How to Stack a German Shepherd Dog

Stack a German Shepherd Dog
Stack a German Shepherd Dog (Image:

The German Shepherd dog is one of the most recognizable dog breeds in existence today. Large and powerful with a distinctive tan coat and black saddle, the German Shepherd dog has a long history. Originally developed in the late 1800’s as a sheep herding dog, the breed has been used as military service dogs, guide dogs for the blind, and as popular show dogs. The German Shepherd dog is a unique breed in the show ring, as they are stacked far different from any other breed. The stack, or the way the dog stands, is an essential factor in showing off the dog’s build. Stacking is not a difficult process, although perfecting it does take a little time and practice.

Things You'll Need

  • Collar
  • Lead
  • Treats

Place a collar and lead on your dog. It is much simpler to teach your German Shepherd a proper stack when he is on lead.

Move the dog to a wide, flat area. Stacking takes up a considerable amount of room, so be sure you have sufficient space.

Stand your dog in front of you and kneel down beside her. When training a dog to stack, you will need to place the feet in proper position by hand and the judge prefers a handler to kneel down.

Begin your stacking with the front feet. Pick up the foot closest to you, and set it down squarely under the shoulder. The leg should be perpendicular to the ground, with the foot flat and the toes pointing straight forward.

Reach around the backside of the first front leg and place the outside leg squarely. Some dogs are skittish when having their feet touched, so praise your dog and give him plenty of treats to encourage him to stand still.

Start stacking your dog’s hind legs with the inside hind leg first. German Shepherds are unique in the fact that they do not stand squarely in the back. Pick up your dog’s foot and pull the leg forward up under the body. The hock should be near the ground, and the majority of the metatarsus should lie against the ground.

Pull the outside hind leg back until the hock is perpendicular to the ground. Take the leg and slide it back very gently, making sure the dog’s foot is flat against the ground. Give the dog treats and talk to her as you slide her leg back, since this is an elongated stance that can be difficult for her.

Give the dog the command to stack and have her stand still. Praise her for standing still, and release her once she has held the position without moving for approximately thirty seconds.

Repeat this stacking process until the dog is comfortable standing stacked for three to five minutes at a time. The judge will examine him stacked in the ring, and it can take time for the judge to properly look him over.

Tips & Warnings

  • Practice stacking your dog in short sessions. Dogs have very short attention spans, and ten to fifteen minutes is an ideal training session time.
  • Do not drag or force your dog into position. Stacking should be an easy, simple process and physically forcing your dog to move can frighten or injure her.

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