If you have a German Shepherd then you’ll probably want to teach it the “stay” command. This post will show you how.
How to teach your German Shepherd to stay
- Take your German Shepherd to an open space like a park, backyard or large room. Bring some treats, a toy that your German Shepherd loves and a long leash if you have one.
- Start by rewarding it for sitting or laying down on your command. If you haven’t trained your German Shepherd to do that yet then you may need to lure it into doing it with a treat the first few times.
- Tell it to sit, reward it with a treat and then say “stay” with your palm out in front of you as if you’re telling someone to stop.
- Wait for a fraction of a second and then reward it for keeping its attention on you.
- Repeat the process of telling your German Shepherd to “sit” and then “stay.” Each time increasing the duration that you make it keep its attention on you before you give it the treat. Continue until you can get it to keep its attention on you for at least 5 seconds.
- Now tell it to “sit” and “stay” but then retreat back a few steps and then go back to it and reward it for staying.
- Now repeat the process each time going back a little bit further and increasing the duration that you wait before going back to reward it.
- Now you’ll repeat the above steps again but this time you’ll be distracting it with a toy that it likes. Start by telling it to stay, squeaking or waving the toy and then rewarding it for not going for the toy.
- Now do it again but put the toy in front of it and reward it for not going for the toy.
- Then add distance. Start by staying close to your German Shepherd and then go away further.
You can watch the video below to see, clearly, how it is done.
Why teach your German Shepherd to stay
Teaching your German Shepherd to stay when you tell it to will help you in a number of ways. Below I will mention some of the benefits that it can provide.
Makes socializing easier
By being able to get your German Shepherd to stay you’ll be able to get it to behave more easily when you have guests over. This will make things much easier for you and your dog will likely make a much better impression on them.
You’ll have an easier time walking it
By being able to get your German Shepherd to stay you’ll be able to walk it more easily since you’ll be able to get it to stay when you need it to. For example, you’ll be able to pick up and throw away its poop without it pulling on the leash while you do it.
It will be easier to handle at the vets
You’ll be able to get your German Shepherd to stay when at the vets are with it. This will help the experience to go much more smoothly and will help it to be a less stressful experience for you and the dog.
Keep it responsive to your command
The “stay” command is a good one to teach your German Shepherd because it’s one that you can do regularly without too much difficulty. For example, you can get it to stay before giving it food in the mornings. By doing this you’ll be able to keep it used to listening to your command and you’ll be able to maintain your status as the one in charge more easily. This can help to reduce bad behavior.
You’ll stop it from misbehaving more easily
By being able to get your German Shepherd to stay you’ll also be able to get it to stop misbehaving and from getting into trouble more easily. This will help you to maintain a good relationship with your German Shepherd and it will help you to keep it safe.
Things to consider
When you’re teaching your German Shepherd to stay there are some things that you’ll want to keep in mind that I’ll mention below.
Getting your German shepherd to stay every time in multiple scenarios is not something that you’ll be able to get it to in one training session. This is why it’s important to take a long-term approach to training your German Shepherd and to be willing to maintain the training in the long run.
Give it lots of exercise
German Shepherds are a breed that need a lot of exercise to be properly stimulated and if they don’t get it they can become hyper and unfocused. By giving it exercise before training it you’ll be able to get it to be a lot more responsive to your command since you’ll be able to keep it focused on you more easily.
Build up the distractions
When you’re teaching your German Shepherd to stay when there are distractions it would be better to start out by only distracting it with a toy by a small amount and then to build up from there. The method being used here is positive reinforcement training and it works best by rewarding small steps towards the final goal.
Start in an easier environment
When you first start training your German Shepherd to stay it would be a lot easier to start out in an environment where there are not many distractions. After you can get it to stay in an environment where there are not many distractions then you can start to train it again in tougher environments.
It’s important to take the age of your German Shepherd into account. If it’s young then it will be harder to keep its attention on you but its habits will not be so cemented in place so you’ll be able to train it very efficiently when you can keep its focus. If it’s older then you’ll need to be a bit more patient with it since it can take longer to change its behavior.
Make sure to do it regularly
When you’re training your German Shepherd to stay or to do anything else it’s important to train it to do it regularly. If you don’t train your German Shepherd to stay regularly then it will likely forget about its training. An easy way to regularly teach your German Shepherd to stay would be to make it stay before letting it eat food, but be sure to supplement it with some training in different scenarios.
How to teach a German Shepherd to come? To teach your German Shepherd to come it will be necessary to have taught it to stay first. Then you’ll want to tell it to stay, take some steps back, and then tell it to “come” while enticing it with a treat or toy that it likes. Start by only going back by a small distance so that it’s harder for it to fail and so that it doesn’t come to you until you tell it to then gradually increase the distance.
How to teach your German Shepherd Down? To teach your German Shepherd “down” get some treats that it likes then say “down” while enticing it to go down by lowering a treat to the floor. After you can get it to go down with the treats gradually get it to go down only when you say “down” then give it a treat afterward.
If you would like learn everything that you need to know about how to have a happy, healthy and well-behaved German Shepherd, take a look at the German Shepherd Handbook