German shepherds have a reputation as being strong, loyal, and brave, which makes them excellent protectors and guards.
They can be a great pet for families because they develop such a strong sense of loyalty with their owners, and German shepherds have been known to give up their own lives in defense of their humans.
That being said, many people are wary of German shepherds because of these dogs’ tendency to be cautious around strangers. Though the German shepherd’s cautiousness can be one of its best traits, it can also be problematic in certain circumstances.
German shepherds are often used as police dogs because of their tendency not only to protect but also to serve. They are intelligent and easy to train.
Like many other dog breeds known for their intelligence, German shepherds are not lazy, and they’re not going to be content with simply lying around your home. This is why German shepherd training is so important: it teaches both you and your dog to channel the dog’s energy and to develop positive strategies for coping with the natural tendencies of these dogs.
What Owners Should Know about German Shepherd Puppy Training
Before you begin German shepherd obedience training–or even select a puppy–you should understand that the success of the training will rely on your ability to be authoritative and show your dog that you’re in charge.
If you don’t think that you can be firm, consistent, and confident when engaging in German shepherd puppy training, you may want to consider a different breed of dog.
If you provide your German shepherd obedience training from an early age, and provide your dog a stable routine and disciplined lifestyle, then these dogs can adjust very well to family life even if you have children.
If you’re not able to provide this type of environment, or if you tend to have a more lenient or passive personality, the result may be a dog that’s unresponsive to commands.
However, it’s also important to note that, during German shepherd training, your dog isn’t going to respond to treatment that’s overly harsh. You must maintain a balance between firmness and kindness for optimal training results.
German Shepherd Obedience Training
Before beginning German shepherd obedience training, you and your family need to be clear on your dog’s role in the household so that the dog, in turn, can be aware of its position.
Before you bring your new dog home, determine such things as:
- What areas of the house will be off-limits
- Where your dog will do things like eat and sleep
- What furniture your dog will be allowed to jump or lie on
- What routines and patterns you will establish to help your dog feel safe and secure in its new home
When a puppy is about eight weeks old, it’s a good time to begin obedience training. Many people either enroll their dog in a class with a professional or use German shepherd training videos.
If you’re training your puppy on your own, realize that most experts don’t recommend using food as the reward system during the training. Otherwise, you may teach your dog only to listen to you if there’s food involved.
Instead, German shepherd obedience training should rely on praise from you as sufficient incentive to do what’s asked. Also, once your dog has completed a training session, another good way to reward it is through the use of a toy or some playtime.
When beginning German shepherd training, keep in mind that these dogs enjoy and thrive on opportunities to interact with other dogs. Not only is this pleasant for them, but it also teaches them how to behave as they observe the actions of other dogs.
German Shepherd Training Commands
There are some basic German shepherd training commands you should immediately begin teaching your dog.
- Recall: “Recall” is an important obedience command. Your dog should learn to come to you each and every time it’s called. Begin teaching your dog the recall command in a space such as your home, where there’s limited distractions. Once your dog learns to come to you when you say its name, you can simply move to “come” as the command. You can also develop your dog’s obedience by teaching it to follow this command in settings where there are more distractions.
- Down-Stay: After recall, this is the most important command to include in any German shepherd puppy training. “Down-stay” directs your dog to go to the floor.
- Sit-Stay: Sitting is, of course, a basic training command. Eventually, the result of the training should be that your dog will sit and stay even if you walk away.
German Shepherd Protection Training
German shepherd protection training is very different from standard German shepherd puppy training.
With this type of training, your dog learns to provide protection, not only to you but also to your family, in real-life situations.
Comprehensive German shepherd protection training takes dedication; oftentimes, anywhere from 12 to 18 months of dedicated training is required.
From the start, protection dogs have to be trained differently from other dogs. They need to feel that they have the freedom to do what’s necessary to provide protection, as opposed to being focused strictly on obedience to their master.
That being said, with proper protection training, a German shepherd can still make a great family pet–one of the best, in fact–but they can quickly go into a different mode if a threat is perceived.
German shepherd training can be one of the most rewarding things you ever do. As an owner, it can be time consuming to carry out German shepherd puppy training; but, in the end, you and your entire family will have a loyal and happy companion.
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