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German Shepherds especially good German Shepherds are an investment, which I am sure you know since you are reading this article!  Not only are they an investment financially they are also an investment emotionally (since your heart gets involved right away) and an investment that requires your time!
Over many years German Shepherd Dogs have almost morphed into different breeds with different aspects to their health, train-ability, and temperament. First, working dog lines are harder to live with, they need more discipline and training because their genetics tell them to guard and protect and think on their own.  These dogs have been genetically designed for decades to be efficient and effective workers.
Confirmation line German Shepherds or mixes thereof are usually easier to live with but a bit more likely to have back, hip and other health problems due to their structure. Whether they are staring in Rin Tin Tin or the remakes thereof, guiding the blind, or protecting our homes and children a German Shepherd needs a job to be happy.  His mind and body also have to be stimulated to make him a good pet. Because German Shepherds have been breed specifically as police and working dogs for so many years it is crucial to socialize your puppy with other dogs and as many people as possible early (before socializing with dogs you don’t know make sure your pup is completely vaccinated and safe)!  When my puppies are super young (before they are fully vaccinated), I carry them to places to socialize with people this way I don’t have to worry about them picking up disease but I am also not waiting too long for some good socialization. Give people treats and monitor who you allow to play with your puppy.  I never let small children interact with young puppies for fear a negative experience can influence how your pup feels about kids.  I also never let anyone else pick them up!

These big guys usually go through some radical chewing stages and crate training your puppy will be essential to save your precious things and also to give you some sanity and peace of mind when you leave. Crate training also helps with potty training and keeping your things safe when you’re gone and a crate is also good for mental sanity!  I always keep my puppies close so that they don’t develop bad habits but sometimes I need a break to do some work or make dinner or just crate train to help him be more comfortable in his space.   I also play games with him and feed him in there to teach him that crates are fun! Make sure that the crate you get will be big enough for him to grow into, usually he or she will be a comparable size to their father so when I purchase a crate I get one that would be big enough to comfortably fit the sire.  Whereas it is true that your puppy could be bigger, chances are he will be close to the same size or smaller. I also block part of the crate off for small puppies so that they don’t have a HUGE space to wander in, this helps with potty training.  If your puppy can comfortably urinate or defecate in an area of his crate and then go to another spot to lay down he will be harder to potty train. In the beginning all puppies scream and holler and German Shepherd Dogs are usually no different.  Their intelligence and desire to be with their humans and their “pack” will make them want to pitch a fit to be with you.  But, be sure not to give in!
German Shepherds are way too big and intelligent to allow them to train YOU; YOU must be the trainer and be in charge from the moment you get home or you will be in for a difficult road of dog ownership ahead.
And, another tip:  When potty training be sure to go outside with your puppy to make sure he is “attending to business” and also keep an eye on him around the house.  The moment you puppy is out of view chances are he is doing something naughty!

Make sure you are kind and consistent with your puppy!  Dogs such as German Shepherds and a few other breeds will resist compulsion training by trying to defend themselves with their teeth.  Remember this was a dog bred to take on criminals, gun shots and still keep on coming.  This is a breed that needs a soft intelligent hand and hands off training methods!
I love clicker training and I have never met a German Shepherd adult or puppy that didn’t either.  Clicker training allows you to shape behaviors you like, get rid of behaviors you don’t like, and teach your puppy to play an interactive game that you will use to teach him new skills for the rest of his life. Don’t get me wrong; once you have trained a behavior you don’t need the clicker or the treat anymore but when you want to teach your old dog a new trick he will remember the game of clicker training and be willing to do just about anything for you!

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