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Why Do Dog Trainers Use German?

I was taking my dog out for a walk in the park a while back. From a distance, I could make out that someone was training a dog. As my dog and I got closer, I could hear the trainer giving the dog commands in German. I did not want to interrupt the training, so I just walked on by. But I was wondering why is this person giving commands to a dog in German? After doing some research, I found out that dog trainers use German for training dogs. But why do dog trainers use German? So, I did some more research to find the answer.

Dog trainers use German to train dogs to cut out confusion and selective hearing. When using a common language for commands like okay ( as a release command), your dog may get confused. Your dog may also decide that it doesn’t want to listen and pretends that it can’t hear you. I know my dog does that!

Training in German is also used for different types of dogs like the police dog and search and rescue dog. 

Why The Confusion?

There is a chance that dogs can get confused with a common language for commands. Since we use everyday language daily, words like okay, come, sit can confuse our dogs. For example, a lot of people use okay as a release command. But we also use that word for many other things. Therefore if you are sitting around having a conversation and use the word okay, your dog may leave wherever it is or may give you a confused look.  

We don’t want to confuse our dogs. Training is hard work on its own, why cause more stress on the dog? This is why some people decide to have their dog trainer use German when training their dog. Using German is a totally different language compared to the English language. And it is not a language that we use day today. So, therefore your dog will not get confused when out training with its trainer or at home with you and the family. 

Language Just For You And Your Dog 

When training a dog in German, it gives you and your dog a language for just the two of you, and of course, with your dog trainer. The commands you will be using will not be used for anything else. So, it is unlikely that your dog will get confused. Also, they will not be able to get away with selective hearing. Dog trainers also use German so that dogs will not use that selective hearing of theirs. You know when you call your dog or give them a command, they pretend like they can’t hear you, or see you for that matter. My dog Kiki does that all the time. I’ll call her, and she will legit walk away and pretend like I’m not even there! She is quite the little character I tell you. 

By having your trainer use German, other people will not be able to command your dog. Your dog will not understand and, therefore, cannot be asked to do anything by anyone else. Unless, of course, that person speaks German and decides they will give it go.

Schutzhund- Training

Why do dog trainers use German? Well, they use German for a special kind of dog training called Schutzhund. Schutzhund means “protection dog.” This is a dog sport for serious dog training. Although it is open to all breeds, the training is very tough, and most dogs do not pass. However, the dogs that do pass Schutzhund tests are usually dogs that are police dogs, or dogs that are in the sort of job. Other types of jobs include odor detection, search, and rescue.

Since these dogs have very demanding jobs, they need to have specific traits to be successful. Those traits are:

  • Intelligence 
  • Trainability 
  • Desire to work hard
  • Bravery
  • A strong bond with the handler
  • Instinctively protective
  • Excellent sense of smell
  • Determined

These are the traits that the dogs are tested for. However, they are also tested on agility, strength, endurance, and their scent ability. The ultimate goal of Schutzhund is to showcase the character and ability of the dog through the training. Dog breeders can use this test to decide whether or not to use the dog(s) in producing working dogs 

There are three phases a dog must go through to be awarded a Schutzhund title. The phases are:


This phase is more than just scoring a dog’s ability to smell. It tests the dog on its endurance as well. In this phase, small objects are dropped across the field. After the objects have been placed, the dog is taken out on the track. They will be let by the handler with a 33-foot leash. When the canine finds an object, it will allow the controller to know by lying down and placing the object between its front paws. Scoring is based on how well and careful the dog is as it goes along the track finding and indicating objects.


This phase is done in a massive field, and the dogs have to work in pairs. One of the dogs is set in a down position on one side of the area. The other dog goes into the field with the handler. Here they do many different heeling commands.  

  • Heel through people
  • Heel through gunshots to test their reaction deafening noises

There are also retrieving tests that consist of A-frame, jump, and flat. A test where the dog is tested for running away from the handler fast and in a straight line, and then it is required to lie down. The canine is also tested on recalls. They are judged on their accuracy and conduct. If a dog seems distracted or scared, then it will be scored poorly. Once the first dog has completed the test, the second dog will tag in. 


The protection phase is critical. It measures the dog’s ability to protect its handler and itself. The helper will wear a padded sleeve for this test. Blinds will be placed in the field, and the helper will hide behind these blinds. It is the dog’s job to find the person. Once it has found the person, it will bark to indicate. The dog then has to guard the helper and make sure they do not move until called by the handler.

There are other tasks the dog must perform that includes keeping guard and transporting a helper to a judge. While on the way to the judge, the helper will either attack or try to escape. The dog then must stop the helper from escaping or bite the padded sleeve if they attack. Once the escape or attack has ended, the handler then commands the do go “out” (release) the sleeve. If the dog does not comply, it will be disqualified. The dog must show bravery and obey the handler at all times. Any dog that shows fear or aggression will be disqualified

As you can see, the series of tests are very important. This test was originally only for the German Shepherd, but now most breeds can take the tests. The Schutzhund was created in Germany in the early 1900s, and therefore dog trainers used German to train the dogs. 

German Dog Training Commands 

SpeakGib laut
Get OutVoraus
Guard AlertPass Auf
Roll OverUmdrehen
List of English words translated to German

We have created a list for you of some German training commands. These commands are for tracking, obedience, protection, and others. The translation is from English to German

Once you and your dog master these commands, you can show your family and friends. They will be amazed at what you have learned. It will also feel great to have a language that you and your dog can use just for the two of you. 


Today we have gone over the reason why dog trainers use German. It is used for Schutzhund training, to cut out any confusion that may be caused by using a common language. And to stop a dog from using selective hearing when using a common language. 

I hope this article has shed some light on why dog trainers use German, and maybe you might find that you’d like to try some German on your dog. Why not? How cool would it be to show up at the dog park with all these new commands and a well-trained dog?

If you don’t feel comfortable training your dog in German on your own, you could always hire a professional dog trainer. Check with your veterinarian to see if they have any good recommendations for you. 


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