German Shepherd Training Tips

German Shepherd training is a vital, but relatively easy task. German Shepherd dogs are intelligent and can easily be trained for specialized services in a variety of fields. An untrained German Shepherd can be a hazard, so it's important to instill obedience and respect in these working dogs.

Start with Strong Obedience Training
German Shepherd dog training must begin with obedience, or they can become willful and dominant. They're powerful dogs, so you need a good obedience foundation to ensure you can coexist peacefully with your dog. At the very least, teach your German Shepherd to sit, lie down, come, heel, stay and leave it. A trained German Shepherd is a joy, but a poorly-trained German Shepherd can become a nuisance and a danger.

Be the Pack Leader
Because German Shepherd dogs can become dominant, you must be the pack leader or your dog will take over that role. To establish yourself as boss, make your dog defer to you not in a violent or confrontational way, but in a calm, consistent manner. You don't have to utilize any violent alpha rolls or dominance and submissiveness training; simply exercise control over valuable resources, such as food, going outdoors or spending time in a coveted position, to establish yourself as a pack leader.

Make your dog sit before you put his leash on to go outdoors. Make your dog wait for you to go out the door first. Make your dog sit nicely and wait to be fed. Make him wait for an invitation to come up on the couch. If you do what your dog wants, when he wants it, he'll think he's the boss. By making him wait to get what he wants until he obeys your commands, he must acknowledge your leadership.

Socialize at a Young Age
German Shepherds are strong and willful. If they panic or react in a negative way, it can be difficult to stop them from behaving in a certain manner. To avoid negative reactions, you should socialize your German Shepherd at a young age.

Introduce your German Shepherd to other dogs early and often, as soon as your vet says it is safe. Introduce him to kids in a positive setting; don't let kids manhandle a German Shepherd puppy, but let him spend time with kids when he's young so he's familiar with them. Take him for car rides. Take him to dog parks and dog-friendly stores. The more your German Shepherd sees as a puppy, the less he'll fear as an adult.

Give Your German Shepherd a Job
The German Shepherd is a working dog. If it doesn't have a job, it won't be happy. Finding a focused job that your dog can do daily will give him a purpose and plenty of exercise.

Whether it's tracking, finding things around the house, carrying things for you or the kids, or even herding ducks and geese, your German Shepherd will be happy if he can do the things he was bred to do. If you don't give him a job, he'll likely make up his own, and that can cause trouble for you in the long run.

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