German Shepherds Forum banner

Training a 8wk old pup

1825 Views 22 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  ardavis324
So im getting my pup in a couple of wks and now i feel overwhelmed with all the training i want to do and what is correct and not correct so i have some questions. I do have strong working line pup ( for people who read my thread in bloodlines.)

First is i want them to learn german commands (platz, sitz, etc.) how should i go about doing that. For ex. giving the command then placing their body how it should be then rewarding them? Should i even expect them to do any of this until they are a little older. That also pertains to NILIF. Should i expect him to follow my commands before going outside,eating or whatever i want him to do? Should i even worry about training at this stage. IDK how to go about doing this im worried im going to mess something up in the long run.

Also playtime/walks. I have read that around 20 or so min. a day is all a puppy needs because they are sleeping most of time. How long should i play with him in the begining and how long should i take him on walks.

All this just seems really overwhelming and i just want to make sure i do things right so its a better time for all of us.

1 - 20 of 23 Posts
i don't do any serious training untill they're 4 months old. house breaking starts as soon as you bring your pup home. i brought my pup home and he was in the house for 15 minutes and outside we went and then every 1/2 hour for awhile. ask your breeder to start to crate train your pup. we crated our dog often. not just at bed time. our pup got use to the crate quickly. he started going in and out of it when ever he wanted to play or nap. we started teaching him his name from the moment we picked him up at the airport. we would just talk to him usuing his name. then my GF would hold him and i would walk a couple of feet away and call him and treat him when he came to me. then i would hold him and my GF would call him and treat when he came. as he progressed we would make the distant longer. after that i would hide from him and call him. in the house i would go into another room or hide behind a door and call him. outside i would hide behind a tree or duck behind a car or hide behind a building. he caught on. that NILIF i don't use. we give them treats for no reason or they don't have to do something to get a treat. lots of times my GF will give them a treat before bed time. what commands does your dog have to follow to go out? why not let him out to relieve himself then start the commands. you want to teach him not to run or walk out of the door when it's open. you want him to wait untill you say it's ok to go outside and i mean having the door wide open he waits untill you say it's ok to go outside. i open my front door and i have my neighbors come over and pet my dog and call him and he won't walk outside. i have them bring their Shep over (whom he plays with all of the time) and walk up our steps and let the dogs get nose to nose and my neighbor walks away, calls him and he won't walk out of the door. playtime, i think 20 minutes is a long time for a 8 week old pup to play. i would play with him alot but for 5 or 10 minutes at a time. that's also how i trained my dog. our training were 4 or 5 times a day but for short periods (5 to 10 minutes each time and ending on a positive note). before i started walking my dog and taking him around alot of places i made sure he had his 2nd round of shots. i don't know if that's necessary but i felt it was safer. at 8 weeks old my pup couldn't go a 1/2 mile. we took really short walks in the begining and built it up gradually. start looking into puppy classes now because you need to know when classes start. plus you get to see the class and you can make sure it's a good one. expose your pup to everything and i do mean everything. i use to hang out in next to the super doors. lots of people and children. lots of people will want to pet a puppy and you know the children will. good exposure at the super markets doors. socialize and socialize and socialize. socializing is so important. you want your pup to meet people, other animals and to get use to all of sounds and motion when you're not at home. find a trainer and check out their classes before you enroll your pup. i like private lessons in the begining. group classes are good but i think it's tough for a puppy that's just learning to pay attention when there's other dogs around. one trainer i used always started out with private lessons and then mix in group lessons. having a pup is a blast. they learn so quickly. have a camera handy. those puppy shots are priceless. don't overwhelmed or worried. raising a Shep pup is easy. i've never found it to be hard. stay with this forum because all of the answers to your questions are here. good luck with the new pup.
See less See more
Thanks for taking the time to write that doggiedad. What i was trying to say in terms of NILIF is what you said about having your dog sit and the door and not go out until called upon or getting the ok. Thats what i want to accomplish. So your suggesting wait a couple of months after i get him to start training and just let him be a puppy for a while.
I think training is good, no matter what stage. With an 8wk old pup make it FUN FUN FUN.

Short sessions, mixed with training and ball, ect. Pup will not even know the difference and will think it all equals fun with YOU!!!

You can start the sit by luring treat over pups head as he/she naturally sits back and then treat/mark. Same with the platz, lure the treat/ball ect, down in front of you, I preferred to do it fast for an eager and fast response and mark/treat. And keep the sessions short, to keep them interested, with Kelso I wore a glove alot of times and just took him outside and went to town, he was a ball of fire/FUN as a pup and still is at 20 mo

You can also start training with their meals, having them sit and stay until released. It is actually very easy for them to understand I think if you are not free feeding.

And it does seem very overwhelming, but just have fun and you will have a confident pup that is ready for anything. Socialize your pup a lot and give him/her all the confidence in the world.

We play ball enough to keep them interested, but not so much that they will become bored or to tired...which I dont think could ever happen, but nonetheless to keep things interesting. In the interest of keeping them psyched about working for the ball. Walks are generally for liesure or working on specific issues..i.e. Kelso to not pull and Allie to not react to other dogs, more tailored to individual things.. But again as as a small pup walks can be used for fun and training

Also, we kindof decided to not do the sitting before going through door, we taught "stay back" meaning stay back from the door..i.e. if we are carrying food in ect. Beyond that I could care less if they run in and out of the door in front of us..but it is your preference.

Hopefully more experienced folks can chime in here too

See less See more
the two times i used a trainer both of them said bring the dog to them at 4 monhs old. there is some training that starts from the time you pick your puppy up. riding in the car the first time could upset his stomach. so might have to go for short car rides to get him use to it. like i said when our dog came home i started house breaking him the moment he came in the house. he was in the house and then i took outside within 15 mins. of being in the house. house training, crate training and teaching him his name. in teaching him his name i taught to come at the same time. i was very light on training untill he was 4 months old and when we went to he trainer at 4 months he learned so quickly. it seemed like once he learned one thing it was easier to teach him the next thing. as he learned one thing the next thing he learned even quicker. i call it push botton training when it comes to training him. these Sheps are smart. people say the first year can be tough. i've never felt anything tough or difficult with raising a Shep. ask around the forum and see what people say about when to start training. diffinitely let your pup be a pup but there's alot of things he's going to learn as puppy. i not sure but i don't think NILIF applies with my dog waiting to go outside. i trained him not to walk out of the door without a command because i didn't want walking out of a door because it's open. this applies to the car also. when i open the car door (hatch back) i don't want him just jumping.out. when i open the car door i always let him stand for for a few minutes before asking him to get out of the car. a couple of days ago we stopped by the super market on the way home. i didn't feel like going in the market so my GF went in and i stayed in the car. it was warm so i opened the hatch back and he just laid there. now that i think about it i shouldn't have done that. even though he's trained to stay in the car i shouldn't have opened the back because we were in a parking lot. why temp fate? i never leave him in the car. i never leave him outside a store while i go in o get something. a couple of weeks ago we went to visit a friend of mine that's owns a deli. i had him lay down and stay and i went in to visit my friend for 20 minutes or so and he just laid there beside the door. now i could see him the entire time i was inside. he couldn't see me but i watching him through a side window. my buddy went outside and picked up his leash and called him and pulled on his leash but he didn't move. don't worry your dog will do all of this and more if you want him too. well, it's 8:06 am, i think i'm going to play some guitar and then off to the dog park. i'll bark at you later. one more thing, make sure you play in your dogs food when you feed him. you can take it away from him for a few seconds and then give it back. play in his water bowl while he's drinking. i also pet my dog while he's eating or i stand over him or i play with his tail. i do this so he won't be so protective of his food and he won't be startled if you bump into him while he's eating.
See less See more

Though ultimately we all want wonderful well behaved adult dogs, when that 8 week old puppy hits the house my training goals are very different than around 6 months old.

My main goal at that age is to start on crate training, housebreaking, socialization out in the world with other dogs/people/places/cars/homes/relatives....., bonding with the pup and becoming a leader in her eyes, RAISING A HAPPY AND CONFIDENT PUPPY!

Vital to get the tug toy training going ASAP. Weird cause people think all our pups know how to tug and so don't 'waste' time encouraging this. While the smarter ones of us know this is KEY to gaining our pups focus later on in traiing situations.......and THIS is 'work' I spend time on from the start that we both love with a huge payoff down the line. Tugging with me!!!

This (there's a person at the end of the rag...)

Leads to this at training:

Leads to this in the end:

SOCIALIZATION is the most important thing. Because if you get a happy and confident puppy in all situations. That's looking to you for information and guidance. Then all future training is so much easier cause your pup is able to focus and learn rather than being unfocused and overstimulated by their surroundings.

A good puppy kindergarden is great to find so you can gradually put some training in.

Here's some great sites about what to do when that puppy first comes to our house:
See less See more

Calm down and BREATHE!!! You will be fine.

Some folks are of the belief to "let them be puppies" (which generally translates to "let them act like crazy wild animals". I am NOT of that mind set. I have to live with them.

I do like Kelso posted. My pup is 11 weeks old and I started her learning things the day after I got her, it is ALL in fun. She "works" for treats. When I go to get her "treats" she runs in the living room and waits for our "training" session.

As far as the 20 minutes a day of exercise, chances are if he only gets 20 mnutes a day, he will DRIVE YOU CRAZY. He will likely sleep a LOT, but when he is awake, is will be ready to DO things. And it doesn't take long before they don't sleep as much. As I said, my pup is 11 weeks old. She already sleeps quite a bit less than she did at 8 weeks. Which means that she also plays MORE.
See less See more
From 8 to 12 weeks I basically work on sitz and recalls sometimes platz but potty training is first priority.

You can start with the basics of sitz/platz and recall but I would not "force" them into the position. Lure them with a treat and reward them with the treat once they are in the correct position but associating the word with the action like "GOOODD Sitz" when the pup is in the correct position. Then you can always reward and help them learn the command just by giving them a treat when they just sit/down for no reason. For recalls EVERY time the pup comes to me they get a reward. It doesnt matter if they come on their own or if I call them. If I see them already headed to me I start calling them excitedly and praise lavishly. Recalls to me are the most imporant puppy "command" but they can learn all of this other stuff while they are still tiny and havent picked up any bad habits.

But more than "training" I work on playing, socializing, and letting them learn the structure of their lives and their "new" family. Eatting, sleeping, car rides, time with the other dogs, going to the vet (even just to be weighed so they dont think they will be poked and prodded every time they visit), time with ME, meeting other people & dogs, new places. Start them on scent boxes and maybe some short tracks (I think you are planning on doing SCH if I recall).

The above is from Ruq the board member- below is Ruq the Mod:

I am moving this to the puppy section where it should receive more appropriate attention from the folks that know puppies the best!
See less See more
Sounds like some good info. BlackGSD its just so overwhelming its crazy lol. Thanks for those links MRL im sure they will come in handy on more than one occassion. I will give you guys updates to see if im doing things right and i will deff. post pics when i get him. If anyone has more info feel free to post away.

Quote: Sounds like some good info. BlackGSD its just so overwhelming its crazy lol.
It CAN be overwhelming but fortuneately we can start up gradually. And the emphasis on real 'traiing' can be put on hold for a few months.

Not saying I don't teach my puppies things. But I teach them as happy and fun 'tricks' using toys, treats, and making it a huge fun game.
Originally Posted By: MaggieRoseLee
But I teach them as happy and fun 'tricks' using toys, treats, and making it a huge fun game.

Jeff: And don't forget to make the "training" sessions SHORT. You want to stop while they are still wanting to learn rather than "training" so long that they loose interest.
See less See more
well Jeff, my puppy has been here for two days, and she's a slovakian/ddr/czech lines,,so yeah she's working lines I'd say.

Anyhow,,I've always been blessed with REALLY good puppies and this one is no exception..

Masi (who will be 9 wks tomorrow) came to me already with a "sit" ,,I do ask it of her for her food, different things, ALWAYS FUN THINGS,,but she also offers a sit ..In one day I've taught her to "touch" (which I teach all my dogs) she picked that up fast..

She seems to know what "ah ah" means,,(which I use for leaving things)..I am NOT expecting perfection at this age,,but it's nice to see this puppy is picking things up FAST..

I'm never to serious with my training right now,,I'm more into creating that bond, (which can I say,,this puppy does NOT leave my side:))) she has good eye contact, a good recall, but again, she's ONLY 9 weeks old,,and tho it would be GREAT,,I know at some point she may just blow me off LOL..

I am also socializing her with people, my friends dogs , nothing out where I know she may pick up something,,and so far there hasn't been a single thing or situation that seems to bother her :))

I think this has alot to do with the breeder exposing puppies to all kinds of different things and most likely genetics..but I will continue this journey as well..

Nothing is real serious right now,,just general "life",,potty training, crate training,,creating that bond,,getting her used to a schedule, keeping everything light and fun..

Good luck with your puppy,,altho I have to say,,thank god it's summer ,,2:30 am potty breaks would kill me in the winter LOL
See less See more
Sorry this is our first dog and I was wondering what "touch" is, how you use it and how you teach it.
If I could go back in time 6 months, I would do some things differently. This is the third GSD my wife and I have raised, but we're amazed how much you forget about puppy raising over the years (14 years since the last puppy).

For the first few weeks, you are primarily concerned with house training. Hopefully you're planning to use a crate. The crate is your best friend!! During that time, I wouldn't worry much about trying to train "commands" other than a few basics:
1. Make a key word to associate "potty", and use it every time the dog goes... lots of praise for going potty outside in the designated area!
2. As soon as the puppy starts to identify you and come to you from any distance (even a few feet away), start using "come" or "here" and praise and reward for coming to you.
3. Discourage puppy biting. Refocus to an approved toy. Do not play tug of war games with the puppy. If the puppy insists on biting people, scold with a stern "No Bite" and then ignore the pup for five minutes.
4. Read up on the NILIF approach, and other sources of pack leadership - the earlier you establish good pack structure the better (this is really where I would like to start over).
5. Get a little collar and leash and start by letting the pup drag the leash to get comfortable with the feel. Then hold the lead but do not try to control the pup with it... yet. Gradually work in guidance with the leash. Easy on corrections, you just want the pup comfortable with a leash and your influence over it.
6. Don't forget to have fun and enjoy the wonderful young puppy stage - roll on the floor and get your face licked. Cuddle as much as possible.

Socialize the pup to people, especially kids as much as you can (but no one for the first few days at home). Careful around other dogs and dog frequented areas until pup has had all the shots.
See less See more
"touch" is easy to teach, atleast it has been for me with the dogs' I've had..hopefully I can make this short :))

I usually use a clicker/treats, with masi I just started pointing really close at things,,like my hands/ a toy,,and she just picked it up (altho she may forget it tomorrow LOL)..I use the word "touch"..

when they "touch" whatever it is,,I click/treat,,,I haven't started a clicker with her yet, but will in the next few days..

Benefits to me are,,using this in agility, and a "fun" thing to get your dog to "touch" all kinds of things,,stairs, chairs, whatever,,

I did "touch" with my Border Collie too. It is REALLY easy if you have a dog that likes to use their feet. (For things other than walking.)

Siren learned "shake" in about 20 minutes. (at 9 weeks old)
Not so hard, relax a little. You will have fun- you should - so should your puppy.

Each puppy, like every child is an individual.Spend the first day or two just getting to know your puppy. Be your puppy's best friend, playmate, gentle teacher.

There are no hard and fast rules. Be flexible and guide (no force, no timetable).

My first goal is crate and potty training.

Potty training -- pup needs to go out when it wakes, after play, after eating, and a few times in between... lol. Do not reprimand mistakes -- they don't know better and have itty bitty bladders. Simply praise every time your pup goes where you want it to. I use 'hurry, hurry,' and praise the pup to the skies when it goes.

Crate - when ever you cannot watch pups every move. curious pups get in trouble by themselves and besides 'accidents,' might chew on wires etc..
Once you put pup in crate - for whatever - do not take puppy out unless the pup is quiet. Goes without saying, take your pup to potty before crating.

I like the crate in my room so I can hear pup when little and get up to potty with it at night.

Have a soft toy, a little ball and, if possible, a ticking clock for soothing a sleeping pup.

Once you have this baby potty trained and crate trained, then you can think of the next step.

And, post pictures!!
See less See more
Potty training is my number goal. And i will post ton of pictures because this is my first puppy and just cant wait to get him.
Originally Posted By: BlackGSD
Some folks are of the belief to "let them be puppies" (which generally translates to "let them act like crazy wild animals". I am NOT of that mind set. I have to live with them.
Try not to be misled by this. It is okay to let your puppy be what he/she is. To expect too much and force the puppy into sits/downs/stays or whatever else you are doing, and be too hard on the puppy is really not going to help things in the long run. Enjoy the beautiful little bundle of joy and watch him grow right before your very eyes. Work on reinforcing good behaviors, and preventing bad behaviors. It can't be said enough, SOCIALIZATION all the way. A socialized, confident dog that you've forged a bond with will be much easier to train than one that has feared you from day one.
Originally Posted By: ardavis324
Originally Posted By: BlackGSD
Some folks are of the belief to "let them be puppies" (which generally translates to "let them act like crazy wild animals". I am NOT of that mind set. I have to live with them.
Try not to be misled by this. It is okay to let your puppy be what he/she is. To expect too much and force the puppy into sits/downs/stays or whatever else you are doing, and be too hard on the puppy is really not going to help things in the long run. Enjoy the beautiful little bundle of joy and watch him grow right before your very eyes. Work on reinforcing good behaviors, and preventing bad behaviors. It can't be said enough, SOCIALIZATION all the way. A socialized, confident dog that you've forged a bond with will be much easier to train than one that has feared you from day one.
I am talking about the folks that teach them NOTHING except house breaking and crate training for the first several months because they don't want to "break their spirit".
My pup has PLENTY of "spirit" but she is STILL learning not to counter surf, bite the crap out of everything within reach, and other things she needs to learn to be a house dog. Learning those things does NOT require that they be afraid of you. And WHO said anything about "forcing" them to do anything?
See less See more
1 - 20 of 23 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.