" (neck), hence why I wrote "not at the neck". :-)

      Anatomically: A dog prefers to be touched/held on the lower brachiocephalicus muscle, as then (s)he feels protected at the throat!


        Thanks Tim,
        That clears up the where. Now when I perform this should my arm freeze as well? In other words if she wiggles back and forth or tries to lay down, should I be trying to prevent her from moving, or just let her move around with my fingers still under the collar. At 9 weeks she's pretty strong and I can't possibly hold her still with one arm. Do you recommend two in this particular, or all situations. Also, you did say "gently take hold" in the book, not grab.


        As always, you make an exception and promptly you are called to make more. ;-)
        BUT you are friendly, and if certain others were friendly too, I might make an exception for them too (ie without being a paying site member). Sadly though, those others don't have the education or attitude that you have.

        After this necessary hint for others, now my reply for you:
        As I say in the Puppy 101: "Now we 'freeze': We stand still, we don't ..."
        and "We 'freeze' until we feel that our pup is entirely calm and relaxed."

        Exactly that, nothing else. No need to put icepacks around your arm, no, but hold it still and stand still. Transfer your low energy to your dog. [hint]

        "if she wiggles back and forth or tries to lay down", then either because you are not calm(?) or because the dog feels insecure with your hand on its collar? In the first case I can suggest a bottle of Baileys :-) , and in the second case to gently accustom the dog to be held at the collar (ie practice first in moments when the dog is totally calm anyway). :-)

        I hope this makes it all clear now?


    Should I walk my 10 week old God puppy around the neighborhood ? If so for how long. If not how long should it be outside?


      Yes even a God puppy should get outside at 10 wks - where SAFE health and behavior wise, pl see helpful links even in the free books.


    Leo is now 6 months old and to my mind we ( the family) have 1 small issue that i hope you may help with. when Leo is on the lead and sees other dogs he starts to bark, i wouldnt say its in an aggresive way but its different to all other barking that he does. also when approching dogs off the lead he does the same thing. it has never gone any futher than barking but im worried that the owners of the other dogs will make some sort of complaint about him which could lead to problems.
    i believe that he is simply saying hello to the other dogs but if i could reduce the barking he may find that he has more play mates.


      Rob you may have booked puppy level because you feel committed to your puppy?
      Well, I currently have a new puppy too, so I'll say what I do: At (a few) people and dogs he barks, I don't (yet) know why, they are friendly. So I show him and tell him exactly this. That they are friendly and no need to bark. Then there may be a few more barks sometimes, but generally he pretty quickly accepts them and then socializes with them (which is what I want).
      Another thing is: Before we even come close to other dogs and people, I watch his body language. So then I see upfront how he's likely to react, and can address that before any unwanted behaviors start to appear.
      Besides the above, note that some dogs are more vocal and indeed show their affection through barking.
      All of the above is dealt with in (different) Periodicals, they start with tail language.


    thanks tim

    am i using a service that puppy level dosnt cover? if so can you advise me of the right cover please.


      no problem, did you see my reply what I do with my own pup, did I miss anything you wanted?


    I did thanks tim
    I feel ive ran before ive walked and will need to start a few things from the begining. The good recall that i have seems to vanish once Leo sees other dogs. Guess im not the pack leader yet. I will go back to the puppy book you so kindly gave me and refresh my memory.
    Also ive downloaded the free books from dogstardaily after listening to the interview. Very imformative.


      Yes but a lot I rebut in the Review to the Interview, and I show clearly why, that's what the immense workload of the Reviews is for, it has a reason, you know. In short, with his socialization I agree, but not with the training, that is no training, that is a joke. And I show why.
      Sadly, most people fall for jokes where a bit common sense would be more appropriate. Ah well, I can only offer my advice, take up is not in my power.


    Sorry Tim me again
    Is there a level of membership that allows me to access all previous periodicals.
    Im a little confused as to what i can and cant get.


      No Rob there isn't, sorry. The plan was to program that one can access a number of Periodicals IN ADVANCE for a small contribution. But no funds for that now: The few who booked the series left no feedback (incl you) - obviously apart from Maureen who is exceptional - thus no popularity proof, thus no funding. It goes in circles, you know. Like I always say, people's inactivity/laziness harms only themselves. You see that now too, another proof.

      >Im a little confused as to what i can and cant get.
      It says so clearly in "My Dog's hub", pl check the page after login.


    Tim I did say informative, not useful. The way I see it bad advice can sometimes be as helpful as good.

    You right about the lack of reviews and I will address that on my part.

    Enjoy your puppy ; )


    Hi There,

    I just bought 8 weeks old GSD from one of my friend, initially he was very calm and playfull, but now since 3-4 days he has started biting on shoes and legs very badly, and when we try to stop him or taking him away from us to stop biting, he start biting on hands too ... but this kind of situation is just for few minutes and then he get settled and start playing again .... and how do I potty train him as he is very naughty, pee and potty anywhere he wants :)

    Please help me to stop my Puppy biting ...

    Best Regards


    Hi tim. I am getting my german shepherd puppy on thursday (his name is Titus=]) My girlfriend and I have a 2 year old full blood siberian husky as well. Do you have any advice on what I can do to help with introducing them together as part of our lives? My husky is very good with other dogs and has been around another GSD puppy and just played and barked/howled.(playfully of course). I just want to be prepared and no what to do and not to do.


      Trey, pl see "Introducing New Dog to Resident Dog", in the New Dog Checklist (free book). Other than that it's in the Puppy 101 (not free).


    I have a 3 month old GSD that seems to be stubborn. She will go outside dig and play and then come back in the house and pee and poop. She also wants to bite me and my boyfriend. PLEASE help!


    Sorry fr dis lengthy text
    My gsd(steffy) is a female and is about 8 months old....she is not brave and gets scared when she sees people around her other than my family members and starts barking putting all her energy in neighbours complain so much about her barking to dog trainer says she is thin and weak and she cannot be trained. ..he says it's better to hand her over to someone as Iam a college student and cannot look after her all the time.....nostalgia isn't allowing me to hand her to someone else...I am too emotionally attached to her that I don't want to give her in someone else's hand...she even bites sometimes but not that harder....she never Listens our command instead she bosses us...she even barks at people who oftenly Visit my mom has given me a last chance to change her behaviour without hurting myself. ...if i tie her mouth then she starts crying. can I help my little steffy to tackle out with these things?


      Priyanka, there is so much you need to learn how to behavior-train your dog that I have slight doubt you have the time/interest to do that, given your studies.
      If you have: APPLY (not read, APPLY) all you find in the free New Puppy Checklist and New Dog Checklist books. That will make a HUGE difference!


    Hey Tim!
    My 5 month old male GSD (Fritz) has a bad habit of chewing/biting on his leash. He seems to think that it is a toy dangling in front of him. We always try to immediately stop walking when he starts to do this, but then soon after we start walking again, he will steal it. Is this a problem he will grow out of, or are we taking the wrong steps to solve it?


    I can’t get enough of all things GDS so I downloaded Tim’s Puppy 101 from Smashwords. This book is well-organized with LOTS of information; more and different than the usual puppy-training books out there. Good for reading offline.


      THANK YOU Pippilotta ;-) I'll stick to that then. I can't believe this is real:
      - first you become a supporting site member - of whom we have too few to survive
      - then you stick to your promise and post comments, even THREE in an hour
      - and then you go insane(?) and even DONATE

      This much has never happened to this site before. This morning, already BeFoRe your donation, I decided: I have upgraded you to Expert Dog level (the highest here), out of gratitude!!

      You know when others write sth like "I gonna post comments" it never happens. Once they got my dog problem consultation or whatever, they forget it all. But not YOU :-)

      So again, THANK YOU! Much appreciated!! Every single dollar and every comment is like Gold, so hard it is for me at this time! :cry:

      With Expert Dog, just send a private email or skype when you seek help with your new puppy, and I'll drop other things :-)


    Thanks Tim!!! Those are some nice things you said : )
    For me, it is always “the little things in life!” I find my life routinely being improved by people who share themselves and their talents so why wouldn’t I be enthusiastic about meeting you, and the work you do !!!
    : )


    I’m studying a Puppy Training 101 and started thinking “how can I organize all this info in my mind so I remember what to do?” - no worries! The next pages were “Little Helpers” - Comprehensive lists that recap everything that had been presented. The Socialization Little Helper has six categories with more than 60 line items related to specific ways to socialize your pup. There are Helper Lists for Commands, Leash Training, Feeding Routine and Behavior Modification. Unbelievable resource! So helpful!


      "There are Helper Lists for Commands, Leash Training, Feeding Routine and Behavior Modification."
      Wow, thank you for pointing that out, I didn't remember that myself!

      which only serves to show that authors shouldn't write from memory - which is warped and like a sieve - but should write a diary. LOL :-)


    At first, while Binny was unfamiliar with his new home, meals were fine. Once he got comfortable though - literally, overnight, I could see we needed to do the gesture feeding to make mealtime stress free.
    Gesture feeding works, and for us, it worked in one session. First meal resulted in a cancelled meal. Second meal was successful on the third attempt. Since then, Binny sits quietly waiting for his food. He does not gobble but chews his food. He is learning that when he walks away, mealtime is over.
    I think puppy rearing is exhausting, if you are doing it right. It takes time to read, try things, make changes in day to day life to accommodate the pup you chose to bring into your home.
    Although I am tired and have not slept in my bed for two weeks, I don’t mind. Binny has changed and grown so much in two weeks. He shows he is capable of learning much. I will not be sleeping downstairs for ever! Everything I’m doing now will give my dog a calm temperament and a great life.


      "Everything I’m doing now will give my dog a calm temperament and a great life."
      So true, Pippilotta. I too spent a night or two on the uncomfortable couch and witnessed first hand what puppies and dogs are doing at night (they do not sleep through, no, no dog does).

      "puppy rearing is exhausting" OH YES, and raising a GSD puppy is exhausting to the power of four! I believe anyone who disagrees there is hiding the truth. None of the reputable dog trainers (other than Brenda Aloff) has ever raised a German Shepherd. And so they suggest we aren't up to what they can achieve with dogs, but them raising their terriers, french bulldogs, pekingese and what not, just isn't comparable to raising a GSD.

      For two wrong reasons professional dog trainers think raising a GSD is easy:

      1) "Raising a GSD puppy must be easy because training a GSD is very easy" (indeed).

      2) Being professional dog trainers (which just means: earning money with it), they EARN while they take the time to raise and train their dogs. Conversely, all of us try to find the time to raise and train the dogs AFTER we've been out and about to earn an income...


    Tim, that is so true!
    I want to tell you the outcome of gesture feeding after four meals:
    Binny now lies on the kitchen floor relaxing. Every once and awhile he opens one eye to see where I am in the process. He stays put, even after I put the bowl on the floor, until I pat the floor by the bowl and say “eat.” Then he trots over and eats!
    Gesture feeding...brilliant!


      "he opens one eye to see where I am in the process" In the process, lol, I'd love to watch you too! Sounds that I could learn a lot, sadly I never get the chance to SEE how others apply my Feeding Routine, would LOVE to see it, still waiting for someone to share a video of that! :-)

      Oh, maybe you? You shoot videos anyway, how about sharing one here?
      For you and Maureen (who asked me) I would then ALLOW video uploads
      (at the moment I disallowed them: we don't have the server resources for every spammer to hammer the server: we get soooo many spammers here &*^£*$^)


    If I can figure out a way to record I will! I may need to wait until someone comes over at mealtime if I can figure out a way to record I will! I may need to wait until someone comes over at mealtime. ?


      Sure. Or just do what you saw what I always did, place a small camera on a tripod to film the dog ;-)


        I have a tripod but no camera except for my phone. I will ask around though.

        Sent from my iPhone


        Odd, the "Sent from my iPhone" changes your username here...?

        >> Camera phone works as well, I did this: lean it against an object on top of a cupboard or whatever, obviously facing where you think the dog will be, with either of these settings:
        - take a pic eevery x seconds
        - or record video with motion sensoring



        Oh! Ok - I will try that. Thanks!

        Sent from my iPhone


        Here you go!


        Hi TimI hope you received the gesture feeding video.
        I intentionally compressed the process so I would not have a large video file. 
        Now that I know how to do it, I will try another one that is more in keeping with your instructions. Gesture feeding for one minute for example. And,  having him sit for a minute before  I “release” him to eat.

        Sent from my iPhone


        Sorry I couldn't be online. Where's the video did you say? I looked but "Default album for Pippilotta" is totally empty, not even a photo there.
        Maybe you know this new app better than I do, where is the video hiding? ;-)

        Oh and did you see my fb replies I posted on Binny's page? I don't think it went through, fb gives me nothing but problems, not even their own "comment app" works, doesn't log me in!


        Tim - I will get back in a few days. Apologies!

        Sent from my iPhone

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