Obedience Training for Dogs
For a large dog like the German Shepherd that is strong both physically and in its will power, basic Obedience Dog Training is crucial. Obedience training for dogs is the basis of any more advanced training like German Shepherd Protection Training or German Shepherd Schutzhund Training.
Obedience training for dogs can be divided in two parts: Off the leash and on leash training, or off lead and on lead training. Many dog commands are applicable to both situations, off the leash and on leash.
Another classification is to distinguish basic dog commands from the more advanced dog commands which generally will require more emphasis and/or more time before your German Shepherd can comply.
Note that all dog commands can be used in slight variations depending on where you live and depending on the education of the trainer, however consistency is crucial. In general, the shorter the dog command you use the more obedient your dog will respond.
Obedience training for dogs should never be about acting like a despot, being tyrannical, or a control-freak. Instead Obedience dog training should have the aim of giving your German Shepherd as much freedom as is possible and safe for you and for the dog – while ultimately adhering to your dog commands.
Your commitment to Obedience Dog Training
Obedience training for dogs takes a lifetime if you consider that your dog’s obedience needs to be retrained regularly. However, the initial Obedience Dog Training where you train the basic dog commands should take no more than three months if your dog is being trained for at least an hour every day. Indeed, consistency is the most crucial factor for success, both in the short term and in the long term.
Conversely, the advanced dog commands of Obedience Dog Training cannot and should not be trained every day. Your dog needs a rest, physically and also mentally in order to show an active interest in the next training session. Usually, a formal training of the advanced dog commands twice a week has provided the best success rates. Again, consistency is key.
After about eight to twelve weeks there should be a break of a couple of months, which should then be followed by a shorter refresher training of about four weeks. Subsequently, a one-day refresher training every couple of months should suffice.
Naturally, your german shepherd must first completely adhere to the basic dog commands of German Shepherd Obedience Training before you start to teach the more advanced dog commands. You didn’t have parts of college class material while still being at primary school. So, better don’t put too high demands too fast on your GSD either.
Also note that you must be ready for the training of your dog yourself. Too many dog owners neglect their end of the bargain when they buy or adopt their German Shepherd. They seem to think that the burden lies with their GSD, not with themselves. However, think of Obedience Dog Training as a two-way street, and it will be far more effective and enjoyable for both of you! You and your German Shepherd will then experience the training as a welcoming change to an otherwise sometimes monotonous life of a dog.
You too will need to learn how to gradually assert your dominance over your German Shepherd to show your dog that you are in charge at all times and that it must listen to you. If the trained behaviours are replicated consistently, your dog and you will have a much easier time following your lead.
Alpha leadership is the cornerstone of all effective German Shepherd dog training, and with a dog as athletic and energetic as the German Shepherd it is all the more important for a safe and happy life together.
Limitations of Obedience training for dogs
Remember that your German Shepherd can only do well what it is taught to do. You must be consistent, considerate, reassuring and effective at maintaining the dog commands and praise you give. The second you start waffling or forgetting to reassert your commands, your dog will start to revert to its instinctive behaviours that you worked so hard on to train your dog out of.
If your German Shepherd is a family dog where several family members share control of the dog and time to socialize with the dog, you need to make sure that everyone in the household can follow along with whatever anyone else has taught your dog during formal dog obedience training classes or ad-hoc obedience dog training sessions.
We would strongly recommend that you study German Shepherd Obedience Training in more detail by subscribing for free to the MYGERMANSHEPHERD PERIODICAL here on the site, and also to make use of suitable german shepherd training books and german shepherd training video.
The most comprehensive and intuitive video training series is from a Dog Trainer in New Zealand, ‘Doggy Dan’, and it’s called The Online Dog Trainer.
In addition, at some point you may want to consider to use the services of professional dog trainers or specifically German Shepherd trainers in your area. However, you can save a lot of money if you first undertake basic obedience dog training yourself.
An entirely different kind of limitation of German Shepherd obedience training is given when you aim to have family protection dogs or trained protection dogs. Read German Shepherd Protection Training to understand why trained protection dogs require a completely different understanding from their owners. Naturally, the base work for family protection dogs still is obedience dog training, however the end result has little to do with obedience and much with partnership between you and your German Shepherd.