German Shepherd Training Commands the Essential Guide by a Professional Dog Trainer

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I'm so happy you're here to check out my essential guide on German Shepherd training commands!

In 2015, when I first penned this blog post about German Shepherd commands, I was a novice trainer learning the ropes as I went along.

Since then, I've qualified as a professional animal trainer and continue to work with hundreds of GSD guardians through this website.

I help GSD guardians train their dogs with kindness, clarity, and games-based methods without force, pain, or fear.

And this essential guide is the only one you'll need to have a smooth training experience and fun while at it!

Teaching your German Shepherd training commands is second only to potty training and a ‘soft mouth.'

Because without this, you'll have difficulty communicating with your dog or asking them for behaviors.

And the beautiful thing about dogs is you can start any time – whether you are training your GSD puppy or an older Shepherd.

But before we dive into the fun training stuff, I'd like to share some vital information that will stand you and your GSD in good stead through your training journey…

German Shepherd Training Commands

Cues vs. Commands

Cues Vs. Commands

On my journey to professional dog training, I've learned the errors in many previous ways.

Back then, I didn't think twice about using the word “command” in training. Today I prefer to use the term “cue.”

Why?

Because it's kinder.

Dog training commands imply that your dog does not have a choice and MUST comply. You are placing all the responsibility on your dog.

A “cue,” on the other hand, gives your dog a choice. And choice is a powerful driver of learning.

And a cue also places the responsibility solely on your shoulders, where it should be.

As the multi-world champion in dog agility, Susan Garrett says;

“Our dogs are doing their best with the education we have given them, in the environment we're asking them to perform in.”

Our dog's education and the environment are our responsibility. If you cue a behavior and your dog doesn't comply, it does not mean your dog is “stubborn,” “willful,” or needs a “firm hand.”

Instead, it's the feedback you need to level up the education you're giving your dogs or influence their environment to get the results you seek.

All that said, it takes time and small increments to change perceptions, so you'll see me use both the words cue and command in this essential guide.

And I challenge you to begin replacing the idea of commands with cues and watch how the relationship between you and your GSD deepens.

Poisoning Cues

Poisoned Cues

You might have heard about poisoned cues before. But if you haven't, let's dive into this because it's vital information.

A poisoned cue or command is one your dog either refuses to respond to or is reluctant to perform.

And poisoning a cue happens in two ways…

A Cue without a Positive Consequence

This is when you repeatedly say your Cue and don't offer your dog a positive consequence or reward for responding.

Think of this as the Cue becoming like “white noise” to your dog.

As a professional animal trainer, I often find that a dog's name becomes a poisoned cue because humans say it repeatedly without reinforcing their dog for responding with their attention.

A Cue with a Negative Consequence

In this scenario, your dog has connected a negative outcome with your chosen Cue, making them reluctant to respond.

For example, your recall cue might be the word “come.” And you also use this word to call your dog to you when it's time for a bath.

If your dog doesn't particularly like bathing, they will stop responding to your cue “come” at bath time and other times.

This is because your cue “come” is now also associated with bathing, which your GSD might dislike.

How to Rescue a Poisoned Cue

The best way to rescue a poisoned cue is to teach a new cue in its place.

For example, my dogs stopped responding to the cue “sit” because any time guests came over, they would repeatedly say the cue and hardly ever follow up with a positive consequence when my dogs responded.

So I re-trained them with a new cue for putting their butts on the ground.

I use the word “plonk,” My students often use something like “park” as their Cue for sitting if the old one is poisoned.

2 Types of German Shepherd Training Commands

Visual and Verbal Cues

There are two ways you train and cue a behavior with your GSD.

The first ways (and the one dogs respond to more quickly) are visual, hand, or body cues.

The second way is verbal cues or commands. And ideally, you want to teach your dog both.

There are a few other cues that we won't be diving into in this article. But for completeness, I'll mention them here…

  • Olfactory cues – are often used in scent work.
  • Auditory cues – a clicker is a good example here.
  • Touch cues – great to use with sensory impaired dogs.
  • Environmental cues – taking your dog out of the car at the lake is a cue that they are about to go for a swim.

The bottom line is when your dog sees, hears, smells, or feels the Cue and performs the associated behavior, they get a reward.

Visual Signals in German Shepherd Training Commands

Did you know that your GSD is a master of reading body language?

Reading bodies and responding to the language cues they reveal is the primary way your GSD communicates with you and other dogs.

And according to Body Language researcher Albert Mehrabian, at least 55% of human communication is non-verbal.

This percentage has been disputed. But what's indisputable is that your dog relies heavily on your body language cues.

And it's one of the main reasons dogs, in general, will gravitate to responding to visual signals before verbal commands or cues.

For example, when I taught my GSD to stand on cue, I inadvertently used my body in a certain way as I said my cue.

When I watched back my training videos, I picked up on this, and it was an ever-so-slight pop upwards from my knees.

So, in our next session, I used only my cue without the body movement.
And if you guessed that my dog didn't respond to my verbal cue, you'd be right.

It was an easy fix, but not one that I would have picked up on if I didn't record and watch back my training session.

The bottom line is that if you combine a hand signal and verbal cue, your Shepherd will respond more readily to a hand or body gesture.

And when you remove the gesture, they might not respond as you anticipate.

This does not mean hand signals shouldn't be used. But they should be trained and practiced separately.

And if you consider that it's possible to have a different hand signal that matches every verbal cue, it makes sense that these are, in fact, different cues for the same behavior and should be treated as such.

Verbal Cues in GSD Training

Although dogs are masters of visual cues, your voice is a powerful tool in training your German Shepherd.

And if you consider this study published in the Journal of Comparative Psychology

Dogs don't just perceive a cue as a physical sound. But can recognize a relationship between certain sounds.

You can see the powerful tool you have in your voice.

Many people who don't understand behavior science say you should use a “firm” or “stern” tone. And back when I was a novice trainer, I believed this too.

But remember the quote I shared earlier from Susan Garrett?

Your dog's decision to respond to your Cue has nothing to do with how stern or firm your voice is.

It's based on the education you have given them and the environment they are in.

Recently I worked with a client who is a new GSD guardian, her German Shepherd puppy's name is Callie, and she was roughly ten weeks old when we began working together.

Callie's guardian tended to deliver cues in a firm and commanding way. And each time, Callie would display stress signals like tongue flicks, pinned back ears, and sometimes she'd refuse to take treats.

Callie's guardian and I chatted about this and watched some of her training videos where she could see little Callie showing signs of stress.

The client tried to deliver her cues more kindly, and Callie immediately dropped all the stress signals she had previously displayed.

I'm sure you wouldn't like to hear commands barked at you, so why would your dog be any different?

Matching Your Voice and Your Command

Your Voice and Your Cue - Volume and Tone

Admittedly, there are those times when you might need to get louder as you deliver a cue, especially if it's in a situation that involves distance, an emergency, or extremely high arousal levels.

Here's an example of what I mean…

A few weeks back, my neighbor's pet monkey ended up in my yard, and in a split second, one of my dogs had the small monkey in her mouth.

My dog was over her threshold, and I had to say my cue “drop it” in a pretty loud voice to get my girl's hearing ability to kick in during this highly charged situation.

I didn't shout. I wasn't “firm” or “stern” I raised the volume of my voice so she could hear me through her prey drive.

She immediately dropped the monkey, which scurried over the wall back to safety. He was unharmed, thankfully.

It's worth noting that I have trained my dogs to be comfortable with an increased volume in my voice, specifically for situations like this.

And you should definitely practice cues with your Shepherd at different volumes because without this, you could harm your dog's confidence if you do ever have to use a louder voice like in an emergency.

Next, we'll dive into the 2 levels of German Shepherd dog “education” cues and what they mean.

We'll begin with the basic commands and move to advanced. And you'll find helpful training videos to walk you through some of the basics.

In training, it's vital to work at the pace your dog learns instead of pushing as fast as you “think” they should learn. This will grow and protect their confidence.

Further down, I'll share how you can gauge when it's time to move on to advanced training with the push, drop, stick method.

The 2-Key Strategy to Teaching your Shepherd Training Commands

2 Strategies for Effective GSD Cue Training

Trust

“Trust is built with consistency.”

This is a quote by Lincoln Chafee. This is essential in training any dog, but especially for the highly intelligent and sensitive German Shepherds.

Be consistent when teaching and using your cues in your German Shepherd's training.

This will ensure that your dog trusts you and puts you in a position to grow and protect their confidence.

Which is your number one role as a kind and benevolent leader.

KISS

Keep it short and simple. Dogs don't care for ‘correct grammar' and respond better to short, simple commands and the point. Avoid ‘filler' words like; ‘and', ‘the', and ‘on'.

For example, use the word ‘kennel' instead of ‘go to your kennel.'

To level up your training skills even further, check out this post about 4 things you should do to make training your German Shepherd easy.

2 Levels of German Shepherd Training Commands

Generally, there are two primary levels of training to consider – the basics and the more advanced.

Interestingly, like humans, what may be basic for one dog-handler team might be advanced for another.

But a good place to begin is by first teaching the basic commands.

Basic Commands (Cues)

Basic German Shepherd Training Cues

Basic obedience training. These commands are vital for everyday harmonious living with your Shepherd.

Your dog will likely master each of these quickly, and you can use the push, drop, stick method to determine when it's time to move on.

  • Attention! – your dog should focus on you, waiting for the next Cue.
  • Here – your dog should position himself in front of you or at your side. Usually accompanied by a visual cue.
  • Sit – your dog should sit either on- or off-leash.
  • Stay – your dog should stay on the spot where he is on- or off-leash. The stay is sacred and means you'll return to your dog.
  • Wait – your dog waits in place until you give the release cue.
  • Break – your dog releases from a stationary position.
  • Down – your dog should go into the down position. Could be a ‘working down or a ‘relaxed down.'
  • Come – used to call or recall your dog on- or off-leash.
  • Stand – your dog should stand from either the down or sit position.
  • Five – your dog places their paw in your open hand. An excellent behavior for nail grooming and animal husbandry.
  • Outside – your dog should leave the room.
  • Inside – your dog should enter the room.
  • Drop it – your dog should drop any item in his mouth.
  • Kennel/Crate – your dog should climb into his crate or kennel. You'd need to have worked on crate training to ensure your GSD sees their crate as a positive experience.
  • Hop on – your dog should climb onto any safe boundaries, such as a raised bed, sofa, scale at the vet, or even a tree stump out on a walk.
  • Yes! – usually paired with a reward when performing a cue correctly. This is known as a terminal marker since it indicates the end of a behavior or behavior chain.
  • Good! – verbal praise when performing a behavior correctly, but the behavior or behavior chain is not yet completed.
  • Pup, pup! – a positive interruption. It should always be used in a gentle tone.
  • Touch – your dog touches their nose to the palm of your hand or a target stick.
  • Eat your food – your dog has permission to begin eating.
  • Stop – Your dog should stop dead in their tracks. But in all honesty, it would serve you better to cue a more specific behavior like sit, stand, or down if you want your dog to stop in their tracks.
  • Leave it – stop your dog from picking up or further interacting with an object.

Advanced Commands (Cues)

Advanced commands. These commands are used in trick training, agility, and working situations.

They are also helpful on-leash or off-leash. Your dog will need more time to master these commands and regular refresher sessions.

  • Fetch (Item name) – your dog should fetch the desired item. Could be the newspaper, your slippers, or a ball.
  • Roll over – also play dead. This is a great cue to help with husbandry and grooming activities.
  • Jump – your dog should jump over or through an object. For example, a low wall, a hoop, or into water.
  • Track – your dog should track the desired item or person.
  • Guard – your dog should be watchful and alert around an item, door, person, or gate.
  • Bite – your dog should hold onto or bite into an object.
  • Speak/Bark – your dog should bark on command – always paired with the quiet cue.
  • Quiet – your dog should stop barking on command.
  • Go – your dog should go ahead of you. Used during agility competitions.
  • Search – your dog now has permission to look for and eat food off the floor.
  • Heel – your dog should walk at your side.

3 Positive Training Methods to Teach Your GSD Cues

The critical point is that we can't expect our dogs to know what we want if we haven't taught them; this is the essence of any dog education.

As positive trainers, we focus on what we do want our dogs to do and reward them handsomely with food, toys, play, or even life rewards for a job well done!

And there are three ways to teach your dog any new behavior.

Capturing

Capturing is when you wait for your dog to perform the desired behavior and then mark and reward them.

This method is accessible for all levels of trainers because it's so easy to use, and you don't need a ton of experience.

The first step is to wait for your dog to offer the behavior.

Once your dog offers the behavior, let them know it was done correctly by saying yes or clicking and then reinforcing the behavior with a treat or toy.

Remember, we're waiting for the entire behavior before marking and rewarding.

For example, a sit would require the dog's rump on the ground as the entire behavior.

Here's a visual representation of what capturing looks like in steps…

Positive Reinforcement Training Capturing

Luring

If your dog does not readily offer the desired behavior, it may be quicker to show them what you want them to do using a treat lure.

Hold the treat in your hand and use it like a magnet to lure your dog into the desired position from their nose.

Luring works well for shy or skittish dogs or for previously trained dogs using cohesion.

Although it is not a long-term solution to training because if the lure is not faded correctly and quickly, behaviors will become dependent on the food and even the value of the food.

Meaning your dog will choose not to respond to a cue if you don't have food or if they decide the food is not valuable enough.

Below is a visual representation of using luring in steps.

Luring in Positive Reinforcement Training

Shaping

Shaping is the ultimate form of training and can be used to teach even the most complicated behaviors.

It does require some skill and planning on the part of you – the handler. But it's well worth your time and effort.

Essentially you'll take a complete behavior and slice it into smaller parts that you teach individually.

And in the end, each part links into a fully completed behavior.

The great Bob Baily puts it best when he says;

“Be a splitter, not a lumper.”

And this is the essence of shaping behavior in dogs. And shaping really deserves a post all on its own – it's in the works, for sure!

Suffice to say that shaping takes full advantage of the power of your dog's choices in training and teaches your dog how to be a superstar at thinking and problem-solving.

Adding Your Cue – What Will You Name it?

Once you have taught your dog the new behavior and they are performing it reliably, it is time to name the behavior.

By adding a name, or a cue, you can ask your dog to perform this behavior whenever you desire. Be sure to pick a cue that you will use in a real-life situation and one that is clear for your dog.

To add a cue to the behavior, practice the behavior until you would bet me $100 that your dog will perform the behavior again and again. You're looking for reliability here.

Then use your Cue (either visually or verbally) just before your dog performs the behavior, wait for the behavior, mark it and reward it.

Here's what this looks like visually…

German Shepherd Training Commands - Adding a Cue

When to Advance in Your Training Cues – The Push, Drop, Stick Method

Pressing forward in your training is not only about advancing to more challenging behaviors.

But also about teaching your dog to perform the basics in more arousing situations.

Jean Donaldson's push, drop, stick method is an excellent way for you to determine when your dog is ready to move onto more arousing situations or a more advanced level of training.

Here are the steps:

Train is sets of 5.

Push – Does your dog correctly respond with 4 or 5 in the set? Then push to the next level of difficulty.

Stick – If your dog only gets 3 out of 5 correct, repeat the same step.

Drop – If your dog gets 2 or fewer correct drop to the previous, easier step.

That's all there is to this method, and it's deceptively simple and mighty powerful.

And using this method will help you keep training sessions systematic and efficient.

Here's a visual to help you remember how to apply the Push, Drop, Stick method in your training…

GSD Training Cues - When to Advance

How to Advance Training – 3D Dog Training

The 3D's of Dog Training for Shepherds

Once your Shepherd has shown you, they are ready to push to more challenging situations or behaviors. It's time to start thinking about 3D dog training.

3D dog training consists of duration, distance, and distraction.

And this is where I see a lot of dog guardians do too much too soon or attempt to move too quickly with their German Shepherds.

And so, for completeness in sharing Shepherd training tips in this essential guide, what follows is a simplified way for you to work through 3D training with your dog.

It's worth noting that varying the difficulty or criteria makes for much better learning than continually making it more difficult.

So instead of upping the ante to longer duration, more distance, or higher distractions at each interval, try to make a few easy repetitions and then one or two more difficult before returning to a few easier reps.

You'll be incrementally moving towards more challenging criteria in the long run.

Duration

Duration is the amount of time your dog holds the behavior or position. In my professional work, I teach my students to begin working on duration first.

This is because it's the easiest of the 3Ds to implement and master. And it makes adding distance and distraction much easier at a later stage.

Distance

This refers to the physical distance between you and your dog when you give the Cue.

As well as how far away you can move from your dog once you have cued a behavior while they remain in position.

The latter can also be considered a distraction for your dog. In other words, if you are teaching a down-stay with distance, you moving away can be distracting for your dog.

Distraction

These are things in the environment that can draw your dog's attention. And it can be anything from sounds, smells, sights, and even new environments.

Ideally, you want to start training in as many low-distraction areas as possible before moving to more distracting areas like your back yard, front yard, and the pavement.

I like to use the rule of 5. So I'll teach the same new behavior in 5 different spaces inside my home before moving it to our backyard.

Only after that will I begin to practice in highly distracting scenarios like out in public.

This variation makes it much easier for your dog to generalize a new behavior to unfamiliar environments.

You'll also want to consider your proximity to your dog, start working close up for a short duration, and slowly expand from there.

To set your dog up for success, it's vital that you only work on one of these at a time.

4 Basic German Shepherd Training Commands [Videos]

In this section, you'll get access to 4 basic behaviors that you can add to your list of German Shepherd training commands to teach your dog.

In the videos, you'll learn the training plan to implement to teach each behavior and Cue.

Teaching the Stay Cue

Teaching the Hop on & Release Cue

Teaching the Leave it Cue

Basic Training Equipment for Your German Shepherd

Whether you're a novice trainer or have your sights set on becoming a professional, one aspect to love about training is you don't need a lot of equipment.

And you can easily have great training sessions with these five pieces of equipment.

A Flat Collar

My dogs wear their flat breakaway collars permanently. But I will never walk my dogs on a flat collar, nor would I recommend that to a student.

Collars have three main functions…

Firstly, they are there for collar grabs in an emergency. Both of my dogs are conditioned to come into my open hand so that I can take hold of their collar if there's ever a situation that I consider to be an emergency.

Secondly, collars are suitable for tags. And depending on where you live, it may be a legal requirement for your dog to wear tags permanently.

Thirdly, collars are a great tool when working with your dog on a behavior in a new environment, and you want to keep them close.

And if you're working with a young puppy who is easily distracted, a leash attached to a collar is a great way to influence their environment.

A Standard Leash

A standard 5 or 6-foot leash is the ideal length to use as a tool to manage your German Shepherds environment during training.

And this is especially true when you're working on a new behavior in a distracting environment or with a young dog who is easily distracted.

I like to use a multi-purpose leash like the one from Rogz because it provides me with several options regarding length and clips, which are fantastic for leash training.

A Long Line

Long lines are fantastic tools when you start taking taught behaviors into the wide world.

They offer options to work on the 3Ds of training while still providing you with the safety and security you need to know your GSD can't run off unexpectedly.

I have several long lines ranging from 10 to 16 and 32 feet, and they are fantastic to use in leash training, loose leash walking, and recall training.

A Clicker

I love using a clicker and teach most of my students how to use one effectively. I say most because I work with a few students whose dogs don't like the sound a clicker makes.

You can think of a clicker as a surgical knife, and it's precise enough to mark the exact moment your dog nails the behavior you're looking for.

It makes the same sound each time and lacks any emotion we may carry in our voices.

And because of its preciseness, I enjoy using it to teach new behaviors and complex behaviors.

If you're new to clickers or if you'd like a refresher, this blog post on how to use a dog clicker to train your GSD is just the one for you.

A Treat Pouch

Treat pouches are helpful for several reasons…

They keep your clothing free from dog treat stains.

They can be worn in different places on your belt or waist, making it easy to keep the rewards out of sight if your dog tends to fixate on them.

They help you keep your hands free, so you only need to reach for rewards at the right moment.

I have used many different treat pouches over the years. And I've finally settled on a pouch from Company of Animals on Amazon that clips onto my pants or a pocket.

5 Types of Training Rewards

Many people feel that using food in training is bribery. And to those people, I always ask this question…

Would you spend eight or more hours a day at your job if you got zero pay at the end of the week or month?

I'm guessing not. And neither should your dog.

But rewarding your dog for a job well done does not always have to end in an exchange of behavior for food.

Sure, food is great as a starting point because it's what we consider a primary reinforcer.

And food is excellent as a reward when teaching a new behavior or when you're working with a new dog.

In the next section, we'll look into phasing out food. But here, I want to challenge you to start making a list of all the things you think your GSD finds rewarding and group them into 4 categories.

  • Food Rewards.
  • Toy Rewards.
  • Real-Life Rewards.
  • Verbal Rewards.
  • Tactile Rewards.

It may take a few days to compile a complete list, so keep a pen and paper handy or make notes on your phone.

After a week or so of you making these notes, head over to my blog post on how to use positive reinforcement with dogs and dive into creating your dog's reinforcement hierarchy.

For inspiration, here's a list of items in each category that my dogs find highly rewarding.

Food RewardsToy RewardsLife RewardsTactile or Verbal Rewards
Homemade tuna cookiesRedline tugsGreeting guestsRoughhousing with humans
Venison JerkyPuzzle toysPlaying with other dogsEar scratches
Ostrich and Lamb SticksFlirt poleZoomiesChest scratches
Butternut cookiesTugger ballGrass rollingRump scratches
RaspberriesSqueaky turkeyWalking through an open doorCompliments
BlueberriesSqueaky possumCarrying a toyLove cues
WatermelonRogz GymstickHiking with humansAnticipation-building cues
Beef JerkyLickimatsRunning off-leashCues to behaviors
Montego Karoo Meat JerkySnuffle matsHose water chasing
SnackalamiHomemade Chuckit tugFetch and retrieve
Sardine, egg, and yogurt mixBunjee tugsCar rides
Cheddar cheeseUrban stickChewing
Orijen Six Fish kibbleFrisbeeFood chase

And if you'd like to create a similar list for your GSD, check out this blog post about using positive reinforcement like a professional dog trainer.

Phasing Out Food Rewards

Phasing out food rewards for life rewards

Once you've got that list and rated your dog's reinforcements into a hierarchy, you can begin to phase out food rewards for behaviors your GSD knows well and replace them with other rewards.

My favorite way to do this is to use real-life rewards.

So, for example, if I cue my dogs to sit at the gate while I open it and they only break position when I cue them – the reward they get is to go outside and start sniffing around.

Or, when we stop at the river, and I open the boot to unclip their harnesses while they remain in position, their release cue and the race to the water and the swim is their reward.

When these kinds of rewards are unavailable, I'll use a game of tug and even a tactile reward like a chest scratch as a reinforcement.

The bottom line is you can and should include these life rewards in your dog's daily life because it'll not only help develop solid behaviors but also make you and your dog less reliant on food for established behaviors.

Quick Fire Tips from a Professional Trainer for Teaching your German Shepherd Training Commands

  • Training is constant – you're training them even when you think you're not.
  • Always be consistent with the cues you use.
  • Keep your commands short and simple.
  • Teach your GSD what you want them to do instead of expecting them to know what you want.
  • Remember that sometimes is any time for a dog. If you'd prefer not to allow your dog on the sofa, it's best never to allow it.
  • Incorporate the behaviors your dog knows into their daily life to prevent them from becoming “rusty.”
  • You can manage your training sessions like a pro with my T.R.A.I.N. method.

In a nutshell, managing training sessions means considering:

  1. The environment.
  2. The length of your training sessions.
  3. The value of your reinforcements.
  4. When you train.
  5. How hungry your dog is.

Over to You!

I'd love to hear from you!

  1. What cues are you working on right now?
  2. How are you planning on using your new cues in your GSD's daily life?

Let me know in the comments below!

Peace, love, and happy training!

Do you want to train your German Shepherd with love?  Check out this kind, force-free training program.

Is your GSD still jumping on you and your guests?  Check out this article to learn the best way to stop jumping behavior.

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About the author: Gabriella is a certified professional dog trainer with a special passion for teaching GSD guardians to train their dogs with kindness and clarity using positive reinforcement methods without force, pain, or fear. Join “Dog Speak” for free dog training tips and advice from a professional dog trainer.

  • David

    I have a german shepherd and he’s only 6 months but I wanted to start getting him introduced to being a protection/ home dog, Finn and I go for many walks and we usually get ourselves into situations where there are other dogs barking and people walking by. He is walked without a lead and does very well but when he sees people I have to call his name multiple times so he stays, for the most part, he’s very good but I want him to stop trying to go up to strangers, I would love for him to always protect me and serve as my bodyguard when told to be. Maybe even be cautious about other stranger dogs but not aggressive until told to be. Got any tips or advice?

    • Hi David!

      Thanks for your question.

      Although dogs have natural instincts to protect, a dog would need to take part in protection training to be a protection dog. It’s not ideal to walk a dog off-leash if they are not fully recall trained. And if you’re having to call his name multiple times, it’s a sign that this behavior is not yet a conditioned reflex and that the environment is too distracting for him to respond.

      Also, continuous rehearsal of this means it will eventually become a habit. So I highly recommend walking Finn on a leash and working on his recall training at home first and then on a long line in more distracting environments once he’s mastered recall in a lower distraction environment.

      At around 6 to 18 months dogs go through a naturally wired fear period. And in this time if he comes across something aversive that startles him enough while he’s off-leash, it can turn into a single-event learning experience that won’t be positive and can cause a more permanent phobia or fear. Think of examples like Finn getting into an altercation with another dog, or meeting up with an unfriendly human.

      Hope this helps.

  • GSD Lover

    These commands are really great help for me, such a informative and useful content

  • Sarah

    Thank you for this very well-written and informative article Gabriella, I learned a lot reading your information.

  • Helen Kenny

    I have a 7ýear old German shepherd’s will not stop barking at other dogs when he is on his lead he stands upright to get to them is to play with not fighting he does not get it ì don’t let him get to them and he will not come back if he’s playing with other

    • Hi Helen,

      Thank you for reaching out with your question.

      There could be several reasons why your dog is acting this way while on a leash in the presence of other dogs. If you’d like to have a more in-depth chat about this behavior and share some more information with me about what you’re seeing in his body language and face when he’s practicing this, please reach out to me via email.

  • Mia Evans

    Thanks for helping me understand that basic obedience commands would be useful for on-leash and off-leash training sessions. With that in mind, I should look for dog obedience lessons for my dog. It’s because my friend has given me a German Shepherd for my birthday, and I need to get it trained to manage its behavior in the long run.

  • Carson Sikes

    My GSD is 1-year-old now. She has shown great intelligence and has made progress through her training sessions. The majority of the time, she’s off-leash and does very well with this. Our neighbors have small children and Nyx has been around them since she was 8 weeks old. However, one night, the girl wanted to toss Nyx’s toy around and play with her. This was new for everyone, especially Nyx. I was right beside her and watched carefully. It wasn’t until the little girl started running away from Nyx and screaming that things took a turn. Nyx started barking loudly at the girl and chased after her. I had full confidence that she wasn’t going to bite and/or attack the girl, but it was a scary moment for everyone. Normally, Nyx comes back when I tell her to “come” but her focus was on the screaming child. What could I do to get her out of that? It was the first time, but I don’t want there to be a second time. Should I try including the girl in our training sessions with Nyx on-leash? Perhaps recreate the moment and train Nyx to remain focused on me? Any advice would be appreciated!

    • Hi Carson,

      Thank you for your question – it’s an excellent one!

      I like to say that with dog training it’s better to train for a situation than in a situation. Kiddies have a tendency to excite dogs because of their high-pitched voices, fast movements and also because of their smaller size.

      I think to begin with you should work on impulse control training before you set up a training scenario with your neighbor’s daughter. In fact, if you do thorough impulse control training you may never have to set up a scenario because if done correctly, the concept of impulse control will spill over into other areas of Nyx’s understanding.

      I definitely agree that working with Nyx in this way and making focusing on you part of the training is ideal. A good place to start is to play proximity games where Nyx learns to stay close to you through games. This will make you more interesting than anything else in her environment.

      In terms of impulse control training, I personally feel that it’s the crux of any good dog training program. Feel free to reach out if you’d like some other impulse control training ideas.

      Hope this helps! 🙂

  • Rachel

    Hi! I loved the article it was super helpful. My computer is not letting me download the text and audio in german:(. i tried it in both safari and google chrome. help

    • Hi Rachel,

      Thanks for letting me know and sorry for the inconvenience. Would you be okay with me emailing the files to you while I figure out why it’s not downloadable?

      Regards,
      Gabriella

  • www.ourcaninecave.com

    Love your site. Thankyou!

  • Zaki

    Hi, thanks for the information
    But the download links are not working, could you please update?

    • Hi Zaki,

      Working on it now. Sorry for the inconvenience. 🙂

    • Hi Zaki,

      Try right-clicking on the link and selecting “Save As”. Instead of opening the link first. It worked for me so hopefully, you can get the downloads now. If not shoot me an email.

  • Dawn Tolliver

    I am looking for a trainer to teach a Shepard how to calm down a person with add. He gets suddenly violent pumped up like an ape but he’s a skinny kid. It’s scary. I noticed his dog always goes to him and places his head on his arm instill he pets him which helps call him down. But could he be trained to see this attack coming on and stop it. So Tyler could learn to recognize his problem. Please help this kid has a lot of inside anger he lost his wife and two young kids in fernan lake in cdl idaho in 2016 its on the web. He’s been lost ever since and kid his shep is his only hope.
    Dawn.

    • Hi Dawn,

      Thank you for your question.

      I’m sorry to hear about the terrible tragedy that befell your friend.

      I’m pretty sure his dog can be trained to see an attack coming on. But this will likely need to be facilitated by a trainer experienced in training service dogs. Depending on where in on the globe you are will determine how much support you can find for this.

      I recommend getting in touch with a couple of national organizations that deal with training dogs for people with health issues. I know if you’re in the States, or any first world country for that matter there should be a tremendous amount of support for what you’re looking to do.

  • Sarah

    Hello,
    I just came across your website. I’m excited and haven’t had a chance to read everything. I’m texting you hoping you can give real advice for my 15 mos old shepherd/lab mix. Teddy is a beautiful all black large dog even for his breed. He’s one of the smartest dogs I’ve ever had. Unfortunately, long story short my husband was injured in a car accident and has been in the hospital since teddy turned 1. Obviously the family was highly stressed and anxious in the beginning. Teddy I believe picking up on those feelings turned into “cujo” with no warning. Mostly we were able to contain the situation and no harm done. However, one day while I was calmly talking to my cousin and another man in our backyard, I tried to introduce the stranger to teddy and he was ok then without cause or warning he went ballistic and bit both men three different times. I hired a trainer and it’s helped a lot. My husband is still not home but anxiety levels in house are back to normal.
    My question: can a dog that can turn viscous and attack with no warning ever be trusted?
    We discussed putting him down, but he’s such a wonderful smart loyal dog.
    Our trainer said yes, but he’s never even met teddy. He met with us and gave us training skills. Which are great, but again when he turns it happens so quickly you cannot be prepared. The trainer was very expensive-well worth it we thought if it works.
    Our family is large and our home is very active. We now make sure teddy is taken into another room if someone is coming over.
    I guess I’m asking you the impossible, I’m hoping your experience may have insight or experience in this behavior.
    I also wonder if he’s so smart he’s almost crazy – like a person.
    He truly is lovable and mostly docile. I hate the thought of putting him down. And if all of this is not sounding crazy enough I was told that when he did attack his bites although real bites, were quick and clean. He bit abscess released immediately- someone said that was a good sign?? If I were reading this post my response would be “really? What are you waiting to happen? Him to do really bad damage to someone?
    I know I’m just babbling now but I’m truly at my wits end.
    My vet recommended a therapist but I just don’t have time for that. My son and daughter are the 2 in our family that work with the training.

    • Hi Sarah,

      I’m so sorry to hear about what you and your family have been going through. I hope your husband recovers and gets back home soon.

      Okay, so the first thing is that a dog will never attack or bite without warning. A dog’s warning system is body language as well as verbal warnings like growling, barking and even air snapping. This is unless he’s been reprimanded or warned not to bark or growl.

      And unless there’s a serious neurological issue, temperament problem or another health issue, a dog is not likely to just attack out of the blue.

      Also, for an issue this serious, I would have expected a trainer to meet Teddy and work with him one-on-one over a period of time, I think just meeting with you and never meeting Teddy or working with him is not going to help you solve anything.

      I totally agree with your vet, you need to get a qualified behaviorist or professional dog trainer to meet with Teddy and work with you and your family one-on-one. I understand that you’re really strapped for time, especially with your hubby in hospital, but from what you’ve described, this situation does need urgent attention.

      If you feel more comfortable, drop me an email and let me know where you are so I can check if there are any trainers in your area from the school I’m studying through that can work with you.

      Chat soon.

  • Deanna Marshall

    My 2 yr old black GSD is timid.! I’m afraid she won’t protect me when I need her to. Help!

    • Hi Deanna,

      Confidence and protection work are two different things. Although the GSD is naturally wired to protect and guard, for you as an owner to be 100% sure your girl will protect you, she has to be trained specifically for this.

      In terms of timidness, this is something you should work on regardless of whether your girl will take part in protection work training. A timid dog is more likely to react and this can pose several problems in a number of different situations.

      I highly recommend looking into clicker training to build your dog’s confidence. And follow a training program that employs this method. If you’re interested in something like this, I recommend checking out the dog training program I use for all my rescues and puppies. It’s an excellent way to build confidence in a dog and turn them from timid doggies into confident dogs, excited to learn, engage and problem solve.

      I’ve written extensively about the program and my experiences with it. I was also fortunate to be able to interview the developer of the program. You can check out the program and my interview with Adrienne here.

  • Arek

    Adopting a 12 month old German/Belgian rescue, any tips or advice in training/acclimating her to her new home?

    thank you!

    • Hi Arek,

      Congrats on your new canine companion!

      The first thing I recommend is that the moment you bring her home, take her to the spot you have designated as her toilet area. Allow her to sniff around and wait until she does her business, just a pee will be fine. I’ve found that dog’s coming to a new area want to at least pee as soon as they arrive. Chances are if you let her inside your home before doing this, she’ll have an accident inside.

      Also, have a plan in place to restrict her access to areas inside your home with the idea of giving her access over the next few weeks. In my opinion, this is an essential step in potty training. Although your girl is 12 months old she’ll need at least some potty training. This article will give you some handy tips on potty training. And you can also check out my potty training guide if you need more detailed potty training advice and support. Crate training her or using the tethering method can be helpful in this. But ideally, if she’s not used to a crate you’ll need to crate train her first.

      I highly recommend dipping your toes into clicker training too. This method is force-free and based on science. It’s a fun and kind way to train our canine friends. And dogs respond extremely well to this method. Here’s an article to get you into the clicker training method and how it works.

      I also highly recommend helping your girl start as you’d like her to continue when it comes to behavior and obedience. Check out this dog training program that I use for all my dogs. It’s unique because it taps into the natural intelligence of our dogs through the use of games to learn the behaviors we want.

      I’ve found this program helped boost my dog’s confidence and turned them into problem solvers. Both of these skills are essential for dogs to learn to make the right choices and cement the behaviors we want them to keep.

      And of course, you’re welcome to email me or drop questions in the comments section on my site. I’m always around to answer questions.

  • WAce

    Thank you for having this site. I am a new GSD owner and I found great training information to really bond with my girl. She is my first GS and I am totally in love with spending time with her and want to be the best owner to her.

    • Hi WAce,

      Thanks for your comment. I’m so pleased you’re finding the information here useful. 🙂

      There are so many wonderful things you can do to build the kind of bond you want with your puppy. If you haven’t already done so, consider getting onto “Dog Speak”. You’ll get a weekly email with tips on tools, games and training techniques that you can implement to deepen the dog-human bond. I also share my personal health tips for German Shepherds. You can find out more and sign up for “Dog Speak” here. See you on the inside!

      Chat soon,
      Gabriella

  • Maria

    Thank you so much! This is the first response I get online about my boy. I will read the article and sincerely thank you. If I have more questions I will write them here.

  • Maria

    Hi, I have a 5yr old GS. Beautiful boy, who is hard to train. Dropped or refused from trainers because he is very nervous/anxious. At home when someone is outside, across the street, or a UPS, Fed Ex, mail tuck stops or pass by, he climbs the couch where the window is and barks like he is going to bite them all. He does not respond at any command, I have to grab him from his collar and pull him down. Is like a shark in a biting mode. What do you recommend. I changed the couch’s place, but he loves the window like someone who wants to know everything of everybody through the window. He wants to know what is going on outside.

    • Hi Maria,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Check out this article on trigger and thresholds. It sounds like your boy is triggered by the things you’ve mentioned. That’s why he doesn’t respond to commands at that moment. It’s not uncommon, in fact, my rescue Lexi used to be obsessed with the window and whatever was going on there. she used to pull at the curtains and once pulled it right off. In the article, you’ll also find steps to teach a solid “focus” command. This is extremely useful because it will teach your boy to look to you for guidance and can be used to neutralize a situation.

      I also recommend checking out the dog training program I use with all my dogs. Firstly, there are specific steps and videos to teach a dog not to bark and freak out at stimuli on the other side of a window. It’s what I used to teach Lexi to not be so concerned with it.

      The program is useful for a dog of any age since it uses games as a way to tap into our dog’s natural intelligence to teach them the behaviors we love and want them to continue with. So even if regular trainers have dropped and refused your beautiful boy, you can be successful in training him. I started using the program several years ago when Charley came into my life. She was fearful as she was severely abused in her past. The program really changed her life and boosted her confidence.

      I’ve written extensively on the program and my experience. And I had the privilege of interviewing the dog trainer who developed the program for her own dogs. You can read all about it here and read the great advice Adrienne shared during the interview.

      Please feel free to drop any other questions you have in the comments. I’m always around and happy to help.

      Speak soon,
      Gabriella

  • Lisa Wanie

    Hi, I have a 7 month old GSD who is doing great with training but I think could do better. I also have a 3 year old Golden who is well trained but seems to get to involved when I’m training the GSD. Should I separate them when I am training the puppy????

    • Hi Lisa,

      Thanks for your question.

      So I like to work with my dogs separately when I’m teaching a new behavior. And once they are fluid, I work with them together. So I do recommend separating them to work separately with your pup. then you can work with them together and so your Golden gets a chance to brush up on the old behaviors they already know.

      My crew also know a solid stay, which is great when I’m working them together but need to focus on just one of them. Then the other one waits in their stay position until they are released.

  • Patricia Bronk

    My husband and I are training our puppy with hand signals (we are deaf). The most difficult is recall. When our puppy is running around outside, she won’t come, no matter- whistle, food, etc. She needs to be on a rope. She won’t look at us outside, she is “busy” chasing leaves or just sitting there getting a “tan”. Help!

    • Hi Patricia,

      Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving your comment.

      Are you using a clicker to communicate with your pup that whatever behavior she’s offered is what you want? If you’re new to clicker training or know about it but want a refresher, check out this article on how to start with this method. And drop me questions in the comments if you have any.

      In our home, there are two types of recall. The first one my crew understands as they need to come for food, grooming, cuddles, and other basic stuff. The second is an emergency recall and they understand this to mean, “stop dead in your tracks and come to me”.

      A recall is a tough thing to teach but it’s totally possible. The main thing your pup needs to learn is that coming to you doesn’t mean the end of fun. In my experience, that’s why most dogs ignore or struggle with recall, they don’t want their fun to end.

      There are a few things you can do to help her learn this.

      First, reduce the distractions and reduce the area you’re training recall in. So for example, take your recall training inside your home. It’s taking a few steps back, I know, but it’ll give her the opportunity to learn in a smaller and distraction-free environment before going back into a larger and more distracting environment.

      What I did was to pick a recall sound and I chose a whistle. I’d whistle at random times, like if they were busy with something else, just chilling or any other time I wanted them to come. As soon as they came, I’d click and reward handsomely. And then let them get back to what they were doing before.

      Once I was comfortable that they were reasonably reliable, I took them outside into the yard. I’d wait until they were doing their own thing and then whistle. As soon as they started to move towards me I’d click and when they reached me reward handsomely.

      Then I started to show them that coming to me doesn’t mean the end of fun.

      I did this by gently taking hold of their collar underneath their chin and holding for a few seconds while giving jackpot rewards. Then I’d release and let them get back to their fun. By doing this you’ll show your pup that good things happen when she comes to you and that you’re not out to stop her fun.

      If you find that she’s still ignoring you, make yourself more interesting than anything else around her. Dogs find something or someone running in the opposite direction extremely interesting and of course they enjoy the chase. So you can try this as a way to snap her out of a “busy” zone she might be in. As soon as you see her coming towards you click and give lots of jackpot rewards once she reaches you. Then proceed with the collar exercise I detailed above.

      Another thing you should definitely do is find the food rewards she considers the highest value. Because if she’s ignoring the food rewards you currently use, it’s most likely that she doesn’t feel they are worth working for when it comes to recall. And recall does require the highest value treats you can find.

      I’ve detailed how you can do this in an article on dog learning. You can find it here and just scroll down to the part on “The Power of Food in Dog Learning” and follow the steps. Once she’s shown you which treats she considers as the highest value, use those for your recall training.

      Hope this helps. And please feel free to drop me more questions in the comments section. I’m happy to help.

  • DEBORAH

    FYI… I was not able to get the audio or text link to do anything by right clicking on them. I was able to see the text file and hear the audio file by left clicking on them.

    • Hi Deborah,

      If you do a regular left click on the audio it’ll open in a new page. You’ll see 3 dots right next to the volume control. Click on those 3 dots and it’ll give you the option to download.

      For the text file, left click on it and when the new page opens, right click and choose “Save as”. This will give you the option to save the file to your computer. 🙂

      I’ve updated the instructions as such. Sorry for the inconvenience. 🙂

  • Carey

    Hello, we just adopted a year old GSD male. He has been marking at all the doorways but seems to use the toilet outside.
    Is this something he’s doing now because it’s a new place that will fade away with some time or do I need to intervene?

    • Hi Carey,

      Thanks for your question.

      It’s not uncommon for rescue dogs (males specifically) to mark territory once they arrive at their new home.

      It sounds like your boy is already potty trained since he’s happily going outside too. But yes, I think you should intervene to avoid bad habits forming.

      The first thing is to clean all the areas he’s already marked with an enzymatic cleaner. You can find these on Amazon.

      The next thing is to implement some potty training strategies. Firstly, limit his access to areas inside the house for a while. Secondly, either crate him if you can’t directly supervise or tether him to you so that he’s with you at all times while inside the house. These strategies will help to keep accidents from happening. And also ensure that you see any signs that he’s ready to lift his leg.

      Check out my potty training article for more tips. They are applicable to pups and even older rescue dogs.

  • Anil Jain

    Vegetarain diet for German shepherd

    • Hi Anil,

      Thanks for your question.

      I don’t encourage or support vegetarian diets for dogs. Sure, they can eat some vegetable and fruits, mine do but it’s only for extra roughage as well as a way to get natural whole food vitamins.

      Dogs are facultative carnivores, which means they thrive on a carnivorous diet but can eat other types of food too in small amounts.

      There are hundreds of online articles detailing why dogs should eat a meat-based diet but, simply compare the teeth of omnivores, herbivores and carnivores and you can see that dogs are designed to eat a carnivorous diet and not a plant-based diet.

  • SHUBHAM

    I HAVE 3 MONTH OLD PUPPY.
    WHICH FOOD I PREFER FOR HIM?

    • Hi Shubham,

      Thanks for your question.

      I recommend a grain free diet if you’re going to feed a kibble. But my top recommendation is a raw diet which is what I feed my German Shepherds.

  • Vicki Stevens Carpenter

    Hi,
    We just brought an 8 week old puppy home and my 2 year old female is not having it. She will not stop barking at him. I think she is jealous since she was my youngest until the new kid came. Any advise on how to help this transition?

    • Hi Vicki!

      Congrats on the new pup!

      I can totally relate to your situation, I’ve been there before and it can be stressful when you want everyone to play nice but it’s just not happening.

      The most reliable way (but not the quickest) is to reintroduce them to each other slowly. I shared an article with steps to introduce a puppy to a cat. But the steps can be used to introduce one dog to another too. Here a link to that article.

      It’s worth mentioning that over time it will get better. My crew were tricky to introduce in the beginning but they did warm up to each other and are best of friends now, so all is not lost, there is hope. It’ll just take a lot of patience.

      Let me know if you have other questions while you’re working on this.

      Chat soon.

  • James

    I am going to get another German Shepherd after losing Thor. He was amazing and I had used this site before for his training and will use it again for my next dog. I would like to find hand signals to include in the training. If you could add those, that would be great. Thanks for a simple yet marvelous site.

    • Hi James!

      I’m so happy you’ve found this site useful and that it helped with Thor’s training.

      I’m sorry that you had to say goodbye to your best friend, it’s always hard. But I’m sure your new pup will find a place in your heart next to Thor’s.

      I will share the hand signals I use here. Just need to get a few pics to upload since I think it’ll be the easiest way. I should get them up by next week.

      🙂

  • Debbie

    I just got a 5 year old shepherd, also have a 10 year old rough collie who just finished her heat. the male knows to leave the female alone, but takes his aggression and humping towards me. Is he too old to be fixed and if not will that stop his emotions towards me.Iam working on training but its hard he only understands turkish and using hand signals. I ‘ve had him 2 weeks and he is learning he’s had no training at all. Any advice would be helpful can’t use your link.

  • Tukhar Gogoi

    Pls help me in training my gsd, he is doing a mess in the house, please mail me with some advices, I am in a desperate need for help

  • Drew Edwards

    hi we just got our German Shepherd puppy yesterday. we’ve had our Yorkie/Cocker spaniel mix for about 2 years now and when we got home with the new pup she was interested at first then she ran inside and hid under the bed all night. what can we do so they will interact with each other? we love them both and don’t want one of them to feel less loved or as important what can we do?

  • Hey were getting a rescue that’s a year old and are all these commands still possibly. She’s potty trained and knows her “home”

    • Hi Danny!

      Congrats on the new member to your home! She’s a lucky girl!

      Yes absolutely! These commands are all still possible no matter how old a dog is. That saying about not being able to teach old dogs new tricks – well it couldn’t be further from the truth!

      You’re lucky she’s already potty trained! That’s a big load off your shoulders. You might just want to keep an eye out for a while and take her out regularly for the first week or so. It’ll just cement into her mind quickly where her new potty area is, where the door is she goes in and out of and just a gentle reminder that her potty training manners apply to her new home as well.

      Also, if you’re interested in learning how to teach her basic manners and also develop her mind I highly recommend a program I use for my own dogs. It’s called Brain Training for Dogs. I’ve done a full review of what’s inside and how I use it with my dogs. You can read more about it here.

      If you’ve got other questions, just drop them in the comments, I’m always around to help.

      Chat soon,
      Gabriella

  • Ray Dylan

    Thank you so much.. I just know this will work so well for my new GSD Snow.

    • You’re welcome Ray!

      If you have any questions as you go along just drop them in the comments.

  • Thadeus

    Gabriella thanks to GOD, you have experienced much on GSD’s. U are too far from mine. I wish I could see Ur training temple. Welcome to Tanzania

  • Danny hollis

    Hey we have a 7 month old German that will not let anyone touch her but me.she was hit on by the last owner. How can I break her from doing so.

    • Hi Danny,

      I’m so sorry to hear about the bad experience your girl had with her previous owner. I can relate, because my girl Charley was severely abused by her breeder.

      It’s a very difficult fear to help a dog get over. Especially because the GSD is highly sensitive and intelligent. All I can do is give you advice based on how I worked and still work with Charley. But I’ll be honest, it can be something she never gets over completely. I’m not saying that is the case with your girl but it is the case with Charley. So I manage situations actively to keep her in her comfort zone.

      So I started by slowly introducing her to one person at a time. And once she had accepted them in her space, I’d allow them to start with physical contact. If you do this too quickly she might respond negatively. Also going too fast could make her shut down.

      I recommend reading this article on triggers and thresholds. The article is about a dog not listening but the triggers and thresholds apply to any situation where a dog feels out of control or uncomfortable.

      This article on how dogs learn is also a great read because it goes into the psychology behind dog learning. Check it out for a bigger picture on how your girl learns.

      Another tip I can give is teach everyone not to pet her head. And if they want to touch her. First allow her to smell their hands. Teach them to hold their hands palms facing inward so she can smell. If she’s comfortable after smelling teach them to turn their palms facing upward and moving slowly to pet her. Pet only on her body if she allows it but like I said never let them pet her head.

      Let me know if this helps. And as you go along, if you have questions just drop them here in the comments.

      Chat soon.

  • Rosemarie tocci

    I have a bsd foe 3 months still bites me I feed him wet food snacks love attention I rub him but he is always bitting me my arm is bruised and cut I look like a druggy sorry the truth….

    • Hi Rosemarie,

      At 3 months your puppy is going to bite, that’s why it’s important to use this time to teach him not to bite.

      Please read this article, it shows 4 different ways you can successfully teach your pup not to bite.

      If you have questions, just drop them in the comments of the post on biting. I’m happy to give you tips. But check out the article first because it’ll give you a good idea of how to teach your pup.

  • Sarah Fowler

    We have had our 6 month old German Shepherd for almost 5 months now and although he’s really good for the most part, we can’t get him to stop jumping up on us and in doing so he hits us in the face with his paws. How can we get him to stop this behavior before he really hurts someone?

    • Hi Sarah!

      Yes, jumping up a behavior that must be reconditioned, especially in a large breed like the GSD.

      Teaching your GSD not to jump up is one of the easier things to teach if it’s done right.

      There are 2 techniques you can use but the work very well as a combination too.

      Since your boy is not fully grown yet (although he is already strong) you can try to ignore the behavior. So for example, when he jumps up, don’t say anything to him or try to push him down. All you need to do is stop and turn your body away from him and don’t respond in any way to his jumping behavior.

      Dogs will continue to act out a behavior as long as they get attention, even if it’s negative attention like being told ‘no’.

      The rule of thumb here is to only give him attention when he has all 4’s on the ground.

      If you have kids, I don’t recommend this method for them.

      Rather use the second method which is safer.

      With method 2 you and your family members will need to keep food rewards handy until he’s learned not to jump. But they are smart dogs and learn quickly.

      Basically, as you folks are walking and he’s walking along too drop a few food treats on the floor. Here you’re not necessarily teaching him not to jump, what you are teaching him is that when he has all 4’s on the ground good things happen – he gets food rewards.

      When I teach my pups not to jump I will turn my body away and ignore them until they stop jumping. And only give attention then. You should be patient because you might end up standing there like a statue for a while. Depending on how quickly your boy realizes that his jumping is not giving him what he wants. Only keeping all 4 his paws on the ground will get him attention.

      I’ll use the second method when we’re just around the house or in a training session.

      You will need to phase out the rewards as soon as you’re sure he totally gets it. Start using less and less treats until you’re not using them at all.

      Does this answer your question? If you’re unsure of anything please feel free to drop a question in the comments again.

  • Lisa

    We have 2 male GSD’s a 5 year old rescue we have had for 3 years and a now 8 month old. We went through traditional group dog training sessions for both dogs. Our rescue (Lars) sometimes has selective hearing and our puppy (Tim) has a VERY short attention span. They respond to basic English commands however, I started 2 days ago trying German commands. It’s like a light bulb went off in their heads, they BOTH respond correctly to German commands 99.9% of the time. Just amazing! We are excited about training again. Thanks 🙂

    • Hi Lisa,

      Thanks so much for sharing your success! Your comment just made my day. 🙂

    • Sulaiman

      Hi there

      I have 2 6 month old German Shepard took them for a walk on the beach and the minute they got out the car they started barking at other dogs and I would like them to socialize with other dogs and be able to walk them off leash, around people they are fine they are able to pet them but other darks they start barking

      What can I do

  • This doesn’t show me any of the commands in German for a German Shepard

    • Hi Cutiepie,

      If you scroll down to the bottom of the article you’ll find the download links for both the audio and text of the commands.

      🙂

  • Joseph

    I’ve always wanted to teach my dog commands in German!

    We’re getting a German shepherd puppy in a few weeks once he’s old enough to be taken from his mum. We also have another german shepherd, Laika, she’s 4 years old. Do you think it’s too late to start teaching her commands in German? I’d like them to both know commands in German. Please let me know your advice.

    Thanks for the great download in this article!
    Joe

    • Hi Joe,

      Thanks for stopping by, I’m pleased you found the audio download useful!

      Ohhh, how exciting, a new puppy! You should check out the puppy section.

      Yes, retraining Laika with new commands in German is possible. But you must be prepared to start over with a clean slate. She already knows the behaviors which is a big plus point, now you’ll just have to pair them with the new German word. It’s going to take time for her to become fluid with the new commands so you’ll need patience. But she is a German Shepherd after all – they are fast learners!

      My suggestion is to teach each dog one command at a time but do it separately. Once they are both fluid in performing one behavior to the German command then you can bring them together and proof only that one behavior together. Then train the next command separately and so on.

      Good luck with the new pup and training Laika. Please come around again and let me know how you’re getting on. 🙂

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