Over the next few days many of the pups will be leaving. Here are some notes, in no particular order.
Currently puppy has been eating Royal Canin German Shepherd Puppy 30. They will need a high nutrition/protein for at least 15mos. They will come with a bag of this food, enough for a day or so. Many PetSmart stores carry this. I get mine at a local feed store- there is a very little known “buy 10 get 1 free” program out there. This is usually around $60-$65. You can find it online at places like Amazon for $50 and it will be at your door in 2 days. Serving size is on the back of the bag- it is tough for me to tell what serving size they get as we fill up one large bowl every day. (You can switch foods at any time. I usually go gradually so that I do not upset puppy’s tummy). I soak this food for at least 45 minute before giving it to them, and less when they get older. This is what the bag looks like:
Eating the first day
We’ve had mixed reports on this. Some pups are ready to eat when they get home. Other pups need a while to digest their new environment and will not eat. Don’t worry, they DO eat. If they don’t eat the first day, it is ok, they will. We do send home a small starter bag of Royal Canin, but you will need more in a day.
The pups are ready for a real collar. In the past when I’ve kept a pup for over 8 weeks I started walking them on a harness. Historically, they have hated the collar, but taken to the harness very very well. I highly recommend the harnesses. Be sure to put them on right! I am famous for putting them on backwards.
There are entire books dedicated to puppy fear issues. They will “act afraid” often. What to do: ignore. Never, ever comfort a dog when it is acting afraid. You never know what may scare them- a pencil drop, a dustpan, a cat, a humidifier, their first time in the crate. I have personally made this mistake with one of my previous shepherds, and once the damage is done it can be difficult or in many cases impossible to go back. The critical stage is typically in the 8-12 week range. Human scared = comfort. Doggy scared = do not comfort. This is also precisely how mom has cared for them their entire life so far.
Puppy’s immune system will be developing til age 16weeks. They can go around other “healthy” pets.
I have this for most people but I will need the owner’s name, address, phone #. I can add an “emergency contact person and number” if desired (optional). The pups are already chipped. Their chip registration is completely paid for. I must take this paperwork to my vet (Jordan Lake Animal Hospital) and give it to them to send to HomeAgain. At some point in the future HomeAgain will send you information asking you if you want to pay an annual fee. The dog’s information is in the database permanently. I am not sure what the annual fee is for but I have never subscribed to it before. At pickup you’ll get some paperwork and their microchip # for your reference.
Of course, mom & dad are dual registered in both Germany by the SZ and the United States by AKC and their info is publicly available.
The litter itself has been registered and the AKC has been paid litter registration fees, meaning the “litter” of all 4 females and 2 males is registered. I did purchase a litter certificate (this certificate is optional). I did not receive it yet and checked the status of it today and am expecting it in approximately 1-2 weeks; I will put this in the mail when I receive it. This has no affect on registering pups, but, it is neat to have. It basically shows Aura and Ando and their parents and grandparents on a black and white sheet of paper; same info as pedigree database displays.
Puppy registration: I can not register puppies, only the new owner can. To register puppy: Once all puppies have left I go into AKC’s site and type in everyone information. A few days later you will receive an email asking you if you would like to register the pup. This is completely optional. It costs $30 and the pup is then registered. This can be done at any time and is optional.
Spay / Neuter:
Spay (female): There are a whole lot of opinions out there on this. I’ll stick with the facts:
– In the GSD world many people wait until after the first heat cycle
– Once they are spayed they will be less hyper
– Spaying just before the first heat cycle (around 6mos) drastically reduces the chance of mammary tumors
– If a female goes unspayed her whole life she is a target for pyometra which usually kills her. Also, it WILL bring in males from miles away (it has happened here).
– Some people like to wait and there is research out there being done which is likely going to conclude that there are some benefits to waiting. There is some risk in early spays such as osteosarcoma, hemangiosarcoma, immune health.
– I personally wait
– Most people will spay before the first heat and I really can not blame them, this is the general consensus amongst vets, and, most vets are going to push an early spay because they see so many unwanted dogs, which really is tragic.
I recommend people research this and for themselves.
Neuter (male): Do not neuter before 18-24mos of age. If your vet says otherwise when you have a great Shepherd like this, find a new vet. Testosterone is needed for their development. Of course, he is your responsibility. If there is a female in heat nearby, he WILL smell it. Having personally seen the breeding process, I can tell you that a male Shepherd does not care what you have to say when there is a female dog in heat nearby, they will plow right through a wall to go find her. You’ve been warned. That said, I know plenty of people who like their males intact forever.
As soon as the pups can get up onto their front legs they start beating each other up and trying to bite each other. They have all been together at all times for 8 weeks now. When pups bite each other they learn to not bite down so hard. When they bite me I say “Owww!”. They are still learning that human skin is not as tough as puppy skin that has a coat on it. Assuming you are not protection training READ THIS ARTICLE about biting. GSDs are extremely eager to learn and please their new human pack and in no time at all you’ll just be getting wonderful puppy kisses and licks. Typically jumping away from them will make them think they are supposed to chase you and whacking them will lead to 1 of 2 things: 1- Puppy will think you are playing and bite harder, or 2- puppy will be afraid or scared of you. You do NOT want a scared Shepherd, they must become confident dogs. All 6 pups from this litter are 100% normal biters at this point. They are biting softer and softer each day, but, those little teeth are sharp. If you have children please read that article and prepare them. This phase is very brief and puppy will learn extremely fast if you follow the guidelines above. We have had 1 pp at a time out with us, and with out kids and they are getting pretty good, but you never know when your toe will look like a nice little play toy.
Do not let puppy onto tall objects such as tables – they will walk right off the edge like a cartoon character but the landing is terrible for their developing joints.
Feel free to adjust this depending on your schedule.
Food: 8AM, 3PM, 8PM.
– Typically they’ll do #2 about 10min after they eat.
– They’ll go pee within 10 seconds of waking up from a nap, as soon as they are let outside, right after playing, whenever they feel like it. Typically here the pups are passed out at 10pm. I take them all outside at 2am for a quick potty break. At this point, they may be able to hold it for a full 6-8hrs, not sure.
We typically wake them up just before they’re about to wake up and get them outside. They go pee as soon as their feet touch the grass! Inside- they’ll go pee whenever they get the urge. If I had a pup, when they do this I’d run them right outdoors. Do not whack puppy as they’ll have no idea what you’re doing. When they DO go potty outdoors, give them a treat and say “good potty” and very fast they will learn the word potty and that they get a treat for going outside. Positive reinforcement is huge. Crate training works excellent for potty training as well.
I never used one with Fina. Aura still uses hers at 4yrs old. The pups have been exposed to a crate for a week or two now and they love the crate. Of course, crates are their happy place never to be used as a punishment- it is their little safe area- if you are crate training read up on it, although, they should take to crates very quickly! The play crate we have here is in use at ALL times. The door on it has never been shut.
Each pup will go home with a puppy blanky that smells like mom and the other pups. We’re not sure if or how this comforts them but Aura insisted on it.
Please send us pictures once a day. Haha, just kidding, but any future pics are really appreciated.
All shots have been given that could be given at 7wks except for Kennel Cough due to popular request to skip it. If you are not boarding it is really not necessary in our opinion. Rabies shots may be given at 12 weeks but if they are not out fighting raccoons then feel free to wait til 16 weeks of age. Laws on this vary from county to county and state to state so be sure to check.
Clip nails. I always clip Aura’s just before a walk on pavement, that way she files them down herself.
Clean ears. Play with paws and ears daily and they won’t mind clippings/cleaning the ears. Aura’s ears do great with only a monthly cleaning.
Socialization & exercise
As puppy gets older he/she will need plenty of exercise. That energy is coming out one way or the other. Be careful not to overwork puppy.
Socialization includes bringing them around other animals which are ARE NOT aggressive.Everyone has that little dog in their life that barks like crazy and is scared of everything or exhibits dominant behavior- these dogs cause as much damage to yours as that mean old pit bull up the street. (I love pit bulls, I am just using that as an example because they are stereotyped so often, a well trained pit bull is an awesome dog). Socialization also means bringing them around cats that are dog tolerant, or children, or horses, or whatever they’ll be exposed to later in life.
Please feel free to call or email at any time. As most of you know I am fond of typing up fairly large, comprehensive emails. Our # won’t change any time soon and has been the same 15yrs now. I do not have answers for everything but can often point people in the correct direction.
Stick with a vet you are comfortable with. Don’t be afraid to get a second opinion. These pups come from an extremely well bred line of dogs; vets must assume the worst as they see so many random breeds IMO. I have a giant list of home remedies, too. A spoonful of pumpkin often helps diarrhea and aspririn, benadryl, and lysterine has saved me who knows how many “Xrays” and other misc bills. Fish oil for itchy skin- the list goes on.
If for any reason at any time an illness, death, move, prison sentence, job, divorce, midlife crisis, or any other reason occurs leaving you are unable to provide for puppy please just let us know where to pick up the dog and we will care for them immediately.
I am sure I’ve missed a lot here. feel free to ask questions! Follow most of the above and you will have a very confident, happy family member for many years to come that selflessly places your needs and desires high above their own.