Are German Shepherds Hard to Train? What Every Owner Must Know

You may want to train your German shepherd to be well mannered or teach them new behavior.

The question is,

Are German shepherds hard to train? German shepherds are not hard to train because they quickly learn due to their high intelligence. However, for training to be successful, it is imperative to understand what is important as part of the training to effectively train them.

Training of a German shepherd requires structure as well as commitment to have a well-mannered dog. To have successful training of either an adult dog or puppy, there are important factors to have in mind and what to avoid which will make the process run well. In this article, we will look at what to consider when training a German shepherd and mistakes to avoid during the process.

are german shepherds hard to train

For the training of a German shepherd not to be hard, there are important factors to consider and have in mind. The following factors apply to both German shepherd puppies as well as adult dogs.

Leadership From You is Key

The German Shepherd personality is that of a dominant as well as a caring and loyal dog. This means that they desire guidance and direction from you to act and behave to lead them.

As a German shepherd owner, you need to provide firm directions to your dog because without it, it leads to problems with behavior.

Provide leadership and structure to your German Shepherd and training will also be easy as they follow your lead.

Consistency is Key

Training of a German Shepherd has to be consistent for the process to be successful. Consistency here is in the methods used for training a particular behavior as well as continuous enforcement of the desired behavior.

For example, if you are training your German shepherd to stop chewing on your furniture you can’t let it sometimes act like that and not do anything about it.

You need to consistently show them the desired behavior you require from them. If consistency is not there, your German shepherd will be confused about what is expected of them and they will not display the behavior you desire as quickly.

The training has to be on repetition so that your German Shepherd clearly understands and gets the behavior that it is being trained on. The success of training highly depends on consistency.

Simple Direct Words for Communication

We are a different species from our dogs and do not communicate in the same language. Therefore it is important to know that communication with the German Shepherd has to be simplified so that your dog can understand the meaning of what it’s being directed to do.

Simple direct words for communication are the solution, especially during training.

For example, basic behavior command words that are usually used for direction include “sit”, “stay”, or “come”. Notice these words are simple, to the point, and guide a dog on what they can easily understand and follow.

When combined with your body action and movement on what they mean, your German Shepherd is also able to understand the meaning and behave as desired. Avoid using complex words or long sentences to give guidance.

Also as mentioned on the consistency of the training method, use the same words every time to represent the desired behavior so that not to confuse your dog. 

The German Shepherd is an Energetic Breed

The German Shepherd is an energetic and active dog breed that was bred as a working dog. It thrives on activities that stimulate them both mentally and physically.

This means that training activities designed for them provide them with what they need both physically and mentally therefore it will not be hard to train them. Being an active dog breed, they love being busy and you will not have a hard time training them as they’re built for this.

Also because of their high intelligence, they quickly pick up what they are taught.

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Rewards Impact on Results

German Shepherds love to please their owners. They are loyal dogs and are happy to follow directions from their owners. So it is important to show your German Shepherd that they are doing the right thing in achieving what they are being trained on.

You can do this by giving them praise or treats to reward them for good behavior or for understanding the training. This highly motivates your dog to continue doing what is required and also enforces the learned behavior.

They understand what is required of them and display the behavior consistently. As you progress well with the training, treats can also be minimized so that rewards are not always associated with food.

Remember to always encourage your German Shepherd when he does well. This will also strengthen the bond and trust between you and your dog and he or she will keep striving to do what you encourage them to do. 

Be Patient During the Process

On several occasions, your German Shepherd may not show the behavior you want them to have. It is important to have this in mind during the training process to approach them with compassion and understanding.

In time they will understand and start showing the expected behavior. Training should also not be aggressively done by having very long sessions and also not too short sessions.

Long sessions will exhaust your dog and they will not respond well to training while very short sessions will not be effective in making learning happen.

Provide adequate periods for training suitable for puppies and adult dogs. Be patient as they learn and eventually you will have a well-trained dog. Stay committed to the process until you see results.

Educate Yourself on Dog Training

German Shepherds are not hard to train especially when their owner is equipped with methods that are effective to train them. It is important to know how to properly train a German Shepherd so that you can do it right and also for the process to be much easier.

The German Shepherd is a working dog breed that needs to have certain activities to engage them both mentally and physically. Therefore if you are equipped with these methods, training will be a breeze.

Different German Shepherd training books are available to help a German shepherd owner in the process.

In case you also require additional assistance, you can also seek a trained professional in animal behavior to help you. Search for dog training centers in your area which you can sign up for. As you engage in the classes you will able to learn from the trainers.

What to Avoid During Training

Training a German shepherd is not hard and can be carried out successfully by taking the proper approach towards the process. During training, there are mistakes to avoid which can limit or derail training success. The following are mistakes to avoid.

Aggressive Approach

Being aggressive in the training process of a German Shepherd can negatively affect progress and does not bring any results.

An aggressive approach such as yelling or giving punishment because your dog does not display the taught behavior must be avoided. This demotivates a German shepherd and they will not easily learn because of these harsh consequences.

Be patient, kind, and calm during training and your German Shepherd will respond positively to this.

Lack of Consistency and Repetition

The display of a new trait or behavior is always due to the repetition of the action which in turn becomes ingrained as second nature in behavior.

Training needs to be consistent and repeated so that the German shepherd understands what they are taught and in time automatically behaves in a certain trained way.

Being an intelligent dog, they can quickly understand new things and can consistently act as required. They also never forget what they were taught. The process of achieving this is obtained by continuously providing the proper training until they learn.

Training requires structure, commitment, and consistency to be successful.

Isolating a German Shepherd and Not Socializing Them

German Shepherds need to be socialized with other dogs as well as people. This helps to train them on appropriate behavior in different situations.

Naturally, the German Shepherd has a protective instinct as a guard dog and acts this way whenever they sense a threat to their owner or family. Around other dogs and pets, their personality presents as dominant and behave aggressively to other dogs or people.

Socialization provides a platform for them to learn the appropriate behavior in different situations and to become well-mannered. They need to be exposed to different social situations because when isolated and not socialized they display aggressive behavior.

Late or Delayed Training

Training a German shepherd that is grown can take time especially when this process was not started early in its life. The recommendation is to start training them as a puppy. Training can start when they are 8 weeks old.

At a young age, they easily learn t new behavior and as they grow, the behaviors become part of them and will continuously act as expected.

This does not mean that an adult German shepherd cannot be trained. They can be trained and can learn new commands when it’s properly done. It might just take a little longer to see the results compared to if the training was provided when young. Remember that a German shepherd is smart so learning will still easily come to them.

Training from a young age provides an easier training start and throughout your dog’s life. 

Having Long or too Short Training Sessions

Regulate the training sessions to adequate time that will be effective in getting your German shepherd to learn.

Having very long sections will tire your dog and it will not be helpful for them to understand what they are taught. A tired dog will not effectively learn.

For example, puppies have shorter attention spans and get tired quickly so spend no more than 20 minutes per session during training. In between the sessions take a break. Several short sessions are more effective than prolonged sessions that may exhaust your dog.

Also, don’t make the training sessions too short that learning is not gained effectively.

Well-timed sessions will provide adequate training and when combined with consistency and repetition you will be able to have a well-trained dog. 

Conclusion

I hope this article helped you know that German Shepherds are not hard to train, what to consider during training to make it successful, and also what to avoid.

By following these key considerations of training for a German shepherd, you will be able to have an easy, fun, and successful time training, and best of all you will have a well-mannered loyal companion.

If you liked this article you may also like to learn more from the below resources on German Shepherds.



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Patricia Williams

Patricia Williams

Patricia Williams is a writer, mum, and animal lover with extensive experience with dogs. She loves talking about animal advocacy and care. She lives with 4 German Shepherds and 1 cat.