How to Teach a German Shepherd to Sit
German Shepherds are known throughout the world for their obedience and love for their masters. A dog's training begins from its litter while the best learning stage in the life of dogs is the time between the first 12-14 weeks of its life. While it is true that a young dog/puppy is trained more easily a larger dog can also be trained with a bit of patience. Probably the most common trick taught to dogs is to sit . Here's how your GSD can learn to sit.
1. Choose a suitable dog treat which can be brought from the market.
Alternatively any homemade tidbit is also suitable.
2. Have your dog in front of you, preferably when he is tied up or someone else is holding his/her leash.
3. Hold the treat in your hand and slowly move it towards nose of your dog , don't hold it too close and neither too far, hold it it just out of reach of the dog's mouth.
4. Move your hand slightly up and forward moving it towards the head of your dog.
5. Your dog will move according to the movement of your hand and will automatically come into the sitting posture.
6. The moment your dog's body/behind touches the ground say "sit" and stretch out your open hand to make a sign/hand command like the ones shown in the pictures attached with this step and give them the dog treat in your hand.
7. Train every day until dog gets the idea.
When your dog gets to know how to sit, stop using the whole procedure mentioned above and ask him/her to sit, first with both verbal and hand commands. Then slowly drop the hand commands sometimes using only the verbal command to see if your dog responds and then drop the hand command altogether.
- If you train your GSD in the most effective time of the day(see tips), along with other times of the day and in different places, within 2-4 days your dog will be able to sit at hand command and in another week or so like a pro at verbal command.
- German shepherds are naturally energetic and can be trained more easily if they have burned out their energy after a good walk/run and are in a passive state.
- Training in different places and at different times is extremely important as you do not want your dog to associate the trick with a specific place or time.
- Keep the training sessions short and do not train more than 3-4 times a day.
- One of the best times to train is when giving a dog its meal and using the bowl/meal as the treat. This worked for me as he got the message and was sitting patiently while I was preparing/bringing his meal to him after one day of training whereas just a day earlier he kept trying to jump on me while I set his bowl down.
- Give the verbal and hand commands instantly during training and don't delay the giving of treats or be afraid of presenting your hand with the treat to the dog as no good GSD will bite or snatch if given the treat willingly. (Dogs with an aggressive record are another case).
- Be confident as German shepherds are "prone" to learning and this simple trick will usually present no problem.
- Never use chocolates or chocolate flavoured items as treats as they are potentially poisonous for dogs and cats.
- There is no need to shout. Your GSD wants to please you and work for you and is sensitive to the tone of your voice which nevertheless should be pleasant but firm.
- Keep just a few treats with yourself, perhaps in your pocket as seeing a large box of treats might distract the dog.
- Do not train too often or for too long and finish training sessions as soon as he seems disinterested or is there is any attempt of biting or jumping.
- Holding the treat too low means that the dog might try to snatch the treat and bite you in the attempt. (Although a German shepherd will rarely if ever bite an owner).
- Holding the treat too high forces the dog to jump.