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The worst mistake many German Shepherd owners make is thinking that you need to wait for your puppy to mature before you can start training him to go potty outside. Actually, the only thing this does is make it a little harder for you to successfully potty train your pup. In fact, the best time to start training your pup is the moment you bring him home. It should be out of the car and straight to the spot of your yard where you want him to go potty on a regular basis. Of course, if he goes potty, be sure you praise him and give him a treat to get things off to a good start.
German Shepherds are among the more intelligent breeds and generally learn new skills at a very fast pace. His success lies in your hands, as it takes lots of hard work and dedication on your part to teach your pup that it is not okay for him to go potty anywhere he feels like it, including inside your house. In the wild, the dog's mother would teach her pups to go outside to do their business. In your home, you take on the role of "den mother" and are responsible for teaching him this important skill.
Start training your pup the moment you bring him home, and don't stop until he is fully trained. The good news is that it doesn't take much in the way of supplies. All you need is:
- Crate – For training and as a safe place for your pup to go when you can't watch him or have to go out
- Leash – To take your pup outside on
- Treats –To use as a positive reinforcement reward
You will also need a large amount of patience and time to work with your pup. Keep up the good work and soon your pup will be more than happy to go potty outside where he should.
The What's That Smell Method
You need a good spray
For this method you need to buy a good quality puppy potty training spray.
Use it liberally to mark an area of your yard that will become your pup's bathroom.
This is your spot
Take your pup out to the marked spot on his leash and let him wander around the spot, sniffing at the spray. It is designed to make him feel the need to mark the spot using his own urine or feces.
When he goes
When your pup goes potty, be sure to reward him with a treat and praise him.
If he doesn't go
If he doesn't go, take him back in the house and wait for a few minutes before you take him out again. When he goes, reward him and praise him.
Practice makes perfect
All that is left to do is keep practicing with your pup extending the amount of time between outings until your pup masters this skill. Be patient, it will happen.
The Not in My House Method
Grab his favorite treats
Grab a fresh bag of your pup's favorite treats.
What's your pup up to?
Keep an eye on your pup. When he makes any kind of move like he might be thinking about going potty, it's time to make your move. Tell him "NO", this should startle him enough that he changes his mind, or at least distracts him long enough to get outside.
Go here instead
Take him straight out to the spot in the yard where you want him to go. Use a verbal cue to get him used to going out on command, like "go potty". Give him a few minutes to get his mind back on needing to go potty.
When he goes, be sure you praise him and give him a tasty treat. If he doesn't go, take him back inside and then try again in a few minutes.
Keep working with your pup, adding a few minutes at a time until he can go for hours between outings. Be patient, make it fun, and never scold your pup for his accidents.
The Kitchen Timer Method
You need a timer
You need a timer that is capable of being set for up to 2 hours in five-minute increments. You also need a crate, a leash, and a lot of treats.
For the first couple weeks
For the first couple of weeks, set the timer to 20 minutes. When it goes off, take your pup outside on his leash to go potty. Doing things this way helps your pup to establish a potty break routine.
The next couple of weeks
For the next couple of weeks, extend the time to 40 minutes and remember to praise your pup and give him a treat when he goes potty outside.
Set the timer for one hour and work with your pup for the next two weeks.
Adding more time again
The rest is all about adding more time slowly over the course of time until your puppy can wait for 2 hours until he needs to go potty. You know you have done it right when your pup starts to let you know that he needs to go out.
By PB Getz
Published: 03/02/2018, edited: 01/08/2021