The German Shepherd Dog is one of the best, most versatile, and popular working dog breeds. It has been utilised for farm duties, family and personal protection work, and as a service dog for the disabled. It has excelled in military and police settings, and is also a breed beloved as a pet by many families across the world. In our experience, they are one of the best protection dogs a family can have. We are often asked about how German Shepherd Dogs can be trained, and this blog will offer our top tips for doing so.
Our first tip for training any kind of dog, be it a pet rescued from a shelter or elite personal protection dog is to understand what drives it to work. While drive to work does vary between individual dogs, there will invariably be something it wants that it will work for. This might be food, toys, or even just praise and affection. Once you have identified this drive, you can leverage it to help build and proof behaviours in your German Shepherd Dog.
We would also always recommend taking dedicated training classes with a professional dog behaviourist. Their deep understanding of, and expertise in dog psychology will help them identify any challenges your dog may be having and subsequently work around them. Working with a behaviourist will open your eyes about how to effectively train a dog yourself, and is always worth seriously considering.
German Shepherds are one of the most intelligent breeds, a common working definition of this being swiftly building associations between commands, performing specified actions, and consequences such as rewards. While generally very trainable, German Shepherds are much like humans in that they have a limited attention span. To this end, we would suggest numerous shorter sessions rather than one very long one for maximum efficiency. Dog protection training is no different, and we aim to keep our sessions short and sweet.
German Shepherds are sensitive, so harsh punishment-based training methods are best avoided as they can impact your dog’s ability and willingness to learn. In fact, as they bond so strongly with their owners, praise and affection supplemented by a favourite ball can be their highest form of reward. For more advice on how to best train a German Shepherd, do contact us and we will endeavour to help you.