How to begin addressing “training problems” in German Shepherds…….

Problem: German Shepherd that is reluctant to walk across slick, shiny floors.

Training Tips:

In a lot of these cases the problem is not actually the slippery floors – problem is actually in their head. I have seen a great many German Shepherds who are scared of slick linoleum or tile floors. Until they can actually convince themselves that they can walk on them, no amount of padding seems to make any difference.

First, you will want to rule out any possible joint problems. Surprisingly, even pups under 12 months of age can begin having joint issues. Check with your local vet to rule out these issues. Secondly, make sure that your dog is not overweight. Weight can add increased difficulty to walking on slick surfaces. Third, make sure that the toenails are short enough that they’re not interfering with their ability to make good contact with the floor.

The fact is that, unless the dog has either a neurological or orthopedic problem, they should not have any difficulty keeping their balance on a linoleum or tile floor. The pads of their feet should not be “slick”. When you see dogs having problems with slick surfaces, you usually also will notice that they curl their toes as if they are trying to get a good grip on the floor.
Most dogs will get better if you provide a walkway of rugs and such. I would start with this modification to make life a little more pleasant for them while we work on helping them with the floor issues. Barring any type of physical problem, then we have to actually work on the mental aspect. You can try using something like dog booties for their feet. Some dogs may actually be accepting of this while with others it will make them worse.

Also, you can try providing an opportunity for them to get “accustomed” to the slick surfaces. Ways to do this would be to place a variety of very stable rugs – rugs that will not move -throughout the areas that are slick. They can then go from a slick surface to a rug over small area of slick surface again and back to another rug. As they get more custom to the slick surfaces you can decrease the amount of rugs.

As each dog is different, they all handle training different as well. But, you will have to start somewhere. If none of these things work, then you have to try other things that may work better for the individual. You might even consider getting a “thunder shirt”. It may give them the extra boost needed to make them feel “protected” even on slick surfaces.