Intelligent, loyal, and naturally aggressive, German Shepherds make for lethal weapons. Fortunately, they’re also one of the most trainable dog breeds out there, which is why you can see them working as service dogs, police dogs, and of course, guard dogs.
Today’s article is a step-by-step guide on how to train a German Shepherd to attack. We’ll be presenting you with techniques and tips to help you control your dog’s aggressive tendencies so that they only attack when you command.
1. Establish a Strong Bond with Your Dog
Training your German Shepherd to listen to your command begins by establishing a strong bond with them. If your dog doesn’t trust you enough, they won’t willingly obey you – as simple as that.
As we mentioned above, German Shepherds are extremely loyal dogs to their owners, so if you want to effectively train them to attack, or perform any task for that matter, you’ll need to create a connection based on trust and respect between you and your dog.
Pretty much like any social connection, you can establish a strong bond by spending quality time with your German Shepherd to earn their trust and loyalty. Here are a few suggestions to help you build a solid relationship with your dog:
- Have your dog stay in a place where you spend a lot of time to let them feel comfortable around you.
- Make the time to play with your dog, not less than around 20 minutes per day.
- German Shepherds enjoy walks, so take your dog out for walks regularly.
- Avoid getting angry, losing your temper, or acting hostile against your dog.
- Reward your dog with treats to warm up to you.
It’s best to start bonding with your dog when it’s young because it’s easier and will give you plenty of time to develop a strong relationship.
2. Prepare Your Gear
Before beginning the attack training of your German Shepherd, you want to prepare for the occasion. The last thing you need is finding yourself missing a couple of items in the middle of training. I mean, the number of accidents and fail videos that you can see online speaks rather clearly for the importance of preparation.
For this reason, make sure you’re equipped with everything necessary for training to go as smoothly and effectively as possible. Try your best to be mindful and stay sharp! To help you out, here’s a list of essential equipment to kick start the attack training of your German Shepherd:
- A sturdy, long leash to give you enough room to work with.
- A comfortable yet reliable collar to help you keep your dog in check.
- Treats to reward your dog when they exhibit correct behavior. Be sure to get something that your dog really likes.
- A bite sleeve to protect you from dog bites during training, as well as give your dog something to grip onto and practice their attacks over and over.
- For advanced attack training or if your dog is particularly aggressive, you’ll need a full protection bite suit.
3. Start with Simple Commands
A common mistake among German Shepherd owners is skipping the basics and trying to achieve difficult commands right off the bat.
However, effective attack training should always begin with simple commands. Remember, baby steps and little milestones will help you teach your dog more advanced commands easier when the time comes.
So, never skip basic commands such as stay, sit, and stop. In fact, it’s crucial that your dog knows the ‘stop’ command since it’ll come handy later on.
4. Use Short Commands
Using long commands with multiple words is another mistake that some German Shepherd owners may do. Instead, you should keep commands short and systematic to make it easier for your dog to remember them.
5. Teach Your Dog the Attack Command
Once your German Shepherd gets used to obeying basic commands, it’s time you take things to the next level and try the ‘attack’ command.
A simple yet effective way to initiate the ‘attack’ command is to put on your gloves and tap your dog’s face and nose. This action is meant to rile up your dog until they respond by biting the gloves. When this happens, vocalize the ‘attack’ command.
6. Apply Reward-Based Training
Just like you did during basic training, reward your German Shepherd with a treat each time they properly obey the command. Repeat the step above while continuing to use the word ‘attack’ until your dog is comfortable with it and easily associates the command with the action.
From here, you can try to state the command when you’re standing away from your dog. Ideally, your German Shepherd should come to you and attack your gloves. When they do it, be sure to give them a treat!
7. Practice Intruder Scenarios
The next step should be introducing your German Shepherd to a “real-life” situation where they face an intruder.
Even the toughest of dogs may act hesitant or nervous when such a new and stressful scenario takes place, so the idea here is to help your dog understand the signs of danger and recognize the body of actual intruders.
Now is the time to recruit a close friend and have them act as an intruder. You want your dog to remain calm and only attack on your command.
Of course, this may take several tries to get it right, so don’t rush the process. Also, you must practice this training technique with extreme caution to avoid causing serious injuries.
Sometimes, it’s better to first try the command using a doll if your dog seems too confused about dealing with a moving person.
If you’ve got or planning to get a German Shepherd, training your dog to attack upon hearing your command should be a top priority to keep you and your dog safe.
After all, they’re guard dogs by nature so you’ll only be harnessing their full potential in both friendship and protection.