How to Train Your German Shepherd to Heel

When you first brought your German Shepherd puppy home, you must have thought how cute and awesome it will be to have a dog with whom you can play and have fun all day long.

Yes, this is true to an extent. But with a pet, there come certain responsibilities as well and they tend to increase with the aging of your puppy.

When a first-time dog owner takes their German Shepherd Dog (GSD) pup for a walk and he starts to pull or bite at the leash, the owner ignores the behavior or feels that his pup will stop this behavior as he gets older. Unfortunately, this behavior tends to increase when German Shepherds get older and stronger. Pulling or biting the leash causes a lot of strain and pressure on the owner’s shoulders and makes walking the dog an unpleasant and frustrating experience.

Hey! I am Daniela Carrera from LittlePawsTraining, a Professional Dog Trainer and I am going to share my expert training tips on How to Train your German Shepherd to Heel. I have been into professionally training dogs for the last 8 years and I hope I can help Animal Bliss viewers by sharing my professional knowledge and expertise. I know how it feels to get pulled in the direction your dog wants to go. The more you try and pull him to walk along with you, the more he pulls from his side and starts smelling here and there.

What do you need to train your German Shepherd to heel?

  • Purchase a body harness to decrease the pressure put on your dog’s neck.
  • Crush training treats into bits and pieces and put them into a pouch.
  • Get a short leash (5-6 ft) but make sure it’s not too tight.
  • Patience and a positive attitude.

Training to heel will take place when you are out for a normal walk with your dog. German Shepherds and other breeds as well bite the leash while walking and enjoy it like it’s a fun game. Here is a detailed guide on how to stop your pup or dog from biting the leash while walking along with you.

Two Methods to Train Your German Shepherd to Heel


Method 1: Stop and Look Method

  1. Attach your dog’s leash to his collar and begin to walk normally.
  2. As your dog tries to go ahead and pull at the leash, issue the ‘Heel’ command in a loud and affirmative tone and only pass the command once.
  3. When you say the command, stop walking and stand still. Your dog will look to you after some seconds to check what happened. Wait for him to stand still as well alongside you. It will take some time for him to do this, so be patient.
  4. As soon as he stands beside you, Reward him with crushed treats from inside the pouch and shower verbal as well as physical praise.
  5. Repeat these steps regularly. You can be innovative as well and do this your preferred way once you start getting results and confidence.

Method 2: Method of Holding the Dog Treats in your Hand

    1. Tie your German Shepherd to a short leash and make sure you fill up your treat pouch with crushed training treats. A smellier chicken-based treat would be a good choice for this unless your dog is allergic to chicken.
    2. Make sure your dog is walking at either the right or left side of you. Hold the treat above his head and keep walking.
  1. Walk for a distance of 8-10 feet with a treat in your hand above his head. Make sure your dog walks properly for at least that distance of 8-10 feet. Walk with the dog on the same side every day.
  2. If your dog stays by your side within that distance of 8-10 feet, reward him with treats and lavish praise. If your dog cannot complete that distance by walking properly alongside you, try a lesser distance or a more tempting treat. Do not treat unless the task is successful.
  3. When your dog starts to heel and walk properly for that 10 feet distance, gradually increase the distance to 20 or 25 feet. You will feel that your dog no longer needs treats to stay close. This will become his natural walking habit. 

Understanding the Body Language of German Shepherds

More Tips to Train Your German Shepherd To Heel

Now that I have shared my two working methods to train your German Shepherd to heel, I would also like to share my expert tips which will further help you in this regard.

  1. Pick either your left or your right side to place your dog and stick with it. If your GSD keeps switching the sides of the walk, you will have difficulty maintaining control and training consistency.
  2. Before training your dog to heel properly, he should be taught basic commands like ‘sit,’ ‘stand,’ and ‘recall.’
  3. Always choose a training area where there is the least number of distractions for your dog. It can be your backyard or inside the house.
  4. Training can be frustrating for you and your dog in the initial phase. Try to train in short 10-15 minute sessions only.
  5. Choose either of the two methods mentioned above and stick to it for at least two months. Both methods are great and will produce results if you have a positive attitude, consistency, and patience.

I assure you that you will get results as these are the exact methods I use to heel train any dog. I would like to thank Jeanne for allowing me this opportunity to help GSD owners.

Though you can use these methods to heel train any breed, training to heel is especially crucial for German Shepherd’s, as they are strong and bulky, which exerts more pressure on your shoulders. A powerful dog without heel training can be a dangerous thing. Without this discipline, your dog may attack another dog or person, or pull you out into the street.




Daniela Carrera, Certified Professional Dog Trainer “How to Train Your German Shepherd to Heel”

Guest Writer: Daniela Carrera, is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer.  She currently runs a Dog Training center in Washington DC, USA. Daniela loves  love blogging about Dog training and Dog care and helping fellow dog parents solve any kind of problems they face with their Doggies ?



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