Suggested diet for your new German Shepherd Puppy
Mix and feed as follows:
¼ cup Alpha Dog Food (Any of the All stage of life foods. I recommend getting samples to see what your puppy likes best. They get a mixture here.)
¼ cup raw hamburger or other ground meat (high quality, can food, with no corn, by-products, wheat, soy, or other fillers can be substituted if necessary)
1 Tb cottage cheese or plain yogurt (optional)
1 tsp olive oil or salmon oil in the summer, cod liver oil in the winter
1 Tb or more water for easy mixing
One serving of NuVet powder or wafer once a day
Feed mixture twice a day. Dry kibble and clean drinking water should be out at all times. Raw chicken wings add a considerable amount of nutrition to the diet and is a great training opportunity. When the bones are raw, they do not splinter as some fear. Give one wing a day to your puppy, taking it away from him/her when they are really into it, then returning it to them until they happily release this morsel to you. Food aggression should be stopped at the very beginning!
Feed, play, and love: he will be a loyal, loving companion for many years to come.
If there is leftover food, you can put it in the refrigerator for later and just add a little more water when you are ready to give it again later. Change the serving size to fit your puppy/dog's needs as they grow.
For questions on more feeding recommendations, please contact us. We are available for nutritional counseling sessions to address issues such as hot spots, excessive shedding, ear infections, and training to help you address food aggression issues. To make appointments and get price quotes, call Shell (602)618-1854
Recommended food: Alpha Dog Food is an exceptional product; we highly recommend it. The owner is very knowledgeable and helpful when it comes to nutrition. Give them a call; they can help you decide what is best for your dog. If you use the code:agsdogs20, you will get 20% off your purchase. Website: AlphaDogFood.com for more information and to place your order.
As I have stated already, each of my puppies and adults gets NuVet daily to ensure superior health, strong immunity, development and keeps them moving well even as they age. You can call and order at 800.474.7044 or online at NuVet.com; your order code will be:17398.
Chewing: We recommend that you get "soup bones". Give a new bone to your puppy once a week. This bone will taste better than anything else you own: chair legs, shoes... If your puppy still seems to have an issue with chewing, there are products on the market like "Boundary" that you spray on. The raw bone and "Boundary" type products have shown to deter even the most robust puppies/dogs from unwanted chewing.
Health: We guarantee your puppy is healthy upon delivery. All puppies have received at least one 5-way shot and almost always two before they leave. They should receive the 5-way shot every three weeks or according to your vet's schedule. At 16 to 24 weeks, your puppy should get a rabies shot. We have also wormed your puppy with two types of wormers. This does not guarantee your puppy has no worms as they have rather gross habits at this age, but the worming we have done coupled with the worming routine recommended by your vet keeps these pesky internal parasites under control. We recommend a fecal test within a week of them arriving in their new home to ensure that parasites are taken care of and do not get out of control. When they are no longer with their littermates, chewing on each other and licking each other makes removing any remaining parasites much easier. As for ticks and fleas: We have been able to deal with this naturally and have minimal issues with it. The vet examines your puppy before being placed to ensure we do not transfer any external parasites. Our vet recommends that we do not use any topical product or collars until they are 12-16 weeks old; if you find you have an issue with this, please contact your vet for their recommendation.
Your love and attention will give your puppy a happy start. German Shepherds' emotional needs are significant; they will seek to spend time with you. Your bond with them is crucial! Training of all kinds will be immensely easier when this bond is strong. Your puppy will have a time of stress and separation where they transfer from our home to yours and will sometimes develop diarrhea. This is usually caused by a protozoan naturally present in many dogs but causes them no adverse effects until a stressful situation stimulates it. We give our puppies a treatment to try to stop this from happening, but it still is something to be aware of. This is usually only a problem that affects dogs under 6mo of age, so getting an older puppy will not be a concern. If your puppy does develop runny diarrhea, your vet will likely do a fecal exam to confirm the presence of cocci and send you home with a simple treatment. We recommend that you use Kaopectate (vanilla flavor) in addition to the medication to help the stomach/intestines have time to absorb the medicine and relieve the symptoms quickly. Many parasites can be present in water everywhere, so you should always be aware. If you are a hiker or boater and bring your dog, your chances of coming across this are higher, but you should not panic; your vet can give your loved pet the proper treatment, and your pet is as good as new. Your only real risk with this is dehydration, so diarrhea or vomiting should not be ignored. Your loving pet depends on you. You may be thinking, "this is too much to think about" or "I don't want to deal with that sort of stuff," but we believe the more informed you are, should something come up, our puppies owners will know that they, with their vet, can take care of it quickly.
Housebreaking: Our puppy area gives your puppy an inside and an outside space with a "doggie door" between. Our momma dogs are with the babies in this space, and as the puppy gets older (usually by 5 wks), they are following mommy outside to potty. You only need to show them the "doggie door" when they get home. They may have an accident or two out of nervousness, but reminding them to go through the door when they look like they may be looking for a spot will help them. Please give them a special treat to reinforce this good behavior when they do potty outside. Be VERY consistent and persistent with this as the training is in the beginning stages when they are going home to you. If you do not have and do not intend to have a doggie door, we recommend that you get an introduction training when your puppy is first placed. You can have a plan of action for your puppies' house training put into place, save yourself and your puppy a great deal of stress. Placement training sessions are always a good idea to address your individual situations, be it potty training, puppy safety, beginning instruction, crating, chewing, children with the puppy...we are here to ensure the best possible transition for you and your family. Call for appointment times and quotes for your area (even out of state) Shell (602)618-1854; we are here to help!
Beginning obedience training: Your puppy will not be ready for much at first, but as they get older, you will want to either bring them to a local training class, hire a trainer (we will recommend one if you would like), get a book or video that you could use at home. We offer inexpensive, individual, or group training settings for those who live close to us. Your puppy is brilliant and needs to learn some basic obedience however you choose. Your puppy will be happier, and so will you. Training is another great bonding experience we hope you will be sure to plan.
Grooming: German Shepherds do not require much grooming. We recommend a bath about once a month, along with a toenail trim if needed. We enjoy using the shampoo products from NuVet for clean, fresh coats. Professional grooming is unnecessary, but professional grooming will significantly help during the time of year when they have their shedding season. We have found brushing them once a week is about all they need for short coats and twice for long. Grooming helps remove any loose hair, but more importantly, your dog will enjoy individual time and care. If you get a long coat, they will need to take a little extra care around the tuff of hair by the ears to keep from getting mats.
If you have any questions about any of this information or other related subjects, please e-mail or call us. We are always happy to help you learn about our dogs and how to best care for yours.
Some fundamental guidelines for your new puppy:
Your puppy comes up to date on shots and worming, however not thoroughly inoculated, but socialization is vital. The benefits of socializing your Shepherd during the critical period of 7 – 16 weeks far outweigh the risk of catching a disease. It's a good idea to talk to your vets and ask if there have been any recent parvovirus outbreaks in your area.
Socialization: learning how to recognize and interact with other animals and humans. By learning how to interact, the socialized dog develops communication skills that acknowledge being threatened and recognize and respond to others' intentions.
Habituation: Your puppy is becoming accustomed to non-threatening environmental stimuli and learns to ignore them.
Many vets will tell you not to take your puppy out in public until 16-18 weeks old. This is way too old to start socializing and habituating your Shepherd puppy. Vets are not canine behaviorists, and most are not knowledgeable about breed-specific behaviors, especially those common to the German Shepherd.
A Shepherd puppy that is not taken out or exposed to certain things until after 16 weeks is likely to be reactive, aggressive, and fearful. It is much more challenging to correct this behavior since the critical window has passed.
German Shepherds are one particular breed where socialization, habituation, and training are critical for a well-balanced temperament. If you are unsure of how to get started in this, please contact us for more in-depth information.
Your puppy must learn good behavior by acting appropriately with other animals, people, and children. If you "play it smart" while socializing your Shepherd puppy, you significantly reduce the risk of picking up a disease.
Good, safe places to take your puppy are:
Short walks up and down your street.
Visiting friends/family/neighbors who have vaccinated & friendly dogs.
Having your friends visit you and your puppy at home.
Avoid dog parks and dogs you don't know. Avoid coming into contact with people's houses who have had dogs with parvo or people who have recently been around dogs who have been sick. Avoid areas where the virus has been reported to be. There have been cases, though, where older dogs, who are vaccinated against parvo, have still contracted it. The disease occurs more in lower socioeconomic areas where fewer dogs are vaccinated. There have not been any reported parvo cases on a beach, which is interesting, but that doesn't help us here does it. :)
A puppy learns from its experiences, so you want to provide only positive ones. Your puppy's negative experiences with an aggressive dog (even just being rushed at or lunged at by another dog) can severely alter their temperament. This can have a permanent effect on them and be very difficult to fix. Avoid places where there may be other dogs that could be aggressive with your puppy.
If your puppy has had a negative experience, such as a fright from something or another dog being aggressive, you must remain as calm as possible. Your reaction can make it worse (say if you scream or console your dog). Your responses will reinforce their behavior and attitudes.
If you heed the advice about handling your dog in particular situations below, there will be no reason that your dog should be problematic in those situations. Remember, it is your responsibility to avoid situations where you put your puppy at risk of a bad experience.
It is always important to be consistent with how you train and socialize your puppy and follow it up by basic obedience training either with a good training group or us. It is best to do both because it will give the added aspect of socialization. Still, they will not be able to take the individual time you may need, and many times the "problems" you may need to solve are at your home and on your roads, so that is where we go to help you get the best from your puppy/dog.
Remember, each time you take your dog/puppy out in public, your dog represents its breed. A well-balanced dog results from hard work and dedication by the owner.
As part of your routine, checking ears, eyes, teeth, and paws (in between toes), bathing, grooming should be done often. This will help in the future if they get hurt; you will have already established that you get to touch anywhere. As they get bigger, it will help you not be overpowered by a dog that is not used to getting bathed or toes trimmed. You will also be able to identify if your dog needs vet care for anything sooner than waiting for an infection or other things to become a problem. We like using NuVet puppy shampoo for puppies because it is not a problem if a little gets in the eyes, avoiding a negative experience. If you are using the vitamins we recommend (NuVet 800-474-7044 order #61927), you will find that grooming and bathing will be much easier because you will not have the itching caused by skin issues. NuVet's assortment of shampoos is an excellent option, along with ear cleaners and more. Between the food, Alpha Dog Food, and the vitamins, you will also have much less shedding. If your puppy is a long coat, you will have very few or even no mats with regular care. Additionally, the volume of poo in the yard is significantly less than it is on other foods due to the high digestibility.
A few hints on socializing & HABITUATING your puppy
Get your puppy focused on YOU when working and socializing. YOU must be the most crucial person in their life – not anyone or anything else. Do not allow your puppy to run riot and ignore you. Interrupt times where your puppy is distracted by a fun game and getting their focus on YOU.
Never console the puppy or pat him if he acts nervous or snappy out of fear. By reassuring or patting him, you tell him that that kind of behavior was acceptable. NEVER 'BABY' YOUR DOG! If he acts nervous – ignore it and let him work out that there is no reason to be scared. Do not allow people or other dogs to force themselves upon your puppy. You would not like it if someone came up in your face and jumped on you or grabbed you.
Correct any bad behavior, such as nipping or biting out of fear. In severe cases, call for a consultation right away. This is nothing to be "patient" with! Shell (602)618-1854
If your puppy is a little wary of people, do not console him or encourage him to interact when he doesn't want to. Always allow the puppy to approach people on their terms and when they are comfortable. Never force the pup.
A stranger looking down straight at the puppy making direct eye-contact is a very threatening thing in the dog world. Have the stranger not look directly at the puppy. Tell them to ignore the puppy totally. Once he learns that strangers are OK and there is nothing to be afraid of, he should start to relax.
If socializing with other dogs/pups, always check with the other owner that their dogs are friendly and will not attack your puppy. Learn dog behavior and body language so you can learn to pick a problem dog from afar. A bad experience can have long-lasting effects on the puppy and will more than likely make him nervous about meeting other dogs for a long time. Dogs must always be under full voice control if off lead and must come when called. Learn how to interpret dog behavior to avoid problems when socializing off-leash. Personally, I am not a fan of off-leash parks. Many people do not have their dogs under effective control, and some dogs do not behave appropriately. Off-lead training is one aspect of training you can discuss with Shell when you schedule your consultations.
Do not let your puppy be aggressive with another dog or puppy. There is a difference between playing and getting too rough. No owner likes their puppy being beaten up by another pup or dog! Learn the difference between rough-housing play and aggression. If you question this as a possible issue again, bring it up at your consultations.
DAY TO DAY TIPS
Exercise and Getting Out and About
A buildup of energy and lack of exercise can cause behavioral problems such as aggression, frustration, fearfulness, and destructiveness, making sure the dog/pup is well-exercised and stimulated. GSDs are a working breed and were bred to have brains and USE THEM!
Take him out on daily walks and enclosed areas where they can run safely off lead. Make sure that you don't over-exercise your puppy, though. No forced running, i.e., jogging with you on a lead or jumping until they are at least 12 months old because their joints are still growing, and over-doing can cause permanent joint problems. We do everything we can to ensure good stable hips and joins in our breeding, but your puppy's nutrition and activity are greatly affected by your choices, and so is the growing structure of your puppy.
If there are other dogs around or loose, ensure the other dogs are stable and will not hurt the pup. These days, most people are courteous and will put their dogs on a lead. Better to be safe than sorry in these situations! If there is ever a fight or attack, the person who has their dog off lead is liable, even if their dog didn't start it! Be very careful and keep a close eye on the surroundings.
You and your family are the dog's PACK, not every dog down the street or in the park. YOU are the Pack Leader. They must still be focused on you during the walk or run when you request their attention. It's fair enough to allow them to just 'be a puppy', sniff things, etc. But, ensure that when you ask for your pups' attention, they give it to you immediately. Give verbal encouragement and make things fun for them – if they are food-focused, use treats, or toy-focused, incite a game.
Puppies must learn how to act appropriately in different surroundings, so take them to these places.
Always end training sessions on a positive note!
When you get your dog's attention and do what you say, reward it with food, verbal praise, and a ball/toy game. Be careful not to over-excite the puppy to the point where it loses focus on you altogether. Different puppies and dogs respond to varying praise levels, so depending on what yours is like, use whatever works for you and your dog.
AVOIDING SEPARATION ANXIETY
When you come home or leave to go out without them, don't touch, make eye contact, or talk to them. Don't make the time apart such a big deal. If you do, you can develop behavioral problems such as separation anxiety. Give calm and gentle attention once they settle down – this may take 5 minutes or even up to one hour! Your dog must learn to spend time alone, where they are not the center of attention. Ignore bad behavior. Reward the good.
If you have more than one dog, alternate the dogs inside and outside. They should not learn to be dependent on each other. When raising a puppy with your other dog around that, it's imperative that they are taken separately on walks so the puppy can learn how to socialize by themselves and not rely on the other dog for confidence.
It's also a good idea to leave a bone or a toy like a Kong with food stuffed in it if you are not at home. They'll be occupied and busy for a while!
HOW TO BECOME A PACK LEADER AND GAIN YOUR DOGS' RESPECT
No pulling on lead: Don't allow the puppy to pull on the lead. The Pack Leader walks in front. Walk with a confident posture and a calm, assertive attitude. Train your dog the basic commands i.e., sit, heel, drop, and come. You don't want to be dragged down the street! Join a local dog training club to learn how to make your dog do these things.
No jumping: Your dog should always be prepared to exercise a reasonable measure of control when young children or older adults are around it. A boisterous young dog can easily knock down the very young or elderly. Children may become frightened of dogs for life, and the elderly are very prone to injury.
Get up on couches or beds: What's cute as a puppy may not be appealing at 50 to 100 lbs! Don't encourage behaviors that you don't want the dog to do when older.
Feed your dog after you and your family: Pack Leaders eat first. If it's not dinner time for you and the family, eat a piece of fruit or something small yourself, then prepare the dogs' special meal. We do have and encourage free-feeding, but when you are going to make "special" food, please remember this rule.
Never give up if you give your dog a command: Every time you give a command, you must always carry it through to completion. If you give in, the dog learns they can get away with ignoring your commands and not take you seriously, so they think they are the Pack Leader. If commands keep getting ignored, you can use different methods or a combination of techniques to communicate with the dog and make him do what you want. Don't give up and let the dog get away with ignoring an instruction! Make the dog do it! Reward the dog and praise him when he complies.
Never give your dog anything if they are whining or carrying on: Whining and barking at you is DEMANDING behavior. Don't give in to this behavior as it will reinforce it, so they will keep trying it! If you must, put them outside and ignore them. The only exception to this is if your dog is being taught to bark for permission to go out for potty-time but make sure it is a request, not a demand. This is one reason we recommend you have a doggie door; not only has your puppy already been trained to use it, but it can be confusing for them to be required to tell you what to do and not allowed in other instances.
Do not give the dog attention/affection unless it is deserved: Reward the dog if it has done something well. Make them work to gain food or praise. Making them sit, drop, stay, or heel. Attention is not a given right – it's something they must earn. In a pack environment, food and respect don't come for free! We are not saying don't love on your dog, just that you should ask for something, even just sit first, so they see that obedience and proper behavior is expected and appreciated.
If the dog is in your way and not moving – walk right through them: As pack leader, you have "right of way". By walking around your dog, this is you submitting to your dog. When pushing through with your legs – don't fall over! You do have a working/herding dog, but it is not their job to herd you.
WELL-TRAINED DOGS CAN ONLY COME FROM RESPONSIBLE OWNERS WHO ARE WILLING TO INVEST TIME & EFFORT INTO THE DOGS TRAINING PROGRAM! TRAINING NEVER STOPS. IT'S AN ONGOING JOB. As you will hear us say at any consultation, "Be more persistent and consistent than your dog". We also say that about kids!!!
We genuinely hope this is helpful. Make sure to set up your first training consultation at about 10-12 weeks to ensure the beginning of your basic obedience and socialization are coming along well. We will address any issues and prevent many from starting. We will base the appointments on your specific needs and your puppy's development. We want to solve problems fast and avoid unnecessary ones. For your appointment, call Shell (602)618-1854.
FOR TRAINING FETCH
The tools you will need are lots of tasty treats, a clicker or marker word, and plenty of fun toys. For teaching fetch, we will use what trainers call "shaping," that is, allowing your dog to figure out how to perform a behavior with minimal help from you.
First, you want to initially pick a toy that your dog is willing to put in its mouth. Some dogs have preferences for plush toys, while others like balls. After they learn the behavior, you will be able to ask them to retrieve anything you ask.
For the purpose of teaching, we will use the case in which your dog has no interest in playing with toys. For now, place the toy on the ground. Initially, you will be marking any sort of interaction with the toy. This could be your dog just looking at the toy. When I talk about marking, I refer to using a clicker or marker word to mark the exact behavior you want and rewarding after with a treat. So, you will wait for your dog to look at the toy. As soon as they do, click and reward.
Continue doing this until your dog is reliably looking at the toy for a reward. Once they have this down, it is time to hold out and ask them to do something with the toy. This usually comes from the dog getting frustrated that their reward is not happening. Most dogs at this stage will nose the toy or touch the toy with their foot. When this occurs, mark and reward. This is now what you require before they are rewarded.
Now, I hold the toy in my hand and place it near their face. If they weren't previously nosing the toy, this is when you will require it. Wait until the dog sniffs the toy and then mark and reward.
For the next steps, you will continue to grow from here. Again, once your dog is nose touching the toy, hold out on the reward. Your dog will then get frustrated and try and mouth the toy. Immediately mark and reward this.
Once they are mouthing the toy, I will put it back on the ground in front of me. I will ask them to pick the toy up, and then I will place my hand under the toy and mark and reward when they put it in my hand. From here, you are ready to start increasing the distance that you place the toy from you. Remember to do this gradually and keep your requirements for getting the reward. Eventually, your dog will be willing to pick up anything you ask and place it in your hand for their reward.
Returning with the Toy
This exercise's primary goal is to show your dog that fun comes from playing with you with the toy - no matter what type of toy!
Get four to five toys that your dog enjoys playing with and set them in a circle. Outside, in a fenced area is best for this. If you don't have access to an enclosed outside area, an ample space inside will work.
Start playing with your dog with one of the toys. Be very exciting and act like this is the best game in the world. When your dog is really into the play, you should take off running to the next toy.
If your dog follows you, start playing with the new toy with them, again remembering to be super exciting. If your dog stays playing with the first toy, you should start playing with the new toy. This is when it is essential to act like you are having the best time playing with this toy.
Eventually, your dog won't be able to stand it and will come to join in the fun. Continue this exercise, running from toy to toy. If you do this exercise a couple of times a week, your dog will learn that you bring the fun and not the toy!
If you have any questions about your German Shepherd Care, please contact us.
Ranelle & Shell Abbott
Abbott's German Shepherds