German Shepherd potty training is not much different from any type of dog potty training, with only one significant variance: Your German Shepherd is among the smartest and most highly trainable dog breeds on the planet! Depending on his age, he should catch on relatively quickly if your training approach is performed correctly.
- Your puppy is growing and has a small bladder. He won’t have nearly the same control over it as an adult; frequent potty breaks are recommended.
- It is recommended that you begin house training when your puppy is between 12 weeks and 16 weeks old (3-4 months).
Here are some of the essential German Shepherd potty training tips to help you get started.
Create a Fun, Pleasurable Training Environment
At a time when dog training theories were in their infancy, dogs were abused and physically harmed in order to scare them into submission. Today’s credible dog training theories promote a different kind of approach.
In order for your German Shepherd potty training process to move as quickly and smoothly as possible, you want your pup to enjoy the process, actually have fun with it! Offer treats or praise when he eliminates in the desired area; showing him that he did a good thing! Show your dog he is in a happy and safe environment. Give him a reason to want to go outside for you.
After all, are today’s accepted techniques revolving around potty training a human child really that different?
- You’ll want to instill good habits and build a loving bond in a pleasurable environment!
- Inflicting emotional distress and installing fear can be especially damaging to a young puppy with a developing brain, potentially causing irreparable, lifelong damage to his social skills.
Don’t Over Correct/Punish or Become Emotional
Offering more aversive punishment type corrections for mistakes violates the first principle above, certainly not setting a fun and pleasurable environment. At no point during your German Shepherd potty training process should you scare or intimidate your pet. You want your German Shepherd puppy to feel a sense of accomplishment.
- Dogs recognize and interpret the emotional states of their owners very well, and are prone to reflect them. Your anxiety and distress can easily become your puppy’s anxiety and distress.
- In a natural wolf or wild dog pack, alphas do not show uncontrolable over-emotion to their subordinates, but rather maintain a consistent calm. They don’t begin barking and whining wildly when their lessers make a mistake, unless that vocal reaction is an intended response.
Reward Desired Behavior
Only the slightest correction is needed for indoor mistakes. Once your GSD catches on the the fact that he will receive a desirable reward (can be play, praise or attention, not necessarily treats) for eliminating outdoors and indoor accidents don’t make you happy, he will actively go out of his way to please you.
Everything a dog does has a reason; most of their behaviors are actually governed by a kind of instinctual set of rules. Though no dog is capable of intellectual thought, he will recognize that pleasing his handlers means an enjoyable and pleasurable outcome. On the flip side, no dog actively wants to upset other family members and thus create a stressful social environment.
- Treats and food aren’t always needed; as long as your puppy realizes he pleased you by doing a good thing, he will want to continue to do that thing that pleases you.
Always Remain Consistent
Remain consistent with your German Shepherd potty training!
If you offer encouragement and praise, always offer encouragement and praise. If you offer a mild correction after mistakes, always offer a mild correction after mistakes. Don’t alter your training methods or approach unless absolutely necessary.
Conditioning is the base for all German Shepherd dog training, and dogs are conditioned through persistence and repetition. Your GDS needs to constantly repeat a behavior in order to form associations; no dog is going to figure out what is expected of him, especially not a puppy with a developing brain learn a behavior not biologically natural to his species.
Don’t Ignore Mistakes
Allowing your GSD to eliminate indoors unchecked, with no correction or diversion offered, sends a mixed message and serves to confuse the dog. Your training will only take longer.
During Training, Offer Constant Supervision
For your German Shepherd potty training to run quickly, smoothly and successfully, you will need to catch any and all indoor mistakes (as stated above). Your GSD needs to learn that mistakes don’t please you and thus don’t mean fun and good things for him.
Many trainers recommend leashing your puppy at all times when potty training. With your puppy tethered next to you, there is very little chance you will let any accidents go unnoticed and you will be prepared to run your puppy outside immediately- thereby correcting the mistake.
Create Your GSD Puppy When You Can’t Observe
However, it is a bit unreasonable to expect to have your pup by your side 24 hours a day! This is where the dog crate comes in; when you aren’t able to supervise your German Shepherd puppy, crate him. One of the original purposes behind the dog crate was in fact to assist with potty training.
- If at all possible, dogs will avoid eliminating where they sleep, especially if it is a confined space. As long as you are using proper crate training methods, your puppy won’t want to eliminate in his crate.
Keep Your GSD Safe
Even more importantly than German Shepherd potty training, you want to make sure your puppy is safe and secure when he can’t be observes. Puppies are like young and developing children; they will do dangerous and reckless things! Puppies seem to put whatever is within reach into their mouths, will gladly chew on electrical cords, swallow poisonous substances and crawl into small , suffocating spaces if allowed.
You wouldn’t leave your two year old child free to roam the house while you are at work, would you?