I’ve trained, worked with and lived with German Shepherds and
German Shepherd puppies for decades.
I KNOW the struggles and the joys, first hand.
And, let me assure you that if you train your German Shepherd
incorrectly, or neglect training completely, you will end up with
an aggressive dog or a fearful behavioral mess.
Most dog training programs, as of late, completely ignore
Impulse Control, which is essential for a high drive, biting puppy
that is expected to become a good canine companion.
Traditional Methods Don’t Work
German Shepherd Dogs are very emotionally sensitive dogs.
They have been bred to be emotionally and intellectually
connected to their trainer so that they can be efficient dogs for
police, military and other K9 training.
As such, traditional, correction based training can completely
emotionally shut down, over stimulate, or create fear in this
Meaning, leash corrections will make some German Shepherds
afraid of training and making mistakes; and it can make other with
stronger personalities lash out in aggressive behaviors trying to
bite their owner for using the leash incorrectly or introducing
Training Classes Don’t Work
Taking a new German Shepherd puppy or new dog to obedience
classes before training them at home, is ineffective.
Puppies need to learn obedience and impulse control in a boring
and distraction-free environment.
Taking puppies, who haven’t received any kind of training, to
“puppy class” and expecting them to learn new concepts is like
taking your 2nd grader to Chuck E. Cheese with his friends and
expecting to sit him down and teach him a new math concept.
It isn’t fair!
It also isn’t likely to be effective at all!
The excitement level pushes the puppy WAY over his threshold and
he ends up frustrated and you end up angry.
Even if you can get some basic focus, this environment is not
conducive to learning, much less fair.
Don’t get me wrong! I am ALL ABOUT dog obedience classes,
but I want my dog to learn at home and be set up for success when I
add that kind of stress and distraction!
No, Obedience is NOT Enough
Puppies and adult dogs who have never learned it, need Impulse
I have had friends, whose dogs have won obedience titles and
trophies and look AMAZING on the field, but who would steal food
off the table or knee cap you going down stairs.
It was like they learned obedience “conditionally’.
They were obedient in certain circumstances and certain
conditions, but had no idea how to cap their “drive” or control
their basic impulses.
The majority of our German Shepherd Dogs aren’t going to be
working dogs living in kennels.
Most of us want a good companion.
But, our dogs’ brains are wired differently.
They get too impulsive or too excited and have a hard time
Does Your Dog Get Impulsive in These Scenarios
- Being TOO excited to see YOU
- Being TOO excited to see other DOGS (or animals)
- Being TOO excited to eat
- Being TOO excited to play
- Being TOO excited to chase
- Being TOO excited to greet guests
- Being TOO excited to let loose
So, we are going to show you a SNEAKY little game that your
German Shepherd Puppy needs to learn in order to begin containing
his excitement when faced with any of the situations in the above
What I’m talking about…
Not raising a spoiled brat that none of your family wants to be
- Bark all the time and fail to be quiet
- Steal food
- Jump on people
- Invade your space
The list is endless, but you get the picture.
So one of the first simple games you can teach is Door Darter
Here’s a little video that shows you the first steps for how
to train your dog this game:
And if you haven’t done so already, click here to download
Darter Game Cheat Sheet, so you can start transforming your
dog’s ability to control his Impulses today.
Or if you’re the kind of person who just likes to cut to the
chase, you should check out the course we offer below…
But, the thing is…
This one game, isn’t enough to raise a polite K9.
I have lived with these guys and Belgian Malinois and Dutch
Shepherds for decades.
I KNOW the biting, first hand.
I understand that these breeds have a serious lack of impulse
These genetics, help the German Shepherd be an amazing police K9
but make it miserable to live with a puppy that lacks bite
These guys need to learn, from an early age that biting and
snatching isn’t a part of family life!
And we have created a game to help stop your German Shepherd
puppy from snatching things from your hands.
Click here to download the next step of
the Stop Snatching Things From My Hand Game.
But I GOTTA WARN YOU!
Raising this kind of dog isn’t easy!
If you don’t follow some basic rules and ideals you will set
yourself and your dog up for failure!
And, the good news is, that if you are consistent you will see
Here are the top 10 BIG MISTAKES people make with their German
Shepherd Puppies: 1. Lack of Socialization
Your puppy is only young once.
You have a limited amount of time to expose him to the world
while he is learning to freely accept the things around him.
Skittish German Shepherds are abundant, and no one wants a 90
pound dog that lacks socialization that can lead to aggression.
Nor does anyone want a large dog that runs from everything he
visually doesn’t understand (things in his environment that can
We all want a confident dog!
But, you need to take the steps to give your puppy the training
to achieve that confidence.
And, remember; with socialization you have a limited amount of
time before your dog is older and less able to socialize without
Be sure not to just turn him loose at the dog park or with
children you don’t know.
It is crucial to control his social experiences and make them
Socialization doesn’t mean “reckless abandon” or he might
have a negative experience that could carry him through life.
Check out these free articles for more information:
2. Lack of or Resistance to Crate Training
I can’t tell you how many people “try” crate training for
the first 2 nights and then simply “give up”.
Or that amount of people who simply refuse to crate train!
It astounds me!
In order to have a well developed, well socialized and good
canine companion, you need a dog that is happy in a crate.
Because at some point your dog will be in a crate: at the vet,
the groomer, or pet sitter’s home.
He can’t avoid being in a crate for the rest of his life.
And, wouldn’t it be nice
if you gave him the skills to not be bothered no matter where he is
I work at a veterinary clinic and occasionally take my dogs to
work. My Fury is so comfortable in a crate or cage that she flips
upside-down and sleeps. Not a stress in the world.
I also crate them when we go to sporting events.
I have competed in agility, obedience, dock diving, lure
coursing, and protection sports and there isn’t a single venue
where having your dog out of a crate all day is appropriate.
Crates also give me more options to travel. Not only will some
family only allow me and my dogs to visit if they are crated when I
am gone, some motel/hotels that don’t allow pets will allow your
dog with a crate too.
There really isn’t any reason NOT to crate train.
Remember all puppies will throw a fit for a few nights, just
like all babies have trouble transitioning from a crib to a bed or
just out of their parent’s bed.
However short term fits are better than a lifetime of chewed
articles and a dog that has some separation issues because he is
never alone and never expected to do things he doesn’t want to
After all, life is full of things we think we don’t want to
do, but then realize we actually like them or see the benefit to
Imagine if we allowed children to just decide they didn’t want
to go to school, because they didn’t like being away from home or
just couldn’t get along with the other kids.
Don’t allow your puppy to dictate how you will live your life,
or what kind of dog they end up being.
Because if your puppy is in charge, he will eat cake for
breakfast every morning
Need help crate training, click here. https://thedogtrainingsecret.com/blog/crate-training-basics/
3. Not Teaching Leash Manners at Home
I think people are under the impression that puppies break from
the womb with an understanding of leash manners and training.
It is as if, leashing them at home and around the house isn’t
Usually, the first time they are introduced to a leash is when
the person is trying to walk them outside.
Some puppies buck and resist the leash.
Most German Shepherd puppies, however, are confident and more
likely to pull on the leash toward things that excite them.
Neither of these behaviors is ideal.
One of the most important skills you will need throughout the
life of your dog is appropriate leash manners.
Ironically, I worked with a lady, years ago, whose 2 German
Shepherds had pulled her down and broke her arm in 2 places.
It is sad that she didn’t teach and instill better
understanding of the leash and training in her German Shepherd
puppies so that she wouldn’t later have to endure the pain and
physical therapy of a broken arm.
The best place to learn, new and important behavior is at
Leash manners and training is no different.
When I trained Service Dogs for people with disabilities we
would tether those puppies and adult dogs to us in the home.
This tether allowed us to keep bad behavior, like stealing items
or jumping on the counter, from ever really happening
It also, ironically, taught the dog to respect and not pull on
4. Creating Possession Aggression
Did you know you can actually create a dog that has possession
And, German Shepherd Dogs, like similarly trained protection
dogs are genetically more predisposed to be possessive.
The drive to possess an
item is actually something that many breeders breed for, sounds
Until you realize that these highly trained K9s need to want to
“possess” the bad guy in the bite suit.
I have seen puppies literally wrap their arms around an item and
try to swallow it, which is a highly desirable trait in these
So, chances are, your dog is already predisposed to some of
Now, if you do the wrong things, you will strengthen this bad
The difference is that your dog isn’t likely to chase and
capture bad guys, instead he is going to threaten to bite YOU or
So First off
Don’t CHASE Him!
Do Not Reprimand Him and Take Things Away
I know that sounds odd, if he steals things, shouldn’t you
reprimand him and take them away?
You should put up your important things, and if he grabs
something he shouldn’t have, you should exchange it for something
better. Read this for a different take on this problem https://thedogtrainingsecret.com/blog/teaching-thief-retrieve/
If you are always getting in his face and stealing the things he
thinks he has worked for as he gets bigger he might just challenge
you and your children.
Don’t put yourself in that predicament.
Read this to understand more about possession aggression
It is easier to exchange and item and avoid conflict.
5. Not Building Drive and Learning to Control it
German Shepherd Dogs typically have an incalculably high prey
Remember that description of the K9 chasing the bad guy?
German Shepherd Dogs easily learn this game because they have a
high prey drive.
Chasing the man, is like chasing a bunny or a cat.
It is a genetic instinct in many of these K9 chosen
Most people think that in order to control their dog’s prey
drive, they should teach their dog to ignore it all together, which
is practically inconceivable!
The best way to teach your dog to control his instincts is to
BUILD them and then add control!
The Border Collies in Scotland, don’t chase sheep at their own
whim, they also don’t kill them.
Their prey drive is built and then they are taught if they want
to play with the sheep; that they must learn to control it!
I use a ball on a string to build my dog’s prey drive.
Then I can use that ball as a reward for good behavior.
Learn how to build your dog’s drive and then teach him that
obedience will bring about the “chase” game that he
Check out how easily this little boy controls his Belgian
Malinois (much like a German Shepherd) with a toy
His obedience is simply amazing!
6. Not Rewarding Your Dog for Focus on YOU
There are very few puppies who don’t lovingly look up at their
owners when they are out and about.
There are even fewer German Shepherd Dog puppies that
German Shepherd Dogs have been bred to care about their human
They bond fast and hard.
The problem is that most people don’t notice or pay much
attention when their dogs look up or back at them.
I reward any eye contact or
focus on ME.
I want my dog checking in and paying attention to what I am
I also want him ready for the next command.
If I ignore him, then he will search his environment for more
exciting and stimulating things.
Let’s face it, after a while my dog is going to realize I am
not THE MOST exciting thing in his world.
I mean, how can I compete with a squirrel or the neighbor
Unless, I reward him and play with him and convince him early on
that “I” am KING and have everything he needs to keep him
He also needs to know that I am reliable.
If he does what I like or what I ask, he will be rewarded
He may never catch a squirrel, but he can count on the fact that
if he leaves that stinky squirrel, I will throw his ball and play
Reward your dog for looking at you.
Reward your dog for paying attention to you.
Reward your dog for choosing to be at your side!
And, better yet,
teach your puppy eye contact and focus.
7. Allowing Young Puppies or Adults to Run Free Off Leash
THE fastest way to teach your dog that you aren’t the most
exciting thing on earth, is to let him run, alone off leash.
I think we can agree, that being off leash and chasing wild
animals at will, eating wild animal poop and all around exploring
on your own is the best thing on earth!
I mean, who doesn’t want to run around with a little reckless
abandon, every now and again?
But, if you allow your German Shepherd puppy to run off leash
without the obedience to back it up, you will struggle with his
obedience for years to come.
Again, whether it is true or not, I want my dog to think that I
am THE BEST thing on earth.
And, I simply cannot compete with wild critters and exciting
Source: FS – TheDogTrainingSecret
German Shepherd Puppy Training