German Shepherds are loveable, energetic, and very intelligent dogs. They’re adored pets throughout America, but unfortunately, their unique personalities and needs are often reasons these loyal dogs end up in shelters. They come from a long line of working dogs which means they need consistent training and plenty of activities and exercise to keep them entertained. No one wants a bored German Shepherd on their hands. So, what can you do to make sure you have a well-behaved and happy pup? Here are our top German Shepherd tips.
A brief overview of the German Shepherd temperament
These dogs can be a little aloof and independent. They’re also incredibly caring family members. They’re not the most sociable dogs on the planet and can be a bit reserved when meeting new people and other pups. They have a bit of a reputation for being aggressive, which absolutely isn’t the case. If threatened, however, they’re very protective and strong and won’t hesitate to let you know how they feel! Because of their relaxed nature, confidence, and very alert brain, German Shepherds are excellent watchdogs.
German Shepherds are up there with the most intelligent dog breeds in the world which makes them quite easy to train (when you do it correctly). They love to have a job to do and will excel in obedience training. They’re ideal service dogs and are used by police forces, armies, and people in many different countries.
If they don’t have a job to do or a way to engage their brains, German Shepherds can easily get bored and this sometimes translates into aggressive or anxious behavior. They don’t do well if left alone for long periods and they love to spend time with their family or out exploring a new walk!
Tips for owning a German Shepherd
Training dogs isn’t easy and it takes a lot of effort from you (and some from them!) for our dogs to behave correctly. German Shepherds are no exception.
It’s important that you establish yourself as a positive leader in your dog’s life. Whether you get a German Shepherd puppy or an adult dog, they need to respect you but not fear you. A great way to do this is to reward good behavior and not to punish bad behavior – especially if they’re learning and don’t actually understand what bad behavior is. You want them to trust you so you can bond and they can feel happy.
A great idea for German Shepherds is to enroll them in dog training. This can be a wonderful way for them to use up some of their huge reserves of energy whilst also learning. Agility training, as well as general training sessions, can really help.
At home, try to keep training sessions positive and reward-based. That way your German Shepherd dog will be happy to take part and learn! It’s also really important to keep training sessions short and fun. 3 minutes of learning something new is enough for German Shepherd puppies but you can do them multiple times throughout the day.
You don’t want to force your dog to do anything. Positively guide them and they should be happy to learn!
Manage socialization correctly
Socialization is a really important part of having a German Shepherd. It calms them when they’re around other animals or new people and helps them to have a more relaxed and confident nature.
When introducing your dog to others, make sure you let them make the first move. Someone coming on too strong can cause them to become anxious or suspicious. It’s also a good idea for the person to avoid touching your German Shepherd’s head as this may be interpreted as an attempt to assert dominance.
When it comes to other dogs, again, don’t ‘force’ your German Shepherd to make friends. This can often make them aggressive and undo a lot of the previous puppy training you’ve achieved. Surround them with dogs you trust and let them make friends if they want to!
Get them the gear they need
Before adopting a German Shepherd, it’s important you’ve got everything you need to make the experience as fun and simple as possible. You’ll want to buy the best collar for your German Shepherds, as well as nutritious food, plenty of toys, a leash, a bed, and some grooming equipment!
Keep them healthy
It’s really important you get your dog from a reputable breeder. This can help to ensure they’re as healthy as can be from the start.
Regular vet trips can also help to diagnose conditions such as hip dysplasia (which many German Shepherds suffer from) early on.
Because your German Shepherd is a working dog at heart they’ll need a lot of exercise to keep them fit and healthy – around 1.5 hours a day plus a yard to play in. You need to make sure you can keep up with their exercise requirements before adopting one of these dogs!
According to the American Kennel Club, these pups are the third most popular breed in the country and it’s easy to see why. German Shepherd training, however, isn’t always easy and they need a positive yet firm hand to stop them from developing any bad habits. Using these 5 tips, you should have a wonderful, intelligent dog that’s a great family pet.