German Shepherd Training Techniques
German shepherd training can be a wonderful experience for both you and your dog. It not only helps your dog to grow into a happy and healthy adult, but it also strengthens the bond between dog and owner and helps them to exercise their mind. These animals are very intelligent and need to follow a solid obedience training program in order to thrive and move on to more difficult training exercises. This breed tends to thrive in a professional training environment. Start basic obedience training as soon as possible, between three and six months. For advanced training such as guard dog or service animal training, seek the help of a professional trainer. Advanced training can cost thousands of dollars, but it’s definitely worth it in order to avoid amateur training mistakes that are commonly made by owners.
Establishing your Role as the Alpha
These dogs are quick learners and they have a strong desire to please their owners. They also tend to be very possessive of their family and their territory. German shepherd training is the best way to develop a well-rounded family dog and this type of training can begin as soon as you bring home your new family member. Because every dog is a natural pack animal they need to follow a leader. You will need to assume the role as pack leader and teach your dog how to act around other animals and people.
The first six months of a German shepherd’s life is the most valuable learning time. During this time their mind will be able to soak up training. Proper socialization is needed in order to prevent dog aggression and anxiety. The amount of time you spend with your dog during this time really matters because it will establish the bond between pack member and pack leader, while also showing your new pet that they’re part of a new pack. Positive reinforcement is recommended for the training of any breed. This type of training will teach the dog that good behavior is rewarded, which will encourage your pup to repeat those good deeds in order to experience praise, playtime and treats. Hitting your dog or yelling at them when they do something wrong can have a negative impact on your dog’s behavior and can turn them into untrusting, aggressive and anxious dogs. They will also end up fearing you and will not listen to you when you say a command.
Work on establishing a routine and setting boundaries in the home. If you don’t want your dog on the bed or other furniture, you must consistently stick with this. Allowing your dog on the bed or the couch part of the time and yelling at them to get off the furniture at other times will only succeed in confusing your dog and can lead to behavior problems. If you don’t want to crate train your pet for nighttime sleeping, purchase a couple of dog beds, leaving one in the living room and the other in your bedroom. When you’re ready for bed, lead your dog to their sleeping space before you hit the sheets for the night. Most dogs enjoy sleeping in the same room as their owners, but it can become a problem if your pet has a tendency to try and take over your bed. Set these boundaries early in your pup’s life.
If you intend to put your dog through therapy or service dog training, then it’s important that you adopt a dog with a good temperament and excellent medical history. Hip issues are common in this breed, as is temperament issues. Choose your new pet only from a local reputable breeder who has experience with this specific breed. Ask to see the pup’s parents and get a feel for their temperament before you decide to take the puppy home. Learning a little about the parent’s temperament can give you a good idea of what to expect from your pup. Dogs that are skittish or seem aggressive can breed pups with the same characteristics.
Spend one on one time with your Dog
As we have mentioned, this breed needs a lot of training and consistency. But they also crave your attention and approval. Work hard to establish a closer bond with your pup by engaging them in activities you both can enjoy such as swimming, jogging, running or playing fetch. Take a walk around the neighborhood or take your dog to the local pet store and pick out some new toys.
If your dog is still learning how to walk on a leash they may benefit from a harness, which can make it easier to correct their behaviors and pace during a walk. If you enjoy running with your pet, you will need to focus on collar and leash training because running in a harness can cause sore spots.
Some pet owners who adopt German Shepherds for home protection will leave them in their backyard day and night. This breed needs human interaction and may become depressed if left alone for long periods of time. Make it a point to include your dog in family time.
Should I Crate Train my German shepherd?
There are a number of tools and techniques that you can use for German shepherd training and the type you choose will depend on your dog and how they respond. Using a clicker and treats can provide impressive results, as long as you’re consistent and patient with your pup.
Crate training should begin immediately. Your pup should never be left unsupervised because this can lead to the destruction of your yard or furniture. You should never put your dog in their crate as a form of punishment. Instead, your dog should think of their crate as a safe, comfortable place to go. Crate training will not only save your furniture, it can also save your carpet. This is a great way to help with potty training your dog and can prevent any accidents from occurring when you’re not home. Keep in mind that most dogs will not reach bladder maturity until five or six months old, so any accidents they have before that time is due to their inability to hold their urine.