German Shepherd Care information

Long hair German Shepherd Puppy black and tan puppy, information on care for german shepherds


Suggested diet for your new German Shepherd Puppies

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 any other fillers can be substituted if absolutely necessary)
1 Tb cottage cheese or plain yogurt (optional)
1 tsp olive oil in the summer or cod liver oil in the winter
1 Tb or more water for easy mixing

1 serving of NuVet powder or wafer once a day

Feed this twice a day. Dry kibble and clean drinking water out at all times. Raw chicken wings add a great amount of nutrition to the diet as well as 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 way 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 in the very beginning!
Feed, play and love: he will be loyal, loving companion for many years to come. 

If there is left over food you can put it in the fridged for later and just add a little more water. You can also change the serving size to fit your puppy/dogs needs as necessary.
For questions on 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

Recommened food: Alpha Dog Food is a great product and highly recomened feeding it to your dogs also. The owner if very knowledgeable and helpful when it comes to nutrition and what is best for your dog. If you use the code:agsdogs20 you will get 20% off your purchase. Website: for more information and to place your order.

As I have talked about already each one of my puppies and adults get NuVet everyday to ensure great health, development, and keep them moving well even as they age. ​You can call and order at 800.474.7044 or online at and your order code will be:17398.

Puppy Care

Chewing: We recommend that you get "soup bones". Give a new bone  to your puppy once a week. This bone will taste better than any thing else you own like: chair legs, shoes... If your puppy still seems to have an issue with something, there are products on the market like "Boundary" that you spray on. The raw bone and "Boundary" type product has shown to deter even the toughest of puppies/dogs from unwanted chewing.

Health: We guarantee your puppy is healthy upon delivery. All puppies have received at least 1, 5-way shot and almost always 2 before they leave. They should receive the 5-way shot every three weeks or according to your vet's schedule. At 12 to 16 weeks your  puppy should get a rabies shot. We have also wormed your puppy with two types of wormer. This does not guarantee your puppy has no worms as they do have rather gross habits at this age but the worming we have done coupled with the worming routine recommended by your vet with keep these pesky internal parasites under control. We recommend a fecal being done 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 litter mates then chewing on each other and licking of each other makes the removal of an remaining parasites much easier. As for ticks and fleas: We have been able to naturally deal with this and have very little issue with it. Your puppy is examined by us and the vet before being placed to ensure we are not transferring any of these to your home. 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. The emotional needs of a German Shepherds are great, they will seek to spend time with you. Your bond with them is very important! 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 protozoa that is naturally present in many dogs but causes them no adverse effects until it is stimulated by a stressful situation. We give our puppies a treatment to try to stop this from happening but still is something to be aware of. This is usually only a problem that effects dogs under 6mo. of age so if you are getting on older puppy this 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 in addition to the medication to help the stomach and intestines have time to absorb the medication and relieve the symptoms quickly. There are a couple parasites that can be present in water every where so you should always be aware. If you are a hiker or boater and bring your dog your chances of coming across this is 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 to much to think about" or "I don't want to deal with that sort of stuff" but we believe the more you are informed the more comfortable  we can be, that should something come up, our puppies owners will know that they, with their vet, can take  care of it easily.

House breaking: Our puppy area is set up so that your puppy has an inside space 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 4 wks) they are following mommy outside to potty. You only need to show them the "doggie door" when they get home. Out of nervousness they may have an accident or two but reminding them to go through the door when they look like they may be looking for a spot will help them. Also when they do potty outside give them a special treat to reinforce this good behavior. 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 then we recommend that you have an introduction training when your puppy is first placed so that you can have a plan of action for your puppies house training put into place, you can 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 training, crating, chewing, children with the puppy...we are here for you 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 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 or video that  you could use at home. For those who live close to us we offer inexpensive, individual training of puppies/dogs  or owners with puppies/dogs in a group setting and also in home . No matter what you choose, your puppy is very smart and needs to learn some basic obedience. Your  puppy will be happier and so will you. Training is another great bonding experience we hope you will be sure to plan for.

Grooming: German Shepherds do not require much grooming. We recommend a bath about once a month along with a toenail trim if needed. They need no hair cuts and do not usually require any special products. We have found brushing them once a week is about all they need. This helps remove any loose hair but more importantly your dog will enjoy the individual time and care. If you get a long coat German Shepherd you 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 very important guidelines for your new puppy:

Your puppy comes up to date on shots and worming, not completely inoculated, but socialization is very important. The benefits of socializing your Shepherd during the critical period of 7 – 16 weeks far outweigh the risk of it catching a disease. Many more dogs are put to sleep for bad temperaments than they are for contracting a disease. It’s a good idea to talk to your vets and ask if there have been any recent outbreaks of parvo virus 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 which enable it to recognize whether or not it is being threatened and how to recognize and respond to the intentions of others.

Habituation:  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 it is 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, fearful, and is much more difficult to correct this behavior, since the critical window has passed.

German Shepherds are one particular breed where socialization, habituation and training is 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.

It’s important that your puppy learns good behavior by acting appropriately with other animals and different kinds of people and children.  If you ‘play it smart’ whilst socializing your Shepherd puppy, you greatly reduce the risk of it 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 caught in. There have been cases though, where older dogs, who have been 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 cases of parvo 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. Negative experiences your puppy has 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, it’s crucial you remain as calm as possible. Your reaction can make it worse (say if you scream or console your dog). Your reactions will reinforce their behavior and reactions.

If you heed the advice about how to handle your dog in particular situations below, there should 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 us or a good training group. It is best to do both because the group will give the added aspect of socialization but they will not be able to take the individual time you may need and many time 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 is a representation of its breed. A well-balanced dog is the result of hard work and dedication by the owner. There is no such thing as “problem dogs”. Negative behaviors are always the result of poor leadership, socialization, habituation and training.

As part of your regular 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 any time. As they get bigger it will help you to 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 baby shampoo because it is not a problem if a little gets in the eyes so you can avoid a negative experience. If you are using the vitamins we recommend (NuVet 800-474-7044 order #61927) you will find grooming and bathing to be much easier due to the fact you will not have the issues of itching caused by skin issues. Between the food, Alpha Dog Food, and the vitamins you will also have much less shedding and if your puppy is a long coat you will have very few or even no mats in the hair. The volume of poo in the yard is significantly less than it is on other foods to due to the high digestibility. Along with the behavior of your puppy being your responsibility so is the continued health.

A few hints on socializing & HABITUATING your puppy

Get your puppy focused on YOU when working and socializing. YOU must be the most important 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 consoling or patting him you are telling 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 serious 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 own 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 totally ignore the puppy.  Once he learns that strangers are OK and there is nothing to be afraid of, it 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 of meeting other dogs for a long time to come. 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. Too many people do not have their dog 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.


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, so make sure the dog/pup is well-exercised and stimulated. GSDs are a working breed and were bred to have brains – and to 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 lead or jumping until they are at least 12 months old, because their joints are still growing and over-doing it can cause permanent joint problems. We do everything we can to ensure good solid hips and joins in our breeding but the nutrition and activity of your puppy is greatly affected by your choices and therefor 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. Most people these days are courteous and will put their dogs on 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, are the ones liable, even if their dog didn’t start it! Just 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. During the walk or run, they must still be focused on you 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 that they give it to you immediately. Give verbal encouragement and make things fun for them – if they are food focused, use treats or if they are 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 they 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 different levels of praise, 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 time apart such a big deal. If you do, it 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 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. It’s very important that when raising a puppy with your other dog around that they are taken separately on walks so the puppy can learn how socialize by themselves and not rely on the other dog for confidence.

It’s also a good idea if you are not at home, to leave a bone or a toy like a Kong with food stuffed in it. They’ll be occupied and busy for a while!


No pulling on lead: Don’t allow the puppy to pull on the lead. The Pack Leader walks in front. Walk with 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 accept a reasonable measure of control and when young children or elderly people 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.

Getting up on couches or beds: What’s cute as a puppy is not cute at 50 to 100 lbs.! Don’t encourage behaviors that you don’t want the dog to do when it is 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 and he/she ignores it: 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 will not take you seriously and they think they are the Pack Leader. If commands keep getting ignored, you can use different methods or a combination of methods 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 and 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 outside 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 very good.  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 doesn’t come for free! We are not saying don't love on your new one, just that you should ask for something even just sit first so they are seeing that obedience and proper behavior is expected and appreciated.

If the dog is in your way and not moving – walk right through it: 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 truly hope this is helpful. Make sure to set up your first training consultation at about 10-12 weeks to make sure 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 prevent the 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 are going to use what trainers call “shaping,” that is, allowing your dog to figure out how to perform a behavior with minimal help from you. 

Shaping Fetch

First you want to initially pick a toy that your dog is willing to put in their 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 may be your dog just looking at the toy.  When I talk about marking, I am referring 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 else with the toy.  This usually comes from the dog getting frustrated that their reward is not coming.  Most dogs at this stage will nose the toy or touch the toy with their foot.  When this occurs, mark it 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 nose touching 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 are going to 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 place 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

The main goal of this exercise 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. But if you don’t have access to an enclosed outside area, then a large space inside will work too. 

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, then you should start playing with the new toy by yourself.  This is when it is really important 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 join in the fun.  Continue this exercise, running from toy to toy.   If you do this exercise a couple 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