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How to Train a German Shepherd to Not Pee in the House

How to Train a German Shepherd to Not Pee in the House
Medium difficulty iconMedium
Time icon2-4 Weeks
Behavior training category iconBehavior

Introduction

You are walking through your house and suddenly you step in something wet. You groan, “Not again!” Your German Shepherd has forgotten his manners again and peed inside the house. You scold him and throw him outside, but nothing seems to be working. You find yourself scrubbing your carpet again anyway. Training your German Shepherd not to pee in the house may be difficult, but it is crucial for a good relationship with your dog. And for the health of your floor.

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Defining Tasks

In general, German Shepherds who weren’t housebroken as puppies tend to be stubborn during the house training process. If they weren’t trained at all as puppies, they can become dominant and disobedient. You want to begin training your Shepherd to pee outside, and follow commands in general, as soon as you bring him home. It may take a while to break your dog’s bad habits, but with patience and consistent training you can create good manners in your German Shepherd.

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Getting Started

Get ready to be patient and pay close attention to the signals your German Shepherd sends to you. Depending on the method you choose, you will need several things, including:

  • Good training treats
  • A comfy dog crate
  • A bell

You should also choose a designated potty spot in your yard. Make sure your dog always goes to the bathroom in the same spot. This teaches your German Shepherd that he can’t pee wherever he wants.

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The Crate Method

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1

Buy the right sized crate

You want to get a crate that is large enough for your German Shepherd to turn around and stretch in, but not so big that he can pee in the corner without messing up his bedding. Get some comfortable, machine-washable bedding to cover the entire floor of the crate.

2

Crate train your German Shepherd

In the beginning, you want to get your German Shepherd used to sleeping in the crate at night. If your dog is hesitant to use the crate, work with him over a few days by rewarding him for entering the crate and staying in it without whining.

3

Take your dog directly from the crate to his potty area

Keep your dog inside his crate when you can’t keep your eye on him for the first few weeks. When you let him out of the crate, take him directly outside and keep him in his potty spot until he goes to the bathroom.

4

Reward good behavior

Give your German Shepherd two or three good, high-value treats and lots of praise when he goes to the bathroom in the right spot. Then let him explore the yard for a while before bringing him back inside.

5

Transition your dog out of the crate

As your dog becomes accustomed to peeing outside, you can transition him to not staying in the crate all the time. The final step is to let your dog sleep outside the crate. It make take a few weeks of consistent reinforcement of the potty spot to feel secure in making that change with your German Shepherd.

The Schedule Method

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Establish fixed feeding times

Another way to train your German Shepherd to pee outside is to set a fixed feeding schedule. Food should only be available to your dog during feeding times and training. This way you can manage when your dog should need to go outside.

2

Always take your German Shepherd outside after feeding

As soon as your dog finishes eating his food, take him out into the yard to his designated potty spot. Just as with crate training, you should keep him in the area until he does his business.

3

Give your dog some love

Once your dog goes to the bathroom, give him some yummy treats and some praise. It’s best to stay outside with your dog for a little while after he goes. Otherwise, he will learn to delay going potty for as long as possible to get some more outside time.

4

Roll with the punches

If something happens to affect your German Shepherd’s feeding schedule, be sure to adjust his outside time to match. While you should give lots of treats during training, keep in mind that what goes in, must come out and take him to his potty spot when you're done.

5

Be patient

It will take time for your dog to adjust to the feeding and potty schedule. Have lots of patience and remember not to scold your dog when he goes in the house. Reward-based training is much more effective. Instead, calmly but firmly tell your dog “no” and have him watch you clean up the mess. Over time, your dog will learn not to pee in the house.

The Bell Method

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Set up a bell

Designate a specific door you will always take your German Shepherd through when it is time to go potty and set up a small bell near this door.

2

Ring the bell

Every time you take your dog out to go potty, ring the bell and take your dog to his designated potty spot. After a few days, your dog will begin to associate the sound of the bell with going outside to go to the bathroom.

3

Give good rewards for good behavior

Keep your dog in your chosen spot until he goes to the bathroom and then give him several really good treats. Then let him roam around your yard for a little while so he doesn’t connect going to the bathroom with being hustled back into the house.

4

Encourage your dog to ring the bell

After a couple of weeks, begin asking your dog to ring the bell before you take him outside. Encourage him to use his nose or paw to tap the bell and then reward him by taking him outside.

5

Stay alert for telling behaviors

As you progress, it is important to keep an eye out for behaviors that indicate your German Shepherd needs to go outside. This may include actions such as circling, sitting by the door, or pawing at things. If it seems like your dog needs to go outside, take him to ring the bell first.

6

Listen for the bell

German Shepherds are smart dogs. In no time, your dog should start ringing the bell without you prompting him. Whenever you hear the bell, make sure you take your dog outside right away and give him praise for giving you a heads up for potty time.

By Christina Gunning

Published: 02/21/2018, edited: 01/08/2021

Training Questions

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Training Questions and Answers

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Babe

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German Shepherd

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6 Months

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Question

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1 found helpful

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1 found helpful

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She uses the rest room In the house on the carpet in the same area. Doesnt use the restroom when taken outside but comes inside and goes. She jumps on kids and barks mean toward kids she does not know.

Jan. 11, 2022

Babe's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello Crystal, You will need to crate train her for potty training. Check out the Crate Training method from the article linked below. Make sure that the crate doesn't have anything absorbent in it - including a soft bed or towel. Check out www.primopads.com if you need a non-absorbent bed for her. Make sure the crate is only big enough for her to turn around, lie down and stand up, and not so big that she can potty in one end and stand in the opposite end to avoid it. Dogs have a natural desire to keep a confined space clean so it needs to be the right size to encourage that natural desire. Use a cleaner that contains enzymes to clean any previous or current accidents - only enzymes will remove the small and remaining smells encourage the dog to potty in the same location again later. The method I have linked below was written for younger puppies, since your dog is older you can adjust the times and take her potty less frequently. I suggest taking her potty every 3 hours when you are home. After 1.5 hours (or less if she has an accident sooner) or freedom out of the crate, return her to the crate while her bladder is filling back up again until it has been 3 hours since her last potty trip. When you have to go off she should be able to hold her bladder in the crate for 5-7 hours - less at first while she is getting used to it and longer once she is accustomed to the crate. Only have her wait that long when you are not home though, take her out about every 3 hours while home. You want her to get into the habit of holder her bladder between trips and not just eliminating whenever she feels the urge and you want to encourage that desire for cleanliness in your home - which the crate is helpful for. Less freedom now means more freedom later in life. Crate Training method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside If she is not already used to a crate expect crying at first. When she cries and you know she doesn't need to go potty yet, ignore the crying. Most dogs will adjust if you are consistent. You can give her a food stuffed hollow chew toy to help her adjust and sprinkle treats into the crate during times of quietness to further encourage quietness. If she continues protesting for long periods of time past three days, you can use a Pet Convincer. Work on teaching "Quiet" but using the Quiet method from the article linked below. Tell her "Quiet" when she barks and cries. If she gets quiet and stays quiet, you can sprinkle a few pieces of dog food into the crate through the wires calmly, then leave again. If she disobeys your command and keep crying or stops but starts again, spray a small puff of air from the Pet convincer at her side through the crate while saying "Ah Ah" calmly, then leave again. If she stays quiet after you leave you can periodically sprinkle treats into the crate to reward her quietness. Quiet method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Only use the unscented air from the Pet Convincers - don't use citronella, it's too harsh and lingers for too long so can be confusing. For the aggression toward kids I highly recommend hiring a professional trainer who specializes in behavior issues like aggression. This type of training will involve kids being around and there needs to be good safety measures in place like a basket muzzle and back tie leash. This process often involves a combination of counter conditioning around the kids, with pup being rewarded for good responses around kids at a safe distance, and pup learning more respect and responsiveness to your commands through a lot of structured obedience practice, so pup lets you handle situations around kids instead of trying to control the situation herself as much, you have better management skills with pup in those situations, and know how to implement safety measures to ensure there is never a bite. Look for a trainer who comes well recommended by their previous clients for their work with aggression, and have access to the resources and people needed to safely train this with pup. Often this will mean working with a training group instead of individual, but not always. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Jan. 12, 2022

Thank you for your response. Babe does well in her crate. She does not go to the bathroom it while I am at work or when she is in there. She uses the restroom in the house even though we take her out every hour. I am current looking into boarding and training for obedience.

Jan. 12, 2022

Crystal D.

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Savannah

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german shepard

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3 Years

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Hi i got a new dog and it has never been on a leash so when i take itnoutside to use it she will not

Jan. 7, 2022

Savannah's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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Hello Jake, I would start by just getting her comfortable with a leash like you would with a puppy. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-your-puppy-to-accept-leash Next, I would spend a lot of time simply getting pup used to your area outside. Take a book and sit out there for an hour, take treats or toys she loves and do something fun in a calm area if she will relax enough to engage. Do this often to overcome any nervousness about that environment too. If pup doesn't go potty when you take her outside, crate for an hour or tether her to yourself with a hands free leash, then take her back outside at the end of the hour, so that her only option for pottying is outside due to limiting freedom and supervising, until her bladder is empty and she can be given up to three hours out of the crate or not tethered to you until its time to go potty again. As she gets used to being outside, the leash, and the routine, most dogs will start to go potty when you take them outside immediately. Tell her to "Go Potty" and give a treat when she pees or poops outside, reap this again after she pees to get a poop (most dogs don't go both at the same time, they need to walk and sniff again for pooping. Walk her around slowly on leash to encourage sniffing and a bit of movement to help her feel the urge to go. The average healthy dog will poop 2-3 times per day, and pee every 3-4 hours, being able to hold it up to 8 maximum during the day while crated once potty trained. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Jan. 10, 2022


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