One look at a German Shepherd (also known as an Alsatian) and you know that this dog means business. It is definitely not one of the 'cute' dogs that you'd want to pet the instant you saw one. The German Shepherd, as the name clearly suggests is a German breed that was trained to protect the sheep and that is why, its hunting instincts have stuck on and strengthened with time. That is why German Shepherds are usually brought on into a home for a dual purpose. One, to act as a pet, and two, for protection. The German Shepherd is one of those dogs that can be trained to protect and that is why people find it a solace. But for that, one needs to know how to train this breed. In this following article, that is exactly what we shall be studying about.
Training a German Shepherd Puppy
In order to effectively train your German Shepherd dog or puppy, there is a need to understand some of the key factors that influence their training.
A German Shepherd is not a friendly dog to begin with and therefore it has to be understood that it will not socialize if not taught to do. Beginning at 8 weeks, you need to keep the puppy in company of house members as well as other dogs if there are any. This simple exercise will help them understand that they are expected to interact with others and that they are familiar faces.
Decide on an Action Plan
First decide what you want to teach the dog. What exactly do you need it to learn? Make a list of all those things and then decide the way to go about it. The last thing you want to do is confuse the dog with a whole lot of commands and in differing ways by different members of the family. This will confuse him even further. What you need to do then is decide one person who will take over the basic training. It has to be understood that the commands have to be absolutely clear or else it will further confuse the puppy. Remember, they like to please and are activity oriented. So if you train them well, they'll be there for you.
One Trick at a Time
It is also important to understand that the tricks have to be taught one time at a time. So take up a command like 'Sit' and once that has been fully understood by the German Shepherd, only then move on to the next one. This is one of the most basic steps of the training.
Reinforce with Treats
It has been seen that one of the best ways to go about training the dog and making sure that the taught tricks stick, is to use treats. The way to go about this is to reward them with treats and encouraging words (animals can read the tone of the voice) and actions like a pat on the back. This will help them draw an association with the action and the treat and they'll know that this is expected of them.
Another important factor that needs to be looked into when training a German Shepherd puppy is that of potty training. One of the most successful methods in this direction is that of using the crate method. Buy a crate that is large enough for the puppy to move in well enough. Use this area as the sleeping place of the dog. Introduce the crate, but do not force it in and lock it up. Break in the crate for the dog by placing a comfortable bedding and treats in, once the dog likes the crate, it will learn to go in and settle down. Once that happens, lock the door for short periods. When the dog has to relieve itself, it will start whining or the like because it will not want to soil its bedding. That is the time you take it out and show him the place that you want it to use. Give a treat to it when he does his business at the designated place. This will reinforce the fact that you want him to use the outdoors.
Exercising is very important for the dog, because it requires a whole lot of activity to maintain the energy levels. Make sure that you take him for daily walks or jogs. Do not forget to use the leash on the dog until it is used to being in public. This also becomes important so that when it grows, it should not be walking you instead of you him.
These were some of the important tips and techniques for training that were discussed in the following article. Now that you know how to train a German Shepherd and how to make a great job of it, you can bring these into action and have a well trained dog as your family pet, one that you are proud to own.