How to Train a German Shepherd German Commands

Medium
1-4 Weeks
General

Introduction

Teaching German Sherpards their commands in German is a common practice among owners of the breed. These commands are often used for police dogs and dogs trained in home protection. You might also teach your German Shepard german commands for agility competitions or to ensure that he pays attention to you without distraction. 

You might think training your German Shepard German commands is a difficult endeavor, but with patience and consistency, it won't take too long before your dog will "sprechen sie Deutsch." In fact, you may find that it takes you longer to remember the new phrases than your dog. Whatever your reason for wanting to use a different language, consistency and patience will be key to success.

Defining Tasks

German is a common language for dog training, and you may find many German Shepard breeders and trainers use German exclusively with their puppies. If your dog already knows his commands in English, you need to make sure you help him with the transition to German. If you start asking him to perform commands immediately, he may end up confused and frustrated.

If you have a puppy and you'd like to begin his training using German, the training won't differ too much from training in English. The most important factor is to know what which words you are going to use and stick to them. You may need to carry a list with you as a reminder, and make sure everyone interacting with your puppy knows these commands. 

Getting Started

Training your German Shepard German commands is fairly simple, but you will need to be prepared with a few items to ensure your success. Before you begin, make sure you have a plan that you can follow and keep these items at the ready.

  • A list of German commands
  • High-value treats like cheese or sliced hot dogs
  • A leash

The hardest part will be patience and consistency as your dog is making the transition. Below are three methods that will help you stick to your goals. Read through them and pick the best one for you and your dog.

The First Command Method

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Step
1
Choose your words
This method works best for puppies or dogs who don't know any commands yet. Begin by making a list of the German commands you want to teach your dog. Keep this on the fridge or easily accessible.
Step
2
The first command
Start with teaching 'sit'. Take a treat and show your dog, then move it over his head to lure him into a sitting position. As soon as he sits say "setzen" and give him a treat.
Step
3
Keep practicing
Continue practicing and be consistent with the German command. Make sure anyone else working with the puppy uses the same command.
Step
4
Move to the next
When your dog is sitting each time you say "setzen," choose your next command. It could be "platz" for 'down' or "bliebe" for 'stay'. Teach these skills with any method, but replace the English commands for the German ones.
Step
5
Take it outside
When your dog is regularly reacting to your German commands, test him with more distractions. Take him outside and practice, making sure to reward him heavily when he listens.
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The Association Method

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Step
1
Choose your cue
Begin by choosing the first command you want to transition to German. 'Sit' is often a good choice. The German version is very close: "setzen."
Step
2
Ask for a 'sit'
Start by asking your dog to sit. Before you give him the English command, say the command in German.
Step
3
Treat the right behavior
When he sits, give him a treat.Keep practicing by saying the German word and then the English.
Step
4
Take away the English
Once you see him start to sit as you give the German command, remove the English command. Only give him a treat when he sits for the new German command.
Step
5
Try another command
Once has successfully transitioned to "setzen." try another command like "platz" for 'down'. Follow the same steps for all your commands.
Step
6
Test your skills outside
After your dog is now listening attentively to German in the house, try these new commands in areas where he is more distracted, like at the dog park. Each time he responds, give him a good treat.
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The Key Commands Method

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Step
1
Define your commands
This method is for anyone who only wants their dog to know a few German words for competition or home protection. First, choose the words and commands you want to teach.
Step
2
Start inside
Start training the commands inside with little distraction. For example, you may want to teach your dog the agility command to jump, "hopp." Start indoors without the distraction of other commands or people.
Step
3
Work the command
Work with the new command until your dog is responding to the German command each time.
Step
4
Practice with friends
Before heading out to the agility course, start by asking friends to try and distract your dog. Have them say the English version of your command. Your dog should only respond to your German command to get the reward.
Step
5
Real world trial
When you are confident your dog is cued into the German command, test your cues out in the real world. Whether in the dog park or on the agility course, those German commands should be an immediate cue for your dog.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers and Success Stories

Question
Covu
AnimalBreed object
2 Months
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Question
0 found helpful
Covu
AnimalBreed object
2 Months

Hi my name is Tyler I just got a 2 month old German Shepherd he was born on 420 he is a really good puppy but I would love to have him interact with police dogs only because he runs really fast and he has an incredible jump he's also very loving but he is impulsive. He likes to eat anything in sight I personally think it's because he's teething but there are a few simple things that I would like to be able to get him to not do like crap off of the ground or get into the toilet and the trash and then his playing is really really rough we try to say the words easy or be easy or hey be careful and sometimes when the bites hurt we try to use a sympathetic Small Voice to try and let him know hey buddy you hurt me but he doesn't catch on to that he still thinks that we are playing... hmmm.... him is a good boy:) just, need some guidance!:)

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
92 Dog owners recommended

Hi there! So your best bet with him is structure. Setting him up on some sort of schedule to keep his mind engaged, and to convey the message that he lives in a world where good behavior is expected. I am going to give you a sample schedule, then give you instructions on some commands, as well as potty training advice, and info on how to stop the nipping. So this is going to be a fairly long response! A sample schedule for a dog his age: Morning wake up Potty time. Meal time Potty time (dogs typically have to eliminate about 20-30 minutes after they eat) Structured training time. Go over training commands for 5-10 minutes. Walk (about 5-10 minutes here also) Your dog will likely want to nap now. During free roaming time, just make sure to keep an eye on him so that he isn't going to the bathroom or getting into anything. Repeat this process for dinner time. You can tailor this schedule to fit your dynamic. Nipping: Puppies may nip/bite/mouth for a number of reasons. Nipping can be a means of energy release, getting attention, interacting and exploring their environment or it could be a habit that helps with teething. Whatever the cause, nipping can still be painful for the receiver, and it’s an action that pet parents want to curb. It also takes a little time for puppies this age to learn what is expected of them. So continue doing what you are doing, and hopefully you will find some new information to help you below. Some ways to stop biting before it becomes a real problem include: Using teething toys. Distracting with and redirecting your dog’s biting to safe and durable chew toys is one way to keep them from focusing their mouthy energies to an approved location and teach them what biting habits are acceptable. Making sure your dog is getting the proper amount of exercise. Exercise is huge. Different dogs have different exercise needs based on their breed and size, so check with your veterinarian to make sure that yours is getting the exercise they need. Dogs—and especially puppies—use their playtime to get out extra energy. With too much pent-up energy, your pup may resort to play biting. Having them expel their energy in positive ways - including both physical and mental exercise - will help mitigate extra nips. Being consistent. Training your dog takes patience, practice and consistency. With the right training techniques and commitment, your dog will learn what is preferred behavior. While sometimes it may be easier to let a little nipping activity go, be sure to remain consistent in your cues and redirection. That way, boundaries are clear to your dog. Using positive reinforcement. To establish preferred behaviors, use positive reinforcement when your dog exhibits the correct behavior. For instance, praise and treat your puppy when they listen to your cue to stop unwanted biting as well as when they choose an appropriate teething toy on their own. Saying “Ouch!” The next time your puppy becomes too exuberant and nips you, say “OUCH!” in a very shocked tone and immediately stop playing with them. Your puppy should learn - just as they did with their littermates - that their form of play has become unwanted. When they stop, ensure that you follow up with positive reinforcement by offering praise, treat and/or resuming play. Letting every interaction with your puppy be a learning opportunity. While there are moments of dedicated training time, every interaction with your dog can be used as a potential teaching moment. Like “stay,” "leave it” is a cue that may prevent your dog from being injured and may even save his life. “Leave it” should be taught to all dogs and practiced frequently. Hazards that you want your dog to leave alone include antifreeze in a puddle; sharp bones, broken glass or any other dangerous trash on the ground; and even a dog squabble at the dog park. Your dog responding to the cue “leave it” can be the difference between you giving quick praise or heading to an emergency vet clinic. Teaching a dog 'leave it' Teaching “leave it” is not difficult. Begin the lessons inside your home or in an area with very few distractions. Here are the steps for teaching “leave it”: Make sure you have two different types of treats. One type can be fairly boring to the dog, but the other type should be a high-value treat that he finds pretty delicious. You will also want to make sure that the treats are broken up into pea-sized pieces so it won’t take him too long to eat them. Put one type of treat in each hand. If you like to train with a clicker as your marker, you can also hold a clicker in the same hand that holds the high-value treat. Then, place both of your hands behind your back. Make a fist with the hand that is holding the treat of lower value and present your fist to your dog, letting him sniff. Say “leave it” and wait until he finishes sniffing your fist. As soon as your dog is done sniffing, you can either click with the clicker or say “yes.” Then offer him the higher-value treat in your other hand. Repeat until your dog immediately stops sniffing your hand when you say “leave it.” When you say “leave it” and he stops sniffing right away, leash your dog and then toss a low-value treat outside of his reach. Wait until he stops sniffing and pulling toward the treat. As soon as he does, either say “yes” or click and then give him a high-value treat from your hand. Practice this exercise a number of times. Over time, by practicing “leave it,” your dog should stop pulling as soon as you give the cue. When rewarding him with a treat, make sure that it is something good, not plain old kibble. By doing so, you are teaching him that asking him to leave some food doesn’t mean he won’t get anything, but that in fact he might get something even more delicious. When your dog is reliably responding to the cue, you can teach him that “leave it” can apply to other things as well, not just food on the floor. Repeat the exercise with five different items that are fairly boring to your dog. After using five different “boring” items, start using slightly more exciting items. You know your dog, so you alone know what items he would consider more interesting, but don’t jump to high-value items right away. To increase his chances of success at learning the cue, you want to work up to high-value items gradually. If Kleenex or a piece of plastic, for instance, would attract your dog on a walk, don’t start with those. Choose the items based on your ultimate goal: Anytime you say “leave it,” you want to be confident that your dog will indeed leave whatever you are asking him to leave. . The reward he receives when he leaves an item can change as well. If your dog has a favorite toy, squeak it and play for a moment when he comes running to you after leaving the other item of interest. Most dogs love interacting with us, so a moment of praise or play with a toy can be just as effective as a treat. Potty training: Know Your Pup. As you spend time with your puppy, learn your puppy’s love language. Just as some people prefer gifts, touch, or time spent together, puppies can be the same way. Some puppies love praise or pets, while others prefer treats. As you get to know your puppy, consider what reward your puppy loves the most. Create a Daily Schedule. It is best to have a routine for your puppy. A schedule helps them understand when to eat, play, and “go to the bathroom.” Your puppy should go out frequently and the routine should be the same every time. When? Start the day by taking your puppy outside, and repeating based on age and ability. They should also go out after napping, chewing, playing, and within 10 to 15 minutes of eating. Although some puppies can sleep for seven hours, it is important to set an alarm and take your pup out during the night. When you do, don’t make a fuss about it. Quietly take them outside with minimal stimulation and light. Praise them if they go to the bathroom and gently return them to their bed or crate. You don’t want them to get stimulated and ready to play in the middle of the night! As you get to know your puppy, you will become aware of their individual habits. Click here to learn more about house training schedules for puppies. Where? Take your puppy to a specific area to urinate or defecate. Be consistent. You can create an area by using urine-soaked paper or bowel movements to help create an aroma to stimulate your puppy. How? Take your puppy out on a leash so they can focus on the desired activity. This will help prevent them from wandering off to play. Once your puppy is in the selected area, use your verbal cue, such as “Hurry Up,” “Poopies,” “Go tinkle,” or any phrase your puppy responds to. What? Know the signs that your puppy has to go to the bathroom. Every animal may have a different “I gotta go” gesture, which often include restlessness, sniffing around, circling, scratching at the door, barking, and, eventually, squatting. At the first sign that your pup has to go, calmly and quickly take them outside to their bathroom spot. Deal with Accidents. Accidents are a normal part of house training a puppy. What to Do If you see your puppy in the process of urinating or defecating inappropriately, calmly and quickly interrupt them in the act. Tell them to stop (either by a jarring sound or command), and immediately take them to an appropriate location for elimination. After your puppy goes to the bathroom, lavishly praise them and offer a treat. Thoroughly clean up accidents, so your puppy is not attracted to this area again. Create a consistent feeding and watering schedule. Depending on the age of your puppy, they will eat three to four times a day. A consistent feeding routine can create a regular bathroom schedule. Take away water about 2 hours before bedtime. Learn more about ideal dog schedules here. What NOT to Do Don’t punish your puppy when they have an accident. At that point, it is too late. When a puppy has an accident in the house and they walk away, within seconds they have already forgotten about what they did. Taking them to the scene of the crime and yelling and/or rubbing their nose in it does not help and, in fact, can harm your puppy! Supervise. The best thing you can do is to prevent accidents and the best way to do this is to supervise your puppy at all times. You can tether your puppy to your waist with a five or six-foot leash and carefully observe them for signs that they need to go to the bathroom. If you can’t supervise, then crate or confine your puppy. The more accidents your puppy has in the house, the more confusing it will be for them and this can delay house training. Reward, Reward, Reward. It is important to give your puppy a reward for their good behavior. This can be for commands such as sitting and coming to you, or for appropriately eliminating outside. In a puppy, a reward can be a couple kibbles of puppy food or a treat, such as a small piece of meat. The treat should be exciting for them and only available as a result of good behavior. Crate training can take days or weeks, depending on your dog's age, temperament and past experiences. It's important to keep two things in mind while crate training: The crate should always be associated with something pleasant and training should take place in a series of small steps. Don't go too fast. Step 1: Introduce your dog to the crate Place the crate in an area of your house where the family spends a lot of time, such as the family room. Put a soft blanket or towel in the crate. Take the door off and let the dog explore the crate at their leisure. Some dogs will be naturally curious and start sleeping in the crate right away. If yours isn't one of them: Bring them over to the crate and talk to them in a happy tone of voice. Make sure the crate door is open and secured so that it won't hit your dog and frighten them. Encourage your dog to enter the crate by dropping some small food treats nearby, then just inside the door, and finally, all the way inside the crate. If they refuse to go all the way in at first, that's OK; don't force them to enter. Continue tossing treats into the crate until your dog will walk calmly all the way into the crate to get the food. If they aren’t interested in treats, try tossing a favorite toy in the crate. This step may take a few minutes or as long as several days. Step 2: Feed your dog meals in the crate After introducing your dog to the crate, begin feeding them their regular meals near the crate. This will create a pleasant association with the crate. If your dog is readily entering the crate when you begin Step 2, place the food dish all the way at the back of the crate. If they remain reluctant to enter, put the dish only as far inside as they will readily go without becoming fearful or anxious. Each time you feed them, place the dish a little further back in the crate. Once your dog is standing comfortably in the crate to eat their meal, you can close the door while they’re eating. The first time you do this, open the door as soon as they finish their meal. With each successive feeding, leave the door closed a few minutes longer, until they’re staying in the crate for 10 minutes or so after eating. If they begin to whine to be let out, you may have increased the length of time too quickly. Next time, try leaving them in the crate for a shorter time period. If they do whine or cry in the crate, don’t let them out until they stop. Otherwise, they'll learn that the way to get out of the crate is to whine, so they'll keep doing it. Step 3: Practice with longer crating periods After your dog is eating their regular meals in the crate with no sign of fear or anxiety, you can confine them there for short time periods while you're home. Call them over to the crate and give them a treat. Give them a command to enter, such as "crate." Encourage them by pointing to the inside of the crate with a treat in your hand. After your dog enters the crate, praise them, give them the treat and close the door. Sit quietly near the crate for five to 10 minutes and then go into another room for a few minutes. Return, sit quietly again for a short time and then let them out. Repeat this process several times a day, gradually increasing the length of time you leave them in the crate and the length of time you're out of sight. Once your dog will stay quietly in the crate for about 30 minutes with you mostly out of sight, you can begin leaving them crated when you're gone for short time periods and/or letting them sleep there at night. This may take several days or weeks. Step 4, Part A: Crate your dog when you leave After your dog can spend about 30 minutes in the crate without becoming anxious or afraid, you can begin leaving them crated for short periods when you leave the house. Put them in the crate using your regular command and a treat. You might also want to leave them with a few safe toys in the crate. Vary the moment during your "getting ready to leave" routine that you put your dog in the crate. Although they shouldn't be crated for a long time before you leave, you can crate them anywhere from five to 20 minutes prior to leaving. Don't make your departures emotional and prolonged—they should be matter-of-fact. Praise your dog briefly, give them a treat for entering the crate and then leave quietly. When you return home, don't reward your dog for excited behavior by responding to them in an enthusiastic way. Keep arrivals low-key to avoid increasing their anxiety over when you will return. Continue to crate your dog for short periods from time to time when you're home so they don't associate crating with being left alone. Step 4, Part B: Crate your dog at night Put your dog in the crate using your regular command and a treat. Initially, it may be a good idea to put the crate in your bedroom or nearby in a hallway, especially if you have a puppy. Puppies often need to go outside to eliminate during the night and you'll want to be able to hear your puppy when they whine to be let outside. Older dogs should also initially be kept nearby so they don't associate the crate with social isolation. Once your dog is sleeping comfortably through the night with the crate near you, you can begin to gradually move it to the location you prefer, although time spent with your dog—even sleep time—is a chance to strengthen the bond between you and your pet. Potential problems Whining: If your dog whines or cries while in the crate at night, it may be difficult to decide whether they’re whining to be let out of the crate, or whether they need to be let outside to eliminate. If you've followed the training procedures outlined above, then your dog hasn't been rewarded for whining in the past by being released from their crate. If that is the case, try to ignore the whining. If your dog is just testing you, they'll probably stop whining soon. Yelling at them or pounding on the crate will only make things worse. If the whining continues after you've ignored them for several minutes, use the phrase they associate with going outside to eliminate. If they respond and become excited, take them outside. This should be a trip with a purpose, not play time. If you're convinced that your dog doesn't need to eliminate, the best response is to ignore them until they stop whining. Don't give in; if you do, you'll teach your dog to whine loud and long to get what they want. If you've progressed gradually through the training steps and haven't done too much too fast, you'll be less likely to encounter this problem. If the problem becomes unmanageable, you may need to start the crate training process over again. Separation anxiety: Attempting to use the crate as a remedy for separation anxiety won't solve the problem. A crate may prevent your dog from being destructive, but they may get injured in an attempt to escape. Separation anxiety problems can only be resolved with counterconditioning and desensitization procedures.

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