Here's a list of items to purchase and some tips to get started.
The puppies will have their health certificate from my vet confirming they are healthy and free of parasites.
They will have their 1st set of inoculations (types listed on their health certificates).
They will be micro chipped for identification (chip number will be provided).
You should visit your vet within (48) hours of getting your puppy home to confirm that your puppy is in good health, bring their health certificate with you. Your vet will set up an appointment with you do additional vaccines, I suggest that you follow the protocol that your vet suggests, vaccine types and schedule may vary depending on the region that you live in.
* I strongly recommend that you wait until your puppy is 6 months old before vaccinating for rabies, give their systems time to deal with all the other vaccines that they will be getting.
The puppies have been eating Royal Canin® Breed Health Nutrition™ German Shepherd Kibble Puppy Food, I suggest you continue feeding this food until they are 6 months old, then switch to Royal Canin German Shepherd Kibble Adult Food.
*You should feed the puppy ½ a cup of kibble 3x's a day (gradually increase food as needed) along with 1/3 a can of Chicken, Beef-Chop Meat, Sardines, These added food sources should be alternated on a daily basis, 1 can divided in 3 feedings for the day.
It’s VERY important to “Know your Puppy/Dog”. Feed using common sense. If their stool becomes mushy it’s a good indication that you are over feeding, cut back a little until you find the proper ratio for “Your Puppy/Dog”
It’s important to know that large breed dogs will grow at a rapid rate, you must properly manage how you are feeding your puppy. One of the adverse affects of improper food management can be Panosteitis, or Pano. Please read up on this, here is the link. http://www.critterchat.net/pano.htm
Bully Sticks (in moderation, 1x a week)
RAW beef marrow bones (Do Not Cook) give frozen, you can find them in the meat department at your grocery store, they are usually cut in hockey puck size. Give (1) a week, they will eat the marrow out of the bone in a day or so, wash and re-fill with peanut butter or the squirt cheese in a can and then freeze. Throw out after a week or so and start again with a frozen marrow bone, be careful not to give to much marrow it will give them mushy poop.
It's very import that they have a bone to chew on while they are teething, it will also strengthen their jaw muscles which in turn will help their ears to go up strong.
Thin slices of raw hot dogs & Royal Cain Kibble are good treats for training but try to keep it to a minimum.
Help your Puppy to avoid upset stomachs
NO milk bones or commercial treats.
NO Rawhide or pigs ears.
NO Table Food or left overs.
NO Drastic Changes in Diet
Start your puppy on Vanilla or Plain Whole Milk Greek Yogurt immediately, (1) T-spoon every other day, alternate days with Herbsmith Microflora Plus.
Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil (1) T-spoon once a day.
It is VERY important to use NuJoint DS (wafer) and NuVet Plus Vitamin Supplement (powder) for the first 12 months of age. (Should be used their entire life.)
This supplement needs to be purchased through their website. www.nuvet.com or by calling (800) 474-7044, you MUST use the order code 19362, by doing so will keep a record of your order for Breeder to review. Failure to give this supplement to said dog, or to use the code provided when ordering will result in the hip guarantee being null and void.
Heart Guard Plus: Start at 10 weeks of age.
CRATES FOR POTTY TRAINING
We suggest purchasing the MIDWEST Lifestages Metal Dog Crate with Divider Panel Large 42 x 28 x 31 H
Adjust the space in the crate according to the puppies’ size. They should have room to stand, lay down and turn around. If you give them to much space they will pee or poop in the crate as long as they don't have to lay in it. Adjust the space in the crate as they grow, they should be completely crate trained by 12 weeks of age. Remember, their bladders are not fully developed as a young puppy so be sure to cut their water off by about 6 PM and walk them before going to bed (11:00 PM or so).
You should keep their crate close by so you can hear them should they start to cry in the middle of the night. Don't take them out if they are crying because they are in the crate, let them cry, they will eventually quite down and settle in for the night, the 3-4 AM cry is usually the one you need to pay attention to. Take them out to go potty and praise them when they do their business. They should be able to get through the night in a week or two.
For more information about potty-crate training click here.
Nyla Bones, Kongs, and Cuz' are great! They are very durable toys.
A Rake and a Medium Stainless Steel Comb are all you need.
I comb and brush twice a week (more if shedding)
Bathe no more then 4-5 times a year (use an oatmeal shampoo with aloe).
You do not want to take the oils out of your dog’s skin, over bathing will do this.
If your dog gets some mud or dirt on them just rinse them off with fresh water, no shampoo or soap is necessary.
Clean ears once a week or more if needed with 1/2 part warm water and 1/2 part distilled white vinegar. I put it in a bowl and dip a piece of an old T-shirt in it wipe the ears clean. Make sure the rag is not dripping wet, ring it out first.
I mist very sparingly with Avon Skin So Soft Bath Oil Spray diluted in 1/2 with water every 2 weeks or so. A little goes a long way! ..... Mist sparingly (oil base) and rub it their hair real good. It will keep them smelling good and is a natural deterrent against fleas & ticks.
The Definitive German Shepherd Dog by Luis C. Donald
The Total German Shepherd Dog by Fred Lanting
These are great reference book that covers many subjects, great books to have over the years.
We know how important it is for your dog to be well socialized and to receive the proper training. A well socialized, trained dog is a welcome anywhere. We are committed to helping provide tried and true training methods to help you reach your long term goals with your dog. There is nothing more important to us than our customers having a wonderful relationship with their new dog. Your success is our success! We have provided information here on basic training methods to help you along with the different stages of development in your dog's life.
Dogs are pack animals and every pack needs a leader. It is up to you to lead your dog to sound health and mental and emotional stability. The key to this is for you to provide guidance and discipline in your dog's environment.
Remember - There are no bad dogs, only uneducated owners!
Common Dog Commands in Several Languages Click Here
Over the years the most commonly asked question I get is "How do I potty train my new puppy?" The answer is CRATE TRAINING! Remember, a dog is a den loving animal. They love to feel a wall against their back for security. A crate should serve as a den or home base, NEVER as a punishment area.
A Day in the Life of Your Puppy:
Your puppy should sleep in their crate. When your puppy wakes up take them out to the area you wish to be the designated potty area. Make sure you pick up the puppy immediately when getting them out of the crate and carry them out to the potty area. Praise the puppy immediately after they go to the bathroom and then reward them with some friendly play. The dog will learn that it is fun to go potty outside. NEVER SCOLD the pup if it has an accident. Just show them where to go and say the words "Go potty" or some other similar descriptive to indicate the activity you wish the pup to do. Give the pup ample time to understand and then repeat the process. Take the pup out again after they have had time to digest food or water and repeat the task. Repetition, repetition, repetition…….
Another way to accomplish this chore is to create a long-term confinement area. This is useful for those who work long hours or want the dog to live in an apartment or restricted area. The major purpose of long-term confinement is to restrict "mistakes" to a small area. It is unrealistic to expect a young puppy to have sufficient control to "hold it" for more than a few hours, so when you need to leave your puppy for longer periods of time, confine them to an area where they have access to a "doggie toilet" such as some newspapers, puppy pads, or a square of artificial grass turf in a pan. This is a temporary measure until your dog is old enough to be able to "hold it" for longer periods of time.
After a month or so, you can gradually increase the time between potty breaks. By the time the pup is about 8 months old and has developed sufficient bladder and bowel control, you can expect the pup to sleep through the night without having to go "potty".
The Quick Track Method:
Following these simple steps will ensure your puppy is house trained as quickly as possible:
• When you can't watch your puppy for short periods of time, confine them to their kennel/crate.
• When you can't watch your puppy for longer periods of time confine them to a long-term confinement area. An exercise pen is the perfect tool for this situation. It is safe and easy to move to another area.
• When you spend time with your puppy in your home, keep him on a leash while they are free in the house.
• Make sure you praise your pup the minute they go potty!
Mistakes and Accidents:
• If you find an accident in the house DO NOT reprimand your dog. All this does is teach your dog that you don't like to see them eliminate, which will cause the dog to do it in a hidden spot such as a closet or behind the couch or wait until you are not looking.
Supervision: Spending Time in the House with Your New Puppy
• When you are home and want to spend time with your puppy, keep them on a leash by your side or tethered near you while they rest or play with toys. This way they can't run around the house and make mistakes. Just as with the long-term confinement area, this is a temporary measure until your dog is house and chew trained and can be trusted to spend time alone free in the house. Until then, they can't get into trouble if you are attached to the other end of the leash.
• Every 45-60 minutes take your 8-10 week old pup to the potty area. The older your pup gets, the less you will need to take them to potty and the more time they can spend off-leash in the house with you supervising.
All three of these training aids: short-term confinement, long-term confinement, and supervision are used in an effort to create a dog that can eventually be trusted to spend time in your home when you are not there. As a general rule, most dogs should not be allowed to roam unsupervised until they are at least 9 months old or older. However, some dogs can handle such freedom sooner, and some dogs cannot until they are well over a year old. Remember, dogs are as individual as we are!
• Wrong kennel size: be sure you purchase a large kennel that will house the dog as an adult (this will save you money). You can purchase kennels/crates with dividers. This allows you to make the area smaller for potty training purposes. Do not try to push things along too quickly. A puppy's bladder is not fully developed. It is physically impossible for them to "hold it"!
• Feeding concerns: be sure to schedule feedings and watering so that your dog has adequate time to eliminate before crating.
•• Separation stress: consider getting another dog as a companion if you are gone for long periods of time every day. If your dog becomes very lonely or bored it may develop bad habits such as barking, chasing its tail; and many other undesirable habits.
The Time Out: Kennel Training (positive reinforcement)
• While the kennel should never be used to punish your dog, it is very effective as a place for your dog to have a brief time-out. Time-outs help to eliminate unwanted behaviors such as puppy nipping children, excessive rowdiness and attention-seeking, behaviors such as whining, chewing, or general non-attentiveness. Time-outs are most effective if they are delivered as unemotionally as possible. For example: if your puppy is nipping, give him a tug toy. This teaches them what is acceptable for chewing. For most pups, a few repetitions of this are enough for them to begin to get the idea that nipping people is not okay, but chewing on a toy is. But, if your pup is not making the connection, you might consider letting him spend a few minutes in his kennel/crate to get control of himself. Calmly walk him to his kennel, and avoid any verbal or physical reprimands. After a few minutes, let him out and try another play/training session...voila!
Kennel Time Line
Approx. 30-60 Min
Approx. 1-3 Hrs
Approx. 3-4 Hrs
Approx. 4 + (6hr Max)
This is a guide that is a basic time line. You may need to vary according to your needs and situations that arise.
Go get your crates today!
• Collars: There is a real risk that your dog's collar can get stuck on the metal furnishings of his kennel or crate. As a safety precaution, remove his collar when he is in the kennel or left unsupervised for any amount of time.
• Children and the kennel: Don't allow kids or adults to bother your dog while they are in the kennel. The kennel is meant to be a quiet time for the dog. Also, it is an area for the dog to rest, so be sure that the dog can do just that.
• Warm or cold weather concerns: Make sure the kennel is kept in an area where your dog is protected from the elements and extreme temperatures.
• Never leave an unsupervised dog inside a car during warm weather.
• Never leave your dog unsupervised in a situation where unfamiliar people or animals have access to them.
WALKING YOUR DOG
We can only tell you, that a puppy learns by having fun. Teaching your dog how to walk on a leash is no different.
Begin with your puppy collar, and keep the collar snug. Make sure you can slip two fingers under the collar once it is on the puppy. You never want to use a choke collar on a puppy. Many people are under the mistaken impression that you must keep your puppy controlled at all times. On the contrary, puppies should be allowed to be puppies!
So, be kind and caring, and use short jerks of the leash, and then release quickly to correct your dog to move out (moving out is used in the confirmation ring).
Use a long soft leash to control your puppy and keep your pup in a positive mode by making a sweet calling noise to get the puppy moving in the direction you want to go. Call the pup, and then reward them when they move forward. This can be done with lots of praise and a quick pat on the chest, or a quick treat can be offered as a reward.
The puppy will learn that when he or she moves toward the sound of your voice and body language, they will receive a reward. Also, by giving the pup a quick jerk of the leash and releasing, this will teach the dog to respond to the action that comes "down" the leash. When the dog moves forward, you will need to praise and reward the dog, so the dog will achieve a great feeling of confidence. This is the way a dog learns everything!
As the dog responds faster to the command "hupp hupp" (German), or move out, they will be looking for a faster reward. Have that treat or toy ready. Don't miss your queue to reward your dog!
WALKING AN ADOLESCENT OR MATURE DOG
The adolescent (under 2 years of age) or mature dog, wants to go out on a walk all the time, so make sure you are aware of the guidelines, as stated by the breeder or your veterinarian, for your dogs training and activities.
Start working with your adolescent dog to move out by letting the dog walk ahead of you, versus the "American Heel". The moving ahead will help teach the dog to learn how to extend its gait and begin the flowing trot that shows their conformation and structure. The "American Heel" or the "Fuss" will be an exercise to teach your dog after he learns how to move out for the conformation ring. Your dog needs to have a long line. 8' ½" is a recommended lead size, and this will give you and your dog enough room to work without hindering any movement. Walk on grassy areas if possible, and watch for any deviations in the ground. Have an area that is enclosed or taped off, if possible, to practice this routine. This again helps the dog to know what to expect, and remember the next time. Plus the dog will associate the "enclosed" area with "moving out" and not the traditional heel.
Walk during the cool part of the day so the dog can perform at its best. Bring your ball, as a reward besides a treat. Bring water if you are going far from home. Take a break if you need one, as it is best to keep your concentration.
If you are approached by a strange dog, keep your dog close to you so that you can help control the situation. If another dog becomes aggressive to your dog, or to you, keep your voice strong and tell the other dog to go home. This may or may not work. Have pepper spray if you know you will encounter strays....or a walking stick if needed.
We can only hope that you will form a routine with your dog that will include a walk at least two to three times a week.
Your dog will become better and better with practice, and you will also become more experienced. This is only the beginning of loads of fun! Now go walk your dog!
TRAVEL WITH YOUR DOG
Remember your very first experience taking a trip when you were young?
Some may recall feelings of uncertainty, fear of the unknown, or even worse, a total disaster. Some may remember the thrill of experiencing a big world and loving all the new sights and sounds. Either way, we need to prepare you and your pets for traveling.
First prepare a written list of all supplies needed- Make sure you include a first aid kit for you and your dog. Consult your veterinarian for some additional supplies they may have available for you to include in your first aid kit. If your dog is on medication, make sure you take extra.
Don't forget to bring a grooming kit- In addition to regular bathing supplies include dry foaming shampoo for touch ups. There may not be time for a full bath so the foaming dry shampoo is a real lifesaver. Bring some old towels to use for this purpose, as well as plenty of paper towels and garbage bags. You will need a rake comb and tick tweezers to remove unwanted pests along the dusty trail. Simple Green is a must for cleaning everything from carpet to crates. Disposable plastic gloves are great for hygiene.
Food and water- Bring plenty of food just in case you stay longer than anticipated./P>
** Remember, bottled water is important for the dogs as they too can get parasites from un-purified water. Bring extra water bowls and food bowls.
Toys are essential- Dogs, like children, can become bored traveling long distances, so bring along chew toys like nylon bones (rawhides can be dangerous), and other favorite toys. Your dog will be much happier if you give them something to do.
Collars and leashes- Take more than one collar and leash in case one should break or get lost. Collars and leashes are easily misplaced, broken or left out of reach when you need one the most.
Know where you are going- Plot out your route on a map and do some advanced research for emergency veterinarians and animal clinics along the route in case you have a real medical emergency. Have their numbers and addresses handy at all times.
Your crate is your best friend- Bring plenty of towels and old blankets that you can align the crate with. Have extra so the crate is always clean.
Check out all motel/hotel or camping sites in advance for pet accommodations- Make sure your dog is allowed to stay on their premises, and have them confirm via fax or email with a copy of their charges and policies.
If you are traveling interstate, a health certificate with your rabies information maybe required so check with your veterinarian or the airline you are traveling with. If you are traveling via the airlines, check to see if you will need a "Letter of Acclimation". If you are going to be traveling for an extended period of time, ask your veterinarian to provide you with an additional health certificate for your return journey. Airlines will only accept a health certificate for ten days from the date is was originally signed by your veterinarian.
When you are traveling for more than 5 hours at a stretch by car, be sure to stop and walk, water, and feed your dog. Rest stops are not the best places to give your dog a break. Other pet owners have already been there with their dogs, so cleanliness is probably not the best. Instead, take them to an area off the main road were animal waste is less likely.
Another word about your crate- Be sure to allow plenty of space for your dog to stand up and completely turn around (USDA and IATA regulations). It is a must to allow the dog plenty of room to stretch. This helps them to be ale to cope with the stress of being boxed in for long periods of time. Don't forget to allow ample height space as well.
Traveling can be great fun with your dog as long as you plan ahead!
HOW TO GLUE GERMAN SHEPHERD PUPPY EARS
Instructions on How to Glue German Shepherd Puppies Ears
Go to this website and order a set of ear forms, they're not inexpensive so make sure when the glue starts to dry out and they get loose that you remove them and re-glue. If they fall out the puppy may eat/chew them up.
NOTE: I prefer the “store bought” forms however if you are having difficulty getting them then a less expensive and more readily available solution would be to cut a piece of Dr. Scholl's (moleskin ) in a triangular shape (not TOO widely flared at the bottom) that will be a the shape of, and a little smaller than the ear, but long enough to come within an inch or so of the tip. Peel off adhesive backing, add a thin layer of skin bond glue, let dry until tacky and press into position in the ear. Hold and firmly press to surface of ear in a concave position (like a shell) until you think every part has been pressed well against the clean skin. Make sure that you have the form in smoothly with the ear, no ripples or waves behind the ear.
Get a tube of skin bond glue. Here is a link to buy the glue on line. http://www.allegromedical.com/ostomy-supplies-c529/skin-bond-latex-adhesive-p551823.html
Clean ear(s) really good, make a solution in a small bowl with 3 parts warm water and 1 part distilled white vinegar. Use a cotton swab or a piece of an old cotton T shirt and dip it in the solution (make sure it's not dripping wet) and clean out the ears. After you have them clean you can also wipe them with a moist alcohol swab to help keep down the growth of bacteria. Shave the inside of the ear(s) of any long hair so the glue will stick properly. *If your pup is a long coat then also trim the hair behind the ears, this will take some of the weight off the ear and help it to stand.
When the ear(s) are dry put a very light/thin coat of glue in 1 ear, and put a light/thin coat on the back of the ear form, wait a couple of minutes until the glue in the ear and on the ear form gets tacky. When you put the form in the ear(s) insert and hold your thumb over the ear canal so the form doesn't slip down and cover it. Do one ear at a time, repeat the same process with the other ear. The forms should stay in about 3 days or so depending on how well you’ve applied them and also taking into account how often your puppy messes with them, then the glue will dry out and they will fall out (make sure they don't get eaten). Clean ears REALLY well and leave them out for most of the day before gluing them back in so they air out and don't get infected. You may have to repeat the process for a few weeks until the ear(s) are standing firm, remember….persistence is the key.
* Buy some Knox unflavored gelatin in the supermarket and mix (1) t-spoon in with the puppies food with every feeding, It contains marrow and can help strengthen his ears.
* Remember to always have a good strong (raw) beef marrow bone on hand for the puppy to chew on, it will help exercise the muscles behind the ears and assist with the ears standing.
Let me know how you make out, please send some pictures so I can see the results.
Some Pictures of Gluing Ear Forms in German Shepherd Puppies Ears
Schutzhund/IPO/IGP means Protection, Tracking and Obedience, so a Schutzhund/IPO/IGP trained canine is a complete working dog. These dogs must put in 500-1000 trainging hours just to get their Schutzhund/IPO/IGP title, so they have to be of sound mind and body. The top Shepherds are universally in demand, not just in the U.S.A. and Germany, but throughout the world.
What does protection really mean?
Protection training is grossly misunderstood by the general public. A misconception regarding protection training is associating it with guard dog or attack training. Nothing could be further from the truth!
The most important point to understand when watching a protection routine, is the relationship between dog and handler. The dog must never bite the trial helper unless either dog or the handler is attacked. Then it must attack fully and without hesitation. Here the real difference between Schutzhund/IPO/IGP and guard dog - attack training becomes apparent. The dog must stop biting on the command of the handler and guard the trial helper without further aggression. The Schutzhund/IPO/IGP dog must always be under the absolute control of the handler.
The Schutzhund/IPO/IGP dog must be friendly and approachable. It does not regard a person as an enemy until the person displays signs of hostility or aggression towards him or his handler. The Schutzhund dog is trained with love, he and his master work together as a team. The Schutzhund dog is not a nuisance or danger to society. They should never be put in the same category as an attack dog.
A final misconception involves the feeling that a dog will protect his owner "when the chips are down". Most family dogs have been taught not to show any aggression. In addition many do not have the courage to bite when threatened. An untrained dog is an unpredictable dog.
The Schutzhund/IPO/IGP dog who has had formal protection training is predictable, therefore an asset to his owner and to the community. A well trained, reliable dog can serve for many years as a family protector and companion. To many competitors this is a family sport. Children are often seen playing with their dogs before and after the dog leaves the protection field. This seems impossible to the uneducated, but this is a product of good breeding and proper training.
Schutzhund dogs are by far the most predictable, trustworthy, and safe animals to be around.
Those who are familiar with A.K.C. obedience will feel more comfortable in this area, as many of the exercises are similar. There is heeling, both on and off lead. The sit, down and stay are also done when the dog is moving. Schutzhund applies it's own style to the work. The handler and dog work on a soccer size trial field. Some exercises require the dog to heal under the noise of a firing gun. In addition to the normal dumbell retrieval, the dog must retrieve over several obstacles with varying degrees of difficulty. Down stays and a long send away conclude the test.
When the Schutzhund dog is working he should exhibit willingness and enjoyment. The dog should perform the exercises quickly, with spirit and precision. Each exercise should be taught to the dog to create the desire to work in the dog. Dogs that are slow or dull during the work are penalized heavily by the judge.
Obedience training also carries a moral burden for the trainer of a dog who is also receiving protection training. It is necessary that the dog be reliable and under control in all situations. To be a safe companion, the dog must master walking at his master's side, lying down and staying on command in any location at any time.
What is meant by Tracking?
Tracking requires the dog to meticulously follow a person's footsteps over mixed terrain, change direction and show absolute accuracy and commitment to finding the track. It must also find dropped articles with human scent and indicate their location to the handler. Often this is done under less than ideal circumstances with difficult ground cover, bad weather conditions and an aged track. Many find tracking to be the most satisfying experience in training, when only the handler and dog are working together.
Show and hip ratings
Show rating awared to Shepherds only when they have accomplished a display of high German standards. A judge will choose only those who exemplify "Vor" or "Excellent."
Show rating awarded only to Shepherds who make the best placements in a Sieger Show. "VA" means "Excellent Select", thus VA1 is the title given to the Champion or Sieger and Siegerin.
KKL1 a, Normal
Kor Klass 1, (Kkl1) which is the best quality stock according to the Breed Standard.
"a" for hip certification
Normal is the best rating for hips, or equivalent to OFA Excellent .
Fast Normal is equivalent to OFA Good .
Noch zugelassen is equivalent to OFA Fair
Choosing Your Vet and Your Vet Visitations
Keep in mind, that finding the right veterinarian is similar to choosing a partner in life. As your new puppy comes into your life you will need to find someone you can count on through life's trial and tribulations, because it is not a question of whether or not you are going to have problems in life, it is a matter of how you will solve them.
Recently, while speaking with a customer they gave me the complaints of their dog's problems, and then proceeded to tell me how their vet made some general assumptions about the situation without asking for any details or background about the dog's parents or genetic history. Nor were there any questions about other dogs from that specific breeding combination. The answers they received from their veterinarian were very generalized "knee jerk" statements.
Unfortunately these kinds of veterinarians are out there. There are poor medical practitioners just as there are poor practitioners in any other profession.
Conduct interviews before allowing a vet to examine or treat your shepherd. Take notes about the following:
From which school did he or she graduate?
What kind of specialized studies were offered in their school programs? What, if any, are their personal specialties?
What species of clientele do they regularly see?
Do they participate in continuing education programs?
Are they board certified in their specialties?
Will they offer you some references from other clients?
Will they provide you with educational resources on the care and health of your shepherd? What other types of vets can they refer you to if any specialists are needed for your dog?
Are they certified to take x-rays (hips, elbows, etc.)?
All vaccinations required during the life of your dog need to be mapped out on a timeline, so, get in touch with your new vet before you bring your new dog home to understand the requirements ahead of schedule.
All these subject matters are the key to understanding the requirements of raising a great dog. Sound health practices equate to longevity and peace of mind.
We are dedicated to the breeding of world class genetics and raising superior dogs, and we need educated experienced individuals who have open minds. Learning is an ongoing process and working with a vet is a relationship that can make or break your relationship with your greatest asset, your best friend.
Please do not hesitate to ask for help. Waiting until it is too late can be catastrophic to the health and life of your dog and to your investment. Taking quick "pat answers" from someone who is too busy to care or prejudiced by experiences of dealing with inappropriate or in-bred genetics will only cost you precious time and money and put your dog at risk. Choose a vet who specializes in large breed dogs and has an active interest in German Shepherd Dogs in particular. They are out there! And you can find them! For starters, contact the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners then consult with local Humane Societies and German Shepherd Rescue groups. All of these contacts combined can provide you with a list that will help you begin your search for the right vet for your dog and you.
DEVELOPMENTAL STAGES & SOCIALIZATION
HOW YOUR PUPPIES CHANGE AND DEVELOPE
"Puppies provided with poor socialization or deprived of environmental exposure often develop lifelong deficits and dysfunctional behaviors. A puppy isolated early in life from other puppies and humans will not only fail to establish satisfying social contact with conspecifics or enjoy companionship with people later in life (such puppies are extremely fearful of any social contact), they will also exhibit widespread behavioral and cognitive disabilities as well. Isolated puppies exhibit poor learning and problem-solving abilities and are extremely hyperactive or rigidly inhibited, are emotionally over-reactive and unable to encounter novel social or environmental situations without extreme fear and avoidance, and are socially and sexually incapacitated.
BIRTH TO 12 DAYS
EARLY DEVELOPMENT & REFLEXIVE BEHAVIOR
Breeder provides warm environment. Dr. Michael Fox conducted a study showing mildly stressing puppies during the first five weeks develops dogs which are superior when put in learning or competitive situations. They are better able to handle stress, are more outgoing and learn more quickly. Mild physical stress at an early age will actually increase the size of the brain.
LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT:
Puppy can't hear or see well, stays close to mother and littermates
13 TO 20 DAYS
PUPPY IS MOBILE
This is the time to introduce novel stimuli to the whelping box such as a plastic milk bottle, knotted towel, cardboard box, etc. This is also a time to introduce puppies to friendly cats. It is important to continue picking up the pups daily, admire them, talk to them, and spend a few minutes with each one individually.
LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT:
Eyes open, puppy can hear, begins to walk in a wobbly fashion.They will begin to hear and will respond to taste and smell.
21 TO 23 DAYS
PRIMARY SOCIALIZATION BEGINDS
It is a time of very rapid sensory development. A stable environment is crucial. It is important not to overload them. Radical changes in the environment must be avoided, i.e. do not move the whelping box!
It is essential that the puppy remain with the litter and the mother.
Each day introduce a new surface such as concrete, linoleum, wood, carpet, matting, etc. Taking them two at a time will make it less stressful than one at a time. Very mild auditory stimuli is introduced, such as a radio playing quietly.
LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT:
Puppy is able to use senses of sight and hearing.
21 TO 49 DAYS
LEARNING HES A DOG
Primary Socialization period - 3 to 5 weeks
Secondary Socialization period - 6 to 12 weeks
"This period is especially important for the development of a stable emotional temperament and affective tone. Many social and emotional deficits observed in adult dogs are believed to result from removing puppies too early from the mother and littermates." - Steven R. Lindsay
Puppies require plenty of playtime with littermates, so they can socialize. Leaving the litter before 7 weeks can affect the puppy's ability to get along with other dogs later and they will likely have trouble learning to inhibit the force of their bite. Put an open crate in the puppy pen. Clear distinction between sleep and play area should be made. This ensures the puppy can leave his sleeping area to eliminate. This will make housetraining later much easier.
Each puppy should have one-on-one individual attention with humans. Take two at a time for short car rides. Occasionally isolate puppies to prepare them for separation. Puppy's rate of mental development will now depend on the complexity of their environment. Exposure to a variety of noises and different floor surfaces is important. Begin positive training sessions at 5 weeks.
LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT:
Puppy learns species specific behavior that makes him a dog (biting, chasing, barking, fighting and body posturing.
Learns to accept discipline from mother and to use submissive postures.
Learns not to bite too hard.
Learns to relate to other litter mates and develops a pack hierarchy through play.
Mother begins to wean puppies between 4-8 weeks, but should be allowed as much time with the pups as she wants.
8 TO 12 WEEKS
INTO A NEW HOME WITH A FAMILY
Best time to bring a puppy into its new home is around week 8. "The 49th day" is recommended by Guide Dog raisers and supported by studies.
Absolutely critical period in which puppy should be socialized - maximize this time! Enroll in a good puppy class!
Ideal time to capitalize on educating your puppy. Take into account puppy's physical limitations and short attention span.
LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT:
Puppy should be completely weaned from mother.
This is the age when most rapid learning occurs. Greatest impact on future social behavior will be made by any experience that happens at this point.
The window of opportunity is closing. Although puppies can continue to learn to be comfortable with new things, it is not as easy.
The 49th day. The brain waves of the puppy are the same as a mature dog, but the puppy is a clean slate.
FEAR IMPRINT PERIOD
8 TO 11 WEEKS
Experiences a puppy perceives as traumatic during this time are generalized and may affect him all his life. It is a fact that a dog is most likely to develop an avoidance response if subjected to physical or psychological trauma during these four weeks. Keep training fun. Use short sessions, and keep all training positive. Gentle guidance and management are essential. Set your puppy up to succeed. This kind of mindset will enable you to be successful, as you continue to socialize your puppy. Puppies should not be shipped during this period, elective surgery should be put off until the 12th week, and necessary visits to the vet should be made fun.
LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT:
Anything that frightens the puppy during this period will have a more lasting effect than if it occurred at any other time.
10 - 16 WEEKS
LEARNING TO COMPETE AND COPE - SOCIAL DOMINANCE
As long as you provide structure, control and leadership, this transition should be relatively painless.If these things have not been provided, all heck is about to break loose!
LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT:
Puppy has been in the home for approximately six weeks. This period is known as the "period of cutting teeth and apron strings." Pups will attempt to clarify and resolve question of leadership.
FLIGHT INSTINCT PERIOD
4 - 8 MONTHS
"Seems to forget everything previously learned."
- "How to Raise a Puppy You Can Live With"
Even if you have done your homework it does not mean your puppy won't go through this - just be aware of it and ride it out.
Just keep your pup on a leash until this passes.
It is because of this stage that prevention over cure is advocated -- you must start socializing and training before now! When you notice a change in your dog during this time, he is probably going through his "flight instinct" period. Like a teenager going through puberty, your puppy is changing physiologically. Your awareness of these changes in behavior will help get you through this commonly difficult period.
This is the time when obedience schools get most of their calls. Puppies that have not been socialized and worked with take a different path in life than pups that have.
Be prepared with appropriate chew bones (large enough so that the pup will not choke) to help with your pup's need to chew. Use a long line in the park if your pup is not coming when called.
LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT:
This stage can last from a few days to several weeks and can occur anytime during this period.
A puppy will test its wings.
He may challenge you in an attempt to resolve the question of leadership.
He may not come when called.
He may not play fetch even though he once did.
He will be uncomfortable because his adult teeth are growing in.
SECOND FEAR PERIOD
6 - 14 MONTHS
In large breeds this period could extend longer since it is tied to sexual maturity. Incidents may occur more than once. Many dogs will show a rise in their level of aggression (reactivity) during this time. They may become protective and territorial, and may make a new attempt to dominate owners. Incidents of teenage flakiness may recur.
This is a fear of new situations and are handled with the utmost patience. The dog is encouraged to work it out on his own. If anything, it is better to ignore the whole situation than to reinforce the fear by praising the dog or petting him while he is afraid. When you "reassure" a dog with pets and "it's okay, fella", you are telling him it is okay to be frightened and you are creating a potential problem. If your puppy appears apprehensive, avoid confrontation. Build confidence through training. Avoid any potentially overwhelming circumstances you cannot personally oversee, such as shipping your pup in the cargo bay of an airplane.
LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT:
Corresponds with growth spurts. Therefore it may happen more than once as the puppy matures.
May suddenly be apprehensive about new things or shy or timid of new people or situations. Most of height growing is over, but pup will start to fill out over the coming year.
Puppy begins to mature sexually: male begins to lift leg, and female has first heat period anywhere from 6-12 months. Puppy coat being replaced by adult coat, starting down the spine.
1 - 4 Years
Are you done socializing? NO! Like your training efforts, which continue on into adulthood and throughout your dog’s entire life, you are never done with socialization. He still needs to meet and greet people, go places with you, and continue to share your world and your experiences, if you want him to continue to be the happy, friendly dog he is today.
Until this period has been reached, it is recommended that your pup remains crated or the equivilent (structure) when you are not available to supervise his behavior.
You will know when your dog can be trusted by testing him for short periods (10-15 minutes) while you leave the house. If your dog is damaging property while loose, he is not ready.
LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT:
Refers to sexual maturity as opposed to being full-grown. Smaller dogs mature earlier, larger dogs later. If you were lax in your work earlier on, you may now see the things you have missed: object guarding, unfavorable reactions towards unfamiliar people, animals, or things that your dog missed during the socialization stage.