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HEY EVERYONE, BELOW WE HAVE LISTED A LOT OF INFORMATION AND TRAINING TIPS TO HELP YOU WITH YOUR GERMAN SHEPHERD PUPPY.
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By Yasmine Ali, M.D.Jul 02, 2020
A well-trained German Shepherd Dog (GSD) is a joy to live with, one of many reasons why this is America’s second-most popular dog breed. Making sure you bring out the best of this remarkable breed starts with puppy training, when your GSD is most impressionable.
Puppies of all breeds have a critical socialization window that closes at 12 to 16 weeks of life, and your GSD puppy is no exception. In fact, for GSDs, who by nature are protective guardians, socialization is extra important so that your puppy learns which strangers are friendly and not a threat.
GSDs are very observant, and your puppy will pick up on your cues and reactions around new people and new situations. During this critical period, having exposure to many different kinds of people in non-threatening situations will help your puppy be confident among friendly strangers rather than fearful or aggressive. And even during times of social and physical distancing, you can still socialize your puppy safely.
Proper socialization cannot be overemphasized for this breed; as Adams notes, “The foundation for most training is confidence. It is critical that the GSD puppy is well socialized from an early age onward. Safely exposing the puppy to new sights, sounds, and smells is absolutely critical for development. Good socialization translates to confidence.”
Certified dog trainer and CGC evaluator Jacqui Foster, CPDT-KA, echoes this sentiment: “I tend to lean more towards developing self-confidence in the puppy. For this I recommend short, fun, three-minute games that engage the puppy with the owner as well as in noises, weird and uneven surfaces, family members, etc., throughout the day. A confident puppy is a happy puppy.”
During this period, be sure to expose your GSD to the many different elements of daily life and routines you will want them to take in stride as adults. For instance, GSDs need regular grooming to control shedding and maintain coat and skin health, particularly during those seasonal times (usually twice a year) when these dogs “blow their coats.” So you should introduce your puppy to basic grooming tools, like combs, brushes, and nail clippers, early on—going slowly at first and making it a fun experience.
This is also a good time for crate training, which Adams recommends as well. GSD trainer and dog sports enthusiast Alexa Hagood, LVMT, agrees: “Crate breaks, even when brief, can help the puppy become acclimated to going in the crate and having some alone time.” She notes that this can help reduce the risk of a puppy developing separation anxiety, and recommends beginning with using the crate for feeding times (for five to ten minutes inside the crate), and at times when the owner needs to do daily chores.
Crate training is an invaluable tool for facilitating housetraining, which almost all GSDs take to quickly and easily. In fact, many GSD owners will find that this is one of the easiest breeds to housetrain, as long as constant supervision and consistency are provided.
The German Shepherd Dog’s work ethic is legendary, and you can encourage your dog’s best working traits with early and ongoing training. GSDs excel at obedience, so begin teaching your puppy basic commands like sit, down, and stay, as well as loose-leash walking, from an early age. Enrolling in a puppy obedience class can be extremely helpful both for teaching these commands as well as socialization, and it’s not too early to begin thinking about CGC training as well.
Begin teaching your GSD to come when called as soon as possible. It takes a lot of time, practice, and patience to get a reliable recall, but this skill is well worth it, as it is one that may save your dog’s life one day.
Learning to control their impulses is important for all puppies, and for the GSD, it can be one of the most important ways to curb problem behaviors to which this breed is prone if allowed to become bored: behaviors such as excessive barking, digging, aggressive chewing, and inappropriate chasing (due to their prey drive, GSDs have been known to chase everything from cats to cars).
The key to impulse control is getting your dog to focus on you. This will have beneficial effects for all the rest of your training efforts, especially in AKC dog sports like Obedience and Rally.
Require that your puppy sit before getting food, playing with an exciting toy, going outside to play, or any other favorite activity. As your GSD puppy advances in obedience training and knows more commands, you can require more advanced commands or tricks in order to receive treats or play From 9 Months to 24 Months
Dogs of different breeds and sizes mature at different ages, and while one year of age is commonly considered the end of puppyhood in general, a German Shepherd Dog may not reach an adult level of maturity before the age of two or three (and males tend to reach this stage later than females). So continuing to work on impulse control, improve obedience skills, and advance to training in more focused activities like tracking, scent work, protection work, agility, and herding—all of which (and more) are capabilities of this breed—must continue throughout this period and then be reinforced as your GSD reaches adulthood.
Keep in mind that this is a breed that thrives on constant and consistent work and training, and loves to have a job—or many jobs!—to do. If you can provide your GSD with outlets for their intelligence and versatility, both you and your dog will reap the rewards.
Yasmine S. Ali, MD, is a cardiologist and writer based in Tennessee, where she lives with three Canine Good Citizens, including an AKC-registered German Shepherd Dog.
How old was your dog when he was neutered? It is becoming increasingly common to see puppies in shelters and rescue groups being neutered at very young ages, sometimes as young as seven weeks old. Clearly preventing unwanted litters is important and generally the driving force behind puppies being neutered early. But are there any long-term health problems linked to early neutering?
Previously vets weren’t recommending puppies to be neutered before six months of age but in recent years this is shifting. Dr. Tory Waxman, Chief Veterinary Officer and co-founder of human-grade dog food brand Sundays for Dogs, Inc. explained that the neutering of puppies known as “pediatric neutering” is increasingly common particularly with shelters and rescues “with the goal of preventing unwanted litters and subsequent pet overpopulation.” Dr. Waxman notes that “while there is understandably motivation to prevent overpopulation, pediatric spay/neuter does not come without risks.”
One of the primary concerns associated with neutering young puppies is that the neutering procedure not only removes your puppy’s ability to reproduce (usually the goal) but you are also impacting a dog’s hormones. This shift in hormones can have an impact on a dog’s temperament and behavior when they reach adulthood. Many people opt for early neutering hoping to prevent some of the more challenging or unwanted behaviors that can be associated with unneutered dogs including marking, humping etc. However, early neutering can backfire in terms of your dog’s behavior. Dr. Waxman noted that early neutering when dogs are still puppies has been shown to lead to an increase in aggression.
Dr. Waxman explains that neutering early “can predispose certain breeds to cancers more commonly seen in altered individuals (such as lymphoma and bone cancer).” In addition, one of the primary reasons to delay neutering is to protect your dog’s growing joints. “Puppies that were altered at a young age may be predisposed to orthopedic issues in addition to certain types of cancer” Dr. Waxman explained. Particularly for large breed puppies, and giant breed puppies, early neutering can have significant impacts on the orthopedic development of these dogs which can lead to life-long complications, pain, and injuries. “In general, current research suggests that spaying or neutering large breed dogs at a younger age puts them at a higher risk for cancer and orthopedic issues as compared to their small breed counterparts” Dr. Waxman advises. Neutering early means that it will take longer for a dog’s growth plates to close, which can mean they will grow taller, and can be at an increased risk of injury during this growing period. Regardless of when your dog is neutered, “it is important to wait until growth plate closure before starting any intense activity (running long distances, agility, etc.)” advises Dr. Waxman.
The best age to neuter is going to mostly be based on your dog’s breed and size. “It is important to weigh the benefits and risks of timing spaying and neutering with your veterinarian” encourages Dr. Waxman. The larger breed of puppy you have the longer you will likely want to wait before neutering, with some veterinarians not recommending neutering giant breed puppies until they are well over a year old. As always consult with your veterinarian about what neutering age is going to be right for your dog.
Neutering dogs as young puppies comes with risk, but eventually getting your puppy neutered is important. Beyond the risk of accidental litters being born, neutering removes the risk of testicular cancer. In addition, neutering dogs has been shown to significantly reduce a dog’s risk of developing prostate disease. If you are concerned about unplanned litters an alternative to early neutering is canine vasectomies. A vasectomy makes it impossible for the dog to reproduce, but also preserves the hormones. In these cases, castration can happen later to prevent testicular disease.
One of the primary reasons for neutering, and for neutering early is to prevent unwanted litters of puppies from being born. Dr. Waxman notes that “to my knowledge, there is no conclusive evidence that early spay/neuter has a large impact on population control. Unfortunately, even with early spay/neuter, pet overpopulation is still a major concern.” However, delaying neutering does have some added challenges and increased responsibility for dog guardians. Dogs who have not yet been neutered will tend to get over excited/aroused by the scent of a female dog who might be in heat. Additionally, unneutered male dogs may be more tempted to get out of your yard or dart out the door to roam if they catch the scent of a female dog in heat. This requires extra care, attention and management to keep your young dog safe as he matures before being neutered.
If you have adopted a puppy and the puppy is already neutered, that doesn’t mean your puppy will automatically have negative behavior or health issues. Talk with your dog’s vet about anything you can do to support your puppy’s orthopedic health as they continue to grow. Dr. Waxman advised that your vet may recommend your puppy who was neutered at a young age “remain on a puppy-specific diet for a longer period of time which should be discussed with your veterinarian.” It’s also a good idea to schedule a training session with a positive reinforcement-based trainer in your area to get a sense of your dog’s current temperament, training goals/objectives. This will help you to be ready to proactively work through any behavior challenges which may arise because of or be exacerbated by early neutering.
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Potty training a German Shepherd puppy doesn’t need to be stressful.
When pups are born they eat, poop and pee in the den. Thanks to mom the den is never smelly or unhygienic. Part of mom’s job is to clean up the mess.
The benefit of this is conditioning to keep ‘clean living quarters’ has already begun.
One downside of owners taking pups at 6 or 8 weeks is they never learn from mom to ‘do their business outside’.
But it’s not a train smash, it’s just up to you to teach your new German Shepherd puppy where the appropriate place is to relieve herself.
Dogs are context bound. This means once they learn a habit they’ll keep doing it.
For example: if a puppy learns to poop and pee on the grass instead of your paved driveway she’ll always go on the grass.
Your German Shepherd’s tummy is ‘well-oiled’ and efficient.
This is great news for you!
Anywhere between 10 and 30 minutes after eating your pup will want to go to the loo.
All you have to do is feed at regular times and clock-watch.
At approximately 20 days your German Shepherd puppy is able to control her bodily functions. In other words, she’ll eliminate when necessary.
At 8 to 16 weeks your pup can only hold her pee for approximately 2 hours. Take her out every hour to be safe.
By the time your pup is 16 weeks, she’ll be able to hold her pee for at least 4 hours.
From 6 months she’ll hold her pee for up to 4 hours.
Get Access to My Daily Schedule and Using only positive methods and never punishment.
How to potty train a German Shepherd puppy is influenced by your attitude in a BIG way. Attitude will influence how long it takes and how successful the training will be.
Puppies and adult dogs take a lot of cues from our voice and body language. Rushing your puppy or distracting her with your voice could make her nervous and prevent her from ‘doing her business’.
Stay relaxed and avoid verbal encouragement.
Your German Shepherd puppy will need to ‘go potty’ first thing in the morning, after eating, when waking up from a nap and usually after playing.
Set a routine according to these needs and she’ll learn the process in no time.
Rewarding your puppy each time she gets it right will encourage her to keep doing the right thing.
You can reward with a treat or affection. This depends on which your pup wants more of.
I use a mixture to avoid my pup from becoming too attached to treats.
If your puppy has an accident inside don’t punish her.
So no raised voice or shouting. Punishment will cause negative feelings towards natural body functions. She might even find sneaky places inside to use as her toilet, which you want to avoid at all costs.
Although you can easily teach your German Shepherd puppy to use pee pads or paper, it only complicates potty training.
Well, because at some point they will need to be transitioned from pee pads or paper to outside. So essentially you’re adding an extra step to potty training. This can cause confusion and potty training accidents.
Rather go for gold and get your pup conditioned to using their toilet outside!
You will need to sacrifice some sleep for a while. We can’t expect our pups to ‘keep it in’ for longer than they can. If accidents are happening at night, you should take your pup out more often.
Accidents will happen, but the more your pup has potty accidents in her personal space, the more comfortable she’ll become doing it. You really want to avoid this at all costs.
Access to new spaces depends on whether your pup is performing well with potty training. If she’s having accidents around the house, allowing her more access is setting her and yourself up for failure.
In general, with training, if a puppy makes a mistake it’s an opportunity to learn. But with potty training, you really want to avoid giving your puppy the opportunity to eliminate inside.
There are some common mistakes that could make potty training your German Shepherd puppy go less smoothly than you intend. Watch out for these little things…
Winter months can put a major strain on potty runs. When temp dip below freezing, you might need to be more insistent when taking your pooch out to do their business.
And when it’s bitterly cold out, who can blame them for holding their pee for longer than they should? Or for declining invitations to go for a potty run?
The problem is that the longer your pooch holds their pee, the more chance there is for bacteria build-up. And when your dog’s immune system can no longer fight the bacteria, a UTI can set in.
Some vets have noted an increase in Urinary Tract Infections during the icy-cold months of winter.
Potty training should not be stressful, it is a time of bonding. Your pup is learning house rules to ensure happy co-existence of you and pup for a long time to come.
She’s also learning to trust you, an important foundation for further training.
GSD is an abbreviation that stands for German Shepherd Dog.
Temperament refers to the personality traits and innate characteristics of any given dog.
A pedigree is the record of descent of an animal, showing it to be purebred. A pedigree contains information regarding a specific dog's ancestors and may include information on health testing and titles. A dog's pedigree is essentially a family tree, showcasing his or her relatives.
Measured by a given dogs resilience, ability to withstand stress and mental stability in the face of things that are potentially unnerving.
Thresholds refer to the amount of stimulation required to activate a dog in various drives. Evaluated as low, medium or high thresholds.
Innate genetic attributes or driving forces that motivate or compel a dog to take action. Drives include prey, defense, hunt, fight, etc. Commonly evaluated as low, medium or high.
The desire to seek out an object and search for it relentlessly despite distractions, environment and length of time.
Stemming from prey drive, ball drive refers to the dog's desire to play with or work for a ball or other toy.
Prey drive is the instinctual desire to chase a moving object then capture and/or kill it.
A dog's innate desire to protect itself, but also their young, their food, their pack, and their territory from a perceived threat.
The desire of a dog to acquire and maintain a position of dominance (dominant rank) both inside and out of their pack. It is the desire to improve their social standing.
The desire to interact and socialize with members of its pack. An independent dog would be considered low pack drive whereas a high pack drive dog is the one who would rather play with their handler than by themselves. Commonly evaluated as low, medium or high.
A dog's desire to dominate, control and overpower an opponent.
The dog's willingness and ability to overcome stress and distraction, or the dog's ability to recover after a correction or bad experience.
Refers to a dog that is willing to engage a human/threat without equipment being present (such as a bite suit or protection sleeve).
Refers to suspicion and inclinations towards individuals both inside and outside of a given dog's pack. Social aggression is also the willingness to accept a challenge and fight.
Aggression directed towards the handler (person), especially when the dog is pushed or corrected.
An abnormal response to a normal situation, can manifest in varying degrees of intensity. Reactivity is a symptom of a potential issue with any of (or a combination of) the following: temperament, thresholds, drives, nerves, etc.
aAD: Aus dauerprufing, endurance test.
BH: Basic companion dog - traffic sureness.
B or BH Begleithunde: the preliminary and prerequisite test for a dog going on to get his/her Schutzhund titles. A combination temperament and obedience test. B and BH are used interchangeably.
WH: Watch Dog.
CD: Companion dog. The first of five working qualifications, each of increasing difficulty,
awarded to dogs gaining a certain percentage of total marks at working trials.
CDEX: CD Excellent.
DH: Dienshund, service dog.
Gebrauchshundklasse: Working dog class-the only class available for animals over two/in Germany.
HGH: Herdengebrauchshund, herding dog- a qualification of dogs working with flocks.
TD: Tracking dog. Qualification title for nose work.
FH: Fahrtenhund, tracking qualification.
FH1: Advanced tracking.
FH2: Superior tracking qualification.
UD: Utility dog. Working Qualification.
ZH: Zollhund, dog trained to work with customs police.
SchH1: Novice Schutzhund qualification in tracking, obedience, and protection.
SchH2: Intermediate Schutzhund qualification in tracking, obedience, and protection.
SchH3: Masters level of Schutzhund tracking, obedience, and protection.
SchHA: A limited SchH title, similar to SchH I but without the tracking portion.
IPO1: International Novice Schutzhund trial qualification.
IPO2: International Intermediate Schutzhund.
IPO3: International Masters level Schutzhund.
BpDH1 2: Railroad Police Dog.
BIH: Blind Leader Dog.
LwH: Lawinen Hund-Avalanche Dog.
DH: Service Dog.
DPH: Service Police Dog.
PH Polizehund: Police Dog.
INT Internationale Prufungsklasse: International Training Degree.
BPDH I, II - Bannpolizeidiensthund I or II: Railroad Police Service Dog I or II.
GrH - Grenzen Hund: Border Patrol Dog.
PFP I, II - Polizeifaehrtenhund I, II: Police Tracking Dog I or II.
PSP I, II - Polizeischutzhundprufung I, II: Police Protection Dog I or II.
Bundeslestunggssieger: German National Working Dog Champion awarded at the Bundessiegerprufung.
Huntesieger: Herding Dog Champion at the German Herding Dog Championships.
HT: Herding Tested.
HC: Herding Champion.
M.H. militar hund: Military Dog.
S.H. sanitats hund: Red Cross Dog.
Kr.H. kriegshund: War Dog.
German Conformation titles:
ZB-Zuchtbewertung: Conformation Show Rating followed by:
VA -Vorzuglich Auslese: Excellent Select,the highest attainable award by a German show dog and granted only at the annual Sieger Show.
V - Vorzuglich: Excellent.
SG - Sehr Gut: Very Good; an official German show grade and the highest obtainable by
dogs under two.
G - Gut: Good.
A - Austreichend: Sufficient.
M - Mangelhaft: Faulty.
U - Ungenugend: Insufficient.
Jugendklasse-ruden: Youth class for males of twelve to eighteen months at German shows.
Jugendklasse-hundinnen: The corresponding class for bitches.
Sieger or siegerin: Title given to the top Male and Female at the German National Show,
they will also receive the rating of VA-1
Weltsieger: World Seiger title awarded to the top dog at the FCI All Breed Show.
Europasieger: Conformation winner at the European All Breed Show.
Bundeszuchtsieger: Conformation winner at the German National All Breed Show.
European Conformation Titles
CHIB: International FCI-Show Champion
CACIB-certificates on a international dogshow in two differentcountries given under two different judges
CAC: certificat from an FCI international dogshow
Angulations: The angles at which bones of shoulder and upper arm meet at the shoulder
joint, and those of upper and lower thigh meet at the knee joint.
AKC: American Kennel Club.
CKC: Canadian Kennel Club.
Washed out: Marked palling of color and pigment in nose and nail.
Monorchid: A dog possessing one testicle.
Bloodline: Animals sharing a specific familly relationship over several generations.
SV: Schaferhund Verein, GSD Society of West Germany.
Sable: A gray, brown or fawn foundation color with black- shaded guard hairs. (Wolf like colorings).
Korung: German breed survey to select animals for breeding. Class 1 animals recommended,
Class 2 animals suitable.
KK1: Korklasse, survey class.
Inbreeding: Deliberate mating together of close relatives.
High withered: When the area where the neck runs into the back is definite, long and
well filled in with muscle over the vertebrae between the shoulder blades,
and slopes into the back, rather than being on the same horizontal with
Dew claws: Additional toes on inside of the leg above the foot and making no contact with ground. Many puppies are born without them on the rear legs.
Cow hocked: The dog stands and moves with the point of hock turned inwards.
Croup: The pelvis together with covering of muscle and coat.
Entire: Having both testicles in the scrotum.
TT: Temperament Tested.
TC: Temperament Certified.
OFA: Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (Hip Certification in U.S.).
OVC: Ontario Veterinary College (Hip Certification in Canada).
CGC: The dog has a Canine Good Citizen certificate.
Penn HIP: Developed at University of Pennsylvania (USA) The procedure measures hip joint laxity; it does not grade a passing or failing score. Loose hips are more prone to developing degenerative joint disease. (See OVC, OFA, "a stamp").
SV Verein für Deutsche Schäferhunde: (German Shepherd Dog Club) The original GSD breed club and breed registry, based in Germany.
TSB Triebveranlagung: fighting drive.
ZW Zuchtwert: ZW-value — Zuchtwert evaluation — is a Breed Value Assessment - a number assigned that gives an indication of the genotype of the dog for breeding purposes.
KKLI: Korklasse I, Breed surveyed recommended to breeding- Koer Class rating which states that the dog has been breed surveyed and found to be breeding quality.
KKLII: Korklasse II, Breed surveyed suitable for breeding.
Lbz - Lebenszeit: Lifetime rating.