German Shepherd Training: Ultimate Guide to Everything You Need to Know

by David
German Shepherd Training

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The most popular breed of dogs nowadays globally is German shepherds. These dogs are common in many homes due to their loyalty to families, great personality, and quick training. Don’t mistake this with the thought that puppies of German Shepherds learn immediately and turn out as good dogs. It’s a process, but this breed of dogs responds at a fast rate. In this article, you will learn about all the steps to German Shepherd training.

Here’s Why You Should Consider German Shepherd Training

You may be wondering why training your German shepherd dog is essential. Here are several reasons why it’s important;

German Shepherd Training is paramount to your family’s general happiness, the dog, and the world your dog lives on at large. If you don’t train your German shepherd dog, it can get destructive or aggressive. Aggressive dogs are considered bad dogs, and they are a nightmare; hence you can’t stand having them in your house.

Training eliminates some bad traits in your dog like anxiety and anger. Inadequate training among these dogs can cause weird traits among the dog-like urinating everywhere in the house, terrorizing other pets, or tearing up your house belongings. Owners can eliminate all these traits once their dog goes through the training process.

After German Shepherd Training, the house will be at peace because the dog eliminates traits like causing havoc in the house or neighborhood.

Once you train your dog, it’s fun having it in the home or neighborhood. It’s always fun being around well-trained dogs. You can easily give instructions to well-trained dogs, and they can help you carry out tasks in your house.

After German Shepherd Training, your dog lives a long, healthy, and happy life compared to dogs that miss out on training.


When Can I Start My German Shepherd Training?

In the FAQs of German shepherd dogs, this is a common question, and you can find the answers in this article. Read on to learn more about German Shepherd Training.

Before starting your German shepherd training, you should know that it takes time; hence commitment is a significant requirement.

It’s ideal to start your German shepherd training when it’s still a puppy as good as new. The earlier, the better. Just like people learn new things after birth, so do the German Shepherd puppies.

When training these dogs, you should begin the process slowly, and for new dogs, you shouldn’t give them time to adjust to the new environment. Many people make this common mistake of allowing a puppy to adjust to the new home before training starts.

It’s okay to give the dog time to adjust to new surroundings, but it can cause misbehavior or inadequate training in dogs.

Training should start as soon as the puppy gets home, even if it’s one day old.

What Does German Shepherd Training Entail?

When people hear of German shepherd Training, they tend to mistake it for just a rigorous training session of discipline and whistles. Well, it entails more than that, and you will find all these details below;

The whistling and discipline are all part of the training, but a lot is involved in this case. As soon as the German shepherd puppy or new adult dog arrives, it’s advisable to gently and slowly start the training. In the first days, the dog gets to know the owner and their family; hence, this creates intense training.

The first step to training your German Shepherd dog is by making lavish or straightforward requests and praises until the dog obeys. During this stage, you have to teach the dog all the house rules, like where they are allowed in the house. Some dogs adapt to restraining orders at this stage. For instance, some dogs aren’t allowed to stay on the couch or furniture.

Teach them all the areas where it’s okay for them to lay down or play with individual items in the house. Dogs cannot learn these behaviors overnight, so you have to slowly take your dog, one step at a time until it adapts to the rules.

Watch out for your dog’s traits like sleeping patterns, bathroom behavior, feeding arrangement, etc., because dogs vary in all these traits. Dogs react differently to these processes, and that’s how they learn how to interact with human beings, family members, or other pets.

Here’s Why A German Shepherds Age Matters

During German shepherd training sessions, the age of your pet matters a lot.

You may have heard people saying that it’s impossible to teach an old dog about new traits. This means that when something gets older or to a certain age, it’s usually impossible to learn or adapt to new traits. That’s evident from the characteristics of the older adults or animals.

The same strategy applies when it comes to dogs because the older they get, the harder for them to learn new things. Once German shepherds get to a certain age, they stick to specific tasks and traits; hence, it is harder for them to learn something new.

With all these details about German shepherd training, it’s evident that you can only train puppies efficiently, but this is impossible for older dogs. Young German shepherds learn these new traits quickly, mainly due to their energy, etc.

These facts may be contradictory, but it doesn’t mean that you cannot train older dogs. The elder dogs also adapt easily to the training sessions, and they learn fast because these dogs are naturally sharp. It just takes more effort, tricks, and time before they adapt to the new changes.

Age only counts on how you train your dog because the older ones will react differently to the training routines.

German Shepherd Training Tips

You can choose among the various types of training for German shepherd dogs. The basic training methods for these dogs are basic obedience, basic socialization, and advanced obedience training.

You can add other training sessions to your German shepherd training like agility, sniffing, endurance, and guarding.

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Here are the types of German shepherd training;

The major type of German shepherd training is socialization. This aspect entails, among other things, paws down among other pieces of training for German shepherd dogs. Normally, there is a certain window of German shepherd dogs where they are open to socialization. As much as all dogs can socialize, it takes dedication and hard work for the dog to give out the best and easiest social behaviors.

All German shepherd dogs should go through this training to gain power as these dogs grow. Generally, these dogs are big and energetic; hence they grow up to turn out as beasts finally.

German shepherd dogs that skip this part of training end up being fearful and aggressive. These traits among dogs make them turn out as tragic bad dogs with annoying behaviors.

The best thing about these dogs is that they are naturally loving, intelligent, and social. These dogs are open-minded, and they have a high willingness to learn from the trainers. Despite a German shepherd dog’s age, their brain activity is always at the peak, learning very fast, whether young or old.

The Basic Socialization Training For German Shepherd Dogs

You can start socializing your German shepherd dog by letting them know your family and everything about its owner. This is the easiest part of training your German shepherd dog as it involves just letting the dog be part of all your daily activities.

Whether the dog seems to be sleepy, it knows clearly what’s happening in the surroundings. These dogs act sleepy at times, but they observe everyone and everything they are doing. When you notice this in your German Shepherd, it’s mostly learning your household activities, how your family behaves in normal situations, and what to expect in abnormal situations.

Some household sounds soothe these dogs, and others can bother them. Mostly, these dogs enjoy the sounds of the dishwasher or vacuum cleaners, but the neighborhood’s sounds can distract and bother their ears.

Due to these dog’s intelligence, they can easily learn the unusual happenings in the world. They also take cues from the owner’s family, and that’s where they learn habits like knocking on the door or giving alerts when a stranger is around the house.

Does German shepherd training help your dog differentiate a bad stranger from a good stranger?

From the explanations given earlier, German shepherds learn fast, and that’s how they differentiate the good guys from the bad ones very fast. It’s advisable to respond wisely to all the dogs’ cues, especially remaining calm when there is a stranger at your doorstep.

When you are taking walks or trips in your neighborhood, you will notice how German shepherds take their owners’ cues. In case you feel threatened, the dog will respond to such instances in a defensive way towards the threat.

When your German shepherd dog is at its early stages, it shouldn’t be tricked. When you play tricks on the dog at an early stage, it can’t differentiate between when you are actually scared from pretense to be scared.

It’s advisable to expose your German Shepherd to animals, places, and people as this helps the dog socialize well with others. That’s how the dog learns that life is full of many experiences, and that’s how he will learn to navigate the world confidently. That’s how these dogs build an appreciation for other pets, human beings, and the world at large.


Among all the vital attributes in dogs, confidence is a major attribute that helps the German Shepherd socialize. Just like human beings, dogs need to feel confident about themselves and their families to socialize well.

When a threatening situation happens, a German shepherd cannot behave in a cowardly manner. You cannot compare a confident German shepherd to a cowardly dog because the confident dog cannot allow a stranger to get closer.

Dogs with confidence get through the socializing training easily, and that’s when they learn what’s safe, dangerous, or questionable. Confident dogs don’t hesitate to defend their owners as they are also wise enough to differentiate threats from other things.

You can only raise a confident German shepherd dog through praise, exposure, and consistency in your dog’s expectations.

That’s one simple rule, especially praising these dogs lavishly whenever their behavior meets your expectations. You should also expose the dog to new places or people, and this will give your dog consistency and exposure.

Just like you expose your dog to other places or people, you should expose the dog to other pets or animals. When your German Shepherd realizes that other dogs aren’t scary or fierce, they will all live well under one roof. There is a myth that all dogs don’t get along with cats, but after German shepherd training, these dogs learn to relate with cats.

The Crate German Shepherd Training

Socialization involves many things, and crate training is vital to early training for German Shepherd dogs.

Through crate training, the dog gets a secure, private, and safe place to relax, watch the house, or sleep. Crates are safe havens for dogs, and they boost the dogs’ confidence.

German shepherd dogs with crates always know that they have a safe place to rest and reduce anxiety or stress.

German Shepherds House Training

After buying a new dog, especially German shepherd dogs, you will notice that they are normally anxious about house training. The surprising thing is that housetraining is usually an easy thing, especially when the dog starts getting used to its new surroundings.

People face many issues, especially with puppies, and it majors on their lack of understanding of how the puppies work. Misunderstandings of house training can also cause issues when training the German shepherd breed.

Well, the newsflash is that housetraining is quite easy, simple, and it happens quickly. When dealing with a German shepherd puppy, some basics to understand are the number of trips to the bathroom.

The elder dogs normally don’t require frequent toilet trips, but it’s advisable to have their potty quite close. When the puppy eats or drinks, they should be taken to their potty spot; the same applies when taking a nap or during playtime.

The age of dogs determines their bladder sizes; hence puppies have tiny bladders, and that’s why they go to the bathroom frequently. Older dogs can take breaks between their toilet trips, but they should be taken to the potty after every two hours if possible. That’s how you avoid accidents or any mess in your house.

You should not punish or scold your dog despite its age due to a potty accident. Mostly, they take time before they understand you are angry, and that’s how they lose confidence or start fearing their owners.

On the subject of owner mistakes, check out our post on 8 Common Mistakes German Shepherd Owners Make.

You should figure out where you missed out during potty training and fix the mistake early enough. You may have kept the dog waiting for long after a meal, or maybe you didn’t listen to your dog’s silent cues when it needs a bathroom trip.

German Shepherd Socializing Training Exposure

In German shepherd socializing training, your dog gets positive and safe introductions to new traits. You shouldn’t show your dog something new and sit back to test if it’s adapting. New exposure to new habits requires appropriate training, praises, and positive approaches.

Many things entail exposure, and they include new surfaces like wood chippings, concrete grass, etc. The new exposures aren’t limited to other things like bird sounds, other pets, lawnmower sounds, cars passing, etc.

The exposures may also be smells like a different smell, smell, food, garbage, or other unpleasant smell. Some dogs also adapt to staying meters apart from their owners. For instance, after the pandemic outbreak, it was advisable to stay meters away from each other, and some applied this strategy with their pets. German shepherd dogs can quickly adapt to such new exposures, evident from GSD owners’ reviews during the pandemic.

German Shepherd Training Through Basic Obedience

You may be wondering what this type of training entails, and it has all commands that you can use to teach your dog great behaviors at home. This training’s basics involve showing your dog what you expect of him, which increases his relaxation and happiness. German shepherds can get anxious, especially when they are feeling out of place.

There are many things involved in basic obedience like: 

  • Sit command- your dog can easily sit despite what’s happening in its environment.
  • The hold, wait or stay command is also a basic training method for dogs. When you apply it, the dog stays at the same spot you left it, and that’s how you can tell that you have an intelligent dog.
  • Come command – you can use this command when calling your dog, and you can check it’s a response to know if it’s intelligent enough.
  • The down command – you can use this command to tell your dog to either sit down, lay down, or something of the sort.
  • Drop it commands- you can also use this command to tame your dog when acting all playful unnecessarily. You can also use it when playing a ball game with your dog or baits. That’s also a great way to test its response to situations in the surroundings.
  • All these commands can help you keep your dog safe, especially if you are playing in the streets and notice an oncoming car. You can say stop, and the dog will stop.

Training Your German Shepherd Dog How To Sit

Through the sit command, your dog can learn how to sit easily. All you need is a small training treat to show your dog what you are doing. Most German shepherd dogs learn can learn the sound of treat bags easily. You should hold the hand with this treat close to your dog’s nose but don’t give it to the dog until it smells it on the owner’s fist and holds on loosely.

After getting the dog’s attention, you should move your hand towards its forehead, and the dog will follow your hand using its nose. That movement will take the dog’s lower back to the floor. When the dog’s bum touches the floor, you can give her the treat and fill her with praise.

The command needs some luring, but as soon as the dog gets used to the pattern, it will be good to go!

Training Your German Shepherd Dog To Stay

Training your dog to stay is as easy as training it to sit. All you need is to choose one release command. Many German shepherd owners use the word okay or release, and it works miraculously.

You should teach the dog this release word first before teaching it anything else. You should show your dog the treat and toss it few meters away. When the dog moves towards picking the treat, you should say release. You should do this repeatedly, and the dog will start associating this word with something great.

After your dog has learned this command, you should ask him to sit facing upwards, pause then give him the treat. You should do this in succession but ensure that he remains in the same position.

If the dog gets up, you should ask him to sit again and pause as you say or repeat these steps successively.

Use the release command as you give the dog this treat. You should gradually increase your waiting time, but you can increase the distance you step back later.

Training Your German Shepherd To Come

Many dogs may find this the easiest command, and they respond so fast when called. It’s as simple as responding to their name. This applies to German shepherd dogs, and all you need is to hand the dog a treat. You should do this up close, and you should sit on the floor with your dog. This can get easier, especially when you groom the dog or just sit close to each other playing.

Firstly, you should say the dog’s name but not more than once and when she responds, give her the treat. Don’t say the dog’s name over and over as it may ignore the calling.

When your dog looks consistently at you, you should say the name once more and add come. For instance, if the dog’s name is Jimmy, you should say Jimmy come!

While doing this, you should take a step away and give her the treat when she moves closer. You can combine these commands as your dog gets better in training.

Training Your German Shepherd To Lay Down

Among all these easy commands, the laydown command is also easy. All you should do here is wait for the dog to say this command and then give it the treat. Later, the dog will come to associate this command with natural actions in dogs.

It’s also advisable to teach the dog to lay down on the command using a luring strategy. This strategy works by moving the treat to the floor and between his front paws.

The Drop It Command

Among all the tough but basic commands, this is among the best for puppies to chew what they pick, and they aren’t normally keen to give up their price. Some old dogs may not mind but get grumpy as they lose out their cool.

Despite all this, generally, it’s advisable to teach your dog this strategy as it can save its life.

In case the dog picks up something hazardous, you can rush into telling it to drop it! That’s how you will rescue your dog from a quick trip to the vet.

Unlike all commands, this one keeps your dog safe in case of such emergencies.

You can also try other commands like here or take it to keep your dog active. Let your dogs have fun playing with the toys and ensure that it learns something new from experience.

Training Your German Shepherd Using The Advanced Obedience Strategy

All the training strategies can fine-tune your dog and secure its behavior, but this is the best performing strategy. You can perform all the basic commands in several locations, even in distractions, but this needs a serene location.

Owners should start easy by going to your yard with the dog, but if you don’t have a park, you can use the sidewalks in the streets or parks.

You should start easy, especially when it’s not so busy, but later, you can try busy places to keep your dog confident.

The best thing about this type of training is off-leash training in safe and dog-friendly environments. As you do all this, you should ensure that the dog is aware of all the basic commands and can perform all these commands comfortably even when it’s off the leash. You should try these commands as you play with your dog in the yard, among other outdoor places.

Owners can also use hand signals for German shepherd training. This strategy helps because your dog doesn’t listen to any sound. It just follows your hand signal.

You can do all these by simply adding the hand signal to the regular training routines and watch how your dog responds to the new exposure. As your dog adapts, you can eliminate sounds eventually, and this can be done after you start by calling the name, etc.

Your dog can only use hand signals to listen to your expressions, and that’s how you test its level of intelligence. Keep in mind that German shepherds are attention seekers and love pleasing their owners, so they are very attentive. These dogs don’t miss out on any details in their surroundings.

Training Using The Additional Advanced Strategy

From all these commands and training strategies, you may notice that it’s easy to train your dog, but you can add some complex things. In additional advanced training, you can use several commands on a row consisting of several commands and watch how your dog reacts to the command. You can also switch these commands from time to time and see if your dog has a good memory.

The best thing about these energetic dogs is that you can easily keep them on their toes and watch their reaction. Some of these commands help discipline your dog, especially the stop command.

You can use such commands to teach your dog that it shouldn’t take any treats from strangers. You can also teach your dog many new things like new games as you go through all these training strategies.

If you intend to make your pet a guard dog, it cannot evade complex additional training. You can play several tricks on your dog, especially if you want to make your dog the protector of your property. You should teach the dog skills to catch baits and later teach it fierceness as time passes.

This whole process can be tough, most owners need additional help. Save yourself the stress and get some. Check out this training regime put together by Adrienne Farricelli, a professional CPDT-KA certified dog trainer here at

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You can also teach your dog to run fast as you train it in other commands. This training type is good because it involves more complex activities to keep your pet energized. You can try some acrobatic tricks with your dog, and guard dogs should go through sniffing or agility training. For instance, the German shepherd dogs used in airports for sniffing drugs have to go through training before starting patrols.

Once your dog adapts to this behavior, it can become the toughest amongst them all! You should use all these strategies to train your German Shepherd and have the best pet!

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