Can German Shepherds Climb Trees? (Explained)

The German Shepherd is a breed known to be a working dog. They’re used for all sorts of work, from being guide dogs for the blind, police dogs, and even in military combat. However, one thing people have been wondering for quite some time is whether or not they can climb trees.

Can German Shepherds Climb Trees?

We cannot link tree climbing with the breed since it was not designed for it. German Shepherds are not born climbers, but their easy-to-train disposition makes it feasible for them.

can german shepherds climb trees

They can be taught to climb trees if they’re in an environment where it is needed, like the military. However, they will not go out of their way to climb or actively seek it in their spare time.

Do note that even if they are trained to climb a tree, it is not fair to compare them to a cat who has been climbing trees for thousands of years.

Why Can’t Dogs Climb Trees Like Cats?

Dogs aren’t built for tree climbing because they need to be able to run more than they need to climb; their legs don’t bend around things, making it impossible for them to grab a tree trunk like a cat or even a bear. In addition, dogs’ claws do not retract as much as cats’ claws.

There are, however, dogs that could climb trees.

What Breed of Dog Can Climb Trees

The Louisiana Catahoula Leopard, Tree Walker Coonhound, Jack Russell Terrier, New Guinea Singing Dog, and Raccoon Dog are among the breeds of dogs that are known to scale trees. When hunting prey that is running up the tree to get away from them, these nimble animals are most likely to climb the tree.

Can German Shepherds be trained to climb trees?

The answer is yes, but it’s not what they were bred for.

You can train a dog to climb a tree if the area is one where it needs to be done, such as when hunting. In these cases, they will learn when and when not to make the leap up.

However, German Shepherds don’t actively go out of their way to climb trees for fun or sport.

Signs That Your Dog Can Be Trained To Climb Trees

You may quickly determine if your dog breed can climb trees by deciding whether they are from hunting or herding dog breeds.

These breeds have that hunting instinct that other dog breeds lack. Their desire to climb trees stems from this hunting instinct to hunt prey that is climbing up the tree looking for safety.

They’ll typically go up before you even tell them to get the prey, and they will know how to position themselves properly in the tree.

How to Train My German Shepherds to Climb Tree?

You might have seen a video where a German Shepherd was trained to climb trees. You can train your dog to do this too, but you must know how to do it right.

It will take training and practice, so be patient with the process. German Shepherds are not known for their climbing abilities, so don’t be disappointed if they’re slow learners.

Here are some tips on how to train your German Shepherd to climb a tree:

1. Start Small

When training a dog to climb trees, you should start small and work your way up.

Start by having them climb up a ladder, then onto a stepladder, and finally onto the tree trunk. Once they get to this point, you can begin to teach them how to position themselves on the branch so that they don’t slip or fall.

2. Entice Your Dog With Their Favorite Treat

Get your German Shepherd motivated by dangling their favorite treat just out of their reach. They will be tempted to grab it, and by doing so, they’ll use their paw to hold onto the tree trunk.

3. Reward Your Dog With Praise & Treats

Once your dog has made an attempt to grab the treat, show them love and praise. This will encourage them to continue climbing up the tree, which they will repeatedly do if it means that they get a reward. Don’t get fixated on the end result; each attempt they make is important.

Remember that every dog learns at different rates, so don’t rush the process. It could take weeks or even months for your German Shepherd to fully grasp how to climb trees, but be patient, and before you know it, your German Shepherd has successfully learned how to climb a tree!

4. Remove Harmful or Sharp Stems

As with any dog training exercise, always be sure that the area is safe for your dog to roam.

Any harmful or sharp objects should be trimmed away from the tree so that your German Shepherd doesn’t accidentally get hurt.

In addition, be sure that there is a large branch that they can comfortably sit on after climbing up. This will allow them to rest and catch their breath before going down again.

5. Use Verbal Commands

Be sure to use verbal commands when training your German Shepherd on how to climb trees.

Each dog is different, so speak in a calm but firm voice the entire time. The more they associate climbing with commands, the more it will stick in their memory for future tree climbs.

You can use words like “climb” or “up” to signal that it’s time for your dog to climb the tree.

Final Thoughts

German Shepherds are not known for their ability to climb, but this doesn’t mean that they can’t be trained to do so.

You must have patience when training your German Shepherd how to climb trees, but if you follow these tips, you should have success in no time!