German Shepherds are smart, loyal, hardworking dogs. They are great dogs for active families. As part of the Herding Group, they require extensive physical exercise and mental stimulation to lead happy lives. The work you put into training your German Shepherd will come back to you tenfold, as they are very devoted to their owners. Here’s a few tips to make sure your new best friend strives in their life with you:
Socialize Your German Shepherd Early
German Shepherds are bred to protect and herd the flock. This makes them prone to being suspicious of new people, animals, and even objects. Use positive training methods to slowly ease your Shepherd into the world around them. Introduce them to new things, people, and animals in small increments. Make sure every new experience is a happy one, to help them understand that they do not have to protect their flock from the neighbor’s dog, or your nieces and nephews. Sometimes, your dog will have a bad experience, as you cannot always control the circumstances. When this happens, realize that you may need to take a step back, and gradually restart the socializing process with that particular person, place or thing.
Give Them a Job
It takes a lot of energy to keep up with a German Shepherd dog, so help yourself by giving your dog a job to do. One of the best ways to tire a high-energy dog is to get involved in dog sports. German Shepherds excel at scent work, making them great Search and Rescue dogs. Get your dog started young, so that you can both reap the benefits of a well-balanced dog.
Get a Checkup
German Shepherds are prone to developing Hip Dysplasia. A great preventative is to do your due diligence when selecting a breeder. They should run health tests on all of their dogs, to make sure they are fit to be bred. This does not guarantee that your dog will never develop Hip Dysplasia, but it does lessen the chance. If your dog suddenly stops responding to commands that they have known in the past, it might be time for a trip to the veterinarian. Hip Dysplasia can make it hard for your dog to move in certain ways, making them appear stubborn.
Get Creative with a Clicker
German Shepherds are highly intelligent animals who need a great deal of mental stimulation. Take a clicker training class to learn the basics in how to use a clicking tool. Once you have the mechanism down, you and your dog can get creative. Your German Shepherd will love learning new behaviors and playing shaping games. Shaping your dog involves using a clicker to slowly progress a behavior to its full potential. This type of training helps dogs get creative, adding an extra element of fun to any training session.
Build Your Dog’s Vocabulary
Your neighbors may think you are a bit crazy, but talk to your dog like you would talk to a person! The more you communicate with your best friend, the more they will understand. German Shepherds have long been touted as one of the smartest breeds. Make sure you help your buddy live up to their potential.
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