About This Breed
Shepherd dogs are generally highly organized canines, so training them is not very difficult. However, since a general dog training program would also work well for German Shepherd Dog training we will focus on a particular side of training: ranch chores. As the name suggests, this dog breed was originally used for herding sheep and there are still many dog owners who use these dogs in exactly the right place. German Shepherd Dog training methods for herding sheep go back to several centuries ago and their fundamental approaches are still working great today. Select a dog that is under a year old, the best time for German Shepherds to interact with sheep for the first time. About 3 sessions of training a week will do it (no more than 45 minutes each). You can use any number of sheep, but about 10 or 15 of them should do it. As for equipment, you need a good dog collar and a 10-12 foot line. For this particular German Shepherd Dog training approach to work, you will also have to define an area with a border, where the sheep will be placed.
10 steps to successful German Shepherd Dog herding training in Austin
- With the sheep in the defined space (the border can be any sort of wire or colored string) have the dog move around the border, inspecting the sheep.
- The dog might want to run at the sheep, so have the collar cord in your hands and maintain control over the dog's actions.
- Approach the sheep, with the dog close to you, the sheep may retreat towards a far corner of the enclosure.
- Don't lead the German Shepherd directly into the sheep. Instead, you should lead the dog in the opposing direction and force the sheep to go inside the defined borders.
- This step is essential for German Shepherd Dog training as it shows the dog where the graze area is and makes him understand that this is where the sheep are meant to be. The dog has to know that he is not allowed inside the borders, while sheep are not allowed outside, achieve this by keeping the dog in check, by pulling on the line, when he steps inside, and verbally praising the Shepherd when the sheep stay inside the border and he only runs around the visible borders.
- After a few trials and errors, the dog's instinct will come into place and he will start to realize the purpose of the training exercise.
- Associate a NO visual command to the leash pull when the dog enters the grazing area. It is best to use a hand command, raise your other hand than the one holding the leash line and signal the dog to stop. It helps to go through this command even before you start herding dog training.
- Once the confusion dominating the dog starts to wear off, the German Shepherd will start to enjoy the challenge of keeping the sheep within the borders.
- A few weeks into the German Shepherd Dog training program, your dog will show very few attempts of entering the grazing zone. Make sure you don't need to reinforce this idea more than once for each training session.
- Once you are confident in the dog's ability to follow the training method, remove the long line and let the dog run free. Rembember to approach this particular German Shepherd Dog training procedure in a way that doesn't force the dog to do it. The Shepherd's natural instincts will take over and he will soon see herding as a very enjoyable activity, instead of a mechanical response to your commands.