Best Of German Shepherds

Best Of German Shepherds: The German Shepherd (German: Deutscher Schäferhund, German pronunciation: [ˈʃɛːfɐˌhʊnt]) is a breed of medium to large-sized working dog that originated in Germany. In the English language, the breed’s officially recognized name is German Shepherd Dog (sometimes abbreviated as GSD). The breed was officially known as the Alsatian in Britain from after the First World War until 1977 when its name was changed back to German Shepherd. Despite its primitive, wolf-like appearance the German Shepherd is a relatively modern breed of dog, with their origin dating to 1899. As part of the Herding Group, German Shepherds are working dogs developed originally for herding sheep. Since that time however, because of their strength, intelligence, trainability, and obedience, German Shepherds around the world are often the preferred breed for many types of work, including disability assistance, search-and-rescue, police and military roles, and acting. The German Shepherd is the second-most registered breed by the American Kennel Club and seventh-most registered breed by The Kennel Club in the United Kingdom.

german physical traits
german physical traits

Brief Introduction Of German Shepherds!

German Shepherds are medium to large-sized dogs. The breed standard height at the withers is 60–65 cm (24–26 in) for males, and 55–60 cm (22–24 in) for females. German Shepherds are longer than tall, with an ideal proportion of 10 to 8 1/2. The AKC official breed standard does not set a standard weight range. They have a domed forehead, a long square-cut muzzle with strong jaws and a black nose. The eyes are medium-sized and brown. The ears are large and stand erect, open at the front and parallel, but they often are pulled back during movement. A German Shepherd has a long neck, which is raised when excited and lowered when moving at a fast pace. The tail is bushy and reaches to the hock.

German Shepherds have a double coat which is close and dense with a thick undercoat. The coat is accepted in two variants; medium and long. The long-hair gene is recessive, making the long-hair variety rarer. Treatment of the long-hair variation differs across standards; they are accepted but not competed with standard coated dogs under the German and UK Kennel Clubs while they can compete with standard coated dogs, but are considered a fault in the American Kennel Club. The FCI accepted the long-haired type in 2010, listing it as the variety b—while short-haired type is listed as the variety a.

Most commonly, German Shepherds are either tan/black or red/black. Most color varieties have black masks and black body markings which can range from a classic “saddle” to an over-all “blanket.” Rarer color variations include the sable, pure-black, pure-white, liver, silver, blue, and panda varieties. The all-black and sable varieties are acceptable according to most standards; however, the blue and liver are considered to be serious faults and the all-white is grounds for instant disqualification from showing in conformation at All Breed and Specialty Shows.

german shepherd mix lab
german shepherd mix lab

German Shepherd’s Intelligence

German Shepherds were bred specifically for their intelligence, a trait for which they are now famous. In the book The Intelligence of Dogs, author Stanley Coren ranked the breed third for intelligence, behind Border Collies and Poodles. He found that they had the ability to learn simple tasks after only five repetitions and obeyed the first command given 95% of the time. Coupled with their strength, this trait makes the breed desirable as police, guard and search and rescue dogs, as they are able to quickly learn various tasks and interpret instructions better than other breeds.

All About German Shepherd’s Temperament

German Shepherds are moderately active dogs and are described in breed standards as self assured. The breed is marked by a willingness to learn and an eagerness to have a purpose. They are curious, which makes them excellent guard dogs and suitable for search missions. They can become overprotective of their family and territory, especially if not socialized correctly. They are not inclined to become immediate friends with strangers. German Shepherds are highly intelligent and obedient, as well as being protective of their owners.

Aggression and Biting

Further information: Dog bite prevention
While an Australian report from 1999 provides statistics showing that German Shepherds are the breed third most likely to attack a person in some Australian locales, once their popularity is taken into account, the percentages of GSD attacks drops to 38th.

oldest german shepherd
oldest german shepherd

According to the National Geographic Channel television show Dangerous Encounters, the bite of a German Shepherd has a force of over 1,060 newtons (238 lbf) (compared with that of a Rottweiler, over 1,180–1,460 newtons (265–328 lbf), a Pit bull, 1,050 newtons (235 lbf), a Labrador Retriever, of approximately 1,000 newtons (230 lbf), or a human, of approximately 380 newtons (86 lbf)).

Modern Breed

The modern German Shepherd breed is criticized by some for straying away from Max von Stephanitz’s original ideology that German Shepherds should be bred primarily as working dogs and that breeding should be strictly controlled to eliminate defects quickly. He believed that, above all else, German Shepherds should be bred for intelligence and working ability.

The Kennel Club, in the United Kingdom, is involved in a dispute with German Shepherd breed clubs about the issue of soundness in the show-strain of the breed. The show-strains have been bred with an extremely sloping topline (back) that causes poor gait in the hind legs. Working-pedigree lines, such as those in common use as service dogs, generally retain the traditional straight back of the breed.

The debate was catalyzed when the issue was raised in the BBC documentary, Pedigree Dogs Exposed, which said that critics of the breed describe it as “half dog, half frog”. An orthopedic vet remarked on footage of dogs in a show ring that they were “not normal”.

The Kennel Club’s position is that “this issue of soundness is not a simple difference of opinion, it is the fundamental issue of the breed’s essential conformation and movement.” The Kennel Club has decided to retrain judges to penalize dogs suffering these problems.

The Kennel Club also recommends testing for haemophilia and hip dysplasia, other common problems with the breed.

small german shepherd mix
small german shepherd mix

Use As A Working Dog

German Shepherds are a popular selection for use as working dogs. They are known for being easy to train and good for performing tasks and following instructions. They are especially well known for their police work, being used for tracking criminals, patrolling troubled areas and detection and holding of suspects. Additionally, thousands of German Shepherds have been used by the military. Usually trained for scout duty, they are used to warn soldiers to the presence of enemies or of booby traps or other hazards. German Shepherds have also been trained by military groups to parachute from aircraft or as anti-tank weapons. They were used in World War II as messenger dogs, rescue dogs and personal guard dogs. A number of these dogs were taken home by foreign servicemen, who were impressed by their intelligence.

popular selection for use as working dogs. They are known for being easy to train and good for performing tasks and following instructions. They are especially well known for their police work, being used for tracking criminals, patrolling troubled areas and detection and holding of suspects. Additionally, thousands of German Shepherds have been used by the military. Usually trained for scout duty, they are used to warn soldiers to the presence of enemies or of booby traps or other hazards. German Shepherds have also been trained by military groups to parachute from aircraft or as anti-tank weapons. They were used in World War II as messenger dogs, rescue dogs and personal guard dogs. A number of these dogs were taken home by foreign servicemen, who were impressed by their intelligence.

The German Shepherd is one of the most widely used breeds in a wide variety of scent-work roles. These include search and rescue, cadaver searching, narcotics detection, explosives detection, accelerant detection and mine detection dog, among others. They are suited for these lines of work because of their keen sense of smell and their ability to work regardless of distractions. At one time the German Shepherd was the breed chosen almost exclusively to be used as a guide dog for the visually impaired. When formal guide dog training began in Switzerland in the 1920s under the leadership of Dorothy Eustis, all of the dogs trained were German Shepherd females. An experiment in temperament testing of a group of Labrador Retrievers and German Shepherds showed that the Retrievers scored higher on average in emotional stability and ability to recover promptly from frightening situations, cooperative behavior and friendliness; while the German Shepherds were superior in aggression and defensive behavior. These results suggested that Labrador Retrievers were more suited to guide dog work while German Shepherds were more suited to police work. Currently, Labradors and Golden Retrievers are more widely used for this work, although there are still German Shepherds being trained. In 2013, about 15% of the dogs trained by Guide Dogs of America are German Shepherds, while the remainder are Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers.

do german shepherds shed a lot
do german shepherds shed a lot

The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association in the United Kingdom states that crosses between Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers make the best guide dogs, although they also train some German Shepherds, as well as some other breeds. Guide Dogs for the Blind in the United States trains only Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers and crosses between these breeds. Guide Dogs Queensland in Australia also trains only Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers.

German Shepherds are still used for herding and tending sheep grazing in meadows next to gardens and crop fields. They are expected to patrol the boundaries to keep sheep from trespassing and damaging the crops. In Germany and other places these skills are tested in utility dog trials also known as HGH (Herdengebrauchshund) herding utility dog trials.

One Mexican German Shepherd, Zuyaqui, was dissected and his body put on display at the Sedena’s “Narco Museum” in Mexico. He is regarded to be the dog who has captured the most drugs in Mexican police and military history.

A Brief History Of German Shepherd’s

Adolf Hitler acquired a German Shepherd named “Prinz” in 1921, during his years of poverty, but he had been forced to lodge the dog elsewhere. However, she managed to escape and return to him. Hitler, who adored the loyalty and obedience of the dog, thereafter developed a great liking for the breed. Holocaust victim Benjamin Jacobs described running away from German Shepherd dogs who harassed his family at Auschwitz extermination camp, where over 1 million people were murdered.

hunchback german shepherd
hunchback german shepherd

In 2018, a genetic study found that just prior to 1859 a broadly distributed European herding dog had given rise to the German Shepherd, the French Berger Picard, and the five Italian herding breeds: Bergamasco Shepherd, Cane Paratore, Lupino del Gigante, Pastore d’Oropa, and the Pastore della Lessinia e del Lagorai.

In the 1800s northwest Europe (Belgium, Germany, Netherlands) the most common dog used to herd sheep and protect the homes was the so-called “continental shepherd dog”. These dogs all looked very similar at that time, and it was around 1890 that the three breeds (Belgian Shepherd, German Shepherd and Dutch Shepherd) went their separate ways. Of those breeds, the Dutch shepherd looks closest to the continental shepherd of that time.

During the 1850s, attempts were being made to standardize dog breeds. Dogs were being bred to preserve traits that assisted in their job of herding sheep and protecting their flocks from predators. In Germany this was practiced within local communities, where shepherds selected and bred dogs. It was recognized that the breed had the necessary skills for herding sheep, such as intelligence, speed, strength and keen senses of smell. The results were dogs that were able to do such things, but that differed significantly, both in appearance and ability, from one locality to another.

german shepherd puppies maine
german shepherd puppies maine

To combat these differences, the Phylax Society was formed in 1891 with the intention of creating standardized development plans for native dog breeds in Germany. The society disbanded after only three years due to ongoing internal conflicts regarding the traits in dogs that the society should promote; some members believed dogs should be bred solely for working purposes, while others believed dogs should be bred also for appearance. While unsuccessful in their goal, the Phylax Society had inspired people to pursue standardizing dog breeds independently.

With the rise of large, industrialized cities in Germany, the predator population began to decline, rendering sheepdogs unnecessary. At the same time, the awareness of sheepdogs as a versatile, intelligent class of canine began to rise. Max von Stephanitz, an ex-cavalry captain and former student of the Berlin Veterinary College, was an ex-member of the Phylax Society who firmly believed dogs should be bred for working. He admired the intelligence, strength and ability of Germany’s native sheepdogs, but could not find any one single breed that satisfied him as the perfect working dog.

In 1899, Von Stephanitz was attending a dog show when he was shown a dog named Hektor Linksrhein. Hektor was the product of few generations of selective breeding and completely fulfilled what Von Stephanitz believed a working dog should be. He was pleased with the strength of the dog and was so taken by the animal’s intelligence, loyalty and beauty, that he purchased him immediately. After purchasing the dog he changed his name to Horand von Grafrath and Von Stephanitz founded the Verein für Deutsche Schäferhunde (Society for the German Shepherd Dog). Horand was declared to be the first German Shepherd Dog and was the first dog added to the society’s breed register.

Horand became the center-point of the breeding programs and was bred with dogs belonging to other society members that displayed desirable traits and with dogs from Thuringia, Franconia and Wurttemberg. Fathering many pups, Horand’s most successful was Hektor von Schwaben. Hektor was inbred with another of Horand’s offspring and produced Heinz von Starkenburg, Beowulf and Pilot, who later fathered a total of eighty-four pups, mostly through being inbred with Hektor’s other offspring. This inbreeding was deemed necessary in order to fix the traits being sought in the breed. In the original German Shepherd studbook, Zuchtbuch für Deutsche Schäferhunde (SZ), within the two pages of entries from SZ No. 41 to SZ No. 76, there are four Wolf Crosses. Beowulf’s progeny also were inbred and it is from these pups that all German Shepherds draw a genetic link. It is believed the society accomplished its goal mostly due to Von Stephanitz’s strong, uncompromising leadership and he is therefore credited with being the creator of the German Shepherd Dog.

eastern german shepherd
eastern german shepherd

This inbreeding was deemed necessary in order to fix the traits being sought in the breed. In the original German Shepherd studbook, Zuchtbuch für Deutsche Schäferhunde (SZ), within the two pages of entries from SZ No. 41 to SZ No. 76, there are four Wolf Crosses. Beowulf’s progeny also were inbred and it is from these pups that all German Shepherds draw a genetic link. It is believed the society accomplished its goal mostly due to Von Stephanitz’s strong, uncompromising leadership and he is therefore credited with being the creator of the German Shepherd Dog.


The breed was named Deutscher Schäferhund by von Stephanitz, literally translating to “German Shepherd Dog”. The breed was so named due to its original purpose of assisting shepherds in herding and protecting sheep. At the time, all other herding dogs in Germany were referred to by this name; they thus became known as Altdeutsche Schäferhunde, or Old German Shepherd Dogs.

The direct translation of the name was adopted for use in the official breed registry; however, at the conclusion of World War I, it was believed that the inclusion of the word “German” would harm the breed’s popularity, due to the anti-German sentiment of the era. The breed was officially renamed by the UK Kennel Club to “Alsatian Wolf Dog”, after the French region of Alsace bordering Germany. This name was also adopted by many other international kennel clubs.

Eventually, the appendage “wolf dog” was dropped, after numerous campaigns by breeders who were worried that becoming known as a wolf-dog hybrid would affect the breed’s popularity and legality. The name Alsatian remained for five decades, until 1977, when successful campaigns by dog enthusiasts pressured the British kennel clubs to allow the breed to be registered again as German Shepherds. The word “Alsatian” still appeared in parentheses as part of the formal breed name and was only removed in 2010.


When the UK Kennel accepted registrations in 1919, 54 German Shepherds were registered. By 1926 this number had grown to over 8,000. The breed gained international recognition after the end of World War I. Returning soldiers spoke highly of the breed and animal actors Rin Tin Tin and Strongheart popularised the breed further. The first German Shepherd Dog registered in the United States was Queen of Switzerland. Her offspring suffered from defects as the result of poor breeding, which caused the breed to suffer a decline in popularity during the late 1920s.

girl german shepherd names
girl german shepherd names

Popularity increased again after the German Shepherd Sieger Pfeffer von Bern became the 1937 and 1938 Grand Victor in American Kennel club dog shows, only to suffer another decline at the conclusion of World War II, due to anti-German sentiment. Popularity increased gradually until 1993, when they became the third most popular breed in the United States. As of 2016, the German Shepherd is the second most popular breed in the US. Additionally, the breed is typically among the most popular in other registries. The German Shepherd Dog’s physique is very well suited to competing in shows and competitions, such as agility trials.


Many common ailments of the German Shepherd are a result of the inbreeding practiced early in the breed’s life. One such common ailment is hip and elbow dysplasia which may cause the dog to experience pain later on in life and may cause arthritis. A study conducted by the University of Zurich found that 45% of the police working dogs were affected by degenerative spinal stenosis, although a small sample size was used. The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals found that 19.1% of German Shepherd are affected by hip dysplasia. There are however ways to help prevent hip dysplasia. They include making sure you get them from a good breeder, keeping them on a healthy diet, and limiting the amount of jumping or rough play. Due to the large and open nature of their ears, German Shepherds are not prone to ear infections because there is no hair in the outer ear canal to hold debris or moisture. According to a recent survey in the UK, the median life span of German Shepherds is 10.95 years, which is normal for a dog of their size.

what is gsd
what is gsd

Degenerative myelopathy, a neurological disease, occurs with enough regularity specifically in the breed to suggest that the breed is predisposed to it. A very inexpensive DNA saliva test is now available to screen for degenerative myelopathy. The test screens for the mutated gene that has been seen in dogs with degenerative myelopathy. A small study in the UK showed 16% of young asymptomatic GSDs to be homozygous for the mutation, with a further 38% being carriers. Now that a test is available the disease can be bred out of breeds with a high preponderance. The test is only recommended for predisposed breeds, but can be performed on DNA samples from any dog, collected through swabbing the inside of the animal’s cheek with a sterile cotton swab. Prospective German Shepherd buyers can now request the test from the breeder or buy from a breeder that is known to test their dogs.

Additionally, German Shepherds have a higher than normal incidence of Von Willebrand disease, a common inherited bleeding disorder, and exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI), a degenerative disease of the pancreas. It is estimated that 1% of the UK GSD population suffers from this disease. Treatment is usually provided in the form of pancreatic supplements taken with food.

Skeletal health and supplementation
Musculoskeletal disorders are debilitating conditions that are often associated with genetic makeup, malnutrition, and stress-related events. Some breeds like the German shepherd, are predisposed to a variety of different skeletal disorders, including but not limited to: canine hip dysplasia, Cauda equina syndrome, and osteoarthritis. These conditions can be a result of poor breeding or induced by intense exercise and poor diet.

Canine hip dysplasia (CHD) is an orthopedic condition resulting from abnormal development of the hip joint and surrounding tissue causing the instability and partial dislocation of the hip joint, resulting in pain, inflammation, lameness, and potentially osteoarthritis of the joint. German shepherds are genetically predisposed to CHD and the University of Veterinary Medicine in Germany found its prevalence estimated to be approximately 35% of veterinary cases associated with the disorder.

german shepherd from germany
german shepherd from germany

Osteoarthritis is one of the main contributors of musculoskeletal pain and disabilities that commonly affect German shepherds. Mechanical stress, oxidative damage and inflammatory mediators combine to induce the gradual degeneration of the articular cartilage in the joint, resulting in reduced muscle mass, pain, and locomotion.

It is essential to feed a well-balanced diet designed for large breeds like the German shepherd, to ensure adequate growth rates and proper maintenance of musculoskeletal health. Dietary energy levels should be monitored and controlled throughout all life stages and activity levels of the German shepherd to assist in the prevention and treatment of musculoskeletal disorder symptoms. Several dietary factors play a crucial role in maintaining skeletal health and are described as follows.

Appropriate calcium levels are vital in developing a strong skeletal system and aid in preventing orthopaedic diseases like Canine Hip Dysplasia. Furthermore, the ratio of calcium and phosphorus must be balanced and at a recommended ratio of 1.2:1 to ensure proper bone development and structure. Imbalances in calcium and phosphorus levels can result in various skeletal complications. Excess phosphorus can produce lesions in bones whereas excessive calcium can lead to hypocalcaemia and result in excess bone deposition, interfering with normal bone development. In extreme circumstances of insufficient calcium intake, bone resorption can occur due to the body withdrawing calcium deposits from the skeletal frame as a last resort to fulfill dietary needs.

Omega-3 fatty acids such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), have been shown to be highly effective in the prevention of cartilage catabolism in in vitro models, suggesting that its supplementation in food could aid in decreasing the symptoms of osteoarthritis in German shepherds. Furthermore, EPA and DHA inhibit key regulators of the inflammatory process and suppress their activation which can help alleviate pain and reduce inflamed joints associated with many skeletal disorders. Ensuring an appropriate ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids of approximately 5:1 is very important for inflammation processes. Animals source, specifically marine life such as fish, krill, and mussels, and plant sources such as flaxseed, soybean and canola oil, are particularly rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

mittelwest german shepherd

Glucosamine is an amino-monosaccharide that naturally occurs in all tissues, particularly in articular cartilage of joints and from the biosynthesis of glucose. Natural synthesis of glucosamine occurs in the extracellular matrix of articular cartilage in joints. However, as a result of damage to the joint or cartilage, there is decreased ability to synthesize glucosamine resulting in the deterioration of the joint, and supplementation is required. Clinical trials of long term administration of glucosamine in German Shepherds have reduced symptoms of degenerative joint disease and accelerated cartilage healing. Anti-inflammatory effects of glucosamine are believed to contribute to the reduction of pain, promote joint recovery and mobility, and prevent further cartilage degradation. Similarly, chondroitin supplementation is proposed to have comparable results in inhibiting degradative enzymes within the cartilage matrix to reduce the effects of osteoarthritis, but further research is required to assess long term benefits.

Vitamins such as A and D also have crucial roles in bone development and maintenance by regulating bone and calcium metabolism. Adequate levels should be incorporated into a German shepherd diet to promote a healthy musculoskeletal system.

In popular culture

German Shepherds have been featured in a wide range of media. In 1921 Strong heart became one of the earliest canine film stars, and was followed in 1922 by Rin Tin Tin, who is considered the most famous German Shepherd. Both have stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. German Shepherds were used in the popular Canadian series The Littlest Hobo.

Batman’s dog Ace the Bat-Hound appeared in the Batman comic books, initially in 1955, through 1964. Between 1964 and 2007, his appearances were sporadic.

In the 1957 film Old Yeller, the rabid Great Plains wolf who infects the eponymous character isn’t played by a wolf, but by a male German Shepherd.

A German Shepherd named Inspector Rex is the star of an Austrian Police procedural drama program of the same name, which won many awards, where German Shepherd Rex assists the Vienna Kriminalpolizei homicide unit. The show was aired in many languages.

german shepherd belgian malinois
german shepherd belgian malinois

German Shepherd Training

German Shepherds are a famous and well-known breed all around the world because of their high intelligence and loyalty. To top it up, they are agile, swift and powerful. German Shepherds can do anything when they set their minds to something or when they are trained well by their owners. This is why German Shepherds are used by the police force, rescue workers and even the military force. They also make good pets and guide dogs for the visually impaired because of their strong mental abilities and great sense of duty, although in the recent years Labradors and Golden Retrievers are more widely used for this purpose.

Facts about the German Shepherd

It is no doubt that German Shepherds are good companions for human beings and are most-sought after as pets. In order to gain most out of this breed, you need to first learn and research about them before getting a German shepherd as a pet.

First of all, this breed requires a lot of patience and understanding for it to be a good pet. The owner needs to take the time out to provide daily exercise, mental stimulation and ‘exclusive’ German shepherd training for his or her pet. Why is this important? German Shepherds require a purpose in their life to keep them busy and entertained. A bored German Shepherd can be destructive, therefore the owner should always make an effort to prevent this behavior. Secondly, it is very important that you show your German Shepherd who the master is! These dogs respond well to firm leadership and authority. Failing to do so can make your German Shepherd aggressive towards you.

Lastly, these dogs are very protective about their family and owner, so they can be territorial when strangers show up. You can stop this by working on your pet socialization skills.

dogs 101 german shepherd
dogs 101 german shepherd

Training a German Shepherd

“If you don’t train them, don’t blame them”


Training a German Shepherd depends on its age and temperament. A puppy obviously requires a lot of discipline, time and attention. But at the same time, even some older German Shepherds are difficult to train if they come from an uncaring owner and home.

You need to enter into the mindset of your German Shepherd to train him or her. They are governed by instincts and so it is your responsibility to balance your dog’s instincts through training. The first thing you should do for training is establish a social hierarchy in your home when your pet arrives to its new house. In a dog’s world, social hierarchy consist of the Alpha dog, Beta dog and the Omega dog, The Alpha dog is the leader of the pack and lies on the top level of social hierarchy followed by the Beta dog. This is why a Beta dog is submissive towards the Alpha dog but can dominate other dogs. Last in the hierarchy is the Omega dog, which is submissive to all the dogs and cannot dominate anybody.

To build your relationship with your dog you need to establish the fact that you are the Alpha dog of the pack. This is simply done by being firm, yet gentle with your dog. For example, never feed your pet when he or she wants, but according to the feeding time you have set for your pet. The Alpha dog always eats first so make sure your pets feeding time is after your breakfast, lunch and dinner. Dominating your pet is very important in German Shepherd training.

images of german shepherds
images of german shepherds

Begin teaching your dog basic commands to reinforce your position in the hierarchy. Always use a positive but an authoritative tone when bidding your pet to do something. Always reward him or her when they follow your commands by giving them a treat or a simple pat on the head. Also correct your pet when it does something wrong. Don’t give it a free rein or your pet will consider him or herself as the ‘Alpha dog’ which will make your pet aggressive towards you. For example, never let your German Shepherd sit on the furniture or bed. This makes them think that they are the leader/master.

In conclusion, as long as you make your position as the “boss” very clear to your pet, he or she will be well-trained and be the best pet for your family!

German Shepherd Help

Hello and welcome to German Shepherd Help! This website is here to offer effective tips for both new and veteran German Shepherd owners. German Shepherds are a great breed and can be a loyal friend if they are trained properly.

Here at German Shepherd help, we cover a variety of issues and concerns that you may have with your dog. You’ll find write-ups on obedience, training tips, puppies, barking, growling, health issues. The list goes on and on.

This site will be a good resource for many of your needs regarding your pet. If you are looking for a comprehensive guide to cover everything you want to know about German Shepherd help then I highly recommend you check out SIT, STAY, FETCH.

german shepherd rescue iowa
german shepherd rescue iowa

German Shepherd Help Best Tips

Much of the advice you may hear from friends just isn’t the best way to quickly train your German Shepherd properly. Some of this advice can even hinder your dog’s training. It is important to have a good overall view of effective German Shepherd training in order to provide your pet with a life that he or she can enjoy and feel comfortable in.

The best time to start training your German Shepherd is the very first day you bring it home. Grown dogs can be trained, though it is much easier if you are starting with a puppy. Just make sure you know the right ways to start your dog’s education and refrain from using poor advice such as hitting or slapping your dog when it misbehaves.

Be the Alpha. German Shepherds must respect you as being the alpha dog. If they think that they are the alpha then you will have a very difficult time controlling them. Being alpha doesn’t mean that you have to be aggressive to your dog. It just means that both you and your dog understand that you are in charge.

This just scratches the surface of some of the tips we have here at German Shepherd Help. Feel free to browse around and I’m sure you’ll find some useful information on raising your German Shepherd. If you have any friends who are looking for some German Shepherd help, please let them know about this website. We would love to help them.

german shepherds for sale in illinois
german shepherds for sale in illinois

Lastly, don’t forget to check out Secrets to Dog Training. This guide offers so much good information on raising your German Shepherd. All common dog problems are addressed with effective solutions.

How To Train A German Shepherd

German Shepherds are one of the most intelligent of all dog breeds. They usually enjoy training and are quite easy to train. They like to have an owner who is firm and clearly in charge, without being harsh. German Shepherds have been successfully trained using a variety of methods. How to train a German Shepherd will often depend on your own philosophy about training and what kind of training methods you are comfortable using.

Training Your German Shepherd

You can train your German Shepherd at home, on your own, or by working with a trainer in a class. Both ways will work. If you train at home, there are many good training DVDs, CDs, and books to help you with your training. If you feel you aren’t making progress, you can always call a trainer for private lessons or join a class later.

There are some advantages to training with a class. You can often make faster progress if you work with a good trainer, especially if you are part of a small class. A trainer can observe what you are doing with your dog and guide you. You can see things demonstrated in class. And your dog will have a chance to socialize with other dogs and meet other people, so he can practice his manners.

german shepherd names male
german shepherd names male

What Your German Shepherd Should Learn

In a basic obedience class your German Shepherd should learn to sit, lie down, stay, come when called, heel by your side, and walk on a loose leash without pulling. Once your dog knows these basic commands you can work on making them more precise. These are the foundation commands for more advanced obedience work. Your dog needs to know these commands thoroughly, and obey them immediately, so he can learn more complicated commands.

How To Train A German Shepherd

There are several different ways you can train your German Shepherd. Most people today use positive reinforcement or clicker training when training their dog. This means that the dog is rewarded when he does what you ask him to do, while his mistakes are overlooked until he figures out what it is you are trying to teach him. For example, if you are teaching your dog to sit using positive reinforcement, each time your dog sits, even on his own, you should praise him and give him a small food reward to let him know he’s done something you wanted him to do. If he lies down or does something else, you ignore the behavior. He should start associating sitting with getting the praise and the reward, so he will start sitting when you ask him to.

Clicker training is one particular kind of positive reinforcement. With clicker training you use the small metal or plastic clicker to “click” and make a sound when your dog does something you like. This helps mark the behavior for your dog, making it a little more precise for him. Then you immediately follow up the click with a small food treat. Otherwise it is just like the positive reinforcement described above. Many dogs get very excited about the clicker and like it when they see it or hear it. They learn to associate it with having fun and probably with the food treats.

german shepherd breeders ny
german shepherd breeders ny

Prior to using positive reinforcement most people trained their dogs using traditional dog training methods. If you took a dog training class prior to the 1990’s this is most likely the way you were taught. It consists of using a slip chain collar on a dog and giving corrective jerks. With this method you need to sometimes apply physical pressure to the dog to put him in a sit or lying down position. Some trainers still use this method today but it is much less popular now.


All of the training methods discussed here will work when it comes to how to train a German Shepherd. German Shepherds are highly intelligent and if you work with your dog consistently you shouldn’t have any trouble training him or her. Choose a method that appeals to you and that fits your dog. Good luck training your German Shepherd!

How to Stop German Shepherd Aggression

A German shepherd makes one of the best pets in the world. They are loyal, intelligent and can risk their life to save their owner. However, do note that not just anybody can own a German shepherd. You need to spend time daily with your German shepherd to stimulate it physically and mentally or your pet will become sad or in a worst case scenario, become aggressive towards you and your family.

It is important to know how to stop a German shepherd aggression because they are very large dogs that grow to about 22 to 26 inches. In addition, they have a strong jaw that can produce a bite with a force of 238 pounds! No wonder they are used as security dogs and police dogs.

However, not all is lost. If you select a dog with a good temperament and personality, you won’t have any problem tackling a German shepherd aggression. In fact, with proper training, you can condition your pet to follow your orders.

rottweiler german shepherd mix puppy

What triggers a German shepherd to be aggressive?

The trouble with German shepherds is that it is natural for them to be aggressive for different reasons. Therefore, if you are planning to own a German shepherd make sure you read up well about it. Also, under no circumstances can you resort to violence or anger to calm you pet’s aggressiveness. Why? It will aggravate your pet even more and upset him or her.

The German shepherd shows aggression by growling, chewing, biting and barking. One of the main reasons they are protective and aggressive is because German Shepherds have a suspicious and territorial nature. He or she might even show their suspicious negative side when they are eating.

Another factor that triggers their aggressive behavior is poor socialization. Young puppies that have been removed from their litter before eight weeks miss interacting with their mothers and the rest of the litter. This causes them to be wary of crowds and strange animals.

On the other hand, some shepherds are aggressive because they have suffered abuse from the hands of their previous owners. This causes them to be on guard when they are around humans because these poor creatures mistrust human beings due to their previous owners.

Their aggression also comes out when the German shepherd wants to establish their social hierarchy in a house. After all, there can only be one Alpha dog in a household!

german shepherd straight back
german shepherd straight back

How to control your German shepherd aggression?

Lucky for you, that as long as you research well about German shepherds properly and be confident in your dealing with them, soon you will have the perfect pet for yourself.

out German shepherds properly and be confident in your dealing with them, soon you will have the perfect pet for yourself.

As his or her owner, you should establish who the master is when you bring your pet home. This is the first part of training and should start from day one. This can be done by giving your pet clear commands and orders in a firm and assertive tone that compels the German shepherd to recognize you as the Alpha leader. Don’t give it a free rein or give into its soulful brown eyes!

If you show any sign of weakness then the German shepherd will try to be the Alpha dog of the house and will fight you constantly for the role. However, if you set the rules from day one that ONLY you are the boss, the German shepherd will never question your authority. Why is that? This breed is the happiest when it is under the control of an Alpha leader.

You should also take your dog for daily training and exercise. This will improve your dog’s social skills when he or she gets used to being around human beings and other animals. Teach him or her new commands and reward them when they follow it. Another simple way of showing your pet who the boss is by making them earn even basic things. For example, when you are feeding your pet, order your pet to sit down before giving it food. Only give it food when your pet does as you say! This conditioning will reinforce the fact that you are the boss! This is basically the psychology behind handling German shepherds, so don’t worry that you are being cruel.

In conclusion, as long as you are firm but kind to your dog, it will learn to stop being aggressive at your command!

german shepherd forums
german shepherd forums

German Shepherd Training Tips

German Shepherds are one of the most intelligent of all breeds and they thrive on training and work. Although the breed was developed from all-purpose herding and working shepherd dogs, right from the beginning German Shepherds have been intended for use as serious police, military, and guard dogs. They have sharp minds and they enjoy demanding work that requires them to think. When you are engaging in German Shepherd training it helps if you train your dog in a way that keeps him interested and alert and not bored.

Training Tips

Many of the training tips that work for training German Shepherds will also work for other breeds. Here are some training tips you can use for all breeds:

Be consistent. Use the same command for an action each time. Don’t change the command word. This will confuse your dog.

Have the same expectations for your dog. If you reward your dog for doing something one day when you give a command, don’t ignore him when he obeys the command the next time you give it. Your training will suffer when you confuse your dog.

Train in several short periods each day. No marathon training sessions. Dogs get bored and they lose interest. Ten to fifteen minutes is long enough for a training session. You can train two or three times per day in these short sessions and you will keep your dog interested in training.

Never train when you’re angry or upset. Your dog can sense it and he won’t want to work. It will affect your training, too.

german shepherd breeders in ky
german shepherd breeders in ky

Keep things cheerful. Dogs learn better when you are cheerful and upbeat. Use a happy voice for commands.

Train every day. If you only train once a week, or a few times a month, don’t expect your dog to succeed at his training. It’s not the dog’s fault, it’s yours. Training requires practice, no matter how smart your dog is.

For German Shepherds

German Shepherds have some special characteristics that you can use to make your training go well.

Many German Shepherds are food-motivated. If your dog is food-motivated, use this to your advantage and give small treats as rewards.

Some German Shepherds are not food-motivated. If your dog isn’t interested in food you will need to find what makes him happy and use that as a reward. For some dogs it’s playing with a special toy as a reward, or belly rubs, or it could be playing with a pair of your socks. Whatever it is, use it to your advantage when training. Something will make your German Shepherd go nuts with excitement.

Use exercise in your training. German Shepherds are large, active dogs and most of them enjoy exercise and play. The more you can make your training like fun and games, the more they will enjoy it.

Take the edge off. If your German Shepherd is too wound up and excited to pay attention to training, take him for a walk or jog before you start your training so he can focus.

Don’t be afraid to require perfection. German Shepherds are one of the world’s best obedience dogs. They can not only learn basic obedience commands, but they are fully capable of performing them to perfection. These dogs can learn the difference between performing a command sloppily and perfectly. Once they know how to do something, you can keep working with them until they do it perfectly.

german shepherd female names
german shepherd female names

Train in a quiet area. German Shepherds can have a strong prey drive so if you train in an open area where cats, squirrels, or other small animals may wander by, your dog may be distracted or even bounce off after the animal. Training in an enclosed area is best, especially when you are just starting out with your training.


These German Shepherd training tips should help you with your training. German Shepherds can excel at obedience, or anything you want to teach them. It just takes persistence and work on your part. Good luck with your training!

German Shepherd Issues

German Shepherds are hardworking dogs who enjoy work. They are one of the most intelligent of all breeds and they are usually easy to train. They have long been used as police dogs, military dogs, assistance dogs for the disabled, and many other kinds of work because they are so intelligent, trainable, and reliable. However, there can be some issues in the breed if dogs are not socialized well or trained properly. German Shepherd issues can include separation anxiety, aggression, timidity, fear biting, and unwanted guarding behavior in the home. Most of these problems can be avoided if a German Shepherd is properly socialized as a puppy and if the owner maintains a position of authority.

Separation Anxiety, Timidity, Fear Biting

These issues usually occur in a dog that lacks self-confidence. The dog may be very closely bonded to their owner, which the owner may even encourage. However, if the dog lacks self-confidence he will feel panicked when the owner has to leave the house. He may be afraid to meet other people. And, if someone tries to pet him or if he finds himself in a new situation, such as going to the vet’s office, the dog may bite out of fear.

German Shepherds are a very loyal and devoted breed so they can become extremely attached to their owners. Normally this is a good thing, but if a dog is not well-socialized then a German Shepherd can become too attached to their owner and it can lead to these problems with anxiety and fear.

golden retriever german shepard mix
golden retriever german shepard mix

The best way to prevent your German Shepherd from developing these issues is to make sure you socialize your puppy well from a young age. Take your puppy places with you and let them meet friendly strangers. Allow them to meet other friendly puppies. One way to do this is by enrolling your puppy in a puppy kindergarten class or a puppy preschool class. These classes are often offered by pet stores, kennel clubs, animal shelters, and dog trainers. They’re a great way to socialize puppies and your puppy can begin to learn some basic manners. Meeting other people and dogs will help build your puppy’s confidence. Confident puppies are less likely to develop behavior problems as adults.

Many times the same places that offer these puppy classes will also offer some basic obedience classes later so this is a good way to find out about dog trainers and training options.

Do not take German Shepherd puppies, or any puppies, to dog parks. Dog parks are rough and tumble places where puppies can be run over or intimidated by adult dogs or bigger dogs. Puppies can easily be injured at a dog park. They are also a place where diseases can be easily spread to puppies.

Aggression, Guarding Behavior

Other German Shepherd issues can include aggression and unwanted guarding behavior. Aggression is not a normal breed trait, although German Shepherds can be trained for Schutzhund, or police work. Trained attack work is very different from aggressive behavior in a dog and it is always under the owner’s control. Aggression is undesirable behavior, whether it is directed at other dogs or toward the owner.

One way to prevent aggression, guarding behavior and other behavior problems in the home with your German Shepherd is to enroll with your dog in a good training class. A well-trained German Shepherd is much less likely to have behavior problems than an untrained dog and the dog will know that you are in charge. A dog that respects you and your authority in the home is less likely to show signs of aggression or try to guard food, toys, or other objects.

german shepherd mutt


All breeds of dogs have their own issues. German Shepherds are no exception. Start socializing your German Shepherd early and enroll in a good training class. Doing these things should solve most German Shepherd issues.

How to Stop German Shepherd Chewing

Like many breeds the German Shepherd can be prone to chewing at times, especially when they are puppies. At that time your shoes, your TV remote, and things like your sunglasses probably aren’t safe to leave lying around the house! A German Shepherd puppy is likely to think anything he can fit in his mouth is a chew toy. Fortunately, when it comes to how to stop German Shepherd chewing, there are some methods that work.

Stop German Shepherd Puppy Chewing

All puppies chew. When they’re very young puppies put things in their mouth to taste them and learn about them. When they’re about four months old puppies start to get their adult teeth. This means they go through weeks of teething, just like human babies. It hurts when their new teeth are erupting through the gums and puppies chew on things seeking relief. And German Shepherd puppies chew on things just because it’s fun and they want to play with stuff.

german shepherd puppies for sale in ms
german shepherd puppies for sale in ms

You can do a lot to prevent German Shepherd puppy chewing. First, be sure to provide your puppy with LOTS of his own toys. You should give him all kinds of toys such as hard rubber Kong toys, Nylabones, rope toys, and even some soft things to chew on. You can also soak and freeze some clean wash cloths for your puppy. Give him a frozen wash cloth to chew on when he’s teething and it will soothe his gums. Keep some in the freezer and wash them as he gets through with them so you can refreeze them.

Of course, if you live with any young puppy you need to keep your valuable possessions put away. Puppies can’t resist taking things that belong to you and they will chew on them, so pick up your shoes, TV remotes, cellphones, sunglasses, and other things that would be tempting for a puppy to chew on.

Prevent German Shepherd Chewing

German Shepherd chewing often continues even when your puppy grows up. These dogs are legendary chewers. But your dog doesn’t have to engage in destructive chewing. You can provide some acceptable things for your German Shepherd to chew on so he won’t do any damage or get in trouble.

To prevent German Shepherd chewing with your adult dog you should provide them with safe things to chew on that can stand up to hard chewing, such as the XXL king-sized black Kong that is usually given to bully breed dogs. German Shepherds are serious chewers and they usually need these tough Kongs. You can also give them the Nylabone “Big Dog” chews. These chews can be hard to find and they are more expensive than some other Nylabones but they will last when your German Shepherd starts chewing on them. German Shepherds will usually destroy most other chew toys fairly quickly.

Black German Shepherds
Black German Shepherds

You can also keep your German Shepherd from chewing on inappropriate things in the house by making sure you give him lots of attention. Some dogs chew because they are bored or lonely. Providing plenty of attention will take care of this problems. You should also make sure that your German Shepherd is getting plenty of exercise. It’s good for your dog and if your dog is pleasantly worn out from exercise he’s less likely to spend his time chewing or looking for things to destroy.

Enrolling your German Shepherd in a good training class is another excellent way to prevent your German Shepherd from chewing. A dog who has his mind occupied by training and what he’s learning is less likely to spend time thinking about chewing.


German Shepherds are champion chewers at all ages. You can stop destructive chewing by giving your German Shepherd plenty of toys and safe things to chew on. Provide lots of attention and exercise. And enroll your German Shepherd in a good training class.

How to Stop German Shepherd Growling

When a large dog such as a German Shepherd growls it can be very threatening to someone, especially to children. It’s important to know why your dog is growling and to know how to prevent it if it’s become a behavior problem.


Growling is one way that your dog communicates with you, with other dogs, with other people, and with strangers. Sometimes it is an appropriate response to a situation and sometimes it’s not. Dogs usually growl when they feel threatened by something and it can be a prelude to taking the next step, which can be snapping or biting. So, it can also be given as a warning.

For example, if your German Shepherd growls when children run around him, he may feel threatened because the children could step on him or injure him. But he may also be giving a warning that if they don’t stop he may do something about it.

Your dog needs to learn that some growling is acceptable, such as when he growls at a menacing stranger. But it is not acceptable to growl at you or a family member.

Black German Shepherd
Black German Shepherd

If your dog growls when you go to the dog park and he meets another dog, or he growls when he meets a stranger, these are not unusual dog behaviors. Your dog may dislike the other dog for some reason, or he may have some reason for disliking the stranger. However, your dog should be well-behaved when he is with you at all times.

If your dog is growling at you or a family member at home, this is unacceptable behavior. This usually means that you are no longer in control of your relationship with your dog and your dog thinks that he is the boss.

What NOT To Do

If your dog is growling at you, do not force a confrontation or try physical punishment with your dog. That approach will only escalate into violence and you will harm your relationship with your dog. Your dog could bite you, or your dog could become afraid of you if you hurt him.

If Your Dog Is Growling

If your dog is growling you should have your veterinarian check him out to make sure there is nothing physically wrong with him. In some cases there can be a physical reason for a dog’s behavior when he growls. If the vet rules out any physical problem, then you should follow the advice below.

Stopping German Shepherd Growling

One of the best ways of stopping German Shepherd growling is to work on training your dog. If your dog is growling at you then you need to sign up for a class with a good trainer instead of trying to train your dog by yourself. Your trainer can help you get control of your dog again. Training helps restore the proper relationship between owner and dog and encourages the dog to look to you as the master. Your dog will learn that he enjoys pleasing you. German Shepherds normally love training and they love to learn so taking a training class with you can completely change your dog’s attitude and stop the growling. It should restore your dog’s respect for you.

different colors of german shepherds

Once you and your German Shepherd have restored your relationship you can discourage any other growling that your dog has been engaging in. When he growls at something or someone inappropriately you can give him a command to do something else and it will stop the growling. Your dog will be under your proper control, as he should be.


Growling is a form of communication and some growling is normal and even desirable. However, it is not acceptable for your German Shepherd to growl at you or other members of your family. Enrolling with your dog in a good training class will restore your position as the leader in the relationship and should stop the growling.

Training German Shepherd Puppies

Puppies are incredibly cute. It’s hard to resist a German Shepherd puppy. They can wrap you around their giant paws and make you do whatever they want. For that reason you may be surprised when your darling puppy starts displaying some rather devilish behavior. Like all puppies, German Shepherd puppies go to their new homes without knowing any manners or having any training. They don’t know about house training or other lessons. They don’t know that nipping people is naughty. It’s up to you to teach your German Shepherd puppy everything he needs to know.

Training German Shepherd Puppies

Training German Shepherd puppies covers a lot of different things in the first few months:

House Training
Bite Inhibition
Crate Training
Good Manners

House Training

The first thing most people need to teach their German Shepherd puppy is house training. For the first few weeks of their life a puppy’s mother cleans up after him. After that a puppy may learn to use newspapers or potty training pads. Most puppies are not house trained or potty trained when they go to their new owners so it will be your task to teach your German Shepherd puppy about potty training. Fortunately, German Shepherd puppies usually learn about potty training very quickly.

images of german shepherds puppies
images of german shepherds puppies

Bite Inhibition

Bite inhibition means that your German Shepherd puppy learns that it’s not okay to nip you or other people even when playing. Puppies usually learn this when they are playing with their mother and littermates but it sometimes takes them a little time to figure out that they can’t nip or play too roughly with humans either. If your puppy does nip you when playing you should stop playing with him and ignore him for a minute. Then you can resume playing. If he nips again, stop playing and ignore him for a longer time. If he nips again, call off play and put him in a time-out until he calms down. If you do this consistently for a few days your puppy will stop the nipping and rough play.


Socialization is important for your German Shepherd’s development as an adult dog. It helps build confidence and will help avoid behavior problems later on. You can take your puppy with you when you go places. Encourage friendly strangers to pet him. Enroll your puppy in a puppy preschool or puppy kindergarten class offered by a pet store, animal shelter, kennel club, or trainer. These classes have lots of puppies learning how to meet and greet each other politely. Some classes also offer some basic obedience lessons.

Crate Training

It’s helpful for your German Shepherd puppy to learn about crate training. If you ever plan to fly with your dog, he will need to fly in a crate. Many people travel with their dog in a crate in the car, which is safer than letting your dog ride loose. And crate training can help with your puppy’s house training. Plus, lots of dogs like to have a safe, quiet place to hang out in the house.

rottweiler german shepherd mix puppies

Good Manners

You can also use the first few months of your German Shepherd puppy’s life to teach him about good manners. You can do this mostly by gently but firmly correcting your puppy when he does things he shouldn’t do, such as grabbing things off the kitchen counter, chewing on things, or jumping on people.


There’s a lot of training for German Shepherd puppies in their first few months but these puppies are very smart and they love to learn things. Spend time with your puppy and teach him what you want him to learn and you will have a very well-behaved puppy.

How to Stop an Aggressive German Shepherd

Aggression is not a typical breed trait for a German Shepherd. These dogs are often protective, but protection is not the same as aggression toward humans or other dogs. Dogs that protect their homes do so when there is a legitimate cause for them to act, such as a burglar or intruder. Dogs that act out of aggression will go out of their way to pick fights or attack others.

Why Does Aggression Occur?

Any breed can have an individual that becomes aggressive. It is an aberration and not normal. In some cases a dog may become aggressive because of a physical health problem. There can be a neurological reason for aggression such as a brain tumor.

If you have a German Shepherd who is beginning to show aggression, the first thing you should do is take him to see your veterinarian. Your vet may be able to find the cause of the behavior problem and treat the dog, which would stop the behavior.

Aggression can occur in some dogs because of early experiences. If you have a rescue German Shepherd who has been abused, it is possible that the dog may have some behavior problems such as aggression. In a case such as that you would probably need to work with a professional dog trainer and/or a canine behavior consultant to help change the dog’s behavior. You can find behavior consultants on the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants’ web site: http://iaabc.org/.

german shepherd puppies for sale pa
german shepherd puppies for sale pa

Finally, in some cases a German Shepherd could start showing aggression in the home if your dog no longer sees you as the master or boss, or the “alpha,” in the relationship. Your dog can start to become aggressive if you try to give commands. For example, if your dog now thinks he’s in charge in the home and you tell him to move off the couch, your dog could start growling at you or try to bite you when you try to make him move.

If that’s the case, then you have a problem. Your dog is now intimidating you so it will be hard for you to make changes in your relationship without some outside help. If you EVER feel yourself threatened by your dog or in danger, you need to contact a professional dog trainer or a behavior consultant for some professional help. Do not risk being bitten or harmed.

Regaining Control

There are some things you can do to try to re-establish yourself as the one in charge in your home.

1.Remove your dog’s food bowl and start feeding him by hand. Feed him each bite out of your own hand. This helps remind your dog that he does, indeed, depend on you for his food. If he wants to eat, he needs to be nice to you.

2.If your dog knows any dog training commands, start requiring your dog to go over them with you before he can go outside to potty or before meals. Again, this emphasizes that you are in charge.

good dog in german
good dog in german

3.If your dog has never been trained, sign up for a dog training class with him. This is one of the very best things you can do with your dog because it will emphasize your roles with each other, putting you back in charge. Your dog will be taking commands from you and learning to obey you again. Plus, most German Shepherds really enjoy obedience training.

Do not hit your dog or physically punish him. That will only make things worse. You will only reassert your position as the leader in the home by being smarter than your dog and showing him that he needs you. Your dog’s natural instinct is to follow your lead so as soon as you convince him that you are in charge again, he will go back to being a loyal follower.


You can stop an aggressive German Shepherd in several ways. Make sure there is nothing physically wrong with your dog. Talk to an expert if your dog has long-term behavior issues with aggression. If your dog has become confused about who’s in charge in the home, follow the suggestions here. Remember, if you ever feel threatened by your dog, contact a professional.

German Shepherd Temperament

The German shepherd is a well-loved breed among its owners, one of the reasons being that it has such an all-rounded personality and temperament. The German shepherd (as the name suggests) is originally from Germany and the breed were used as herding dogs by shepherds. It was Rittmeister Max von Stephanitz who saw a potential in this breed and started breeding them. Thanks to his efforts, today German shepherds are ranked in the top 10 breeds.

max movie dog breed

A point to be noted here is that even though German shepherds are considered to be good pets, it has a certain temperament and needs. If this is the first time you are adopting a dog, you might not know the significance of a canine’s temperament. It is basically the innate physical and mental traits that a breed is born with that influences its behavior in the environment.

You should always get a pet dog that is suitable for your lifestyle or it will be a struggle for you and your pet. This is where the dog’s temperament comes in. For example, some dogs can be left alone for a few hours, but breeds that are kept especially for companionship hate being left alone. Therefore, before adopting a pet, you should look into your lifestyle and conduct research on your options.

Why is it important to research on the German shepherd?

Not all dogs are the same! This is why it is important that you research on the German shepherd temperament to get an idea on what to expect from the breed. A lot of people adopt a German shepherd without doing proper research on them, which they later regret. To help you out, we have listed the main traits of this canine’s temperament here.

The plus side of the German shepherd temperament

This canine is fearless, confident and loyal. It is a very intelligent breed and can learn and grasp commands quickly. Due to its intelligence and courage, German shepherds are used as service dogs in the police and military. Some people have the misconception that this dog is not suitable for a family. That is not true. This canine can be kept as a family pet as long as it is trained well to listen to commands from all family members. Also, because German shepherds thrive on physical activity, they are always ready to play with any family member which makes it a suitable pet for an active family.

Although it appears to be business-like and reserved in nature, the German shepherd is actually very affectionate towards its family and friends.

how much german shepherd cost
how much german shepherd cost

The negative side of the German shepherd temperament

Since this dog is a highly intelligent and active pet, it hates being left alone and can become bored easily. German shepherds should also be trained to accept the owner as the leader of the pack or it will always try to fight for the position from his or her owner. If your family is adopting this pet, you should train your dog to acknowledge every family member as somebody with higher authority than it. In addition, German shepherds are very territorial in nature so make sure that you make an effort to help it socialize with other human beings and creatures. Due to all these traits, this dog needs extensive training from the beginning.


A dog is a man’s best friend. This stands true for a German shepherd as well. Train your German shepherd well and you will have the best companion and champion for life! However, if you don’t have the time to train it well or keep it company, this is not a suitable pet for you.

How to Potty Train a German Shepherd Puppy

A German shepherd makes a lovely and perfect pet for the family because of its loyalty and intelligence. In fact, German shepherds are so intelligent that they are even trained to be used as service dogs in the police and military.

Your reasons for choosing a German shepherd for your pet have probably something to do with its loyalty and active nature. Your family and you also love its handsome yet reserved-looking appearance.

german shepherd brush
german shepherd brush

After much research and debate from your children, you settled on getting a German shepherd puppy. You know you have your work cut out for you because not only do you need to teach the puppy to understand your commands, but you also need to potty train it. After all, you don’t want your house ruined by the over-excited puppy.

Start Potty Training From Day 1

No matter how excited you and your family members are about your first pet, you need to ensure that you start the puppy’s training from day one. Many owners believe in giving the puppy some slack, but that is a very bad idea! Your puppy should start his or her training from day one or it will take your commands lightly or even worse, think of itself as the ‘master of the house’

Steps and Tips On Potty Training Your Puppy

america vs germany
america vs germany

You might be confused on how to potty train a German shepherd puppy so here are some steps and tips to help you:

  • As soon as you feed your puppy, take him or her outside after 20 minutes to the designated potty area.
  • While taking your puppy outside to the designated potty area, make sure you put it on a leash.
  • Take him or her to the designated potty area and give him or her the command “Go potty”. When the puppy does its business, give it a treat.
  • Always make sure that when you take the puppy outside, you take it out by the same door. Routine and consistency is important in potty training your puppy. Therefore, after every meal of the puppy, you need to take it outside.
  • When you first bring your pet, you need to monitor it at all costs before the puppy is fully house- broken.
  • If sometimes you cannot keep an eye on your puppy then keep it inside a comfortable crate so that it doesn’t ruin your house. The puppy might cry or whimper, but to give yourself a break from keeping an eye on it, you need to do this.

How Do You Know Your Puppy Is Learning?

One of the signs that show that your puppy is learning its potty training is that it will scratch the door (from which you take it outside) whenever it wants to go for nature’s call. When you see this sign, slowly stop giving your puppy the treat when it is done doing its business outside.

However, the final sign that your puppy has been potty trained is when it doesn’t ruin your house by accident for straight 25 days. This means that you don’t have to worry about taking out your canine friend because it will tell you itself by scratching or standing in front of the door.

At first, all this training might seem wearisome, but it will be worth your efforts in the end!

carolina dog german shepherd mix
carolina dog german shepherd mix

How to Stop German Shepherd Barking

German shepherds are popular pets due to a number of reasons. They are strong, loyal and intelligent. Having this breed as a pet can be a wonderful experience. However, if you have adopted an untrained German shepherd that has an undesirable habit like biting or barking, then it must be driving you up the wall!

All is not lost. German shepherds are very intelligent animals that can learn things quickly. All you need to do is spend time and effort with your dog to make it realize that it is doing something that is unacceptable for you.

Why Do German Shepherds Bark

If you are annoyed at your dog for continuously barking then you need to realize this – All dogs bark! That is their way to communicate with us. Usually, they do it out of concern for us or simply to get our attention. This is why you should take the time to answer to their bark.

However, in some scenario your German shepherd might choose to continuously bark. Those situations are:

  • Telephone or doorbell ringing
  • Stranger approaching
  • Someone entering your backyard
  • When left alone in the house or when it gets bored.

The above reasons can not only be annoying for you, but also for your neighbors. Before your neighbors take serious actions against you, teach and stop your German shepherd barking!

How To Stop Your German Shepherd Barking

First and foremost, you should teach your German shepherd the ‘quiet” demand so that it knows it is unacceptable to bark when you tell him or her so. You can begin teaching this command by creating a stimulus that will cause him or her to bark. When they bark, tell your pet in a firm and clear voice to be quiet. Reinforce this behavior by giving him or her a treat when it follows what you say.

2 month old german shepherd puppy
2 month old german shepherd puppy

Also, stop your German shepherd barking in situations that will disturb your neighbors. German shepherds are territorial in nature. This is why it might be in habit of barking at strangers or other animals. To make it stop when the doorbell rings; take control of the situation. Over here, you are showing your pet that nothing is wrong. So take him or her to the front door and ask it to sit down. If by now your pet understands the “quiet” command, order your dog to be quiet. Open the door to show that nothing is wrong. This conditioning will make your German shepherd understand that you are not in danger and nothing is wrong when the doorbell rings.

Also, take your German shepherd on long walks with a leash and try improving his or her socializing skills. Whenever it barks, tell him or her firmly to stop. You can also stop this by redirecting his or her attention somewhere else like commanding him or her to sit. When he or she sits down, tell it to be “quiet” again.

This breed also gets bored very easily. It will try to get your attention by barking when it is bored. Try to keep your pet entertained as much as possible every day. Play activities with your German shepherd so that it drains its energy. Your pet might also bark when you leave it home alone. The only way to stop this is by doing nothing! Yes, whenever you leave, don’t say goodbye. In fact, even when you come back home don’t acknowledge your pet till you do some chores. This conditioning will make your canine realize that your leaving or going is not a significant occasion.

Overall, with firm and regular training, your German shepherd will quickly learn to stop barking. At your end, you should ensure that you make an effort to help your pet in a gentle and assertive manner.

How to Stop German Shepherd Biting

German shepherds are not only used as service dogs where they are considered as valuable assets to the police, rescue workers and the military. They are also considered great pets for families with young children. Maybe because it serves in dangerous fields like the police, it has a reputation for being potentially aggressive. In reality, it is a gentle breed with a “bad boy” reputation.

silver german shepherd puppy
silver german shepherd puppy

If it is a gentle breed, then why might it bite you might ask? A German shepherd might bite for a number of justified reasons because it is an animal with an inbuilt instinct! There are certain stimuli or conditions that might make your German shepherd react by biting. These reasons are:

  • Bad upbringing: A German shepherd puppy not trained to understand that biting is harmful for its owners would have the bad habit of biting.
  • Territorial aggression: German shepherds are known for their loyalty and protective nature.
  • Dominance: German shepherds in a new environment will fight for its right to be the Alpha leader of the pack. Initially, it might use aggressive behavior such as growling or snapping which might lead to biting. Therefore as the owner, you need to show him or her that you are the master. This can be achieved by treating your pet in a firm and authoritative manner.
  • Fear or shyness: German Shepherds or most dogs will start biting if they fear something. Shy German shepherds who haven’t been brought up in a social environment will bite if they face new environments or strangers. Again, poor upbringing and no training can agitate your canine.

Older and adult German shepherds require more training and patience if they are in the habit of biting. This is why it so important that if you have a puppy, you stop him or her from biting immediately if he or she shows sign of it.

This breed has an inbuilt trait to be obedient and to respond to authority. Therefore, if you have an adult German shepherd who has a habit of biting, don’t worry. The habit can be broken with firm and authoritative training.

How To Tackle Your Puppy German Shepherd Biting?

You have bought the cutest baby German shepherd home. It would be perfect if it wasn’t for his or her annoying habit of biting you! If you have any intention of making your pet stop then you need to understand the dog psychology or in this case “puppy psychology” behind it.

german shepherd harness
german shepherd harness

A puppy bites because it likes exploring his or her surrounding environment. Unfortunately, it can use its “mouth” to investigate the things around him or her. They also love to play which involves biting. When born in a litter, a puppy might bite its litter mates and mother during play sessions. The reaction the puppy gets from its mother and litter mates when it bites causes “bite inhibition”

You can also stop your pet from biting if you handle your pet in the following ways:

  • Completely ignore your puppy if it bites you.

When your puppy bites you, scream “OWWW” in a high-pitched tone and turn away from your pet. German shepherd puppies crave to please their masters and will instantly understand that they have displeased their owners if the owners stop paying attention to them.

  • Avoid activities like wrestling and tug of war.

You don’t want to do anything with your puppy that might promote him or her to think that biting is okay, because these activities might make your pet start biting.

  • If the baby German shepherd biting doesn’t stop flip him or her over gently on the back and use a growling voice to scold your pet.

In a litter, the mother German shepherd growls at the baby or grabs him/her by the scruff to scold the puppy. Similarly, you can flip your pet over on his or her back gently and scold him with a growling voice. You need to hold your pet in this position till it relaxes and gives in to your authority.

In the end, we would like to emphasis that under no circumstances, it is acceptable to use anger or violence against your pet. There are no bad pets, only bad owners!

German Shepherd Dog Training

Who is in control right from the beginning?

One of the first questions an owner of a large dog must answer concerns his responsibility to the dog. German Shepherds are some of the larger dogs in the world and just because of the size, the owner must always know that he is in control of the dog and the dog is not in control of the owner. The owner must become the “alpha” leader of the pack even if the pack has only two members, the dog and the owner. Once the dog understands this complex relationship, training should flow smoothly and the owner will be happy and the dog will be comfortable fitting into his owner’s home. As the “alpha”, the owner must never surrender his authority for even one minute. Dogs are smart and the shepherd is one of the smartest. German Shepherd dog training is not as difficult as it might seem.

long hair german shepherd
long hair german shepherd

Where and When Does The Training Begin?

It is easier to train a shepherd when the dog has to respond to just one person. Establishing the “alpha” role is quickly accepted by the dog. When a German Shepherd puppy moves into a family setting, things must be worked out so the dog will see all of the family in a position of authority. In most families this concept can be developed easily, as long as one person sets the commands and responses for the animal and the rest of the family adheres to the instructions. The one thing that must be avoided at all costs is not providing training for the new puppy. Just like a child who is learning every day, so must the life of the shepherd puppy be, an instructional unit in his life. All German Shepherd puppies will come equipped with their own understanding of how life is to be led and given the chance, they will demonstrate their intelligence by assuming the leadership position. This is the very reason that German Shepherd dog training must begin immediately.

What you must know about  German Shepherd Dog Training.

Intelligence and independence will characterize all German Shepherd puppies. The shepherd comes from a long line of the herding family. That means they like to have their own way and will do everything within their ability to realize that station in life. When given a job to do, the shepherd responds quickly and thrives on doing the job correctly. This single fact will demonstrate to the new owner that this is an animal that must be challenged and German Shepherd dog training is just the beginning of his education. The shepherd requires a considerable amount of exercise which can be coupled with his regular training.  When considering the shepherd, one must realize that as a herding or guardian dog, even the puppies will not be the best of friends with other dogs. Socialization is a must for the shepherd and should begin as soon as the dog is brought home for the first time. If raised in the presence of cats and other dogs, socialization could come very quickly.

german shepherd growth

Time is always going to be important to the dog and the family or owner. The dog will begin to understand what you want from the very beginning. Remember, do not change your method of rewarding a good response by your dog. All commands must be very simple, usually one word is all that is needed and it does not make any difference what that word is. If you have been training the dog to move on the command of “walk”, do not substitute any modification of that command.  In other words do not tell the dog to “stroll” and expect him to know what you want him to do. German Shepherd dog training requires that the command needs to be clear and when completed by the dog, a treat should be awarded. This allows the dog to understand that when he does what his owner wants him to do, a treat is in the offering.

Expectations on your part.

As an intelligent dog, the German Shepherd puppy will demonstrate that his attention span is not quite as long as you might want. This fact alone can influence your German Shepherd dog training in a negative manner, if you let it do so.  Don’t get frustrated with the dog as he will grow out of that phase of his life. Pick a simple command such as “sit” and work with that command only until the dog comes to understand what it is that you want. Your shepherd puppy will be headstrong as it is their nature to be so. Remember that you must be more headstrong than the puppy. Now, begin your German Shepherd dog training, and enjoy your puppy and know that you are on the long road of learning together and you have just gained another family member.

German Shepherd for Protection

When considering a German Shepherd for protection it is important that the required training be accomplished by a professional, in the field. For the dog to be successful, the animal must have a great command of the basic commands first. When telling the dog to “sit”, the dog must respond immediately. This will demonstrate to the professional that the dog is ready for the protection commands and will probably respond well to the instruction. When seeking a protection dog, remember that there are certain liabilities that will go with the training.

wolf and german shepherd mix

Many different dogs would do well in the protection arena, but the German Shepherd for protection is a special case. These dogs are highly intelligent and they learn quickly. The trainability of the German Shepherd for protection is above question. The loyalty and close bonding allow for the best level of protection training. Again a slight word of caution is in order. Remember that this dog will have to work well off lead as well as on lead. Distance from the owner should not interfere with the understanding of the dog.

Padded suit training

Padded suit training will become the first obstacle that the dog will have to address. By nature the dog will be suspicious of the individual in the padded suit and will want to investigate him. The professional will demonstrate what he wants you, as the owner to do, in padded suit training. Remember that the dog will pick up on your voice inflections very quickly which will heighten his concern about the stranger. It is a proven fact that the dog will become aggressive towards the padded suit without much provocation. The professional will teach you the correct words to use with your shepherd to initiate the protection mode of the dog. These words should never be used unless they are really needed. You will be taught how to “send” the dog and how to stop a “send” in midstream. The dog must be able to stop the alert or attack at the command of the owner.

Again you must realize that the dog needs to be rewarded for accomplishing the desired behavior. Never be without treats as the treats reinforce what you are trying to accomplish with the shepherd. A German Shepherd for protection is a great choice for a working dog. This same dog will be an excellent pet in the home. It is hard for one to explain how an animal trained to attack will be so docile in the home, but that is just the way it is. These dogs want to protect their owners and family and will respond on their own if the conditions warrant an aggressive posture.

Select your trainer with great care.

One of your responsibilities as the owner of a German Shepherd for protection is to make sure that you engage only a professional as the trainer. Not everyone can train a “working dog” and if you select the wrong trainer, it takes considerable effort to reverse the training. The protection dog will be an excellent family member and you will enjoy having him around.

german shepherd puppies ky
german shepherd puppies ky

German Shepherd Grooming

Regular grooming is important for dogs as it helps them stay healthy and clean. German shepherd grooming will keep their coat shiny and free from skin problems. Dogs that are not groomed properly are most likely to have skin problems.

There are many people who tend to think that German shepherd grooming involves just giving a bath once a week or month. Grooming involves not just giving a bath regularly but also brushing the coat, cleaning the ear wax, cutting their hair and clipping nails.

It is actually quite a challenge grooming these breed of dogs are they are very playful and energetic. These dogs have long hair and when you do not comb them daily they might matt and cause skin allergies. They might also cause bald spots and skin rashes.

German shepherd grooming is actually quite easy if you follow the correct process. During the shedding season these breed of dogs tend to shed a lot of hair and you might have to use a shedding blade for this purpose.  It would be advisable to get trained to use the shedding blade as you might harm your favorite pet unintentionally if you do not know how to use it properly.

If the hair of your dog had matted, it would be best to use a metal rake to remove the matt. Chest, neck and thigh are the areas where the hair tends to matt and you would need to concentrate on these problem areas so that you can solve the problem.

Brushing the coat at least twice every week should be an essential part of German shepherd grooming.  You should use a good firm brush for this purpose.

When you have to give a bath to your dog, it would be advisable to use lukewarm water.  Good brand of shampoos should be used as a wrong choice of shampoo can result in more hair shedding. It would be best to use a shampoo that is made from natural ingredients as harmful chemicals can harm the coat.

The shampoo should be massaged all over the coat and it would be best to leave it for some time. This will help in dissolving the dust and oils that accumulate on the coat and make it dirty. You should then rinse the shampoo properly so that all the dirt is washed away.  You can use a high velocity dryer for the purpose of drying the excess water.

If the hair of your German shepherd has grown very long, it would be best cut and trim it regularly. This will help keep the coat neat. German shepherd grooming also involves cutting the nails at regular intervals. This will help prevent split and broken nails. If the nails are left unattended it will grow very long and dirty.

lab german shepard mix puppies
lab german shepard mix puppies

You should also remember to check the teeth of your pet at least once every month to help detect any teeth and gum problems. When you use these simple grooming techniques you would be able to keep your German shepherd well groomed, healthy and happy.

German Shepherd Health Problems

German shepherd health problems can be classified as common and serious. There are many types of health problems that your German shepherd could suffer from and awareness about them will help prevent it from becoming a serious problem.

If you own a pet you should be aware of its health problems so that you can provide immediate relief to its suffering. German shepherd health problems can be easily detected through regular visits to the veterinarian. Apart from this, if your see your pet in pain and behaving in a manner that indicates some problem with its health, you would need to ascertain the reason for it and provide relief that is appropriate to that health condition.

The most common German shepherd health problems include:

  • Dysplasia of the hip or the elbow joint is a skeletal problem that occurs due to an abnormal development of the hip joint. Your pet could experience considerable pain due to this and it can also start walking with a limp. In some cases your pet can also develop severe arthritis due to this problem.
  • Von Willebrand’s Disease or VWD is one of the common German shepherd health problems that most pet owners could face. In this condition the dog will be unable to utilize its platelets for blood clotting. If there is an injury to your pet the blood will be unable to clot and lead to bleeding. Sometimes you will also notice bleeding from the gums and nose without any injury.
  • Your German shepherd can also develop eye problems like cataract or eyelids not developing properly or the eye lashes growing too close and causing a lot of discomfort to your pet.
  • Epilepsy is also one of the German shepherd health problems that their owners can come across. The symptoms include seizures and convulsions.
  • Skin allergies are also a common health problem that most pets face. These allergies can be caused due to food, flea and inhaled dermatitis.
  • Gastric torsion is a health condition where gas and other stomach content will get trapped inside and this can result in severe bloating of the abdomen region. Your German shepherd could experience a lot of pain and if left untreated can be fatal. This problem is more common in large breeds with deep chests.
  • A Perianal fistula is a health problem where your pet will develop an abnormal opening near the anal area and this can cause a lot of pain. The anal area could be infected and the symptoms include a foul smell. It is a very serious disease and should be treated at the earliest.
  • Degenerative myelopathy is a health condition where the immune system will attack the nervous system of your pet.

Apart from the diseases listed above your pet can also develop cancer in the blood vessels and spleen.It would be advisable to consult the veterinarian regarding German shepherd health problems so that you are aware of the symptoms and treatment options.


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