German Shepherd Training And Activities – Keeping Clever Dogs Entertained

German Shepherd Training And Activities – Keeping Clever Dogs Entertained

German Shepherds have long held a place of prestige and affection among dog breeds. In fact, German Shepherds are almost always cited as one of the top ten most popular dog breeds in surveys by the Kennel Club and American Kennel Club.

Today, their specific set of talents and their tendency to be highly trainable has led them to surpass their original breed intention to become one of the most widely-used working breeds in a variety of sport and work.

A full description of the breed, including temperament, lifestyle requirements, and health profile can be found here. ( But, in order to have a clear picture going into our recommendations for approaching German Shepherd training, let’s briefly visit their history as a breed.

The usefulness of dogs to sheep farmers in protecting flocks from predators dates as far back as the domestication of sheep itself. Starting around the mid-19th century, German farmers paired dogs that were particularly adept as shepherds together to breed and preserve specific traits.

These traits included intelligence, alertness, speed, strength and a keen sense of smell.

Why German Shepherd Training is Critical

All of the traits that make these such lovable and impressive dogs make it critical for an owner to have a basic concept of German Shepherd training.

For example, highly-intelligent dogs, when left to their own devices, can wreak havoc in a home. I’ve had training clients whose GSD learned to escape steel crates, find their way into secured food bins and refrigerators, and open cupboards all over the house to ease their boredom.

Even my own managed to open the front door of a pet sitter’s home to go for an unsupervised stroll around the neighborhood.

Additionally, dogs that are speedy and athletic like GSDs need significant amounts of exercise as well. Pent-up energy leads to major destructive tendencies, including chewing through doors and walls and digging holes in your yard.

And that keen sense of smell? Let’s just say I know from personal experience that a GSD’s sniffer can’t ignore the temptation of a steak thawing on the counter on the opposite side of the house.

Now, before we scare you off from the breed completely – it’s important to understand that a well-trained shepherd who gets plenty of exercise and mental stimulation gives the breed the reputation that lands them in the list of favorites around the world. Ask anyone who has owned one, and you’ll hear more stories of pure affection, impress, and loyalty than the horror stories of one untrained.

German Shepherd Training Tips

Here are a few general tips to guide your German Shepherd Dog training:

1. Start right away with your German Shepherd puppy training.

2. Raise a well-rounded, emotionally stable shepherd by ensuring proper socialization throughout puppyhood and adolescence.

3. Stick to positive reinforcement training techniques. German Shepherds were selected for being fearless, which is a behavioral trait that can clash with compulsion, shock collar, or punishment-based training.

Studies have shown that dogs with underlying aggression tendencies can be made much worse using these aversive training techniques. (

Therefore, we always recommend using positive training methods.

German Shepherd Obedience Training

Your initial German Shepherd training should focus on basic obedience. Start with teaching her about her new home and routine, being gentle with people, and potty training.

Then move into training for safety, like crate training, leash training, and coming when you call.

An additional trained behavior I found useful with my own German Shepherd training includes the cue to “leave it” with respect to ignoring other animals, people, and items on the ground. Due to their high alertness, strong scenting talents, and protective nature, GSDs often need to be reassured when it’s time to be “off-duty” and relaxed.

Everything moving forward is a continuation of these training basics by adding distractions and practicing in lots of different places

German Shepherd Leash Training

There are two very significant factors that make leash training your German Shepherd Dog absolutely critical: their size and their stubbornness.

This is not a small breed! And with proportionately large and powerful chests, their forward-pull strength will leave most humans in their dust.

Couple that with a dog bred to be fearlessly curious or prot