German shepherds are, across the board, big and strong dogs. No matter how loyal they are and how well-trained they are, they can still yank you down the sidewalk every time you head out for a walk, especially if they have not been leash trained. A German shepherd who is not leashed trained can be difficult for an adult to walk and impossible for a child to walk.
Here’s how to make sure your GSD is perfectly well-behaved on his leash:
Get the right leash.
He should have enough room to explore, without being able to get away from you. You should also consider investing in a thicker, sturdier leash than you would with a smaller animal, to prevent breaking and tearing.
Reward him when he behaves how you want him to behave.
Even a German shepherd who pulls no matter who is walking him and where he is going will occasionally exhibit good behavior. As soon as the leash goes slack, reward him for that good behavior, both with verbal praise and a treat.
Move him away from what he is pulling towards.
If he is pulling towards a goal, divert him from that goal. Turn around and walk the other way. Don’t yank him, just turn around and go in the other direction. When he turns and follows you, reward him.
Walk him with a halter.
Dogs on halters are much more responsive to their owners than dogs in collars. When you give him a little tug backwards when he is pulling, he will feel it not just around his neck (which could hurt him), but around his entire torso. If you do it often enough and reward him when the leash goes slack, he will start to get the picture.
Have him walk by your side.
Instead of allowing him to walk in front of you, ask him to walk next to you. Shorten up your leash and give him treats only when he stays by your side.
Get a better collar.
There are collars that can actually help your dog stop his behavior on his own. While these collars do not hurt him while he is behaving properly, they will correct him when he starts to pull, which can be a good way to prevent him from never, ever pulling.