Potty training your German Shepherd Dog can get very hard, especially if you don’t start early. Your dog will poop all over the place if he is not well trained.
A GSD or German Shepherd Dog is highly intelligent, easy to train and protective. They make great pets and are very loyal!
However, although German shepherds are good at following commands to carry out tasks, potty training can be difficult.
So, if you have adopted or got a German Shepherd Puppy recently and wondering – how to Potty Train a German Shepherd Puppy? This guide is here to help 🙂
Why is it important to train your GSD as early as possible?
One reason it becomes harder to potty train is because most owners let their puppies enjoy their initial days, letting them poop inside homes too and cleaning after them.
No doubt the pup is superinnocent and adorable, but you can’t have it pooping on your bed every day! The best time to make your dog get a hang of potty manners is right from the start.
Other than the dirty business, it is very important to potty train your dog as he looks up to you. If you aren’t house training it now, he won’t learn the behavior and after a few months if you even try to potty train him, he will show you aloofness and probably won’t obey you either and once it develops a stubborn attitude, it will get cumbersome for both of you to do it!
Signs your German Shepherd wants to poop
Here are some signs by which you can identify that your pup wants to poop and is looking for a place!
- If you see your dog trying to lead you towards an exit door and keeps looking back at you, trying to tell you to open it, this is a sign!
- See your dog sniffing or scratching at the door? It’s nature’s call for your dog!
- Digging on something like a rug or trying to half sit on furniture or floor, which feels like sand? This is your cue!
How to Potty Train a German Shepherd Puppy?
Know it’s not an instinct
You might have seen a cat dig up poop and fill it with sand. However, don’t expect your pup to do it!
Till puppies are six weeks old, the mother is taking care of their hygiene, just in case you are wondering why the kennel doesn’t smell? The mother dog might be potty trained, but the puppy won’t ever learn from her, neither will it naturally occur to your pup! This is why you need to train your puppy to poop only in a designated spot!
You can predict when your dog wants to poop
The good news is, every dog’s digestive system is well lubricated and works fast. This is why dog’s poop in ten to twenty minutes right after meals. If you want to discipline your dog’s potty habits, you have to keep an eye on the clock.
After meals, take your dog to the site you want it to poop at.
You might have to give up on your sleep
A lot of pups and dogs pee more often during the night. It is but natural that your dog can’t hold their bladder for over four hours in total.
So they might pee on your carpet or any other convenient spot in the house.
To prevent that, initially, wake up several times in the night and take him to the designated spot to pee. This might interrupt your sleep, but in the end, your German Shepherd Puppy will be well trained!
German Shepherds have a reliable bladder
A puppy can control its bladder within twenty days after birth. So this isn’t much to worry about as the mother will be cleaning.
However, as the pup turns ten weeks, it can only hold its urine for two hours and this is when you should start house training your pup.
Take your pup out to the designated site every hour just, so it becomes a habit. By the sixteenth week, your pup can hold its urine for up to four hours and if you keep house training it, by six months your dog will know the exact spot to pee and poop at.
Pick a spot
You have to choose a place you want your dog to poop at. If you pick the backyard, when it’s time for your dog to poop, bring him to the yard and let him explore.
Moreover, if you want him to do the act at an exact spot, bring him to that spot exactly where you want him to do it, he will eventually get used to and run towards the spot himself when it is nature’s call.
Don’t be too hard on your dog
Never scream, hit or be harsh in any way to your dog.
We know potty training can get on your nerves, but the best way to handle this situation is by keeping calm! Maintain a firm body language when it’s time for your dog to pee.
Don’t entertain your dog if it hasn’t pooped at the designated spot.
This will give him a sense that he has done something wrong.
When your dog is doing their business, don’t stand to look at her, and don’t talk or say anything as this might distract her and make her feel nervous.
The more relaxed you look, she will catch your vibe. However, always speak in a firm voice while potty training your dog.
Know your Dogs Routine
There are certain times in the day when your German Shepherd Puppy will definitely poop or pee.
Dogs or puppies tend to go to the loo first thing in the morning, right after naps and after playing. So if you need to train your pup, take it to the spot so it knows it is time to pee.
Reward your pup for obedience
Like humans, dogs also want gifts and treats. If your dog peeps at the correct spot, treat him with an extra treat. Give her affection if she follows your command, this will encourage good behavior and your pup is bound to follow your commands more enthusiastically. However, don’t overdo it. It doesn’t mean an extra treat with every meal!
Work on positive reinforcement
If your dog hasn’t been able to control her bladder, accidentally pooped on your lawn area, you don’t need to shout and scream at her.
It is okay, but you also need to make sure she doesn’t feel it is okay to poop another time on the lawn.
If you punish her, she will get a negative impact of you, she will try getting away from you or eventually disobeying. Instead, when you catch her doing it in a place, she should just firmly say in a loud voice “Outside”, this will interrupt her urine flow and she might even go out to do it. Another thing you could try is picking her up if you catch her doing it and putting her in the designated place to poop.
Don’t use towels or those pee pads
Potty training is already hard for your dog. Why add an extra step to it? Dogs might not be able to comprehend the purpose of the pee pads resulting in accidents and causing nervousness and confusion in your dog. Condition your dog so it goes to the loo outside your house at your specified place!
Potty Training your German Shepherd Puppy In the Winters
Winter season means tough potty training for your dog. During the winters it can get extremely cold, you think twice before taking out your dog for a pee, if you don’t they can’t hold their bladder longer than four hours so they will eventually eliminate anywhere inside the house and you certainly can’t blame them for this.
It is important to know that more dog urinary tract infections are caused in the winters than summers due to the constant build-up of urine in the bladder causing bacteria. We know your dog, once trained, will try its best to never poop or pee in the house for as long as it can hold it, but the fact is, this is harmful for your dog. So how to make things work in the winters?
Cover the potty area
If your dog’s potty area is outside the house, chances are it will be covered with snow and ice. Put straw or wood shaves at that area so your dog’s paws are protected from getting extensively cold and so that it also feels comfortable doing the act.
Alter the amount of water intake
It is natural for humans and animals to consume less water during winters due to less thirst. However, it may result in constipation or abnormal bowel movement for your dog. Keep an eye on how much water your dog is drinking; moreover, add chicken broth or a pinch of some food your dog likes, so it is encouraged to have water. Moreover, heat the water slightly so it is drinkable in the cold, hydration will prevent your dog from getting UTIs. Feed your dog with meals which have a high content of moisture, this will also help him keep hydrated.
Keep yourself comfortable
Your dog is certainly going to pick on the vibe you give. So if you feel rushed, so will your dog. Make sure you are cozy and warm and look comfortable so your dog doesn’t feel the rush and poops without any interruptions.
If your dog is making extra effort to make a run in the frostbite weather to pee, you should certainly reward him with a value treat. Give him extra affection and maybe something he loves.
How to crate train your German shepherd?
Many people think crate training is inhumane. But, the truth is, crate training helps your German Shepherd to become more disciplined. And it helps with potty training as well.
Place some toys in the crate and near the crate. Moreover, you can put some treats inside which your pup loves. Close the door of the crate when your pup seems to be comfortable inside doesn’t seem distressed and confused.
When your pup is done playing, open the door and let him out. Do this once a day initially for a short period, then increase the time gradually. As time increases, increase the time between each treat, you add for the pup.
Now, take him out
Let your pup play in the crate for about two hours, after this put a leash on him and take him out, choose specific words like “potty” and take him to the spot you want him to do the act at. Once it does, pet him affectionately.
Once your pup has come inside, unleash and put him in the crate again. Again, add treats and his favorite toys to the box, wait another two hours, take him out again leashed and say “potty” again so he knows. Once he comes inside, you can let him roam about the house freely and play. However, make sure this isn’t more than forty minutes. After this, put him back in the crate and repeat the process.
Repeat if necessary
If you take your pup out and he doesn’t excrete, bring him back and let him play in the crate for another half an hour and bring him back to the potty spot. Keep increasing the free time and crate time every two weeks. Remember the amount of time your pup can hold his bladder is according to the age and as he ages, he will be able to control his bladder better.
How to potty train your dog faster?
- Initially, when you start potty training your pup, put a leash on your pup and take it to the exact spot you want it to pee and bring it back.
- Don’t use all the doors to get through for the loo, take him through one door so your dog gets use to of it and knows that when you are taking him from that specific door, it is time to pee.
- Like humans, dogs can also have an urge to pee at night. Initially, you will have to stay awake for a couple of hours at night to check on your pup, if he looks uneasy or looks distressed, chances are he wants to pee. Take him to the spot and wait till he can relieve the excretion.
What about super hectic jobs?
You might have a 9 to 5 job, which means you might be able to see your dog between 6 to 11 pm, the rest of the time you have to sleep.
This means your dog will be neglected plus if it is staying in its kennel for the most part of the day, how can it not be frustrated and attention-seeking. This is why it might poop in the undesignated places too.
Your dog needs to poop or pee every four hours, if you aren’t attending to him, chances are he will poop somewhere he isn’t supposed to. If this habit continues, it will become constant therefore de-training your dog. The best you can do in such a situation is having someone come over to your place once or twelve a day to attend to your dog. This will also help your dog feel less lonely, and since he will feel he is being watched and taken care of, the chances of breaking rules are zero!
Never make these mistakes when you are potty training your dog!
- Don’t feed your pup right before naps or bedtime; you don’t want them peeing and pooping all through the night, interrupting their sleep and yours.
- Once you start training them and they start catching the habit, don’t leave them alone or they might get the impression they have to eliminate inside as there is no choice left.
- Don’t leave rugs or any soft carpets around which might give them an impression that is the right comfortable spot to do it.
- If she poops at your chosen place, you need to be there to appreciate her that she actually learned and you have seen her doing it.
- Not giving her a cue to potty
- Overfeeding your pup
- Giving her treats more than often
- You shouldn’t be expecting your pup to poop at the right spot naturally, it is not an instinct; you need to teach her!
- Never give your pup a variety of foods in one day! Stick to one kind of diet.
- Avoid giving your pup or dog too much of processed foods, salts or meat, she might have UTIs or kidney problems later in life.
Give your dog between two to three potty training sessions per day. Furthermore, teach her at different places indoors and outdoors. Once your pup has nailed a certain place, move onto the next one. Don’t rush at your dog, they might feel uncomfortable or super excited or confused. You don’t want that happening! Stay calm and firm. Dogs need interaction; don’t leave your dog alone for too long. Last, always reward your dog for good behavior; potty training your dog doesn’t have to be so harsh. It is, in fact, a type of bonding session which you both should be enjoying!