Something that many German Shepherd owners will have to deal with is pulling on the leash. If your German Shepherd is pulling on the leash then you’re probably wondering why and what you can do to stop it. This post will show you some reasons why your German Shepherd does it and what you can do about it.

So, why does your German Shepherd pull on the leash? Possible reasons include being excited to get to where you’re going and being distracted by things going on around it like cars and squirrels. 

And what can you do to stop it? The first thing that you can try is to change direction when it pulls on the leash. Doing that will get it to pay attention to you and to teach it that pulling won’t get it to where it’s going. You can also stop when it pulls and tell it to sit. You can also try teaching it to stay when being distracted by things.

Getting your German Shepherd to stop pulling on the leash will not be something that you’ll be able to do in one attempt. Instead, it will be necessary for you to train it over multiple training sessions. Many people will naturally choose to counter the pulling by pulling harder on the leash but the stopping or turning training methods will usually be much more effective.

Before teaching your German Shepherd to stop pulling on the leash it can be beneficial to take the time to figure out what is causing it.

Why your German Shepherd pulls on the leash

There are a number of reasons that your German Shepherd might pull on the leash. I will mention two of the main ones below.

It’s excited

One possible reason for its pulling is that it might be excited to get to where it is going. If it knows or if it thinks that you might be walking it to the park then it will want to get there more quickly and this can lead it to pulling on the leash.

To correct this behavior it will be necessary to do lots of the stopping and redirecting training methods described in the section below.

Related post: How to tell if your German Shepherd loves you

It’s being distracted

Another possible cause of your German Shepherd’s pulling is that it is being distracted. If it notices that there is a squirrel out in front or another dog then it will cause it to pull on the leash.

How to get your German Shepherd to stop pulling on the leash

There are a number of things that you can do to get your German Shepherd to stop pulling on the leash 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.

Change direction

An effective way to get your German Shepherd to stop pulling on the leash that has worked for many people is to change direction whenever it is about to pull on the leash.

By doing this you will be able to get it to put its focus onto you and it will teach it that pulling on the leash will not get it where it is going more quickly.

When you change direction, do so by walking up next to it and turn around with your German Shepherd by your inside leg.

You can also change direction randomly to get it to pay attention to you. By doing this you will teach it that you are the one that decides where you are going and at what speed.

Stop moving

Instead of changing direction when it starts pulling,  you can simply stop moving when it starts pulling. To do this simply stop moving as soon as it begins to pull and get its attention on to you. To get it to focus on you try telling it to sit and stay and then reward it for doing so. You can watch the video below to see how this method is done.

When you’re doing the stop or the redirect methods you can reward your German Shepherd for walking the way that you want it to. By doing this you will be able to positively reinforce the behavior.

Watch below to see how to train your German Shepherd not to pull on the leash:

Start indoors

When you’re getting your German Shepherd to stop pulling on the leash you could try to teach it the redirect method by starting indoors. By doing this you will be able to minimize distractions and to keep its focus on you. Once you’re able to get it to stop pulling inside then you can train it again in tougher environments.

Avoid pulling back

It can be tempting to get your German Shepherd to stop pulling on the leash by just pulling it back but this doesn’t normally work. It doesn’t stop it from getting to where it’s going more quickly so it doesn’t really teach it that pulling will stop it from getting what it wants. This is why many dog trainers prefer to do the redirect or the stopping methods.

Teach it not to get distracted

Teaching your German Shepherd not to pull on the leash when you’re walking normally without any large distractions is one thing. But it can be a lot tougher to get it not to pull when there’s a distraction like a squirrel running past.

To prevent this pulling you can try teaching it to sit and stay while being distracted. Start indoors then do it outside. I have written about this more in depth in the past here.

You can also watch below to see how it’s done:

Be consistent

Since pulling on the leash is such a natural thing to do for German Shepherds it will not likely be something that you will be able to correct in one training session. This is why it’s important that you don’t do it once and then stop. Instead, you should make sure to continue to train your German Shepherd over the long term once you start.

Do it regularly

It’s also important that you train your German Shepherd to stop pulling on a regular basis. Sure it will mean that your walks for the next few weeks will be quite a bit more difficult but if you’re consistent with your training you’ll be glad that you did it.

Related Questions

How to train a German Shepherd to walk on a leash beside you? To do this you’ll want to try the redirect method above. Get your German Shepherd to walk next to you on the side of the pavement that is furthest away from cars. Then when it starts pulling change direction by getting beside your German Shepherd and turning while keeping your Shepher next to your inside leg. Doing this will get it to keep its attention on you and not to pull ahead.

Most Recommended For German Shepherds

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Our favorite: The Dunbar Academy Training Program. If you want a happy and obedient dog, this is one of the best online dog training programs available right now.

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Our favorite: The German Shepherd Handbook (on Amazon) - Shows you all you need to know to keep your GSD happy, healthy and well-behaved.

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