Your German Shepherd Puppy Import: What to Expect

Hello German shepherd puppies lovers:

For all of you importing a puppy from Germany through us and those of you planning to import one through another breeder, see my new article on Importing German shepherd puppies.

There are actually many things to know.  This article goes over everything including the process of travel, the health, what to bring to the airport, paperwork etc.

I hope this is a help to you.  You can see it by clicking on “Your German shepherd Import puppy-what to expect“.  Also, visit our German Shepherd K9 University by clicking on “GSD K9 U“.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How big is too big? When to STOP puppy food.

Hello German shepherd puppies lovers:

I have so many people calling me to ask if their puppy is too big and if they should stop puppy food.  This is a difficult question.  First let us look at the breed standard and then give some useful benchmarks to to use in making that decison.

For males, height ranges from 60-65 centimeters adn 66-88 pounds.  For females the height is 55-60 (5 cm or 2 inches at the withers…shoulder blade area) and weight at 48-70 pounds.  So the maximum weight for a male it around 88, although they may get to be 90-95 at maturity (4-6 years old), MAX.  An 80 pound female is over standard and may be overweight.  But this is where it takes more discernment.

Frame is very important.  If a dog is over standard in height then it will likely be overstandard in weight.  If a dog is mid-standard in height it should likely be mid-standard in weight.  When dogs are obese is when they have a weight grossly inconsistent with their frame height.

American always seem to want to buy by the pound.  They think they are getting a better deal when getting more pound for the dollar.  But oversize shepherds are more prone to joint problems. They move less characteristically, I would say less gracefully.  They can, if much larger than the standard, start exhibiting characteristics of gigantism:  Drooping jowls, different bone structure in the face, atypical gait, etc.  Shepherds are not a giant breed.   For years the Germans have allowed “creative stacking” in the world sieger show and have been biased toward the more majestic, larger shepherds.  But not the gigantic ones Americans seem to like.  They were maybe a centimeter or two above standard.

But the SV is moving back toward the middle of the standard, trying to correct the tendency toward huge shepherds.  Max Von Stephanitz had a particular vision for the shepherd which was as a working dog, and oversize can negatively impact this.  One could also argue that having shepherd grossly larger than standard could negatively affects other characteristics of the breed standard from movement to appearance. Also, one might argue that the German shepherd joints were not made for such a large dog.

In the next article we will give you some guidelines about when to stop puppy food and some of the dangers of overgrowing puppies.  Bottom line:  Bigger is not better, stick with standard, although slightly over standard is fine.

I hope this was helpful.  Please visit our current litters or import litters pages  for some exciting world class litters with parents with excellent hip profiles, which is one of our major goals as German shepherd breeders, strong joints.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CAREFUL: Don’t get bitten-Dog’s Ceremonial Dances

Hello German shepherd puppies lovers:

It is so enjoyable to see German shepherd puppies begin their ceremonial dance from about 5 weeks on.  Dogs are all about ceremony.  They have learned scripted communications patterns making it easier to predict their behavior and for them to predict other dogs’ behavior.  They have meet and greet scripts, challenging scripts, pack order testing and proving scripts, etc.  It is a simple yet clear language which we can learn to read if we look for the signs.  And reading them can really help you obviate being victims of K-9 aggression.

For example, take the tail.  If the tail is in its natural position, dogs are normally at ease with their environment.  If it is tucked between its legs the dog is usually demonstrating signs of submission. If it is held high, stiff and rigid, it is a sign of wariness and dominance.  If it is high and stiff/rigid, and slowly “flagged” (moved side to side) the dog is in a challenging and aggressive posture so stay back.

Let’s give one example of how we might use ceremony and scripted language of our K9 companions to our use.  For example, you may be introducing an adult dog into your pack with other dogs.  A great way to do this is on the walk.  One person walks one dog (dog on left) and the other the other dog (dog again on walker’s left).  Stop one dog and stand in front securing his head forward.  The other person will bring their dog around and allow it to sniff behind the other dog.  Once this scenting ritual is complete, repeat with the other dog.  Do this a number of times on the walk.

Then, perform a ritualized submission routine to get each to submit to you while the other dog is near to emphasize your top pack position and teaching them to be comfortable with this behavior around other dogs.  You first down one dog, and then, with dog on outside, circle the downed dog with yours.  Do the same switching who is down.

By doing this you limit the script to scenting and avoid the possibility of a challenge script being invoked during the ritual by an unsure dog.  Watch the tails.  When they start to drop to normal height they are beginning to feel comfortable with eachother.

I hope this was helpful.  Please visit our current litters or import litters pages  for some exciting world class litters with parents with excellent hip profiles, which is one of our major goals as German shepherd breeders, strong joints.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Male or Female? Which do I choose?

Hello German shepherd puppies lovers:

So which gender do I choose?  For all you German shepherd puppies buyers, please see my new article at:  The K9University to get some help making the difficult decision.

I hope you find it helpful.  Good luck searching for that perfect German Shepherd puppy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ATTENTION: Get Hips X-rayed at ONE YEAR or TWO?

Hello German shepherd puppies lovers:

So what is the right answer?  Should you get your German shepherd puppies hips x-rayed, OFA’d at one or two years old?

I say resoundingly, at one year old for a couple of reasons.  First the Germans do it then, and I believe they have a good logic for it.  First of all one wouldn’t want to put in all the training, time, and energy into a dog whose hips were going to be dysplasiac.  It is very expensive to title a dog to BH and Schutzhund titling, which can all be done prior to the two year xray.  Extraordinary effort goes into showing these dogs and preparing them for the ring.  It is a great investment of time and effort.  In addition to trainers and handlers, there is vet bills and food, as well as the use of limited time resources devoted to the dog.

Secondly, many dogs begin serious training in the second year of life.  But some buy them as pets, while others use them for sport or work.  Up until one years old, dogs are treated fairly equally.  However, between 1 and 2 there can be a great disparity of how much stress hips get from one dog to another.  So, where one dog is worked heavily and shows more change/deterioration in the hip profile, another may not be worked.  So even if the unworked dog had slightly worse hips at one, they will look as though they are better at two, and this can be attributed to erroneously to genetics.  It is better to do it at 1 when you are comparing “apples to apples”.

I require all of my clients to do the OFA prelim which they tout as being an accurate predictor of future hip health.  But I do it for a third and very important reason, the good of my clients.  You hear of lifetime warranties given on hips.  But how many people are going to bring their dogs back to a breeder, their faithful and loved companion, in order to trade in for another pup.  I know that the longer they wait the harder it is emotionally to make the break and take the pup back.   So I would rather they do it at one year old, when they are more likely to return their German shepherd puppy so I can replace it, rather than them waiting until two years old and being less likely to part with it and therefore be saddled with a miserable dog in pain, with costly medical expenses.

So I say resoundingly, for these three reasons, get German shepherd puppies hips done at one year old as they do in Germany.

I hope this was helpful.  Please visit our current litters or import litters pages  for some exciting world class litters with parents with excellent hip profiles, which is one of our major goals as German shepherd breeders, strong joints.

 

 

 

 

 

 

WARNING: German Shepherd Puppies are not toys

 

Hello German shepherd puppies lovers:

Warning: German shepherd puppies are not toys.

Too many people get puppies on a whim for Christmas and never consider the long term implications of adding an animal to the pack.  Not that most of us would not welcome the extra work in return for the pleasure of ownership, but I have seen so many articles lately of abandoned pups.  It is just logical that post holidays we would see a marked increase in abandoned pups.

They are not toys for two reasons.  First, you can not just put them up when you are tired of them.  They need feeding, potty time, vigilance so they don’t eat something that could harm them, vet checks, toys, training, discipline (pack order style), cleaning and grooming, a place to stay (crate or cushion).  Kids get tired of toys, and they can be put on the dust heap of toyland as their interest wanes, but a puppy is a living, breathing thing whose needs do not end when the entertainment value wanes.

Second, they are not toys because when they break, it harms a life.  Toys can be replaced and repaired, but injuries to you dog can vex them for life.  Some hints:

1.   Do not let your child pull on a puppy’s legs.  The joint are not yet formed and this can hyper-extend the joint, causing damage and eventual calcium deposits and arthritus.  If your puppy gets the leash caught on its legs, don’t abruptly lift up, just weave the leash out of the legs gently.

2.  Be oh so careful letting a small child hold a puppy.   It does look cute and it does make a wonderful picture.  But the child can drop them and squirming puppies can jump out of their arms.  One hard dive can be brutal and bones and joints, let alone potentials trauma to their skulls.

3.  Be careful putting puppies on the bed.   So sleeping with you child is cute.  What is the harm.  But, puppies do not have good judgment and can jump off of high beds onto the hard floors.

4.  Watch out for puppies in between your legs, getting under foot.  Please be careful.  You are heavy enough to do significant damage to your new pup.

5.  Watch out for electric cords.

6.  Never, never pick of pup up by the hind or front legs.  This can certainly cause damage to joints.  Instead reach under the chest and cradle them.  If they are small enough, you can grab them by the scruff of the neck.

7.  Please put them down gently.

8.  Only get toys which can handle the aggressive chewing of German Shepherd puppies.

I hope this was helpful.

Please visit our current litters or import litters pages  for some exciting world class litters.

 

 

 

 

 

German Shepherd: Working vs. Show Lines

Hello German shepherd puppies lovers:

I can’t forget getting the phone call. A family needed help.  They had purchased a working line German shepherd puppy from one fo the top working line breeders in  the United States and needed to find it a home.  The female puppy was relentless.  It was so mouthy and too dangerous for their children to be around.  It had unmanageable drive, and an attitude to boot.  They dropped the $4,000 puppy at my kennels and asked me to just take her.  I then trained spent time training her and found a man living alone in a rural area with a farm who wanted a companion.  She was perfectly suited for this situation.  It was a match made in Heaven.  He came and bought her and I never heard from him again.  This family was a first time shepherd owner.

Working lines are on average much more driven and quite a bit sharper (easier to bite) than West German show lines.  As opposed to the West German show lines which are all big black and red dogs, they are normally a bit smaller, and are black, bi-color, sable and a few other variations.  They have a bit flatter backs which is why they normally have a show dog somewhere in their pedigree which serves to improve conformation.   They can be quite intense, very driven, and do better on average in the Schutzhund sport ring.  They can bounce off the walls at home if not given proper exercise and if they are not given a task to do.  Certainly all shepherds need a purpose, but these need a constant immersion in that purpose.  They are very intelligent, as are the show lines, but so driven that without a good deal of exercise and time working they can become destructive.  They can be somewhat easier to train due to their drive, but also a bit more dominant and certainly on average more aggressive.

Does this mean they are less desireable as a line?  Not at all.  It just means they are more suited toward different purposes.  They are better suited for tough personal protection and police work, to be sent into an open warehouse alone to confront a tough character.  They are tenacious protectors.  They can be like loaded guns, but with their own minds.  They have tougher nerves and intense energy.

However, for most family situations, on average, the West German show lines are much better suited to the task.  Let’s be clear.  The West German lines are great working dogs and perform as herding dogs, service dogs, guide dogs, search and rescue dogs and sport dogs, and they make exceptional family companions and protectors.

Although still having drive, they are not insanely driven as many working line shepherds.   They are more forgiving on average and not with triggers cocked.  For my taste, the West German show line has much more attractive conformation and have beautiful black and tan/red pigment.  They are better with kids and present less probility for biting someone and incurring liability for the owner.  Considering that my market focus is getting the finest imported German shepherds for families, A WEST GERMAN GERMAN SHEPHERD PUPPY IS FAR SUPERIOR for the task.  They are amazing for this purpose and why they are the most popular of the German shepherd lines in Germany.

Please visit our K 9 University for more useful articles and links.

 

 

 

OVER THE TOP: Staggering figures on what we spend on pets.

Hello German shepherd puppies lovers:

Listen to these staggering figures.  How much do you spend on your German Shepherd puppy or older dog?

The APPA states that total US pet industry expenditures totalled a staggering $51 billiion in 2011.  I am dumbfounded.  In a previous article I mentioned 38.  That is because I was using a figures from 2006.  So, in the last 5 years the industry grew 34%, and that even during considering the financial crisis.  Of that almost 40% went to food, 13% to vet care (ouch), 13% on supplies and medicines,  4% to live animal purchases, and 8% to grooming and boarding.

So by far we are spending the most on dog food.  I spend about $53 on one 35 llb or dog food.  In fact, what they have been doing is reducing the size of the bag and keeping the price close to the same.  In all their marketing wisdom they have figured that we will not notice the smaller size and the number of times we have to refill.

However we get another troubling stat when we combine vet care and suppplies/otc medicine.  That is 26% of the total.  This means that food and vet care accounts for over 75% of the 53 billiion in expenditures.  That is an absolutely mindboggling $170 for every man, woman, or child in the United States every year.  The average family spends over $1,500 for their dogs and cats per year.

And if current trends with designer foods and exotic supplements, mouth wash, electric toothbrushes, beauty treatments, bird pedicures and nail polish, yoga classes for animals, massages for animals, faux mink coats for your pet, matching jewel and leather collared leash sets, monogrammed sweaters, every new gadget and trendy toy etc. continue, we will be spending even more.

Figure, over three billion people in the world live on less than $2.50/day.  That means they survive on less than $912 per year.  Some on less than $1/day.   At the rate of $2.50/day, the estimated pet expenditures for 2012 in just the United States would be able to feed 58 million starving people.

Lets put this in perspective.  With what we spend on our pets, we could feed the entire population every year in Haiti, Liberia, Zimbabwe, Central African Republic, and Togo, some of the poorest countries in the world.

IS THIS GETTING OUT OF CONTROL?

Certainly we are fond of our dear animal friends, but maybe, just maybe, we should do some deep thinking about our priorities.

Please visit our K 9 University for more useful articles and links.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GSD WATCH: Watch those supplements!!

Hello German shepherd puppies lovers:

This is just a short blog post about an issue I see come up quite a bit.  My clients always ask me about vitamin supplements for their dogs.  They love their German Shepherds and want the best for them. It is their desire to do what is best that motivates this question.  They are intelligent and caring owners.

However, please, please be careful.  Supplements can lead to many problems in German Shepherds, especially in German Shepherd puppies which have less stable physiologies.  If you go with a high quality commercial kibble that is well tolerated by your dog, you will likely be feeding a very well balanced food with minerals and vitamens in the right proportions and form. I happen to like Royal Canin 24 max for shepherds.  It is a breed specific formula into which much research has gone.  By the way I don’t get anything from Royal Canin.

Let me give you one for instance.  Take a fairly benign, non-toxic mineral such as calcium.  As a good owner, thinking in terms of humans, you want to make certain your dog has the calcium for bone development and growth.  However, too much calcium can lead to joint laxity increasing the potential for crippling hip displaysia.  And you have decided to do a raw diet not specifically formulated to the age or breed or size of your German Shepherd, your dog may not be getting what it needs in terms of nutrition.  This is also a contributing cause to joint deterioration.

Also, be careful with rich holistic and natural foods which are not size nor breed specific.  For example, I was trying Blue Buffalo a few years ago and my dogs had unrelenting loose stools.  I worried about EPI (a pancreas disease in which dogs cannot digest fats).   Then I found out through the grape vine (one of their own sales people) that Blue Buffalo was experiencing multiple complaints from GSD owners for the same problem as I was experiencing.

If you are going to use a raw diet, please be careful to research this first and ensure that you dog is getting a balanced (nothing left out) diet, and one which will be appropriate for your dog’s age and growth.  I would probably recommend not going to a new food with your new puppy until they are used to your water, been through the stress of leaving their siblings, and anything else within the new environment.  I would just stay away from unformulated diets made for all sizes and ages.  I might wait until older, maybe 1.5 and above to switch to raw.

The answer, find a high quality premium food specific to your German shepherd or German Shepherd puppies’ age, size, and breed (if possible).  Be careful with natural and holistic foods not specific to age, size or breed.  Feed the proper amounts of food at scheduled intervals twice a day, with adequate water.    I will discuss bloat at a later time.  With older dogs you may speak to your vet about specific recommended medications/supplements such as chondroitin and glucosamine. But in the growth stages rather rely on the preformulated balanced nutrition of the food rather than intervening and supplementing.  Be especially careful with puppies.  Keep it as simple as you can with your puppy.  Please visit our K 9 University for more useful articles and links.

I hope this post on supplements for German shepherd adults and German shepherd puppies was helpful.  Keep tuned for a discussion of a number of health issues in the near future.

 

 

 

 

 

TREAT ME LIKE A DOG: People gone wild.

 

Hello everyone:

Maybe “Pookie” may look very cute in a wedding dress, but what a hideus distortion of nature.   Reindeer antlers, bumble bee costumes, tuxedos, what has happened to us?  I tell my clients, somewhat jokingly, that if I ever see one of my beautiful, natural, goreous coated German shepherd puppies denegrated by clothing, I will rescue it from its humiliation.  Treat them like a dog.

I talked to a manager of PetsMart who told me not to worry that the meat ingredients in a popular pet food were higher than human grade quality.  I listened to a lecture from a prominent expert on healthcare entitled “please treat me like a dog”.  His premise was that our human healthcare is not as high quality, less responsive, that that for a dog at a veterinian.  My goodness, maybe I would rather be treated like a dog.

I have look in awe at the amazing culinary fare in specialized dog pastry shops, eye-popping masterpieces created for our dogs….or for us I think.  A number of my students at the university have researched the incredible world of designer dog clothing with human designer price tags.  I have lived to see PetsMart build doggy hotels with premium rooms with TV.  I have supped on dog frozen yoghurt (with of course better than human grade ingredients, lactose free, etc. etc.).  I have been seen people shell out a pretty penny for a birthday party at PetsMart for their dogs, spent money for Christmas pictures for their dogs with Santa.  I had one client who told me, in front of her child, that she loved her dog more than she did her children, and her daughter verified it.  Doggy weddings, pet limos with chaffeurs, jewelry….what are we doing?  The pet industry in the United States is over 40 billiion a year.   What a mess we are.  Treat them like a dog.

A dog needs to be treated as a dog.  Do you really think dogs can distinguish between a dirty old rage or a designer dress (they probably would like the rag better), or the difference between table scraps and haute cuisine?  We do this to please our own vanity.  And, in the process of not treating dogs as dogs, we distort who they are, confuse them, hide their natural beauty, keep them from doing what they do naturally, feed our own need for affection and control.  Treat them like a dog.

And please, get your priorities right, humans first, animals somewhere after.  Please don’t get me wrong, we have a responsibility from God to be trustees over this earth and all his creation.  I go to great lengths to protect my dogs, watch after their health, feed them the best food, get them good exercise, find them a purpose, and give them the pack leader approval they crave.  My dogs appear content and respectful and have a sense of purpose.  So many of the aberrant behaviors we see are the result of treating dogs as humans, thinking they have the same emotions, fulfilling our own needs in them.  For us they are substitutes for human emotions that we should give to our children, to family and to other human beings.  We refuse to discipline them as we also will not our children.   We might want to guard against being duped by the pet industry into carelessly wasting our financial resources on things that really are for us, every new fad catering to our emotions.  We need to help these animals fulfill their natural purpose and we should enjoy them for what they are in their natural state, dogs.

These animals are majestic and beautiful creations.  But, even if you won’t be, they will be happier if you TREAT THEM LIKE A DOG.   I hope these blog posts help you enjoy you German Shepherd puppy or dog to its fullest.  They are truly amazing ANIMALS and more easily remain so if treated as such.  Please visit our K 9 University for more useful articles and links.