10 Best Training Tips for German Shepherd Puppy

German Shepherd puppies are full of energy and curiosity, which is a perfect combination for a great pet. However, it’s important to remember that they’re still puppies and need a lot of attention and care.

The fact is, they are smart dogs that can be challenging to train for first-time owners. However, with the right mindset, you can train your German Shepherd to become an obedient and well-behaved canine citizen in no time.

Here are ten tips for training your German Shepherd puppy that every owner should know.

1. Understanding the trait of German Shepherds

Originally developed as a herding dog, the German Shepherd Dogs are bred to work for and with humans.  They are intelligent, highly trainable, and love to work. With their family, they’re easy-going and approachable. And they have a reputation to be good with children.

The German Shepherd is sometimes aloof to strangers. So you should socialize your pup early on to prevent the development of aggressive behavior.

Being a herding breed, German Shepherds have a natural instinct to chase running animals. They may grab, bite, injure, or accidentally kill chickens out of their prey drive. But this behavior can be changed if your dog is trained properly.

By knowing your German Shepherd’s traits you can better understand why they behave the way they do and provide proper training.

You may also like:

German Shepherd Temperament – Everything You Need to Know

Are German Shepherds Good for First-Time Owners?

2. Understanding the body language of your German Shepherd puppy

Just because dogs cannot speak does not mean they cannot communicate. 

There is a lot you can pick up from a dog’s body language. Their tails, ears, eyes, mouths, and bodies can give you a lot of cues of how they are feeling.

The better you understand these cues, the easier it is for you to understand what your dog is trying to tell you. 

In this video below, you’ll learn how to interpret canine body language to help you better understand your dog and to make you a better dog owner.

3. Your German Shepherd puppy is still a baby

After all, your pup is still a baby. She has a limited attention span and may get distracted easily.

Remember, it takes time and it takes practice to train a young puppy. Some dogs learn faster than others. But the good news is your GSD is one of the most intelligent and trainable dogs on the planet. 

What you can do is be patient and give her lots of love. And soon you will be rewarded with a dog that listens to your commands.

4. Your German Shepherd puppy needs a good leader

German Shepherd is a pack animal. And every German Shepherd puppy knows that its survival is dependent on the pack leader. In the house, the owner is the pack leader.

Right from the start, you need to show your puppy that you are a skilled and reliable pack leader. You should always let your dog know what you want them to do or not do. If you succeed, your pup will devote entirely to you and will do everything to please you.

But the puppy will put you to the test, again and again until it feels safe and secure. 

If you want to learn more about how to be a good leader for your dog, watch this video from McCann Dog Training.

5. Your German Shepherd puppy needs rules and boundaries

German Shepherds are working dogs, which means they need clear rules and boundaries – on what your puppy is allowed to do and what is not allowed. 

Without any directions, your GSD will become destructive or difficult to handle. German Shepherds need to know what their role in the family is. 

They also need to be shown that the rules you set are consistent because that way they’ll understand which behaviors are acceptable and which ones won’t be tolerated. 

6. Your German Shepherd puppy can pick up your body language

Do you know dog is the only creature in the animal kingdom that can “read” and respond to human facial expressions?

Previous studies have already shown that dogs can combine vocal and facial cues from humans to sense our emotions and react accordingly. And they are able to easily perceive both the positive and negative emotions of humans.

Therefore, if you are always patient and showing positive energy when it comes to training your GSD. They will reflect it in their behavior. On the other hand, if you are frustrated and uncertain in front of your dog, chances are they may lose interest and walk away. 

Related: 7 Things You Didn’t Know Your Dog Can Sense

7. Reward your German Shepherd puppy with positive encouragement

Positive reinforcement is the key to obedience training for your dog. You understand the more your reward your dog for following your commands, the more likely he will obey. 

This means that you will always create situations where the dog will naturally seek to do what you want. With lots of praises, hugs, or treats, you excel in motivating your German Shepherd for the better. 

And at the end of the day, your positive energy will manifest itself in your GSD’s life, health, and the people around him – that is you as the owner.

In this video below, Cesar Milan shows you how to use “point of reference” to reward your dog. If you know how to do it, you will be able to train your dog to do anything you want.

8. Keep training session shorts but multiple times during a day

After all, your puppy (8-10 weeks old) is still a young child at this age. She has a limited attention span and may get distracted easily.

Thus, it is not the quantity but the quality that counts!

It is suggested that you train your puppy the same trick several times a day, repeating 8-10 times in each session, preferably 5-10 minutes each time (even shorter sessions puppies). 

Always finish while the training is proceeding nicely and the dog still seems interested and always end with success.

9. Be consistent with clear commands

You need to be firm and consistent with what you want your dog to do. Most puppies will try to please their owners. And you have to provide the opportunities to make it happen.

Start with clear and simple commands and tell them firmly what you want them to do. Align your command with all your family members will make your training more effective. Everyone should be using the same sets off command to avoid confusing your pup.

To start you can learn the seven common commands  – SIT, DOWN, STAY, COME, HEEL, OFF, and NO – advocated by Hollywood dog training Brandon McMillan.

Remember, your puppy is a puppy. He will not understand right away. And he needs time to learn. But consistency will be the key to your success.

In his book Lucky Dog Lessons Brandon covers the 7 Common Commands and provides solutions to common canine behavior problems, including house training issues, door dashing, chewing, barking, and common mealtime misbehaviors. 

The stories about the most “untrainable” dog he worked with are inspiring and encouraging.

10. Use the high-value treats that work

Truthfully, dogs are dogs and they will do what works by instincts. If using high-value treats gets them to do what you want, then why not?

You can also use the world around you as a reinforcement. Every interaction you have with your German Shepherd is a learning opportunity, so when you think about it, you probably don’t use food very often except during active training sessions.

Just remember, the behavior should produce the treat; the treat should not produce the behavior.

What to Expect?

Not only will these training sessions prepare your puppy to exhibit the desired manner, you will also take advantage of the time spent to bond with her. The more you practice with your puppy, the better and faster your puppy will learn.

There will be accidents and at times your puppy may just turn around from you. That’s the learning process. After all, she is only a baby, you need to give her love and patience.

Are you ready to get started?

Click below to take advantage of our German Shepherd Puppy Training Guide for Beginners where you can kick start your training with your pup right away.