Puppy Training


  • Start your training the moment your puppy comes home.

  • Always give your dog a treat when you call him to you.

  • Train before meals or when your dog is relaxed

  • Your German Shepherd puppy was bred for extreme trainability so limit your training to under 5 minutes (short and sweet).

  • A daily routine builds good learning habits.

  • Always end on a high note, when the puppy has done what you asked right.

  • Do not overtrain. Your puppy will lose interest and not retain what it did learn.

  • Praise, Praise, Praise.

  • Training up until a year of age is all motivational. We start with food. Vienna hot dogs cut in little pieces. There are lots of training treats available at Pet Markets. Just make sure that whatever you do get it must be in tiny pieces for the training or your dog will be so busy eating the biscuit that you won’t have time for the training. You want your puppy to quickly eat the treat and immediately after look at you for more.

  • Hold your treat up by your face so that the puppy will learn to look you in the eye. If you don’t have your puppies attention your puppy will not learn.

  • Always use a quiet area with few distraction or interruptions.

  • Only one person at a time should train. Children should always be supervised by a knowledgeable adult.

  • Consistancy counts. I will spend 2 weeks alone on sit. Twice a day for a few minutes. After the puppy is good with the sit, I will turn my back, call the pup and generally the puppy will come around to my front and sit directly infront of me.

  • Stay and Down are negative commands and I generally don’t work on them until the dog is older. However you can teach the down easily with food so it is not associated with negative training.

  • Heeling can be taught by holding a treat/toy infront of the dogs face as he walks on the left side of you. The dog will associate you with food and keep his eyes on you instead of everything else that is out there.

  • NEVER hit or shout at your dog for not obeying a command.

  • Harsh corrections can result in fear and aggression – both are counter productive to learning.

  • If your dog misbehaves, he should be reprimanded consistenly and immediately. A firm, verbal rebuke is enough. Don’t rebuke your dog for doing something you didn’t see at the moment.


Hold the treat so the dog looks up to get it. As the dog tips its head up it will they will automatically sit. Consistancy of working this way with the sit will produce the response on command.


Command your dog to ‘sit’, then sit down in front of him. Hold a small piece of food in front of his nose. As you command ‘down’, move the food down to the ground so his nose follows it. If he need help, put your hand on his shoulders and guide them down. When he is lying down, praise him and give him the treat. You can also push the treat between your puppy’s front legs, as he tried to follow it his back end will slide into a down position. Praise him and give him the reward.


From the very first day you bring your puppy into the house he should be given a treat every time you call him to you. After your puppy learns the sit you can combine the ‘come’ with the ‘sit’ and then give the treat/reward. And always lots of praise and excitement when your dog comes to you. NEVER, NEVER call your dog to you for punishment. NEVER use his name negatively. If you instill in your dogs from day one that it is exciting and rewarding to come to you he will sail through his teenage stage eagerly wanting to please you. This could also save your dogs life to know that he is 100% on the recall.

I recommend once you have these commands working smoothly with your dog that you join a local obedience club and work on putting all of this together in a routine so you can be a team. This is usually after the teenage stay and about 13 -14 months of age.


We crate train all puppies from the day that they are weaned. My advice to you when you start is to put the puppy in the crate and then take the whole family to the movies so you won’t have to listen to him throw a temper tantrum. They get use to it quickly. Do not take the puppy out if he is throwing a fit. Once your puppy gets use to it you will be able to tell when he has to go to the bathroom…his cry will be much different.

Housetraining Your New Puppy
by Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff

Housebreaking Rule #1:
If you don’t catch your puppy making an “accident,” don’t punish him for it.
Housebreaking Rule #2:
When he does it right outside, praise him!

Housebreaking your new puppy doesn’t have to be hard or messy, nor should it take very long if done right. Getting your dog to do its business outside is a matter of training, and the more attention you can give to your puppy during this crucial training, the shorter this awkward stage will last.

Methods of housebreaking

Starting Inside:
There are several ways to housebreak a puppy. With the first, you can put down papers or pretreated pads, encouraging them to use these areas for going to the bathroom. The pads are scented with a chemical that attracts the puppy to use them. Whenever you see them starting into their “pre-potty pattern,” such as walking around and sniffing the floor, you gently pick them up without talking and carry them over to the papers/pad and then praise them when they go to the bathroom.
When all goes well and they are using the papers consistently, the papers are either moved closer to the door and/or another set is placed outside. The transition is made from concentrating the toilet habits to one spot inside the home to one spot outside the home. Finally, the papers inside are eliminated. The only problem with this method is that for a period of time it encourages the animal to eliminate inside the home. In our experience, housebreaking may take longer when this method is used.

Crate Training:

The second popular method of housebreaking involves the use of a crate or cage. Make sure the crate isn’t too large – just big enough to fit their sleeping blanket or mat. Dogs do not like to soil their beds because they would be forced to lay in the mess. It works, and while in these confines, most pups will control their bladder and bowels for a longer time than we would expect. Young puppies, at 8 or 9 weeks of age can often last for 7 or 8 hours, however, we would never recommend leaving them unattended in a crate for that long in most circumstances.
During housebreaking, whenever the puppy is inside the home but cannot be watched, he is placed in the crate. This might be while you are cooking, reading to the children, or even away from the home. The last thing you do before you put the puppy in the crate is take him outside to his favorite spot. The first thing you do when you take the animal out of the crate is another trip outside. No food or water goes in the crate, just a blanket and maybe a chew toy to occupy his time. Overnight is definitely crate time. As your faith in the puppy grows, leave him out for longer and longer periods of time.

Constant Supervision:
The last method involves no papers, pads, or crates. Rather, you choose to spend all the time necessary with the puppy. This works very well for people who live and work in their homes, retired persons, or in situations where the owners are always with the animal. Whenever they see the puppy doing his “pre-potty pattern” they hustle him outside. It is important that the dog is watched at all times and that no mistakes are allowed to occur. When he is taken outside, use a leash or lead to keep him less distracted and watch the puppy closely – as soon as all goes as planned, he should be praised enthusiastically. Do not play until after the pup goes so he learns to go quickly on command. Use Simple and Consistent Verbal cues

Specific verbal communications will also help the two of you understand what is desired. It is an excellent idea to always use a word when it is time to head to the bathroom. We like “Outside?” Remember that whenever you use a verbal command or signal, it is important that everybody in the family always uses the same word in the same way.

Once outside, we try to encourage the pup to get on with the act in question. We use the phrase “Do your numbers.” Others use ‘Do It,’ ‘Potty,’ or ‘Hurry Up.’ As soon as your pup eliminates, it is very important to praise them with a “Good Dog” and then come back inside immediately. Again, make this trip that started outside with a specific word “Outside” be for a purpose. If we are taking the pup out to play with a ball or go for a walk we will not use this word even if we know they will eliminate while we are outside.

If Accidents Happen

One of the key issues in housebreaking is to follow Rule Number One: If you do not catch your puppy doing it, then do not punish him for it! We do not care what someone else may tell you or what you read, if you find a mess that was left when you were not there, clean it up and forget it.

Discipline will not help because unless you catch the puppy in the act, he will have no idea what the scolding is for. At this point in his life a puppy’s memory is very, very poor. Your puppy has urinated and defecated hundreds of times before he met you. Nobody made a fuss before and the pup will not relate the punishment, regardless of its form, together with something he has done without incident numerous times before. Especially if he did it more than 30 seconds ago! Puppies are just like our children. Unless something was really fun (and a repetitious act like going to the bathroom is not), they are not thinking about what they did in the past. They are thinking about what they can do in the future.

The same should be said as to your first reaction when you actually catch them in the act of urinating or defecating. Do not get mad. Quickly but calmly pick them up and without raising your voice sternly say “No.” Carry them outside or to their papers. They are going to be excited, but stay there with them a while and if they finish the job, reward them with simple praise like “Good Dog.”

Remember, though the housebreaking process may get frustrating at times – especially the times cleaning up the occasional accident – be patient and stay calm. If you want housebreaking to go quickly, regardless of the method you use, follow these simple tips and try to spend as much time as possible with your puppy.