Imagine bringing your ten-year-old German Shepherd with you to an outdoor festival. You adopted him just six months ago and when you got him he knew very little obedience, but the two of you have been working hard since that time and he has learned a lot. You walk with him down the paved street, past vendors and through crowds. You tell him to "Fuss", and he walks in step with you as you make your way through the crowd. You stop at one of the booths and tell him to "Platz", and he obediently lies down while you talk to the owner of the booth. You make your way over to an outdoor seating area together, and begin to unpack your lunch while you watch several other families nearby do the same thing. A young boy spots your dog and yells out "Come here doggie!" right when you accidentally drop your dog's leash while fussing with your food. Your dog does not even flinch but remains firmly in place. You sigh in relief, pick up your dog's leash, and watch as the boy's mother calls him over to herself.
It is never too late to teach an old dog new tricks, so long as those tricks are something that your older dog can still safely perform. Even older dogs love to learn and can benefit from obedience training mentally, physically, and emotionally. If you have recently rescued an older dog and wish to train him in German, or have an older dog who already knows obedience commands but you desire to teach him German as well, it is not too late to train him.
There are many wonderful reasons for teaching a dog German commands. Perhaps German is your native language or you are moving to Germany. Perhaps you like the forcefulness of the German language, and you would find it easier to instruct your dog in a language that already sounds confident. Perhaps you want to be the only one who can instruct your dog. Perhaps you want to participate in a club or a dog sport that uses German commands, or perhaps you just like the German language and enjoy using German commands more than commands in any other language. Whatever the reason, teaching a dog German commands is just as easy or as difficult as teaching Fifi commands in any other language. The level of difficulty simply depends on which command you are teaching, not on which language you use. If you have trained your dog in a language other than German before, then teaching your dog in German should come easily to you.
Which method you should use to train your dog will depend on your dog's current level of training. If your dog already knows all of the basic commands that you wish to teach, in a language other than German, then the quickest way to teach him those same commands in German is to use 'The Retrain Method'". If your dog already knows hand signals for the commands that you want to teach him, with or without verbal commands in a language other than German, then you can use 'The Hand Signal Method'. If your dog has never learned the commands that you wish to train, in any language, or you wish to start over with your dog's training, then you can use 'The Start Fresh Method'.
If you use 'The Start Fresh Method' then you will need to find instructions on how to teach each command that you are wanting to train. If you do not know German or would prefer to learn how to teach the command by following instructions in a language other than German, then you will need to find instructions in a language that you can read. Wag!'s Training Resources page contains articles with instructions in English for how to teach such commands as: 'Sit', 'Down', 'Heel', 'Stay', 'Come', 'Leave It', and many more. Find an article that contains instructions for how to teach the command that you are wanting to train, and when you get to a step that says to tell your dog a command such as "Sit", then replace that command with the correct German word instead. For example, if an article says to tell your dog to "Heel" when he is right beside your leg, in the heel position, then tell your dog "Bleib", the German word for "Heel", instead.
To get started, if you do not already know German, then you will need a resource of German words commonly used for dog obedience. You will also need lots of treats or several of your dog's favorite toys, to use as a reward and possibly as a lure. If you are using 'The Hand Signal Method' then your dog will also need to know hand signals for the commands that you wish to teach in German. If you are using 'The Retrain Method' then your dog will also need to know the commands that you wish to teach him in German in another language already. If you are using 'The Start Fresh Method' then you will also need a resource with instructions for how to teach each of the commands that you wish to train, in a language that you can read or understand. This resource does not have to be in German though. Wag!'s Training Resources Page is one such resource. For 'The Start Fresh Method' you might also need props, an assistant, a particular type of location, or tools such as a leash and collar, depending on which command you train and how you teach it. For all of the methods, you will need a great attitude, patience, good timing, and consistency.