Can a German Shepherd Puppy Sleep Outside?


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Anyone who has a German Shepherd puppy likely has a lot of questions. And while they might be a cute bundle of joy at first, the German Shepherd puppy grows very quickly, which would leave many pet owners wondering when the right time to transition to an outdoor sleeping area is correct as well as how to do it.

Can a German Shepherd puppy sleep outside? German Shepherd puppies can sleep outside, but not until they are around 4-6 months of age. This is because puppies are unable to regulate their body temperature, are more susceptible to diseases and parasites, and they need a good amount of time bonding with their family.

If you are wondering about the right time to transition your German Shepherd puppy to an outdoor sleeping schedule, you have come to the right place. There are many do’s and don’ts when it comes to their sleeping arrangements at a young age.

This article will explain when it’s the right time and how to do it, which may be even more important than when. We’ll also look at what your German Shepherd will need while sleeping outside.

German Shepherd Puppy sleeping outside on the lawn. Can a German Shepherd Puppy Sleep Outside?

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Let’s get started!

What Age Should a German Shepherd Puppy Sleep Outside?

Your German Shepherd is going to become a large-sized dog. In fact, according to the AKC, German Shepherds will be anywhere from 22-26 inches tall. 

Aside from their generous height in a standup position, German Shepherds can also weigh anywhere between 50 and 90 pounds. Of course, there are always variations, and many will be larger than this, nevertheless, it’s still a hefty dog!

Considering their size and the fact that they were bred to be herding dogs, which meant they were used to sleeping outside to protect the animals they were guarding, German Shepherd owners might consider putting their dogs outside to sleep.

After all, they can take up quite a lot of space, so you might think they are more comfortable sleeping outside at night. But you should not do it right away!

In fact, German Shepherd puppies should not sleep outside until around four months of age. Keep in mind, though, that any dog – as adults or as puppies – should not be left alone by themselves the entire day and night. Like most dogs, the German Shepherd is a social pet and needs to be part of a pack during the day, and that “pack” is you and your family!

Why Can’t a German Shepherd Puppy Sleep Outside Right Away?

There are a few reasons why German Shepherd puppies should not sleep outside until they are at least four months old. In fact, it can be seriously detrimental to their health if they go outside before they are truly ready.

German Shepherd Puppy. What Age Should a German Shepherd Puppy Sleep Outside?

Let’s take a closer look at the top three reasons why your German Shepherd puppy must be at least four months before heading outside alone:

  • Your German Shepherd puppy cannot regulate his body temperature. Since his double coat will not be formed until he is around 4 or 5 months of age, your German Shepherd cannot regulate his body temperature properly. It becomes an even larger issue when he’s in extremely hot or cold temperatures.
  • Your German Shepherd puppy is also more susceptible to diseases and parasites. In the first few months of life, your puppy will receive a series of shots to keep him healthy. Without these shots, he is more susceptible to all types of illnesses and parasites that can be detrimental to his health. Since shots are typically not completed until 16 weeks, putting him outside sooner is compromising his health.
  • Lastly, your German Shepherd needs to be socialized. German Shepherds must be socialized as puppies, especially during the first few months of life. This will allow them to be friendlier, although they can still be successful in guarding. Without proper socialization, you risk your German Shepherd becoming aggressive.

How to Get a German Shepherd Puppy to Sleep Outside

Once your German Shepherd has hit the 4-month mark, you can start trying to get him to sleep outside. Remember that this will be a task that may take a bit of time and patience, as puppies are much like newborn humans and won’t want to leave their cozy home or family.

For this reason, some pet owners may wait until the 6-month mark for potentially better success.

In any case, don’t force your 4-month old puppy to sleep outside all night if he’s incessantly whimpering the first night. Basically, you should not expect your German Shepherd puppy to be A-Okay with the sudden change. He will likely not want to sleep outside, and you should never ignore him – especially on the first night.

So how can you get your German Shepherd puppy to sleep outside – and happily, too? Well, here are four simple tips and tricks for helping your 4-month old German Shepherd to sleep outside without a whine or whimper:

  • Let them find a safe place during the daytime. He’s likely a lover of outdoor time during the day, as German Shepherd puppies need an ample amount of exercise each day. During this outdoor time, let him pick a “favorite spot.” This can become his go-to for nighttime, too.
  • Place his favorite items in the safe spot. Your puppy likely has a few favorite things, whether it’s a favorite dish, toy, or blanket. Whatever he absolutely loves, take it outside at night into the safe spot he’s found during the daytime. This will create a comforting spot for him to rest.
  • Let him nap in his outdoor safe spot. If he can get comfortable in his safe spot for a nap during the day, it will be a lot easier for him to relax in the same location for a lengthy slumber at nighttime. 
  • Stay positive and applaud your pet. Through this somewhat challenging venture, it’s important that you stay positive and applaud your pup for doing a good job. Praise him with cheering and treats when he begins to spend some time in his safe spot for naps, and eventually, bedtime altogether. 
  • Be persistent. If you want to be successful, you must stay persistent. Even though it might seem like you’re not making any progress, it will certainly pay off when your German Shepherd puppy is nice and relaxed, sleeping through the night – outside.

What Do German Shepherd Puppies Need While Sleeping Outside?

To ensure that your German Shepherd puppy is healthy and safe while sleeping outside, there are a few things you should always make sure he has.

German Shepherd Resting in his Doghouse.

These items include:

  • A doghouse. Now, this is not necessary, but plenty of dogs – especially puppies – enjoy them. It gives them a safe space to snuggle and feel safe, which is what any puppy of any breed can truly appreciate. Plus, you can put all their favorite items inside, making the doghouse more appealing. If you live in a cold climate, then a doghouse with sufficient warm bedding is essential. I would definitely have this Petmate doghouse from Amazon on my wish list! It’s really cool and even has an asphalt roof for extra protection from the weather.
  • Water bowl. Your dog is going to get thirsty no matter what the temperature is at night. Make sure he has a water bowl that is filled to the brink every night. Try and put his favorite water bowl out there to make him more comfortable.
  • All his favorites. I cannot stress this enough! You want your German Shepherd puppy to feel comfy and cozy, as this will make it an easier transition for you and your dog. 

Final Thoughts

You should not try to have your German Shepherd sleep outside before four months of age as it poses a risk to his health, both physical and mental. Your puppy needs to be socialized and taken care of in his first months of life, ensuring that he has all his vaccinations before making his way outside.

When the time comes, make sure he has a safe, cozy spot to lay his head, with access to all of his favorite toys.

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Sharon Waddington

I am the owner of World of Dogz. I have a female German Shepherd named Willow, and I've worked with dogs for almost 30 years. I love spending time with her, and I enjoy sharing my knowledge and expertise of all things dogs on this site!

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