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One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a new German Shepherd owner is thinking that you need to wait until your pup reaches a certain age before you can start potty training him. Nothing could be further from the truth! You can start working with your pup from the moment you pull up in your driveway with him for the first time. In other words, as soon as you get home with him, take him over to his "spot" in the yard to go potty. If he goes, be sure you praise him and give him a treat.
German Shepherds are highly intelligent and easily trainable as long as you are willing to put in the time to work on training him. No one wants to step on an ice-cold pile of poop in the middle of the night. In the wild, your pup's mother would have taught him not to go potty in the den. But, since you took him from his mother and the breeder before she has had time to train him, it's now your job. Take your time, be positive, and never punish your dog for having an accident.
You can start working with your pup as soon as you bring him home. While potty training doesn't require much in the way of supplies, it will require you to invest a significant amount of time. The less time you have to spend working on the training, the longer it is going to take. The only real supplies you need are:
- A crate – For training, safety, and fewer accidents
- A leash – To take
him out to his spot in the yard
- Treats – A large
supply to use as rewards
The rest is all about having the time and patience to see your pup's training to a successful conclusion. Take your time, work at your pup's pace and before long, he will no longer be leaving you those landmines all over your house.
The No, Not There Method
Start with a bag of his favorite tasty treats
Make sure you have a plentiful supply of your pup's favorite treats on hand.
Eyes on the pup
Your pup will let you know he is thinking about going poop. He will sniff at a spot, scratch at it, and start walking around it in circles. When you see him behaving like this, say "NO!" to stop him in his tracks.
Not there, here
Choose a cue like "Let's go potty!" and use it as you carry your pup or take him out to his spot on his leash.
It might take a few minutes, but in time he will finish what he started by pooping on the lawn where he is supposed to go. If he does, be sure to give him plenty of praise and a treat.
If he doesn't go right away, give him 15 minutes and then take him back inside. You can put him in his crate or leave him out where you can keep a close eye on him. When he looks like he is trying to go, take him back out so he can do so.
Keep practicing with your pup, adding more time between excursions until he can go for several hours without needing to go. Be patient, he is smart and will soon figure it all out.
The On the Hour Method
For this you need a timer, plenty of treats, his leash, and a crate.
At this point you need to be taking your pup out every hour on the hour or by setting a timer. This sets up a nice routine and increases the chance your pooch will be in the right place at the right time.
Move the timer up to 90 minutes and start introducing your cue phrase "time to go outside" each time you take him out.
By now you should be able to stretch the time to a full 2 hours. Puppies can usually hold it for an hour per month of age, so lengthen the time between trips accordingly.
Each time your pup poops out in the yard, be sure to praise him and give him a treat before taking him back inside.
The rest is all about working with your pup and repeating the steps until he no longer poops in your house.
The Sprayed Grass Method
For this you need spray
Start out by picking up a bottle of Potty Training Spray from your favorite pet supply store. This stuff is amazing, it will entice almost any dog to explore the spray area and then mark it by peeing or pooping there.
This land is your land...
...also known as using the spray to mark an area of your yard where you want your pup to go. The idea is he goes here and nowhere else in your yard.
Time to potty
Put your pup on his leash, take him out to the area and let him sniff around. Chances are the spray will make him go potty. But, if not, that's okay too. Just take him back in the house for a few minutes and then tray again.
Each time you take your pup out to his "potty spot" and he does his business, be sure to praise him and give him a nice treat.
The road goes ever on
The rest is all about practice, practice, practice. The more you practice the more you should be spreading out the time between potty breaks. In time, he will learn to let you know when he needs to go. Once this happens, fait accompli (your job is done).
By PB Getz
Published: 03/02/2018, edited: 01/08/2021