You should be pretty patient and persistent in potty training your German Shepherd puppy. The process should not be stressful for your pet.
The main rule your little puppy needs to understand in the very first minutes after you have brought it home is that it mustn’t pee and poop in any place it wants. Potty training of a German Shepherd puppy may turn out even simpler and more straightforward than you expect it to be.
How to properly organize the process of potty training so that the pet understands as quickly as possible what the owner wants from it? This article may give you some helpful tips.
The Main Factors to Consider for Potty Training a German Shepherd Puppy Needs
The essential thing your puppy has to understand is that relieving itself inside the house is inappropriate. If you don’t focus on that at once, your dog will continue peeing and pooping inside whenever it is convenient for it.
These are the factors you need to consider making the entire process go smoothly:
Newborn puppies pee and poop in their den. It’s normal, and their mom does her best to keep the den clean. These are the first steps that teach a puppy to maintain order in their living quarters. That is why, when you take your pup at the age of 6-8 weeks, it has nowhere to learn about cleanliness and that it has to do its business outside the den. You have to substitute its natural lessons and become a mother-dog for your puppy.
German Shepherds remember well what they are taught to do and under what conditions they should do that. It means that, as soon as they have learned a habit, they will never forget it under certain circumstances. For instance, if your puppy knows that it should relieve itself on the lawn, you will never see it pooping on the paved driveway.
- Gastrointestinal Tract
Your puppy will need a toilet just 20-30 minutes after you feed it. That is why, think about feeding your baby dog at the same time and always follow the established routine.
Starting from the age of 20 days, a German Shepherd can control its bodily functions. When it is 8-16 weeks old, it can restrain from peeing for about 2 hours. So, take it outside for the toilet each hour to be on the safe side. When it is about a year and 4 months old, you can expect it to hold its pee for about 4 hours. Then, this time will increase.
Your attitude to the puppy matters a lot. German Shepherds understand commands, of course, but they can also get a lot of information from our body language or pitch of voice. When you distract a little one or rush it, it will get too nervous to do its business properly. Verbal encouragement and calmness are very important here.
You have to set a routine for your puppy’s ‘go potty’ habits based on its physical needs. For example, it needs to be relieved after sleep, after feeding, and when it wakes from a daytime nap. It can also want a toilet after playing. The routine will help your baby dog to learn the rules very quickly.
Every time your puppy goes to the toilet correctly, you have to praise and reward it with some treats. Express your affection, too. A combination of praise and treats will have the best effect.
- Support and Reinforcement
In case your puppy ‘misfired’ somewhere at home, don’t punish it severely. Don’t shout at it because the reaction will be entirely negative. It may even start finding sneaky places to do its business, despite your reaction to it. What you can do is say something like ‘outside’ or ‘nixie’, or any other word to interrupt the process. However, you should do it every time you catch your puppy in the act. Then, you can hold it in your arms and bring to the place that you want to be its potty.
- Paper of Pee Pads
Remember that paper or pee pads are useless or even harmful. Sooner or later, you will have to transit from them to outside, therefore you just add one more step on your pet’s training road you will have to pass along together in the near future. Your puppy may get confused, so more accidents may happen. Start with teaching your little pet to go to the toilet outside, and you will never miss the aim.
- Less Sleep at Night for You
You are sure not to sleep longer at night while your GSD pup is little. It will not be able to wait until the morning. An accident may happen at night, so try to take your baby dog outside more frequently. Don’t let such accidents happen too often because your puppy may get used to doing that.
- Reduced Availability of New Places Inside
The more places your puppy has access to inside your house, the more opportunities it will find to go to the toilet there. Reduce access and start more extensive German Shepherd potty training outside at once.
What to Do If It Is Winter
How to potty train a German Shepherd puppy in winter? Potty runs are not pretty comfortable at this time of the year. What can you do if the temperature is below zero, and it is bitterly cold outside? Your dog may avoid staying longer for doing its business when it is freezing, or just decline your invitation to go outside for a toilet. It may prefer to hold its pee. However, it can lead to bacteria growth and a UTI as a result. You need to make your dog’s outside running as comfortable as possible, even if the temperature is extremely low, to avoid UTI development. So, you can follow such tips:
- Check your puppy’s water consumption. In the cold season, dogs as much as humans do not like to drink big amounts of water. However, they need it to prevent a UTI. So, you have to encourage the dog to drink by warming the water and adding some broth, or organic honey to it.
- Give your dog food rich in moisture. It is canned, raw, or home-cooked food. You may even soak its kibble in the broth.
- Protect your puppy’s potty area against wind and cold. First of all, protect its paws when it stands on the freezing ground. You can use wood shavings or straws, or even pieces of old clothing or turf.
- Doggy’s boots can help a lot. They will help your pet step onto the icy cold ground. You will also protect its paws against anti-ice chemicals that are widely used in urban areas in winter.
- Put on warm clothes when you walk your dog. When you feel cold and uncomfortable, you will not willingly wait until your puppy does its business. You will be eager to rush home, so there is a chance that your puppy will not relieve itself or do it halfway.
- Offer your doggy a reward for running out in the cold. Show it that you are happy and delighted with its behavior. Some delicious treats will be a perfect sign of it.
Avoid Mistakes in Potty Training
In any case, you need to know how to avoid the common mistakes in potty training your German Shepherd puppy. They are:
- giving your puppy many different foods in one day;
- overfeeding and overwatering or allowing the puppy to eat or drink as much as it wants;
- feeding close before going to bed;
- feeding with processed meat and other salty foods;
- giving too many treats at a time;
- expecting that your pup knows on its own how to tell you about its need for a potty run;
- leaving your baby dog alone inside for a long time;
- not having a special cue/word that would tell the puppy that it is out for its business but not for play;
- providing access to soft and fluffy rugs puppies love to pee on;
- not paying attention to your pup when it goes to the toilet correctly outside and not praising it for that;
- not cleaning inside accident results with special means that eliminate the smell.
If you know what things you must not do now, try to avoid them, and your puppy’s potty training will be more effective.
The prohibited methods for weaning a German Shepherd dog to use places that are not intended for this as a toilet include these things you should never do with your puppy in any case.
- Never poke its nose into what it has done. Why can’t you do that? It is no use because nothing is disgusting for an animal in its waste products. The dog perceives them solely as a source of information.
- Physical punishment, for example, beating with a leash, should be completely prohibited. Such actions cannot lead to anything other than anger. Therefore, no canine expert would ever recommend them to you.
- Punishment should be imposed at the moment of the ‘crime’ but not after some time has passed. For example, the dog pooped in the room while its owner was at work. If you punish your pup upon your return in the evening when it has completely forgotten about its misconduct, the dog will not understand what has happened.
The unrighteous methods of punishment will evoke aggression and psycho problems in your little doggy, but will not improve the situation.
Specific Tips to Help Your Puppy Learn Faster
Start potty training for your German Shepherd puppy right from the first day in your home. If your baby dog knows that it should not relieve itself inside at once, it will never develop into a bad habit difficult to get rid of.
Here are a few simple tips on how to potty train German Shepherd puppies more effectively.
- Take your puppy out for a potty run via one specific door in the house.
- Use a leash every time you take your puppy outside to let it know that it’s you who is a leader in your team, and it should always follow you.
- When your puppy chooses the same designated point for doing its business, give it a treat.
- Invite your doggy outside and inside by using a leash.
- Avoid scolding and punishing your pup if it accidentally ‘misfires’ inside.
- Wake up two or three times per night at the initial stage of the puppy’s stay in your house to check if it feels comfortable and does not need a toilet.
- Use the crate for your puppy’s stay at night or even during the daytime during the first two weeks to let it learn your home rules properly.
The German Shepherd puppy potty train is a vital part of a dog’s education, and it should not be stressful at all. Your puppy needs to learn the rules for your happy relationships and comfort. Moreover, it is learning to trust you as its owner and friend. So you have to build up this trust with consistent and natural tips and commands. In fact, you need to continue the lessons taught by the puppy’s mom.
Shepherd dogs learn fast, but you have to take good care of them, reward them, and be patient. Be accurate about mistakes that can spoil your training process. Remember that severe punishment is inappropriate. Stay positive even in case of your pet’s failures, and you both will succeed.