Is It Easy to Train a German Shepherd?
Yes, German Shepherd dogs are relatively easier to train as compared to other dogs. This is due to the fact that German shepherds are intelligent dogs and can pick up on your basic commands more quickly as compared to other breeds of dogs.
It should however be kept in mind that each dog is different and unique so training can get difficult, especially if you are training an adult German shepherd.
German Shepherds can get aggressive and powerful when they grow up, and that makes it difficult to train them. So it is ideal to train a German shepherd when it is still a puppy.
On this article we will explain, Why you should train your German Shepherd? How to train a German Shepherd Puppy? And how to train a German Shepherd adult dog?
Why Is It Important to Train Your German Shepherd Dog?
Training is very important for all dogs. It has several physical and mental benefits for the dog and its owner.
Traditionally, people thought dog training was all about teaching your dogs ways to respond to your commands and do whatever you ask it to do.
In reality, that is just one part of your dog’s training program.
Training your GSD can have a very positive effect on your dog’s life.
It may include different exercises and games.
The diet your dog consumes is also a part of this training.
There are also many benefits associated with the training of your German Shepherd.
Let us take a look at a few of the most important benefits of training your German Shepherd dog.
Trained German Shepherd Dogs Are More Active
Training your dog is fun for both the dog and the dog owner.
Training can help in keeping your German Shepherd dog more active and fresh. Active dogs are more playful and make for a better companion.
Trained German Shepherd Dogs Are Safer to Be Around
A trained German Shepherd Dog is safer to be around.
Well-trained dogs are more controllable, which makes them less dangerous for the people around them and for themselves.
Well trained German shepherds are more friendly towards their owners and towards other pets as well.
Your German Shepherd Dog Becomes a Better Communicator
Training can help your German Shepherd become a better communicator.
Dogs are very social animals, so they love to communicate with their owners.
A well-trained GSD will communicate its feelings to the owner in a better way.
Training Helps in Building a Stronger Relationship
When you invest in training your German Shepherd dog, then that can have a lot of benefits for you and the dog.
One mutual benefit of training is that it can help you develop a relatively stronger bond with your canine friend.
It bound a well-trained dog to be more loyal and understanding towards its owners.
He will become more Happy
Training your dog will make him happy because you will trust him, so you will give him more freedom.
How to Train Your German Shepherd?
Training your German Shepherd dog is compulsory.
It is crucial to hire a professional dog trainer in order to train your German shepherd dog, if you think you can’t do it yourself.
Dog lovers who are passionate about their pets tend to invest a lot in training their dogs. Perform research and choose the best trainer you can find.
If you feel you are up for the task, you can also train your dog on your own.
When Should You Start The Training?
It is ideal to train your dog at an early stage!
Eight weeks is considered as an ideal age to start the training of your German Shepherd.
It is crucial to start training when your German Shepherd is just a little puppy. You can train the German shepherd even if it is a grown-up dog however German shepherds are powerful dogs, and it’s difficult to train adult German Shepherds.
Training your dog from an early stage can help you develop a more long-lasting relationship with your dog.
Training an adult German Shepherd dog differs from training a German Shepherd puppy.
Many trainers would tell you it is relatively easy to train a German Shepherd puppy as compared to an adult German Shepherd.
Like a human being, dogs, especially German Shepherds, tend to learn more at an early age when their mind is still developing.
Below, we have discussed the training methods for both German Shepherd puppy and adult dog separately.
If you have an adult GSD and want to go directly to the German shepherd adult dog training, please click here.
German Shepherd Puppy Training Tips
Let’s take a look at a few training tips on how you can start your German Shepherd Puppy training.
Groom Your Puppy From An Early Stage
It is important to groom your German shepherd from an early stage.
Whether it’s giving your dog a bath or cutting its nails, you have to start doing all this from an early stage.
Performing these activities on an adult dog can be risky, as the dog might get scared because of it and may act irrationally.
German Shepherd is energetic dogs and when you are trying to cut their nails or groom them, they might feel threatened by it.
This is why it is ideal to start grooming them physically from an early age, so they get used to the process.
Develop their Personality Early On
When you start your German Shepherd puppy training, you have the opportunity to develop their personality very early on.
It is very difficult to change the personality of an adult German Shepherd’s dog, however it is very easy to mold or alter the personality of a German Shepherd Puppy.
Developing their personality from a young age will not only benefit the dog but also the owner and other people around them.
Make Them Good At Socializing
You might wonder how can dogs socialize.
Well, dogs are very intelligent and socializing animals. They not only socialize with other dogs, but also with human beings.
German Shepherds are very loyal dog breeds. They can sometimes get very protective of who they like!
So imagine you and a friend are just messing with each other and playing around and suddenly your German Shepherd attacks your friend thinking the friend is a threat to you.
They can’t be blamed for this as that is their nature. It is very important for a owner to train their German Shepherds from a very young age.
They have to train them on how they can socialize better with people and other animals around them.
When you train them to be social from a young age, they will be less aggressive when they grow up.
German Shepherd training commands
It is very important to train your German Shepherd to respond to some basic commands like to stay, sit and other similar commands.
A well trained German shepherd will always obey your commands.
This will help you control your dog’s behavior and make for a safer environment for you and the dog.
You should keep in mind that it will take some time for your dog to respond to your commands.
Your dog will not start responding to your commands right away.
If you want your German shepherd to respond to your commands, then you should have a little patience.
Once he is well trained, he would listen and respond to your commands.
Some of the most common commands that you can give your German shepherd dog are;
Sit: This command will make your dog sit wherever it is.
Stay: If your dog is walking, then commanding your dog to stay will make him stop walking.
Fetch: If you are playing with your dog then using commands like fetch will make your dog fetch the balls or stick or any other item that you are playing with.
Down: The down command will make your dog go in to a passive position.
Heel: This command will make your dog walk in front of you instead of walking by your side or walking behind you.
Drop It: You can use this command if your dog has something in its mouth. Many people train their dogs to bring them newspaper in the morning. When their dog brings them the newspaper, they can say drop it and the dog will drop the newspaper from their mouth.
No: The command “NO” can be very powerful. It can help in keeping your dog obedient. You can use this command if your dog does something against your will or something that is not good. If your dog does not follow its training then the command “NO” can also be used to show that you are not pleased with the dog’s behavior. This will help in molding your dog’s behavior.
Out: Your dog should leave the room once he learns this command.
These are just some important commands that are used to control and mold German Shepherd’s behavior. For a more detailed command list, visit this page.
Food Bowl Aggression Is A No-No
Your German Shepherd puppy has to eat everyday so you should take this opportunity to teach it how to be less aggressive.
Try to pet your dog when they are eating and keep pouring in more dog food in the bowl while you are petting your German Shepherd puppy.
By doing so, they will not only associate food with you, but they will also become less threatening to other people around you.
Add A Little Personal Touch
As mentioned earlier German Shepherd dogs are very social.
When you add a personal touch to their grooming, then it adds a lot of value to the basic obedience training process.
A great way to do this is by removing the food bowl and making them eat from your hands. While they do that, you can pet them on their back.
Show Them You Are Not The Enemy
When your dog is eating, then you should pet them while they are eating. You should add in more food in the bowl to show that you care for them.
This will make your German Shepherd puppy associate you with good food.
Try to care for them in every way possible. Make sure you don’t give them any threatening signals.
Make them understand that you are not their enemy!
Reward System (food, petting, verbal praise, attention) Is Perfect Tool For German Shepherd basic Obedience Training
Traditionally trainers used to punish their German shepherd in order to train them.
Recently more advanced and dog friendly ways of training have been introduced.
There has been a shift from punishing your dog to rewarding them during the training process. Like humans, dogs; mainly German Shepherds get really motivated if you give them rewards.
If you tell your dogs that you would give him a small treat if they obey you, then your dog is more likely to obey your simple commands.
Potty Train Your German Shepherd
Like all other pets, it is very important to potty train your German Shepherd.
When you bring your German shepherd home, it is crucial to let them know where their established littering area is.
You have to train them so they don’t make your house dirty and only relief themselves in the specified area. When your German shepherd dog is new to your house, then you should take him to his designated bathroom area after every meal or drink.
You can either your German shepherd dog to the yard or you can purchase a specific box or pee pad for your dog.
Once you train your dog to relief himself in the designated area, then it will always go to the designated area when it wants to relief itself.
Never Show Aggression Towards Your German Shepherd Puppy
German Shepherd dogs are very social animals.
You have to understand that they are intelligent, but they don’t have a strong brain as humans. You have to be patient in order to train them for anything.
If you become aggressive with your German Shepherd puppy, then that will create fear in them which will affect their personality.
You want your German Shepherd to be loving and loyal, but at the same time you want it to be protective of you.
If your dog has a sense of fear in them, they would feel threatened by other animals and dogs even when they grow up. This might be harmful for them and for other people around them.
Use Food To Train Your German Shepherd Dog
The feeding time of your German Shepherd dog can be used as a time for training.
You can carry several aspects of house training out during the feeding time. Whether it’s developing a strong bond and communication level with your German shepherd dog or training them to obey your command, you can do all this during the feeding time.
You can tell your German shepherd dog to sit down if they want food. This will make them obey your command.
Training An Adult German Shepherd Dog
Training an adult German Shepherd dog is relatively more difficult than training a puppy.
There are many things and training tactics that work well when the German Shepherd is still a puppy.
For example, potty training a German Shepherd or molding their personality is done better when the German Shepherd is still a puppy.
This however does not mean that you should feel hopeless if your German Shepherd has all grown up.
Whether you didn’t care to train your German Shepherd or you got a grown up German Shepherd as a gift, then there is nothing to be hopeless about. It might be relatively difficult, but you can still train your adult German Shepherd dog.
Training An Adult German Shepherd Has Some Similarities With Training Puppies
There are certain training tactics that can be done the same way you would do with a puppy.
For example, adult German Shepherds will also show positive dog behavior if they realize there is a reward waiting on the other side.
However, the nature of the training might change.
Be More Careful
When you are dealing with adult German Shepherds, then it is ideal to hire a trainer to do the job.
Be more careful while training an adult German Shepherd, especially if they haven’t gone through any training or grooming technique before.
For example, if you are petting a German Shepherd puppy while it is eating then you can pour in more food and the puppy will associate and it will make them feel unthreatened by humans.
An adult German Shepherd on the other hand may not take kindly to you petting them when they are eating. So saving yourself from unnecessary bites, it is important that you be more careful while dealing with adult German Shepherd dogs.
Gradually Stop Relying On Treats and Rewards
Rewarding your German Shepherd Dog when they do something good is very important. This helps in molding their personality.
However, it is important to gradually decreasing the use of rewards and treats while training your dog, especially if you think your German shepherd dog has become fully trained.
Both puppies and adults feel good about the entire reward system, however once your dog is an adult and fully trained it is very important to make them obey you without having to use treats or the reward system.
Once your German Shepherd is trained to follow your verbal commands, you will be able to make it obey your commands without offering any treats. However, it is important to gradually decrease your reliance on treats.
Stopping the rewards and treats right away can have a negative effect on the training you worked so hard for.
Your German shepherd might feel de-motivated, hence it is important to gradually lower the reliance on treats and rewards instead of getting rid of them right away.
Once you have lowered the use of treats and rewards, you can only limit their use in special cases.
For example, if you want your dog to eat a healthy food or medicine which it is not eating.
So, to make them consume the medicine or the food, you can use the reward system once again.
Never Ever Be Aggressive Towards An Adult German Shepherd
We have already touched the fact that German Shepherd puppies when scolded or shouted at would become fearful of things and people.
You don’t want that; you want them to love you and understand you.
On the other hand, if you shout at an adult German Shepherd, then they might take it as a threat.
German Shepherds are strong animals and should never be made to feel threatened by you. This might be harmful for you or for the German Shepherd itself.
Clicker Training For Your German Shepherd
One of the most common ways to train your adult German shepherd dog is through the clicker.
It is an effective and proven way to train German Shepherd and all other dog breeds. You have to make the dog understand that when you press the clicker; it is a positive sign for the dog’s behavior.
So when your dog eats the full bowl or obeys your command, then you can press the clicker.
Doing it regularly will make your German shepherd associate the clicker with a positive response from your end. Once your GSD understands the clicker, you can then use the clicker to shape your dog’s behavior.
When you pet your dog or reward them with a gift, it takes more time as compared to the clicker method. It only takes a second to press the clicker so you can reward your dog instantly after by just pressing a clicker.
This is also a very safe method of training, as you can do it without even touching the dog. For example, scolding them or petting them when they are not feeling well, might be dangerous.
However, if you have a clicker, then you can use it to train your German Shepherd to do different things.
Train Them According To Their Endurance Level
Adult German Shepherds may be strong and powerful, but they still need some off-time to collect their breath.
You can never know the exact level of endurance of your dog, but you can tell when they have started to wary out.
If you train them more that they can intake, then that will not only ruin the training session, but it can also be harmful for the dog itself.
No matter how strong your adult German Shepherd is, if you will train it more than it can endure that it might start feeling sick.
Adult German Shepherds can endure more vigorous training sessions as compared to puppies, but you still have to go easy on them.
Your German Shepherd Is Never Too Old To Be Trained
One thing to keep in mind is that your German Shepherd is never too old to be trained.
Yes, training an adult German Shepherd can get relatively more difficult, but that does not mean you can’t train them.
You can even train German Shepherds that are considered old in dog years. Just the method and nature of training should change with age.
Adult German Shepherds May Have A Few Negative Traits
When you are training an adult German Shepherd, it is not like training a puppy who doesn’t know anything.
Adult German Shepherd might have adopted some negative traits along the years.
So unlike German Shepherd puppies, you not only have to train your adult German Shepherd, you also have to remove the bad things in their characteristics.
This can be a challenging and tricky task considering those characteristics have been a part of their personality for years.
However, clicker training and reward system can help you remove the bad habits of your adult German Shepherd pet.
Know When To Give Up And Hire A Professional
There are hundreds of different books and YouTube channels that tell you how you can train an adult GSD.
However, as instructed before, you need to be more careful when dealing with a powerful adult dog like German Shepherd.
A minor mistake may cause a big problem! So if the training isn’t going well and you are losing your cool, then instead of scolding the dog, you should hire a professional trainer.
Training is very important and if you are not seeing any change in your German Shepherd even after months of training efforts, then instead of putting in more effort you should start investing in hiring a professional German Shepherd trainer.
No training isn’t good, but bad training can be more dangerous.
This is why you shouldn’t risk it, and hire a professional dog trainer.
Are Dog Training Schools Any Good?
As a German shepherd dog owner, it is very important for you to know that there are certain training schools out there that can help you with the training process of your GSD.
These schools are specifically designed to train dogs so that both the dogs and their owners can have a better life.
What is unique about these schools is that no matter the age of your German shepherd, it can be trained to obey your commands and perform better in life.
What to Avoid While Training Your GSD?
You can choose to train it on your own however to enjoy an optimum training experience, it is crucial to hire a professional trainer.
Besides performing some amazing and useful things, there are certain things that should be avoided while you are training your German shepherd dog.
Trying to save money by not hiring a professional trainer is one of them.
You can train your German shepherd dog on your own however if a trainer is hired then you can be guaranteed a great and successful experience.
If you are training your GSD on your own, then you have to keep one thing in mind. You have to be very patient with them. You have to understand that it will take time in order to make them obey your commands.
GSD’s will responded better to training with positive reinforcement.
If things don’t go according to how you planned, then it is important for you to stay calm and considerate. You shouldn’t scold or shout at your dog in any case.
If you are running out of patience, then try to end the training session and start again the next day.
You should know that German shepherd dogs are very intelligent and they may be able to detect your anger and impatience.
This will let out negative vibes, which will have a bad effect on the training process. If you feel that you are unable to control your patience and anger, then it is necessary for you to hire a professional trainer.
Besides not getting hyper, one other thing that you should never do to your GSD is that you shouldn’t have a hectic training session for them.
Training 15 to 20 minutes every day is more than enough for your German shepherd dog.
Training your dog for more than that will make your dog tired and may even make them sick.
If you are training your GSD when it is still a small puppy, then you should limit the training time to 5 to 10 minutes. You can arrange small training sessions, wait for a few hours, and then arrange another training session.
How Can You Improve Your German Shepherd Training Skills?
If you are someone who wants to train his dog on his own, then you should try to take as much help as you can.
This is more important if you are a first time dog owner!
GSDs are unique dogs, so you need to have all the help that you can.
There are many training books out there that can help you become a better German shepherd trainer.
In this current day and age where technology dominates our lives, it is very important to check out the videos available on the internet.
You can find hundreds and thousands of videos on the internet regarding the topic of GSD training and dog training in general.
It is also important to take advice from professional trainers that you may know.
It is important to start learning these training methods before you own your first GSD. Trying to learn the basics of training your German shepherd dog while you just bought it is going to create a lot of problems for you.
German Shepherd Dogs have a unique nature, which is why it is crucial to have specific knowledge about their training methods.
If any of your friends or family members own a German shepherd, then it is crucial for you to keep in contact with them. These people can teach you a lot of about training your GSD.
Final Verdict (Is it easy to train a German Shepherd?)
Training your German shepherd dog may need a lot of patience.
However, if you are a passionate dog lover, you might enjoy the training process even after feeling impatient.
It is however crucial to train your German shepherd dog.
An untrained German shepherd can be a risk to the owner and people around him.
Untrained dogs are more prone to going stray. They are hard to control and the longer you wait to train them, the harder it gets.
It is very important to hire a professional trainer to train your GSD. However, if you plan on training your German shepherd on your own, then it is ideal to start the training process when your dog is just a little puppy.
Or in other words, if you have never trained a GSD before, it’s better to start with a puppy training. So, the training will be a lot easier for you.
You should also take help from training information related to German shepherd training available on different media platforms.
Remember, when you train your GSD yourself, the most important tip is: stick to positive reinforcement and a reward system that your German Shepherd likes.
If you feel you aren’t up for the job, then instead of trying to forcefully train your dog and becoming impatient, a better option would be to invest in dog training schools or professional trainers.