Training Your German Shepherd Dog
Obedience training is the first step in educating your German Shepherd Dog.
Living with an untrained dog is a lot like owning a piano that you do not know how to play—it is a nice object to look at, but it does not do much more than that to bring you pleasure. Now try taking piano lessons, and suddenly the piano comes alive and brings forth magical sounds and rhythms that set your heart singing and your body swaying.
The same is true with your German Shepherd. At first you enjoy seeing him around the house. He does not do much with you other than to need food, water and exercise. Come to think of it, he does not bring you much joy, either. He is a big responsibility with a very small return. And often, he develops unacceptable behaviors that annoy you, to say nothing of bad habits that may end up costing you great sums of money. This is not a good thing!
Now train your German Shepherd. Enroll in an obedience class. Teach him good manners as you learn how and why he behaves the way he does. Find out how to communicate with your dog and how to recognize and understand his communications with you. Suddenly the dog takes on a new role in your life— he is smart, interesting, well behaved and fun to be with, and he demonstrates his bond of devotion to you daily. In other words, your German Shepherd does wonders for your ego because he constantly reminds you that you are not only his leader, you are his hero! Miraculous things have happened— you have a wonderful dog (even your family and friends have noticed the transformation!) and you feel good about yourself.
Those involved with teaching dog obedience and counseling owners about their dogs’ behavior have discovered some interesting facts about dog ownership. For example, training dogs when they are puppies results in the highest rate of success in developing well mannered and well-adjusted adult dogs. Training an older dog, say from six months to six years of age, can produce almost equal results, providing that the owner accepts the dog’s slower rate of learning capability and is willing to work patiently to help the dog succeed at developing to his fullest potential. Unfortunately, the patience factor is what many owners of untrained adult dogs lack, so they do not persist until their dogs are successful at learning particular behaviors.
Training a puppy, for example, aged 8 to 16 weeks (20 weeks at the most), is like working with a dry sponge in a pool of water. The pup soaks up whatever you show him and constantly looks for more things to do and learn. At this early age, his body is not yet producing hormones, and therein lies the reason for such a high rate of success. Without hormones, he is focused on his owners and not particularly interested in investigating other places, dogs, people, etc. You are his leader: his provider of food, water, shelter and security. Therefore, he latches onto you and wants to stay close. He will usually follow you from room to room, will not let you out of his sight when you are outdoors with him and will respond in like manner to the people and animals you encounter. If, for example, you greet a friend warmly, he will be happy to greet the person as well. If, however, you are hesitant, even anxious, about the approach of a stranger, he will respond to the person accordingly.
Once the puppy begins to produce hormones, his natural curiosity emerges and he begins to investigate the world around him. It is at that time when you may notice that the untrained dog begins to wander away from you and even ignore your commands to stay close. When this behavior becomes a problem, the owner has two choices: get rid of the dog or train him. It is strongly urged that you choose the latter option.
Occasionally there are no classes available within a reasonable distance from the owner’s home. Sometimes there are classes available but the tuition is too costly. Whatever the circumstances, the solution to the problem of training your German Shepherd without formal obedience classes lies within the
pages of this book.
This chapter is devoted to helping you train your German Shepherd at home. If the recommended procedures are followed faithfully, you may expect positive results that will prove rewarding to both you and your dog.
Whether your German Shepherd is a puppy or a mature adult, the methods of teaching and the techniques we use in training basic behaviors are the same. After all, no dog, whether puppy or adult, likes harsh or inhumane methods. All creatures, however, respond favorably to gentle motivational methods and sincere praise and encouragement. Now let us get started.
Next page >
Housebreaking Your German Shepherd Dog
Roles of Discipline in German Sherpherd Dog Training
Teach Your German Shepherd Dog Basic Commands
Training Advice for German Shepherd Dogs
Excerpt from Comprehensive Owner's Guide: German Shepherd Dog
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