Help with commands? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-02-2018, 02:07 PM Thread Starter
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Help with commands?

Hello everybody, we picked up our very first German Shepherd pup last weekend and we absolutely love her. We have no prior experience with the breed, and we want to make sure we train her to the best degree possible. We started training her at 8 weeks, and I have a few questions about when to use certain commands.

First, we have been working on “come here” and she is picking it up very well, but I don’t know what command to use after she comes to me and I want her to follow me into the house or wherever. I’ve been using “let’s go” but wasn’t sure if “heel is more appropriate” or if I should use “come here” to both come to me and to follow me. I also don’t know how many times I should be repeating the command.

Second, she knows her name, but when she has a toy in the yard or is doing something like trying to eat our other dogs food, she does not respond at all to her name or to “come here”, even if she’s staring right at me. What is the best coarse of action? I’ve read a lot of different suggestions but am curious to hear what has worked for you.

Thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-02-2018, 05:53 PM
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Young puppies have no attention span.If you want her to follow you be happy,animated,and run!She's just an infant and can't be expected to follow orders.You can use 'cue words' such as sit,lets go,etc. to name the behavior.Relax and enjoy her most of all
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-02-2018, 06:06 PM
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Come is a command. Here (hier in German) is a second command. Use one or the other. I use one word commands for everything to make it easier. I train as few total words as possible. She is too young to be proofed in anything. Search on lure training for puppies.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-02-2018, 06:09 PM
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-02-2018, 06:10 PM
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-02-2018, 10:55 PM Thread Starter
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Come is a command. Here (hier in German) is a second command. Use one or the other. I use one word commands for everything to make it easier. I train as few total words as possible. She is too young to be proofed in anything. Search on lure training for puppies.
Thanks for sharing! I’ll try to keep it more simple going forward. Quick question: say the pup is playing with my other dog and so infatuated that she doesn’t listen when I call her name to “come” or whatever. What is the proper next step? Go to her and get her attention myself? Let them continue to play? Discipline? Just curious and want to know what other folks do. I feel like after doing some homework I was too disciplinary to my other dog when she was a puppy and didn’t follow my commands, and I would like to be more patient.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-02-2018, 10:56 PM Thread Starter
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Young puppies have no attention span.If you want her to follow you be happy,animated,and run!She's just an infant and can't be expected to follow orders.You can use 'cue words' such as sit,lets go,etc. to name the behavior.Relax and enjoy her most of all
Thank you for the reply! I need to remind myself to relax and to have some patience, you’re absolutely right. It’s nice to have a reminder, I just want to make sure I’m doing everything right. I let it stress me out too much LOL!
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-07-2018, 12:56 PM
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Thanks for sharing! I’ll try to keep it more simple going forward. Quick question: say the pup is playing with my other dog and so infatuated that she doesn’t listen when I call her name to “come” or whatever. What is the proper next step? Go to her and get her attention myself? Let them continue to play? Discipline? Just curious and want to know what other folks do. I feel like after doing some homework I was too disciplinary to my other dog when she was a puppy and didn’t follow my commands, and I would like to be more patient.
This is a great question! I think we've all made the mistake of thinking a puppy "knows" a command before they really do. And recall is likely THE most important command you'll ever teach your dog, it can literally save her life! So, IMHO the best next step in the scenario you mentioned is to avoid the first step! Don't try to call your puppy away in a distracted environment until she fully understands the command. Instead just go get her without using any commands, because she's not likely to hear or pay attention to them anyway! Really young puppies are so easily distracted that training can be an adventure, birds, butterflies, even new smells can grab their attention at any time. I've found that a quiet room in the house works best initially. But I also do lots of training in the backyard. The main thing is getting the puppy engaged with you before giving a command of any kind, then give the command only once and help them if they don't seem to know what you want then praise and treat.
Keep training sessions very short at first, and never give a command when your puppy is distracted and won't likely comply, or without following through and enforcing the command. Doing this well requires a lot of self-control on your part. You have to think before you speak! I see people all the time that call their dog 3,4, even 5 times, and then just give up. They are teaching their dog to ignore them, and the dog learns that very well LOL...don't be that guy!

Discipline has no role in training a young puppy, or even an older dog, until much later on, and even then very sparingly. If you find you're correcting or disciplining your dog or puppy frequently, take a step back and rethink your strategy. It's likely your puppy still doesn't "know" what you want clearly, so train some more using treats and praise, setting the dog or puppy up for success. And, as others have already pointed out, don't be in a big hurry to have a well-behaved dog, relax and enjoy your puppy's antics, they grow up pretty fast!
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-07-2018, 02:20 PM
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I watched that common sense video when I was looking for a training vid! It's good.

An illustration which might be helpful: From what I learned researching prior posts here and videos elsewhere, and being the kind of person who appreciates structure and planning, I decided to work my puppy for eight weeks on the same five commands after some playing, in a quiet area with low distractions, always on a leash. I gave him a week with each command before starting a new one. The first was sit--for everything: play, walks, potty, whatever. Next was come, and I would tug the leash gently so I could correct him and walk him toward me. Then down, treat close to the chest and lowered to the floor from a sit position. Then we did up, with me saying this a little animated and taking a step back, which got a perky response initially, enough for him to eventually "get it." We're stuck on stay at the moment...he's more likely to flop on his side, tongue lolling, smiling, but I get a good ten to twenty seconds out of him right now. Up has actually been a good one for being out in public with this particular dog. He's low energy and will likely lie down while I'm talking to someone. The up avoids me having to give him a gentle tug to get up and going.


It's all been in good fun (no reprimanding) because of his age, but I was also careful about how I carried myself, because it was not simply play. I dropped using his name during training sessions so he could latch onto my voice + 1 command = do. He's doing great and can go to the yard off leash and perform. I've also switched to not treating every time, alternating between praise, treat, or simply the next command, and he can do all five in sequence.

At an early point, I realized he was purely responding to the sound of my voice, not necessarily the action I wanted, so we did a *lot* of short sessions to help reinforce the verbal sounds, maybe ten minutes, rather than prolonged work that could be confusing or mentally tiring. I'm starting to call commands from other places rather than just standing in front of him, too, which I had nooo idea was a thing to do, and it's a whole new ballgame. He'll start more formal training in another month or two when I feel he has a good grasp of these basics.

Anyway, that's worked for this particular dog, your mileage may vary. There are many ways to skin a...carrot?

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Last edited by Mame; 05-07-2018 at 02:36 PM.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-07-2018, 04:05 PM
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Thanks for sharing! I’ll try to keep it more simple going forward. Quick question: say the pup is playing with my other dog and so infatuated that she doesn’t listen when I call her name to “come” or whatever. What is the proper next step? Go to her and get her attention myself? Let them continue to play? Discipline? Just curious and want to know what other folks do. I feel like after doing some homework I was too disciplinary to my other dog when she was a puppy and didn’t follow my commands, and I would like to be more patient.
Only give a command if you are sure your dog will follow it. Playing is a distraction. Your dog needs to learn the commands first before you start using them with distractions. Otherwise you teach the puppy to ignore you. Instead, for now, go and get your dog rather than using a command the dog doesn’t know yet.
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