If you’ve got or are considering getting a German Shepherd, one of the first things they should learn is to attack on command. We will walk you through how to teach your dog this essential skill.
An Attack Dog by Nature
Some dog breeds are more prone to aggression than others, and German Shepherds are one of them. They are, by nature, attack dogs and often used by law enforcement for this reason.
Since they already exhibit this trait, you must learn to control your dog’s tendencies to ensure they only attack when you command. It will keep both you and your dog safe.
Training Your German Shepherd to Attack on Command
Step 1. Bond with Your Dog
Before training your dog to listen to any commands, you must first develop a relationship with them. There needs to be trust and mutual respect and friendship between you and your German Shepherd. Here are a few ways to connect with your dog:
- Spend at least 20 minutes per day playing with your dog
- Take your dogs for frequent walks
- When they exhibit good behavior, reward them with treats
- Don’t lose your temper or get angry at your dog
- Keep their crate near to you and where you spend a lot of time ( See our review of the best German Shepherd crate)
It’s ideal to start connecting with your dog when it’s young, and it can take several months to strengthen the bond.
Step 2. Preparation
Ensure you prepare for attack training by equipping yourself with the necessary gear. Ideally, you should get a bite sleeve, which will protect you from being bitten during training.
There are many bite sleeves available, but a great one is [amazon link=”B06XYGCWH3″ title=”the Didog Dog Bite Sleeve.” /] They are durable and reliable, keeping your safe regardless of how powerful the bite is. It’s excellent for most medium-sized dogs and will allow them to grip onto you, practicing their attacks over and over again.
3. Start with the Basics
Start by training your German Shepherd with basic commands such as stop, sit, stand, etc. It’s crucial in this step to make sure they know the “stop” command as it will come in handy later.
4. Teach Them the Command
Once your German Shepherd is comfortable with basic commands, it’s time to try the “attack” command. The best process is to put on your gloves and tap on the face and nose of your dog. This action will cause annoyance, and eventually, they will respond by biting the gloves. When this happens, state the command “attack.”
5. Reward the Action
As with basic training, reward your dog each time they obey the command. Continue to use the phrase “attack” while repeating the above step until they are used to it and associate the sentence with the action.
You can then move on to stepping away from your dog and using the command. Your German Shepherd should come and attack your gloves. Make sure to give them a treat when they do so.
6. Practice with A Doll
Now that your dog is familiar with the command, you will need to get them to attack an object other than your gloves. The best place to start is with a doll. Set the toy a distance away from your dog and use the “attack” command. Point towards the toy so your dog will understand the action you are trying to get them to perform.
It may take some time as your dog will likely be confused and may even attack your arm instead, as was practiced before.
Keep at it until they attack the doll and make sure to give them treats when they act correctly. Try places it in different locations each time.
7. Train Them to Attack a Person
The hardest part of the training is to transition your dog from attacking a doll to attacking a person. The most important part of this step is teaching them the command “stop.” This command will ensure you have control, and the dog will stop attacking when you say so.
You’ll need two people for this step; one person to utter the command and the other to sub in for the doll. It may be daunting to ask a friend to volunteer for this, and you can always acquire assistance from a dog trainer. They will understand how to react if anything goes wrong during the training.
Either way, ensure the other person is wearing protective gear to protect them from the attack. When choosing a protective suit, make sure it is good quality, with durable materials, and that it has excellent reviews.
We would recommend going for one like the Dean and Tyler Full Protection Bite Suit. Its French Linen composition is proven to protect against all bites and cover each part of the body for enhanced safety.
It includes Velcro straps on the waist and leather hand protectors as well. The suit does tend to limit movement, so your subject likely won’t have much agility while in it. They are an investment, so make sure you’re sure about the purchase and your commitment to the training.
Once your guinea pig is fully protected, you can begin commanding your German Shepherd to “attack” the subject, using the phrase and pointing. Now the key is the implementation of the command “stop.”
As your dog approaches the person, use the phrase “stop” and make sure to say it loud and with conviction. They should already know this command from basic training.
For safety, it’s recommended your subject be near a door which they can close if your dog doesn’t obey. If they do follow instructions, make sure to reward them with a treat.
Repetition is key.
Keep repeating it over and over until the dog responds immediately to your commands. The goal here is to maintain control over your German Shepherd. Any dog can attack, but the important part is for the dog to obey you and stop attacking when you command it to.
Here are some of my favorite German Shepherd supplies
Thank you for reading this article. I hope you found it helpful and useful as you raise and train your German Shepherd.
Here are some of my favorite reviews for German Shepherd supplies that I personally use and recommend. If you do decide to purchase them, please remember that I’ll earn a small commission which helps me maintain this website.
- Dog Food for German Shepherds: All of the different dog food brands out there can be confusing, and it’s hard to know which one is best for your GSD. Here is my recommendation for the best dog food for German Shepherds.
- Collar: A lot of people think that all dog collars are created equal, but this just isn’t true. If you have a German Shepherd, you need a special collar that is designed for their breed’s fur and neck size. Here I’ve reviewed some of the best collars for German Shepherds out there.
- Leash: A leash is a must-have for any German Shepherd owner. With a good leash, you can give your dog the freedom they need while keeping them safe and under control. Here are my top picks for the best leashes for German Shepherds.
- Harness: If you’re thinking about getting a German Shepherd, or you’ve just brought home your new pup, it’s important to know how to harness them correctly. A harness that is improperly fitted or used can cause serious injury to your dog. Read my review of the best harnesses for German Shepherds here.
- Dog Bowl: A lot of people think that all dog bowls are pretty much the same, but this simply isn’t true. Different bowls serve different purposes, and the bowl that you need will depend on a number of factors. See my recommendation for the best dog bowl for German Shepherds here.
- Dog Crate: You want to buy a dog crate for your German Shepherd, but you’re not sure which one is the best. There are a ton of different factors to consider when choosing a crate. Here’s my review of the best dog crates for German Shepherds and what you should know before buying one.
- Dog House: It can be tough to find the best dog house for German Shepherds. Agitate: Not only do you have to worry about finding a good-sized dog house, but you also need to make sure it’s well-insulated and weatherproof. Here’s the house I recommend for German Shepherds.