As a dog owner, you have essentially two choices when it comes to your German shepherd. The most common option is to not train the dog. Most owners just let their German shepherds grow up naturally and might train them to do a few tricks and to not use the hall rug as a bathroom, but they do not put any serious time or effort into training.
The other option is to put very serious time and effort into training. For those owners, ‘Training Your German Shepherd Dog’ by Dan Rice is an essential book.
The goal of this book is not just to give you some tips and tricks to use as you try to get your new puppy acclimated to living in your house—this book is a very detailed approach to training, from standard training like housebreaking, sitting, heeling, and leash manners, to more advanced training like agility training and herding.
While some owners might not find all of the information pertinent to their German shepherd, those who want a well-trained, responsive dog can find all of the information they need and more in this book.
This book’s approach is very different from most training guides. Not only does the author give a step-by-step training process, he actually also discusses training theories and purposes. This makes it an especially valuable read for someone who want to understand his dog better.
Many owners will say that they “don’t understand” why their shepherd chews on furniture or messes in the house, even when he has access to the outdoors. For those owners, reading about German shepherd mentality, as well as the origin and characteristics of the breed, can be extremely valuable.
Chapter Three also covers some great information about how to determine whether or not you are ready for a dog and how to find the right dog for you or your family. One of the very small weaknesses of this book is that it does not discuss looking at local shelters for shepherds or shepherd mixes.
It makes up for this omission, however, by discussing the danger of puppy mills and of not purchasing your German shepherd puppy through an AKC-certified breeder (which usually means the breeder uses ethical and human breeding, housing, and rearing practices).
One of the great points made by this book is the necessity of training a breed like a German shepherd. These dogs are extremely smart and active, and like a child that is smart and active and is not given an outlet for that intelligence, a shepherd can start to act out.
It also discusses the importance of acting how your puppy expects a pack leader to act, so that he is more likely to follow your instructions and attempt to earn your trust and accolades through behaving properly.
This book recognizes that dog training is about more than just giving your dog instructions, it is about teaching yourself and the dog how to communicate and act. It covers very specific methods of training a shepherd and helps owners correct bad training behaviors that often result in a dog who misbehaviors or acts out.
How Effective Is This Book?
What’s great about this book is that it takes a very direct approach to training, the more complex kinds and the basic kinds. The advice that it provides to help owners stop their own behaviors and the German shepherd specific advice are both very helpful for those thinking about purchasing and raising one of these intelligent dogs.
The background information, about the dog’s early breeding and uses, especially in the military and hunting, can help a new owner understand why the shepherd does what he does. It even talks in very detailed terms about dog shows and assistance dog training.
While this can result in some of the more complicated topics getting only a cursory glance, any owner who want to find out more about their German shepherd and get great, in depth basic training information and an overview of some of the less popular, but still necessary training methods, should read this book.
Because German shepherds are such a popular breed, and because they were bred originally for a very specific purpose, it is important to put a little extra time and effort into making sure they are well-trained, well-behaved, and friendly and that their owners understand them and take their place as head of the “pack” in that dog’s mind.