GSD German Shepherd Rearing
We have the puppies on O’Roy (Wal-mart Premium Brand Food), which is a good quality, reasonably priced feed. We recommend that you stay with this brand till 4 months of age. After 4 months of age, switch over to good quality adult type dog feed, we use Medi-cal Diet which contains chicken first as their listed ingredients.. There are so many good quality pet foods on the market, choose one which is as natural as possible, fresh and fits your budget and availability. If you prefer another brand of food, a gradual change over is best, i.e. blend the two feeds together at first and slowly switch on to the new food over a few days.
We do not recommend that you feed your puppy, puppy chow after 4 months of age.
We do recommend that you supplement your puppy with Vitamin C 500mg daily & Kelp.
When preparing your dog’s meal, it is a good habit to measure out the amount of dry food using a measuring cup. This way you know the exact amount you dog is getting and you are always consistent.
Your puppy should receive three set meals per day and fresh water should always be available. We don’t believe in making food available at all time since this could lead to fussy eaters. However, while growing actively, the puppy should be allowed to eat as much as it wants to at each meal. Also, keep the general appearance of you puppy in mind. If it looks skinny or fat, its diet should be adjusted. It is healthiest to have the puppy little leaner than over weight as it is not as stressful to the growing joints of the puppy.
The puppies are used to receiving softened feed, which we prepare by pouring warm water over it and letting it soak. The soaking should be reduced gradually and quite soon your puppy can eat the dry feed very easily. Once your puppy is about 4 to 6 months old, it can be put on two daily meals. Do not be surprised if the puppy stops eating their lunch meal and goes to two meals daily itself. Our adult dogs still receive two meals per day. One meal a day is not advisable to give to your dog, it is better to feed small amounts over a day rather than one big meal.
The puppies are already used to supplements mixed into the dry feed, such as yogurt, cooked liver chunks, milk, broth, etc. Although this isn’t necessary, they enjoy it greatly and we feel that variety is good for them. Try giving your puppy or dog oatmeal (porridge with crushed flax seed, three times a week. Flax seed is a super supplement for skin and maintaining health. We give our dogs Kelp and Garlic in their meals daily.
Our adult dogs receive a mixture of Medi-cal Adult food (an average grade dry kibble) dry feed and home cooked dog stew. The later is a stew of marrow bones, ground meat or other available meats plus vegetables available in season, such as carrots, squash and potatoes. We try to give our dogs some natural, unprocessed foods as much as possible which can include rice, oats, cornmeal, noodles and bread. (Note: The marrow bones are added for flavor thick strong marrow bones can be given to German Shepherds but make sure that there is no hair line fractures or weakness in the bone. Small bone fragments can cause serious harm, such as a punctured intestine so when giving a German Shepherd a bone watch them as they chew the bone for awhile and take the bone away when it gets too small.) Flaxseed is an excellent source of Omega-3 essential fatty acids, which help to keep the skin and coat in tip top shape, and maintain lower cholesterol levels. Garlic acts as an antibacterial agent and improves the cardiovascular system and may also enhance the immune system functions. It stimulates appetite too. Oatmeal supplies carbohydrates and amino acids, and is a good source of fiber. It is also high in iron.
We try to feed our dogs a natural diet as much as possible along with processed dog food. We feel variety is good for our dogs and they enjoy their meals and have healthy shiny coats.
We feel another important factor to extend your dogs’ life is to not have an obese dog. Keep your dog fit and exercise regularly. German Shepherds are not couch potatoes unless you make them that way. WALK YOUR GERMAN SHEPHERD, KEEP THEM FIT AND DO NOT ALLOW THEM TO GET FAT!!
A word of caution: Never walk your puppy or adult dog right after feeding and avoid other strenuous exercise, such as rough play with other dogs. Bloat can be deadly and if an emergency operation is required, you are looking at a substantial vet fee. Play it safe and allow your dog to rest for about half an hour.
When you receive your puppy it is most likely still very young and it will be growing at great leaps and bounds. Your puppy will love to be played with and this is great for bonding. However, do not overdo it. Once a puppy lies down and wants to rest, let him rest.
When your puppy is a bit older, your can try to take him for short walks. If your puppy seems fearful and does not want to leave its home base, don’t force it. It is most likely in a fearful stage of its development and it is easily scared of new things. In a couple of weeks down the road the puppy will most likely be out of this stage.
Don’t be fooled by your puppy’s large size. It might be already as large as your neighbor’s dog, but your young German Shepherd is still in its rapid growth phase. So if your puppy appears lazy or sluggish during a walk, he is probably exhausted and definitely should not be pushed any further. Otherwise, temporary lameness could easily result. Just be patient a little longer, pretty soon you will be the one who is tiring out on the walks!
The more time you spend on this important task, the quicker your puppy will be housebroken. Ideally, if you could use 100% supervision when your puppy arrives, it should be housebroken in about a week. This of course, is not always possible, so it will probably take a bit longer.
Put your puppy on set meals and make it a habit of taking him outside a few minutes later, as well as first thing in the morning and after longer rests. Soon your puppy will have to urinate and or defecate. Be sure to praise puppy for a job well done. Accidents are bound to happen and your puppy will learn from his mistakes. If the puppy has a mishap, don’t go overboard with punishment and remember that he did not do it out of spite. Also, you will need to catch puppy in the mishap to associate your anger with the misdeed. For instance, if he had an accident a while back and you started yelling at him not much will be accomplished. Also, remember to clean the soiled area well, so that he will not bless the same spot later.
Crate Training Your Puppy
We advise the use of a crate for house training your young puppy, it makes life much easier. The puppy will train faster and it will save your home from the damage during those teething time. The crate should be large enough for your dog to stand up or lie down comfortable. However, if the crate is too large, the puppy might designate a corner as their bathroom area. The puppy will enjoy going into their crate, it is not a punishment but rather a safe, quiet place or bed for the puppy. They cannot get into trouble in the crate. The crate in later life can be used when company is expected, such as when guests come to the home and do not want the puppy jumping all over them. When traveling with your dog, motels require that the pet be in a crate while in the room. The crate protects the dog when you cannot supervise them due to some disturbance in the home such as a large party, lots of children or moving, etc. Your puppy will be accustomed to the crate, but reward the dog with a biscuit upon entry to make it fun for the dog. Example, command Go to your bed then reward the dog once they have entered the crate. They will love this command.
Put the crate in an area where the dog is content, happy and does not feel left out. The crate will be the dog’s bedroom. Do not let your dog or puppy have long, extended times in the crate going beyond 4 hours; it is not fair to the animal. Try to have a routine, so the dog can have an idea when they can be expected to come out of the crate and stick to it. When the dog is out of the crate, let them have fun and lots of play time. Take your dog out for a good walk, provided they are old enough for going on a long walk. Crate training is one of the best things you can do for your dog! Providing your dog with a crate or den is the key to having a happy, healthy pet!