The first step to training any dog is to know some about dogs as a whole and about the individual breed. Some of the things that you should know about the German Shepherd, number one this is a working dog.
It was originally bred to herd sheep; this means it is a high-energy dog that needs plenty of exercise. The next thing to know about the breed is that they are fiercely loyal and loving dogs.In order to have a well-behaved German Shepherd it needs to be around a lot of people and other dogs from a young age.
If not properly socialized the dog could become aggressive with strange dogs and humans.One last thing to keep in mind is that no two dogs are the same. They are as individual as humans are. With this in mind, let us discuss training tips.
- When training a German Shepherd, or any dog, you have to set yourself as the pack leader in the eyes of the dog. Dogs are pack animals that follow the strongest member of the pack. You do not need to be mean to the dog, just firm and consistent.No amount of hitting will get the dog to obey you. Positive reinforcement training methods will bring better results, when the dog needs disciplined “bite” the dog on the shoulder using your hand as a mouth. This is how one dog disciplines another in the wild.
- The next training tip is to be calm and patient, if you are feeling angry or frustrated call off training for the day. A dog knows your moods, if you are frustrated the dog will not obey your commands. In the wild, frustration is a sign of weakness, the dog will attempt to exploit your mood. Dogs have a short attention span so keep training sessions short, fifteen or twenty minutes at one time is enough.
- The next tip is to make training fun and interesting. Some training is going to be mundane for you and your German Shepherd, but whenever possible make training a game. This will keep the dog interested and give it more exercise. German Shepherds are energetic and athletic you cannot get them too much exercise.
- There is any number of theories about the proper age to start training a German Shepherd, or any dog for that matter. Your dog is learning from the day it is born and they can learn from the first day. To start training basic commands you can start at around four months of age, this is when the pup can move around pretty well. At this age, their minds are sponges and they want to learn everything. Do not fall for the saying that you cannot train an older dog; dogs can be taught at any age.
- Another thing that you need to remember when training a German Shepherd is to do your training after the dog has had some exercise. A tired dog will listen better and pay attention longer.
- No matter how smart your dog is, it has a limited capacity when it comes to understanding your language. Keep your commands short, “come,” “stay,” “sit,” and so on. Incorporating hand gestures into your training is a good idea. Over all of the centuries since the dog was domesticated it has learned to pay attention to hand movements. This amazing ability has been tested; dogs know how to use it to their benefit. Dogs will take cues from your hand and eye movement; they are the only animal that does this. It is amazing how much you can get a dog to do with just hand signals.
- The last tip is high praise, whenever your German Shepherd does something right let them know you are happy. This loving and loyal dog wants nothing more than to please you, its pack leader. No matter how small the accomplishments give the dog a treat and praise them as if they just found a gold bar. This will reap rewards in your training that you will not believe.
Properly training and caring for your German Shepherd can reap rewards for you that you cannot imagine. These dogs are nothing short of amazing, if they see you as their pack leader, they will literally give their life for you.
This is why they make such fine police dogs; this type of devotion requires the best from you. If you have any doubts about your ability to properly train your German Shepherd, seek professional assistance when the dog is still a puppy.
By Michelle L.