Conformation judges tend to like to see German Shepherd Dogs to run out at the end of the lead while being trotted around the show ring. This allows the judges to see the dogs without being distracted by the handler and it allows the German Shepherd Dog to show its full extension while in the flying trot. This is somewhat tricky because while the German Shepherd Dog should be at the end of the lead, the lead should be a loose lead. The German shepherd Dog should never give the impression that they are pulling hard on the lead or dragging the handler around the ring.
For our Heidelberg German Shepherd Dogs, it is somewhat difficult to train them to hit the end of the lead because it goes against their nature of wanting to please their owner. They readily accept us as the pack leader and a pack member never challenges the pack leader by taking the lead. This is one reason our Heidelberg German Shepherd Dogs are such a pleasure to walk or run with because they never drag their owners along the path. Whereas, many German Shepherd Dog types from other kennels often will drag their owners the first mile or so on a walk until they tire, and this makes for a miserable experience for the owner and the shepherd.
We train our Heidelberg German Shepherd Dogs to pull out to the end of the lead by placing two people 50 yards apart on flat level ground. We then have a third person as the handler, which will run the German shepherd Dog back and forth between the two people. Because so much running is involved it is best to have four people so that the two can trade off on the running. The two people 50 yards apart will enthusiastically call the German Shepherd Dog each in their turn. If the German Shepherd Dog runs to the end of the lead, the callers will reward them with a treat. I prefer to use boiled liver because the dogs love it and get very excited about getting a little piece of liver.
Once the German Shepherd Dog has mastered this exercise of pulling out to the end of the lead, I like to reinforce this behavior by getting another German shepherd Dog of the same sex in front of the dog that we are training. We do this and allow the dog we are training to trail behind the other dog on the way to the bait. The caller will reward both dogs with the liver treat, but the dog we are training will continue to think it is a race to the liver. Once the German Shepherd Dog has completed this exercise several times, they should pull out just fine in the show ring.
If you are having trouble getting your German Shepherd Dog to pull out in the show ring try the above exercise and you will be pleased with the results.
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