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How Easy is Training a German Shepherd Dog?

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A question that many folks ask about this breed is:  ‘How easy is training a German Shepherd dog?’ The answer is ‘YES, German Shepherds are generally easy to train’.   But, there are several things to consider before you commit to one.

Firstly, as previously mentioned, German Shepherds are really smart dogs with a strong desire to please their owners. On top of that they are fast learners that easily learn new commands and tricks. That said, understand that every dog is different and some German Shepherds may need more expert training than others. The dog’s age and past experiences will also affect its training success.

The Trainability of German Shepherds

German Shepherds are widely used in law enforcement, search and rescue, and therapy. In this section, we will cover the basics of German Shepherd training, along with tips for training and different types of training. 

The Basics of German Shepherd Training 

Basic commands are critical and must be taught from the get-go.  These commands are:  sit, stay, come, down, fetch, walk, and heel. Controlling your dog at all times is important as is bonding with him or her. Once learned, these commands will do that for you and they will set the stage for more complex training. 

Lesson consistency is key when training your German Shepherd, and always use positive reinforcement (treats, praise and pets). Punishing your dog (negative training) is never recommended because it will destroy the trusting bond between you and your best friend.

German Shepherd puppy lying in a the grass with a ball

Tips for Training German Shepherds

German Shepherds are quick learners for sure, but they can be stubborn knotheads too. Trainer patience, consistency, and confidence are key to effective training. 

Start training your German Shepherd as soon after weaning as doable and make it a daily routine. German Shepherds need an abundance of physical and mental exercise. Puzzle toys and other interactive dog toys work very well for this. Training aids will help your training efforts immensely.

Training German Shepherd Puppies

Puppy training should start as early as possible. Socialization training of puppies is critical for German Shepherds because it helps the pups build confidence and good behaviour habits with people and other pets. House training is important to — create a ‘potty’ routine and be sure to reward your puppy for proper pottying.

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Socialization Training 

Don’t ignore socialization training! This is critical for German Shepherds. This training revolves around exposing your German Shepherd to different smells, sights, people, pets, and places to help build self-confidence and good behaviour around others.  Socialization training should start at a young age and always be done consistently.

Positive Training 

Positive reinforcement like treats, praise, and rewards is the best way to train your German Shepherd. Punishing your dog is never recommended, in fact, all forms of negativity should be avoided. Negative reinforcement results in disastrous behaviours and certainly damages the trust and bond you need with your dog. Positive training helps build a strong bond between you and your dog and set the stage for a lifetime of trusting friendship.

Obedience Training 

Obedience training German Shepherds is extremely important.  It involves teaching your dog to obey basic commands like sit, stay, come, walk, down, and heel. Obedience training should start at an early age and should always be done the same way. German Shepherds are quick learners but they need consistency to learn and obey obedience commands.

The Importance of Consistency 

Make no mistake about it, consistency is key. German Shepherds are intelligent, eager to learn dogs but without consistent training, they get confused and will become disobedient. 

Here are some reasons why consistency is so important:

Establishing Rules and Expectations

Consistency in training helps your German Shepherd understand what you are expecting. By consistently reinforcing rules and commands, your lucky dog will learn what is good behaviour and what is not. Positive reinforcement will prevent your dog from getting confused and make his or her training more productive.

Building Trust and Respect

Another reason to train by positive reinforcement is that it will build trust and respect between you and your German Shepherd. Only by being repetitive and consistent with your training will your dog fully trust and respect your authority. Not only will this make it easier to train your dog but it will create a strong bond between you and your best buddy.

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Preventing Bad Habits

Without consistency, your German Shepherd could fall into bad habits that are practically impossible to break. For example, allowing your dog to jump on people or paw at them one day and then scold them for doing the same thing the next day will confuse your dog. Don’t be inconsistent!

Consistent training helps prevent bad habits from ever forming. 

Consistency Means A Happy Life

Consistency is so important in training a German Shepherd. By establishing rules and expectations, building trust and respect, preventing bad habits, and improving overall behaviour, consistent training can help you and your pet live a happy and harmonious life together.

By reinforcing only the good behaviours and not any bad ones, your dog will be well-behaved and easier to control. This will make your life as a big dog owner much more enjoyable.


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