German Shepherd training cost can be varied depending on your area. In this post, we’re going to answer the question “how much does it cost to train a German Shepherd? (this figure is in the US alone).
Generally, all training schools that I know offer four different classes/levels:
1. Puppy Kindergarten Class can cost between $125 to $150 for 4 weeks training session (one hour a week).
2. Basic Obedience Class can cost between $150 to $175 for 6 weeks training session (one hour a week).
3. Intermediate Class can cost between $200 to $375 for 6 weeks training session (one hour a week).
4. K9 Advanced Class/Customized Class can cost anywhere between $1000 to $10,000 depending on the program requested.
Now, let’s dive in more on what you can expect from each of those four classes.
What Should You Prepare Before Attending German Shepherd Training Class?
Before attending the class, you need to make sure your dog is properly vaccinated and healthy enough. Almost all professional dog trainers nowadays require you to submit your dog’s vaccine or health records before rolling in their class. To get this vaccine and health records, you can ask your vet for a physical exam and vaccination.
Puppy Kindergarten Class
The puppy kindergarten class is a foundation class designed for puppies between 8 to 11 weeks old. Since this class is so important for your pup’s development, I would strongly recommend not to skip this class for any reason.
What can your puppy learn in this class?
Most good kindergarten class should cover these five crucial lessons:
1. Puppy Socialization
Puppy socialization is the main focus of all puppy kindergarten classes. Once again, I need to reinstate that this lesson is so important for your pup’s development later in life. Puppies less than 11 weeks old are still in a critical socialization period. During this period, puppies learn about the world around them, what is acceptable and what isn’t.
In this kindergarten class, puppies will be exposed to as many new things as possible (new people, dogs, places, situations), so, he won’t become weary or fearful to other men or dogs later in life.
The most favorite season of puppy kindergarten class among dog owners is puppy playtime. In puppy playtime, your pup will learn how to interact appropriately with other pups and new people. And I think this season is the most favorite season for your pup as well since he can play and have fun with his peers. This playing time introduces your pup to many vital social skills such as greeting other pups politely, reading social cues, playing with other pups safely, learning group interaction, and more.
Those all are important social skills that will help your puppy to become an adult dog with good behavior.
2. Behavior Problem
Puppies have all sorts of behavioral problems that could drive you nuts such as excessive barking, whining, destructive chewing, just to name a few. In puppy class, you will work together with your trainer to identify all kinds of behavioral problems your puppy might have and devise a way to deal with them.
Housebreaking is another important lesson that you can expect to get from a puppy kindergarten class. There are three important lessons that should be covered in this part: housebreaking training, toilet training, and crate training.
4. Handling and Grooming
I’ve seen many dogs who fret over and become aggressive when they visit vets or groomers. Sadly, this is something that is totally unnecessary and avoidable if only you’ve prepared them early.
In “handling and grooming” session, your pup will be conditioned to sit back and relax in return for his favorite treats that he can happily munch while a dog trainer in charge performs various simulation: open his mouth, touch his paws, lift his tails, brush his teeth, clean his ears, and trim his nails.
5. Basic Obedience Skills
There are some basic obedience skills that you will learn in this class, too. You will learn how to train your GSD puppy to sit, lie down, walk on a loose leash, come and stay.
What to Bring to Puppy Kindergarten Class?
Prior to class, your trainer will ask you to prepare and bring the following items:
- A dog collar with identification tags.
- A non-retractable leash.
- Your dog’s favorite treats or kibble.
- A treat bag.
- A small water bowl for personal use.
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Basic Obedience Class
Basic obedience class is for a puppy between 8 weeks to six months of age. Whereas puppy kindergarten classes tend to focus more on socialization skills, basic obedience classes are designed to cover more ground. In this class, your pup not only learns a whole new obedience skill set but also learns many new lessons related to the manner and good behavior. It’s a good opportunity to discuss with an experienced trainer any behavior issues you might spot at home.
Your dog is not the only one who will benefit from this class, but you will also as you and your trainer work together to hone in your own training skills so you can later practice them at home with your dog, which is a great way to bond with your dog.
Some skills that you and your pup can expect to learn are sit, down, come, stay, name call, heel, leave, and polite greeting.
What to Bring to Basic Obedience Class?
Aside from the five items that we’ve mentioned in the previous section (what to bring to puppy kindergarten class?), most schools are going to ask you to bring one additional item, “a clicker”.
A clicker is a small cricket noisemaker that emits a double click sound when compressed. Clicker training is simple yet better and effective training methods that yield a faster and permanent result than a traditional “praising” method. When training your dog a new skill or behavior, the clicker helps your dog to identify a specific desired behavior that earns him a reward.
A Group or Private Class?
Most training schools train a dog in a small class size between five and ten dogs. Enrolling your dog in this small class size can actually give your dog a lot of benefits that are not available in a private class. In a group class, your dog learns how to interact better with other dogs and people and listen to your voice amidst all the distractions from other dogs.
Even in the case of a shy or reactive dog, I would still suggest enrolling your dog in a group class for the socialization benefits that he can’t ever get in a private class.
Intermediate Training Class
Intermediate training class builds up the skills that your dog has learned from the basic obedience class. There are many new skills that you and your dog will learn in this class such as dog training hand signal from in front, dog training hand signal from a distance, stranger food refusal, automatic sit without any command given, sit-stand-down in motion, and lot more.
To summarize, the goal of the intermediate training class is to give you complete control over your dog; to make him follow all of your commands from a short or long distance regardless of using a hand signal or voice command.
A K9 advanced/customized class is a specialized class geared toward adult German Shepherds who are bred to become police or military dogs.
In a K9 advanced program, your German Shepherd is prepared and taught many specialized skills that professional police dogs must possess such as tracking missing objects, finding suspects, detecting dangerous substances, and guarding people and communities around him.
Considering the expensive cost and the depth of the program, this K9 training program is not for everyday German Shepherds.
Where to Find Dog Trainer Near Me?
Yelp is a good starting point to find local dog trainers in your area. You can browse through Yelp and find reviews from other dog owners for each dog trainer and dog training school in your area.