Best Way to Train Your German Shepherds as Service Dogs

Service dogs are dogs that are trained to help people with disabilities or other needs. They are trained to help their owners in ways that are related to their specific disability or needs. 

Seeing as the German Shepherd is one of the most work-loving, trainable, and intelligent breeds, the dog makes an ideal choice for a service dog. 

If you want to train your German Shepherd as a service dog, you will want to check out the following helpful information.

What types of tasks can German Shepherds be trained to do as service dogs?

Your German Shepherd can be trained in a specific way to help you with your particular disability, challenges, and needs. 

For instance, German Shepherds make excellent guide dogs. They can be trained to help people with visual impairments to navigate their surroundings. 

They can also be trained to help people with diabetes. For instance, a German Shepherd can be trained to detect and alert his or her owner when the person has low blood sugar. 

German Shepherds can also detect and alert someone if their owners are experiencing life-threatening allergies or having a seizure. 

They also make great hearing dogs for people with hearing impairments, excellent mobility support service dogs for people who have mobility problems, such as those who use wheelchairs or walkers, and fantastic psychiatric service dogs.

Why are German Shepherds such good choices for service dogs?

In addition to the fact that German Shepherds are easily trainable to perform tasks to help people with a wide variety of disabilities, their traits alone make them good choices for service dog

For example, German Shepherds are:

  • Obedient, which means they listen to and obey commands without hesitation once properly trained.
  • Protective, which means they ensure their owners stay safe. 
  • Intelligent and hardworking, which means they will always complete the tasks they have been trained to perform.
  • Strong, which means they make ideal choices for people with physical disabilities. 
  • Well-socialized, which means they trust anyone that their owner trusts and are comfortable and confident in various environments. 

The Best Ways to Train Your German Shepherd as a Service Dog

Whether you need German Shepherds trained to help people with physical disabilities or German Shepherd dogs trained to support people with mental illnesses, if you are going to use your German Shepherd as a service dog, you have two options. 

You can either train your dog yourself or you can use a professional service to train your German Shepherd as a service animal. If you are planning on training your dog yourself, here are the best ways to go about it. 

Train in Controlled Areas

You should begin your training in a private area so that you can train in a controlled environment and avoid distractions, conflicts, and problems. 

Once your dog shows improvements in his or her skills, you can begin training in public environments. 

Train in Public Places

Your German Shepherd service dog will accompany you everywhere, so it is important that your dog is trained properly to be comfortable and perform tasks in a variety of public environments. 

When your dog is ready, take him or her out to parks, parking lots, busy roads, and so on. 

Train Your Dog Until He or She Is Fully Competent

The precise tasks you will train your dog to do will depend on your specific needs, so you should always get professional advice on how to train your German Shepherd in specific tasks, such as alerting you when you need to take medication or helping you to move. 

When training your dog in such specific tasks, make sure your German Shepherd can consistently perform the tasks before you determine that your dog is fully trained and ready to work as a service dog. 

If your dog cannot willfully perform tasks without being stubborn or distracted, he or she is yet not ready to be a service dog. 

Like training any dog for any purpose, it will take time to fully train your German Shepherd as a service dog, but with time and effort, your dog will get there. 

Also, remember that training should be a positive experience for your German Shepherd, so make sure you focus on the positives more than the negatives during your training sessions.

Set Training Goals

To ensure your dog is making progress, set specific goals for each training session. 

But make sure the goals you set are realistic. For instance, instead of setting the goal of “I will train my dog to retrieve medication today” , set a goal like “I will train my dog to retrieve medication at least 50% of the time during today’s session”. 

As your German Shepherd makes improvements, you can begin to set higher goals. 

Track Your Dog’s Progress

In order to ensure your dog improves with each training session, it is important that you track your German Shepherd’s training progress. 

After each session, make a note of what you worked on, what your training goals were, and what the results were. 

Also, make a note of any particular challenges that your dog faced during the session or anything your dog picked up easily. You can then adapt your next training sessions accordingly. 

Be Consistent, Dedicated, and Patient with Your German Shepherd

As briefly mentioned above, it will take time to train your German Shepherd as a service dog, so be consistent, dedicated, and patient during the training phase. 

And be prepared for the initial training sessions to be challenging, as it will take time for your dog to learn new tasks.

You Always Have the Option of Switching to Professional Training

If you find you are having problems in training your German Shepherd, or you simply do not have the time and experience, you can always switch to professional training to ensure you get the required results. 

A professional service dog trainer will know the best ways to train your dog to perform certain tasks, such as retrieving medication, being alert to specific sounds, being obedient in public places, and being able to help in crisis situations. 

But first things first. If you do not yet have a German Shepherd, even though the breed is ideal as a service dog, you should understand how life will change with a German Shepherd and then determine whether a German Shepherd is actually the right choice for you.

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