If you're like most people who have made the decision to welcome a German Shepherd puppy into your home, you're probably looking forward to the new addition to your family. German Shepherds are intelligent, energetic, and loyal dogs that make excellent family companions and guardians. However, novice pet owners often become confused and even frustrated during the puppy stage when their new pets chew furniture, clothing, and other personal items, and prove difficult to housetrain. Fortunately, crate training provides pet owners with an effective housetraining tool as well as a place where to keep the puppy when they're gone so it won't destroy household items in their absence.
New pet owners often think that crating is a cruel practice, but in reality, dogs are hardwired to seek out environments with a den atmosphere because it makes them feel safe and at home. Here's how new pet owners can make crate training a positive experience.
Choose the Crate Wisely
Because a German Shepherd puppy will grow into a large dog, it's important to purchase a crate that will accommodate the animal after it reaches its mature size. With most German Shepherds, this means a 48-inch crate. The crate should also have chew-proof sides and plenty of ventilation.
Make the Crate a Happy Place
Crates that are equipped with soft, comfortable bedding provide puppies with a welcoming environment. Leaving the door of the crate open allows the puppy to explore the crate and get used to it on its own terms. Most people block off a pet area in their home that contains the crate, fresh food and water, plenty of toys, and an area specifically for puppy pads if they need to leave the puppy home alone while they go to work or school. Never use the crate as punishment — this will only cause negative associations.
Using the Crate to Housetrain Your Puppy
Because a typical German Shepherd puppy won't be able to hold its bladder all night until it's about a year old, your puppy can't be expected to stay in its crate all night. Some people would rather use puppy pads than get up every few hours during the night to take their puppy outside. Either approach is fine, but the key to successfully housetraining the puppy is consistency, so choose one method and stick with it. Puppies typically won't soil in their sleeping spaces, and the puppy should be ready to eliminate shortly after enjoying a meal.
Contact a company like Sandy Boy Shepherds if you have more questions about german shepherd puppies for sale.