A well-trained, obedient German Shepherd Dog that obeys your every command is a joy and a delight. A wild, uncontrollable, unruly German Shepherd that pulls frantically on the leash whenever you take him – or her – for a walk and attempts to attack every dog in sight is more than an irritation and a nuisance. It’s a pest. Which would you rather have? The choice is yours.
You can be the proud owner of an exceptionally well-behaved German Shepherd Dog with the absolute minimum of training and without much effort. How can this be achieved? The answer is not really all that complicated. You have to be the leader of the pack. The dog has to learn to respect you.
People mistakenly believe that in order to have a well-trained obedient dog it is necessary to spend many hours training. This is certainly so. A German Shepherd Dog is certainly one of the easiest breeds to train.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to be an exceptionally dominant type of personality. What it does mean however, is that you have to consistent in your training and your training commands. And your German Shepherd – even when it is still a pup – has to understand that the command “No!” does not meant that it can continue indefinitely performing an action of which you disapprove. It must stop immediately.
It is very useful to start leash training as early as possible. If you leave it until the pup is older you may have a fight on your hands. After the pup has had the collar around its neck for a few days and become accustomed to the idea, you can introduce the pup to the leash. Present it initially as something to play with. It may be a good idea to leave the leash on the collar without handling it at all. Let the pup drag it around for a short while.
Start with a soft leather collar that fits snugly around his neck. Try not to be awkward in your efforts to fasten the collar. Be quick and dexterous. Play with the pup after you have placed the collar around his neck to distract him. Leave the collar on for a few days so that he can run around and get used to it. You can then introduce the idea of leash training.
Once he has got used to the idea of the leash and has no objection to it you can take it up in your hand and being the process of teaching him to walk on leash.
The easiest and most practical way is with the help of food. It is best to use a tasty morsel that he finds very attractive. Coax him to follow you while the leash is in your hand. The food you use can be cheese, that is usually a tasty snack for dogs, or small pieces of boiled liver that most dogs love. If you find it more convenient you cut up small piece of sausage.
Holding the leash slack when you walk, persuade the pup to follow you with a pleasant, encouraging voice.
Even if he has followed you only a few steps, stoop down; reward him with the piece of liver or whatever treat you are using and praise him lavishly.
Continue the process until your German Shepherd Dog is willing to walk quite a distance without tugging and trying to escape the restriction of the leash. Progress slowly. If you have remarkable success the first time, don’t press your luck. Stop! Remove the leash. Play with him. You can even use the leash as a play object. But don’t remove the collar.
Day by day you can continue walking a little further, encouraging the pup all the time. The pup will soon this is a very pleasant process. You will also be able to dispense with the food reward quite soon. Your praise and encouragement will be quite sufficient.
If the pup reacts against the leash, which is fairly common, don’t despair. It sometimes takes a few days for the pup to realize that the entire process is pleasurable, especially if he can see by your behavior that you are enjoying the walk as much as he is. Achieve little steps of progress day by day.
It may even take as much as a week, but he will definitely get the idea and associate the leash with a very pleasant procedure. A little patience in these early stages of training will avoid a great deal of unnecessary friction and frustration if you are in too much of a hurry and try and hasten the process.
A word of warning. Even though the process can be very frustrating with a stubborn pup, and there definitely some animals that are very stubborn, do not allow yourself to show the slightest irritation. Easier said than done! It may be difficult but it is a good test of your will power! By displaying irritation – as justified as you may be – you will be setting yourself back in the training process by several weeks until you have regained the pup’s confidence.
OBEDIENCE DOG TRAINING CLASSES
Whether or not you would like to become involved in obedience competitions, you should think seriously about joining a dog training Club and attend obedience classes. The usual age to start training is about 6 months, but this can vary depending on the temperament of the dog, and also the size.
If you have a very large, boisterous pup of a large breed it may be advantageous to start him earlier. In any event, even though the dog may not be quite ready for formal training, the fact that he has learnt at an early age to socialize with other dogs is of great value.
Although there are a variety of training methods, depending on the personality and experience of the trainers, there are certain basic rules common to all training methods.
The basis of all training is discipline. Your dog must obey. Whether or not he obeys in his own time or responds immediately to your commands will depend on you. But discipline is the basis of all training.
You cannot expect you dog to obey you merely because he loves you. He has to respect you. Respect means listening to what you tell him – obeying you. In essence training is fairly simple. It consists of praise and correction. If he obeys you, he is praised. If he disobeys he needs to be corrected.
The difference in training methods depends to a large extent on the degree of correction that is used. Here again it depends on the temperament of the animal. A very sensitive animal might require only the mildest of reprimands, which can be given verbally. A tough, obstinate dog might require much stronger methods. You have to be sufficiently astute to recognize into which category your dog fits.
If you would like to know more about training the German Shepherd Dog, about the history of the breed and see photographs of the best German Shepherd Dogs in the world, visit the following website. http://www.allaboutgermanshepherddogs.com