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Can a German Shepherd Puppy Sleep Outside?

Last Updated: December 12, 2023

If you’re thinking about getting a German Shepherd puppy or you have recently adopted one, you may wonder where your new German Shepherd puppy should sleep and if they can sleep outside.

German Shepherd puppies can sleep outside, but not until they are around 4 to 6 months of age, as they need socialization and bonding time with their new family. Puppies younger than this cannot regulate their body temperature, are more susceptible to diseases and parasites, and cope better inside.

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

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • When German Shepherd puppies can sleep outside.
  • Transitioning a German Shepherd puppy to sleeping outside.
  • What your GSD puppy will need for outside sleeping.

Let’s get started!

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

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 adult 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.
  • 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. 

Benefits Of German Shepherd Puppies Sleeping Outside

There’s a common misconception that German Shepherds should not be left outside during their puppy stages. While their environments are of utmost concern, here are some benefits if you let them sleep outside:

  • They get a chance to explore the outside world at an early stage which is otherwise difficult.
  • German Shepherd puppies feel independent and develop better decision-making skills with this approach.
  • If you’re planning to train your puppy into a guard dog, exposing them to the outside environment maximizes the chance.

However, don’t forget that they need to be supervised regularly. Moreover, German Shepherd puppies shouldn’t be left outside completely. That can be detrimental to their health.

Risks Of German Shepherd Puppies Sleeping Outside

Allowing your German Shepherd puppies to sleep outside can make them vulnerable to thieves. Most importantly, puppies might lack interaction and relationships with you over time.

If you’re raising German Shepherds for the first time, you may even leave them in the wrong environmental condition exposing them to injuries, heatstroke, and hypothermia.

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.

Sharon Waddington
Sharon Waddington is the founder of World of Dogz. With over 30 years of experience working with dogs, this former Police Officer has seen it all. But it’s her trusty German Shepherd, Willow, who steals the show as the inspiration behind this website. As Sharon’s constant companion Willow has played a pivotal role in shaping her passion for dogs. Recently, Sharon has become deeply passionate about the plight of rescue dogs and is an active advocate for dog rescue, striving to make a difference in the lives of dogs in need.

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