German shepherd dogs can make great family pets, but gsd puppies require proper training and at least a partial raw diet. This article provides some basic information about German shepherds that will help new potential owners decide if the gsd is the right breed for their family.
1. Potty Training. In many ways German shepherd puppies are like any other breed of dog. For instance, puppies will learn fast to hold their business if you crate them rather than allowing them free reign of the entire house. This is due to an instinct your gsd puppy was born with that motivates him to keep his kennel clean. Potty training without a kennel is possible, but the puppy must have free access to his potty spot, and he will not learn how to hold his business as quickly. In this article, potty training and crate training are synonymous.
How to Potty Train a gsd puppy:
- Have a suitable crate. If you buy one that is large in order for the gsd puppy to grow into it, make sure you use the divider or a pillow to take up the excess space so he doesn’t have any room to get away from his business if he were to go potty in the crate. This is all-important, because if the puppy’s instincts don’t tell him that is crate is tight quarters and must be kept clean, he may use a corner for a potty spot.
- He should be kept comfortable with something to play with and chew, but no food or water.
- Let your puppy out of his crate every two hours for the first two weeks. If you are at work and unable to do this, you’ll need to get a puppy sitter to do it for you. It is imperative that the puppy is never forced to hold his business until he has no choice but to soil his den.
- Take the gsd puppy directly outside when you open the crate. Do not linger, play with the dog, answer a phone call, or stop to read a piece of mail. It is very important that the dog is taken directly outside so there is little chance of an accident in the house.
- While outside, say “go potty” or whatever phrase you wish to use. Stick to your phrase and say it lovingly but clearly and with intention.
- When your puppy does his business outside, praise him! Get a little giddy and take it over the top with excitement. Pet him, kiss him, hug him! Tell him he did a great job with a big smile and then go back inside.
- Once inside the puppy should have constant access to water.
2. Feeding German Shepherds German shepherd dogs are closely related to their ancestors, where they hunt their food and eat mostly meat, intestines, bones, and organs. If a German shepherd is fed kibble it’s entire life, it will not get the nutrition it needs for it’s bones and joints. German shepherds are especially prone to hip dysplasia, but feeding at least a partial raw diet can greatly increase the chances that your gsd puppy will not develop this debilitating affliction.
Feeding a raw diet does not have to be complicated. You can feed raw hamburger, chicken with bones, cheap cuts of steak with bones, intestines, hearts, livers, chicken and turkey necks, etc. Find a meat wholesaler who has these types of items as scraps and will sell them to you as inexpensively as possible.
Feed your puppy as much as he can eat in 15 minutes, two times a day. You can give him high quality dog food (kibble) along with his raw food. Do not free feed your gsd puppy with kibble, and especially be wary of kibble with corn or wheat anywhere on the ingredients list. German shepherd dogs are particularly sensitive to corn and wheat and will probably have some sort of reaction to it. This is why many German shepherds become picky or reluctant eaters and owners cannot keep enough weight on them. German shepherd dogs intestines are not meant to digest corn or wheat.
If you would rather feed kibble only because you can’t wrap your brain around the raw diet, find dog food that is corn and wheat free. This will cost more than the cost of cheap cuts of meat, since good kibble is expensive. You will not find it at your local department store, I’ve only ever seen quality dog food on pet store shelves. Ordering it online is a good option.
3. Excercise your gsd DAILY German shepherd puppies are energetic little tyrants! They must have time to romp and play every single day. If you cannot provide the exercise a shepherd requires, don’t buy one.