It’s not rare to have a dog disobey an owner, but German Shepherds are a particularly stubborn breed and can be more unruly than most, especially when handled by a first time dog owner, but why does a German Shepherd stop coming when called.
While it may be befuddling at first as to why your German Shepherd stops coming when called, know that most of the time it’s due to a missed step in training or he feels neglected due to his needs not being met among other reasons.
Sometimes, it can also be mistreatment of the dog that makes this sort of disobedience surface, and for good reason.
Though I doubt you’re the sort of person to do this intentionally, it may have been an accidental outburst that has brought upon some level of short term fear of you which will pass, but does need to be remedied.
If you’d like to find out some of the most common reasons for your dog just not coming over when you call him and what can be done to remedy the situation, then feel free to read on.
Top 5 Reasons Why Your German Shepherd Stops Coming When Called
1. The Training Wasn’t Executed Properly
As I’ve mentioned prior, GSDs are some of the most fickle and stubborn dogs out there, often trying to challenge their owners for dominance in a sense, and that greatly applies to training.
These dogs require a firm and consistent owner, one who provides a set of rules and abides by them and one who will enforce them no matter what while operating on the principle of positive reinforcement for the German Shepherd’s training.
Many first time dog owners, and some experienced ones, fail to realize that at times and the whole training process ends up getting messed up because they either grow too soft or end up giving out too many treats even for poor behavior.
This ends up diminishing the effect of the standard training methods used and ends up leaving you with a disobedient dog who won’t end up listening to your commands because he knows there’s no incentive to do the right thing as he’ll get rewarded regardless.
In order to fix it, you’ll need to backtrack a little, and, depending on how big the mess up was, you may need to go all the way back to basics.
Also, don’t hesitate to call upon a trainer once again to help you get a refresher course on the basics or assist you in training your pooch, especially since it can be even harder when you have to re-train him.
And don’t feel embarrassed if it does happen to you, it’s a relatively common occurrence with GSDs in general.
2. He’s Not Getting Enough Activity From You
German Shepherds were inherently made to be working dogs, ones who want to be busy or doing something at almost any point throughout the day, otherwise they end up getting bored.
This lack of physical and mental stimulation can make them drift away from your authority and end up having them misbehave, to the point where they end up not responding to commands or calls as they’re too busy trying to satisfy what they’ve been deprived of on their own.
Again, this is a fairly common occurrence in GSDs seeing as their daily exercise quota ends up being just short of 2 hours on top of requiring mental stimulation, a challenge which can be difficult to keep up with for a lot of newer dog owners.
In order to remedy this, there’s no other option but to stick to the same rule as you’d need to for #1, consistency, and perseverance.
No matter what, make sure that he gets his 2 hours of exercise. It doesn’t all have to be walkies, it can be a mix with that and play time, just make sure that it’s physically engaging.
If you can’t manage on your own, at least try to share the load with the rest of your family members, as long as the quota can get filled.
3. He May Be Too Distracted To Notice
Sometimes, the world in your dog’s immediate surroundings may be too noisy or too enticing for your furry friend to be able to hear you when you call out for him.
While this is more likely to happen early in training, it can happen later on in the dog’s life too when he’s fully disciplined.
When that sensory overload happens from too many things happening at once in some instance where he ends up either locking up from both his sense of smell, sight and hearing being invaded upon all at once, causing his focus to completely shift to the situation in question.
A good example would be a noisy street while near a restaurant or another dog passing by where the noise from the cars, the smell of the cooking from the restaurant and the visual of another dog can all combine into a rather sizable distraction.
The way to prevent this from happening in the first place is to gradually train his distraction tolerance from an early age.
Going from a place with little to no distraction and slowly building it up in places that end up having more and more of them through different mediums is a good method to do this.
This can help steel his senses for any future situations, but it won’t be an outright fix as there are always some exceptions to the rule.
If your dog ends up in the situation regardless, try calling out for him again first to see if he’ll respond. If not, a brief tug on his leash can help if this happens while you’re out walking.
If it happens when he’s off his leash and in the yard, you’ll need to get him yourself as trying to bait him with a treat or food would go against his training.
Do be careful as he may end up being a bit aggressive to being snapped out of it and may go for a bite.
4. You Aren’t Providing For Him
When you become a pet parent, you also take on the responsibility of taking care of said pet, be it cat, bird, or dog in this case.
This means that they always have a comfy place to sleep in, food and water on the regular, enough time spent outside and on physical and mental stimulation, as well as plenty of love and affection to make him feel wanted.
It’s like adopting a child into your household and raising him up to be a good boy, which it practically is considering you most likely got the dog when he was a pup.
If these things aren’t present often, or at least part of them, your dog will feel neglected or unfulfilled and that can make him disobey the command to come over or similar as you’ve likely lost the, so called, “Alpha” status in his eyes.
The way to remedy this is relatively simple, do whatever is in your power to provide these needs for your canine family member and he’ll come back around quickly and will respect you as head of the house again.
5. He Feels Like You’ve Mistreated Him
While often not intentional, there are periods of time where either training or play can get out of hand.
Maybe you’ve had a bad day and are feeling overwhelmed yourself so you end up verbally lashing out at your own dog by accident, or worse, end up physically hurting him to the point where he squeals or grows fearful of you.
It’d only make sense for him to try and avoid you for that reason, even if temporarily, and not wanting to respond to your calls or commands.
In some cases, people will constantly abuse their dogs and this ends up more and more likely to occur, even growing to a form of fear aggression and full on disobedience if done too often.
I do sincerely hope that you’re not the latter kind as there’s no fixing that level of abuse.
If you’re the former, though, there’s still time.
Make amends with your dog, realize your mistake and make sure that you don’t carry over any stress from other sources and take it out on your pooch.
He’s there to help relieve the stress, but in a more amicable way and he only has your best interests in mind, he has likely done nothing wrong that warrants such a response.
I advise you to find other outlets or forms of stress relief if your life does carry that many burdens with it, if you can, of course, and that you keep those two words in mind that I keep repeating throughout the article, consistency and perseverance.
Do that, and your dog is sure to come back around to loving you once more and coming back on command, though you may need to sweeten the deal with some positive reinforcement again.
While there are many reasons as to why your German Shepherd stops coming when called, the solutions to most of these situations are similar.
The first is making sure you’re consistent with the rules you set up for your dog and that you enforce them without any leeway.
Meanwhile, the second is all about being able to persevere day in and day out through any and all adversity without it affecting your relationship with your dog.
This is to prevent any fallout and potential outbursts which may scare him or make you unable to enforce your rules.
If you can manage this and continue providing for your canine companion, then you should be able to avoid him disobeying you by not coming over to you when you call for him, at least most of the time as there are always some outliers where that’s impossible.
That said, I have full faith that you’ll be able to manage and that both you and your pupper will be able to enjoy each other’s company with little to no issue.
Until next time, pet parents.