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German Shepherd Obedience Training


Obedience Training for dogs

Obedience Training for dogs appears to be the only dog training that today's generations of dog trainers know. So no surprise that it also is the only dog training that dog owners know and apply.

What is Obedience Training?

By its very name, all forms of Obedience Training comprise an element of lure or reward, or force or fear to get the dog "obedient", as well as some form of punishment for "disobedience" - whether the punishment is to withhold the lure or reward, or to jerk on the leash, or to raise the arm in a threatening way, or whatever else. When you expect the dog to be "obedient" then you must have some form of punishment when the dog is not.

The dog trainers who believe they are the good ones use only lure and/or reward, and the other dog trainers who also believe they are the good ones, and that only they can effectively train dogs, they use force and/or fear in addition to lure and/or reward.

What are the problems with Obedience Training?

There are many problems with Obedience Training, but the most striking problem is: When you use any form of Obedience Training, the dog behaves "well" only while you are there (if at all). This is because only when you are there with the dog, you can use lure or reward, or force or fear to get the dog to do what you want - or to stop doing something you don't want. And because the dog is aware that only when you are in an arm's reach of the dog, you can use some form of punishment when the dog does not meet your expectations.

Again the punishment may just be that you withhold the lure or reward, but you can't do that either when you aren't with the dog. And so whenever you aren't around (you are at work or grocery shopping, or taking the kids to school or the grandma to the doctor, or whatever), the dog is very much aware that neither (s)he can hope to get a treat, nor (s)he has to fear your use of force.

What are the consequences of Obedience Training?

The consequences of this biggest flaw of Obedience Training are manifold: from plain "potty accidents" to destroyed furniture at home, from running off and not coming when called to attacking children or the postman or anyone else when outdoors.

While dog owners routinely notice the ramifications of Obedience Training in their own home (although they don't relate them to the form of training they chose to undertake), the ramifications that Obedience Training has for the society as a whole are on an entirely different level: The mauling of children and adults by dogs wouldn't happen if a) the dog owners are always with their dog (which obviously they can't), or b) the dog owners use Behavior Training far more than Obedience Training.

What is the alternative to Obedience Training?

Noticing the inherent flaws of Obedience Training, Tim Carter as the founder of MYGERMANSHEPHERD.ORG realized at the beginning of the third millennium that we currently share, that Obedience Training needs to be replaced by something better. Something that better meets the dog's inherited traits and psychology. Something that doesn't mislead dog owners into believing that they have trained their dog (or that a professional dog trainer has trained their dog) when all that has been done is to entice or to frighten the dog while you were there, or while the trainer was there.

This is why Tim Carter developed Behavior Training to better meet the needs of the modern dog owner. And although you can find a few professional dog trainers who now use the term Behavior Training, when you look at their actual offering you see that it is nothing but Obedience Training.

What means Behavior Training?

Behavior Training as we understand it means that we behave in a way that motivates the dog to behave the way we want. Building up this intrinsic motivation is the reason why this kind of dog training takes longer, but also why then the dog routinely behaves the same, regardless whether we are there or not.

Our Behavior Training is void of the idea of "obedience" and "disobedience". There is no reward and no punishment for behavior. When you think about it, reward and punishment for dog behavior don't even make sense because dogs naturally behave different than people. So why reward or punish nature? Dog owners really have been misled for decades.

Instead, with our form of Behavior Training we merely change our own behavior when we are unhappy with the dog's behavior. And we change our own behavior in a way that motivates the dog to behave the way we want. This means we must be able to be conscious and self-critical of our own behavior, and we must be able to read the dog's body language f f f f f f f f. Note that dogs learn everything from what we do, and next to nothing from what we say. When you think "the dog learned my command", then the dog really learned from your body language.

In short, our proprietary form of Behavior Training raises dogs that ultimately want to behave the way we want (well) - and thus they do so out of routine - while all forms of Obedience Training raise dogs that very quickly understand that they have to behave the way we want (to get a treat or to not get punished) - and thus they do so only when they know they are being closely monitored.

The implications of using this different dog training approach

The fundamental differences in these approaches to dog training also have significant implications, the most striking of which is: A behavior-trained dog that is fully house-trained f f f f f f f f can safely be left alone at home while the dog has free run of the house and property. While with a purely obedience-trained dog you cannot, you rely on luck, and sometimes you come back and you will find that the dog deranged or destroyed something in your home, or attacked small children or whatever.

Obedience Training for dogs gets massively overemphasized, regardless which breed of dog or mix you have. But now you know what you can expect to get when you choose Obedience Training for your dog. So better choose wisely.

  23 Responses to “German Shepherd Obedience Training”


    I’m interested in training for myself and GSD female 9 month (LIberty). She has become house trained throughout this time. The has dog has been testing me on simple commands with treats, whether to listen…simple as come is difficult. Sit is easy, although stay and no bark are trying. Some dogs she will bark at and other people and dogs if prompted by others will react opposite of my command. I want to be trained correctly so she acts naturally but still in control on command when necessary. I have her on leash in public at all times, but in the backyard off leash with no fence. She has become of the boundaries of my property and neighbors and is familiar where I would like her to expel herself and where not to go, although she has proven to test me every time now. Periodically I will leash her to show my boundary limit, though I may be doing incorrectly.


    My GSD is 13 months old. I have done 2 obedience classes with him, he is neutered, and is generally a very happy loving dog with family members. If anyone comes to my house (even people who have been over before) he becomes aggressive and has that deep bark. If I know someone is coming over I make sure he is in his crate. He is already 110 pounds and is getting harder for me to hold back if he is out of his crate on the lease. What I would like to know is can I use a shock collar (on the vibrate mode) to teach him not to have that reaction?
    He also had the same reaction today when I was walking him and someone stopped to talk to me while in their car. As soon as they started to pull away he went into the aggression mode. What else can I do to get him out of this?


      Heather, I am repeating myself but it seems I have to: Obedience classes do NOT avoid aggression, but RAISE future aggression. I have extensively explained why in a lot of my work (Periodicals and books), and what to do instead.

      You are at a late stage to react, the problems should have been obvious long ago, and experience shows, they will get much worse, unless you apply NOW what we teach in the Periodicals (and even then, in your case, it will now take a while to bear fruit). It is the dogs like yours (that became too strong for the owner to handle with “obedience know how”) that end up in shelters! Very sad. And, NO, a shock collar will make your situation only WORSE!

      Here’s what I(!) would do if I were you:
      1) I would immediately and EXACTLY apply our recommended Feeding Routine (see Puppy Training Essentials)
      2) I would get my GSD down to a healthy and more manageable weight (see German Shepherd online health assessment)
      3) I would urgently introduce our Behavior Training to replace your Obedience Training mindset and outcome(!) (see my book)

      And what I(!) had done long ago if I have a GSD: I would have subscribed here. But that’s me. You may do whatever you like. ;-)


    I have a 4 yr old female GSD that has been crate trained her entire life. About 4 months ago she started having trouble holding her urine while my wife and I are at work during the day. We have controlled her water intake prior to crating her for the day, but she is still urinating in the kennel. We have tried putting her favorite toy in the kennel but the results have been the same. I took her to the vet thinking that she had a urinary track issue but the vet said that she was healthy. Any suggestions would be appreciated!


      Charles, there are many wrongs:
      – obviously, she hasn’t been crate-trained at all; apparently we understand crate training very different to you
      – water intake should NEVER be restricted
      – “prior to crating her for the day” – OMG, how long does she have to stay in the crate per day?
      – have you at least filmed how she copes with being alone, and watched the footage?
      – if she isn’t ill, I bet she suffers terribly from being crated all day!

      Ever considered house-training your German Shepherd?


    My lady and I are fostering an 11 mos old GS for a friend. The dog, Rico, has been from home to home in the past few mos. And we have a 19 mos old American Staffordshire. I am constantly asserting that I am the alpha, however, Rico still asserts himself as alpha. Always tries to be first out the door, outside, inside, car rides, etc. I make him wait until I crossed the threshold then allow my dog to come in first. We have had him for about a month now and he is always running into my knees(which are failing), and stepping on my heels. He is working somewhat well with signals and voice commands, but despite all the toys and my dog as a playmate, still years up my yard and possessions. I cannot afford a crate and our training classes. I Ann losing my wits. Any help would be gratefully accepted.
    Thank you for your time and experience.


      Clint, as a member you can download our free Puppy Training Essentials.
      I cannot afford anything either, but I give them away for free nonetheless.


    I have a six yr old female German Shepard, she is a very well behaved dog around people and believe it or not cats but around other dogs she will flip a switch and attack. I am at a loss as what to do.l have tried a choke collar with out much luck a muzzle wont work either she goes nuts when l try to put it on. Help


      Tom, you are totally wrong on the “Obedience Training” page – and mindset.
      I would click the link at the very top of the page.


    Hi there!
    Just got my girl today. She’s a 3yr old GSD who went from homeless to the shelter. She seems to have aggression towards large men and homeless women. She has leash reaction or it’s called “reactive rover”. Or something like that. She reacts to all dogs and barks and pulls on the leash but tends to growl at people. She sniffed a puppy for a little bit and seemed ok until she started barking at the pup. In the same day she lunged at a man. Growling and two feet off the ground yet when she meets my friends she’s fine and she loves kids and women petting her. Is there something I’m not seeing? Any particular classes I should look into?


      She needs primarily socialization – and a LOT. This has nothing to do with obedience training.


    Do you have any articles on Dog Behavior Training? Our boy Gunner is almost 5 months old and can perform many skills (sit, stay, shake, speak, quiet, lie down), but I would like to make these movements more instantanious. I want him to want to do these things rather than me just telling him and him getting a treat.



      We do not have more articles than what you can see publicly, no. Pretty much all our content is in our Periodicals that one can subscribe to, even for free. And Dog Behavior Training is a topic in several Periodicals, and core subject of a special Behavior Training Periodical. All that is free as well after subscription – which is free too.

      Other than that, House Training Dogs To Behave Well In A High Value Home makes a lot of use of Behavior Training. And the tools we use for our own Behavior Training are comprehensively shown in the Dog Training Toolkit. Both these books are not free though.

      Finally, for site members (not free) I am now working on video content which – obviously – will show Behavior Training, as that is what we do here.

      Obedience Training is for beginners, or you could say, for losers, because they lose out on a great relationship with their dog. :mrgreen:


    Hi i have a 5 yesar old female german shepard (not speyed) she has nipped at my sister in law for entering my room a couple of times( she is not a viscous dog) im at a loss and i dont want to get rid of her she is my best friend any help would be great..i have a 1 year old daughter who she seems to be good with but i dont want her to nip at my baby either


      Scott, there is too much underlying this behavior, you need to subscribe and work through several Periodicals (free). Alternatively, work through the New Dog Checklist (free), and since it’s free too you may also want to work through the New Puppy Checklist.


    I would like to receive your New Dog Checklist. Someone gave me a German
    Shephard a few month s ago. Thanks in advance. Be Blessed.



    my GS is 16 months old. As soon as my husband leaves in the morning, the dog seems to go into aggressive mode with me, jumping at me, biting my arm, grabbing anything he can get that he isn’t allowed to have, etc. He only is like this when my husband isn’t home. He hurts me, and if I try to correct him, he gets more aggressive and lunges at me. I end up in tears. I shouldn’t have to physically fight my dog every day. I finally have to get him in the crate (I can only get him in there with a treat) and leave the house to get away from him. I want to get a trainer but it’s so expensive. I sometimes hate the dog, and other times he can be so sweet. At this point I couldn’t get rid of him but he does scare me when I’m home alone with him.


      Laurie, sorry to read of your misery. We’ve been there, and the solution is not Obedience Training where you’re looking, but to become the accepted Pack leader. From what you write your dog accepts your husband but not you.
      There is an easy solution, and I’ve shown it in many places. I appreciate that in this situation you can’t wait to receive the Periodicals relevant to you NOW, but you could follow the advice in Q&A 1. It’s only 99 cent, but in situations like yours worth a million.

      “I want to get a trainer but it’s so expensive” – I would strongly advise against “getting a trainer”, we here get to see all the harm done by ordinary trainers – and it’s highly unlikely you would find a local TOP trainer.

      If I were you I’d want to learn myself how to build the best relationship with my dog. That’s what this site is for. But if you have no time left (you have not now), I’d pay a tiny amount and get the BEST training advice money can buy. Meaning, even if you wanted to spend thousands of dollars, you wouldn’t get a better trainer either. We make use of his expertise too.


    We have a two year old spayed female GSD. She is only likes our family to include our two other dogs. We have a lot of running room and she has learned the invisible fence boundaries. How can we introduce her to people who come to visit? In the past we brought them in and all sat at the table for a snack and she would sniff around and then


    Hello. My husband and I have a 9 month old GSD and we have had him for a few months. He does some commands such as sit, stay (occasionally) we can feed him while he’s in his crate…he waits until we release him. He’s not so great on a leash. Wants to chase every runner, bike or car. If he is off his leash in the yard he decides he wants to play chase when it’s time for us to get him back on his leash. He runs away like it’s a game. We try to tell him to come with hand gesture and he just stands there and if we get close he runs off. We take him with us most of the time. He’s a great dog but doesn’t seem to want to listen. I know he is still puppyish and it’s so hard to break his concentration. Any tips to break this? Get him to focus on us when we need him to and not run away when it’s time to go on the leash. Thank you so much!


      Crisandra, you are wasting your time posting your dog problem when the solution is right in front of your eyes. TOP copy from the above: Note that dogs learn everything from what we do, and next to nothing from what we say. So what part of what we teach have you applied, and which parts not, and why?

      Or maybe easier for you: What dog problem have you got?

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