Clicker Training for German Shepherd Dogs

Updated on May 24, 2019
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Sam Shephard is an experienced German Shepherd owner and has learned throughout the years how to optimize the breed's health and wellness.

German Shepherd dogs are known for being very smart and capable. This means that they’re able to learn complex things that other dogs might have a difficult time with.

Shepherds are great for families as well as single people and can be great for employers who need dogs in the field. One of the most important aspects of owning a shepherd, however, is knowing how to train it properly.

One such method of training is to use the clicker method. Shepherds are very capable of learning when trained with clickers, and it can be immensely useful for the owner to learn this method of training. In this article, we’ll explain why they are suited for this type of training and help you understand how to go about it.

One of the best ways things that you can do for you and your dog is to combine exercise and training. This helps to stimulate not just your dog’s body, but their brain. These dogs are very smart and crave mental stimulation, and you’ll be helping both of you if you engage them in regular obedience training sessions.

Clicker Training Popularity

Clicker training has been gaining a lot of popularity in recent years, and it’s a relatively new technique considering how long dogs have been domesticated for. However, its history is strong and rich, and many German Shepherd owners and trainers swear by it.

One thing to consider is that this method, on its own, isn’t necessarily a type of training. It’s more of a complementary practice that helps to provide positive reinforcement to your dog when you are training them how to perform basic commands.

One of the best things about this training technique is that it’s a lot less aggressive than some other methods of training that breeders and owners might use. Aggressive training methods can lead to your dog being aggressive and resilient to instructions.

So what is clicker training? It’s basically what it sounds like—training your dog to understand and respond to the sound of a clicking noise. A clicking noise is used because it has a high frequency that your dog can pick up quite easily, even from a distance.

One of the reasons that voice training can be so difficult is because our tone of voice varies depending on our situation and how we’re feeling. Since dogs don’t speak English, they are relying on their recognition of the sounds that we make, and this includes the tone of voice used. We might sound completely different when we are happy compared to when we are sad, and this might confuse our dog.

Clickers, on the other hand, will make the same sound every time. This makes it easier for your dog to recognize the command. Depending on the number of clicks that you make, your dog will be able to respond to different commands. You can also get clickers that make several different frequencies of noise.

Why Should I Try It on German Shepherds?

Clicker training has been around for some time, and it was actually used originally to train other animals besides dogs. It quickly became established that the method is highly effective and useful, and dog breeders began to pick up the practice. This has led to everyday dog owners becoming interested in this type of shaping.

Clicker training is useful because, when done properly, it’s a quick way to send a signal of a reward to your dog. This is a great training technique that uses positive reinforcement instead of negative punishment.

Since you’re only supposed to use the clicker when a dog follows a command properly, they will begin to associate the noise with the command and the reward. This makes them happy to oblige. If your dog sits when you tell it to, you click and give it a tasty treat.

Should I Clicker Train My Dog?

The technique might not be for everyone, but some people will swear by it. You might be wondering whether or not it’s a good idea for you to clicker train your dog.

You will probably be interested in clicker training if you want your dog to develop an even better relationship with the idea of training. It is almost entirely built around positive reinforcement and thus your dog will be quite happy with you when you’re doing it properly.

The method is also useful for people who don’t have strong voices or who don’t want to use verbal commands to instruct their dog. While you’ll probably still need to use some degree of verbal training to get the commands embedded in your dog’s memory, after you have succeeded at this you can go about using the clicker instead.

That said, not everyone needs to clicker train their dogs. If you are great at using positive reinforcement on your own even without a clicker, then you might find it unnecessary. People who have loud, projecting voices also probably won’t need a clicker for their dog to hear them issue a command.

All in all, clicker training is a beneficial practice that can make you and your dog’s life a bit easier, but it is not absolutely necessary for the growth and development of a happy dog.

A How-to Guide for Training

There are some important things to keep in mind if you’re hoping to clicker train your puppy. Clicker training is useful because it’s one of the nicest and most compassionate ways to train a dog.

That said, this type of behavior modification is no magical ride. You will still need to put time and dedication into properly training your puppy. You will have to remain consistent and vigilant, while also making sure not to put too much strain on your dog.

So, the objective of the clicker is to click when your dog completes a task and is rewarded with a treat. This reinforces the idea of a positive reward with the sound of the click. That said, you’ll still need to practice all the basic commands yourself.

Here are some pointers to keep in mind.

  • Don’t click any other time aside from when your dog successfully completes a trick
  • Remember to be patient. It’ll take a few times before your dog actually associates the sound of the clicker with the reward
  • Make sure that you bring treats with you! Clicking the clicker without offering a reward can throw off the whole training process
  • As you continue to train, you will have to stop offering treats and offer increasingly subtle rewards such as patting your dog on the head. This will eventually lead to you being able to use the clicker without having to offer anything in return.
  • Make sure to start using the clicker early on in your dog’s training. Then you’ll be able to master it and regular command training at the same time.
  • Make sure the treats that you offer are small and healthy. Anything else could lead to your dog putting on weight, which can contribute to problems like hip dysplasia.
  • Make sure that you try to work on a single trick at a time. Doing clicker training with a wide variety of tricks can lead to confusion with your dog.

Don’t use the clicker to stop your dog from doing something. It may work, but in the long run, it will end up confusing them and could offset the training.

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Creating the Best Relationship

German Shepherds are known for being fantastic dogs. They are loyal, intelligent, and compassionate. However, they also have a ton of energy that needs to be directed into something positive. If it’s not, they may end up tearing your house apart.

Aside from clicker training, which is a great way to interact with your dog, there are some things that you should do to ensure that both of you have the best possible relationship.

Make sure that you use positive reinforcement strategies, one of which includes clicking. Positive reinforcement encourages your dog when they do something good, like taking a poop outdoors. The opposite of positive reinforcement involves punishment when the dog does something bad, which can lead to them becoming fearful of you and can impact your relationship.

Another important thing to do is to take your dog for frequent exercise. The best types of exercise for German Shepherds are long walks and swimming. While they almost certainly have enough energy for harder types of play, it’s not good to let them engage in this type of activity when they are young because they are prone to hip dysplasia.

We hope you enjoyed our German Shepherd clicker training article. You should definitely have a look at our obedience training guides if you want to train your German Shepherd.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Sam Shepards


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