Puppy training should start from the very first day you bring your new puppy home. What you decide to teach her in these first few important months of her life will shape the rest of her life, so it is important that you don’t neglect these early steps in her training.
The first thing your new puppy should learn is crate training. What’s a crate? Puppy crates are merely another name for a travel cage made of plastic or wire, that you use to transport your puppy with you in the car or anywhere else when traveling. They are an ideal first home and sleeping area for her to use when she is living inside your home.
Puppies have a natural tendency to want to curl up in a nice, small, quiet place…somewhere they feel comfortable. A crate is the perfect place for her to use as a safe place to hide and sleep.
Confining her to her crate will help develop bladder and bowel control, because she will want to try to keep her bed clean and not soil the area where she lives. She will rather wander off somewhere else to go to the toilet if she can, so every few hours you must let her out to do this or you will have accidents that your are better off avoiding
Her crate will also be a good place for her to hide if she is sick or tired, and you should encourage her to use it whenever you can so she feels safe and comfortable inside.
Introducing Your Puppy To Her Crate
At first, she will need some encouragement to venture inside her new crate, so leave the door open and toss a food treat inside, letting her enter and exit as she likes.
As you do this, tell her “Into bed” or something else that you feel comfortable with. Encourage her to look around inside her crate and let her walk in and out as often as she likes so that she gets comfortable with it.
After a couple of days of offering treats in her crate, move on to placing her meals inside so that she has to enter to eat. This will make her enjoy being un her crate, because she will associate it with nice things, like food and shelter.
Once your puppy is happy to be inside her little retreat, revert to feeding her outside, and offer occasional treats only inside her crate. As you do, continue to say to her each time “Into bed” so that she learns to understand that this means “Go into your crate”.
Now you should be able to start locking her in for short periods of time to get her used to the idea of being confined. If she carries on, barks and struggles, do not let her out! Just try to calm her by saying “No, be quiet” or leave her alone in the room until she settles down again.
Once she is quiet, let her out and pat her enthusiastically. If you let her out before she calms down, you will be teaching her that all she has to do to be released is to carry on like a lunatic and she will be set free.
Is this what you want? No I thought not.
So, only release her from her crate when she is calm and happy and you will have a much easier time controlling her tantrums and will make life much more pleasant for everyone in your household.
The best place for her crate when she is little is in your bedroom near your bed. If she knows you are near she will feel safe at night, plus if she has to get up and relieve herself, you will hear her scratching at her crate door trying to get out.
She will not want to soil her home, so she will do everything in her power to let you know that she needs to go outside. If she has an accident, then it’s probably your fault, not hers…
House Training Your Puppy
The best way to teach your puppy that you want her to relieve herself outside the house is to take her out there, wait until she does what you want her to do, and then make a fuss over her when she does it. She simply has no idea of the difference between the inside of your home and the outside unless you teach her.
One of the worst things you can do is to let her relieve herself on a newspaper inside when you first bring her home. By doing this, you are encouraging her to do this inside your warm, cozy home rather than outside where she should be doing it. Don’t fall into this trap or you will have a hard time re-educating her once she has established a routine.
When you are waiting with her outside, try to encourage her to relieve herself and when she does, praise her and tell her she is a good dog. Then take her inside again.
Don’t get frustrated and come inside prematurely, because you will probably find that she will go on the living room floor as soon as you turn your back. Be patient, and after only a couple of weeks, she will have the idea of where she has to go and your problems in this area will be over.
One last thing. It is not a good idea to punish your puppy for relieving herself in the wrong place (by your standards, anyway) by scolding her or rubbing her noise in her mess. This will teach her that relieving herself is wrong, not that the place she did it is wrong.
She may start sneaking off and doing it in places like under your bed or in the washing basket while you are not looking…as annoying as it is, try to remain calm and simply follow the routine of taking her outside, waiting for her to relieve herself, praising her and then bringing her back inside.
German shepherds are very intelligent and your puppy will learn what you are teaching her quickly. Have patience and you will have a win in a very short period of time.
Try not to let your puppy roam freely around the entire house – she may find something too interesting to miss somewhere and forget to go outside, resulting in you finding unpleasant packages in places you’d rather not find them…
Close doors around your home so that she stays where you can see her, and she will usually let you know \when she wants to go outside.
Puppy training should include helping her understand the house rules of your home. It’s one thing to have her sitting on your lap on the couch when she’s 8 weeks old, but quite another when she is 18 months old and weighs 50 pounds.
You have to lay down the law right from the start and train her in what not to do when inside your home. This included things like scolding her for chewing on things that don’t belong to her, when she jumps up on visitors, stay off the lounge chairs and not to pull the washing off the clothes line…
You have to be very specific when you are teaching her what si right and wrong. For example, if she picks up one of your children’s toys, take it off her saying, “No, this is not your toy”, and give her one her own, saying “This is your toy”.
In this way she will learn what she can and can’t play with. You have to remember, she will learn by repetition, so by re-enforcing these messages and showing her what she can and can’t do, she will quickly understand what is acceptable behavior.
Puppy training can be time consuming in the early stages, but persisting with it will indeed be a worthwhile use of your time.
Your new German shepherd puppy will give you years of pleasure if she knows the boundaries and understands what constitutes acceptable behavior.
We hope that this introduction to puppy training has helped you understand the basics of what is involved.