How to Train German Shepherd Puppy

By Heather Vecchioni

Most German shepherd puppies exude playfulness, friendliness and boatloads of silliness. This cute behavior, however, can turn into something much less desirable if the puppy isn't trained properly. German shepherds are naturally dominant dogs and unless they are trained to respect and adhere to your commands, they will try to run the show. Fortunately, you can turn your fun-loving shepherd puppy into a respectable adult dog.

Eat before your German shepherd puppy does and only allow it to do so once it has received your permission, to establish your dominance over the dog. German shepherds are inherently alpha dogs and will try to become the leader of you and your household unless you show them you are in control. If a shepherd thinks it runs the pack, it could become aggressive, disobedient and do whatever it wants. Simple exercises such as walking ahead of the dog up the stairs and through doors and ending all of your play sessions with you in possession of the toy will show the shepherd that you are the leader of the pack and it must answer to you.

Exercise with your German shepherd puppy. Like most puppies, shepherds have high amounts of energy. If this energy isn't given an outlet, it could turn into frustration, which leads to destruction and disobedience. Calm your shepherd's mind and body by taking it for daily jogs, runs or walks. Trips to the dog park and enrolling in obedience classes are also good ways to burn some of your shepherd's energy. Exercising your shepherd will also prevent it from becoming overweight, which could aggravate any common shepherd orthopedic problems yours may develop, such as hip dysplasia and arthritis.

Take your German shepherd puppy to places where it can interact with people and other animals. Although most shepherds are confident, they can be wary around those they don't know. If not corrected, this wariness can turn into aggression. Exposing your shepherd to these new experiences when it is young will help to prevent that scared behavior. Enroll your shepherd in puppy classes and encourage it to meet and greet other people.

Say consistent commands and use the same techniques when training your shepherd. German shepherd puppies learn best when their owners are consistent in their teaching methods. For instance, if you use several potty commands, such as "go," "go potty" or "empty," your shepherd will become confused and not understand what you are asking of it. Instead, say the same command every time you want the pooch to potty. Use this same approach when teaching your shepherd commands, such as sitting, staying and lying down.