Dog Behavior Corrections, Rewards and Your German Shepherd

Dog behavior corrections and rewards are an integral part of dog training your German Shepherd in any and all activities. When training your GSD you will have a number of choices of which correction and reward system you want to use.

Each has its own inherent pros and cons, all of which should be considered BEFORE training your German Shepherd actually begins. Changing systems mid-stream can be terribly confusing to the dog, if not to yourself as well.

The rule of thumb, as always, should be that no type of force or abuse should ever be used. Let’s break that down even further- this would include no jerking, pulling, shoving or tripping the dog into the desired behavior.

The easiest thing in most cases is to lure the German Shepherd into the desired position and then reward the animal. Verbal praise, food and attention are the best reinforcers. Remember, when using food, to eventually phase it out or to reward with food on a variable basis only.

Do not let the GSD expect the food - it should be a surprise and a treat for good work only.


FOOD, as always, is the strongest reward in dog behavior corrections. This is also one of the most often used methods by many dog trainers. It is best used when teaching new behaviors. After the correct response is attained the food should eventually be phased out. Try giving every 3rd try then every 4th, then on the 2nd, etc. Don’t let the dog EXPECT the food. Let it be a motivation for the desired behavior.


This type of dog behavior corrections can be effective on some animals. If paired with food reward, it is even more effective. This may be given at any time but timing is crucial. Also, remember the tone of your voice is much more important than what you are actually saying so try to keep as upbeat and happy a voice as possible when working with your dog.


When using this dog behavior corrections method it is best to know your dog because this may prove distracting during dog training. Make sure that this method does not break their concentration while you are working.
PLAY - A wonderful reinforcement tool, but best used as a non-immediate reinforcement. Drug dogs and K-9’s are often trained using this reinforcer. Also search and rescue dogs. Knowing what activities your pet likes best (chasing a ball, etc.) is one good way to end the training session. In this way the dog will connect the training with the game.


Valued by all dogs, this is a very effective way of having an animal respond with a behavior. Even if the animal wants you to pet it, for example, and it bumps into you and you respond by stroking it, or telling it to move, etc. you have given it attention. Try to keep the attention positive.

VERBAL REPRIMANDS can be quite effective with SOME dogs, but not all dogs respond in the same way to this type of Dog Behavior Corrections. When using this, your voice should be sharp and firm and to be most efficient, this should be administered at the same time the unwanted behavior occurs.

NOISES - Sudden, unexpected noises are effective in halting many unwanted behaviors before they occur. The sound oftentimes distracts the dog long enough to keep it from responding with the unwanted behavior. Next, get the dog away from “the scene of the (attempted) crime”. NEVER put the dog in its crate as any type of punishment or reprimand - especially in this type of setting removal situation.

RATTLE CAN - In this method of Dog Behavior Corrections, timing is crucial. If your dog exhibits unwanted behavior(s), throw this near (NOT AT) the dog. The can could be a soda can filled with 10- 20 pennies. In most cases it will startle it enough to discontinue the unwanted behavior. Do not let the dog see you throw it if possible. You want the dog to connect the can to the behavior- not to you.

SCRUFF SHAKES - These Dog Behavior Corrections, shakes, imitate what the mother does with her German Shepherd puppies and it sends a strong message - NO! Grab the dog by the loose skin on the back or side of the neck and shake the dog a few times - HARD. It may yelp but you will hurt its feelings more than anything.

PHYSICAL CORRECTIONS - Hitting, slapping, kicking, etc. are all harmful in destroying your German Shepherds temperament. Do not use this type of correction - it only produces fearful, unreliable dogs, and should never be a technique you use when doing dog training of any kind.

Return from dog behavior corrections to car travel training

Dogs are getting bigger, according to a leading dog manufacturer." - Leo Rosten

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