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Some Feeding Advice: German Shepherd Puppies

Hello German shepherd puppies lovers:

This is a subject I could spend a long time discussing.  But I will try to focusing on a few important points and on the early years with your new German shepherd puppy.  A couple of key points:

1.  Try not to switch foods in the first couple of months.  GSD digestive systems, especially when they are puppies, are very sensitive.  You don’t want to go through bouts of diarrhea and then have to go through the boiled rice and chicken protocol as you attempt to re-equilibrate their systems.  So unless there is a problem, stick with what you have until they are more mature (maybe 6 months-1 year).

2.  Don’t overfeed, especially at this young age.  We need to protect developing joints.

3.  Always have water available when they are eating.

4.  Please do feed at least two meals.  There are some logical reasons to think that eating one large meal a day could contribute to bloat.

5.  Don’t give supplements.  Unless the vet has identified a critical need, use a top choice, balanced puppy food.  We use Royal Canin Maxi large breed puppy.  They also now have a GSD specific puppy food.  Supplements may over-balance nutrients and can have deleterious repercussions (example:  joint laxity for too much calcium).

6.  Never free feed or they will never be able to learn to control their bowels.

7.  Don’t feed table scraps.  This can lead not only to obesity, but can destabilize their digestive systems (especially puppies).

8.  I wouldn’t use raw diets especially if they are not puppy specific, and I would wait until they are at least one, when all of the joints are set and the growth plates developed, height complete.

Remember always put your food down for 3 minutes then take it up. Don’t relent.  They must learn to live within your time frames.  You don’t want to play the waiting game as you watch your watch and get to work late again.

Now, puppies can be finicky. But do, I repeat, do not start throwing everything in the food to make it more palatable.  You will just make the situation worse.  They can become increasingly picky, and you will be at their whim, rushing into the kitchen to concoct some culinary delicacy, as if you were their own, unpaid, personal chef.

The time to stop using puppy food is when they are growing more quickly than normal.  Americans tend to attribute value by the size.  They think a bigger dog is better and brag when they grow unusually fast.  But they need to grow within standard, or at least close to it, or they may be overgrowing.   Overweight stresses joints, hyper-growth can lead to improper bone development.  I have heard it said, one can palpate the heat in the hips of a dog that is growing too fast.  If they are growing normally, keep them on the puppy, if not, take them off.   Some breeders say to take them off puppy very young (4 months) to protect hips.  I don’t know if this is advisable as they need the nutrition a puppy food has for proper development.  But, certainly, if they are experiencing hyper growth, take them off.  You can also mix adult with puppy to reduce the puppy rich content.

I hope this is a help to you.  Visit our German Shepherd K9 University by clicking on “GSD K9 U“.

 

 

What to look for in a German Shepherd Puppy

Hello German shepherd puppies lovers:

It is interesting how I can get a call saying that a client wants a big male, one with some dominance and lots of drive to do schutzhund and they have 3 younger children and they want the dog to be great with people and other animals.  After talking to them they decide on a female German shepherd puppy.

I have already written another blog on male Vs. female so I won’t repeat that here.  But the question still remains, what do you look for in a GSD puppy.  Well, if you are buying a German shepherd, likely you either just think want one or you know what you want and you respect the breed for it typical characteristics.

I know all of us guys want the biggest toughest dog in the world bar none.  But, if you look for extremes you may get just that, a dog which is too extreme and unliveable and then you wish you had never seen the little ball of energy. I recommend you look for a balanced puppy.  It should be up around the mid to top of the standard, but not way over.  He/she should have good pigment, but not to the exclusion of other traits.  You want a dog which is confident yet not dominant.  What you want is a BALANCED DOG, one in which the GSD typical traits expressed.  The dog should have energy and confidence but not dominance or nervousness.  Look for good pigment but, as importantly, good structure.  You want some retrieve and prey drive, but one who is also content sitting by your side.

I hope this is a help to you.  Visit our German Shepherd K9 University by clicking on “GSD K9 U“.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DANGER: GERMAN SHEPHERD AT RISK!

Hello German shepherd puppies lovers:

I just feel drawn to list a number of very irresponsible things some people do with their German shepherd puppies and older dogs.  I hope the list just might caution someone against doing something they may have done had they not read it.  I think I will make it a list so that it can stand out:

1.  Don’t overfeed your dogs:  No, it is not cute that Klaus is grossly overweight.  Shepherds have a breed standard.  Unless you have an unusually large dog, the standard is a good guide.   American buy dogs by the pound and believe bigger is better.  Also, for some reason we fear underfeeding our dog.   We are an obese culture and our animal reflect our own obesity, as we feed them into oblivion.  With a shepherd, lean is good and how they should be.  It is alright to see some ribs.  They are not dying.  If they have energy, do not excessively shed, don’t have a strange odor, don’t have overly flaky skin, and are just lean, that is good.  Their hips joints are finite in terms of use, and overweight reduces the longevity of joints.

Sorry I took so long on overfeeding.  But there are just so many other related health concerns regarding obese dogs.  You can look at a picture bird’s-eye view of a representative healthy weight and overweight at our K-9 college at “GSD K9 U“.

2.  Don’t leave dogs with things near them they can injest:  Like tennis balls.  By the way, the glue on normal tennis balls erodes the enamel on dogs’ teeth.  When they have bitten a bone in pieces, take it away right away.   My dog destroyed a kong and then vomited up the pieces.  I should have been watching.  I know a dog who swallowed a tennis ball whole.  Watch out for those plastic packing peanuts.  They are toxic.  Antifreeze is sweet but deadly.

3.  Don’t leave your dog tied to a tree or post with a choker on the live link:  They can easily wrap themselves around the post and strangle themselves.

4.  Dont feed only one big meal a day:  Although I have read that bloat (too much air and fluid in the stomach) can be caused by other things (older age, stress, acidic foods), one cause attributed to bloat is eating one large dry dog food meal a day.  Instead give your dog two medium sized meals.

5.  Don’t use the “knee” correction for jumping up: Some people, and I have also, use the knee correction for dogs which jump up.  They just throw their knee into the dogs chest as they jump up.   But this can lead to broken bones, and painful bruises.  Better is to “block” the nose, cupping your hands and letting them run into it.  Or have someone hold their leash and yank back as the jump up.

 

I will give you some more on another blog.  But those are just a couple of things to think about.

 

I hope this is a help to you.  Visit our current and planned world class German Shepherd litters by clicking on “current litters“.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

German Shepherd Pigment: HOW RED SHOULD THEY BE?

Hello German shepherd puppies lovers:

So many times when people buying puppies from me preface the purchase of a German Shepherd puppy with the statement “I really want this puppy to have rich reds”.  I think it might be a good thing to discuss this issue a bit.

First of all, the German Shepherd is a very unique dog.  It is one of the top three most intelligent dogs in the world.  It is more multiutility than any canine on earth. Though some dogs may be better at some individual task, no dog on earth is as capable at a multiplicity of tasks as this amazing breed.  There is just so much more to the breed than pigment.  You might buy roses based on color.  You might even purchase a toy dog largely on outward appearance.  But not a German Shepherd.   In the next blog I will discuss the term “temperament” when it comes to the German Shepherd.  But, certainly buying one of these magnificent beasts based on pigment is a critical mistake.  In fact, people who do, and don’t appreciate the multifaced metrics you must consider might end up being unhappy owners. They might insist on a certain pup based on color and end up with a dog with drive they can’t handle or might settle on a litter without considering other important variables such as confidence, dog aggression, timidity.

How red should a German Shepherd puppy be?  First of all, although you can tell a good deal about the final pigment from a puppy, it is clearly not definitive.  For example, Ulk Arlett, the 1995 world sieger, didn’t really red out until 4 years old.  The Arlett kennels had actually sold him to someone, I believe in Italy, only to buy him back later.  But one way to determine the potential pigment in a puppy is to lift up the tail and look underneath.  If you see red/orange/rust there, that is a good indication.

But, although one thing we breed for is pigment, it is clearly only one characteristic.  Conformation, health and termperament are equally important.  The old Rin Tin Tin black and tan has somewhat been replaced by black and red (more mahogany).  But, the amount of pigment varies quite a bit.  It is nice to get some rusting, but don’t expect a distorted deep red.  Most of the pictures you see of World Sieger champs, those done by Urma and others, are all enhanced.  Some of the pictures I get are clearly doctored.  I know because the tongue of the dog is a rose red and the person’s hand which is holding the dog is pink and the grass is way too green.  It makes us expect our pups to also be that red.

So, bottom line, with German shepherd puppies, while we would like some browning/rusting on the lighter parts of the shepherd (chest is usually lighter), on the legs, mane, and maybe face, we shouldn’t expect really rich deep reds, which rarely if ever exist.  And look for balance.  Don’t exclusively look for red or you may get what you want in pigment but not what you will want as a dog.  I would take wonderful conformation, health, temperment and moderate pigment in a German shepherd puppy over a beet red mess anyday.

I hope this is a help to you.  Visit our German Shepherd K9 University by clicking on “GSD K9 U“.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introducing Dogs to Your Pack

Hello German shepherd puppies lovers:

This is for all of you who have asked me how to introduce new German shepherd puppies / dogs to your pack.  Here are some helpful techniques:

First, a good way to start them off on the right foot is to put the puppy in a crate and then tell you other dog to go find his/her new friend.  Lead them into the area calmly but with enthusiasm.  When they find the puppy, have a treat ready and reward them for finding them.  Do this five times or until your dog is really enjoying the adventure.  Then switch.  Put your dog in the kennel and have the new puppy go find your dog.  This time, when the puppy finds your dog, reward them both.  Do this a number of times.

Once you have done this, it is time for the walk matriculation as I have explained in another article/blog.  You take them both for a walk, dogs on the right, shoulder at your hip, and then stop one dog, control the head and let the other go behind and sniff.  Then continue walking and let the other do the same.  Do this a number of times.  This allows then to scent without challenging and is a good way to break the ice.  And having them go face to face can lead to pack warfare, especially in an amorphous pack.

Continue this with the walk matriculation a few times.  Remember to always watch your dogs together as long as tails are up.  When they drop to their normal position in each others company or wag, accompanied by a relaxed countenance, they are starting to get used to each other.  Still, always watch your dogs for a few months and never leave them alone together.

I hope this is a help to you.  Visit our German Shepherd K9 University by clicking on “GSD K9 U“.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.