When you first decided to bring a new german shepherd puppy to your home, you must have thought how cute and awesome it would be to have a puppy with whom you can play and have fun all day long. As your cute German Shepherd puppy starts to grow, you feel the burden of responsibilities starts to increase on you as well.
One of the primary difficulties that dog parents feel is while leash walking their dog. As german shepherds are strong and bulky, they demand a lot of strength from the person who takes him out for a walk. They pull and bite the leash which puts a lot of pressure on your shoulders. Your shoulders can even be out of its place if your dog pulls the leash consistently for years during walking.
Therefore, to prevent injury to your shoulder and accidents to your dog, it is important for you to learn how you can train your German Shepherd dog to Heel.
I know how it feels to be pulled in the direction where your German Shepherd dog wants to pull you. The more you try and pull him close to you and guide him to walk along, the more he pulls away from you in search of various kinds of smells.
What you Need to Understand Before Training a German Shepherd to Heel
- It is important to make your GSD understand that you are the Pack Leader.
- You will need to assert control over your dog while walking.
- Understand that Training can be challenging and will take time to achieve results, especially in the case of elder GSD’s.
- Get your dog’s favourite tasty treats to motivate him when he displays desired behaviour.
- Puppies can show the desired behaviour and start to walk properly in 2-3 weeks.
- Elder German Shepherd’s can take about 2-3 months depending upon your training schedule and discipline.
If you follow any of the methods below, you will be able to relax while walking with your german shepherd dog as he won’t pull the leash and pull you and your shoulders towards him.
Things needed for Heeling Training
- To increase your control, consider using a Body Harness to minimize the pressure on your dog’s neck.
- Crush your dog’s Favourite Treats into bits and chunks.
- Get a Shorter leash as compared to the one you use normally. Make sure it’s not too tight.
- Positive Attitude along with Patience.
Heeling Training for your German Shepherd dog will take place when you are out for a normal walk.
3 Methods to Train a German Shepherd Dog to Heel
Method 1: Stop and Look Method
- Gently tie your dog with the leash. Start to walk with your dog along normally.
- As soon as your dog tries to walk ahead or pulls the leash, Issue a ‘heel’ command. Say it in a loud and affirmative voice. Make sure that you just give this instruction only once.
- As soon as you give the command, standstill. Your dog will be busy smelling something but soon enough he will look upon you to see what happened. Wait for him to come to you and stand by your side. The first time you do this, it will take time and you need to be patient.
- As soon as he returns to the place where he should be (near you), reward him with the crushed treats. Also, shower your love by petting him around his head and neck along with some verbal love.
- Repeat this process according to your own way as you start getting results.
Method 2: Hold the Treat in your Hands Method
- Tie your GSD to the short training leash and go out for a walk with him. Make sure you have a lot of treats in your pocket.
- Just at the side where your dog is walking along with you, hold a treat just above and close to his head. This method works best with a smellier treat like chicken-based treats or cheese.
- Walk with a treat in your hand above your dog’s head for 8-10 feet. Make sure your dog walks properly along with you for those 8-10 feet. Choose the same side of the walk every day.
- If he stays by your side within the desired distance for 8-10 feet, Reward your dog with those tasty treats. If your cute GSD doesn’t stay close enough, try 5 feet distance or use another tempting treat.
- When your dog starts to walk properly close enough for 8-10 Feet distance, Gradually increase the distance to 15 and then 20 Feet. You will feel that he will no longer pull the leash and stay close enough while walking. Cut the treats when your dog stays close enough and stops to pull for the whole time during walking.
Also Read: How to Stop a Puppy from Crying in his Crate
Method 3: Turn Back Method
- Secure your GSD with a body harness as you will need to pull the leash with some force in this method. Tie the leash and head out for a walk outside.
- Make your dog walk on one side, watch closely and be very attentive.
- As soon as your dog pulls the leash by walking aside or ahead, turn around and start walking in the opposite direction. Do not pay any attention to your dog and just pull the leash to show your dog who’s the one in control of walking.
- Repeat this process. Every time your German Shepherd dog pulls the leash, he will not get to go to the place where he wants to go and smell. In the beginning, it can be frustrating. You may need to move forward and backwards after every 10-15 seconds or even less. But soon your dog will be able to walk along with you without pulling for more and more distances.
- Keep your cool in this method and pull gently each time your dog pulls or creeps ahead. Please do not harm or scare your dog. Be in control and do not get frustrated.
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5 Expert Tips to Train your German Shepherd to Heel
Now that you know the 3 Methods that will get you results if you want to Heel Train your GSD, here are 5 Expert tips to keep in mind when you are training your dog to walk properly alongside.
- You should pick one side of the walk. If your GSD keeps switching the sides, you will have difficulty maintaining the control and consistency of the walk that’s necessary.
- Your dog must have been taught basic commands like ‘sit’ and ‘stand’ before you start to heel train your GSD Dog.
- It’s better to perform the training in your backyard or at a place where your dog doesn’t get to watch any strangers or people walking by.
- Training your dog to heel can be quite draining and sometimes even frustrating for you and your dog. Training should be done in the small blocks of 15 minutes to maintain the concentration level and quality of training.
- Though this tip shall be followed for any training, it’s better to have a ‘release’ command to pass after the end of the training (Not after 15-minute intervals). It is done for your dog to get an idea that the training is over and he can go over and play and enjoy. This maintains clarity and strengthens the bond between the two of you.
- Bonus Tip: Choose any of the three methods mentioned above and stick to it for at least 2 months. Do not change methods every other day or week and expect to get amazing results from day one.
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