Tips for housebreaking/potty training 7 month puppy - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-02-2018, 10:47 AM Thread Starter
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Tips for housebreaking/potty training 7 month puppy

Hello,

We're going to be picking up our GSD on Monday and have him join our family. He comes from a very good bloodline and what I believe to be a decent breeder.

That being said, he was mostly an outside dog and lived in an outside kennel with no, crate, potty or house training.

Most articles I've read here have been for very young puppies, not more older puppies. Is it still the same train of thought?

We're going to a trainer very soon (next weekend) to see what he can do/learn but I want to start basic house life training, and also some leash walking etc.

What kind of training regiment would you recommend for leash training too? I've seen some promising videos regarding leash training with prong collars. It seems like most do not recommend choke collars contrary to what police k9 trainers have said about choke collars to me.

Looking for some general suggestions to just house break a 7 month pup that's very friendly and playful.

Thanks!

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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-02-2018, 11:08 AM
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I've posted this many times (as have others), but you do it the same way people who foster adult dogs do (which isn't all that different than puppies).

Regardless of how fancy his bloodlines are, he's an adolescent who's lived a kenneled life. That's how you need to think of him at first. He knows nothing of your house, your rules, or your expectations. He's a lot like a shelter dog coming into a new foster home, having never lived inside a home! He will know nothing about house living -- bumping into sliding glass doors, taking stuff that's not his, counter surfing, exploring the trash and laundry, not knowing what the TV or garbage disposal sounds are. (Diaper pails and used cat litter are the jackpot of all jackpots!)

For this reason, please consider doing a two-week shut down. It's been posted about and discussed a lot here, but he's the sort of dog that most benefits from it. Here's a link to a document with a good explanation: http://www.bigdogsbighearts.com/2_week_shutdown0001.pdf

As for house training: Put him on a leash in the house. Attach the leash to yourself. If he's never loose in the house without being leashed for at least a week (maybe two!), he can't have house training accidents or mistakenly get into stuff (like the trash). Otherwise put him in the crate.

If you let him roam the house on his own, there will be piles dropped and legs lifted, and once that starts, it's harder to fix than if it never starts. The goal is to set him up for success so that he's always in the right place to potty, and he gets lots of praise for it. He doesn't know you, so you haven't really earned a right to correct him as you have no relationship at all -- you're a total stranger and your corrections will be weird (and possibly scary or annoying). You'll build a solid relationship with lots of praise and rewards in the beginning, and setting him up for success for everything by putting him in the right place at the right thing to do what you want. That way, corrections will mean something to him later -- always teach the right thing first, and reinforce it with rewards, instead of starting out with "no, no, bad dog" with a dog that knows literally nothing at all.

Take him out every couple of hours, and ALWAYS after waking up (even from naps), and after meals. Stay out at least 15 minutes, and let him off leash (unless you need him to be a leash-pooper on the go -- in which case, get him used to that right away).

When he pees or poops, act like the happiest human that ever lived -- praise, praise, praise. Keep doing this all week, and you'll have a potty trained dog.

If he starts to lift a leg inside, give a quick verbal interruption (ah-ah!) to break him off, rush him outside, and praise outside. Notice I didn't say "correction" -- we're just surprising the dog to interrupt the leg lift in progress, and taking him out. (I don't "correct" accidents in the house because I don't want to accidentally create a dog that's afraid to do it's business in front of me (they're really hard to potty train).)

Clean accidents with enzyme cleaner and get on with life.

DO NOT PUNISH THE DOG FOR ACCIDENTS IN THE HOUSE. ALL ACCIDENTS ARE THE HUMAN'S FAULT FOR NOT PAYING ATTENTION.

Last edited by Magwart; 05-02-2018 at 11:29 AM.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-02-2018, 11:33 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magwart View Post
I've posted this many times (as have others), but you do it the same way people who foster adult dogs do (which isn't all that different than puppies).

Regardless of how fancy his bloodlines are, he's an adolescent who's lived a kenneled life. That's how you need to think of him at first. He knows nothing of your house, your rules, or your expectations. He's a lot like a shelter dog coming into a new foster home, having never lived inside a home! He will know nothing about house living -- bumping into sliding glass doors, taking stuff that's not his, counter surfing, exploring the trash and laundry, not knowing what the TV or garbage disposal sounds are. (Diaper pails and used cat litter are the jackpot of all jackpots!)

For this reason, please consider doing a two-week shut down. It's been posted about and discussed a lot here, but he's the sort of dog that most benefits from it. Here's a link to a document with a good explanation: http://www.bigdogsbighearts.com/2_week_shutdown0001.pdf

As for house training: Put him on a leash in the house. Attach the leash to yourself. If he's never loose in the house without being leashed for at least a week (maybe two!), he can't have house training accidents or mistakenly get into stuff (like the trash). Otherwise put him in the crate.

If you let him roam the house on his own, there will be piles dropped and legs lifted, and once that starts, it's harder to fix than if it never starts. The goal is to set him up for success so that he's always in the right place to potty, and he gets lots of praise for it. He doesn't know you, so you haven't really earned a right to correct him as you have no relationship at all -- you're a total stranger and your corrections will be weird (and possibly scary or annoying). You'll build a solid relationship with lots of praise and rewards in the beginning, and setting him up for success for everything by putting him in the right place at the right thing to do what you want. That way, corrections will mean something to him later -- always teach the right thing first, and reinforce it with rewards, instead of starting out with "no, no, bad dog" with a dog that knows literally nothing at all.

Take him out every couple of hours, and ALWAYS after waking up (even from naps), and after meals. Stay out at least 15 minutes, and let him off leash (unless you need him to be a leash-pooper on the go -- in which case, get him used to that right away).

When he pees or poops, act like the happiest human that ever lived -- praise, praise, praise. Keep doing this all week, and you'll have a potty trained dog.

If he starts to lift a leg inside, give a quick verbal interruption (ah-ah!) to break him off, rush him outside, and praise outside. Notice I didn't say "correction" -- we're just surprising the dog to interrupt the leg lift in progress, and taking him out. (I don't "correct" accidents in the house because I don't want to accidentally create a dog that's afraid to do it's business in front of me (they're really hard to potty train).)

Clean accidents with enzyme cleaner and get on with life.

DO NOT PUNISH THE DOG FOR ACCIDENTS IN THE HOUSE. ALL ACCIDENTS ARE THE HUMAN'S FAULT FOR NOT PAYING ATTENTION.
Phew, that's a long read and I'm driving right now I will definitely reading it when I get home and have time to read it thoroughly thank you ☺

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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-02-2018, 12:31 PM
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Magwart gave you a lot of good information. One thing I would say that is different for crate training a small puppy vs. an older one, the older pup is much stronger. He is much more capable of destroying a wire crate than a tiny 8 week old baby. I would suggest you start out with a plastic airline crate if possible. Now that's definitely not required and plenty of older dogs are crate trained in a metal crate. But if you want to be absolutely sure to cover all your bases...

Good luck! He looks very sweet. He reminds me of my WGSL boy, Forrest, when he was that age.

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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-02-2018, 01:42 PM Thread Starter
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OK, finally got a chance to read it.

Thanks! With a leash in the house sure does sound weird, but all of this is new to me soooo.... We talking like a 6 ft leash on him at all times.

I plan on taking him to the backyard, but wife said she prefers to take him for business outside of home area so kids (or us) don't step on poop if we happened to miss it. so I guess my goal will be to take him out front and designate this area as his "business" area.

so how do you familiarize him with the "potty" word? you say potty when he starts going etc?

also, suggestions on collar? I got a prong collar, and watched videos on getting dog familiarized and understand the basic principle of it. Honestly, I thought they were kind of cruel, but after I understand how it works (and the geometry of it touching the neck) it really just tightens diameter like a choke collar. the tips don't even go into the dog unless there is full tightening which should not happen unless dog tries to take off, and he's going to do that to himself.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-02-2018, 01:43 PM
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Excellent suggestion, Pytheis! I have heard far too many stories of dogs breaking out of wire crates, and causing considerable damage!
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-02-2018, 01:44 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pytheis View Post
Magwart gave you a lot of good information. One thing I would say that is different for crate training a small puppy vs. an older one, the older pup is much stronger. He is much more capable of destroying a wire crate than a tiny 8 week old baby. I would suggest you start out with a plastic airline crate if possible. Now that's definitely not required and plenty of older dogs are crate trained in a metal crate. But if you want to be absolutely sure to cover all your bases...

Good luck! He looks very sweet. He reminds me of my WGSL boy, Forrest, when he was that age.
Thank you. We can't wait to pick him up next week after our Disney trip. I've done so much research in the past week, it's like no matter where/what I get, I have doubts until the dog comes home. It's hard to see the future of a dog when you spend 30 mins with it at a breeder. I took his word for the dog as to his temperament/abilities, and hope it holds true.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-02-2018, 05:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by razorseal View Post
I plan on taking him to the backyard, but wife said she prefers to take him for business outside of home area so kids (or us) don't step on poop if we happened to miss it. so I guess my goal will be to take him out front and designate this area as his "business" area.
You could also just scoop it right away instead of leaving piles. A covered trash can with a liner, and a pooper scooper are all you need -- it's easier to hose any soft leftover bits into the soil when it's still wet too. It's also nicer for mowing, so you aren't running over missed piles.

Keep in mind that whatever you start is also what you'll be doing at 3:30AM in pouring rain, if he wakes up and whines and wants to go at that moment. For me, opening the back door to a fenced yard is a lot easier than getting dressed and leashing the dog to go out front to an unfenced area in the middle of the night. YMMV.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-02-2018, 05:32 PM
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Just a thought too my dogs have never liked to poop in their own yard (they'll do it if there's a hurricane lol) and they always hold it until we go on a walk and I have one of those doggy poop bag holder things on the leash. No poop in the yard, taken care of then and there, and everyone's happy.

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