The goal of potty training your German Shepherd is to make your dog understand that going to the bathroom inside the house is not allowed. You also want your dog to trust that you will take care of his bathroom needs consistently.
Potty Training is all About Consistency
If you want to be able to anticipate when your dog needs to pee, then what they eat and when they eat also needs to stay consistent. Dogs like to go pee about 30 minutes after they eat, so plan to take your dog out to do his business after every meal. You should also take your dog out to pee before and after bed time. I enjoyed this article about why consistency in all dog training is so important.
Taking your dog out to do his business should stay consistent as well. Take your dog out to the same area every time. A nice patch of grass will work perfectly. This area should be nice and quiet so your dog can stay focused. The familiarity of the area and the smell of old urine will kick start their minds on what they should be doing!
How Often to Dogs Need to go to the Bathroom?
Understanding how often your puppy needs to pee is critical to preventing accidents. The younger the dog, the more often they need to pee. The general rule of thumb is that a dog can hold his bladder for 1 hour for every month of age up to a maximum of 10 hours. An 8 week old puppy can hold his bladder for 2 hours. A 16 week old puppy can hold his bladder for 4 hours. A 6 month old puppy can hold his bladder for 6 hours. A 10 month old puppy can hold his bladder for 10 hours. Keep in mind that even if an older dog can hold his bladder for 10 hours, you should still try and let him go pee sooner if possible.
Tips for Taking Your German Shepherd Out to Pee
When you take your dog out to pee, use the same training command every time to tell them do their business. For example: Go Potty. Make sure that you are relaxed and not adding any additional pressure onto your dog. Avoid encouraging your dog until after he has done his business. Once he is all done, give him lots of praise and take him for a walk or go play!
In fact, taking your for a walk or playing with your dog after he has gone to the bathroom is an excellent way to fast-track his learning. They will quickly realize that the faster they go to the bathroom, the faster they can go have fun!
If you take your dog out to pee and he doesn't want to pee or seems distracted, simply bring your dog back to his crate and wait 30 minutes. Then bring your dog out and try again until he goes to the bathroom.
Why Crate Training is Critical for Potty Training
Crate training is critical for potty training your German Shepherd because they instinctively know not to soil where they sleep. So by using the crate, you can make your dog hold his bladder.If you forget about your dog, and they end up peeing inside the crate then this will ruin all the training you have accomplished. So make sure you take into consideration the age of your dog when deciding how long they should stay in the crate for.
When you first introduce your dog to his crate, make the duration they stay inside very short. Give your dog lots of praise when he goes inside the crate and give him some treats too. You want them to feel very comfortable inside. Once you have done this, your dog may try and cry for you to let him out. Don't give in to this and wait until your dog is quiet before you let him out again. If you quickly unlock the door, you'll let him know that if he wants out, all he needs to do is cry.
As your dog ages, slowly increase the amount of time your dog stays in the crate at a given time by 1 hour for every month they age. Your goal is to have them be able to hold their bladder while you are at work.
Teaching your dog not to go to the bathroom inside of the crate also means teaching your dog that you will take him out to pee when he comes out of the crate. This is all about building trust that you will take care of their needs. So if you need to leave the home for long period of time, don't leave your dog in the crate. It is best to keep them in a confined area on an easily cleanable surface such a linoleum or tile.
Never give your dog free reign over the house. They are too unpredictable to be trusted at such a young age. Although it may seem luxurious or relaxing for your dog to have all that free space, it actually works the opposite way. The more area your dog has to roam, the more stress he feels. From your dog's perspective, you are increasing the amount of area he needs to patrol and protect. That is a big burden for them. Do them a favor and keep them confined in a small area so they can comfortably be the king of their castle! Click here for a great guide on crate training your dog!
What to do if Your Dog Pees Inside the House
If you come across a pee stain in the house, don't scold your dog! Simply clean the mess up with an odor removing product and try and adjust your pee schedule. It is important to use an odor removing product because the smell of pee will entice your dog into peeing in that spot again.
If you catch your dog in the act, then quickly stop them, bring them outside and let them finish outside. Afterwards, give your dog lots of praise. Remember that positive reinforcement is the fastest way to train your dog.
Potty training your German Shepherd the right way will save you a lot of grief. Nothing is more frustrating than constantly cleaning up pee puddles and not understanding why your dog doesn't wait to go outside. Having a good understanding of when your dog needs to go to the bathroom and staying consistent in how you take your dog out to pee will help your dog understand your expectations. Happy potty training!