The key to training your German Shepherd dog is control. This is true for all canine training. Once this is established, the only limitations to training is the dogs own abilities. I have yet to experience a shepherd that has not been able to be trained. With this said, remember that each pup is an individual and progresses at different rates from others.
A good trainer will have a steady even low temperament. This will eliminate the emotion of training stress and present a pleasant atmosphere to the puppy. An even temper reduces confusion to the pup. This will also help the pup to feel that they are being taught and not punished. Consistency with your temper and your commands is the key element to any training. For example, do not try to teach your dog a trick and use different words each time. The simple command “come” is sometimes replaces with “come here.”
Remember, dogs don’t understand language, only sounds of commands. The two words “come here” are one sound to the dog but do not sound like “come.” A simple trick to help you keep consistency in language is to use a foreign language, preferably one that you are not fluent in. If you do not speak German, train your dog in German. That way you will always use the same sounds for the commands. Here is a list of simple commands I train my dogs with in German:
|English command||German command|
Fortunately, the German language sound similar to the English version so it wasn’t very difficult to learn them and utilize them as dog commands. For those of you with children, teach the children these simple commands first before you train your puppy. Training with children around is the most difficult thing sometimes, especially if they want to be part of the training. They don’t always understand the need for consistency. This trick will help you with that obstacle.
When you are training your puppy, remember their world communicates through sounds and scents, sight is commonly used but not the dominate form. Help your dog understand their training by using the sounds and scents and veer off from the sight commands as much as possible. If I want to train a dog to sit on my left, I used the command “linke.” I do not use the pointing as part of the training. If I want to train a dog to sit on my right, I use the command “gleich.”
These are guidelines for training your German Shepherd. To really get into the training techniques in detail, I will devote more articles to each of the general commands.