According to some experts, German Shepherds are ranked as the third most intelligent dog breed in the world. Among other things, this means that leash training, and any other training for that matter, will be much easier. Nonetheless, there are a few important tips to consider, and we will go through ten of them briefly as we proceed.
Take it Easy
First and foremost, leash training and other forms of obedience training require patience and composure. You must remain level-headed when your dog fails to understand what you are trying to teach and never lash out or outright give up. Keep sessions at ten or fifteen minutes long, at least at first, and if the going gets tough, pick it up another time. Understand that some dogs take longer than others to get a grasp on certain concepts and approach training as a long-term process, which it is.
Start as Early as Possible
Don’t hesitate to introduce your pup to a leash as young as two months. Making the training leash an integral part of life for your dog is an integral step in leash training. Make sure that your pet wears a collar and snap the leash on whenever you can during those important months. You can even put a light leash on your dog and let him or her drag it around the house, as long as you are supervising. Keep in mind that little pups are like a sponge in period leading up to twelve weeks, meaning that this is when they are the most open to learning and developing both good and bad habits. Leash training a puppy should definitely be started early.
Reward and Positive Reinforcement
Always adhere to the core principle of any kind of dog training – rewards and positive reinforcement. Whenever your dog does something right, you must reward his success with a tasty and beloved treat. This is how we reinforce a certain desirable action or behavior. When dogs associate what they are doing with a reward, they will make sure to continue doing it.
It’s important to remain consistent when leash training your dog. You should establish certain principles of behavior and make sure that they are always respected. This is especially important while your dog is still learning. If your pet is leashed when being brought into the car, for example, make sure that this is always done until your GSD is a well-disciplined pooch. Furthermore, you must make training a consistent effort and a matter of schedule.
Distractions and Focus
Firstly, you have to teach your dog to pay attention to you when called. Reinforcing your pet’s name with treats and praise whenever he turns to you when called is a good first step in this regard. Being certain that your dog remains focused on you will help you a great deal during leash training. Apart from that, it’s always a good idea to minimize distractions when training, which means toys, people, other animals and anything else that can snatch away your pup’s attention.
The Come CommandA well-disciplined dog must come when called upon. This is a fairly easy behavior to instill with rewards and it will mostly come naturally to your dog. During leash training and real-world walks, you will feel much more confident and at ease knowing that your dog will conform to your command instead of just pulling away and charging at people. Without this level of control, a dog as powerful as a GSD can pose a danger to anybody around, including himself.
The Sit Command
This simple yet important command plays a crucial role in controlling your dog and seeing success in leash training. It is a much easier concept for your dog to pick up on, so it should be taught as early as possible.
Don’t pull your dog by the leash as a form of punishment or steering. This will make your dog hate the leash for one, but it will also promote pulling and leash tension as normal, which is the exact opposite of the goal of leash training. The end goal of all this is to have your dog walking by you with discipline and calm, on a leash that is loose and comfortable for both of you.
Go the Extra Mile
In that regard, always take the extra steps to improve your game. One very useful and common art that successful dog owners teach is the heel command. This is the crowning achievement of leash training and it’s somewhat complex and may take a while to teach, but with enough patience and commitment, a dog as clever as a German Shepherd will pick it up soon enough.