Potty training problems - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-05-2011, 11:11 PM Thread Starter
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Potty training problems

Hi everyone,

I just got my sable GSD about two weeks ago. He is supposed to be about 13 weeks old now. I say "supposed" because he seems small. He's only about 20 pounds. I'm new to potty training. The first week I was getting to know Beau and had a few accidents in the house. It was my fault. It took me a few days to give the leash a try. He doesn't really have any potty signals unless I have him leashed. Unleashed he just takes a few steps and goes. He'll whine when leashed and start to panic (walking and/or running back and forth while whining). He was doing very well while crated. Never had any accidents. I'd feed him, play with him for awhile, take him out to potty. Then I'd crate him for an hour or so. We built up to two hours. I'd let him out, give him water (never had water in the crate, it gets dumped), play with him for awhile, take him out if he needed to go while playing, then take him back out before crating for 1-2 hours again. That's how our day time schedule went. He'd eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner on a pretty regular schedule. He'd only get me up once or twice at night. Then he started getting through the night until about 6:30am when I started limiting him water at 8pm. Now suddenly he's started peeing in his crate a lot. At first it was just during the day during the 1-2 hour crating times. Now he's going at night as well; he no longer gets me up. The amount of space in his crate was just enough for him to fit comfortably. Since it's gotten so bad, I've made the crate a bit bigger for him, otherwise he'd just lay in his urine. I've noticed his drinking habits aren't consistent. For example, some mornings he just takes a few laps of water and eats his kibble. On a different morning he drinks his water bowl dry and barely eats anything. His drinking habits are inconsistent all throughout the day. It varies from the hour to hour to day to day. Sometimes he just drinks what I'd consider a normal amount (a few laps here and there while eating) to wanting to drink it dry. When he goes at it, I've started taking the water away. He'll drink enough to make his tummy look full. Sometimes he'll freak out and constantly look for more water while other times he's okay with me taking it away. I've also been taking his water away at 6pm at night (previously it was 8pm). He'll go out about once an hour until 11pm, then he'll go out when he wakes me up (which he has not be doing lately) or at 7am when I wake up. He seems to be urinating quite a bit, even for a puppy. I've seen him go as much as four times an hour, possibly even more than that. The frequency is generally a result of how much he's drank. It seems like no matter how much I take him out lately, he still has to go even with limited water. Am I doing something wrong? It's to the point now where I'm considering putting pee pads in his crate (I use an enzyme cleaner each time there's an accident). In theory, he should be able to hold his bladder for three hours from all the research I've been doing. He was doing just fine until this past week. He can hold number two, but not number one. I haven't seen anything unusual about his urine (no blood, puss, no foul smell). I have noticed sometimes it's almost completely odorless and seems clear. Is all of this just him being a puppy, or could it be behavioral problems?

Do you guys have any suggestions on what I'm doing wrong? I'm not doing anything different from the first week I had him. It's really starting to bother me. I didn't think crating him for two hours here, two hours there with plenty of breaks and exercise would be an issue. It feels like I took a few steps forward then a hundred steps backwards.

Thanks for any input,
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-05-2011, 11:15 PM
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I would call your vet and take a urine sample in to be checked.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-05-2011, 11:31 PM
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I would not crate a puppy that much when I was home as it's not only very frustrating for him, but he's not getting either the exercise or the play time in the house that he needs.

He's way too young to be reliably letting you know when he's got to go out and it's not unusual for a pup this age to have to potty very frequently when awake and active. As I'm sure you've noticed, you have to potty more often when awake and active.

Some pups have set backs in crate training and that's not that unusual; you have to go back to setting an alarm to make sure he's let out often enough that he's not peeing in his crate. It's not fun, but necessary.

You should also think about having him checked for a UTI. Those are also pretty common and easy to fix. You will still have to do a bit of remedial crate training if that's the problem once it's fixed.

Do not limit water to a growing puppy except in his crate when he should be sleeping anyway.

Elaine and the herd
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-06-2011, 08:41 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone for your responses. I'm starting to think possible UTI as well. I didn't clarify, he's crated 1-2 hours at a time, with at least an hour of hard play between. He has to be crated some, I have to be able to cook and do house work. Grocery shopping also has to be done. On days that the weather is nice (which has been rare this year in Asheville) I let him outside to play in the fenced back yard. When he's out there, I let him stay out a few hours to play. I didn't mean to make it sound like I keep him crated all day long. That's not true at all. I'll get him into the vet's office as soon as I can.

Thanks again,
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-06-2011, 09:18 AM
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Are you cleaning his crate with an enzyme cleaner? If he can smell where he has gone before, he'll continue to go there. I wouldn't give him more room in the crate as that will encourage him to use one end for pottying and the other for sleeping. At that age we had to take our pup out every hour and very gradually build up. Good luck. I know it can be very frustrating until they're housebroken.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-06-2011, 09:35 AM Thread Starter
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Yes, I'm using the OUT! enzyme cleaner. I'll be picking up some more today...in bulk this time.

I wouldn't be so concerned if his habits had remained the same. I've seen a pretty drastic change with the frequency that he is having to urinate. He also went from not going at all in his crate, to going at least once to twice a day. Sometimes he can't even make it 30 minutes. I make sure I take him out plenty of times after eating, he goes out when he first wakes up, during and after play etc. I swear sometimes he's going out every 10 minutes. I've taken some steps back. We are going out every half hour to one hour again, and of course more as needed.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-06-2011, 10:31 AM
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Have to say, when I have a puppy I do got outside all the time (probably at least every hour) until my puppy is starting to no longer have accidents in the house at all.

Fact is, the more you go outside, more opportunities for your pup to 'succeed' and pee/poo outdoors where you can throw the puppy party and praise...... rather that the negatives of the 'bad dog' with an accident in the house.

Think you cannot underrate the value of REAL exercise outside the home. Off leash and hours if possible. A good pup really is a tired pup with less likelihood of any bad behaviors.

This is the mental mindset of exercise I have with my puppies about 3 times a week! Activities like the following give the mental and physical stimulations my GSD's need.


Glory B Wildhaus AX, AXJ, XF
plus Miss Osin Blue Wildhaus

"Nothing new can come into your life unless you are grateful for what you already have. ~ "--- Michael Bernhard, gratitude
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