Command dog training requires that we understand the dog commands before we can expect our dog to understand them. This means we must use any dog command consistently.
In principle, you can of course make up your own dog command list, and indeed in different geographic regions the dog commands vary more or less, even in the same language. However, consistency is absolutely necessary, and if you are ever going to choose gsd training by professional dog trainers you should use the same commands as they do.
Conversely, if you aim to perform your own German Shepherd dog training or German Shepherd puppy training and you realize how crucial consistency is, then you may find the following dog command list useful.
We have broken down the dog commands in 1) those for leash training a dog, 2) those for off leash training, and 3) those that apply to both situations.
Most dog commands can be considered dog obedience commands – in the end, you probably expect your GSD to ‘obey’ them.
The majority of the commands are classified as basic dog commands – meaning that your german shepherd will principally learn these commands within a week (max). After that, occasional re-training of the basic dog commands is all that’s needed.
A few commands however are advanced dog commands, and they normally require retraining every few weeks or months. Even for a German Shepherd with its intelligence above average, this type of command dog training is demanding.
Basic Dog Commands
Basic dog commands that apply to both situations, leash training a dog and off leash training, are primarily the following:
NO or STOP – to make your dog stop doing whatever it is doing right now.
SIT – to make your dog sit at its current position.
DOWN – to make your dog lie down at its current position.
STAND – to make your dog stand up when it is in the Sit or Down position.
OFF – to make your dog get off the item it is currently on.
STAY – to make your dog stay at its current position.
GO – to make your dog start walking or running.
FOCUS – to make your dog focus on you, and not be distracted.
SPEAK – to make your dog bark.
QUIET – to make your dog stop any whining or barking.
HEEL – to remind your dog to walk next to you, on either side, at your pace.
BITE – to make your dog bite into a given object.
OUT or DROP IT – to make your dog give free any item it has in its mouth.
HOLD – to make your dog hold in its mouth whatever it is biting on.
Basic dog commands that only apply to off leash training:
COME – to make your dog come towards you.
GO OUT – to make your dog leave the crate, kennel, room, or house.
GO IN – to make your dog enter the crate, kennel, room, or house.
Note that we bring more clues and much more insight on both basic dog commands and advanced dog commands in the MYGERMANSHEPHERD PERIODICAL, so hopefully you have already subscribed to the MYGERMANSHEPHERD PERIODICAL for free. Have you?
Now, on to the advanced dog commands!
Advanced Dog Commands
If your German Shepherd Obedience Training shall go any further than these basic dog training commands, then you or your chosen professional dog trainers can teach your German Shepherd the more advanced dog commands. Each such dog command may greatly enhance the joy both you and your GSD will have in life.
Note that because of the genetic predisposition of the German Shepherd, your dog will actually enjoy to comply with the advanced dog commands too! Since GSDs are generally both intelligent and very loyal, you may often find that your dog is eager to receive your appreciation when (s)he complies with challenging commands.
What are the more advanced dog commands?
JUMP – to make your dog jump over any form of barrier.
BRING – to make your dog bring to you a shown item.
FETCH – to make your dog catch a shown item in its mouth.
LEAVE IT – to make your dog not pick up an item in its mouth
BEHIND LEFT / BEHIND RIGHT – to make your dog walk around you on your left/right.
FIND – to make your dog search for a shown item or person.
TURN LEFT / TURN RIGHT – to make your dog change walking direction.
TRACK – to make your dog track and follow examples of a shown item.
GUARD – to make your dog watch over an object or person and stop it from moving.
Although one could consider the advanced dog commands across-the-board as dog obedience commands too, others would argue that half of them have little to do with German Shepherd obedience training but rather with dog motivation, dog challenges, dog sport, or generally dog behavior training.
However you prefer it, note that all these commands are listed in the order of difficulty – as it concerns command dog training of a German Shepherd in general. This means, your own GSD may of course learn an individual dog command sooner or later than some other basic dog training commands. After all, this also depends on how, how intensely, and how consistently you or the professional dog trainers train your German Shepherd.
Accompanied dog training -v- unaccompanied dog training
The advanced dog commands generally have two versions: accompanied dog training and unaccompanied dog training. However, most German Shepherds (and all other dog breeds) only receive accompanied dog training: For example, the handler is running along with the dog (off-the-leash or on-leash), the dog jumps over the barrier, and the handler runs past it on the side.
An entirely different level of German Shepherd dog training is the unaccompanied dog training. Naturally, here the dog is always off-leash. The handler is standing in good distance of the dog and gives loud vocal dog commands or visual cues from his position. Now the dog has to comply with the dog command received – without seeing any movement of its handler or any other optical trigger!
The unaccompanied dog training is by far the most demanding dog training of all. It requires an extreme level of focus, determination, stress-resistance, and perseverance from your dog.
You can experience this yourself: Your GSD may be excellent at say fetching a frisbee while you are 100 yards away, because the flying frisbee provides the optical trigger. But now try this: Again, be 100 yards away and tell your dog to say jump over a barrier even further away from you (so not towards you in which case you would be the optical trigger). – FAIL. Only a handful of trained dogs in a thousand can do this!
Even during the extremely demanding German Shepherd Schutzhund Training your dog will be on an extra long lead while the handler teaches for example the Tracking. To teach your dog to do something without you or any object providing an optical trigger, will overstrain almost every dog – even after months of intense training. It’s probably similar to requiring from you, under pressure, to navigate your way in a city of a foreign country that has no street signs at all, and you don’t have a map or satnav either! FUN?