Dog Obedience Training.

by Dennis Fisher.

This article is one of a great many articles written by Dennis Fisher about a very wide variety of subjects concerning different  dogs, such as obedience training, breeding, showing, health matters, training problems and other subjects.  All these articles appear on Dennis Fisher's websites.   Visit the site that has been set up specifically for German Shepherd Dog enthusiasts, or  if you interested in a breed   other than German Shepherd Dogs




It’s very frustrating indeed and very embarrassing if you happen to be in a training class and you dog decides to disobey you and run away. He may decide that he has had enough of training fro th day and has no intention of listening to you.

Whatever you do, don’t chase after him. Call him as pleasantly as you can – use as much self-control as you can muster – and walk away in the opposite direction.  Then stand still – use his name - and keep on calling him in a very happy, pleasant voice.   If he happens to see you when he turns around, sit down on your haunches, and keep calling, happily and enthusiastically.

When he does return to you make sure that you don’t reprimand him, but praise him.

As he approaches you, even though you may be tempted to do so, don’t make a grab for him.  Hold you hand out as if you have food in it.  If he still refuses to come close enough to you in order  for you to put him back on leash, run away from him. 

 Hide behind a tree, which will confuse him and give the idea you are playing a game and he must start chasing you.

How can you avoid this happening again?  Obviously this involves greater obedience control  of  the sits and stays. The fact that he ran way in the first instance was an act of disobedience.

But it a situation where you do not have the opportunity to reprimand. You cannot reprimand when he eventually turns to you.

There is an unusual method of training that can be extremely useful in controlling a dog that sometimes runs away, not from fear, but from playful exuberance and disobedience.   It is a very old-fashioned method, seldom used to today. But it’s not harsh and it  definitely  works!

There have been a number of occasions where I have instructed members in my training classes how to use it and it has worked extremely well.

It involves the use of something that is called a “throw chain”.  A throw chain is a small length of fairly heavy chain.  It could   be a heavy choker chain collar that is heavy enough to throw, but not so heavy that you will have difficulty throwing it.

This is how you can use it to your advantage.   Get an extra long lead.  A long length of webbing of about 10-15  feet will be  satisfactory.  Attach it to your dog’s collar in training class and let the dog wander around, not on loose lead, but by making full use of the length of this lead.

Don’t give the dog any commands but let it wander around, in a semi-free situation.  Then give the dog the “Come” command.   In many instances the dog will enjoy it’s situation of semi-freedom.  It will disregard your command, ignore you completely and not come back to you.

When the dog has its back to you and doesn’t respond to your command, quickly throw your “throw chain” so that it hits the dog’s hindquarters.  As soon as the throw chain hits the dog, call the dog’s name and give a sharp “come” command.   Remember you are holding the end of the long lead and you can easily pull the dog in to you.

 In most instances the dog will return quickly to you. The throw-chain does not necessarily have to be thrown with any particular force, but it will obviously give the dog a fright to be suddenly hit by some strange object.  It cannot run away because you are holding the end of the leash. It will be thoroughly confused and have no idea what strange weapon you have available to you. The dog will return to you immediately.


After you have done this on a number of occasions, all you have to do is shake the chain in your hand; perhaps throwing it one hand to another, as if you intend throwing it.

When the dog hears the sound of the chain it will be so confused, not knowing what you intend doing, it will come running back to you as soon as you call. 

There will be many occasions when the dog is off lead  - perhaps even a fair distance away from you – when you play with the throw chain in your hands in this way.  The dog has no idea at all how accurate you are with your throwing arm and the distance you are capable of throwing this strange object.   Even if the dog is 30 feet away from you it won’t take any chance of being hit by the chain and come  back sharply to you as soon as you call.

There are few things you must watch carefully to get the best out of this unusual training method.

First of all, make sure that you can throw the chain accurately over a distance of ten to fifteen feet.  If you are not confident of throwing accurately over this distance, see that the distance is less.  Make sure the dog is closer to you when you throw.  Secondly, make sure the throw chain strikes the dog in the rear not the face.

 Make sure that you DON’T MISS!  

Also make sure that the dog is not looking at you at the time.  You must catch him by surprise.  The throw chain is not going to hurt him. It’s the surprise element that makes this method so effective, not any pain that he suffers.   I promise you that if you use it effectively it does work!