“Generally considered dogkind’s finest all-purpose worker, the German Shepherd Dog is a large, agile, muscular dog of noble character and high intelligence. Loyal, confident, courageous, and steady, the German Shepherd is truly a dog lover’s delight.”
-American Kennel Club (AKC)
German Shepherds are, as described by the AKC, “truly a dog lover’s delight”. We couldn’t agree more. However, as in the name, these dogs were bred to work. They are classified in the Herding Group of working dogs, originally bred to herd sheep, and highly prized for their loyalty and intelligence.
Because of the genetics behind the creating of the German Shepherd, we highly recommend doing (at minimum) obedience training with your German Shepherd, regardless of age. GSDs also excel at and enjoy other sporting events such as Agility, Tracking, Herding, Rally, Lure Coursing, Barn Hunt, and Scent Work. The AKC sponsors many obedience clubs throughout the US and you can find information on offerings near you by going to: https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/sports/get-started-in-dog-sports-and-events/.
We understand that not every home can participate in active sports and competition. However, owning a German Shepherd means being active. At the very minimum, some behavioral issues you may be experiencing, regardless of your GSD’s age, can be solved by giving them a job, making them use their brain, thinking they are working. It can be as simple as a structured walk, or as complex as one of the sports mentioned above.
Walks should be structured in order to get the desired benefit of utilizing your dog’s brain. Allowing your dog to “walk you” doesn’t give them a job. Teaching your dog to heel (walk by your side) and stop when you stop makes them pay attention to you, use their brain to follow your moves, and feel accomplished. Ideally, your dog should walk even with your knee, on your left side, with a loose leash. Training tools such as a martingale collar, head halter, fur saver, or prong collar can help control your dog, if used properly.
Obedience Tasks can create a strong bond between you and your dog. Commands/Tasks such as:
- Come when called
are beneficial to both you and your dog throughout their life. Not only does knowing some of these tasks give your dog something to work their brains, but it could also be life-saving.
Imagine… the mail carrier has a package to deliver, he rings your doorbell, your dog alerts you to someone at the door, you open the door a crack, but realize that the box is large. You open the door a little more to slide the box through and “zoom”- your dog slips out the door! Oh no! While this happens, the neighbor’s kid comes rollerskating down the street, Oh what fun, so your dog chases after him wanting to play, meanwhile, Billy the Kid’s mom is screaming at the top of her lungs in terror because she doesn’t know that your dog is friendly. Panic ensues as you run down the street barefoot trying to convince your dog to come to you, and go back in the house. He teases you. Runs towards you and right as you grab his collar, zoom, he’s off again. You finally catch him when he runs into a neighbor’s open garage and greets them as they bring in their groceries. You apologize, sweating profusely, limping back home after stepping on a rock, holding your dog by the collar and hoping he doesn’t wiggle his way out of it. What a day! Now it’s time for a cocktail and a nap.
But what if…
The mail carrier has a package to deliver, he rings your doorbell, your dog barks at the door once, you tell him “Good Boy. Sit. Stay”, you open the door to sign for the box and bring it in, then tell your dog “Okay” and go on about your day. Isn’t that amazing? This is easily attainable if you give a little bit of time to training your dog.
Sit Tutorial – COMING SOON
Down Tutorial- COMING SOON
Stand Tutorial- COMING SOON
Stay Tutorial- COMING SOON
Heel Tutorial- COMING SOON
Come Tutorial- COMING SOON
Dog Sports can be a great outlet for bonding and exercising your dog’s natural abilities. German Shepherds are obedient and loyal dogs with strong noses and instincts, as well as a natural ability to track and herd. The AKC sanctions events surrounding these tasks.
Agility- built for speed! Agility is an obstacle-course type event where your dog gets through tunnels, over obstacles, through weave poles, and over jumps as quickly as they can.
Tracking- follow your nose! Tracking tunes in to your dog’s natural ability to pick up on and follow a scent, often in a field or open course.
Lure Coursing- sprint! Lure Coursing, CAT, and Fast CAT events unleash your dog to follow a mechanical lure down a course in a set amount of time. Very fun for breeds who like to chase or hunt!
Rally- teamwork makes the dream work! Rally is a fun team sport where you and your dog follow a course of signs and instructions.
Barn Hunt- “Get dat rat!” Barn Hunt is an enjoyable event for any dog who likes to use it’s nose. Tubes of rats are hidden within hay bales, and it’s up to your dog to correctly indicate where the rats are. Careful! There’s empty tubes hidden too, so the dog must use it’s nose to pick the right one.
Dog Sports can be so much fun for you and your dog, and varies based on breed and ability. Get out there and have some fun!
AKC Canine Good Citizen Test (CGC) is an evaluation of your dog’s good behavior skills, and an honor to be awarded. This title is easily attainable by any breed, purebred or mixed breed, any age, and any size dog. All dogs are more pleasant to live with when they’re well mannered. CGC lays the groundwork for further obedience, but whether you plan to compete or not, having a well behaved dog at home or in public is much desired. The CGC test looks at your dog’s ability to remain calm while you approach another person (ability to stop and talk to Jennifer getting her mail while you’re walking Fido), allow petting from someone else (that kid who walks up to Fido in the pet store), walking without tugging on the leash, allowing for the feet and body to be touched/examined (your vet and groomer will thank you), walking politely through a crowd, and demonstrate the ability to sit, stay, and come when called. Anyone can achieve these tasks with a little bit of effort.
Still have questions? Need some advice? Feel free to email our Training Coordinator for more information on any of the information here or fill out the form below. We’ll get back with you as soon as possible.