That wiggly, fuzzy ball of fur you just brought home will someday grow into a 60- to 100-pound German shepherd dog. Or so you hope. Germans shepherds can live 10 to 14 years and make loyal family companions, as well as capable guard dogs. This intelligent breed was originally created to herd sheep, but is now used to guard property, rescue people from disaster and sniff out drugs or bombs. If you want your German shepherd puppy to reach its full potential, take care of it from the moment you bring it home.
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Things you need
- Puppy food
- Dog toys
- Dog brush
Puppy proof your home before your German shepherd puppy arrives. Hide cords and small objects so that your inquisitive German shepherd can't electrocute itself or choke as it explores its new surroundings. Place chemicals and cleaners in locked cabinets and mark glass doors with stickers at your puppy's eye-level. Remove plants from your home or yard that may be poisonous to your German shepherd puppy.
Purchase supplies for your German shepherd puppy. You will need dishes, bedding, a crate, toys, bones (small ones for your German shepherd's fragile puppy teeth) and grooming supplies. You will also need a leash, collar and ID tags for your new puppy. You can buy these at your local pet store.
Feed your German shepherd puppy two or three times a day. For the first year of its life, it will need to eat a puppy formula. These formulas include extra proteins and higher levels of nutrients that your German shepherd will need as it grows into a large breed dog. German shepherds will eat whatever is in front of them, so don't leave food down all day. Instead, put your puppy on a regular feeding schedule to give it a sense of familiarity and comfort, and to regulate its digestive system.
Make your German shepherd puppy an appointment to see a veterinarian. It will need vaccinations against illnesses such as rabies and bordetella. Your vet can also give your German shepherd puppy a complete physical. Schedule these appointments frequently throughout your puppy's life because German shepherds are susceptible to conditions such as hip dysplasia. These health problems can be avoided or treated early if your puppy receives regular checkups.
Socialise and train your puppy early. German shepherds can be territorial, so it's a good idea to introduce your puppy to as many different people, animals and situations as possible while it is still young. Make these experiences as positive as possible by rewarding and praising your puppy for good behaviour. Enrol your German shepherd puppy in puppy training classes to get a head start on basic obedience and housetraining before your puppy becomes a full grown handful.
Exercise with your puppy every day. German shepherds are intelligent and energetic, and will find their own kind of entertainment if they get bored. Don't expect to like the ideas they come up with! To keep your dog healthy and happy, it should have at least two 20- to 30-minute walks a day. Play with your German shepherd puppy, as well, and take it jogging or swimming to help it burn extra energy.
Groom your German shepherd puppy. Its course coat will only require brushing once a week since it is not likely to tangle. Bathe your puppy with hypoallergenic dog shampoo when it gets dirty, and keep its nails trimmed so that they don't make it painful for your puppy to walk. Wipe the corners of your puppy's eyes when they are runny to avoid infections. Dry your puppy's ears with a towel whenever it gets wet. This will help to prevent ear infections.
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