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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.

Banffy Haus German Shepherds: Help!: When to Wean Puppies?

Hello German shepherd breeders from Banffy Haus:

In this next article we will discuss some other issues regarding litters and German shepherd puppies

It is not always an easy thing to decide when to take mom out of the whelping area or decide when to stop her nursing.  There are a number of variables affecting that choice.

First of all, is mom enjoying her time with them or is she frustrated and getting a little aggressive.  Mom’s can start being frustrated when the pups start to get teeth or are very aggressive to nurse.  You will need to be vigilant that she doesn’t intentionally or unintentionally hurt the pups.  Some litters can develop and get teeth more quickly than others.  I take her out if I notice this behavior.

Secondly, if it is an unusually large litter and they are over 4-5 weeks and mom jumping in and out of the whelping box.  I get the pups used to softened food and then get her out.  I don’t want broken tails and damaged puppies.

Thirdly, is it time.  I feel you can start getting puppies used to softened food as early as three weeks.  But I like to get mom out as about 5-6 weeks of age.  Normally mom will decide this naturally.  However, this is good time to begin incremental weaning if she has not.

Be careful if you do decide to take her out.  If mom is still swollen with milk, be careful taking her out of the box and stopping nursing too precipitously.  I have done this and ended up having to milk mom and reduce food intake to relieve pressure and stop lactation and try to obviate mastitis.  Mastitis can be very painful for mom and can lead to infection. It is best to incrementally take mom out of the pen, let’s say for the daytime, and ten put her back for the night, and let the puppies drain her milk.  Then just do one feeding, and then finally as her milk begins to dry up, take her out permanently.

By the way, it is almost impossible to using a breast pump on mom.  And the milking syringes don’t work well.  You really have to massage from the back of the gland forward and squeeze to allow the milk to be released.

I hope this was useful to you.

Please visit our current litters at “Banffy Haus Current Litters” to see some of our world class German shepherd puppies for sale.

 

 

 

 

Banffy Haus German Shepherds: Mouthy Puppy II! Help!

Hello German shepherd puppies lovers from Banffy Haus:

In this article we discuss other issues regarding mouthiness in German shepherd pupies such as the proper way of redirecting and the damage caused by improper reaction to little sharp teeth clamping down on tender skin.  Also, I will discuss when one can expect it to tone down, if ever, and when the mouthiness is just too much and may be an indication of something else.

In this second article on “Mouthy Puppy: Help Part I” I will discuss:

1.  Redirection

2.  Improper reaction

3.  When the mouthiness will likely tone down

4.  When mouthiness is too much

Improper dealing with mouthiness can cause a dog to either lose their motivation to use their mouths, thereby constraining protection drive, or, in the extreme, lead to submissiveness.  So it is a good idea to do this right.  The first and best way to deal with more benign expressions is to redirect the mouthiness to an acceptable alternate object, such as a bone, toy, ice filled teething ring, etc.  I have had great luck with older dogs using kongs and antlers. With younger dogs the redirect is even more critical as they are less confident and more easily affected.

Improper redirection includes hitting the dog in the mouth, shoving your hand down their throat, clamping their teeth on their tongues, pinching their cheek on their teeth.  Mouthiness is natural I find these too direct and extreme for some dogs. And these methods can lead to loss of protective drive, or worse lead to submission or avoidance.

One other way to deal with it if you at a wits end is to do what mother does to correct a puppy.  Just grab the puppy by the scruff of the neck (the loose skin) and lift the front two paws off of the ground and shake saying “phooey” or another word reserved for correction.  And do this only for the specific circumstances where their behavior might harm themselves or someone or something which is quite vulnerable (children, expensive couches that you can’t move out of the way.

Normally this behavior begins to abate at about 9 months to 1.5 years old.  Also, you will have learned to manage it by then.  There are situations where mouthiness is really a misnomer for aggressiveness.  If the dog is constantly lunging and not just chewing, and, the behavior is accompanied by barking and other physical manifestations (hair up), guttural deep growling, this may be another issue.  This might be dominant aggressive behavior that must be dealt with before the dog grows up, and clearly and effectively.

I hope this was useful to you.

Please visit our website for tons of information at Banffy Haus K-9 University on German shepherd puppies and dogs.

 

 

 

 

 

Banffy Haus German Shepherd Puppies: Mouthiness! Help! Part I

We love our red and black german shepherd puppies:

This is the Banffy Haus staff.

Although I have written a little bit about how to handle in other places on the website, I think this issue is so important and can be so exasperating for my clients that I wish to address it here in detail.  I want you to have a good experience with your German shepherd puppy.  The first question one might ask is:  Is My Puppy Abnormal If It is Mouthy?  In the next article we will discuss some other issues regarding chewing such as the proper way of redirecting and the damage caused by improper reaction to little sharp teeth clamping down on tender skin.  Also, I will discuss when one can expect it to tone down, if ever, and when the mouthyness is just too much and may be an indication of something else.

First of all, almost every puppy will have a mouthy stage.   This is due to two things.  First, while they are teething (losing their babies and getting adult teeth) mouthing and gnawing releases some of the aggravating pain they have in their gums and bones of the mouth and can give as much pleasure as like scratching an itch.  There are many products which can help alleviate some of the problem, but it is just a stage they have to go through.

Secondly, puppies are learning to communicate with their mouth and use their mouth.  Dogs use their mouths for so much more than we do (at least in a mechanical fashion other than talking).  They pick up things and taste things, investigate objects and new textures, they indicate their approval or disapproval to other dogs with them, they jockey for pack position with them.  They also, as puppies, begin to practice the gleaning and chewing on bones of prey they might catch.   Also, chewing is instinctual and helps to keep good gum health and oral hygiene, cleaning the teeth.   Finally, as with little children, puppies need to be stimulated.   If they aren’t, this pent up youthful energy will likely be directed toward chewing.

So all of these things, teething, learning to communicate, taste, investigation, play and pack order, instinct to chew, glean and clean, boredom or release of excess energy we find in puppies.  So it is absolutely normal for puppies to be mouthy.  And this is especially true for German shepherd puppies, considering the genetic proximity to Canis Lupus (wolf).  But this can be VERY trying.  Don’t despair!  Read my next blog for more info.

I hope this was useful to you.

Please visit our current litters at “Banffy Haus Current Litters” to see some of our world class German shepherd litters.

 

 

Banffy Haus German Shepherds: Mourning the loss-Trying to Replace Your Dog

Hello lovers of black and red German shepherd puppies:

This Dr. Banffy of Banffy Haus.  This is such a tender subject, especially when it comes to our beloved German shepherds.  But it is important to deal with it, although compassionately.  Some people feel a sense of loss approaching that of human companion when they lose a dog of 10-15 years.  They have shared many special days and experiences.  They may have been with you through a difficult time.  They may have assuaged your loneliness or shared in a time success or joy such as the birth of a new child.

However, one must not let the mourning time distort ones vision.  First of all, at this time, you want nothing more than to have your dog back, the same dog you lost and not another. Some people get comfort out of going back to the same kennel, trying to find the same bloodlines, maybe the same parents.  Some look for the same eyes, coloration, size, something that looks like a reproduction of your deceased dog.

But this can be a mistake and lead to disappointment.  First of all your dog was unique.  You can never replace your dog, ever.  Be grateful that you enjoyed such the time you spent with them.  Secondly, going on a journey to replicate your dog’s DNA or try to get a clone can lead to disappointment.  Not only was your dog product of his/her DNA, but of environmental influences, the time in your life they were born, the place, the people in the house, your lifestyle at that time, etc.

It is best NOT to jump into a new dog if you are still at the stage of desiring to replicate your last dog. What a burden to place on your new puppy, a burden it should not have to bear.  And likely, as he/she is compared to your other dog, the new pup is pre-destined to failure.

If this is not the case, and you are moving with caution and care, and ready to create a new story from a blank slate with new German shepherd puppies, by all means, welcome a new German shepherd puppy into your home.

I hope this was helpful.

Please visit our current litters at “Banffy Haus Current Litters” to see some of our world class German shepherd litters.