Top Training Tips For Your German Shepherd Puppy

June 5, 2023
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top training tips for german shepherd puppy

A German Shepherd puppy is very intelligent, and this is hugely advantageous when it comes to training as they will learn quickly.

However, you should also be aware that your GSD may also seem to go backwards at some point. If you have been consistent and doing training regularly, then rest assured that they haven’t forgotten what you taught them, they are simply testing the boundaries.

The reason for this is that, as with children, they are going through adolescence and they are checking to see if you really have got everything under control. It is part of their intellect that makes them behave this way and it will pass. Just keep going with the training and the positive reinforcement and they will soon settle back down again.

Toilet Training

It is important to NOT punish your GSD for any toilet ‘mishaps’. They are still learning to control their bladder and toilet functions and as with babies, they don’t have the strength in their bowels to ‘hold on’.

It is up to you to ensure that you allow your puppy the opportunity to go to the toilet in the right place. This means that you need to take your pup into the garden at given points during the day to help it learn to associate being outside with going to the toilet.

It is important to wait until your pup does its business and then praise them for the ‘right’ action. You can even start to introduce command words such as ‘go toilet’ as they do it so that they associate both the command and the visiting the garden with the act.

Puppies need to go to the toilet more often than adult dogs. Up to 2 months old they will need to be let out every 2-3 hours. The gap can be increased by an hour for each additional month until they are 6 months old. By 6 months and beyond your GSD will need to go to the toilet every 6-8 hours.

As a general rule, take your puppy out for the toilet after they have eaten, after a nap and after a play/training session.

Never punish your German Shepherd puppy for having an accident. If you didn’t see them do it and you start telling them off, they won’t understand why you are cross. If you do ‘catch them in the act’ simply say, ‘AhAh’ or something similar and put them in the correct place to finish.

Treats and Rewards

You may be worried that rewarding your puppy with food will mean they only respond when you have a treat in your hand. Don’t, they will quickly learn to respond even without treats.

However, in the meantime, find what your puppy likes the most and use it to reward good behaviour and for responding to you. For your GSD this may be small pieces of chicken or sausage or it could be playtime with a favourite toy. Not all dogs respond to the same ‘treat’, so find one that works for you.

Behaviour to STOP NOW

If your puppy jumps up it is imperative that you IGNORE him. Do not push, knee or any other kind of interaction. NO verbal commands, NO eye contact. Watch them out of the corner of your eye and when all four paws are on the ground, make a fuss of them. If you need to keep turning away, then do so.

Pulling on the lead is another one to stop when they are a pup. A full-grown German Shepherd is a powerful dog, you want them to be responsive while you can still handle them easily. This will be covered in training classes, but a good tip, for now, is to hold a treat in your hand and when your puppy is looking at you and walking nicely, occasionally give the treat.

Final Tips

Being the Alpha of the pack isn’t about dominance, it is about being a parent. Like all good parents, you need to set boundaries and have rules in place, but you need to be guiding your puppy not trying to dominate them.

Just remember to REWARD the GOOD behaviour and IGNORE the BAD. Be observant of your puppy, when they are behaving how you want them to, praise them. But when they are misbehaving, don’t give them any attention. Just ignore. It may seem hard, but it is the best way to have a calm, well-mannered, loving and happy dog.

Is this your first time owning a German Shepherd pup? Check out our breed-specific German Shepherd Training page!

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