Being able to get your German Shepherd not to run away when you tell it to comes with many benefits and it is something that you should make sure to take the time to do. This post will show you how to get your German Shepherd to stay and to not run away at the door.
The steps below will show you how to teach your German Shepherd not to run away in four stages. First, you will teach it to sit, then you will teach it to stay with you near it, then to stay with distance and then to stay when it’s being distracted.
First, it will help to teach it to sit. This will help you to control your German Shepherd and it will make it easier to teach it to stay.
You can do so as follows:
- Get some treats that it likes and get your German Shepherd in front of you
- Say “sit” and then lure it into the sit position by raising the treat above its head so that it naturally sits.
- When it sits reward it with a treat
- Continue to do the above until it naturally goes into the sit position when you start to lure it with the treat.
- Now repeat but without luring it with the treat. Instead, just show it the treat and say “sit” and it should naturally go into the sit position.
- Now repeat but don’t show it the treat. Instead, just say “sit” and wait for it to sit then reward it. You might need to remind it to sit after a while by showing it the treat on the first few attempts.
Once you have taught it to sit you can teach it to stay.
You can do so as follows:
- Get some treats that it likes and get it in front of you
- Tell it to “sit” and reward it for doing so
- Now you’ll tell it to “sit” again but this time you’ll hold your hand out like you’re gesturing to someone to stop and you’ll say “stay”. Then wait for just half a second then reward it for staying and keeping its attention on you.
- Repeat the above. Each time you do it get your German Shepherd to stay for a little bit longer.
- Continue to do the exercise regularly until you can get it to stay for at least 30 seconds.
Watch the video below to see how it is done
Now it’s time to teach it to stay while there is some distance between you both. This will help you to train your German Shepherd not to run away when you’re not near.
You can do this as follows:
- Get some treats that your German Shepherd likes and have it in front of you in an open area like a backyard.
- Tell it to sit and stay then reward it for doing so.
- Now repeat but this time, after you tell it to stay, take a few steps back. Once you have taken a few steps back go back to your German Shepherd and reward it for staying.
- Now repeat the above and increase the distance that you go back each time.
- Once you’re able to get it to stay when you’re over 3 meters away start to pause before going back to reward it. Start with a short pause and then gradually build it up.
Once you’re able to get your German Shepherd to stay and not to run away when you’re not near it you can start teaching it to stay when there are lots of distractions. This is often the hardest step so make sure to be patient and to do it in tiny increments.
You can do so as follows:
- Get some treats that your German Shepherd likes and get it infront of you
- Start by telling it to sit and stay then reward it
- Now do the same but after you tell it to sit and stay simply show it the toy then reward it for staying
- Do the above again a few times then begin to make it more tempting for it to go for the toy by dropping it on the floor or waving it around. Don’t make a large jump in difficulty you want to reward it for making small improvements each time.
- Now make it even harder by starting to throw or roll the toy. Dogs will generally have a strong urge to chase it so don’t jump to this step too soon.
- Do the above again but add distance between you and your German Shepherd
You can watch the video below to see how this is done.
Now it will be necessary to repeat the training in different locations. You would think that because you can get your German Shepherd to stay in one location then it will be easy to get it to stay in others. However, it’s often the case that all of the external distractions in new locations can throw it off so it’s important to train it in lots of different places.
How to get your German Shepherd to stay at the door
Once you have taught your German Shepherd to stay while it is being distracted it is particularly important to teach it to stay when the door opens.
To teach your German Shepherd to stay at the door you’ll teach it in a similar way to how you taught it to stay when it’s being distracted.
You can do it as follows:
- Get some treats and put a long leash on your German Shepherd
- Go to the door with your German Shepherd and put one of your feet on the leash to stop it from running away.
- Now tell your German Shepherd to sit and stay and make a small movement towards the door as if you were going to open it. Then reward it for staying.
- Repeat the above. Each time you do it, get closer to actually opening the door.
- Once you can get it to stay even when your hand is on the door handle twisting it around, do the above but this time actually open the door. Start by only opening it a small amount then build up to opening it further. Remember to keep your foot on the leash.
- Once you can get it to stay even when the door is all the way open begin to increase the duration that you keep the door open. Start with small durations then gradually increase it.
- Once it can do the above start to add distractions. Start by just holding a toy outside the door then build up to physically throwing it out the door.
Watch the video below to see how it’s done.
Why you should teach your German Shepherd not to run away
There are a number of reasons that you should teach your German Shepherd not to run away that I’ll mention below.
Keeps it safer
Obviously, by being able to prevent your German Shepherd from running away it will help you to keep it safe. This is particularly the case where it comes to opening the door where many dogs die each year due to getting hit by a car after running out an open door.
You’ll have an easier time walking it
By being able to get your German Shepherd not to run away it will help you to have an easier time walking it. This is because you’ll have an easier time with it off the leash and you’ll also be able to get it to stay still when you’re picking up its poop.
Reduces your own stress
It can be quite stressful when dogs run away or when they try to. By being able to get your German Shepherd not to do it you will be able to avoid that stress.
Makes socializing easier
You’ll also be able to keep it more well behaved when you have people over. This is because you’ll be able to get it to stay still and to stop jumping when it starts to get excited.
You’ll have an easier time at the vets
It will also be helpful at the vets where you’ll be able to get it to stay still more easily. This will help to make it a less stressful experience for the dog.
It will be more responsive to you when you need it to be
By training it not to run away while it’s being distracted you’ll be able to get it to stay when it matters most. This is why it’s important to train it regularly.
You can prevent bad behavior
By being able to get it to stay you’ll also be able to prevent it from misbehaving. This will help you to have a positive relationship with your dog.
Things to consider
When you’re teaching your German Shepherd not to run away there are some things to keep in mind.
It’s important to consider the age of your German Shepherd. When it’s younger it will naturally be more curious and energetic. This can make it more difficult to get it not to run away. However, it’s important to take the time to train it not to since you’ll be able to get it to be a solid habit, not to run away, when it gets older.
Getting your German Shepherd to stop running away is something that you should strive for over the course of months and not to expect to be able to do it in one training session. It’s a natural instinct for your dog to run in certain situations and changing that won’t come quickly.
Build up the distractions
The stage where you start to add distractions to the training is where it often starts to get difficult for many dogs. This is why it’s important to start by only distracting it slightly and then building up to distracting it a lot.
German Shepherds are a breed that requires a lot of exercise to be properly stimulated. By giving it a lot of exercise you’ll be able to prevent bad behavior and you’ll be able to train it more easily since you’ll be able to keep its attention on you for longer.
Train it in multiple locations
The distractions that there are going on around it will have a big impact on how easy it is for you to keep its attention on you. This is why you should start out by training it in a location where there are not many distractions and then to build up to training it in harder locations.
Train it regularly
It’s also important to keep the training up so that it keeps the new habits. For example, you could make it hold a 20-second stay before walking out the door.
Why won’t my German Shepherd come when called? If your German Shepherd won’t come when called then it is likely to be because you haven’t spent any time training it to come to you. I have written in the past about how to teach your German Shepherd to come on command here.
Why doesn’t my German Shepherd stay when outside? If your German Shepherd doesn’t stay when outside then it is likely to be because it is being distracted by the things going on around it. To prevent this from happening it is necessary to train your dog in multiple locations.
How do I get my German Shepherd to stop running away on walks? To get your German Shepherd to stop running away on walks you should train it not to in locations that you go to on the walk.