Training your German Shepherd isn’t just about obedience. It is a means to establish communication cues that enable you to understand each other and develop a bond. Additionally, trained GSDs are more confident and have lower tendencies to develop behavioral issues simply because they know how to interact with and respond to their environment.
German Shepherds are one of the world’s most intelligent dogs. And because they are always so eager to please, they’re incredibly fun and fulfilling to train.
Read on to learn some of the most useful German Shepherd training commands you can teach your dog.
German Shepherd Training Commands
There are an infinite number of commands you can teach any dog, especially one with the work drive of a German Shepherd. Some of them are useful in everyday situations while others are simply for fun, entertainment, and bonding.
13 Everyday GSD Training Commands
Although tricks are delightfully entertaining, prioritize teaching your dog commands that will be useful in your daily life. These 13 commands will enable you to live harmoniously with your GSD and enjoy the best traits of the breed:
Teaching your dog to sit is one of the most useful commands because it helps them stay still and settle down. Eventually, it can also be a way for them to greet you or ask for something.
Like sit, down encourages your dog to settle and stay calm. While in this position, they are less likely to run off or pull on a leash. It is one of the most useful commands to keep your dog out of trouble and out of the way.
Stay is essential to proper behavior, but it is one of the more complex commands to teach your dog. They will need to understand that it applies whether they’re standing, sitting, or in a down position.
Additionally, it will be something you need to proof in three different ways:
- Duration – to hold the position as long as possible
- Distance – to hold the position no matter how far away you walk
- Distraction – to hold the position no matter what’s going on around them
To make this command more effective, you should pair it with a release command such as free or out.
The come command gives you better control of your dog even without the constraints of a lead. Mastering this command enables you to give your dog some independence.
You can put your mind at ease as they roam, play, and explore their environment on their own because you’re confident that they’ll return when called.
5) Their Name
You’ll find it hard to get your dog to follow commands when they aren’t paying attention in the first place. Calling on their name prompts them to become more alert and ready to obey. This is especially useful when you have multiple dogs at home.
6) Speak & Quiet
A barking German Shepherd is a scary sight and teaching your dog to bark on command can be a useful way to deter any unwanted presence from approaching.
Additionally, the speak and quiet commands are useful to control needless barking and reduce excessive noise.
Wait is a general command that could be useful in many different situations like keeping them from bolting out the door, gobbling up their meal while you’re still preparing it, or when they’re asking for some scratches but you’re not quite ready. Like stay, wait helps you control your dog’s impulses.
8) Watch Me
Like calling on your dog’s name, watch me can be a good way to get your dog’s attention. Getting them to look at you on command is especially useful in public settings where there can be many distractions.
9) Heel (With Me)
Teaching your German Shepherd to heel means training them to stay close and by your side, especially when walking. This keeps them more focused and work-oriented as compared to loose-leash walking.
Mastering this command will enable you to enjoy more relaxed yet safer walks where they don’t pull on the leash.
10) Leave It
Leave it involves getting your dog to ignore items they might otherwise sniff, lick, eat, or play with. This is essential to keep them away from potentially hazardous finds. This also keeps them from taking or touching things that aren’t theirs.
11) Drop It
You won’t always be the first to spot hazards or other things your dog might get to. When a dubious item is already in your dog’s mouth, the drop it command can be very useful.
12) Potty Command
GSDs are good at doing their business in the same place and keeping a schedule. Nevertheless, it’s useful to have a potty command to ensure they can go when you need them to.
This can be useful to make sure they potty only where it’s acceptable and convenient to pick up after them.
13) Place Command
The place command gives your dog the job of going to a specific place and staying there. This is useful to keep them out of the way when doing chores or entertaining guests.
Additionally, it helps them settle down even when things are going on around them.
12 Fun GSD Training Commands
There are many other things you can teach your dog other than your daily essentials. These might be purely for entertainment or to give your dog a job to do.
Either way, these 12 training commands will give you something fun to do while providing excellent mental stimulation:
1) Shake Hands
Shake or shake hands is a fun way to say hello to strangers or introduce your friends to your dog. But beyond a greeting, this is a good way to teach them to offer their paw for inspection or grooming.
The rollover command isn’t really useful in many situations, but it is a challenging trick to learn. It is also a fun part of your repertoire when you show off to guests.
3) Army Crawl
The army crawl is an even more advanced trick that requires them to move forward while their body is flat on the ground.
Outside of working and military applications, there might not be many uses for this command, but it’s an excellent way to stimulate your dog’s mind.
Although hugging is a common way for us humans to give affection, dogs aren’t natural huggers. Nevertheless, you can teach your dog to hug for times when your mood needs a little pick-me-up.
This is also especially useful for dogs providing emotional support.
It’s a sign of affection but not everyone will welcome a slobbery kiss from a German Shepherd. Nevertheless, it’s a fun trick that will surely have you in stitches every single time.
It’s a definite mood-upper and another excellent trick to add to your dog’s resume.
6) Play Dead
Playing dead is an excellent skit to show off to friends and family. The more dramatic, the better. It’s even more entertaining when your dog learns not only how to die on command but also to live afterward.
7) Take a Bow
Of course, if you’re learning all these tricks to entertain, you should also teach your dog how to end a show properly: with a bow.
Teaching your dog to take a bow will surely leave your audience extra impressed with your GSD’s abilities as well as your training skills.
Fetch is a good trick to teach your dog because it is a good way to tire them out when you don’t have time for a long walk. You’ll find that they also enjoy the interaction.
9) Get Your Leash
Commanding your dog to get their own leash is a good routine to have before getting all geared up for a walk or a trip outside the home.
It signals to them that you’re about to head out and it’s incredibly fun watching their excitement while doing this task.
10) Clean Up Toys
German Shepherds thrive when they have jobs to do. Giving them their own bin and teaching them to tidy up their own toys is definitely a doable chore that makes them feel useful around the house.
11) Retrieving Specific Items
Teaching your dog to retrieve specific things first requires you to teach them the names of those items. Although challenging, it’s an excellent way to keep your dog mentally stimulated.
This can also be used to prompt them to search, sniff, and track.
12) Turn On & Off Lights
Switching lights on and off can be a responsibility you give to your German Shepherd when you enter and exit a room.
It’s fun to have a helpful dog and this is especially useful during times when you have your hands full. It also gives your dog more ways to use their working abilities around the house.
Top GSD German Training Commands
Some German Shepherd owners prefer to teach their dogs commands in the German language. This is typical among dogs that participate in Schutzhund but not limited to that purpose.
Generally, teaching your dog commands in another language lowers the risk of them following commands from other people. This is especially important for personal protection and service dogs.
German is a good option not only because it has been used for decades to teach GSDs but also because the nature of the language itself sounds terse and forceful, which is effective for commanding dogs.
Here are some of the most common German Commands for German Shepherds, along with the pronunciation of each:
|English Commands||German Commands||Pronunciations|
|Leave It||Lass es||los S|
|Out (Let Go)||Aus||ous|
|Good Dog (Praise)||Braver Hund||braffer hoont|
Other Languages for German Shepherd Training
If you want to consider other languages to train your German Shepherd in, training commands have also been established in many other non-English languages.
Check this table of dog commands in French, Czech, and Dutch:
|Leave It||Laisse||Nech to||Los|
|Out (Let Go)||Halte||Pust||Loslaten|
|Good Dog (Praise)||Bon Garcon||Hodny||Braaf|
|bon gar-scon||hout nee||braaf|
Best Language to Train German Shepherds
The best language to train your German Shepherd in is the one that you can get the most comfortable with. The truth is, you can make up your own language and your GSD won’t know the difference.
What’s important is consistency so that you’re able to build a simple vocabulary that you share with your dog.
Benefits of Training Your GSD in Two Languages
Training your German Shepherd in two different languages can help them with context switching, especially if they’re trained both as working dogs and as household companions.
By knowing two languages and using each one in specific contexts, your GSD has a clearer idea of how to behave in any situation.
You can use English as a casual training language that allows them to be more relaxed. For work, you can use a more serious language like German so they know when they need to be more focused and precise.
The language you choose matters less than the commands you teach your dog. Mastering basic directions will help you develop a harmonious relationship and an enjoyable daily life with your German Shepherd. Then, you can move on to fun tricks to impress an audience, keep your dog mentally stimulated, and continue to improve your bond.