Originally Answered: Getting a German Shepherd puppy, can you give me some advice?
#3: No, if you intend to close the door to the "cave".
#4: No. It should be in a roofed outside security run where it can exercise, toilet, and experience the changing world - NEVER imprisoned in solitary confinement
That was easy!
See, I expect people who want one of my GSDs to have a plan for where it will sleep that does NOT involve a shut crate.
My dogs mostly spend part of each day in roofed outside runs with at least 12 feet between each run's gate and its raised sleeping box.
My current GSD came inside at 8½ weeks old and had the run of the house 24/7 except for 2 shut rooms (lounge & guest-room) and my always open bedroom. Paper-training was completed that afternoon. That afternoon she was also almost trained that my bedroom was forbidden - but on 5 mornings I had to look in the passage for the aromatic sock she had been unable to resist while I was asleep. She didn't see a crate until 8 years old, the night before when she had to fly to a stud.
The problem with crating is three-fold. Firstly, a pup needs to be able to exercise its fast-growing bones & muscles every minute that it is awake. Secondly, it comes with the instinct to get away from its nest before piddle-pooing. Catch 22: An enclosure small enough to trigger that instinct is too small to exercise in. An enclosure big enough to exercise in is big enough to piddle-poo in.
Thirdly, pups cannot hold-on for hours. So, being locked in for the 8+ hours that you are boringly asleep, it is FORCED to break the nest-instinct that toilet-training relies on. So if you shut your pup in YOU have to wake up & take pup to the toilet area every 2 hours, and STAY there until it DOES go toilet, then praise it sincerely despite your chattering teeth & blue-white toes
That said, a cardboard box or solid-walled crate is very comforting for a young pup, allowing it to lie inside its "cave" so that its rear end cannot be got at, and aiming its teeth at the open doorway deters approaches by mice, kittens, whatever.
If Pup doesn't like what you supply as its "cave", placing food in there while it watches definitely helps to encourage it to enter. When it DOES eventually go right inside voluntarily - praise it and shut the door. Open it as soon as Pup turns around, then call Pup out and praise it for coming.
When bringing each of our pups home from 400 miles away, back in the late 1960s, we put it in a small cardboard box, with a towel for softness. It could see out of the box, but spent most (not ALL!) of the trip just sleeping. It needs to be where FRESH air arrives, not oily air heated by the engine block. And you need to carry cleaning-up cloths in case it needs to express its unfavourable opinion of the driver's skills....
There is HEAPS you need to know about keeping Pup away from viruses, familiarising it with EVERYTHING possible (movements, reflections, scents, sights, sounds, textures) in a non-scary way, using reward-reinforcement home training techniques to convince it that the world is a fun, safe place and you are the source of everything good in the universe.
But DEFINITELY, as soon as you know Pup's birthdate, book yourself into a weekly training-club class that will start when Pup is 18-22 weeks old, so that YOU can be coached on how to be an effective trainer - as a bonus side-effect, Pup learns to pay attention regardless of what other dogs & people are doing.
• Add http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/The_G... to your browser's Bookmarks or Favorites so that you can easily look up such as feeding, vaccinations, worming, clubs, weights, teething, neutering, disorders, genetics.
Learn that in English the breed is the GSD, not just GS.
• To ask about GSDs, join some of the 400+ YahooGroups dedicated to various aspects of living with GSDs. Each group's Home page tells you which aspects they like to discuss, and how active they are. Unlike YA, they are set up so that you can have an ongoing discussion with follow-up questions for clarification. Most allow you to include photos.
Les P, owner of GSD_Friendly: http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/GSD_F...
"In GSDs" as of 1967