This blog will answer the question “When is the perfect training age for the German Shepherd?”. It will also try to cover topics like how the owner can train the German Shepherd, and how to take good care of a German Shepherd.
German Shepherd Training Age
Whether you have a puppy or an older German Shepherd, it is always best to start training dogs when they are young. This is something even veteran dog breeders learn only after experience, but it is true. This learning prevents behavior problems within the dog which could develop to something worse. Most people start training their dogs at 8 or 12 weeks. Some start when they are already four months old, and some at 8 months. Ultimately, this depends on how old the puppy was when it was purchased.
Training a puppy at a young age will prevent inherent bad behaviors from turning into or even just developing into big time behavior problems. We absolutely do not want our dogs to develop behavior problems so training them could save them from having these problems. It is best to start when you bring your puppy home at whatever age you get them at. As previously mentioned, some of us start at eight weeks, others start at 10 to 12 weeks old.
The German Shepherd dog can be trained the moment you bring them home from the pet store. They are born as fast learners and can easily learn commands like, “sit”, “down”, and “stay” at the age of 5 to 6 months old.
The formal training of the German Shepherd dog is delayed until they are 6 months old. This stage of their age is very poor to start the training. During their juvenile age, the dog is still beginning to catch up with adult behavioral patterns.
When the German Shepherd puppy reaches the age of 7 or 8 weeks, you will need to be more gentle and reinforce them with treats during their training sessions. Use food treats to attract the dog’s attention.
The best place to start the German Shepherd puppy training is your home. It all starts in your home and with you. Until they reach the right age to get formal training, your home is the best place for a German Shepherd puppy to get trained.
However, your puppy trainer would take them to the dog parks or at your home if it has a big backyard. Training in a large area makes it easy for the trainer since they can train and play games like Frisbee, balls and fetch games when bored.
How should the owner take good care of the German Shepherd?
Understand that your dog has a built-in-breed specific function
It is important for the owner to understand that the German Shepherd comes from a long bloodline of working dogs. Herding and guarding are two of the breed-specific functions that are hardwired into the system of the German Shepherd dog.
German Shepherds also make excellent sniffer dogs and excel in search and rescue. And in the wild, each member of the pack understands their duty to work for food and water.
Ultimately, the German Shepherd wants to be busy. Training is like killing two birds with one stone. You have a polite and obedient dog while your pooch gets the stimulation and work environment he craves.
Understand that your dog is not a person
As humans, we personify everything we love including our beloved dogs. And in my opinion, there’s nothing wrong with that. For as long as we remember that our dogs operate on instincts, and that our emotions greatly affect these instincts, there is absolutely no problem with that.
For example, there is this Staffie named Apollo that has hydrotherapy on the same day as Charley. Now, Apollo and Charley hate each other. None of us are sure why though!
So, a few weeks ago Charley was at her weekly hydrotherapy session when Apollo strolled past her massage mat. The moment I saw him I tensed up. And within a split second, Charley, who has just had hip surgery, jumped up on all fours and started barking madly. She has never had a problem with any of the other dogs around there. Even the owners of Jack Russell’s hang around her with no problems.
Both me and the therapist never saw that coming. But looking back now, I should have known that Charley was only reacting to her instincts. But my emotions played a big role in her final reaction. Charley was responding to me, but the results were not positive. You may be wondering what you can do to encourage your GSD to respond to you in a positive way. Well, your dog needs training. This is what the next tip is about.
Understand that your dog needs guidance
The most valuable thing you can do for your dog is to show him that you are a good leader.
If you’re thinking good leadership is establishing yourself as an ‘alpha’ – you’re wrong. Your dog knows you’re not a dog and so will never see you as a dog or an alpha. Being a good leader means your GSD can and will always look to you for guidance. If your pooch is looking to you for guidance they feel comfortable and safe and that creates an environment of trust.
Understand that your dog does not communicate like humans
Your German Shepherd will respond to many different stimuli. Your body language and tone of voice being the two most important. In time, your dog will understand certain commands such as “sit”, “stay” and “come”, “drop” etc.
But, dogs only understand single direct commands. Use language your dog will understand. Calm, simple commands and body language will make your message crystal clear.
Understand that your dog values consistency
For dogs, everything is black and white – they do not understand compromise. Remember this and you’ll have fewer bad habits to break.
Change verbal commands from “come” to “come here” and keep your verbal commands consistent throughout. If you’re trying to keep your pooch off the sofa, be consistent. If you allow it sometimes and other times not, you’ll confuse your dog and slow down the training.
Get your dog’s full attention
You must have your dog’s full attention before he’ll learn anything. Pick a quiet place, with little or no distractions.
To begin with, your backyard is the best place since the smells are familiar and so also the surroundings.
If you were in a park for instance; you have no control over the distractions. Like other dogs and their owners, the scent of other animals, children playing, or a Frisbee whizzing by.
Once both you and your dog are confident in the training, then you can step it up by moving it to a place with more distractions.
Utilize positive reinforcement
Your German Shepherd will respond best to training with positive reinforcement. Yelling or physical punishment will cause this intelligent breed to mistrust you.
Reward good behavior with treats or praise or both. It is the best way to show your German Shepherd that he’s doing it right and it’s a motivator for him to continue with this behavior. Remember earlier when I said that your German Shepherd actually wants to please you? Well, once your dog has mastered the behavior, you can remove the treats and reward only with praise – he’ll relish in it all the same.
You know by now that there are heaps of different training programs. Each program has a specific focus, function, and outcome.
What are essential skills to teach to a German Shepherd?
If your dog doesn’t recognize or respond to his name, training him will be impossible. Your German Shepherd will learn to recognize his name by hearing it a lot. Use it often and in an excited tone when you speak to him or give him attention. When he begins to recognize and respond to his name, make a fuss over him and lavish him with praise.
A simple way to train your German Shepherd to come is to start while he is doing something else like playing.
- As soon as he looks up and acknowledges you, call his name.
- When he starts moving towards you, say the word “come”. Once he reaches you, lavish him with a treat and praise – make a fuss and tell him what a good boy he is.
- Keep food rewards with you at all times while you’re teaching this behavior. So, whether he’s prompted to come or if he comes out of his own – you can reward him. This way he learns the association. So saying the word “come” when he is approaching you just reinforces the behavior you want.
- If your German Shepherd is ignoring your call or looking but not responding, you’ll need higher-value rewards to make yourself more interesting. Check out the section titled “The Power of Food in Dog Training” for an experiment you can do to determine which treats your dog finds the highest value.
To start out you’ll need treats for training your German Shepherd to sit, once the behavior has become second nature you won’t need the treat anymore.
Keep reading to see how…
- When your dog is standing in front of you hold the treat just out of his reach. If he jumps up, you’re holding it too high – lower your treat hand.
- Your German Shepherd will keep eye contact with the treat at all times and you’re going to make use of this focus.
- Now move your treat hand as though you’re going to move it over your dog’s head towards his tail but be mindful to keep it in line with his nose.
- The natural response will be for your dog to drop his behind so that he can keep eye contact with the treat. As soon as his butt hits the ground, give him the treat and liberal praise.
- At this point in the game, you won’t be adding the word “sit” just yet. Keep practicing this without the command and only introduce the word after a couple of days.
Soon your dog will sit for food, treats, and love without you even having to say the word “sit”. Pushing on your dog could lead to injury of the back, hips, or hind legs if you do it too hard – rather safe than sorry. Your dog could also experience this as something negative, which is exactly what you’re trying to avoid.
It’s always better to train your German Shepherd to perform the desired behavior without too much physical interference. So, there you have the 101 of German Shepherd training to get you started. With this new understanding, your pooch will be well on his way to a reliable and well-behaved dog.
More about tips and tricks for the German Shepherd dog is found in this article by German Shepherd Corner.
This blog answered the question “When is the perfect training age for the German Shepherd?”. It also tried to cover topics like how the owner can train the German Shepherd, and how to take good care of a German Shepherd.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): The Six-Week Old German Shepherd Puppy
How long do German Shepherds carry their babies?
The normal gestation period in dogs is approximately 63 days from conception, although this can vary by several days.
When should German Shepherd puppies be weaned?
As a general guideline, most German Shepherd breeders wean their puppies gradually onto solid foods over a period of about 3 weeks, beginning when the German Shepherd puppies are around 3 1/2 – 4 weeks of age.
How many puppies do German Shepherds usually have?
Their usual litter size is around 8 puppies. The majority of German Shepherd puppies born, the first pup will be a male (typical male always impatient). Puppies start to be weaned around 3-4 weeks of age.
How will I know when my dog is ready to have her puppies?
You should begin to take your dog’s rectal temperature once or twice a day as her due date approaches. Normal body temperature is about 100-102°F. When the rectal temperature drops below 100°F this is a good sign that labor will begin within about 24 hours.
How do I know when my German Shepherd is ready to give birth?
Many pregnant dogs start to pant heavily, and her temperature will drop from a normal temperature (100-to-102.5 degrees Fahrenheit) to 99 degrees or even lower shortly before going into labor. Approximately 24 hours after this temperature drop, she will whelp, and you will be the proud owner of a new litter of puppies.
When can you separate puppies from mom?
While some breeders feel that it is all right to release a pup from its mother at eight weeks, most professional breeders strongly recommend that a puppy should be separated from its dam and litter at 12 weeks of age. By this time, a puppy will have been accustomed to feeding and grooming itself.
Gabriella. “Home.” German Sheperd Corner, 26 Nov. 2020, germanshepherdcorner.com/german-shepherd-training-the-7-golden-rules-basic-commands/.
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Yasmine Ali, M.D. “Puppy Training Timeline for Your German Shepherd Dog: From 8 Weeks to 2 Years.” American Kennel Club, American Kennel Club, 2 July 2020, www.akc.org/expert-advice/dog-breeds/puppy-training-timeline-for-your-german-shepherd-dog/.
“Methods To Train – German Shepherd Dogs – Strategies And Techniques For Easy Training Of Pets.” Doglime, 9 Apr. 2020, doglime.com/train-german-shepherd/#:~:text=What is the right age,they are 6 months old.
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