Puppies and people have a significant need to play. Pepper is no different. We play for quite some time each day right now, as play is the best way to learn, and right now, Pepper is in pure learning mode. She picked up steps on her own. (From her kennel, I am sure) She now knows the yard limits even though eventually that will grow. (and she loves to run)
The first rule of working with a puppy is almost always the lead. Pepper is catching on to “heel” rapidly and has it down within reason. She understands what we are doing and has gotten over the “I will do what I want to do” puppy independence. It is essential to work on lead training as soon as possible. As a German Shepherd owner, you have a responsibility to understand that a full-grown German Shepherd is quite an animal and, if not trained, can pull a grown man along the street or accidentally hurt someone. It is imperative that they understand several commands, and leash (lead) training is primary.
When you get started collars should be tight enough for control but loose enough to slide overhead. This is in case they ever get stuck. You will need to understand how to move the leash if they try to pull away. You will decide if they can pull the collar off or if you can maneuver it to keep it on quickly. No prongs or chokers are my preference. It really doesn’t hurt a German Shepherd much, but it is not good practice.
Leashes should be short or standard length. If you use a retractable lead, it is a death sentence. Wrong type of dog. Longer leads can become weapons if the dog is unwieldy. I use short panic leads on adult dogs, and longer leads for walks or puppies. When I rode bike with Luna and she paced me I used a standard 6 foot lead. It was loose enough that she could pull free but she never did and stayed next to me at all times. Expect to have several leads for different purposes. It works better that way.
When walking a GSD they should always be at your side unless asked to go forward. (Advanced stuff there). A German Shepherd who leads will think you are taking cues from them, the end goal will not be achieved, that goal is control. If they stop or pull and you let them, they are smart enough to know they can do it again. Consistency is everything. When on a lead your actions should not waver, and your control should not either. Mixed messages can be bad for the dog, and frustrating for you.
A good German Shepherd will not pull. They are attentive to their owners commands and respond well at all times. (Even if it goes against their judgement) Work towards that goal every day.