Ever wonder why your German Shepherd doesn’t seem to be listening to you? It’s not because it doesn’t like you. Rather, there might be something that you’ve overlooked and now need to address. Check out this list of possible reasons why your German Shepherd won’t listen to you! We’ve also got some strategies to help you remedy the situation.
1. Insufficient training.
Your German Shepherd is probably not listening to you for a good reason. It might be because it has not learned to understand your commands. It is therefore important to spend ample time training it. Only through time and regular practice will it know what you want it to do!
2. Lack of exercise.
Did you know that the German Shepherd breed needs lots of exercise? Lack of exercise causes this breed to become extra hyperactive. This means it is less likely to listen to you! Get your German Shepherd properly stimulated to listen to you by attending to its exercise needs. It will also be good for its general health!
3. Fear of punishment.
It can be tempting to punish a misbehaving German Shepherd, but you need to refrain from doing so. It is not able to connect the punishment with the undesirable behavior.
What is possible though is it connects the punishment with you. This makes you something to be afraid of. It’s hard for a German Shepherd to listen to someone it is afraid of. Other undesirable behaviors may also pop up, like aggression and depression in your dog. Positive reinforcement is a much better tool to develop good habits in your German Shepherd.
4. You’re commanding it too much.
Did you know there is such a thing as “command nagging”? This is when you repeatedly tell your dog to do something – even when it obviously doesn’t understand you! The better approach is to stop giving out the instruction and to go back to the basic “sit” command. Then, use a treat to entice it to follow commands instead of saying “sit” repeatedly.
5. It’s overly excited.
A hyperactive dog is less likely to listen. Calm it down with enough exercise! Don’t issue any commands when it is super excited, because your commands will just fly over its head.
6. Lack of attention.
Have you been ignoring your German Shepherd lately? If so, it might also stop expecting anything from you. This includes commands you want it to follow. Apart from exercise, make sure you get to have quality time with your German Shepherd to keep that positive connection intact.
7. Rewarding for the wrong reasons.
It’s possible that you’re rewarding your German Shepherd to simply giving you some attention. This can reinforce that behavior. Make sure to only give the reward when it does what you ask of it.
8. Distractions in the environment.
Distracting things in a new location can prevent your German Shepherd from listening to you. It is better to train in different locations until it is used to it. Expand your training locations to include places you will often go to. Over time, it will be easier for your dog to shake off the distractions.
9. Ruptured eardrum.
See a vet to eliminate the possibility of a ruptured eardrum. Damage to its hearing might be the reason why it is not heeding your calls, especially if it didn’t do that before.
10. Choosing words over actions.
German Shepherd will not understand words, unless it has been successfully taught on command. If you have new commands to teach or catch its attention, do exaggerated actions instead. If will be more likely to pay attention to you to see what you need it to do.
Recent stressful events can trigger depression in German Shepherds. When they are depressed, it is likely that they will be unable to listen to you properly. This includes you getting mad, losing people it loves, or moving to a new home. An animal behaviorist might help you sort this out.
12. Being in a new location.
German Shepherds do not automatically associate learned commands to a brand new setting. It is important to go through each one again when you are in a new place. This is why it is necessary to try as many different training locations as possible. Doing so will help your German Shepherd learn to follow the same sets of behavior wherever it is.
Steps to Help Improve Listening Behavior in German Shepherds
There are a few things you can try to get your German Shepherd to listen to you:
Regular exercise will help your German Shepherd become more responsive towards you. Play fetch and other games that will require it to run many times in just a short amount of time.
• Regular training.
Listening isn’t natural for German Shepherds, so training is important! Training exercises help them understand the need to pay attention despite distractions. Teach it the sit command and use treats as a positive reinforcement. Don’t stop until it has learned the basic command, and always increase the duration each time. This primes your German Shepherd to listen, since all attention is on you.
• Seek professional help.
Have you tried everything but your German Shepherd still does not listen? A dog behaviorist might figure out what the problem is.
Patience and Consistency: The Keys to Success
Training your German Shepherd doesn’t bring instantaneous results. It is important to be realistic about your expectations. This will keep you motivated to continue your efforts.
First, learning to listen takes time. It will require frequent training sessions over months to see good results. Second, maintain consistency. If you do training on the same days and time, you have a better chance of seeing improvements.
And third, do not punish your German Shepherd. This strategy is not effective and can open up new problems in behavior. Always aim to reward when it follows you. Be strict with training, but always show positive reinforcement! In time, you will see good results – and your relationship with your dog will improve!