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  • Anybody here have a German Shepherd?

    Getting my boy in a couple of weeks and have been reading, reading, reading from forums to books. I've got a crate, a bed, Wellness Puppy food, toys, a dog house, you name it. But does anyone have any good tips about bringing him home. I've gotta travel to go get him and will stop about every hour to let him go to the bathroom but the first night is what I'm worried about. He'll be about 7 weeks when I get him and I'm think I'm more nervous to bring him home than I was when I brought my kids home. Here's a couple of pics when he was 3 weeks. I'm going to see him this weekend and he's now 5 weeks.



    "Arguing on the internet is like trying to make sense out of Bupkiss. You just end up looking foolish". ---Craigsub 04.21.2009

  • #2
    OK How big is the crate? If you bought an extra large (or large) one you should put a piece of plywood in it to cut the size in half. Always put him in the crate when you are not going to be home. First night or 2 will be a huge *****. He will whine at night because he will miss being in the pack. If you have a basement or a garage I would put the crate in there for the first few nights as the whining and crying will keep you up. I used to get right down with them when they are eating so that they do not get food aggressive. I would put my hand in there when they ate and I would also take the food away from them and then give it back. Thats good to do especially if you have little ones. Always try to bring him outside about once an hour to do his business. Also first thing when you get up is to get him out of the crate and outside so he can go. Lots of praise like "good boy" "good potty". Get plenty of tennis balls and something like a kong for him to chew on. If he is true German lines he should have a huge ball drive. NEVER put food in the crate with him, good chance of choking if you do (my sister killed one of my pups by doing that). Start obedience traing as soon as possible. Any other questions feel free to fire away

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    • #3
      Originally posted by phipp01
      OK How big is the crate? If you bought an extra large (or large) one you should put a piece of plywood in it to cut the size in half. Always put him in the crate when you are not going to be home. First night or 2 will be a huge *****. He will whine at night because he will miss being in the pack. If you have a basement or a garage I would put the crate in there for the first few nights as the whining and crying will keep you up. I used to get right down with them when they are eating so that they do not get food aggressive. I would put my hand in there when they ate and I would also take the food away from them and then give it back. Thats good to do especially if you have little ones. Always try to bring him outside about once an hour to do his business. Also first thing when you get up is to get him out of the crate and outside so he can go. Lots of praise like "good boy" "good potty". Get plenty of tennis balls and something like a kong for him to chew on. If he is true German lines he should have a huge ball drive. NEVER put food in the crate with him, good chance of choking if you do (my sister killed one of my pups by doing that). Start obedience traing as soon as possible. Any other questions feel free to fire away

      Great advice!! Also if your dog has an accident in the house....it is your fault not the dogs.... If you give opportunity then you can't blame the dog....Dogs work almost solely from positive reinforcement. Puppies should be in their crate whenever you cannot keep your eye on them. Crates are like dens and dogs love being in them...it gives them a sense of security. Most of all have fun!!! Dogs are great!

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      • #4
        I bought a 48" crate with divider so he can grow into it. I figured the first night or two will be hard. I've been reading The Art of Raising a Puppy and they suggested keeping him on his leash tethered to my bed which I might try. Good call on the food aggressive thing I haven't heard about that one yet. I got him a six pack of tennis balls and even found some smaller ones for when he is a pup. I had a GSD when I was a kid and have dogs since then but I was too young to remember what we did when we brought him home. That GSD I could hit tennis balls into the wetlands around our house as far as I could and 15 minutes there he was with it in his mouth. What did you feed your pups? I got wellness large breed puppy which is supposed to have the right amount of calcium and phosphorous for GSD's so I'm curious to what you used. There's so many opinions on it, it makes my head spin. I've also got him signed up for puppy Kindegarten the week after I get him. Once done he'll continue until the advanced class and then get his CGC certificate.
        "Arguing on the internet is like trying to make sense out of Bupkiss. You just end up looking foolish". ---Craigsub 04.21.2009

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Monkeypimp
          Great advice!! Also if your dog has an accident in the house....it is your fault not the dogs.... If you give opportunity then you can't blame the dog....Dogs work almost solely from positive reinforcement. Puppies should be in their crate whenever you cannot keep your eye on them. Crates are like dens and dogs love being in them...it gives them a sense of security. Most of all have fun!!! Dogs are great!
          The Monks mention that too. They say to put the pup in a place where he can't see you cleaning it up and also to bury the scent with chemicals and put a chair over it while it dries.. They also mention the dog/ Den/ crate aspect. Don't know if you all have read it but it's pretty good reading. My breeder recommended it to me..
          "Arguing on the internet is like trying to make sense out of Bupkiss. You just end up looking foolish". ---Craigsub 04.21.2009

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          • #6
            EDIT: boy, this turned out to be about TEN times longer than I intended... sorry!!!


            Some wonderful recommendations in here so far, I can't find any here that I disagree with. We have a mix breed (german shep and cocker spaniel-- no lie), and while we don't crate anymore (he's 9 years old now), we do have several "dog beds" around the house that he goes and lays in from time to time. Crating is a wonderful thing though, we did it for a few years before slowly venturing into letting him stay in large spaces. We still don't give him reigns over the whole house when we're gong, we put him in the "mud room" between the garage and kitchen while we're gone. It's plenty big enough for him to find a place to lay down (he has a small bed next to the laundry machine), but not so big that he can get into something he shouldn't. [and should he occasionally get sick while we're out, it's hardwood and more easily cleaned up than some remote spot of carpet behind a chair.] A note about crating-- as I'm sure you've read, the reason to make it smaller is for that feeling of safety, that it's his "den." If it's too large they'll actually go to the bathroom in one corner and go lay down in the other corner. When it's smaller, it helps them learn to "keep it in" until they are let outside and promotes faster potty training because they don't want to do that "in their den." But that just means whenever you let them out of the crate-- immediately take them outside. You have no idea if they've been needing to go or not! :) ANY time we took our dog out of his crate we would always go outside first and then do whatever we had planned (inside or out)..

            A couple random thoughts.. There will be times that he will try to gain dominance (its their nature to challenge to become the alpha dog) -- growling if you come near his food is a good example. You have to be firm and not let that happen. Nervously (their teeth are VERY sharp as puppies!!), I used to get down there not just with my hand but with my face into his dog bowl while he was eating when he was young. If he growled, I made an "ah-ah" noise and took the food away (and spatted his nose-- more below on that). Did it pretty stinkin' often for a while until he got to the point that I could get in the food bowl or in his face (while eating, playing with a toy, chewing on a bone, etc) with no growling. To this day he still very well understands that "ah-ah" sound to mean "bad choice-- try again."

            Plenty of playtime will reap many benefits for years to come-- again watch for dominance issues but don't mistake playfulness with dominance. Another example-- I get down and wrestle with ours from time to time (not as much as when he was a puppy and we didn't have three children) and he loves it.. growls, barks, jumping around, but the tail is up and wagging frantically the entire time (if hackles are up, tail not wagging/down -- can be an indication that the dog is not being playful). He also comes up to put his paws on me (just like I 'grab' at him during play), as well as puts his mouth on my arms and hands (it's just another "hand" to them). I let him because he's learned to be gentle. When training (and even now if he gets too rough with his teeth or claws) I say "ow!" firmly and he IMMEDIATELY backs off and waits until I say, "Okay" or "Gentle". When younger it might also require a nose spat but he learned the word pretty quickly so the nose spat wasn't as necessary in those instances. the "ow!" exclamation was sufficient most of the time.

            Some may disagree, but when training the above "ow!" word and such, I would firmly but gently spat his nose in a downward fashion. Not so hard as to cause any yelps or real pain, but firm enough to know I'm serious. Some "parents" don't agree with any harsh punishment-- some swing the other extreme. I find myself in the middle, but these days I haven't spatted his nose in years (haven't had to).

            Another random thought-- They're stinkin' smart.. They can understand TONS of words and phrases and distinguish them from each other.. You'll be amazed just how many words and phrases you can use as long as you remain consistent.. Always using the same words for a particular meeting is a good idea. To get off the couch don't mix "off" and "down" and "no" -- pick one (we use "off") and stick with it. Now we can use "off" for anything from jumping up to say hi to new visitors in the house to getting off a chair. He knows what it means. "ah-ah!" and "ow!" words indicate that he should stop whatever he's doing. "okay" means he can resume (playing, walking, etc).

            Whatever you want the dog to act like when he's old, start training now and never stop. You don't have to train twenty times per day-- consistency is much more important (in my opinion) than frequency. For years when walking with him if we came to a corner we were going to cross the street I would gently pull up on his leash (you'll learn that in dog training) and say "sit. stay." then I would start to cross the street. If he began to cross before I released him I would "ah ah!" and take him back to the corner and start all over again. Now when we approach the corner of a street he generally sits down on his own (except for streets that sometimes we turn, sometimes we cross.. he just slows down and looks where I'm going). I keep walking (checking for cars), and when it's clear and I"m half-way across I yell, "okay!!" and he comes running to the other side, and we continue our walk. (that's how I do it in non-busy residential intersections.) I also make him walk on the curb or in the yard or sidewalk, NOT in the street. "up!" I say if he gets into the street and boom, he hops up on the curb (if there's no sidewalk). It helps a lot to train them just as you would your kids that going in the street is NOT okay without proper permission. Another phrase I've taught him is "stay close." It's not been drilled into him as much as the others, but he still does pretty well. I get the leash short and him close to me and repeat "stay close" if he starts to drift. If we have to cross a busy intersection or the like I use "stay close." When all is in the clear, I again return to the common release word, "okay" and let the retractable leash go so he can get back to exploring. The last word on walks that I use frequent is "leave it". This is one of the most common phrases I use on walks. If I say it soon enough noticing where he's wandering, he'll recognize the phrase and leave whatever it is alone. (If I say it nearing a mailbox, he won't pee on it. If I say it while he's approaching a piece of trash he won't stop to sniff it.) He also very well understands "no bark."

            Remember, training is all about consistency more than anything else... YOUR consistency. It's okay to periodically revise your training habits (to choose to "loose" some battles with the dog) too.. More people go into puppy training with no experience than those who've done it before. You're learning too, just like your puppy is. I would say that MOST of the words and phrases that we use now started at an early age and haven't stopped. We have dropped some like "heel" to walk because we're not that strict about it and our own words of "ah-ah!", "sit", "stay", and "okay" pretty much cover all the bases there. We've added a few in recent years such as "carpet" (when we're in the kitchen eating he has to go just outside of the kitchen and lay down-- he is NOT allowed to "scavenge" under the table for droppings-- something we had to add once we started having children) and "go eat" to give him permission to go eat his food in his food bowl. That came about by his own doing-- he got to a point all on his own that he wouldn't eat until we [his pack] had finished eating. So we sometimes tell him "okay..go eat" so he eats his food while we eat ours. We don't push the issue, but we do give him permission.... :)


            ..dane
            (The first to sport a signature on TCAforum..)
            "Be kind, for everyone you meet is carrying a great burden." - Philo of Alexandria
            "Love God and be nice to people." - Brooks Everett of CBC
            d&k's webpage

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Kevin R
              The Monks mention that too. They say to put the pup in a place where he can't see you cleaning it up and also to bury the scent with chemicals and put a chair over it while it dries.. They also mention the dog/ Den/ crate aspect. Don't know if you all have read it but it's pretty good reading. My breeder recommended it to me..
              LOL The monks of New Skete are some of the best breeders in Canada. While I dont agree with tethering the dog to your bed, you can try it but what I did was put the crate in the basement and put one of my dirty socks in there. The reason for the sock was that it has your scent on it so he wouldnt feel like you abandoned him. A crate is very useful in house training also because a dog wont go where he sleeps (they will hold it as long as possible when they are a puppy). Expect a few weeks of poop in the crate and be ready to clean it out every morning. I never put anything on the bottom of the crate either for a couple of reasons, 1 it was easier to clean out and 2 I was told that if they get used to going on something like newspaper they will always go on them. You dont want the dog peeing on your paper before you have read it LOL

              I fed mine canned puppy food mixed with 3 tablespoons of cottage cheese and shark cartiledge. Just for all the protein then I switched to dry dog food when she was older ( 6 months IIRC). I used to feed her Ol Roy (walmart brand) and then switched to just regular Purina dog chow.

              When you start to do training, especially with a GSD depending on the lines, if you just throw a ball for like 15 minutes and get them a little tired they are more receptive. Mine was all East German lines, the mother was Candy De Bruce Lee (The bruce Lee lines from Canada are some of the best working dog lines for GSD) and the Father was Racker Vom Haus Sevens who was imported from Belguim. He was titled IPO 2 when my buddy imported him and the night we picked him up from the airport when we got to his house in 5 minutes I was rolling around on the floor just playing with him and he was not in the least bit phased after having spent like 15 hours in a crate and planes. If yours has any East German blood in him he will be a bundle of energy so expect to spend a lot of time throwing balls. I used to have 2 balls so I could throw one and when she came back with it I'd show her the other one, she'd drop the one ball and then chase the other one I threw. Most times it was at the least 30 minutes after I got home from work doing that.

              When you house train if you catch him peeing or pooping immediately take him outside and DO NOT scold him. Also take him to the same spot to do his business, at least thats what I did as I wanted her to go in one area of the yard and thats it.

              Dane yes I also got right in there with my face when she was eating. Plus the girl I was with at the time had a 7 year old daughter so I also had her on the floor petting the puppy and getting her face in the bowl so the dog got used to children down there playing when it was feeding time.

              PS what are the lines of the dog if you dont mind me asking. And Im almost as long winded as Dane!!!!

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              • #8
                All great info fellas. Keep it coming. I've read The Art and Patricia McConnels "The Other End of the Leash".

                Here are his parents bloodlines.
                Attached Files
                "Arguing on the internet is like trying to make sense out of Bupkiss. You just end up looking foolish". ---Craigsub 04.21.2009

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                • #9
                  I remember just before we brought our young pup home, the breeder said to put an old-time travel alarm clock (the kind that ticks) under her pillow/bed. It eases them the first night as it sort of mimics the mother's heartbeat.

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                  • #10
                    One other thing is to make sure you socialize with other dogs. Shepherds are very caring and protective of each family member. It's best to have as many people and other dogs around when they are in the puppy stage otherwise you might end up with a aggressive dog towards people and other dogs. I used the old trick of tapped up old soda can with pennies for those times when they are being to aggressive. Never was one for hitting a dog for bad behavior. Usually after a couple months saying bad dog made her feel worse than physical discipline. Good luck with your new addition. Shepherds are great dog, but sometimes to smart for there own good. Mine was the best dog and friend for a twelve wonderful years. :angel:

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                    • #11
                      Second (Third? Fourth? Fifth?) on the Monks. Raised my last two dogs with the Monks and couldn't have been happier. It is as much about you as the dogs. Expect him to act as and treat him as family, totally. Gorgeous puppy!!!

                      http://www.amazon.com/How-Your-Dogs-...2266145&sr=1-4
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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Kevin R
                        I bought a 48" crate with divider so he can grow into it. I figured the first night or two will be hard. I've been reading The Art of Raising a Puppy and they suggested keeping him on his leash tethered to my bed which I might try. Good call on the food aggressive thing I haven't heard about that one yet. I got him a six pack of tennis balls and even found some smaller ones for when he is a pup. I had a GSD when I was a kid and have dogs since then but I was too young to remember what we did when we brought him home. That GSD I could hit tennis balls into the wetlands around our house as far as I could and 15 minutes there he was with it in his mouth. What did you feed your pups? I got wellness large breed puppy which is supposed to have the right amount of calcium and phosphorous for GSD's so I'm curious to what you used. There's so many opinions on it, it makes my head spin. I've also got him signed up for puppy Kindegarten the week after I get him. Once done he'll continue until the advanced class and then get his CGC certificate.
                        Just an FYI....but I have been told that the adhesive that is used on tennis balls can eat the enamel off teeth. So be wary

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                        • #13
                          One more thought is that the smarter the dog generally the more of a pain in the ass they are. When a smart dog is bored they find things to do... That is why the the way to treat a dog is.... Exercise then discipline then affection. A tired dog means that you are giving them attention and they are too tired to be destructive.

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                          • #14
                            I work in the pet industry and sell dog supplies for a living, I don't sell food but I do sell treats, rawhide, supplements, grooming, etc.... In my 20+ years doing this I have heard every dog food pitch and in the end a very large amount of it is nothing more than marketing. You should find a food that has less fillers(corn), your dog has no allergies too and fits your pricing needs. In the end I feed my dogs iams. Why. Becaause it is a well balanced diet, digestible(which means smaller piles in the yard) and reasonably priced. One of my two dogs get lamb and rice as he has allergies and the other one gets a low fat diet.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Monkeypimp
                              I work in the pet industry and sell dog supplies for a living, I don't sell food but I do sell treats, rawhide, supplements, grooming, etc.... In my 20+ years doing this I have heard every dog food pitch and in the end a very large amount of it is nothing more than marketing. You should find a food that has less fillers(corn), your dog has no allergies too and fits your pricing needs. In the end I feed my dogs iams. Why. Becaause it is a well balanced diet, digestible(which means smaller piles in the yard) and reasonably priced. One of my two dogs get lamb and rice as he has allergies and the other one gets a low fat diet.
                              I've read Iams is full of fillers. Have you read the ingredients? I was at wally world the other and wouldn't buy my dog food there after reading what I have read.

                              Can you get me some deals on treats? :) Seriously tho I am going pretty much all natural if not a RAW diet when I get him. There are plenty of RAW diets on the web that I am going to try. I have fed my previous dogs all kinds of foods and feel bad now after reading. Too many fillers in all the cheap dog foods. For my GSD Wellness Puppy Large breed is what I'm going with after talking to several other GSD owners.

                              I have also read because of their hips and because it is a large breed anything more than 1.5% calcium and more than 30% percent protein is too much which causes them to grow to fast and have several issues with bone development later in life. I'd rather spend the extra money now than to have to spend the crazy money on hip replacement later.

                              PM me if you can to tell me about getting him supplies. :D
                              "Arguing on the internet is like trying to make sense out of Bupkiss. You just end up looking foolish". ---Craigsub 04.21.2009

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