German Shepherd Puppy Training: The Surprising Truth About When to Start

German Shepherds are one of the most popular and intelligent dog breeds in the world. Known for their loyalty, courage, and versatility, they make excellent family pets, working dogs, and companions. But when it comes to training, when is the ideal time to start?
The Ideal Time to Start Training a German Shepherd Puppy
The answer is as soon as possible! German Shepherd puppies are learning from the moment they arrive in your home, generally at 7-8 weeks of age. This early period is a critical time when puppies are extremely receptive to new information. The initial training should be gentle and focused on basic socialization rather than strict obedience commands.

The “critical period of socialization” is between 3 and 14 weeks of age. During this time, puppies are most adaptable to new experiences, which shapes their future behavior. This is when you should introduce your puppy to various people, animals, environments, noises, and situations.
At 8 weeks old, you can start with basic commands such as “sit,” “stay,” “come,” and “down.” Use positive reinforcement strategies, rewarding good behavior with treats and praise rather than punishing bad behavior.
By 12 to 16 weeks, your German Shepherd puppy will be ready to start more formal training sessions, but remember to keep them short and enjoyable. Five to ten minutes per session, two to three times a day, is usually sufficient.
Potential Behavior Problems from Delayed Training for a German Shepherd Puppy
Waiting to train your German Shepherd until they are older can lead to significant behavior problems. Here are some common issues that may arise if training is delayed:

Aggression and Dominance Issues: German Shepherds are naturally protective and dominant. Without proper training and socialization, this instinct can escalate, leading to potential aggression towards strangers, other animals, or even family members.
Separation Anxiety: Lack of early training can contribute to severe separation anxiety in German Shepherds. They may become extremely stressed when left alone, leading to destructive behaviors such as chewing, barking, and house soiling.
Poor Social Skills: A German Shepherd that wasn’t properly socialized as a puppy may be fearful or aggressive towards other dogs and may have trouble interacting with people in a friendly and relaxed manner.
Uncontrolled Energy and Excitability: German Shepherds are high-energy dogs. Without early training to learn manners and burn off energy in positive ways, they can become overly excited and hard to control.
Difficulty in Training Later in Life: Older dogs can certainly be trained, but it’s often more challenging. The longer a dog has been practicing a behavior, the more ingrained it becomes. Training an adult German Shepherd who hasn’t been taught to listen can be a difficult task.

Benefits of Using an Online Dog Training Course for Your German Shepherd Puppy
In the digital age, online dog training courses have emerged as an excellent resource for dog owners. Here are two key benefits of using an online dog training course for your German Shepherd:

Convenience and Flexibility: One of the biggest advantages of online dog training courses is that they can be accessed at any time and from anywhere. This is particularly beneficial for those with busy schedules. You can progress at your own pace, repeating lessons as needed, and without the stress of adhering to a strict class schedule. This flexible learning environment is also excellent for your dog, allowing training to happen when they are most receptive, not just when a class is scheduled.
Comprehensive Resources: Online courses typically offer a wealth of materials, including video demonstrations, written guides, and interactive forums for questions and advice. This variety allows you to choose the methods and approaches that work best for you and your German Shepherd. Moreover, because the information is available for review at any time, you can revisit specific sections as needed, ensuring that you and your dog are progressing at an appropriate pace.

The Only 2 Online Puppy Training Courses We Recommend
1. SpiritDog’s Ultimate Puppy Bundle (BEST BUDGET FRIENDLY OPTION)
This comprehensive online puppy training program, designed by experienced trainer Steffi Trott, aims to help dog owners raise a well-behaved, social, and friendly puppy. The course provides lifetime access to over 70 lessons, including videos and an exclusive eBook, with a focus on critical behaviors like biting, potty training, and chewing. Participants can learn at their own pace from home, with the ability to ask unlimited questions to professional trainers. The program promises noticeable improvements in puppy behavior with just 10 minutes of practice per day. It comes with a 60-day money-back guarantee, lifetime personal support, and seven bonus mini-courses covering specific issues like hyperactivity and separation anxiety.

2. K9 Training Institute’s “Dog Masterclass” (BEST OVERALL)
In addition to basic puppy training, this more comprehensive training class tackles any behavior problem you might face with your dog. It’s made an a very easy to follow video format.

In conclusion, the best time to start training a German Shepherd puppy is as early as possible, ideally beginning with basic socialization and commands at 8 weeks of age. Delaying training can lead to numerous behavior problems that can be difficult to correct later in life. For those looking for flexible and comprehensive training options, online dog training courses are a valuable resource that can set you and your German Shepherd up for a lifetime of happiness and companionship together.
Remember: Every dog is unique, and it is always wise to consult with a professional dog trainer or veterinarian for advice that is tailored to your specific situation.
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