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Are German Shepherds Easy To Train? And How To Train Them

Are German Shepherds Easy To Train? And How To Train Them

Do you have a new German Shepherd puppy or are you thinking of getting one? Maybe you want to know how easy German Shepherds are to train and how quickly they pick up new commands? Here’s everything you need to know about German Shepherds and training!

Are German Shepherds Easy To Train? Yes, Germans Shepherds are easy to train. They’re extremely intelligent dogs that are used as working dogs by the police and military, and as assistance dogs, guard dogs, livestock herders and search and rescue dogs. This shows how easy it can be to train a GSD!

Read on to find out why German Shepherds are so easy to train and what methods are best used to train them.

Never use the advice in this article as a substitute for professional veterinary advice or treatment. I am NOT a Vet, qualified dog trainer or dog behaviourist. This article is based on research, personal opinion and experience of owning dogs over the last 12+ years. 

Why Are German Shepherds Easy To Train?

German Shepherds are easy to train because they simply love to learn new things!

They’re loyal and eager to please their owners and family, so they’ll always try their best to do what you ask them.

Bred since the 1900s as livestock guarders and herders, German Shepherds are alert, strong and attentive. All of these traits can make it easier to train them.  

How Do I Train My German Shepherd?

This is how to train your German Shepherd:

Start Your German Shepherd With The Basics

Whether your German Shepherd is a puppy or already an adult, you should always start with the basics.

Before you expect your GSD to know more complicated commands, you need to make sure they understand the basics first.

Sit, wait, and knowing their name is a good place to start.

Once you’ve got this sussed, you can move on to teaching them more complex things. 

Use Positive Reinforcement With Your German Shepherd

Positive reinforcement training is the best and most effective way of training your German Shepherd.

Science proves that rewarding your GSD when they do something good, makes it more likely for them to do it again in the future. 

This is the basis of positive reinforcement training, and the best way to train German Shepherds!

Consider Clicker Training Your German Shepherd

Some owners prefer to use a clicker when training their German Shepherd.

A clicker can pinpoint the exact moment your German Shepherd does what you want and reward them. E.g. you ‘click’ as soon as your GSD’s bottom hits the floor, to mark a ‘Sit.’

When they hear the clicker, your German Shepherd will know that whatever they were doing at that moment, has earned them a reward.

German Shepherd puppy laying down on the carpet with a speech bubble that says 'Am I easy to train?'
German Shepherd Puppy Being Dog Trained

Choose High-Value Rewards For Your German Shepherd

Most German Shepherds like food and toys, but you need to find something they really love to reward them when they’re being trained.

This should be something they only get as training rewards, not for any other reasons.

Some owners use cheese, hotdog sausages, or cooked meats. Another popular option are JR Pates. They’re made from 100% natural ingredients and can be chopped into small chunks and frozen if needed.

These treats should be small enough for your GSD to eat quickly and super tasty so they know they’ve done a great job! 

Reward Your German Shepherd Frequently

When your German Shepherd is learning something new, they should get rewards much more often.

Once you’re sure they know and fully understand a command, you can gradually reduce how often you reward them. 

Keep Your German Shepherd’s Training Sessions Short 

Doing 10-15 minutes training sessions three times daily is a good amount to aim for.

You’ll see better results if you split your training sessions into several shorter sessions over the day, instead of one longer one. 

This helps your German Shepherd stay focused and eager to learn. 

Keep Your German Shepherd Motivated

Because German Shepherds are so intelligent, they can quickly switch off if they’re finding training boring. So, you need to keep their motivation levels up as much as possible!

Keep your training sessions fun, positive and always end on a good note.

Don’t let them get frustrated or distracted. You should be the most exciting thing around them, so their eyes are always on you! 

Be Consistent With Your German Shepherd’s Training

German Shepherds thrive on a routine. They like to know what’s about to happen next, so setting aside some time each day for training is a great idea.

You also need to make sure you’re using clear, consistent commands each time.

Avoid anything that sounds too similar like ‘lay down’ and ‘sit down’ and ‘get down’. 

Stay Committed To Training Your German Shepherd

It’s vital that you stay committed to continually training your German Shepherd throughout their lives.

It’s not as simple as teaching them the basics then never training them again – if only!

If you don’t keep their brain busy learning new things, your GSD can start making their own entertainment – and you probably won’t like what they come up with! 

Make Training Fun For Your German Shepherd

German Shepherds love to have fun, so you should make sure their training is fun too!

Teaching them fun party tricks like twist, beg, speak and roll-over are great ways to let them have fun while they’re learning.

This’ll help keep your GSD interested in learning new things because they’re not constantly going over the same behaviors repetitively. 

Don’t Handle Your German Shepherd Harshly

Some people think you need to handle German Shepherds harshly because they’re big strong dogs. But this is NOT true!

Despite their size, they’re very sensitive dogs who take notice of their owner’s emotions.

They’re likely to quickly shut down if you handle them harshly, or use aversive tools like choke chains, prong collars or e-collars.

Not only this, these methods and tools can irreparably damage the bond between you and your GSD. 

German Shepherd puppy sitting on the grass with a speech bubble that says 'Am I easy to train?'
German Shepherd Puppy Being Trained

Introduce Your German Shepherd To New Things

German Shepherds can be naturally wary of new people, places and animals, so it’s vital they’re socialized well.

Introduce them to the sounds, scents and sights of as many different situations as you can think of!

Ideally, this should happen when they’re a puppy and they’ve had all their jabs.

However, even if your GSD’s an adult, you can gradually get them used to new sights, sounds and smells. 

Practice Training Your German Shepherd In Different Places

German Shepherds are a very focused breed, but even they can get distracted sometimes!

Once you’ve taught your German Shepherd a new command and they understand it, try asking them to do it somewhere new.

For example, if you’ve only ever trained them in your home or yard, ask them to listen to a command when you’re out on a walk. 

This’ll show if they truly understand what you’re asking them to do! 

Make Sure Everyone Trains Your German Shepherd The Same Way

If you have a partner or family members, make sure you’re all training your German Shepherd in the same way. If you’re all teaching them differently, it can be confusing for your GSD.

For example, if you’re teaching them not to get up onto the sofa, make sure everyone else follows this same rule.

You should also be using the same training methods and commands, so your German Shepherd is being trained consistently. 

Re-Direct Any Inappropriate Behaviors

Even a German Shepherd that’s getting proper training makes mistakes sometimes!

Although they might know they shouldn’t do something, sometimes the urge is too great for them to ignore. 

If they start doing anything you’d prefer them not to, like chewing shoes, jumping up to greet you, barking a lot or mouthing at your clothes, then give them something more appropriate to do instead.

Redirect your GSD onto a chew or one of their toys to encourage them to use their energy on that instead of undesirable behaviors. 

So there you have it! Germans Shepherds are easy to train. They’re extremely intelligent dogs, which allows them to learn and understand new behaviors very quickly. However, they can get a bit distracted so need you to keep things fresh and exciting to motivate them to learn!

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