Owning a German Shepherd can be a wonderful experience however, it is a large and powerful dog so you must be in full control at all times. This means both in your home, and when you are out and about.
The best method of getting this control is by using a dog’s natural instincts. Using this method will make the job of training your German Shepherd that much more simple. Also, your dog will learn to be obedient much more quickly because it can understand what you want it to do more easily.
The whole training process becomes less stressful for both you and your German Shepherd and the results are excellent.
Much of this training can be carried out at home, and fit in with your daily routine in fact you will not believe how easy and convenient much of this training can be.
Dogs evolved from wolves and much of their basic instincts survive in your own dog. To communicate what you want your dog to do it is necessary to consider how your dog receives your instruction. When a dog fails to respond and you find yourself getting agitated and shouting, your raised level of agitation is what a wolf might pick up on when the pack is faced with a threat. In other words you stimulate your dog’s fight or flight instincts – this is not what you want to do. Instead learn to think like your dog does. Strangely, there is not as much exchange of audio messaging as you might think. Dogs pick up on subtle signals and emotions – have you ever noticed how a dog knows you are going to take it for a walk even before you get out of your chair.
Become the “Pack Leader”
This is really not difficult . There are about 25 things that mark you as a pack leader in your dog’s mind. Fortunately you only need to learn about 4 or 5 of these to improve your control of your dog. In fact there is no leadership contest. Your dog will be happy to accept you as pack leader – it just wants the roles defined and maintained so that it knows it’s “status Quo”.
There are several important elements to establishing yourself as the “pack leader” to your dog. One simple tip is to make sure you always go through any doorways or gateways in front of your dog. Never let it push past you to go through first. This gives the dog the feeling of being in control and leading the way.
Communicating With Your German Shepherd
There is an old management tip that states when a subordinate has misunderstood your instruction, first check how clear your original instructions were. In 80% of cases you instructions were ambiguous. This is very important when teaching your dog obedience. Your dog will quickly learn what you are trying to teach it but you must convey your requirements very simply and use the same commands each time. Our actual words mean nothing to a dog although it will learn what response you require for a particular word.
Give your commands in simple words. Speak firmly but never shouting. Accompany the command with a hand signal and consider a whistle when you are in noisy or windy conditions. You can train your dog to respond to a whistle quite easily. Think of sheep dog trials were the whistle is used to convey complicated commands. You don’t need to be that advanced.
Basic Commands To Teach Your German Shepherd
There are three essential disciplines that you must teach your dog.
- Sit and Stay
- To walk to heel
This is because these exercises are important for safety and control especially in an emergency situation. You can easily start these exercises in the home or garden. For example, at feeding times, get into the habit of making your dog sit and stay whilst you put it’s meal on the floor. Keeping it sitting for a short while and then release it to eat it’s food. Over a period of time increase the length of the time you keep your dog sitting but remember if the dog makes a break for the food, pick up the bowl and start again. A German Shepherd will soon get the message.
Recall is about enthusiastically calling your dog to you and making a big fuss of it when it comes. For a puppy or during initial training use a “treat” as a reward. Here is where a hand signal is useful. This because when you are training in the house it is not needed but think of being in the park and your dog is some distance away, the hand signal will re-enforce your verbal command. Use hand signals even in the house to develop the link.
Teaching a dog to walk to heel and not pull when on the lead can be a bit tedious but basically every time the dog pulls just stand still. When your dog has settled down walk forward again. At first you will spend more time standing still (hence the tedious bit). However, quite soon your dog will get the message that it is not going anywhere if it pulls.
Remember to always give a “release command” to release your dog from whatever you have asked it to do. Your German Shepherd needs to know the exercise is over and it is free to go. It’s a bit like remembering to hit the “enter” key on your keyboard to complete certain computer actions.
Obviously there is a lot more to this training than this but it is the foundation of the discipline of obedience.