If you have been having a hard time getting your German Shepherd under control you’re probably wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will give you a number of reasons why it might be acting out of control and will show you what you can do about it.

So, why is your German Shepherd out of control?

If you have not been giving it much exercise then it can cause it to become hyperactive and hard to control. It might also be that it hasn’t been given enough training.

Other possible reasons would be that it’s looking for attention, that you have accidentally been rewarding the behavior, command nagging, fear or being in a new location. 

And, what can you do about it?  

The first thing is to make sure that it gets enough exercise as this can influence its behavior.

Next, you’ll want to start giving it basic training in an environment where there are not many distractions and to build up from there.

You can also do positive reinforcement training, you can ignore its attention seeking behavior and you can give it lots of toys to be distracted with. 

It can actually be very beneficial to take the time to try and figure out why your German Shepherd might not be so easy to control.

Possible reasons that your German Shepherd is out of control

Insufficient exercise

German Shepherds were bred to do energy-intensive tasks for hours on a daily basis. This means that they require a lot of exercise to be properly stimulated.If they do not get it then it can cause them to lose their focus and to be much more difficult to control.

This is why it is important to make sure that your German Shepherd is getting a lot of exercise. You might be surprised at just how much exercise your German Shepherd actually needs so it would be worthwhile to give it a lot more exercise one day and see how it responds to it.

Related post: Ways to exercise your German Shepherd.

Attention seeking

The reason that your German Shepherd is out of control could be that it is its way of getting your attention.

If you do not give it a lot of attention (or exercise) on a daily basis then it can cause it to look for ways to get it. One of those ways is to act in a way that gets a reaction out of you.

If your response to its bad behavior is to give it any kind of attention when you normally wouldn’t then it will have taught it that behaving that way will get what it wants.

To stop this you should try ignoring it when it is behaving badly, if you can, and then to reward it when it acts in a way that you want it to.

Punishment

If you typically punish your German Shepherd when it misbehaves then it could be the reason that it is hard to control.

One of the reasons for that is that if you punish it then it might think that you are punishing it for something different.

For example, if your German Shepherd bolts out the door and you punish it when it comes back then it will likely think that you are punishing it for the last thing that it did which was to come back to you.

This is why this method of training doesn’t normally work. It can also cause other problems such as fear, aggression, anxiety, distrust, and destruction.

An alternative strategy would be to do lots of positive reinforcement training instead. This is why you train your German Shepherd by rewarding it for doing the things that you want it to do or at least for making steps in the right direction.

Fear

The cause of your German Shepherd’s behavior could be because it is scared of what will happen. If your German Shepherd thinks that it will be punished by you then it will make it less likely to listen to you.

Training

The reason that your German Shepherd is out of control could be due to a lack of training.

German Shepherds (and other dogs) do not understand language like we do. Just telling it to “come here” is not going to do much if it has not been taught what that means through specific training for that command.

This is why it is important to take the time to teach your German Shepherd to do the things that you want it to do. You should start with the basics in an easy environment and then work your way up to harder tasks and environments from there.

Location

If you can get your German Shepherd to listen to you in one location but you can’t in another then don’t be discouraged since it is not unusual.

When you bring your German Shepherd into a new environment it will cause it to get distracted by the things going on around it and it will not be as mindful of your command.

This is why it’s important to take the time to train your German Shepherd in multiple environments.

You’ve been rewarding it

It could be that you have been inadvertently encouraging the behavior by giving it things that it wants in order to get it to calm down. It would be better to save rewards for good behavior and signs of good behavior.

Command nagging

It could also be that you have been doing something called “command nagging” which is where you repeat a command multiple times despite it not working the first time. When this happens, take a step back and train it to do what you want again starting at an earlier step or even the beginning.

How to stop your German Shepherd being out of control

When you’re trying to get your German Shepherd to be more obedient there are a number of things that you can try that I will mention below.

You can look at the book Training Your German Shepherd on Amazon to get more tips on how you can train your GSD.

Training

To get your German Shepherd to listen to you more it will be necessary to give it lots of training.

Training your German Shepherd will have a number of benefits. It will make it more responsive to your command so you will be able to get it to stop misbehaving more easily.

It will make things easier for you in social situations where you need your German Shepherd to behave. It will also help you to have a more rewarding relationship with your German Shepherd.

You should start by teaching it the basics such as to sit and stay in an environment where there are not many distractions. Then you can build up to teaching it harder things such as to come to you on command.

If your German Shepherd is quite energetic then giving it some exercise before you start training it should help to make it more focused on you when you try to train it.

You can watch the video below to see how to get started on teaching your dog the basics.

Exercise

Since German Shepherds are a breed that requires a lot of exercise to be properly stimulated it is important to make sure that they get it.

One way to give your German Shepherd a lot of exercise while also improving your bond with it is to teach it to play fetch. By doing this you will be able to get it to do a lot of running over a short time period that is a great way to wear it out quickly.

You could also try walking it with other dogs since it will naturally wear itself out by playing with other dogs.

Positive reinforcement

An effective way to train your German Shepherd to do what you want it to do is to use positive reinforcement training. This is where you reward your German Shepherd. normally with treats, for making small steps towards what you want it to do.

For example, if you’re trying to teach it the “down” command then you would initially reward it for simply lowering its head towards the ground and then you would build up how much you require to get the treat until it goes down when you tell it to. You can see positive reinforcement training in the video above.

Don’t reward bad behavior

It’s important not to accidentally give it what it wants when it behaves badly. If your German Shepherd has the habit of running out the front door then instead of luring it back with treats teach it not to run out the door by using positive reinforcement training like in the video below.

Distractions

You could get your German Shepherd to vent its excess energy onto things that you don’t mind it doing it with by giving it lots of toys to play with. But, make sure to use this in conjunction with giving it training and exercise.

Get help

If you can’t get your German Shepherd to listen to you when you tell it to then consider getting help from a dog behaviorist since they will be able to give you tailored advice on what to do.

Things to consider

Patience

When you’re training your German Shepherd to be less out of control it’s important to have a lot of patience. Changing your German Shepherd’s behavior will be a gradual thing. You might not be able to make big changes over the course of days but over the course of months, you can. So, it will help you a lot to approach it with a long-term focus.

Consistency

It’s also important to be very consistent with your training. If you train it to do something but then neglect to follow up on that training in the weeks following then your progress will likely be slow.

Its age

If your German Shepherd is still young then it is likely that you will be able to get it to calm down a lot as it gets older. To maximize how well behaved it becomes as an adult it’s still important to take the time now to make sure that it gets lots of training.

Related

Why is my German Shepherd suddenly out of control? If your German Shepherd has suddenly started to behave erratically then it is likely to be due to a recent event. You should consider things that have happened recently that might have changed its behavior. Perhaps it lost a friend, you have moved or it might have a new owner. It could also be that it is being frustrated by an injury or illness in which case you should make sure to take it to a vet.

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