German Shepherd Training Tips

Training a Guard Dog

Training a German Shepherd can be a rewarding and fun activity for you and the dog, but after mastering the basics some owners want to advance.

German Shepherds make excellent guard dogs as they are strong, clever and highly obedient. If you would like to train your dog as a guard dog it can be done initially and then the dog is taken for trials.

You can teach your puppy or a young dog the basic skills of obedience training and scent discrimination yourself without any assistance. If you want to prepare your German Shepherd for official guard dog trials you should get advice from your local German shepherd dog club and have an experienced assistant who is willing help with the training.

The German Shepherd Club of America will include, or be able to refer you to, competent advisors and assistants. If there is no club near you, write to the American Kennel Club or take a look at their website (see below).

Any dog embarking on training as a guard dog has to meet the following criteria:
  • Perfect competence in all the obedience exercises described
  • Excellent scent discrimination
  • No gun shyness
  • Protective instinct in a general test of character.
South African Police Service with German Shepherds

The South African Police Service use German Shepherds to locate drugs during raids and in airports for security patrols.

To protect yourself against possible disappointment during the dog's advanced training, it is a good idea to have your dog undergo a test of character stability at about eight months of age to see if it is suited for special training. In the course of this test your dog will be confronted with simulated situations, and its reactions then serve as a basis of character evaluation. The results of these tests are relatively reliable. Local or central kennel clubs can provide you with information about when and where such tests are given.

For your German shepherd dog to pass the guard dog trials, it must be
able to perform a number of other exercises that you can practice with it,
aided by an assistant, on the training field.

Examples of the tests are a simulated attack on the dog and its master; flight of the attacker; pursuit by the dog, which is supposed to stop the attacker and indicate the attacker's location by barking; and search, in which the dog has to find the presumed criminal and keep the criminal in place by barking.

The video below shows the power of German Shepherds as guard dogs:

If you are interested in special training programs for your German shepherd and you want to find out about trial regulations, take a look at the American Kennel Club website on

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