German Shepherd Dogs are now bred more for guarding than herding, what they started off being bred for. They are now one of the main dogs we use for jobs like police, military, and search and rescue. This is due to all of their keen senses. GSDs can hear about four times further than humans. German Shepherds are incredibly intelligent dogs and guarding the ones they love usually just comes naturally to them. Yet if you want to train your German Shepherd to be a more advanced guard dog here are five steps to teach you how to train your German Shepherd to be a guard dog!
Remember through all the training to reward and praise them. Positive reinforcement will not only let them know they are doing things right, but also help encourage them. Even though training them can get very frustrating at some points, know your dog is trying their hardest. They can’t understand you. Make sure you never hit, kick, or yell at your dog, or use any other negative reinforcements.
1. Teach Your German Shepherd To Alert Bark
Bark Command and Body Language:
First things first you need a command word and some sort of body language to go with it. To keep it simple the word you should probably use is “bark”. As for the body language this is completely up to you. Teach them the word first of course, as the body language will be harder.
After they have got the word command down then you can start just doing the body language command. It’s important to have some sort of body language to go with the command. This is helpful for when your dog gets older and their hearing decreases or for any other reasons.
Now let’s get to how to teach your dog this command. First tie your dog up somewhere and stand where they can’t reach you, yet can see you. Now start saying the command word over and over again. After a while your dog should get frustrated and begin to bark. Do this repeatedly for a while and reward them afterwards.
Next you can try it more often. Like around the house, going for walks, or at the park. Try to do it spontaneously. Say your playing in the backyard, just randomly yell the command until they get it. Don’t give them the treat until they stop barking afterwards. Keep it up and try in different ways and places to get there.
Create a Real Life Scenario:
Next step, create a scenario. This will take your dogs training to the next level. Try doing this exercise in the evening when it is starting to get dark out. Inside your house go to the front door and bring your dog. Begin knocking a few times on the door and say the command. Once they bark a few times reward them and repeat a few more times. You can try to do this every evening, but don’t repeat it too much in one day, it can make the dog bored of it.
To make it more challenging you can get a friend or family member to go outside and knock on the door. Then you can say the command to get them to bark. After a while they should just bark on their own. Now they know to alert you when someone comes to the door during the evening, or even the day.
2. Teach Your German Shepherd Obedience
Simple obedience like “come”, “sit”, and “stay”. These commands will keep your dog safe during any guarding situations.
This is the most important command for a guard dog to know. To begin teaching them this command, grab your dogs leash, and you and your dog go to a big room in your house. Put your German Shepherds leash on them and stand in front of them. Then take a step back and say “come”. If they don’t move then gently tug on the leash so they know to come towards you. Then keep working on this and reward them with many treats!
This is a very easy command to teach and most owners teach their dogs this when they are puppies. Yet if your dog doesn’t know this command this is how you teach it to them. Say the command “sit” and if they don’t understand then you can gently push their bottom to the ground then give them a treat. Repeat until they sit on their own.
After they have learned what the command “sit” is you can move the next level. Next teach them to sit until you say. For example, tell them to sit until your done putting on your shoes or talking to a friend. This will let them learn your the leader. Also it keeps them more controlled in situations.
This can be a challenging one to teach. Yet can be very helpful. Teach your German Shepherd this one last, so they know their “sit” command. Make them sit then walk away and say “stay”. If they do as you say you can reward them with a treat. You can then make the time periods longer and longer.
3. Teach Your German Shepherd To Be Quiet On Command
German Shepherds are naturally noisy dogs. It’s their instinct to bark at almost everything, so this one can be a challenge.
How to teach them the command? Well this command you can teach while teaching the barking command. When you are teaching them to bark by knocking on the door you can at one point tell them to “quiet”. Continue to say this until they stop then give them a treat. Repeat this over the days.
After a while they will know how to “bark” and “quiet” on command. Almost making them the full professional guard dog. Yet there are still two more steps to perfect this.
4. Show Your German Shepherd The Borders Of Your House
Take walks around the outside of the house so they can smell and see all the different parts of the house to protect. Also try to teach them people they shouldn’t bark at. Like neighbors, or friends who live near you. This will be hard, but if you be consistent it will pay off.
5. Socialize Your German Shepherd Completely
This is a super important part to your German Shepherd being the new guardian of the house. Take them to meet different small pets and animals that they may see and encounter so they don’t bite or attach them. We want to keep these animals safe from danger too.
Make sure your German Shepherd is completely socialized with all the family members in your household. You want your German Shepherd to be able to take orders from people in your house, so if there is any danger whoever is near the German Shepherd can tell them what to do. You can use simple yes or no’s. So if someone is in the house that your German Shepherd thinks is dangerous but actually isn’t, the person closest to them can tell them “no”, alerting your dog to not show aggression toward them.
When your German Shepherd is hiding and acting like they don’t want to socialize start doing things they like so they want to join in. Grab one of their favorite toys and begin playing with it. They are sure to come out and join in. Once their out, reward them.
Try to take your German Shepherd out with you as much as possible. If they stay home every time you go out they will not interact with as many things and not know how to respond when they do.
Now Your German Shepherd Is Your Own Personal Guard Dog
Now you’ve learned how to train your German Shepherd to be a guard dog and hopefully your dogs a pro. German Shepherds are so loyal and will protect you at all costs. Now you can control them with command to also keep them safe in the face of danger. Hopefully the training will come easy and quick.
If you need more information on training your German Shepherd, you can read our article “Training German Shepherd Puppy.” You may also need professional training for your German Shepherd. You can find local trainers in your area to help you with the right training program for your dog.
German Shepherd Schutzhund Training is another option if you are more serious about how to train your German Shepherd to be a guard dog. There are several clubs all over the United States and the world that can point you in the right direction. Celebrities and Moguls will sometimes pay up to $50,000 for a dog that is professionally trained in the sport of Schutzhund.
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Do you have any experience with training your German Shepherd to be a guard dog? Any special techniques that you use that enhance or speed up the training process? Let us know as we would love to hear about it!