Owning a dog could be a challenge. From paying attention to its health, to taking it for walks, it must be treated with utmost care. What might seem trickier is learning how to potty train a German shepherd puppy.
German shepherds are a favorite to pet lovers. They’re known for their loyalty, courage, guarding instincts, and being incredible smart. That’s why this breed makes excellent military dogs, police dogs, and search dogs.
In this article, we’ll be your guide to potty training your puppy.
Table of Contents
Important Questions About Potty Training
Before we start telling you how to begin training your dog, we’ll answer a few questions you might have.
How Hard Is it to Potty Train a German Shepherd?
Working with your puppy’s natural behavior with commands, you’ll find it’s easy to teach your dog anything.
A dog tends to please its human owner. Also, German shepherds are intelligent, which makes training them effective and efficient.
Why Is Potty Training Important?
Needless to say, the most important reason why you should potty train your dog is to keep your house clean. Another reason is that it’s good for your puppy’s sense of discipline.
After achieving this first goal, it’ll be easier to teach it any other habit. Besides, the bond between you and your canine best friend will keep getting stronger.
When Should I Start Potty Training My Puppy?
It’s never too early to potty train your puppy. You should start as soon as you bring it home.
However, experts recommend that you start potty training when your puppy is 12 weeks old. That’s when they start to have more bladder control.
Is It Bad to Punish Your Dog During Potty Training?
Absolutely. Don’t think about punishing your puppy for something that’s yet beyond their control. With training and patience, these mistakes will vanish eventually.
8 Effective Steps to Potty Training Your German Shepherd Puppy
A German shepherd’s intelligence is a great factor that’ll make this training easier. With this fact in mind, our journey begins with the following steps.
Understand Your Puppy’s Body
It’s essential that you know the nature of your puppy’s body functions according to its age. Because a pup doesn’t have full control of its bladder until it’s 5-6 months old.
A general rule you could use is that a puppy can hold its bladder for an hour for each month of its age. For example, if your puppy is 5 months old, you’ll need to take it out for toilet every 5 hours.
Remember that these hours include nighttime, too.
Focus on Positive Potty Training
Positive training is known for its great results on dogs’ behavior. Simply put, it means working your commands into your puppy’s mind indirectly.
This involves presenting treats, praise, or toys to your dog when it acts appropriately. In this case, reward your dog each time it uses its toileting area.
Avoid yelling at your puppy. This can really upset it, and your puppy won’t understand the reason for your anger.
3. Provide Your Puppy With a Special Sleeping Area
Dogs have an interesting instinct when it comes to their sleeping space. They don’t like to soil it.
Therefore, you could use this information to teach your puppy bladder control. Just dedicate a crate for your puppy to sleep in.
Don’t forget to take your puppy out regularly for toilet while in the crate.
4. Link Your Puppy to the Right Surface
If you teach your puppy to use a certain surface for potty, its feet and mind will make the link each time.
Your puppy will quickly know that you’re encouraging it to the toilet when you walk it to this surface.
5. Set Up the Routine
Make sure you take your puppy to its designated toilet area regularly. The most recommended times of the day are:
- After you wake up in the morning
- After meals
- After naps
- After playing
Pro tip: Take your dog to the toilet area when it reaches high levels of excitement. As dogs tend to lose control of their bladders when they’re super thrilled.
6. Feed Your Puppy the Right Diet
Avoid food that is high in fat and might upset your puppy’s little stomach. Instead, look for a diet with more protein and good fatty acids.
Choosing the right diet for your puppy should keep their body strong and healthy.
7. Expect Accidents
For your puppy to learn a new habit, some mistakes are avoidable. You should be patient and don’t lose your temper.
Instead, if this happens, calmly lift up your puppy and place it on its toileting area.
Yelling at your puppy will only result in making it fear you. This is not something you want.
8. Watch Your Puppy’s Toilet Schedule
If your puppy had several accidents after it’s been successfully trained, you should consider taking it to the vet. This could be due to health issues you might be unaware of.
Extra Tips for Taking Care of Your Puppy
If you’re a new dog owner, you’d better use all the help you could get to care for it. These tips should aid you with your furry buddy.
Make sure you do the following for the benefit of your German shepherd’s health.
Give It Proper Nutrition
The right dog food should include animal protein instead of plant-based protein.
- Dry or wet food is okay for your puppy
- Discuss homemade food with your vet if you prefer this option
- Don’t give your puppy table scraps
- Don’t feed it human food unless you’ve done the proper research
Make Sure the Food is Age-Appropriate
It’s important that you know this fact when you decide what and how often to feed your dog. Each stage of a dog’s life requires specific nutrition and diets.
- Discuss your puppy’s specific needs with the vet
- Make sure you switch to adult dog food gradually
Put the Size in Mind
Not only does the amount of feeding depend on age, but also on your puppy’s size. Normally, you should find the recommended serving portions on the food packaging.
Divide the Food
Feeding your puppy small portions throughout the day works better for their stomach. Free-feeding your puppy might lead to bloating.
Choose Healthy Treats
As well as healthy food, you should give your German shepherd nutritious treats.
- Focus on crunchy vegetables and fruits
- Stay away from treats high in calories
- Don’t feed your puppy too many treats per day
Provide Water All the Time
Water should be always accessible to your puppy. Make sure the water bowl is always full of clean water, as you don’t want your puppy to get dehydrated.
Make it drink small amounts of water throughout the day to prevent bloating
Your Puppy’s Health
The measures you should take to ensure your puppy is growing healthy could save you much trouble. The following guidelines should cover all you need.
Take your Puppy for A Check-Up Annually
Visiting the vet every year should keep you aware of your dog’s condition. This should prevent any future health problems, or make discovering issues sooner.
The vet will make sure of the following.
- Checking the general health condition of your dog
- Running tests to check if your dog has worms
- Trimming your dog’s nails
- Giving the needed vaccinations
Watch Your Dog’s Behavior
If you’ve noticed that something has been off with your puppy, get it checked right away. For instance, if it walks with difficulty or eats less, there might be a health problem.
- German shepherds tend to have joint issues as they age
- Make sure you keep an eye for a potential joint problem
Bathe Your Dog Regularly
It’s fairly easy to take care of your dog’s appearance.
- Bathe it twice a month only
- Too much bathing might strip its coat from healthy oils
- Bathe it more often in the summer
- Brush its coat twice weekly
You can also take it to a dog groomer every now and then.
German shepherds grow to be large dogs. That’s why you should make sure it’s physically active and constantly moving.
- Provide the proper space for your dog to move around
- Exercise your puppy properly
- Don’t run it after eating, but walking is fine
- Socialize your puppy with other dogs
- Teach it tricks and commands to enhance intelligence
Having a German shepherd is adventurous and is a joy to every member of the family.
Potty training your puppy requires effort and close monitoring. But with determination and positive training, you can achieve anything.
As your dog gets older, you might want to teach it some tricks. This can be fun for both of you, and should help build trust and loyalty between you and your pup.