Leash training your German Shepherd puppy is essential for a well behaved German Shepherd adult. The cute little 10 pound puppy will grow to a 75 - 100+ pound adult, and you want that adult to be well behaved on the leash for walks. Each GS puppy is different in personality and therefore, their reaction to the leash. Some GS puppies like to do a 'bucking bronco', chew or tug on the leash, pull or drag you along on the walk, and some GS puppies take to the leash naturally. I have been blessed with all the above. Here are some basic ideas and techniques on how to help your little 'bucking bronco' or chew-puller.
- Acclimate your GS puppy to the leash while at home. Put the leash on for very short time spurts. Walk with the GS puppy across the room once. Keep leash loose and do not drag the puppy, instead let him walk and you follow. Remove the leash. Repeat as needed for a day or two. Later, walk with the GS puppy into an adjacent room. Remove leash. Repeat as needed for a day or two. If all goes well, take a trip down the sidewalk, driveway or mailbox. Keep the leash loose.
- Immediately discourage any biting on the leash. A tap on the nose and a firm "No" at the time of biting will eventually teach little pup not to bite.
- Repeated praising when walking on the leash correctly is very important, and the GS puppy will know that is how you want him to walk and behave.
- Gradually increase the distance. Around the house as mentioned before, down the driveway, down to the corner and then around the block.
As you gradually increase your distance, train your GS puppy to walk only on one side of you - either your right side or your left side. Your GS puppy should always walk by your side and not pull away. Train by keeping the leash loose from the very start of training. Constant praising will inspire proper results. If your GS puppy continues to pull, you stop and stand still. Start walking again and stop when he starts to pull again. The GS puppy will figure out that if he pulls, you stop and he's not going anywhere which is no fun for him because he has many things to investigate while out on his walk.
For the little 'bucking broncos' a treat may be used for encouragement and to help get from point A to point B. Each person has their own preference as to what type of treat they want their GS pups to have, but I have always found that puppies, and adults too, will do absolutely anything for a small piece of bacon.
Again, each GS puppy has their own personality and this will become noticeable during the leash training period. After the GS puppy has adjusted and accepted the leash as part of its life, he may get the idea that he is taking you for a walk instead of you taking him for a walk. The excitement of going out for a walk can be overwhelming; it is a huge deal for them and something that they look forward to. Just the slightest sound or sight of their leash will send them into an hysterical frenzy , and for a 100 pound GS adult it can be quite the task to get the leash on them, out the door and you running to keep up with him as he tears down the driveway. This is why leash training is very important. The sooner you start your GS puppy on leash training, the quicker and easier the walking will be for the both of you.