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German Shepherd Training Commands

29 Essential German Shepherd Training Commands

Training Commands for German Shepherds

Above all else, training your dog should be fun for both of you!

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

It should also be fun!

I’ve had several requests for a post on German Shepherd training commands in German.

So, I’ve arranged a special download for you!  It’s recorded in German by my friend Anna!  So be sure to read until the end…

As a dog owner you decide what commands to teach your dog.  But in general training commands are standard for all thorough dog training.

An important point to remember 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 kind of dog training.

I think you’ll agree when I say, you want the best out of your German Shepherd.  So first you need to understand how dogs understand training commands and how to make training commands effective.

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

Consider this study published in the Journal of Comparative Psychology…

Dogs don’t just perceive a command as a physical sound.  But are able to recognize a relationship between certain sounds.

So how does this relate to how you teach your German Shepherd training commands?

The 2 Key Strategy to effective German Shepherd training commands


“Trust is built with consistency”. This is a quote by Lincoln Chafee. This is essential in dog training.

Be consistent when teaching your German Shepherd training commands.

This will ensure that your dog trusts your commands and establishes you as a good leader. Deviation will reduce your dog’s response.


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

For example; use the word ‘kennel’ instead of ‘go to your kennel’.

Training commands fall into 2 main categories:

  • Basic obedience commands.  These commands are useful for on-leash and off-leash training sessions.  your German Shepherd will likely master each of these with 20 to 30 repetitions over 3 or 4 training sessions.

Teach the basic obedience commands first.  Once your German Shepherd has mastered these, you can move on to the more advanced commands.

  • Advanced obedience commands.  These commands are used  in trick training, agility and working situations.  The are also useful on-leash or off-leash.  Your dog will need more time to master these commands and regular refresher sessions.

20 basic obedience training commands…

  • Attention! – your dog should focus on you, waiting for the next command.
  • Here – your dog should position himself in front of you or at your side.  Usually accompanied with a hand gesture.
  • Heel – your dog should walk at your side.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Go out – your dog should leave the room.
  • Go inside – your dog should enter the room.
  • Let go – your dog should drop any item in his mouth.
  • Kennel/Crate – your dog should climb into his crate or kennel.
  • Good! – usually paired with a treat or play when executing a command correctly.
  • Good dog! – used as praise when when performing executing the command correctly.  Usually accompanied with physical attention like patting or a nice scratch.
  • No – immediately interrupt your dog from doing something – should always be used in a gentle tone.
  • Don’t do that – similar to ‘no’ but can be too long winded.
  • OK – indicating to your dog that the situation is safe or in order.
  • Eat food – your dog has permission to begin eating.
  • Stand still – usually used for off-leash training.  Your dog should stop dead in his tracks in the stand position.
  • Leave it – stop your dog from picking up an object.

9 advanced obedience training commands…

  • Fetch – your dog should fetch the desired item.  Could be the newspaper, your slippers or a ball.
  • 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 something like 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.
  • Quiet – your dog should stop barking on command.
  • Go ahead – your dog should go ahead of you.  Used during agility competitions.
  • Article search – similar to ‘track’.  your dog should search for a lost item.

German Shepherd Training Commands AdvancedDog training is constant – you’re training them even when you think you’re not.

Keep in mind, a lot of training will happen during your daily interactions with your dog and consistency is still important here.

But short refresher sessions are essential.  These short sessions will keep your dog from becoming ‘rusty’

4 Key takeaways for teaching your German Shepherd training commands:

  • Always be consistent.  Use the same words each time.
  • We can’t expect our dogs to know what we want without teaching them first.
  • Keep your commands short and simple.
  • Do regular short refresher training sessions to avoid a decline in your dog’s response.

And now for the special download…

Here you can download an audio recording of how to pronounce all of these commands in German.  My friend Anna is a native German speaker, so you’ll be getting it from the horse’s mouth so to speak!  You can also download a text file so you can follow along with the audio.

Just right click the links below and save to your computer.  It’s Free!

German Shepherd Training Commands – Audio. German Shepherd Training Commands – Text

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

If your puppy needs new toys, you might be interested in these safe and durable toys.

28 Comments… add one

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28 comments… add one

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!


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. :)


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.



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. :)

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.

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.

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.


Rosemary 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

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.


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,

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?

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


Hi Tukhar!

Thanks for your comment!

Potty training is a tricky time but you can succeed and have a reliably potty trained dog.

Check out my article on 12 tips to potty training. You might also want to check out my potty training guide.

I hope this helps.


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.

Rosemary Dowell

Hi Debbie,

So I think it’s safe to say that you should neuter him. I don’t believe in neutering before 2 years of age so that they can full develop. But your new boy is past that age so neutering is fine. It will in most cases stop the humping behavior. With my male the humping stopped a couple of months after neutering.

It terms of training I recommend starting with clicker training immediately. It’s a great way to teach any dog of any age the kind of manners you want them to have.

And don’t get too hung up on the language thing. They pick up new words and their meanings very quickly if the right training methods are used.

To get you started you might enjoy and find these articles useful…

How your dog learns.

How to use a dog clicker to train your German Shepherd.

Why your German Shepherd is not listening.

You might also consider some toys to help channel his energy. And some toys you can offer him as entertainment.

I hope this helps. Let me know if you have other questions.

P.S. Which link is not working for you?



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.

Rosemary Dowell

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.


Vicki Stevens Carpenter

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?

Rosemary Dowell

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.



Rosemary Dowell

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.

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