Training your German Shepherd to be a guard dog may be a good idea though not easy. German Shepherds are versatile dogs and there is no doubt that they make amazing guard dogs. Naturally protective and intelligent, these dogs are highly trainable and best suited to guard your life and property. All you need is to control them and keep them obedient.
Training your German Shepherd to be a guard dog does not necessarily mean you have to make him aggressive. Do not use violence or punish your German Shepherd when training. Doing this can be dangerous not only for guests visiting your home but also for your family and other pets. He could bite someone – even those who do not pose any threat – and end up being labeled as “dangerous dog” and eventually you face the blame for not having a well-trained dog. It is also not advisable to train dogs who are too fearful and not easy to control, as they may start being inappropriately defensive even in non-threatening situations. You must only choose to train your German Shepherd to be a guard dog if he is stable, friendly, calm, well-socialized, and clear-headed.
This article gives you an idea on how to train your German Shepherd to be a guard dog without being unnecessarily aggressive. You may also hire a professional dog trainer should you wish to train your German Shepherd for protection.
Training Your German Shepherd To Be A Guard Dog #1: Socialize Your German Shepherd
It is important to socialize your German Shepherd while he is still a young puppy. He should get a grasp of what is normal and acceptable and what is not through proper training and socialization. Socialization not only does teach your German Shepherd how to face different situations but also helps him know when there is a real threat.
To socialize your German Shepherd, take him to different places with you. But do this only after his vaccinations are complete. Allow your German Shepherd to play with other people and animals. However, keep a close eye on him so that you can prevent him from getting into bad situations, including dog fights or nipping on people. Failure to socialize your German Shepherd properly may lead him to become fearful, overprotective, and aggressive when he gets into an unusual situation.
Training Your German Shepherd To Be A Guard Dog #2: Enroll your German Shepherd in an Obedience Class
Enrolling your German Shepherd in an obedience class is important especially if you plan to train him to be a guard dog. Your pet has to be obedient at all times to be an effective and disciplined guard dog.
Positive reinforcement is always the key to make dogs obedient. Obedience training must always be kept light, fun, and rewarding despite its serious purpose. Obedience classes must also be a bonding experience for you and your German Shepherd. With good obedience as the foundation, your German Shepherd is ready to take on guarding lessons.
Training Your German Shepherd To Be A Guard Dog #3: Teach Your German Shepherd the “Bark” and “Quiet” Command
Incessant barking can be a problem, especially in German Shepherds. Teaching your German Shepherd to stop barking on command not only gives you peace but also teaches your German Shepherd to:
- calm down when there is not any real threat
- know that you are in control of the situation
To teach your German Shepherd to stop barking, you must first train him how to bark on command first. Teach your dog to “bark” by using something that makes your German Shepherd naturally bark. One good example is the doorbell.
Start by asking your German Shepherd to sit and stay in front of you. Then, ask somebody to ring the doorbell. As soon as your German Shepherd barks, say “bark”, click the clicker, and give him a treat. Practice this until your German Shepherd responds to the command without the need for ringing the doorbell.
The next step is to teach him to respond to the “quiet” command. To do this, command your German Shepherd to “bark.” As soon as he barks, say “quiet,” click the clicker, and give him a treat. Practice this until your German Shepherd obeys both commands consistently.
Training Your German Shepherd To Be A Guard Dog #4: Train Your German Shepherd To Bark When Strangers Come to Your House
To do this, you will need the help of your friends, hopefully someone your German Shepherd doesn’t know. Ask your friend to walk in your front yard or close to the entrance of your gates. When your German Shepherd starts barking, praise him and give him a treat. If your German Shepherd does not bark, command him to “bark.” This teaches your German Shepherd to be wary of strangers that may come in the house without an invitation. Make sure to put a harness and leash on your German Shepherd before proceeding so that he won’t be able to run away and chase your friend in case you lose control of him.
Training Your German Shepherd To Be A Guard Dog #5: Let Your German Shepherd Know When To Stop Barking
Build up your German Shepherd’s watchdog ability by asking your friend to look at him before running away. Once the “stranger” leaves, command your German Shepherd to keep “quiet.” When he stops barking, praise him, and give him a treat. Rewarding him after he obeys your every command boosts his confidence. And by stopping him from barking, you are letting him know that you have taken control of the situation and the house is safe.
Training Your German Shepherd To Be A Guard Dog #6: Teach Your German Shepherd How To Differentiate a Friend From a Stranger
You should also give your German Shepherd a clue on how to distinguish a friend from a stranger. This part is best practiced inside the house. After a “visitor” knocks or rings the doorbell, let your German Shepherd bark once or twice. Then, ask him to stop using the “quiet” command. Give him a treat and ask him to move a few meters from the door before commanding him to “stay” and control him while you open the door. If he stays in place without barking at your visitor, reward him by praising him and giving him a treat. Repeat this step with different people, including your family and friends until your German Shepherd learns the difference between friends and strangers according to the signals and commands you give him.
Tips in Training Your German Shepherd to be a Guard Dog
Familiarize your German Shepherd with the perimeter of your property. You need to take your German Shepherd on a walk around the perimeter so that he can identify the boundaries. Never let your dog bark or attack people or animals outside your property or let him chase anybody. If your German Shepherd shows signs of aggression toward those who are outside your property, make sure to call him out and use the “quiet”, “sit”, and “stay” commands until he calms down. Do not forget to reward him with praises and treats.
When teaching your German Shepherd to be a guard dog, the most important thing you should remember is that you must always be in control. Being in always in control of your dog keeps everybody safe – including you, your family, your visitors, and even your dog himself.