From birth your German Shepherd puppy would have been eating, peeing and pooping in the designated den they shared with their mother and siblings. One of mom’s many roles would have been to ensure that the den was kept clean. Newborn pup’s until about 3 weeks old have very little control of their back end. Mom will have licked their puppies to stimulate them to eliminate wee and poop. She would then clean up after them by eating their faeces to make sure their living quarters where kept clean and hygienic.
German Shepherd puppies usually leave their mothers around 8 weeks of age. Although this is a good age for puppies to leave their litter to ensure they don’t miss out on the chance to learn how to cope with new experiences during their ‘fear free’ period it does mean your pup will not have chance to learn from mom how to do their business outside. It will be up to you to teach your new German Shepherd puppy to relieve themselves in the appropriate place.
Dogs are creatures of habit and once they’ve learnt a habit, they will keep doing it. If you teach your puppy to go for their wee’s and poop’s on the grass, they will always seek to go on grass instead of paved areas. This is why it is so important you teach your puppy where is acceptable to go to the toilet as soon as they come home with you. If they wee or poop on your carpet it will be hard to break this habit.
An important part of potty training is to create a schedule. Firstly, a feeding schedule. Your German Shepherds digestive system is very efficient. After eating anywhere between 10 and 30 minutes later your pup will want to go to the toilet. As part of your schedule you will need to make sure there is enough time to take your German Shepherd puppy out to their designated toilet area after feeds. This designated area could be the garden, a curb side or anywhere you would like to teach them to go however it is important to remember you puppy shouldn’t be allowed down outside your property boundaries until they have had their full set of jabs and have been given the go ahead by the vet.
By 8 to 16 weeks your German Shepherd puppy’s bladder will be strong enough to hold their wee for approximately 2 hours. To reduce accident in the house it a recommend you take them out to their designated area ever hour. By 16 wee your pup will be able to hold their wee for about 4 hours.
When your German Shepherd puppy is in their designated toilet spot it’s important you stay calm and controlled. Puppies as well as adult dogs can take a lot of cues from your body language and voice. If you rush you dog or give voice commands, it can make your German Shepherd nervous or distract them from the task in hand.
Once you puppy has done their business in the correct place it is important to reward them. Puppies react really well to positive encouragement. There are numerous ways you can reward a pup including treats, a favourite toy, clicker, vocal praise and affection. Which reward you use will dependupon what your German Shepherd wants more of. If your pup loves a treat it’s good to vary your rewards to stop them from becoming too attached to treats.
If your German Shepherd puppy has an accident its important to not punish them. Punishment can create negative associations towards a completely natural body function. If your puppy becomes nervous of going to toilet they may start finding hidden places to go which you will definitely want to avoid.
If you catch your pup in the act of going to the toilet inside interrupt their flow with a chosen word of your choice. Try not to use no as you may want to save this for other commands. Something like ‘garden’ or ‘outdoors’. It’s important you use the same word consistently. Once you have used the command pick them up and place them where you want them to go.
To reduce accidents overnight pick up your pup’s water bowl about 2 hours before their bedtime. You will have to sacrifice on some sleep until your German Shepherds strong enough to hold it in for longer. If accidents are happening overnight, you will need to increase the number of times you take them out.
Although accident do happen you will want to avoid them as much as possible. This again is why sticking to a schedule is so important. The more accidents your German Shepherd puppy has in the home the more comfortable she’ll become doing it. Remember consistency is key and to remain calm at all times.
If you stick to these step’s you should have a potty trained German Shepherd puppy in no time.