Hello German Shepherd lovers: This is Dr. Banffy. This blog post covers proper correction for dog disobedience.
First of all you must first understand the appropriate level of correction for you specific dog. You must know the level of correction which will push them into avoidance and submissive behavior. Watch tell-tale signs such as ears back, tail between the legs, hunching down, urination and/or running away. If you see this type of behavior, you need try a lower level of correction.
Next, I am a true believer that a firm voice and a leash correction is all you need for training most dogs. We use a Herm Sprenger stainless fur saver to save the hair on the neck, and a 4 foot Amish leather lead to keep control. When you correct, use a firm, low voice, put slack in the lead and yank briskly up and to your left (that is if the dog is on the left as it should be). A well known saying in training circles is one firm correction is worth 1000 small ones. Dogs learn to adjust if you incrementally increase severity from gentle to firm.
You are probably saying that the last two paragraphs seem to have conflicting advice, don’t be too harsh yet be very firm. Well, it is a balance. But what I am saying is if you know their limit, then correct to that limit rather than below and then incrementally raising it.
What is so good about a leash correction as opposed to the hand or foot (which I don’t like even though many German trainers use it), is that you are less emotionally connected and less physically connected to the dog when correcting.
There are a few dogs that have to use a prong collar. Don’t be shy. It does not hurt the dogs. Never sharpen the tips of the prongs as some trainers do. And understand that the collar is made to evenly distribute the force around the neck.
And remember another important training tip. Never correct a dog who doesn’t yet completely understand the skill. Don’t use correction to teach the skill. It is a lot better to use motivation for that. Please visit our litters page to see current litters.
Finally, for German Shepherd puppies, until they are at least a few months old, use as much positive reinforcement as you can to develop a love for training.