The German Shepherd breed was bred in Germany in the 18th century as a shepherd. At the time, breeders and owners did not focus much on some form of German Shepherd obedience training program. For 200 years, breeders have been continuously working to improve the physical appearance, working qualities and character of the dogs.
However, when the need for shepherds decreased, German Shepherds began to be trained to protect, guard, search, rescue, and participate in sport competitions.
German Shepherds are great learners and will pick up on anything their owner will teach them. Right or wrong, there are associations around the world, praising the German Shepherd breed, that have breeding programs with a motto that the German Shepherd is, above all, a working dog, which means that its education and training should be first and foremost based on this.
Features of the breed, maintenance and care
According to Stanley Koren’s scale, German shepherds rank third in adaptive, instinctive intelligence and obedience after Collies and Poodles. They are genetically gifted with the following qualities:
- Quick wits
- Speed of reaction
With proper upbringing and the absence of mental disorders, a German Shepherd is not inclined to aggression, although he is wary of outsiders. He perfectly understands not only voice commands, but even the owner’s gaze.
The German Shepherd is the perfect companion for the whole family. He is happy when he participates in all family activities, gets along well with all members of the pack, and is friends with different pets.
The company of a German Shepherd is suitable for active people. For proper development, he needs physical activity, with daily walks for at least 2-3 hours, outdoor training, etc. He will be happy to tag along with the owner on a jog or bike ride.
At the age of 3-4 months, the German Shepherd puppy can walk as much as 4 km per day. At this age, he can be taught to swim in open water, which helps to strengthen the skeleton and muscles.
German Shepherds are not afraid of extreme temperature conditions and can therefore live on a farm or similar environment. In apartment conditions, he needs a small personal space (but not on the balcony, in the bathroom or kitchen!) and must go out on daily walks.
Proper care of your German Shepherd
Here is a periodic routine to ensure your canine friend is in good shape:
- Check his paws, nose and lips regularly. If there are cracks, crusts, cuts or unusual discharge, contact your veterinarian
- Remove overgrown hairs from the ears, which delay the outflow of sulfur and can provoke otitis.
- Clean (brush) the coat every day, especially if your dog gets very dirty while walking or training. It’s also a great way to prevent skin diseases.
- Take care of the coat not only during the shedding period by periodically combing out the dead hair.
- Bathe as needed but note that frequent bathing destroys the protective grease on the coat.
Proper nutrition is the key to the health of the German Shepherd. The highest risk of the breed is with gastrointestinal diseases and allergic reactions which often affect the dog under 3 years old. Veterinarians recommend a balanced diet formulated to prevent these diseases. With natural nutrition, calcium should be included in the diet to promote the formation of bone tissue and stabilization of the nervous system and biochemical processes.
German Shepherd Obedience Training at a young age
As soon as you bring a German Shepherd puppy in the house, start the education and training process.
Build the hierarchy
Show him who is the leader, otherwise he will independently appoint himself as the master in the house and begin to build his “authority”. Dominant behavior cannot be allowed as he grows older and bigger.
Rules around the house must be clearly established and not be violated under any circumstances. Explain this to your dog. German Shepherds learn very quickly and within a few days the puppy will understand what you asking from him
Engage in socialization
You should introduce the puppy to others in his environment, teach him to behave well in society and not allow excessive excitement. It is not only important to educate a German Shepherd at home but also to teach the correct behavior in public places, on the street, in a playground with other dogs as well as children and strangers.
Tell your family members the rules for communicating with your dog and stick to a clear line of behavior. Teach your puppy to hear you and respond to all commands but never use physical punishment. Your German Shepherd should learn at a young age all the basic commands and you should not start training him on more complicated ones until he has mastered them.
German Shepherd obedience training also involves nurturing the companionship. Spend time with your dog, play with him and praise him. The friendship will bring joy to your dog, which contributes to more effective learning and training.
German Shepherd Obedience Self-training rules
The German Shepherd is human-oriented and is characterized by obedience, high learning ability, sense of teamwork, all attributes that should be used in daily German Shepherd Obedience training. Do not adopt the breed if don’t intend to train and teach your dog something.
Remember this golden rule, a German Shepherd without proper education and training is dangerous for the owner and others. A well-mannered, trained dog is a reliable protection and a loyal friend and companion.
Daily 10-minute lessons are not enough for a German Shepherd. The basis of German Shepherd obedience training is constant communication aimed at ensuring that the dog hears commands and strives to fulfill them. Stimulate and encourage him with treats and try your best to keep interested in your teachings.
Gradually, his attitude towards you and your lessons will evolve and he will willingly accept new things. But do not overload your canine friend as long and tiring lessons will negatively impact on his concentration and level of retention.
At 6 months old, you can start teaching skills related to alertness to strangers, working off the trail, searching for things by smell, etc..
All actions must be systematically repeated in order to consolidate the learning.
At 7-8 months, puberty ends in dogs and a type of behavior is formed, but the formation of character and physical development will extend up to 2 years. During this period, it is necessary to improve the innate protective instincts of the dog.
If you are doing self-training for the first time, be careful about video tutorials and generic recommendations found on the internet. Choose videos of professional dog handlers or sign up for classes with the trainers of your local club, who will help you train your German Shepherd appropriately, make up a program that suits the temperament, abilities and age of your dog.
German Shepherd training courses should also focus on physical activity and performance skills such as agility, frisbee, pitch and go, flyball and other sports.