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How To Train A German Shepherd To Heel

When Should You Begin Leash Training

Training a German Shepherd to Heel with German Shepherd Man

It is important to start leash training a GSD when its young. While it is still possible to leash train a GSD when its a full-grown adult, there will be more challenges in part because of how much heavier and stronger it is.

Challenges may also arise because older dogs tend to be set in their ways. Old habits can be broken, but often take a considerable amount of effort.

So it is ideal to begin leash training your GSD when it is a puppy, because when you train it at a young age it will take what it learns and apply it as it grows up.

You should already have a plan to introduce leash training before you take your GSD puppy home.

What To Train During Play And Games

Everything you teach is a gentle lesson, not a reprimand or correction.

For example, have your dog sit or perform a down before you throw a toy or ball and before you take it back. Progressively increase the length of sit-stay or down-stay with each repetition.

When playing tug, teach them to release or drop the toy by offering them a small bit of tasty treat, then engage them in play so they understand that tug is a cooperative game and giving up their toy just means they get a treat and more tug time with you.

You can train your stubborn German Shepherd using fun and games without them even noticing theyre learning.

If you want some ideas to play with your dog, try a few of these games for German Shepherds to get started.

Tips To Train A German Shepherd

Animal file: German Shepherd

If you have decided to adopt a German Shepherd dog, you must bear in mind that it will not automatically become your new best friend: you must make an effort to train it so that it becomes a sociable and loving companion.

Puppy and adult German Shepherds have a peculiar temperament, and so they need to receive specific training to make their intelligence and skills shine. In this AnimalWised we’ll tell you all you need to know about this breed. With these tips to train a German Shepherd, you’ll be come inseparable in no time.

  • German Shepherds as working dogs
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    Training Your German Shepherd To Sit

    This is a crucial command that will assist your dog to become well-mannered and obedient.

    Step 1 : Wait for your dog to stand or sit in front of you. Hold his favorite treat in your hand and then flash it before his eye and make sure he sees it. This should get him excited and grab his attention. Step 2 : Slowly hover the hand holding the treat over his head towards his rear side. All the while, ensure the treat stays in line with his nose so that he can sniff the treat to fuel his excitement. Step 3 : Your dog will automatically drop his rear to the floor in a sitting position to maintain eye-contact with his favorite treat. Once, his behind hits the floor, hand him the treat and praise him for a good job. Step 4 : Do not use the word sit at this level. Instead, practice this exercise until he can sit on seeing the treat on your hand. Only introduce the word sit after a few days of practicing. Step 5 : Have the treat in your hand and then use the word sit. If he is not able to respond by sitting on the ground, gently press his coup down and then repeat the command. Do not reward him with the treat until he can respond to the command. Keep practicing until your dog can sit even without treats.

    Training An Adult German Shepherd

    German Shepherd Belgian Malinois Heel Training

    If you have adopted an adult German Shepherd, there’s not need to worry. Adult dogs can also be trained properly, and in fact this breed is known for being clever, friendly and willing to learn. Through positive reinforcement you will be able to teach your German Shepherd almost any trick or command without any problem.

    As it makes the transition from puppy to adult, the German Shepherd dog should learn the basic dog commands that will help it to live with other people and pets, including “sit”, “stay”, “down”, and “heel”.

    Training sessions shouldn’t be more than 15 minutes long, but they should take place every day. This will help you enjoy life with an obedient, docile dog, and your German Shepherd will be safe at all times.

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    Speedy Ways To Train A German Shepherd

    Are you excited to begin training your German Shepherd and wondering how to train a German Shepherd because youre eager to get started?

    Ive trained German Shepherds and will show you the quickest ways to get the behaviors that you want

    While having fun and bonding with your dog!

    How To Teach Your Dog To Heel

    The Heel command has a ton of value for both the pet parent and the dog because it adds control to the walk and mental exercise for the dog. It provides leadership, drains energy, and creates relaxation in ways that a loose leash walk does not.

    What exactly is heel?

    This cue asks a dog to walk directly next to you instead of behind or in front of you. The dog is working to keep pace with you, only stopping when you stop and walking when you walk. Walking at your side, on a loose leash, avoiding the temptation to sniff and pee on everything requires a lot of discipline for a dog.

    Walking at a human pace is actually not much physical exercise for a dog but a structured walk in heel position is a lot of mental exercise. Maintaining heel position keeps the dog in a more relaxed, working state of mind. You are constantly in your dogs peripheral vision which is a constant reminder that you are calling the shots. The dog is taking direction from you rather than making his own decisions.

    Once you allow the dog to forge ahead far enough that you fall out of view it tends to be a matter of out of sight, out of mind and most dogs will begin to start making more choices, following less direction, and acting on their own agenda. This is where we often get pulling, leash aggression, and so forth. Dogs do not need to heel at all times but it is a very valuable command that Rover-Time recommends all dogs learn and practice it on a daily basis.

    To Heel or Not to Heel

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    Avoid Punishing Your German Shepherds Stubbornness

    Frequent or severe punishment is an indication that your training is definitely flawed!

    Most likely, your dog will still misbehave and youll continue to frequently punish them thus, youre not actually training them.

    At this point, its time to change to a better plan.

    Rather than punishing your German Shepherd for mistakes theyve made, concentrate on teaching them how he should act in the future in a positive way.

    Remember, it is much more effective and efficient to reward your dog for doing it the way you consider to be right rather than punishing them for the many ways they do it wrong.

    When theyre giving you the behavior you dont want, show them a better, more appropriate behavior you would prefer.

    Repeated punishment is a wedge that slowly destroys the dog-owner relationship, sometimes to irreparable conditions.

    The whole point of living with a working breed is to engage with them in a harmonious relationship and to enjoy their company.

    Surely you dont want to live with a German Shepherd that doesnt want your company!

    Positive Reinforcement Produces Positive Results

    Training A German Shepherd To Heel

    Your German Shepherd will respond best to training with positive reinforcement. Yelling or physical punishment will cause this intelligent breed to mistrust you.

    Reward good behavior with treats or praise or both. Its the best way to show your German Shepherd that hes doing it right and its a motivator for him to continue with this behavior.

    Remember earlier when I said that your German Shepherd actually wants to please you?

    Well, once your dog has mastered the behavior, you can remove the treats and reward only with praise hell relish in it all the same.

    You know by now that there are heaps of different training programs. Each program has a specific focus, function, and outcome.

    Well take a closer look at some of these in future posts. So, for now, lets look at two basic programs

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    Your Dog Has One Basic Need Understand This And Training Will Be A Breeze

    See that cute puppy snuggled up on your sofa? See that old dog that needs to learn new tricks?

    They look to you for guidance

    And Heres the trick:

    The most valuable thing you can do for your dog is to show him that you are a good leader.

    If you’re thinking good leadership is establishing yourself as an alpha’ you’re wrong.

    Your dog knows you’re not a dog and so will never see you as a dog or an alpha.

    Being a good leader means your GSD can and will always look to you for guidance.

    Think about it

    If your pooch is looking to you for guidance they feel comfortable and safe and that creates an environment of trust.

    Being a good leader is about using brains over brawn to teach your German Shepherd.

    Do Dogs Respond Better To German

    Dogs dont necessarily respond better to German than English. Thats more a matter of how well youve trained your dog. But German commands are short, easy, and contain attention-getting hard consonants, so German commands are easy for your dog to identify that you are speaking to them. Training your dog to respond to German commands is a personal choice. But if you decide to teach your dog German training commands, start as early as you can because it will be less confusing for a puppy than an older dog.

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    How Do I Know If My Pup Still Needs To Learn This Skill

    You know you need to add this to your to-do list if when you take your dog for a walk you feel like instead, your dog is the one walking you! It can sometimes be hard to motivate yourself to get up and go for a walk. But it is even harder to get motivated and enjoy a walk with your favorite companion if they are constantly pulling and tugging you in every direction. At SitStay, we offer a wide variety of dog training tools that can help you to train your dog to do pretty much anything, including learning to become a respectful walking buddy.

    A leash we recommend for dogs who like to pull is this Freedom Flex by Tough Pup

    Problems And Proofing Behavior

    German Shepherd Obedience Training Fuss Sitz Oakley 11 ...

    It’s not uncommon for dogs to break out of the heel when learning this command, especially early on. Your patience and consistency are key to working through some of the challenges you’ll face. Keep with it and your dog will eventually learn what you want it to do.

    If needed, go back a step or two at any stage in the training. One of the common mistakes owners make is moving onto the next step before the dog is ready, so it seems like it forgot the previous lessons. If your dog makes several mistakes in a row, simply go back to giving it more treats and walking a shorter distance. Take your time, then slowly build back up to having it walk at a heel for longer distances.

    Keep a close eye on your dog’s body language. You can often learn to anticipate when your dog is about to break away from the heel position. If you notice your dog’s muscles bunch or that it begins to fixate on something besides the treats, give the “heel” command again, then pivot to the left and walk in the opposite direction. Your dog will quickly learn that it’s important to pay attention to you.

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    Two: Progress To An Environment With More Distractions

    Note that the environment you train your GSD in should gradually increase in the natural distractions to simulate a real off leash scenario.

    Start of with few distractions and increase them as your GSD becomes more competent.

    For step two, you may want to progress to your front yard for example.

    In most front yards, there are people walking past, cars and general public environment distractions.

    These are great natural distractions for your adult dog or puppy to be tested by.

    Do Not Move When Your Dog Tries To Pull On The Leash

    Another way you can make your GSD stop pulling on the leash is to pause. When your dog tries to move towards a desired place or object, do not let it drag you along. If you let your dog pull on the leash, it will take this as a victory and will continue to do so.

    The best thing to do in such scenarios is to pause or stop movement. Your dog will turn to look at you and will find that you are not willing to move in that direction. This will send out a clear message to your dog that you are the leader, and you will not go where it wants you to.

    If your dog turns around and notices that you are in a statue state but yet want to pull on the leash, turn around and start moving in the opposite direction. This is another way to tell your dog that it can only move in a direction you want it to.

    Warning: Do not pull on the leash too tightly as it will hurt your dog.

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    Not Meeting Their Energy Needs

    A tired dog is a happy and trainable dog.

    Your German Shepherd needs at least two one-hour walks daily, and even this amount isnt enough for many working dogs. If this is not done, your pet not only is exposed to health problems such as obesity and joint-related issues but also behavioral problems, including stubbornness.

    Its your job to help them get the required exercise they need to not only stay fit but to stay healthy and actively work, every single day

    Snow, rain, or blustery wind.

    Try to exercise them before working on training commands so they are more calm and able to focus more on their training.

    End On A Positive Note

    GERMAN SHEPHERD PUPPY HEEL TRAINING! How To Teach Your German Shepherd Puppy To Walk to Heel!

    Always end every training session on a positive note, even if your German Shepherd puppy did not succeed in learning the command for the day. That might mean a few minutes of play or a quick walk in the neighborhood.

    These five steps can be applied to all the basic and advanced commands listed earlier. Lets concretize the five steps using the examples of the come! and let go! commands.

    Teaching your German Shepherd puppy the command come!

    Youll use the command come! to call your dog to you when you want to feed him, go for a walk, redirect him towards you in a park, among other situations. Follow these steps to teach your German Shepherd puppy the come! command:

  • Find a quiet place in your home for the training session. It is better to start in a location without distraction for the basic commands, like the living room or the yard. Bring your dog and squat so both can look at each other in the eyes.
  • Hide some tasty treats in your hand and make your puppy smell them.
  • Put out your hand to show the treats without letting your puppy eat them yet.
  • Say the command come! and repeat it a second time.
  • Move a little away from your German Shepherd puppy so that you have some distance between you.
  • Say the command come! again, this time with your arms put out towards your puppy.
  • When your GSD puppy comes to you, reward him with the treat or praise him with a good boy!
  • Repeat 5 to 6 times and reward every time the command is obeyed.
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    Whistle Your Way To A Perfect Recall

    Most likely, youll need to retrain your dog by introducing a new command or a different signal, such as a whistle. A whistle is great because it sounds the same at a distance and isnt influenced by your mood or frustration level.

    Start recall training in an area with few distractions and your dog on their long leash .

    How to Retrain Your Stubborn German Shepherds Recall

    • Let your dog sniff in a safe area and wander around for a bit to enjoy the scents.
    • Then, use the whistle by blowing a few short peeps to get your dogs attention.
    • As they turn to look at you call them and take some steps backward to encourage them to return to you quickly.
    • Dont jerk on the long line, instead slap your leg or make kissing sounds to become more interesting to them to return to.
    • Always have a super tasty reward for them when they come to you to solidify the recall. Give them the treat and praise them while holding their collar or harness gently in your hands.
    • After a few seconds, release them to sniff again and repeat the sequence.

    As your dog gets better and better at their recall, increase the difficulty.

    Use longer distances to call them back and slowly change up the places that you practice to include more distractions. Always have them on the long line and make sure theyre safe!


    Never, ever, ever call your dog or puppy and then grab them by the collar to reprimand or punish them!

    Doing this even just once will make your stubborn German Shepherd hate coming when called.


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