Most Common German Shepherd Training Mistakes

Avoid The Most Common Training Mistakes For Your GSD Puppy

German Shepherds make the best guard dogs. But how do they turn disobedient, violent, aggressive, and totally out of control?

It’s a common problem for many German Shepherd owners to face a tough time while training their dog. Training any other dog breed wouldn’t be as tough as training a German Shepherd, as these dogs are extremely territorial and known for fighting.

Below are a few training mistakes that most German Shepherd owners make.
German Shepherd Owners Guide
German Shepherd Owners Guide


1.  Delaying the Training Process

Start training your German Shepherd the day you bring it.

Many people let their dogs have a few relaxed days, assuming that the pets might feel uncomfortable initially. However, German Shepherds are bossy dogs. Whether you have bought a little pup or an adult dog, you will need to start training it as soon as it reaches your home. If you delay its training, you are likely to end up complaining about its anger issues.

Training a GSD is not as easy as training a super social dog. These dogs are wild by nature and extremely strong. It is best to adopt/buy a puppy instead of going for an untrained adult GSD that could be potentially dangerous for you and other family members. If you want to adopt/buy a full-grown GSD, make sure that it is well-trained.

2.  Isolating it from People

We have heard many German Shepherd experts, whisperers, and owners talking about their wild side. German Shepherds are not social dogs. They are fighters and leaders by nature. So, when you bring your GSD home, do not be scared to introduce it to other members of the family, your friends, etc. Keeping your GSD away from people and completely isolating it just because of the things you’ve heard will make things worse for you.

How to name Your German Shepherd

Introduce other family members to your dog and teach it to behave. If you keep it away from human contact, it will become aggressive and violent towards anyone it sees.

This is the worst mistake one could make when training their GSD.

Once you get your dog used to people and human company, it will begin to socialize and understand that humans mean no harm. Moreover, make sure that your GSD behaves with people around it. Do not acknowledge overly excited behavior like jumping, etc.

3.  Using a Forceful, Aggressive, and Violent Approach

Training a GSD is not simple and requires attention, stamina, consistency, and most importantly, a cool attitude.

Many GSD owners become forceful during their training process. Note that GSDs are wild dogs that are not only strong but aggressive as well. Training them with aggression and reacting badly towards them will cause you harm. They do not take violence, aggression, and forceful behavior too well.

The key to training a GSD is to remain calm and composed.

You will need to think from the perspective of your dog instead of reacting with respect to human nature. Do not react when your dog doesn’t obey you; instead, adopt positive reinforcement strategies that work.

Reacting badly when your dog doesn’t listen to you will only take it further from learning. That’s why GSD owners should stick to politeness and kindness to get the best out of their dogs.

Tip: Try to stop your dog from bad behavior or habits before time and distract it in other things.

4.  Not being Consistent with Training

The training of a GSD has to be consistent or else it will confuse the dog. Mixed reactions, actions, and commands will take your dog far away from learning. This is a very common mistake that GSD owners make.

Below are a few examples of inconsistent training that make the dog stubborn.

  • If standing in the kitchen means getting food, don’t change this habit by declining your dog.
  • If you let your dog sleep with you at night, do not scold it when you aren’t in the mood.
  • If your dog is used to running around in the park, do not forcefully stop it.

Another important thing to keep in mind while training your GSD is to tell other members of the family to follow the same rules, commands, and instruction as you do.

If every person in the house has its own way of instructing the dog, it will become extremely confused and might stop listening to any commands at all. Know what means ‘no’ and what means ‘yes’; only then you’ll be able to make your dog understand commands properly.

5.  Not being Repetitive

So, your GSD is learning quite a lot of tricks and commands. You tell others that your dog is a quick learner, but when you make it do something in front of them, it doesn’t follow.

This is a common mistake that most dog owners make. Your dog will learn to behave, listen, and obey only if you are repetitive with your commands and actions. If you are training your dog to sit, make sure you do it several times until it starts to follow. You could make your task easier by offering little treats to your dog. Unless you are sure, do not stop repeating the trick.

GSD Dominant Behavior

6.  Training too Much or too Little

To train your GSD effectively, you will need to give it appropriate time. Do not limit your training sessions to 5 minutes. If you give little time on training your dog, your dog will have difficulty in learning.

Keep 10 minutes sessions several times a day. This will allow your dog to follow your instructions properly. Train your dog a single trick per session and don’t end the session until it learns that particular trick.

Similarly, over-training your dog or dragging the session too long will bore the dog. To train your GSD, you will need it to be focused. However, if it is bored, it will be distracted and might act up.

Tip: Offer treats to your GSD while training it so that it doesn’t get bored or distracted.

A Word of Advice

Owners should never let their dogs take the alpha or beta position. They should always have control over their dogs, but never in a forceful manner. Remember, do not offer treats all the time in the training sessions as your dog is likely to become a brat as a result.

If you are facing other problems in your GSD training sessions, take advice from us. Subscribe to our website and get to know all about GSDs and their training.

Last Updated on September 5, 2016 by

19 thoughts on “Avoid The Most Common Training Mistakes For Your GSD Puppy”

  1. My 12 week old GS puppy barks and tries to bite (nip) when verbally corrected. How can I stop this behavior. Also, when I take him for walks (lately) and he meets another dog, he becomes very loud, hostile and aggressive. He never did this before. I don’t know what went wrong and/or how to make him stop. Any advice will be very much appreciated. Thank you.

    1. My 17week old puppy has just started to act the same… did anyone reply to you? I would love some feedback?

    2. Angelique Smith

      Mine did the same, about the time she started losing teeth. I think they just start coming into their own. I immediately started serious leash training. I started in the driveway, moved to the street in front of my house and now I’m taking her on 2 one mile walk as day. This process has taken about 2 weeks. Keep her leash short and ALWAYS keep her on my left side. (I’m right handed). She now knows how to heel, leave it (distractions), come, stay and sit (although sit has been the hardest since she hates it). I don’t give her treats, I simply say “good” Everytime she follows a command. I started her on a regular leash and once I knew she knew the commands (and she would ignore them. . . a lot), I moved to a choker leash. Sounds terrible but it works and I always keep the leash loose. She knows when she is out of line by a quick snap. The purpose of the choker is not to choke her. It serves to get her attention when all else fails. Overall I’m so proud of her. We still have a lot of work to do, but consistency is working! I found YouTube videos on leash training very helpful. Be assertive and calm. Works well. . . After practice lol

  2. I just want to make a correction on #2.
    GSDs are social animals. All dogs are pack animals. The very definition of a pack animal is living in a social environment. Anything is considered a pack. They will consider people, cats, rabbits, any living thing within its life & home to be part of the pack.
    Also, GSDs are not fighters. They were not bred to be fighters. They are protectors. They were bred to protect flocks. If that means sometimes having to be aggressive or bite to protect their flock then that’s what they’ll do. But it is not their first choice. Like a pack, anything counts as their flock. Their families, other dogs, anything/anyone around them.
    Again, the very definition of a shepherd it to oversee the flock in a nonaggressive manner.
    GSDs are the smartest of all breeds. There is absolutely nothing you cannot teach these dogs that they can’t learn and excel at. Fighting would be 1 of those things if that what you wanted, but that is not instinctive of the breed. They herd and protect.

    1. I agree, my Shepherd has always been a big cuddly sook. His parents were very friendly and social and there is not a single aggressive bone in his body. Every time we have a visitor, he cries in excitement and cannot wait to meet them and show off his toys and play with them. He is just a big baby, even though he’s now over 2 years old. He’s never tried to overpower us, bite us, or growl at us. He just loves being loved and is great with kids :)

    2. You are exactly correct!!! These are mazing loving animals, the most aggressive thing mine do is “bop” the cat on the head. The cat swats at the puppy to play and in return she’ll do her little jump and bop Mr.Fritz in the head with he front paws…lol They adore each other, she accepts the chickens, loves people and is extremely social! My first dog ever was a German Shepherd and I have them to this day and I’m 43. I’ve trained dogs for 20 years and this is by far the quickest learning breed I’ve ever worked with. For example I’ve had my Chloe for 2 months now , we don’t “work” as often as we should because I just had two discs replace in my back- she was 5 months old when given to me and the previous owners had not potty trained her or worked with her at all: in the time that I’ve been working with her she has learned 18 commands and is perfect on a lead. I can’t stand it when people talk negatively of such a wonderful breed.

  3. My German Shepard is 15 weeks old and a little timid I got him at 12weeks old and I don’t think he was socialized with people , he has taken to me but not so much with my husband and son , when my son comes home he goes to his bed and he dosent like going out on the lead . Please can you help me thanks

  4. My 6 week old German Shepard puppy will consistently bite my feet and hands, when I try to train it it just won’t listen, is it just to early, I got her a week ago please help

    1. Your shepherd is playing and still teething, It needs to have its own toys to chew when this happens. Even a nice heavy rope would take the place of your feet when it starts to nip

    2. First of all, you got your pup WAY too early. A reputable breeder would not have let the pup go before eight weeks of age. There are important social skills they learn from mom and their littermates before eight weeks of age.

      Now, your biting problem. Stop it now! Yelp like a pup would and reinforce with a stern “No bite.” Be consistent! I tell everyone who gets a pup from us to be consistent and persistent when training your pup. Now, go have fun with your little guy.

  5. Shepherds can be very docile if these instructions are followed. I was the alpha to my gretta and had to show family members how to respond to her during activities. She was train on a daily bases with walks. When we would see another dog I immediately had her lay down as they walked by and most people could not believe it. They would ask me if I would like to train there dog and I would say gretta had my heart. Gretta RIP

  6. I never knew German Shepards needed to have social interactions, but it makes perfect sense. I just got a cute little puppy to keep me company at home. I am glad I got this information so I can make sure my puppy is trained properly from the start!

  7. I dislike your wording in this article. GSDs have a high prey drive because they were originally bred for herding, not fighting, they are not always aggressive, people make them that way by teaching them to be or leaving them in a pen or chained up unsocialized. While I agree you need to train every day from day one in short intervals the negative comments about the breed to scare owners into getting your product are not needed. This is a very loving ,loyal and eager to please dog that is EASY to train. I’ve been training Service Dogs for 20 years and GSDs are probably the quickest learners, but because of their prey drive can get distracted when on outings in the beginning, but that doesn’t last long.

  8. There is an ENORMOUS difference between a breed that is inclined to protection, and a breed that is inclined to violence, fighting, aggression, ect. I think the author did the German Shepherd breed an INCREDIBLE disservice by painting a false picture of the breed. German shepherds are completely devoted to their families. They are amazing with kids, they are astonishingly smart and one of the MOST trainable breeds there are. “Training any other dog breed wouldn’t be as tough as training a German Shepherd, as these dogs are extremely territorial and known for fighting.” <- Based on the opening comment, I would suggest that anyone seriously interested in the breed or training their own find a MUCH more reputable site with authors who actually know what they are talking about.

  9. This article had some valid points, however, as an owner, pay and present of 4 German Shrpherds, I was insulted at the constant referral to GSD’s as aggressive, anti-social, fighting animals. I do not believe ANY dog is inherently bad. Bad dogs are created by bad, cruel, mean dog owners. Even the most mistreated pet can become the most loving with good handling. GSD’s are highly intelligent and need a strong owner but they are not a wild, fighting, antisocial breed. ????

  10. I could not disagree with you more about German Shepherds being territorial and known for fighting. Where did you get this information? I find it very disturbing that you publish such untrue information. We have been raising and training GSDs since 2000. I tell everyone who buys a pup from us that our dogs have proven to be protective, but not aggressive. They will watch people and decide if they should be on guard or if the person is OK. But NEVER have our dogs fought or been territorial. You need to go back and do some more research.

  11. My son had beaten my 8 weeks GSD puppy. Puppy got scared very much I guess, She looks afraid and a bit confuse. I have less time to spend with her, so my son only take care of her, feed her, beaten her if she don’t follow his commands. Please suggest me some solution to recover my GSD pup.
    Thank you.

  12. This article is probably the most laughable/contradictory training advice I’ve ever read.

    Please do not listen to this.

    GSD’s are not WILD they are VERY easy to train. The only sound part of this article is that it states not to use an aggressive training method….but I mean duhh!?? You shouldn’t use aggressive training methods with any dog!

    I would love to hear from the imbecile that wrote this article because they should be ashamed of themselves.

    Good reads though, the lack of knowledge made me laugh a lot! (:

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