How do I train my pure breed German Shepherd to come directly back to me after she starts to run after a squirrel?

My pure breed 18month old German Shepherd is extremely smart and everything you would expect. She is very attentive when we are inside the house or out on walks. I can take her to local marina where we walk all around, out on the long docks, around a town house community all the while she is off her lease. If she starts to get more than 10 feet ahead of me, I call her name and she stops until I get next to her then she starts walking again. Although when we go to the park I can’t let her off the leash in fear that she will see a squirrel and run after it. She has done this both of the times I have let her off and she will not pay attention to me when I call for her. I know she is capable of being let off leash in the park but I don’t know how to train her to come back to me when I call her in the park. Also training her with treats does not work. Like I said when we are outside on the leash she is all work, on guard and very alert to everything going on around her.

Asked by Member 612024 on Mar 25th 2008 in Methods of Training
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Best Answer


You obviously need to work on a reliable recall command with your dog. The best way of doing that is to start with a long line - like a 30' or 50' tracking line you can buy at most pet stores. This will let her have some freedom to run, but give you the ability to reinforce the "come" command if she ignores you.

That said, your dog should not be off-leash in a public park unless the park is designated as an off-leash dog area. In most places, letting your dog off-leash in a public park is actually against the law and the fines usually are around $250 if animal control, the park ranger, etc. catch you.

Abby answered on Mar 25th.

Other Answers


Cookies 'n' Creme (1998-2011)

Dogs should always be leashed in public. The only exception would be if someone had a dog doing a demonstration. She may be very attentive, but what if a cat ran right out in front of her and she caught it? The cat's owner may sue you. Or something similar may happen. Some people who have the wrong idea about us German Shepherds may freak out seeing a dog offleash, even if it is right next to you. They may do something durastic.
But, to answer your question more directly, you should practice come on a long lead.

Cookies 'n' Creme (1998-2011) answered on 3/25/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer

Baby Girl

There's also the chance that the squirrel is going to run across a road and your dog would follow and could be run over. I would try obedience classes for recall training, but I agree with others that your dog should not be off leash in public places. There are just too many chances of things going wrong. One of my past dogs was off leash way out in a field and suddenly a guy on a dirt bike went whizzing by and my dog took off after him. Thank God she finally came back, but we had to chase her and lost sight of her for several minutes. Lesson learned!

Baby Girl answered on 3/26/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer