Free Feeding: Why It’s a Bad Idea for Your German Shepherd Puppy

When and how to feed their German Shepherd puppy is a question that many new owners have. Answering every element of that question takes time and the answer may vary from dog to dog, but the one thing that applies to any dog, but especially to a large – or soon to be large – dog like a black and red German Shepherd is that ‘free feeding’ should never be an option.

‘Free feeding’ is a term that refers to the practice of leaving food out for an animal at all times, even if it is ‘just’ a harmless bowl of kibble to ensure, in the owner’s mind, that their canine companion never goes hungry especially if no one is home. It is an easy way of doing things for the owner, just top off the bowl before they head to work and Puppy should be fine all day. It is less of a good thing for the German Shepherd puppy though, and in fact it can be a very bad thing.

Try thinking of it in terms of your children. Would you leave them all day with open access to all the food they want? No, of course you would not. Meal times are set and only the occasional snack is allowed. It’s all a part of good discipline and teaching healthy eating practices.

So why should it be any different for a ‘fur kid’? As they are highly intelligent, German Shepherds can get bored rather easily and like humans if the food is there they will eat it, not necessarily because they are hungry, but because they have nothing else to do. And just like a human, if the practice continues the dog will become overweight and sluggish.

Even if your pup does not gain excess weight there are other reasons why free feeding should be ‘taken off the menu’. For example, one of the earliest signs of a number of serious ailments in dogs in general is a sudden loss of appetite. How are you ever going to notice such a thing though if several members of the household are in the habit of filling up the food bowl when it starts to look empty? Chances are that everyone will simply assume that someone else filled up the food when it is has actually gone untouched for some time and by the time everyone figures out that is not the case it may be too late.

Then there is the sanitary aspect of things. Would you leave your own food out all day, where it can easily also become a meal for flies and other flying critters who carry all kinds of bacteria with them? There are even tales of animals like raccoons learning to crawl their way through pet doors because they have discovered that there is a constant source of food waiting for them just behind it.

Finally there is the matter of discipline. If you want to integrate your German Shepherd into the family, the way that most owners do, then they need rules as much as all of the human members of the household do. Mealtimes should, as far as possible, be a set time affair for everyone, including the dog.

Read Amazing Story – A Life Saving Friend for Life

Gideon with footballDr. Peter Banfe

I wanted to send you a quick e-mail to thank-you and update you on a puppy that you helped me purchase from Germany about 4 years ago. He is a big beautiful super intelligent boy named Gideon. You helped me pick out a pup in hopes that he would alert to seizures before they happen. He does his job quite well! He alerted for the first time at nine months.

He’s now four years old and gives me about thirty minutes. My seizures are well controlled about 85% of the time. I can go for several months and do great but hit a cluster of several weeks where I struggle.

Thanks to Gideon, I can keep my license and independence. I also taught Gideon to search for my cell phone, alert for help, and help with balance if needed. He’s a wonderful wonderful dog.

Gideon R.E.A.D.In addition to being a practical asset, we are very heavily involved in our local therapy dog program. He tolerates the nursing homes while chomping on a favorite toy but absolutely thrives on the many programs that we have in our local elementary programs throughout the year! His favorite thing in the world is to play with children. : )

Gideon swimming

Removing a Tick from a German Shepherd the Right Way

Removing a Tick from Your German Shepherd’s Skin the Right Way

Dogs, especially larger, active dogs like German Shepherd puppies, love to get out and exercise and in reality doing so is essential for their overall health and wellbeing. The summer is an exceptionally good time for dogs and their owners as the walks that can be such a chore in the colder months become far more pleasant when the sun is shining and in many areas there is plenty of lush green summer foliage to explore and enjoy.

Something else that enjoys all of this warm weather though is the tick. And as many treatments, powders and flea collars you might have taken the precaution of providing your GSD with the odd tick may very well still latch on to your pet in an attempt to score itself a nice nourishing meal. Once there they are notoriously hard to remove, but doing so as quickly as possible is a must. There is a right and wrong way to go about removing a tick though, both for your dog’s safety and your own. Here are a few tips:

Glove Up

Before you attempt to remove the tick you need to think of your own safety as well. Don a pair of rubber gloves before you begin the ‘operation’, as the infective agents ticks carry can easily enter your own bloodstream through small nicks, cuts or grazes or through the mucous membranes (eyes, nose or mouth if you happen to inadvertently touch them.)

Enlist a Helping Hand

As previously mentioned, removing a tick is not easy and it is very likely that your pup will object to all of the poking and prodding and try to squirm away. If at all possible enlist a second pair of hands to calm and distract them while you work so that the ordeal can be over as quickly as possible.

The Actual Removal

Before beginning you should gather a few supplies; rubbing alcohol, tweezers and some kind of lidded receptacle, preferably a jar, to put the tick into once it is removed. Once you have located the tick using your tweezers grab the pesky tick as close to your dog’s skin as possible and pull upwards in one swift, decisive movement, immediately placing the critter in the jar.

Never twist or jerk the tick as, besides causing extra discomfort for your pet you run the risk of leaving behind the tick’s ‘mouth parts’ in the skin or of having it regurgitate those infectious fluids.

Once the tick is removed cleanse the bitten area with rubbing alcohol. Keep an eye on the bite for the next several days and if it becomes red and inflamed or you notice any change in your black and red German Shepherd’s health or behavior the best course of action is to take them to the vet for a check up. It may also be a good idea to hang on to that jarred tick as should your dog become ill having the creature available for testing will help in your pet’s treatment a great deal.

Hot Weather Health Tips for Your German Shepherd

Hello German shepherd dogs and German shepherd puppies lovers:

Sadly, once again this summer there have already been a number of harrowing stories highlighted in the media about the fate of dogs left alone in a hot car, and even a few about concerned citizens taking matters into their own hands to free a distressed animal.

Any truly responsible pet owner knows that leaving their dog, especially a larger breed dog such as a German Shepherd, in a hot car, even a ventilated one, for as little as a few minutes can be dangerous for their pet and should be avoided whenever possible. There are some other dangers associated with the hot weather and the summer season that are sometimes less obvious to even the most doting of pet parents. Here are just a few of the things that you should be aware of as the temperatures continue to rise.

Dehydration Dangers

Many German Shepherds and German Shepherd puppies love spending time outdoors in the summer with their human family. Just like those humans though, even if pets are simply enjoying a little lazy time in the back yard they need easy access to a nice cool drink as and when they need it. They should also have a shady spot to retreat to that still offers plenty of airflow. That means under a shady tree or even sheltered by a canopy if no such thing exists in your yard rather than being cooped up in a kennel.

It is possible for even the healthiest of dogs to suffer from heat stroke and dehydration, especially if they are stubborn about ceasing playtime to drink their water. Warning signs that your German Shepard is really suffering in the heat include excessive panting, an increased heart rate or breathing pattern, disorientation and/or excessive lethargy. If you observe any of things get your pet back into a cool indoor environment as soon as possible and make a call to your vet to obtain professional advice.

Pool Rules

Another thing that lots of German Shepherds enjoy in the summer is swimming. They should not be allowed to take a dip unsupervised, even in the backyard pool. Not every dog is a great swimmer at first, so a floatation device is a good idea for a first timer. Even a strong swimming pup can over exert themselves having a little too much fun so there should always be a watchful human eye nearby.

If your pup is swimming in chlorinated water rinse them off when they get out so that the chemicals do not irritate their skin or damage their fur. Also try to limit the amount of pool water they drink, as chlorine can cause a nasty tummy upset.

Watch Where They Walk

The next time you are out in the street on a hot day, take your shoes off for a moment. Chances are that the hot pavement, especially if that pavement is asphalt, will burn your tootsies pretty quickly. That is how it feels for your dog almost from the first moment they ‘set paw’ on it.  To help make your dog’s summer more enjoyable, and save their paws from unnecessary pain, try to limit their walks and exercise to grassy areas or at very least to shady sidewalks that are out of the sun.

I hope this is useful. We at Banffy Haus German Shepherds want you to has a great life with your German shepherd puppies.

Cleaning Dogs Ears

Hello German shepherd puppies and dogs owners: This is Dr. Banfe of Banfe Haus German Shepherds. Below are some pointers on cleaning your dogs ears taken from an article I wrote on the k-9 college, with an important addition.  Caveat: If your dogs ears are flapped over and not yet erect, please make certain to get the ears dried out. Moisture is a great environment for yeast and other infections. Ear Cleaning Ear infections can be painful and uncomfortable for your German shepherd dog. Simply cleaning them can be a proactive way to minimize these problems that can not only cause discomfort and related illness, but hearing loss for your best friend. Here are some simple steps to mitigate any kind of repercussions from dirty ears:

  1. Check ears at least once a week looking for wax and dirt build up. If you see dark dried crust it might be a good idea to take your friend in to the vet for a look.
  2. Clean the ears at least once a month. Some do it every week. But I would say, barring filthy build up, once a month should be fine.
  3. To clean the ears:
    1. Get an ear solution from the vet or a pet store. I just use a diluted solution of alcohol, water and white vinegar.
    2. Get some cotton which can be rolled into 3 or 4 inch narrow tubes
    3. Saturate one tube with the solution.
    4. Twist the tube down into the ear, and keep twisting when it is down in to catch wax build up. Then grasp the ear at the base gently, pulling out the tube.
    5. Do this until the cotton tube you insert comes out fairly clean.
    6. Take a cotton pad and saturate it and wipe inside the ear making sure to clean the folds. Clean and wipe until the pad comes out clean.
    7. FINALLY: Saturate some cotton and squeeze a little liquid into the ear.
    8. Then quickly grab the base of the ear and squeeze and massage it. You should hear the squishy sound of the liquid. Do this for about 15 seconds.
    9. Step back and let your German Shepherd shake. And watch out. Sometimes he/she will shake wax out of the ear.

This process usually does a great job cleaning the ear. The rotated cotton tubes usually catch a lot of wax instead of just pushing it deeper, and the liquid massage loosens a lot of the wax. Also, the solution will change the PH balance of the ear making it hard for a yeast infection to set in. For German shepherd puppies, be very gentle when cleaning deep inside, and rub gentle on the folds. For significant build up, you may have to repeat this on consecutive days. But then the health of your friend is very important. I hope this has been helpful to all the German shepherd puppies and dogs friends that we have at Banffy Haus German Shepherds.

Banffy Haus Secrets

Hello German Shepherd Puppies lovers:

I wrote this short helpful top 7 list for you, our Banffy Haus clients and other German shepherd puppies lovers regarding dog behavior.  I hope it is helpful.   Here are the first three.  The next blog will have the last four.  Please note that these are general rules and one must understand ones own dog to properly determine levels of reward and punishment, duration of training as well as the proper rewards and punishments for your specific dog.

The Seven Simple R’s for Dog Behavioral Integration

R’S FOR A HAPPY HOME

By Dr. Peter Banfe

  1.  Rules:  Dogs thrive on simple understandable social structure and articulated rules.  Set up rules for the dog and enforce them.  Set these with the family (not on the couch, no rough-housing inside, certain rooms off limit) and enforce them and your dog and you will have a happier dog and family. Example:  Feeding at the table is improper.  It will motivate salivation and begging.  Certain dominance behaviors should be shunned.  For example, excessive licking and jumping up, surging ahead when walking all can be dominance behaviors.
  2. Repetition:  Repeat every day the behavioral rules a number of times.  Dogs learn by repetition. A good time is before a meal, or during a walk.  It is better to focus on one behavior (sitting) multiple times in a session than a number of behaviors once in a session.  And it is a good thing, if you have laid off the training for a while, to refresh the obedience relationship by repeated the repetition ritual.  Always focus one behavior and repeat it many times in a session.  Demand perfection and excellence.  If she is not sitting completely, she is not obeying.  Do it over and over.  And after it is correct once, repeat and repeat.
  3. Reward: Dogs are best rewarded not with human style affection (kisses and hugs),  but with your time and company.  It is a privilege to spend time with the Alpha.  Of course, you can use food or toys, a praise.   But reward must be connected to obedience.  Give nothing for nothing.  It is so important to distinguish between negative and positive reinforcement.  When praising exaggerate profusely.  Use higher pitched vocal tone to simulate excitement.  Also use body language to convey your satisfaction.

I hope these are helpful hints for understanding the behavior of your Banffy Haus German Shepherd puppies.  If you want to read more visit our blog and K9 university.