German Shepherd Puppy
Training Guide

German Shepherd puppy training will be the most fun you have ever had! Now that you’ve got yourself your very own GSD puppy do not waste any time and start training right away. The sooner you start, the better.

German Shepherd dog puppies are very smart and as they grow they become loyal canine friends. However, it is your job to properly socialize and train them.

If you are reading this it's because you are: 1- getting ready for your new puppy or 2- already dealing with the joys and pains of owning your very own German Shepherd puppy dog!

Don't despair, if you are feeling overwhelmed with a fur ball bouncing with infinite energy and don't know what to along. Here you will find what you MUST do during weeks 8-12 of puppy-hood to prevent behavior problems in the future, as well as training tips to make your life a little easier during this period of time.

You will also find step-by-step tutorials to teach basic commands and start your pooch in his life long learning adventure.

German Shepherd puppy training: socialization!

Socialization means that you must provide your baby German Shepherd with interesting and positive interactions. During weeks 8 through 12 of his life, which are most likely his first weeks with you, canines learn what is and isn’t safe. If you ensure that your pup interacts, and has a positive and rewarding experience, with as many people, dogs, animals, sounds, objects, sights and experiences, you will raise a confident and reliable dog.

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German Shepherd dogs are loyal and may have a tendency to be apprehensive with strangers. Socialization will ensure that your puppy grows a strong bond with you without developing a problematic over-protectiveness.

german shepherd puppy training, socialization, developemental stages

German Shepherd puppy training socialization tips:

  • Never separate a puppy from his mother and littermates before the age of 7-8 weeks. During this time, mom teaches her puppies the rules of the dog world. One of the most important rules is body language communication
  • After you get your baby German Shepherd and visit the vet, start socialization RIGHT AWAY! Unfortunately many vets will tell you not to take your puppy out of the house until they have had all of their shots. This is old school thinking and can have extremely bad consequences that will become apparent only when your canine becomes an adult. Without the full set of shots, your puppy is vulnerable to infectious diseases, however taking your pup to early socialization clases where all other dogs have also been immunized reduces the risk for becoming sick AND will make your German Shepherd a confident, well adjusted and friendlier dog. Progressive veterinarians realize that socialization is of paramount importance and fully encourage it. 
  • Take socialization in your own hands. Spend the first 4 weeks holding parties at your home! What???? Yes, parties! Invite all your friends and family for Karaoke, sports watching, boardgames, etc. Ask them to bring their kids too! And always make sure socialization is about positive interactions. If any of the kids or adults make your puppy a little scared, simply remove the threat and let the puppy explore other things.

German Shepherd puppy training: stop the biting!

German Shepherd puppy dog, training a german shepherd puppy

Socialization is hard work, bite-inhibition is even harder! But it is one of the best things you can ever teach your pup. Dogs have really strong jaws and can learn to apply just the right amount of pressure with it.

Bite inhibition teaches your canine friend how to properly apply force with his/her mouth without harming anyone. Adult dogs that have had this kind of training can get into fights and defend themselves without drawing blood.

This is so important to avoid any type of dog-human or dog-dog bite accidents.

German Shepherd puppy dogs have sharp teeth for a reason:

to learn how to use their mouth properly.

To teach your pooch not to hurt human skin you will need to yelp like a puppy every time you feel teeth in contact with your skin. Engage in puppy play and Yelp (Yes! Loud, sharp, high pitched and clear) when you feel teeth. Your pup will most likely stop in surprise. As soon as he has stopped, wait 5-10 seconds and resume play. Repeat as many times as needed.

This takes times and patience. Even though German shepherd puppy dogs are really smart, bite-inhibition requires a lot of repetition and consistency. Most of the time you will feel he is not learning anything at all, keep at it. You can add 15-30 second time outs on top of yelping if needed. It is definitely worth your time.

German Shepherd puppy training: potty outside!

House training German Shepherd dogs can be a bit stressful, but if done correctly, you can accomplish it in one week!

German Shepherd puppy potty training, house training
  • Take your puppy out for a potty break every 2-3 hours.
  • Take your puppy out for a potty the break after every meal.
  • Take your puppy out for a potty break after a nap.
  • Take your puppy out for a potty break after a play session.

These are a lot of potty breaks! Potty training a German Shepherd puppy successfully  will require your full attention, patience and consistency. If you do this, your puppy will get it very fast! If things are not working, first try thinking what you might be doing wrong and start over.

German Shepherd puppy training: basic commands!

Many people wonder when a baby German Shepherd can start learning obedience. The truth is that pups start learning from the day they are out into the world.

The first 8 weeks are critical to learn dog communication, bite inhibition among siblings and the difference between a sleeping area and a potty area. These are all taught by mom dog.

From weeks 8-12 you can start teaching your canine many commands, however I strongly advice you keep your focus on socialization, bite-inhibition and potty training.

If you have time to train basic commands….go ahead! You pooch will love it! If not, don’t worry and start German Shepherd puppy training after week 12 (although socialization should never formally stop).

Here are some step-by-step tutorials to get you started with the first three commands:

German Shepherd puppy training sit

Training Sit to your German Shepherd puppy: You will use this command all the time. Ask your pup to sit when a stranger wants to pet him, for attention, for the ball to be thrown, etc.

To start use food to lure your pooch into the sit position. Only give him the treat once his bottom is on the ground. Repeat many times! Follow this link for detail instructions...

Training Stand to your German Shepherd puppy: Once your pet is sitting, the next command is to teach him to stand. This is useful at the vet as well as to mix and match commands.

From a sit (or down) position lure your baby german shepherd into a stand. Repeat many times!

This link will take you to the step by step guide...

German shepherd puppy training stand
German Shepherd puppy training down

Training down to your German Shepherd puppy: You will also use luring to train this command. Start your pooch from a sitting position and lure him into a down. Only give your dog a treat after he is completely down on the ground. Repeat many times!

Click here for a step-by-step tutorial...

Why train your pooch sit, down and stand? You need three commands to mix up when you ask your dog to do something. If you have at least three options, then your smart German Shepherd won't be able to predict what you will ask. This means he/she has to pay attention to you!

Practice Puppy Push-Ups! Sit-down-stand, Down-sit-stand, etc...

Other useful cues include: Speak and Quiet, settle and ask for permission before rushing into something potentially dangerous.

Enjoy German Shepherd puppy training time and leave us your questions and comments in the box below.

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