Can You Walk A German Shepherd Without A Leash? (Freedom?)

  • By: Justin
  • Date: February 7, 2023
  • Time to read: 6 min.

Walking your GSD without a leash is easier on you and gives your German Shepherd the freedom to explore and have an exciting time. 

It is always possible to walk your GSD without a leash. However, letting your dog off-leash without training may be dangerous.

Gathering all the correct information will help you have a safe and successful walk time with your German Shepherd.

Can You Walk a German Shepherd Without a Leash

Things To Consider When Having Your GSD Off-Leash

While walking your dog may sound like a simple thing to do, it is not always the case. 

So here are some tips to help you in the process of a successful and safe way to walk your GSD off-leash. 

Know Your Leash Laws

Most counties and states have dog control laws that prevent dogs from running at large. 

So, It is essential to know your local laws before you let your dog off the leash

You can quickly determine if your state or country has a leash law. You can find this information on your state’s website. Or you can find it here.

Is Your German Shepherd Spayed Or Neutered?

One thing you probably don’t want is your dog to mate with another dog while off-leash.

It is not uncommon that your German Shepherd could come in contact with other dogs and exhibit strong desires to mate.

Know your German Shepherd’s Temperament

German Shepherds are known to be an aggressive breed. And for that reason, it is essential to consider whether your GSD has socialized with other people or other dogs before.

Indeed, you don’t want to have your German Shepherd bite someone or attack another animal while being off-leash. 

So, before starting off-leash training, it is vital to ensure that your German Shepherd is dog-friendly and human-friendly.

Walking Your German Shepherd In Public

When walking your German Shepherd off-leash, it is essential to consider other people. Some people are unfamiliar with German Shepherds and consider them dangerous. 

So, it is important not to walk them around unknown children and many people. 

Because people will act intimidated and threatened.  

Also, check out this helpful post: Can I Fly with My German Shepherd In The Cabin?

How to Train A German Shepherd To Walk Without A Leash?

How to Train A German Shepherd To Walk Without A Leash?

Here are some tips on how to train your German Shepherd to walk off-leash:

STEP 1: Basic Obedience Training

To successfully train your dog to walk off-leash, first, they must have basic obedience training. And should respond to your commands at all times.

Some of the basic commands that your GSD should be familiar with before attempting to walk them off-leash include:

 Sit, stay, come, and stop, recall

Step 2: Get Started With A Leash

You will first need to train your dog to walk patiently beside you with a leash. 

You want to get a short leash, preferably 2-3 feet, so your dog gets used to walking very close to you.

It is also essential to have a good harness too. Why?

It is essential never to pull the leash hard since this will cause pressure around their neck.

Step 2: Choose An Enclosed Space

It is best to start this training in an enclosed place, such as your yard, where there are no distractions. 

You don’t want your dog to get distracted and run off, so it is crucial to find a place where they can focus on you. 

Be sure to have plenty of treats.

You can start by walking around your house or backyard. And give them treats whenever they walk next to you without pulling on the leash. 

When the dog can patiently walk beside you for longer distances, it is time to start off-leash training.

Step 3: Stand and Make your Dog Sit or Stand

Start by standing and making your dog sit or stand next to you. 

Your German Sheperd should be on the same side as you as if it was leashed. 

Have a treat in one of your hands and make him stay still until you decide it’s time to start walking.

Step 4: Start Walking

Start walking slowly in a straight line with the treat still in your hand. 

Command him to “come” as you start walking. Naturally, the GSD will keep looking at the treat in your hand and follow you.

If the dog tries to run ahead of you or lag, stop immediately and make him sit next to you until he is calm again.

Tip: For off-the-leash training, it is essential to use a long leash.

Preferably a leash at least 12 feet long; this is important because if your German Shepherd runs off, you will be able to catch them quickly.

Find A long leash like this one. Check here for pricing. 

Step 5: Reward

After walking a few steps, stop and give your dog the treat. 

Be sure to praise him for staying by your side and following you. 

Repeat this process, gradually increasing the distance that you walk.

Step 6: Repeat the Training Treat-free

After your dog has mastered following you off-leash, it is time to start training without treats. 

This is important so your dog will still obey your commands even when no rewards are involved.

To do this, follow the same steps as before, but instead of using treats, use verbal praise and petting as rewards. 

You, however, may want to have a few treats in your pocket just in case your dog needs a little extra incentive.

Following these steps will allow you to train your German Shepherd to walk off-leash. 

However, it is essential to remember that this process takes time and patience.

You may want to hire a professional trainer if you have difficulty teaching your dog. 

At, for instance, they have a team of experts who can help you with this and other obedience training. 

Check out their website to learn more.

What Age Should You Start Off Leash Training For A GSD?

It is crucial to start this training when your GSD is still a puppy.

Puppies have shorter attention spans and are likelier to follow commands if treats are involved. 

Older dogs can still be trained, but it may take longer and require more patience.

Since you should begin walking your GSD puppy when they’re eight weeks old, it is also best to start off-leash training around this time. 

This will give them a chance to get used to walking with you and following your commands.

If you start the training when they are young, you will find it much easier to get them to obey your commands when they are older. 

Dogs trained from a young age are also less likely to run off or get into trouble when off-leash because they are used to following their owner’s commands.

How Long Does It Take To Train A GSD Off Leash?

It depends on the individual dog. 

Some German Shepherds may learn quickly and be able to walk off-leash within 2-3 sessions. 

Others may take a week or two of training before they are ready to walk without a leash.

It is important to be patient during training and not get frustrated if your dog isn’t progressing as quickly as you would like. 

Remember that each dog learns at their own pace, so try not to compare your GSD to other dogs that you may have trained in the past.

With patience and consistency, your German Shepherd will be able to walk off-leash in no time.

Helpful post : My German Shepherd put his paw on me; what does it mean? and also check out Helpful can a German Shepherd go up and down stairs? This guide reveals everything you need to know.

Final Thoughts- Can You Walk A German Shepherd Without A Leash?

It is possible to walk your GSD without a leash, but it is crucial to be prepared before you attempt this. 

Make sure that you have a good understanding of your dog’s obedience level and behavior. 

You should also be familiar with the area where you will be walking and make sure that it is legal an

Justin- Writer & Chief Editor of


Justin is a protection dog enthusiast. He has years of experience teaching and training dogs. He enjoys sharing what he’s learned. Read More

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