If your dog can't relieve itself every three hours maximum when awake and after six hours when the metabolism is slowed down during sleep (and a puppy every hour), then you are asking for German Shepherd behavior problems, plus for ailments like Bladder Infection (26), Bloat (4), Digestive Disorder (5), Kidney Failure (30), etc all the way through to otherwise rare conditions such as liver disease, blindness, etc. For details please see the MYGERMANSHEPHERD Health Manual.
If you are not willing to or cannot take your dog at least for a brisk walk that often, you must provide a potty place on your premises or a sizable dog potty that is suitable for a German Shepherd. A quality dog potty can be used forever - not just while you have a GSD puppy, but also when you have your adult GSD say in an apartment, or you are at work during the day, or you take your dog on a boat, in a camping van, or whatever.
All these dog potties are unsuitable, at least for a German Shepherd.
The ideal Dog Potty
The ideal dog potty for a German Shepherd:
- Strong build supports even German Shepherd adult weight
- Suitable all the way through from GSD puppy to GSD adult dog
- Usable for boats, recreational vehicles, apartments, high-rise buildings, in bad weather, etc
- Flat top so that your GSD won't hit the edges
- Easy to empty and clean
- Both female and male GSD can use it for their urination procedure
- Paws stay clear and clean from urine and feces
- Does not accumulate bacteria or odour
- Sizable for a GSD, but not so large for your dog to sit and rest on it
With the above requirements in mind and after intensive comparisons we can recommend only one dog potty for the German Shepherd, the Ugodog, because it meets all requirements:
This dog potty is the most suitable for a German Shepherd because:
- Base and grates are solid enough to support a 100 lbs adult GSD
- Both GSD puppy and adult GSD will use it - ONCE TRAINED!
- Despite its build and size you can take and place it anywhere
- It has no sharp or high edges, everything is rounded and flat
- Of all the dog potties, the Ugodog is the easiest to empty and to clean
- It supports the urination procedure of both female and male dogs - ONCE TRAINED!
- The grates offer the smallest contact area for the paws, so the paws stay clean and dry
- The plastic material of base and grates does not accumulate bacteria or odour
- It is of sufficient size for a TRAINED dog, but not so large for your GSD to sit and rest on it
The single Ugodog measures 67cm x 47cm x 25mm, or 26" x 19" x 1", and this is sufficient for a TRAINED adult German Shepherd. However, if you feel you cannot train your (male) GSD to urinate sufficiently precise, you may want to consider the double Ugodog instead.
Although we found the Ugodog to be the best indoor dog potty solution, it has minor drawbacks too:
- Particularly with an adult male GSD, even if properly TRAINED to aim onto the Ugodog, the splashing urine will require that you place a pee pad or protector pad next to the dog potty
- The price of 50 USD or 35 GBP seems a lot for some pieces of plastic
However, both points must be put into perspective:
- Splashing urine is never avoidable if you urinate from high up, as you may know if you've had men in the house - look on the floor around your toilet, and you know the facts. Although you can't train a male GSD to change its urination procedure (like you can train your male family members to sit down on the toilet), you can easily place a pee pad or protector pad (or at least newspaper) on the opposite side from where your male GSD is TRAINED to urinate.
- Although the price seems excessive for (ingenious) pieces of plastic, it's actually still tiny compared to eg wasting hundreds of dollars on massive amounts of pee pads every year, ruining your interior, or having to clean up at all. The Ugodog must be seen as what it is: A practical and stylish(!) one-off investment that is amortized within two or three months maximum by what we save on conventional indoor potty solutions.
How to Use the Dog Potty
Instead of putting the company-recommended newspapers under the grates, we strongly advise against this - unless you enjoy the odour of urine in your house and the mess of wet newspapers.
What works best is to use pine pellets or corn kernels under the grates. Don't worry about the cat image on the product package - they work for dog urine and even for watery feces just as well. They fully absorb all liquid, are dissolvable, and you can either flush them down the toilet or put them in the bin.
Second-best seems to be to use the small-sized reusable PoochPad Pet Training Pads or Simple Solution's Original Training Pads - both are highly absorbent and the best fit. They don't fully cover the base of the Ugodog, but if the Ugodog is level with the ground, the pads absorb the urine from around too.
Both these accessories absorb the odour, are hygienic, and still keep the total operating costs of this dog potty solution well below those of any other comparable solution, even after you considered the high shipping cost on say a 40lb pine pellet bag or 15kg corn kernel bag (which last for months).
Ugodog Potty Training
Now, why did we capitalize the word TRAINED above? Because there should be no doubt: If you feel unable to properly train your German Shepherd to do something you desire - here aiming exactly onto this dog potty - then the Ugodog (and any other indoor dog potty) will not work for you. Although some GSDs have been reported to "magically" know that they are now supposed to urinate on the Ugodog, in general systematic dog potty training will be required - in particular if you have an adult male GSD that isn't used to using an indoor dog potty at all.
The dog potty training must comprise:
- that your German Shepherd is willing to step onto the grates of the Ugodog - although for the male GSD it's better to step right next to it
- that your GSD aims precisely onto the dog potty - particularly the male GSD
- and that your dog does not sit down and rest on the dog potty - we want its bottom to remain clean and dry
You probably have already realized that it's best to start the Ugodog potty training in the garden or yard if you have one, as this helps to avoid cleaning up after your dog missed the potty.
Coping with dog feces
Lastly, is the Ugodog suitable to cope with dog feces too? It depends: If your dog house training or puppy house training included the topic of healthy dog meals, regular meal times and a consistent feeding routine, and you still stick with this plus regular outdoor exercise, then the feces of your GSD should be healthy too. If they are instead watery, your GSD has one of the ailments that we have described in the MYGERMANSHEPHERD Health Manual, and you will need to follow the treatment outlined there.
If your dog's feces are healthy, they will stay on the top of the grates of the Ugodog, and you can simply dispose of them as usual. If you live in a city, you will know what we mean with "as usual", because in cities it is generally required to pick up your dog's feces anyway, or you'll face a heavy fine. So, you can pick it up from the grates by grabbing into one of those fully bio-degradable dog waste bags (or even better, the flushable waste bag), picking up the feces, and then simply turning the bag inside out, closing and disposing of it.
However, if your dog's feces are watery, they will (partly) sink through the grates, and then you have a bit of a mess (which is hard to clean unless you clean immediately - on artificial grass dog potties it would be a disaster and you'd have to buy a new one). Therefore, we would recommend to either train your German Shepherd to not use the Ugodog to defecate, or to closely observe your dog's wellbeing so that you know when its feces might be watery - which we should be doing anyway.
This is another reason why the size of the Ugodog is just right even for an adult GSD: It helps to discourage your dog from using the dog potty to sit down and rest on it! Nonetheless, the grates are convex on the top and so close to each other that they don't hurt your dog's paws at all. Your German Shepherd will just need to get used to it, that's it. Then you'll love the Ugodog for all its benefits (see above).