You welcomed your German Shepherd into your home for a couple of reasons. Firstly, they’re gorgeous dogs who are loyal, friendly and plenty of fun. Secondly, you wanted to train one to protect your house and family with its piercing bark. It’s a well-documented fact that houses with dogs are far less likely to attract intruders and with a German Shepherd on the property, those chances are probably even lower. However, your furball isn't so ferocious and just wants to say hello and cuddle everyone they meet. So some training is definitely needed.
Training your German Shepherd to bark at strangers comes with several other benefits. This type of training will enforce your position as pack leader making it easier to teach your dog any number of other commands. Furthermore, if you can train them to bark on command, you can also train them to fall silent.
Training a German Shepherd to bark at strangers is actually much easier than many owners realize. The first thing you will need to do is find a situation which naturally triggers a bark. You then need to capitalize on that by introducing verbal cues and reinforcing the behavior with tasty treats. Training will then consists of getting your dog into a habit of barking at strangers.
If your German Shepherd is a puppy they should be particularly receptive. This means you could see results in just a few days to a week. But if they’re older and not so interested in learning then you may need two or three weeks. If training works you are on the path to having an effective guard dog. You’ll also have a great way to channel their energy into something productive, not to mention a fantastic way to bond with each other.
Before you can start training you will need to gather a few things. Stock up on mouth-watering treats. Toys and a clicker will also be required, as will friends who can play the role of strangers.
Set aside 15 minutes each day for training. Try and train at a time where there aren’t other distractions around, such as noisy kids.
Once you have all that, just bring enthusiasm and some ear plugs, then work can begin!
Rome is a beautiful German Shepherd. She’s very well behaved and we’ve done everything we can to socialize her. We’ve taken her on daily walks, to family functions, and even invite people over into her space. We’ve done everything we could think of, but Rome still barks at strangers.
We went to the vet yesterday. I did as much as to make it as calm of an experience as possible. Rome immediately knows that we’re at the vet, even before entering the building. So it’s a high stress situation for her. When in the waiting area, I got Rome to lay down at my feet and remain there until the Vet Tech came to call us back. As soon as the vet tech approached, Rome went crazy barking at her. The tech then made a comment at me saying “Rome shouldn’t be so aggressive, you need to socialize her more” and then continued to make judgements on how I was caring for Rome and that I “wasn’t doing enough”. What she said threw me. I’ve never had someone tell me I was doing at bad job at raising a dog. We’ve taken Rome to various places. She usually barks at the beginning, and then realizes there is no danger and settles down quickly.
I want Rome to still be weary of strangers. I don’t live in the best neighborhood and I like when she alerts me when someone is close to the house, she does what I call a “muffled bark” until they’re physically at the front door. I want to continue taking Rome places, but I would not like to have the same experience as I did at the vet. Any ideas on how to keep her from barking when we are around new people?
Hello Alyssa, Suspiciousness, aggression, and timidity can all be genetic traits. Dogs whose temperaments lean toward any of those things need socialization and training even more than other dogs, to help them cope with every day life. Do not worry about loosing Rome's protective abilities. The less suspicious a naturally protective dog is, the better protector she can be because you can actually take her with you to more places and because she has a broad enough understanding of what is normal human behavior, she can tell when something is not normal. The best bred, best trained Shepherds I know are very safe and friendly when the owner indicates that things are normal, but still quietly observe new people and surroundings constantly to see if things are what they should be. The better your dog understands what is normal and can relax, the better she will be able to understand when things are not normal. You have done the right thing by socializing her and your dog has learned through experience that the veterinarian's is an unpleasant place and she likely picked up on your own nervousness in the waiting room, which confirmed her fears. When the vet approached, she assumed he was untrustworthy. It sounds like you have worked hard and done a good job with her. She probably needs extra help in this area just because of who she is. If she is not reactive in other locations, then continue her socialization the way you have been and add in heavily rewarding all of her interactions with strangers by having them give her her favorite toys and tossing her treats that you give to them to give her. Practice this with as many people as you can and as often as you can. Recruit friends who she has not met to help. Start by having that person toss the treats from further away and letting Rome approach when she is friendly and relaxed, rather than the person approach her. You can tell her "Say Hi" too. This will help her learn an "Off" switch so that you can communicate to her when to relax around something in the future. For the Vet's, get her used to wearing a soft silicone basket muzzle. Choose one with holes that are large enough for you to pass tiny treats to her or a straw dipped in liver paste, soft cheese, or peanut butter if no one around her has an allergy. Avoid the ingredient Xylitol in Peanut Butter though. It's a sweetener substitute that is toxic to dogs. Practice trips to the Vet where you heavily reward her the entire time for calm behavior and interactions with any of the staff that is willing. You can even have a friend meet you there and pretend to be a staff member and heavily reward her. Start very slowly, with just the parking lot though and visit the vet's office often. Watch her body language to notice how tense she is. You want the entire experience to be pleasant, expect to feed her her entire dinner, one piece at a time while you are there. You will need your vet's permission for this though. If you feel like you need additional help, then look into hiring a private trainer who is very experienced to help you. It sounds like you are a great trainer, but aggression and fear are difficult, so don't feel bad about wanting a bit more help. If there is a chance she will bite your friends or other people while practicing this, even from a distance, then start by using the muzzle for all training. You can get her used to wearing a muzzle by introducing it to her with food. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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How to make my dog bigger
Hello, First, know that at 7 months, pup is still growing. Many dogs will have their full height by 12-18 months, and that height will generally be whatever pup inherited from their mom and dad. Muscles and overall frame may continue to fill out up to three years of age. I am not a vet, so I suggest speaking to your vet about nutritional or weight training you want to do to encourage growth. Height will likely be whatever pup inherited. Pup's muscle mass will be mostly genetic but can be effected by exercise and diet. Before 1 year of age, pup should not participate in exercise that is too strenuous because it could harm bone and joints that are still growing and closing though. Contact your vet. I am not a vet. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Doesnt bark at anyone
Hello Amit, Find something that he will bark at, like a recording of other dogs, the doorbell, a siren, a cat, or anything else. Use that thing to trigger him barking. While he is barking, excitedly tell him to "Speak!" or a similar word you would like to use when he sees people later, such as "Alert!". As he is barking, praise him and reward him with a treat. Practice triggering the barking while telling him to "Speak!" and rewarding and praising him until he will bark when you say "Speak" without the trigger, like the doorbell, present. When he has learned to "Speak!", then whenever he sees people somewhere that you would like for him to bark at, like out your window or at your door, command "Speak!" and reward with a treat. Recruit people to be in that area frequently so that you can practice this often, if you don't have enough people present to practice this very often. Practice this so often that he begins to bark before you give the "Speak!" command. When he does so, reward him with five treats, one treat a time. At that point, wait until he barks on his own before you reward him. If he doesn't bark within seven seconds of seeing a person, give him a hint though and tell him to "Speak!", then reward with one treat. Eventually if you practice this and reward him barking at people automatically he should offer the behavior and bark at people on his own in hopes of getting a treat. Once he is doing that you can give less and less treats overtime and use praise and other rewards like a toy, instead. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Hello, Winnie is always fairful at stranger and never back at stranger.
Hello Chobogu, Check out the article I have linked below. I also highly suggest enrolling in a puppy kindergarten class that emphasizes socialization through positive reinforcement, puppy play, and getting puppies used to the other class participant people. Shy dog: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-socialize-a-shy-dog/ The main issue at this age with a puppy is probably a lack of positive exposure and experiences with people. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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It doesn't bark and is friendly with everyone even strangers
Hello Seth, Start by teaching pup a Speak command. Speak: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-to-speak Once pup knows that command, decide in what situations you want pup to bark at someone. Practice giving pup the speak command in those types of situations, even if you need some help acting something out from a friend pup doesn't know - always make sure to keep everyone's safety in mind and never do anything that could lead to someone being bitten though. Command pup to speak each time you practice the pretend situation with pup around people. Practice with a number of different people so pup associates it with multiple people acting or approaching a certain way and not just one person. After practicing a lot, repeat the situations but wait seven seconds before commanding speak. If pup barks on their own, reward extra with praise and treats! Practice until pup can bark each time the situation happens before you have given the command - so it's an automatic cue for pup to bark. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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How to make them poop outside and how to make them bark at strangers
Hello! I am sending you information on potty training as well as crate training. There is a lot of information, but it should help you with this process. 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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My dog doesn't bark at stranger but too playful
Hello Amusan, To teach pup to bark and be more alert, first, teach pup the Speak command. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-to-speak Once pup knows the speak command, recruit friends pup doesn't know to step onto the property while pup watches from a window or fence. Command speak and reward with a treat when they do. Practice with telling pup to speak each time the person is on the property, until pup barks on their own when the person enters without saying speak. At that point, have the person step onto the property, wait seven seconds to see if pup will bark on their own, reward if they do, and command speak if they don't - then reward but give a smaller reward when you tell pup opposed to when pup does it on their own. Practice until pup will bark each time someone enters the property. Practice with different people you can recruit, that pup doesn't know so that pup will learn to do this with anyone who enters the property and not just that one person. Draw pup's attention to people outside or people on your property, and reward pup when you see them watching someone in general - so that pup will begin watching people and staying more alert as a habit. Pup doesn't have to bark to reward this one - just reward when pup is watching someone and you notice that. I also recommend teaching the Quiet command, so that you can tell pup when to stop barking after they alert. Quiet method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark It's also normal for an 11 week old puppy to be friendly - that is actually a good response at this age. Spend time socializing pup with a lot of people so pup learns to feel confident around new people and can tell the difference between someone safe who you accept and someone acting suspicious as an adult. Between 1-2 years is when true protective instincts often emerge. If you have working on teaching pup obedience commands and how to trust and listen to you, and have gotten pup around enough different people as a puppy for them to feel confident, most Shepherds will naturally show more protective instincts after a year. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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