IN YEARS GONE BY, dogs always had a job; Protection, pulling, herding and hunting were the reasons why dogs woke in the morning. In recent times, not so much. Remember this; Dog’s are entrepreneurs, and if you don’t give them a job, they will start a business that you will hate. In many cases, that business is the business of leash pulling and leash reactivity.

GERMAN SHEPHERDS are the most common of all the leash reactive dogs we see. Many German Shepherds are genetically hard-wired to be leash reactive. Let’s briefly look at the traits that the breed used over the years to create their idea of the perfect dog. In the earliest days, they were an all-around good farm dog. In war times, they were harnessed for more extreme purposes. The all-around dog becam56e more of a specialist, and with specialist genetics, you tend to get extremes. Defensiveness, easily startled, watchful, loads of prey drive where all things that they cultivated.

AS THE YEARS matured from the first and second world wars, the genetics were subdued when they exchanged working ability for looks. Whenever you choose looks over health and temperament, you will lose that battle. Dogs with hip dysplasia became the norm as breeders bred more and more for a sloped back. As Shakira once said “Those hips don’t lie”. IN AN EFFORT TO resurrect the breed, many breeders have started breeding more traditional German genetics. These genetics are typically healthy with limited hip issues, but many of these dogs are far too much animal for the average dog owner.

The same genetics are being bred for police dogs and pet dog’s homes all in the same litter. MOST GERMAN SHEPHERDS are very visually stimulated. German Shepherds fixate very easily and that fixation is caused by prey drive. With prey drive comes dopamine and a higher pain threshold. (More on dopamine and prey drive later in this book) They are hard to handle because they are strong and determined, and the smallest thing can set them off.

Their history as a watchful breed does not make it easy for most dog owners these days, as it leads to a lot of chaos when going out for a walk. ONE THING that is only seen in German Shepherds is what I call the German Death Scream. The German Death Scream is the sound that most German Shepherds make when they are on a walk with two owners, and one owner walks ahead of the dog. The scream is piercing, hence the name. If you have a German Shepherd who pulls on the leash or is leash reactive, now you know why. Not to worry, all of these things are fixable with the right tools and training.

 

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