21 Tips for Training a German Shepherd

Having challenges training your German Shepherd? You’re not alone! We asked the members of our German Shepherd community on Facebook the following question: What’s your #1 tip for training a German Shepherd? The following article summarizes some of their best responses and advice. 

Remember the advice below is from fellow German Shepherd owners, not professional dog trainers. Use discretion and consider using a professional online dog training course such as SpiritDog or K9 Training Institute, which are 2 of our favorite programs. iHeartDogs is reader supported, so some of the links below may be affiliate links where we receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.

21 German Shepherd Owners Share Their Top Training Advice
Positive praise. German shepherds love positive praise, just like children.
Author: Dorothy H.
Likes: 42

Bring him/her to obedience training, with a trainer who has worked with GSD’s before. Trust me, it’ll make a world of difference. Remember the training doesn’t stop at the classes, you have to practice at home too.
Author: Michael J.
Likes: 17

Be consistent, and lots of positive praise. The tone of your voice means everything. Don’t give up…they want to please you but they need to be needed.
Author: Jamie T.
Likes: 3

Love, patience, Praises, Treats, Consistency, don’t give up, it will come, I always train my own dogs and everyone would walk without a leash and never leave my side
Author: Terry S.
Likes: 1

Be honest / caring / assertive but respectful ? I have had 3 German Shepherds and NEVER had an issue with any of them ?People often asked if I had used ‘professional’ dog trainers because of how good and well behaved all my dogs were
Author: Les S.
Likes: 3

I’m a 66 year old soft-spoken and very small woman. When I got my pup I paid for private training sessions in which the trainer taught me how to be the alpha. I don’t know that I could’ve mastered that without professional help. It’s made such a difference. CONSISTENCY is key. I am a sweet, quiet, loving ALPHA and my dog respects me as such. Together we are wonderful!!

Author: Kathy S.
Likes: 52

Don’t listen to the people who tell you it must be done a certain way !! All dogs are different as are all humans , it’s finding the right way for you . Patience and commitment is a must
Author: Cheryl L.
Likes: 0

Consistent repetition. And praise & treats. Start easy. They are smart and will pick things up quick.
Author: Jennifer L. H.
Likes: 0

Consistency. Every day, same commands. Lots of praise. GSD’s just want to please u. No dog, no matter what breed, can get any smarter than the person training them.
Author: Steve H.
Likes: 1

In 8 weeks she our he will have you trained that’s how smart GSD are , the best dogs ever fence your yard in so they can run if all possible a doggie door really helps they like freedom this is my 4th one and I will always own a GSD love them and they will love it
Author: Herby S.
Likes: 1

Always loved n cuddled mine …he used to lay n let me paint his claws with nail varnish n put eye shadow in him !!! When my sister had my nieces he was amazing with them….I never once heard him growl even if we took a bone or his food ….he wd just look assif to say ‘what ya doin ‘?!!! He was never played with rough…only cuddled which is why I think he was so placid n soft
Author: Claire G.
Likes: 1

Never ever let them forget that YOU are always in charge. Well, most of the time. Okay, sometimes. Oh heck I may as well admit that she owns me. I am well trained.
Author: Chelsea B.
Likes: 1

Be the Alpha or else….. Love rules, but don’t let it get away with anything. Be positive and loving. Remember too that YOU AND YOURS BELONG to him or her. As such, they will defend their ownership. be prepared.
Author: Eric A.
Likes: 0

Highly intelligent pups such as our Shepherds, sometimes need training due to boredom. Depends on the individual personalities. We’ve had several.
Author: Nora Scott F.
Likes: 1

They are a guard dog, if you don’t want them as that…. socialize……another good thing is to start young and make sure they are not food aggressive by putting your hands around food when they eat, and get them used to feet being touched and nails trimmed
Author: Jennifer M.
Likes: 1

Include them. They want to work with you and are eager to learn. They love to know what’s going on and want to be included provided they have boundaries.
Author: Aaron Meredith K.
Likes: 0

If you are a first time Shepherd owner I would recommend professional traing. In reality it is the person being trained.
Author: Donald Skippy S.
Likes: 4

I’ve had GS all my life, plus loads of other breeds, large and small. As far as I’m concerned a pup of any description is like a child, you’ve got to invest lots of time, patience and love. I don’t want my dog to be the most obedient, all I need is for a dog to listen to my voice, come when I call them, for their own safety, be well socialised with other dogs, children and adults. I could never have a dog that needed to be on the lead all the time – what a boring life that would be for everyone, especially the dog who needs to run off all that energy
Author: Karen N.
Likes: 2

If a German shepherd loves you, it will do ANYTHING for you. Be a person that a German Shepherd will love, and teach them your expectations.
Author: Gail Copeland D.
Likes: 1

Love and share discipline . First of all learn how dogs speak . Mine let’s me know when to go out , need for water , need for food . When to play , and there’s always ‘ I deserve a treat ‘ Damn dog got me trained . Have fun learning doggie . They’re love and loyalty are forever .
Author: Joseph G.
Likes: 0

Positive reinforcement patients and play time lots of play time

Author: Keith H.
Likes: 0

Please note the above advice is from German Shepherd community on Facebook. This advice has not been vetted by a professional dog trainer. Always use distraction and consult your own trainer or veterinarian for specific advice for your dog.

Which Online Dog Training Program Does iHeartDogs Recommend for German Shepherds?

SpritDog Makes an Excellent and Affordable “Perfect Obedience” Online Training Course. The course includes unlimited questions with a real professional dog trainer.

K9 Training Institute Makes a Comprehensive “Masterclass” That Addresses Nearly Any Dog Behavior a Problem. They use the same techniques that are used to train service dogs, so the quality and results are top notch.

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