When you first welcomed your German Shepherd into your home, you envisaged a tough but lovable canine friend to cuddle up with on the sofa. Now you realize he’s totally soft at heart and that his menacing exterior is just that, an exterior. However, you also imagined gentle strolls through the countryside. Unfortunately, walks haven’t turned out to be so relaxing. This is because he pulls you in every which direction whenever you are out the house. This would be bearable if he were most dogs, but because he’s a German Shepherd, he’s big and strong.
Therefore, training him to 'heel' is essential, if only for the health of your shoulder. This training could also prevent him charging across a road, causing an accident. Any accidents could result in hefty vet bills or may even claim his life.
Because of the size and power of German Shepherds, training can sometimes prove challenging. Fortunately, there are a number of effective techniques to stamp out any pulling behavior. Training will consist of asserting your control while on walks. It is important he understands you are pack leader. So, you will need to show him this is the case. You will also need to motivate him throughout training by finding the right tasty treat.
If he’s a puppy he should be a fast learner. This means you could see results in just a week or two. However, if this habit has been years in the making then you may need a while longer. It could take a couple of months to fully get a handle on this behavior. Succeed and you won’t have to worry about him bolting as soon as he sees a dog on the horizon. You can return to those relaxing walks you initially dreamed of.
Before you start training, you will need to gather a few bits. Because of his size and strength, you may want to consider using a body harness. This will reduce strain on his neck and increase your control.
You will then need to get your hands on a relatively short leash. A generous supply of treats or his favorite food broken into small chunks will also be required. Training can take place when you are out on your normal walk.
Once you have all the above, just bring patience and a proactive attitude, then work can begin!