Getting off on the right paw with your German Shepherd Puppy
More dogs are given up to rescue/animal shelters for bad bathroom habits and destructiveness than any other reason. That’s awfully sad because with a little knowledge and some consistent effort on the part of the owners, the same dog could have become a very well behaved companion. Hopefully the breeder that you get your pup from will have started the house training process to help you along.
With Dogs, Cleanliness is next to Godliness!
Dogs are not a dirty animal and instinctively will keep their “den” clean. Here at The Haven Kennels we start right from the time our German Shepherd puppies are born to imprint good habits on our pups. Helping the mother dog keep the whelping box immaculately clean teaches the pup from the beginning that where the pup sleep is a clean place and not the pup’s bathroom. Dogs have a natural instinct to not eliminate where they sleep. Using that instinct and working with it plays an important role in setting the pup up for housebreaking success. We set our whelping box up with soft, cuddly bedding in one area and disposable newspapers in the other areas. As the pups gain mobility they will crawl to the newspaper areas to potty. Yes, they do make mistakes and once in a while they will soil the bedding which we change immediately. We do not let the pups sleep in an area that is unclean. It takes constant monitoring so we actually spend the majority of our time in that puppy room on pee and poop patrol. As the pups get larger and start to spend more time alone in the whelping box, we are constantly changing bedding and newspapers to keep things as clean as possible. Around 4 weeks Mom gets very sick of this pups trying to nurse with their sharp little milk teeth so we switch over to setting up a “puppy pen” in the puppy room which is comprised of 3 Xpens that are formed into three distinct areas – sleeping den, play area and potty area. Keeping all three clean and keeping the play and sleep areas free of accidents requires constant monitoring. At this point we are weaning the pups so we have control of when they get their food and water, which is another key element in the housebreaking process. By developing a set schedule for feeding and drinking we can also control the bladder and bowel functions to a degree.
Because our German Shepherd puppies at this age have a developing system with small immature bladders, it is unreasonable to expect them to be able to hold pee for a long time.