Starting Your German Shepherd Puppy from Us Out Right - from the Beginning
Feeding: Our Puppies are eating Innova (click to locate retailer) by Natura.
Innova retailers can be found by going to the Innova site and typing in your phone area code.
Our Puppies should be fed 4 times a day till 3 months old. At 3 months old feed 3 times a day. At 4 months old feed 2 times a day for the rest of puppy's life for giving puppy more quality of life as well as recommended to help with prevention of bloat. We do not recommend going by the measurements on the bag. We feed 'all' that the puppy wants to eat so that Puppy leaves a few kibbles left in the bowl. That way you know your Puppy is not still hungry and is getting enough nutrition for his growing needs. We have not had any problems with 'fat' puppies! There is not many dogs that will over eat the kibble! But if there ever was to be a puppy/dog getting too large then you could measure his food. Lean is better than chunky!
The only true test of whether your dog is eating the correct amount your dog's body condition.
Chart on 'Links' page. We do not believe Pups should be thin- they may not be getting enough nutrients for proper growth and development- plus they may be hungry!!! Of course we do not want over weight pups either!
We also recommend .
You can add 1 tsp. of yogurt twice a day if you would like to promote healthy stomach bacteria.
Water: Puppy should have free access to clean water. You may want to pick up his water in the early evening. Later in the evening if you think Puppy may be thirsty you can offer a few laps of water.
Crate training: Use the crate whenever you can not keep an eye on your Puppy for his safety and so he does not have any accidents in the house. We recommend the Puppy's crate be in your bedroom next to your bed at night. Do not let Puppy out of the crate when he is crying. Wait till he is quite even for a few seconds before letting him out, after praising for 'good quiet'.
Housebreaking: If you are using a very large crate- the crate should be partitioned off to make the crate smaller. Puppies do not want to go potty in their den area but if the crate is too large they will be able to sleep at one end and go potty at the other end.
Puppies will need to go out when they awake in the mornings and after naps, 20 minutes after eating, 20 minutes after playing, and shortly after drinking water as well and of course before bed! Most will wake once during the night for the first couple of weeks to go out to go potty.
Decide on what words you want to use to tell your puppy to go outside to relieve himself. You may want to use 'Go potty'. Take Puppy to the same spot outside each time and tell him 'Go potty'. As soon as he does praise him with 'Good potty!!!!' and a pat or you may want to use a treat sometimes. Teaching your Puppy to 'go on command' is very helpful like in cold or rainy weather or when taking a trip, etc. If Puppy decides that these potty outings are play time you can just give a very gentle tug on the leash and say ' No, go potty'. Play time would be after going potty. If Puppy does not go potty put him back in his crate and try to take him out again a few minutes later. When you catch your puppy starting to go in the house a loud 'no' should stop him in the process. Then get Puppy outside right away and tell him 'Go potty!' If you don't catch puppy in the process of having an accident in the house just clean it up and keep a closer eye on puppy the next time.
Stool Eating: Pups learn to do this from watching their mom clean up after all the puppies. You must always be outside with your puppy for awhile so he doesn't ever get the chance to snatch any when you are not looking. A quick little tug on the leash.... for even thinking about going to grab it... and a 'No! Leave it!' and 'Good boy! Good leave it!' . Or may have to be 'No! Drop it!' LOL! ... then ' good boy, good drop it.' Same for anything else he may put in his mouth that you do not want him having in his mouth.
Mouthing: You need to let Puppy know that mouthing is not acceptable behavior. Loudly saying no only stops the behavior at the moment will not work to stop her from doing it again. She needs to have a consequence attached with when you say 'No'. Can be scruff tug, spray bottle(with 1/3 yellow listerine, 2/3's water),etc. (Same for chewing furniture.) The scruff shake or better- the scruff 'pinch pull tug'- just grabbing a small piece of hair and giving a quick tug. If she gives a little yelp -you know you got her attention! but not absoutely necessary! but she will surely be more likely to remember the next time! When the correction is at the right level for the individual pup/dog- the behavior WILL stop!(This is for later training as well) It is very important as she may not out grow this behavior and when she gets bigger- the bite just gets harder. It also is a dominant over you behavior. She knows you don't want her to do it but she is does it again anyway. So she gets away with it. She needs to know you are the one in charge, Alpha, and that she must do as you say. NOT even a single tooth should not touch your skin! (must be consistent-every time) She really will stop very quickly after a few tugs at the right level of correction for your pup! It is not meant to injure the puppy! LOL! Just firm enough to get her attention. Of course you always start with a soft or medium correction. If that doesn't work - then you just increase it till you find what works for her. She wont come right back to bite again-... for awhile! After she get a few corrections - then she will remember! Gently restrain puppy when you are correcting her. If you correct and let puppy run away, puppy will learn to do what I call the 'drive bys'! Must praise as well after the small(or big) correction and after offering your hand again if she kisses it or 'leaves it'.
Dont forget! - Praise is the most important part of the learning process for all training not just mouthing.
Important to not let Puppy 'run' from you when you do this as then she will learn to do what I call the 'drive by', ' hit and run' mouthing game! Gently keep him with you for a few seconds to see if he is going to mouth again and if he is you go through the process again. You should offer your hand or pant leg, move it around with no words and if Puppy does it again you repeat the process with 'No!' (tug) 'Give kisses!' and when he does lick or... even looks away, then you can say 'Good boy! Good kisses!' and his release command 'Good boy.Your free!' 2 or 3 times right in a row is a good learning lesson. Release command (your free)means 'Okay now you can go do what you would like.'
Fear Period: If your Puppy goes thru- the commonly known as - 'fear period'(around 3 1/2 -5 months and then again around to 9 months-1 year) - Do not allow puppy to show aggression ever- example: barking at strangers, other dogs, bikes, cars, etc. Do not pet or console and say 'its okay'. (that would actually reward/reinforce his inappropriate behavior) ONE EXAMPLE: Puppy would need to be told to sit and then to "make friends", corrected if gets up from the sit or barking again. Also told 'No quiet!' or 'enough!' PRAISE, when quiet, 'making friends', etc. (If puppy doesnt know 'sit' command you will just have to correct for the barking. Don't let him avoid the situation.
If it is possible, tell the 'strangers ' that you are socializing your puppy and ask them if they will 'pet' or 'hold' your Puppy- not just hand him a treat- tho them giving him a treat too is fine.
When puppies go through the fear stage and the 'issue' (whatever the issue is) is worked through the proper way, they gain confidence.
If a puppy goes though the fear stage and isnt corrected properly -and shown how to 'make friends' puppy will continue to be this way. And behaviors intensify as they get older and get much harder to correct if they can be corrected at all! That is why I explain to all that if their Puppy goes thru that stage which many puppies of all breeds do- that is extremely important for puppy owners to learn all they can about 'proper socialization' and to have the puppy enrolled with a good dog trainer.
People who come to our home see how friendly our dogs are and we just want every ones pups to be a joy to have around too! That is why we give all the info about the importance of continuation of socializing from 2 - 4 months old - and after that as well.
The 2 above mentioned behaviors are normal puppy behaviors but reasons for ALL puppy owners to be enrolled in puppy kindergarten classes to help them to understanding their pets behaviors and to learn about training them. Always be FIRM and CONSISTENT w/your new pup/dog as they need to know YOU are the one in charge-ALPHA- NOT them. If you are not in charge- they will be! Like children - they seem to be happiest knowing their limits and what is expected of them. Of course you may call us for help as well but classes are best for socializing and obedience training. A well mannered dog is a joy to be around. They are much happier as they are less stressed from not getting 'hollered' at all the time and you are less stressed too!
Collars and Leashes: Puppies should wear a flat nylon collar till they are at least 3 months old. When he gets older a leather collar is a good choice. When we are home we like to leave our dogs collars loose enough so that if they were to get caught on anything they could slip out of them but we tighten them up when we are doing training or when we are going on an outing out of the house so they will not slip out of their collar.
We do not recommend 'flexie leads' or 'harneses' as they both encourage pulling/domimance. Nor do we recommend 'Halti's'- which are for control- not for training, and most dogs just hate wearing them. Much better to just have a well-trained dog that will listen to his owner.
After Puppy Kindergarten classes Puppy 'may' a need a training/slip/correction collar for training. It should be the size of the Puppy's neck with 2-3 inches extra.
Proper Way to Put a Slip Collar on Your Older Puppy. With your Puppy sitting front of you when you are holding the collar in front of you it should look like a 'P' for PUPPY-(NOT a '9'). 9 is NO! (remember nein is german for no) and slip it that way over his head.
When Puppy gets even older and stronger he may need a pinch/prong collar. Never slip a prong collar over the dogs head. It should be taken apart to put it on the dog. When using a prong we do not want the collar overly tight but too loose and it will not work properly. We say to put it just to where it becomes 'gently snug'. The snap on the leash should be attached to the training collar corrective ring- not the dead ring- as well as to the pinch collar, for safety in case the prong collar was to come apart.
Refresh (reposition) either of these types of collars frequently. With both collars the 'o' rings must be on the right side of the dogs neck, next to your left leg.
Leather leashes are best for being able to give a proper correction. Bridgeport Equipment- sells leather leashes that are 5 foot long, 1 inch wide, which are great for training! and at a great price! A 4 foot leash is too short and 6 foot leash too long for training. Prong Collars. Require a much 'lighter' correction. Should be attached to another collar as well, as a safety if links come apart. Should not be use till after 5 months old or later.
Training: Puppy should be enrolled in Puppy Kindergarten - and then at least basic one leash Obedience Class where the trainer is familiar with German Shepherds and uses a 'training collar'.
After Puppy class you will need to learn the correct way to give a collar correction. 'Allowing' the dog to pull while on either collars should not be allowed! -to avoid injury to the puppy/dog and in order to train him properly.
Leaving a 'training tab' hanging from your Pups flat collar is a wonderful way to give a little collar correction when Puppy is being supervised but does not have on a leash! (do not leave on when Puppy is in his crate) You can make a 'training tab': Pick up a leash at the $ Store and hook it to Puppy's collar and leave about 6 inches hanging from the collar and cut it off. Leave long enough so you can grab it in order to give a correction. Throw away the long handle piece.A leather tab can also be purchased at Bridgeport Equipment.
You will need a 'long line' or a tracking leash for training 'off leash' and it is especially good for teaching the come.
Timing & praise is of the utmost importance. The sooner you can say and give he correction to the inappropriate behavior the easier puppy can associate the correction with the behavior he did. Then the praise needs to come as you show puppy, or as he does, the proper behavior. You always want to end on a good note.
Puppies should never be given a correction when learning/being shown/taught new behaviors. Say commands only one time as you help to 'teach/show' your Puppy/Dog how to do what you want him to do. Then 'good sit'. When Puppy is an older dog, when learning new commands- he must still be taught/shown/helped to do the new behavior first. After Puppy has preformed the command, a few times over- 3 times in a row - you will know that he knows the command. If he doesn't do it after that he is just choosing to not listen to you and he should get a little reminder tug on the training collar. For some the 'zip zip' noise of the collar is enough of a reminder. Example: It would be 'Sit' and if he doesn't then 'No! Sit!' at the same time as giving a quick little correction. PRAISE is the MOST IMPORTANT PART of the TRAINING. Once he knows the command but isnt doing the behavior he needs the command repeated and it should always be with a correction. (Right, you are not supposed to repeat the command and just say no sit, sit, no sit, sit, sit....) This is different- command is said once, if dog not obeying after you know he knows the commands then it command is repeated- with the correction at the same time as 'No! Sit!' He can still get a toned down 'Good sit'. Puppy should be getting even more praise/and pat if you like for doing something the first time you ask with out having to repeat the command with a correction. Sometimes too much high pitched praise will get pup too excited and he will break his command, so then you will tone it down a bit.
You will want to watch that you dont use words that will confuse the puppy/dog like 'down' for getting off a counter, or off a person, and then 'down' for 'laying down' when they are all different actions. For getting off a counter, or off a person ' off ' would be a better choice.
Never give a command that you are not prepared to enforce. Example: If your are standing up on a ladder and you tell Puppy something like 'No! Leave it!' He has to know that you will get down to make sure he obeys you!
You shouldnt ever have to yell at your Pup/Dog. He should listen to you speaking in a low firm voice. The praise needs to be in a higher pitched 'happy proud' voice. Yes, men need to do that too!
When a bit older they should also get corrected for even thinking about something. Like if they see another dog and you can tell by reading your dog's body language that he is getting ready to pop up out of his sit and to bark you would give a little reminder tug and 'No! Sit!'.
Also when teaching comands like sit, down, stay... It is not necessary to tell the Pup/Dog to 'stay' because 'sit' means 'sit' until you either give puppy another command or tell Puppy he is released-'Your Free!' Puppy shouldnt 'decide on his own' when he is able to get up from the sit, you should. The 'stay command' is for when Puppy will be staying put for longer that 3 minutes. That way he knows he might as well chill out a bit because he will be there awhile.
NOT recommended to play Tug-A War with your puppy, or chase, tag, wrestling... Can encourage aggression.
If you have a training question/problem: Best to ask us - your Breeder/Trainer- after the first occurrence rather that letting the behavior go uncorrected and being reinforced. Problems are much more difficult to undo at a later date!- If possible to undo at all! -(Socializing problems)
**Also we recommend that you do the 'puppy cradle' a few times a day when your puppy is still small enough to hold-holding Puppy cradled in your arms on his back like a baby. If Puppy struggles or whines do not put Puppy down till he is not struggling or whining any longer.
Children should not be allowed to play run and chase games with the puppy as this encourages Puppy to chase them and mouth them. If you feel that your child is old enough to give the puppy a command the adult should make sure that the Puppy does what the child says by helping the child and the dog to both follow through.
READ BOOKS too!(Trainers that use collar corrections) Some names on our Links page.
Jumping: Since we like our big dogs to give us big hugs we allow our dogs to jump up on us but ONLY when we have given them the 'hup' command. If you let your Pup/Dog drag around his leash, or sometimes you will be able to use his training tab, you can correct puppy for jumping and 'No. Off!' Praise when he is off, 'Good off'.
Toys, Balls and Bones: Be cautious of toys with squeakers, eyes, noses, etc. and tennis balls for larger dogs - choking hazard.
In our experience we've found these toys to hold up the best:
Our Shepherds LOVE the Nylabone Wishbones-'Wolf Size' for chewing. For balls they REALLY enjoy the 4" Jolly Balls- the larger ones they tear up. They REALLY LOVE the BIG Hol-ee Roller Balls and Hol-ee Bowler Balls and Hol-ee Mol-ee Extreme Ball, Hol-ee Floater Balls & Sphericon rubber football. Also ours like the medium size tennis ball by Hartz and the 3" colored med.-hard rubber balls both in the pet dept. at Wal-Mart- and the GIANT tennis balls in the sports department. They REALLY LOVE The Best Balls/Teaser Balls/Paw-zel Balls- 10"- 6" for playing soccer with themselves! (Caution- Not good if your dogs like to scrape the ball w/their teeth-can cause wearing) Links are on our website 'links page'.
We do feed raw knuckle bones and marrow bones to our dogs. Never cooked as cooking causes bones to splinter!
We do not recommend rawhides or pigs ears or hooves ever as some are preserved with arsenic or formaldehyde and pieces can become lodged in the intestines as well. (no greenies either)
Marrow bones or Kongs can be filled with peanut butter and put in the freezer to keep pups occupied while they are in their crate.
X-mats are great for keeping dogs off your furniture if you care.
Handling your Puppy: Brush your puppy, clip nails, clean ears and teeth often so Puppy will be used to having these things done to him and being touched all over his body. Don't wait till he is older!!
Puppy's Ears: If your puppy's ears are not up by 4 months old please contact us for instruction on gluing ears up.
Swimming: Haven't met yet one of our dogs that doesnt love swiming! Some Pups/Dogs just go in the water on their own but for those that do not... You take her out to about waist deep on you(that is prob not very far from the shore) (while you say to her-'Its okay- go swimming- good girl, good go swimming') then you gently let her go and say to her go see 'Daddy' or who ever it is you have standing on the shore. Follow her in so if she gets turned around you can just tell her 'No, Go see daddy'- or whoever is on the shore- and you can aim her in the right direction to the shore. They call her, clap hands, etc. and encourage her to come to them. When she arrives to them they go coo koo w/the praise!!!..... 'Oh good girl, good come, good swimming!!!!!!!!' Then u do it again maybe 3 more times. She may rest in between if she would like to. Each time she does it you should see her getting less fearful and more confident -and enjoying it more- by the 3rd-4th time. Then just leave her be up on the shore for a bit. She may go in on her own if u throw a stick- not very far out. Or she may have had enough for the day. After another visit or two to the beach she will prob love it!!!- but you may not be able to keep her out!
Spay/Neuter: We recommend to wait till 'around' 1 year for the males and at least 7 months for the girls but prefer older. Our girls usually don't come into heat till 9 -11 months old.
Supplements: There are some theories now days that Vitamin C helps with joint development. Wal-Mart carries glucosamone/chondroitin large bottle for $30.
Sea Meal, Flax Seed Oil, Kelp, Prozyme, Omega fatty acids are beneficial supplements if they are not already in your dog food.
Canine Good Citizens Test Procedures-CGC: A fun award you can get with your Puppy! Heartworm, Flea and Tick Products: We recommend the monthly Interceptor. Interceptor gets one additional type of worms over Heartguard. We do not keep our dogs on heartworm preventive year round. And we only give it every 6 weeks. If you decide not keep your dog on the preventative year round they should be checked in the spring by your vet before resuming use. We use Frontline for fleas- once every three months unless you have a bad problem with fleas and/or ticks then it can be more often(but we try not to use it more often)
Diarrhea: We worm all puppies and treat preventatively for the puppy parasite Coccidia. But Puppies can get re-infected with worms and stress can bring on Coccidia, like stress even when puppy is going to their new home. If your puppy has diarrhea have your vet check for worms, Coccidia and Giardia. If your Puppy was to have watery diarrhea or diarrhea with mucus or blood he would need to be seen right away by your vet. Sometime soft stools can be from over feeding. If you are feeding just kibble Puppy should not over eat but he may be if you are adding goodies to his food- or too many treats during the day.
The most important articles which are about 'socialization' will not fit on this page...
As a general rule, your pup should socialize/interact with at least 100 people before it is 4 months old!! (AND 20 dogs by 6 months!).......
Please go to our 'Links' page to read about...
(3 main articles- 1 at top of page and 2 near bottom)
AND to read about the new protocol for giving grown dogs their vaccinations-
not so often- only every 3 years,
articles on 'Hips' and 'Importance of Proper Positioning During Hip X-rays' and on 'PANO'-Panosteitus-
the growing pains,
to locate a Certified Dog Trainer in your area,
What is really in our Dogs Food? - The 4 D's., Recommended books and MANY MORE LINKS!
Current Puppies, Future Litters, Deposit Info, Foster Program Info, About Us and Our Dogs is on our Future Litters Page. Shipping Info and what to bring with you when you pick up your puppy is under the 'Shipping Info' on our Future Litters Page on our site.
If a you have a Puppy from us - call us 'anytime' you have any questions or concerns....
Sandy Ayer C.D.T. 304-384-8884
We try very hard to help educate our puppy families so they can enjoy their incredible companions!