Training your dog.
by Dennis Fisher.

  Housebreaking your young pup

This article is one of a great many articles written by Dennis Fisher about a very wide variety of subjects concerning different  dogs, such as obedience training, breeding, showing, health matters, training problems and other subjects.  All these articles appear on Dennis Fisher's websites.   Visit the site that has been set up specifically for German Shepherd Dog enthusiasts, or  if you interested in a breed   other than German Shepherd Dogs

A  young animal’s control of his functions is going to be weak. You cannot expect too much with regard to bladder control from a very young pup.  


If you live in a home where there is an outside garden, training will be very much easier.   A soon as you see any evidence of him wanting to relieve himself, which will be very obvious by his behavior, pick him, without grabbing him.  Make disapproving sounds without being too harsh – “No my dog!   No my dog!  Outside!” 


Carry him outside and watch him while he does his business.  Then praise him enthusiastically. “That’s  a good dog!”


By watching the pup carefully, especially after he has eaten, the indication that he wants to relieve himself will be more and more obvious to you.


For the first week of two it might be necessary to be very attentive and watch him carefully.  But housebreaking is usually not a lengthy process and it certainly should not continue for more than two weeks.

Of course the process can be helped considerably if you feed him at regular times, regular intervals and in specific place.  He should also be allowed to drink water at specific times.  About an hour after he has finished eating give him his bowl of water.


After he has had enough to drink it will not take long before the water starts to start taking effect. Within a half an hour after he has had sufficient water he will want to relieve himself.


With regard to water not being freely available, it should be noted that restricting water applies only to a pup.  Adult dogs should have water available for them at all times.


If you are still in the initial stages of housebreaking, you can take wait for your pup to show the telltale signs of wanting to relieve himself.  Then continue with the process of picking him up before he has a chance to do so.


Alternatively if you have passed this early stage, you can take him directly outside; wait for him to perform, then praise extravagantly.


The procedure is slightly different if you live in an apartment and it is difficult to take the pup quickly outside.  You can put down several layers of newspapers over a fairly wide area in a certain place in the house – preferably near the back door.


Wait for him to show signs of wanting to relieve himself.  Then pick him and place him on the newspapers.  Use the same process of praising him when he has finished.


Place the papers near the door so that he will learn to associate this as the place where is required to go.  At a later stage you can even place some of the papers half under the door and half outside.  He will soon get used to the idea of going to the door when he wants to relieve himself, even when there are no papers.


Obviously the idea of newspapers on the floor can be very convenient at night. A very young pup will want to relieve himself frequently during the night.  It is also a good idea to restrict the pup at night to a certain area in your home, preferably the kitchen or bathroom, rather than let him have the run of the house.


At a later stage, when he has the run of the entire house, he will soon get the idea of going to his own special area or will whine to go outside.