How to Train a German Shepherd Rottweiler Puppy

Medium
2-6 Months
General

Introduction

Whether your German shepherd/Rottweiler puppy was bred deliberately or is an adorable accident you have rescued from a shelter, you have a very cute puppy on your hands. Depending on how much of each parent she shows, your pup is probably very fluffy, with ears that flop or prick partway. She is a big puppy, with paws that promise a huge dog is coming. Rotties top out around 100 pounds, and shepherds aren't known for being much smaller. While your particular pup may have gotten breed characteristics more from either of her parents and show more Rottie or Shepherd traits, both these breeds have strong instincts for herding and protection, and both are breeds that are loyally devoted to their families. Because of the similarities between your pup's parent breeds, you can have certain physical and behavioral expectations, whichever breed your pup expresses more.

Defining Tasks

Since both Shepherds and Rotties are known for their protective instincts, it is extremely likely that your puppy will show these instincts as she grows up. For this reason, it is essential that you socialize your puppy very well with people and other animals. If you intend for your "Shottie" to guard your livestock, property, or family, it best that you start protection training early, and acclimate your puppy to the livestock she will guard, as well as beginning to build in her aggression towards predator animals. If you have cats or other small animals, it is very important that you teach your puppy how to behave with small animals and resist her prey drive.

Getting Started

Get to know what motivates your Shottie puppy and begin using rewards to motivate her in training from the beginning. Your puppy is developing a powerful jaw that will benefit from gentle tug games, as well as as many chew and food distributing toys as you can afford. Teach your puppy not to jump up or throw her body around when she is small and harmless, so that as she grows she will not injure anyone accidentally. Rotties and Shepherds are both powerful, fast-growing dogs. Too often their body grows quicker than their self-control, making them hard to handle and potentially dangerous at around nine months. Every week of your pup's young life is essential training time to develop her into a happy, well-mannered adult.

The Mark Good Behavior Method

Effective
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Step
1
Sound means reward
Choose a unique sound, either one you make or with a clicker or other noise making device. If you would like to mark your dog's good behavior even at a distance you can use a beep collar.
Step
2
Sound marks good behavior
Once your pup understands that the sound means a reward is coming, use it to mark any desirable behavior.
Step
3
Try to read her mind
Try to get into your puppy's head and see her decision making. If you see her go to a rug, then think of it and go to the door to ask to go out, reward her for making the right decision.
Step
4
Variable rewards
Once your puppy understands that the sound marks good behavior and indicates your approval, vary rewards from just your affection to desirable treats.
Step
5
Add command words
Once your puppy is very comfortable with understanding when her behavior is desirable, begin naming desirable behavior as well as marking it with the sound. You can mark behavior like 'sit', or states of mind like 'calm'.
Recommend training method?

The Mirror Me Method

Effective
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Step
1
Devoted dogs
Rotties and German shepherds are both known for being devoted to their humans. If your puppy is stuck to you like glue, you can teach her how you would like her to behave by teaching her to model herself after you.
Step
2
Start simple
Perform a very simple behavior like backing up or sitting down. Say the name of the behavior as you do it
Step
3
Reward mimicry
As soon as your puppy copies you, reward her with affection, toys, or treats.
Step
4
Ask for commands
Once your dog has mirrored you several times and seems to understand the activity, try asking for it using the command word without doing it yourself.
Step
5
Build complexity
Build more complex behaviors or ask your dog to mirror your state of being, like being calm when visitors come.
Recommend training method?

The Tied to You Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Working dog
If your purpose for your Shottie is for her to be your constant companion and working partner, it is a good idea to start building that expectation in puppyhood.
Step
2
Keep your dog with you
Keep your puppy near you at all times, using a harness and long line when necessary. Always have anything your puppy may want on hand.
Step
3
Frequent work and reward
Train your puppy simple commands using treats to lure and reward. Practice these commands often, and begin to put them into practical use early, like asking your puppy to 'down-stay' at a restaurant.
Step
4
Build communication
Pay attention to your puppy's attempts to communicate with you, and build vocabulary for things like wanting to go out, wanting a toy, etc.
Step
5
Build trust
As you work with your Rottie/Shepherd as she grows, she will become accustomed to being your constant companion and will work fluidly with you. Always remember to reward her well with things she desires for the work she does for you.
Recommend training method?
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Written by Coral Drake

Published: 02/15/2018, edited: 01/08/2021

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Draco
Rottweiler
7 Weeks
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Question
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Draco
Rottweiler
7 Weeks

Draco is 7 weeks old and he cries a lot we give him the right amount of attention and outside time but when it’s time to come in the house he just sits in the grass or will bite and nip at us when we bring him in. He is very over dramatic when told to do something he doesn’t want to do. Also during play time he bites hard and doesn’t know when to stop when told. I have tried the yelp and stop playing for a second then going back in but it doesn’t work. He tries to use my fingers as tug of war toys, when I got him a lot of toys to play with.
(HE IS A GERMAN SHEPARD ROTTWEILER MIX)

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
842 Dog owners recommended

Hello Brandon, Check out the Bite inhibition method from the article linked below. Know it's going to take a couple of weeks for pup to start to have enough control to respond, but it's still important to continue the training because it can pay off in huge ways with ongoing work. Bit Inhibition method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite While using the bite Inhibition method, also start teaching the Leave It method from the article linked above. It will take pup a bit to learn leave it, so use the bite inhibition method starting today but work toward leave it. Leave It can help pup learn not to bite completely. If you have any friends with young puppies, invite them over often and let the puppies play. Pups learn bite inhibition most from interacting with other puppies. Either way, as soon as pup is old enough enroll in a puppy play group or class that has time for moderated off-leash play with other puppies. No class will be perfect but check out the article linked below for what to look for in a class, and tips on timing and safety. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/puppy-classes-when-to-start/ Finally, practice handling with pup. Use puppy's dog food and gently touch an area of pup's body like an ear and give a little food. Touch a paw - give food, touch muzzle - give food, touch tail - give food, touch collar - give food, touch belly - give food, ect...Practice this daily to teach tolerance of handling and provide gentle stimulation. Pup can be fed a meal this way each day that you are able. Continue doing this regularly throughout the first 6 months. Continue is periodically for at least 18 months. For the noise, work on teaching the Quiet method and begin rewarding pup for not whining or barking at times when pup normally would. Also, read the Desensitization method from the article linked below. Some puppies are naturally more vocal than others, so need more assistance in that area. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Ruby
German sheperd mix with ratwallier
6 Months
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Question
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Ruby
German sheperd mix with ratwallier
6 Months

What can I do .she's not going potty outside ever ALWAYS INIDE MY HOUSE

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
842 Dog owners recommended

Hello Betty, First, you need to stop the accidents. She needs to be very strictly crate trained. Old and new accident spots need to be cleaned with a cleaner that contains enzymes to remove the smell better (enzymes remove the smell enough for a dog's sensitive nose - even bleach won't). She needs to be rewarded for going potty outside - when she finally does, and she needs to be attached to you with a six or eight foot leash AFTER she goes potty outside, while free in your home until time to put her back in the crate again. After several months of going potty inside, your schedule and potty training routine for her needs to be very strict for at least four months. It will be work but remember that being strict now can save you years of accidents later - which is much harder than a few months of regiment now. Check out the Crate Training article linked below. Do not put anything absorbent in the crate with her. Check out www.primopads.com for non-absorbent dog beds. Also, make sure the crate is not too large. When you are not home she can be in the crate for 5-6 hours and should be able to hold it for that long if she went potty outside right before. When you are home, take her outside more often though to speed up potty training. You can experiment a bit with how much freedom to give her and how often to take her potty since she is an older puppy. Start with taking her every hour. If she does well, you can try every 1.5 or 2 hours, but if she has accidents again when you increase the time go back to 1 hour. For freedom outside of the crate, give her between 1-2 hours of supervised freedom (no more) and if she still has accidents decrease that to only 45 minutes of supervised freedom, before returning her to the crate. At night when she is crated she should be able to hold it overnight or only need one potty break. After she gets used to holding it for a couple of hours during the day and gets familiar with the crate she will probably start sleeping through the night in the crate without an accident. She needs to be taken out as soon as she wakes up though. If she does need to go potty during the night, take her on a leash, don't play with her, don't feed her, don't give treats, don't get her excited, and don't let her off leash. Keep it super boring and sleepy. After she goes potty outside, take her right back inside and put her back into the crate - you don't want her to have any reason besides needing to really pee to wake up at night. Ignore any crying - expect up to a week of crying. Stay firm about not letting her out when you know she doesn't need anything. If you give in and let her out when she doesn't have to go potty she will cry for longer and you really need to be able to crate her for potty training to work at this point. Crate Training method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Maximus (max)
Rottie Shepherd
1 Year
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Question
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Maximus (max)
Rottie Shepherd
1 Year

I just adopted Max he is supposed to be 1 years old. I need to know how to train him with his age and how to stop him from destroying everything in my house.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
842 Dog owners recommended

Hello Heaven, How to train him depends on his current level of training and what behaviors he has more than his age unless the issue is socialization. If he doesn't have any training, then start with basic house manners and basic obedience. Look into lure-reward training for basic obedience commands, and teach things like sit, Down, Come, Stay, name recognition, Heel, and Place. ww.Wagwalking.com/training has a lot of articles on teaching those individual commands. YouTube is also a good resource for learning how to teach basic commands if you can find a good trainer to follow, such as Ian Dunbar, Kikopup, Zach George, or James Penrith, among many others. For house manners, check out the articles linked below: Respect and listening: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo For the chewing, check out the articles linked below: Chewing: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/train-dog-not-to-chew/ Chewing also: https://wagwalking.com/training/not-chew-on-furniture Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Zeus
Rottweiler mix German Shepherd
8 Months
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Question
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Zeus
Rottweiler mix German Shepherd
8 Months

How can i train my pup. He jumps on everyone who walks passed the house and go wondering around the streets. Please i need help

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
104 Dog owners recommended

Hello, first I would suggest that you do not let Zeus outside unless he is on a leash, ready to go for a walk. This is essential - jumping on people is a trait that will scare people, and wandering the streets is putting Zeus in danger of getting hit by a car. Zeus is more than ready for obedience training. Classes are quite reasonably priced and can change an unbearable dog into a companion that is a joy to have around. The older Zeus gets, the more out of hand he may become, so structured training is the option. Please make a call to a training school. To get Zeus ready for school, start him with the Heel command at home: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel. All three methods can work - practice on every walk and vary the methods to keep it challenging. Both parents, the Rottweiler and the German Shepherd like to have a job to do and must be kept mentally stimulated. So, training is essential. Lots and lots of walks are important, too. Work on these training methods to get Zeus ready for doggy school: https://wagwalking.com/training/obedience-train-a-whippet. Good luck and consistently train!

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Question
Rocky
German Pinscher
2 Months
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Question
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Rocky
German Pinscher
2 Months

It is doing toilet into a home

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

Hello! I am sending you quite a bit of information on potty and crate training just in case you want to use the crate to help with potty training. 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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Question
Shadow
Sheperd Rott
6 Weeks
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Question
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Shadow
Sheperd Rott
6 Weeks

Just wanting to train her properly , for small dogs and kids

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
842 Dog owners recommended

Hello Teresa, Check out the free PDF e-book After You Get Your Puppy, which can be downloaded at the link below as a PDF. www.lifedogtraining.com/freedownloads Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Buddy
Rottie/ Shepherd
6 Months
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Question
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Buddy
Rottie/ Shepherd
6 Months

He wants to chase tires of either kind. I'm especially worried when he does it with the kids on their bikes or toys they are 3,2.

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

Hello! Here is a very in depth article which covers all of the steps needed to correct this behavior. https://wagwalking.com/training/stop-chasing-bicycles

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Sketch of smiling australian shepherd