Most people think that the term “punishment” means hitting and verbally assaulting a canine, but this is not entirely true.
Although this term can have that meaning, many individuals prefer to use it to refer to “disciplining” the animal by teaching and educating it.
Properly disciplining a German Shepherd really consists of educating it and correcting its behaviour through positive actions, avoiding at all costs physically and verbally punishing it as that will traumatize it for life.
When Is It More Effective to Punish or Discipline a German Shepherd?
It is important to start disciplining a German Shepherd from an early age as it will not only be more receptive to good behaviour, but you will also avoid having to deal with adult stubbornness. When a German Shepherd is an adult, it is more difficult to correct bad behaviour.
What if I have an adult German Shepherd? If you have an adult German Shepherd who is beginning to exhibit inappropriate behaviour, it’s not too late.
Every time your dog misbehaves, you should let it know that what it is doing is wrong. You can use the “No” command. In fact, it’s a good idea not to reward it with treats or praise immediately after it has misbehaved.
How Should You Punish Your German Shepherd Properly?
Use Positive Reinforcement
You should always use rewards to help your German Shepherd associate a correct action with something positive such as treats, toys, or praise. This method will also make your dog see what is wrong.
How should I apply this method? It is very simple! For example, whenever your German Shepherd responds positively to your command, immediately reward it with a treat.
This will let it know that every time you say that command, it will have to do what it did to receive the reward. You must do the same thing every time it does any action correctly during the training.
Keep in mind that rewarding your German Shepherd once for learning is not enough. It is a method that you should use throughout the training process.
Fortunately, German Shepherds are extremely intelligent dogs that learn with less repetition than most dog breeds.
Distract Your German Shepherd When It Is About to Misbehave
This is a good way to correct your German Shepherd’s inappropriate behaviour gradually. When your dog is about to do something wrong or misbehave, you should quickly distract it from getting its attention. That way, it will forget what it was doing and put all its attention on you.
If you want to distract it quickly and effectively, you could clap your hands, whistle, call it in a loud but controlled tone of voice, etc. You can also offer it its favourite food or treats.
You should never scold or yell at your German Shepherd to get its attention, as this will only make its erratic behaviour worse. Make sure to always be aware of your dog’s behaviour to act in time.
Ignore the Barking of Your German Shepherd
Excessive and constant barking is one of the inappropriate behaviours exhibited by German Shepherds. The barks of these dogs are usually loud and irritating even to family members.
The best thing to do in these cases is to ignore your dog while it barks. When your German Shepherd realizes that you are not paying attention to it, no matter how much it barks, it will stop barking.
Ignoring your German Shepherd while it is barking means not interacting with it in any way, that is, you should not look at it, talk to it or touch it.
The moment your pet stops barking, reward it immediately. Your German Shepherd will quickly realize that you will only pay attention to it when it is not barking.
Don’t Laugh When Your German Shepherd Does Something Wrong
A common mistake a dog owner can make is laughing when his pet misbehaves.
This action encourages inappropriate behaviour in this breed since when you laugh, it will think that it is doing something right, and due to the love and loyalty it has towards you, it will repeat that again in order to see you happy.
We want to prevent that from happening because otherwise, it will think its actions are the right thing to do.
This example will help you understand what we are trying to explain. Remember that puppies love to bite their owners’ hands as a sign of affection.
While this can be cute and fun, it could be negative in the future if you laugh or make any bodily gestures that make your German Shepherd think that what it is doing is amusing you.
If you allow this to happen every day, it is possible that your dog will see biting as a correct and normal behaviour, so it will not hesitate to bite anyone, even if it is for the purpose of playing.
The problem is that even if it is a “harmless” bite, it could still be dangerous due to the dangerous jaw of an adult German Shepherd.