Alsatians, widely known as German shepherd dogs, are easily recognised by even novice dog owners. Popular for their intelligence and loving nature, Alsatians have been guide dogs, movie stars and everything in between. Alsatians can be strong-willed if not properly guided, and training Alsatian puppies will help mould them into acceptable canine companions.
The Alsatian was first developed by German ex-cavalry Captain Max von Stephanitz in 1899. At a dog show, Captain Stephanitz was introduced to a dog named Hektor Linksrhein, who embodied all the qualities Max thought a dog should have. He purchased the dog and changed his name to Horand von Grafrath, designating him as the first German shepherd dog registered in the newly formed Verein für Deutsche Schäferhunde, or SV as it is commonly known today.
Alsatian puppies should be allowed to stay with their litter mates until they are at least 8 weeks old, as they learn valuable social interactions within the litter. Once the puppies are weaned, they should be fitted with a collar and leash to acclimate them to the feel of having something around their necks. Alsatian puppies should be crate trained to safely contain them while you are away. Place a crate in the living room and set the pup inside, rewarding him when he sits quietly inside. Extend the time in the crate until he stays quiet for three or four hours by himself.
Housebreaking Alsatian puppies should be started as soon as they are weaned. Place the pups on a set feeding schedule and feed them at the same time every day. Alsatian puppies are creatures of habit and will have to potty soon after eating, so a consistent feeding time helps you predict when they will have to go. Take the puppies to a designated potty spot in your yard and leave them alone for a few minutes. They will sniff around and potty as soon as they are comfortable. Praise each puppy once it potties, repeating the process upon waking and after every meal until the puppies go out on their own.
Teaching Alsatian puppies basic obedience skills will make them easier to handle as they mature. Begin your training with simple commands such as sit, lie down, stay and come, rewarding the dog with a treat as soon as she responds properly to reinforce the behaviour. Alsatians are very intelligent and will often learn a new command in one or two training sessions. Once the puppy is performing basic commands, you can move onto more intricate tasks.
Training sessions should be kept short, with each session no longer than 15 minutes to keep the puppies from becoming bored. Work with the puppies two or three times a day, with each session focusing on a different skill to help them stay focused. Stay upbeat when working with the puppies, speaking in a cheerful voice and offering plenty of praise to keep the puppies happy. Avoid using physical punishment that could hurt or frighten the puppies.