The German Shepherd is one of the most intelligent breeds in the dog world. They are known for trainability in every arena including Search and Rescue, Seeing Eye, Police Work, Herding and multiple other complicated professions. Because of their intelligence, the first year of a German Shepherds life should be one of planning and creating a multi faceted learning process for your new puppy. Never assume you can simply put your puppy in the back yard and his experience stop at the fence line.
Everything a dog may encounter under normal circumstances should be experienced early to assure your dog has an well rounded, and stable attitude.
We recommend a great book by Mike Ritland called Team Dog for an outstanding look into a dogs mind and how to be respected and considered a leader in your dogs life.
Everything from Grooming, meeting other dogs, delivery people, children, loud noises, busy streets, and any varied situation you imagine your dog may experience should all be included in the education of your puppy.
Grooming experiences should start at 8 weeks old. Trimming nails, cleaning ears, checking teeth, brushing, bathing can become a simple and pleasant chore by making them fun, and non threatening. Our dogs will step into the bath tub on command, sit for nail trims and all the normal grooming processes because they have been exposed to these experiences since puppyhood. Treats or praise are a great way to make the experience something the dog looks forward too instead of dreading it.
People and places of all descriptions should be part of the learning experience. Walks in Town, down busy streets, Trails, Hiking, Stores, and even the occasional area where farm animals can be seen, as well as swimming should all be included. While walking, one can ask an occasional person to pat the puppy to create a positive experience with strangers. The noises of cars, trucks, busy areas are all good situations for the dog to learn to be at ease. Passing other dogs on walks is an important issue. They should be guided into learning to simply ignore other dogs and focus on you while still young and easy to manage. Repetition is a great tool to instill wanted behaviors. We do not recommend Dog Parks. Far too many people bring uncontrolled aggressive dogs to these parks and a young dog should never suffer an attack by another dog. A controlled setting with other dogs on leashes is a better option.
Children are another pivotal learning situation. If there are no children in the home, taking the puppy to parks or areas where they can become accustomed to seeing and interacting with children is extremely necessary. Never allow a child to hurt your puppy, as a dog can often remember a poor experience, so being in control of the interaction is a good idea.
There are many Rescue Agencies full of dogs who's socialization was neglected and the resulting behavior problems were too much for an owner to manage as it grew into an adult. This should never take place, and diligence in making sure your puppy can experience life with a joyful, relaxed attitude is your responsibility. Dogs don't just 'grow' into good behavior, it is built just as one puts effort into raising a child to be a good citizen.
Educating the puppy will create a wonderful bond between you and your dog that will continue for years to come. The rewards of having a stable and reliable dog no matter where you may go has lasting value, and will be a great source of pride for both you and your dog.
As a Breeder, I am often approached by people searching for the perfect puppy. Some have very little information on how to choose a puppy, or how to make sure this dog has all the benefits of a great background that will spell success for years to come.
There are several very important issues that should never be overlooked and are paramount in searching for your new dog. Without having researched background, health, temperaments and purpose of the chosen breed, people can find disappointment rather then the wonderful life they envisioned with their new dog.
Knowing the original purpose the breed was intended to fulfill, is all important as each breed has a natural bent years of controlled breeding has instilled in specific breeds. The new home should be able to fulfill the dogs instinctual needs. Herding dogs for instance, are less appropriate for apartment living that does not provide necessary access to exercise and the work drive they are bred to accomplish. Neither can a hunting dog be expected to sit quietly in a small yard having been bred to loudly howl to pinpoint game. First know the needs of your chosen breed and if it will fit your life style.
The background of the puppy of interest is absolutely important and should never be ignored, as all the dogs in the background directly influence the temperament, health, conformation and future of the dog. One should look for constant health, soundness, fitness for purpose and absence of genetic problems exhibited long term in ancestors.
In German Shepherd Dogs, the working titles in an ancestry are a wonderful indication of fitness, health and trainability. Hips and Elbows being sound in a puppies background will be a very good indication your puppy will also have sound structure. In the US, German Shepherds have often not been tested or attained working titles, as their counterparts from Europe for many generations which make it more difficult to be sure dysplasia does not run in a puppies line.
Temperament is bred in at the time of conception, just as color, conformation, and coat type. So take great care to be informed of the disposition of parents. A foul disposition will most often produce the same in the litter and even with socialization, the dog maybe difficult to manage.
Your research will affect the outcome of many coming years of companionship with your new puppy. It is our desire at Vom Echo Wald that you experience the very best in health, soundness, and the joy of a great dog in your life, just as we hope to when we personally choose a new dog.
Many breeders are not so interested in the outcome once a puppy is sold, and will sell unsuspecting people a faulty puppy without conscience. Be diligent in your research to make sure your new puppy has the benefit of health and genetic well being. Years from now, you will experience the wisdom of having done so in your search for the Perfect Puppy.
Over the years we have often been asked what type of training we recommend for our German Shepherd puppies. There are many books on the subject with as many different approaches to sort through as a new puppy owner.
We personally recommend Team Dog, How to train your dog the Navy Seal Way.
Mike Ritland has one of the finest formulas for training, as well as having the best relationship with ones dog in an easy to understand and implement book we have seen.
When placing our puppies, our desire is that each owner can develop the most rewarding and successful relationship possible with their new dog.
We hope each person will take the time to understand the mind of a dog as well as how to best bring out loyalty and respect for his new owner.
Choosing the right dog food for your dog is one of the most important issues you will approach as a dog owner.
Today's companies are either small, privately owned or large companies who mass produce dog food under many brand names and choices.
Our years of experience has suggested the best foods are produced by private companies who strive to create healthy and well managed formulas, rather then the large corporate companies that so often are recalled and who choose to purchase cheap sources for your dogs food rather then truly care about the health and long term outcome of feeding their product. Some companies that were once health based are often sold to a large Corporation and the formula is changed to be far less healthy then the original. Always check 'who' owns the parent Company.
As we walk past the many bags of dog food we see images of the latest health fads such as cranberries ,blueberries, carrots with a bowl of fresh meat and we think "wow, I would eat that! It must be healthy for my dog!" Pictures show lovely food sources, like vegetables and meat one would serve their family, yet this is the furthest thing from the truth. What is pictured all too often has little to do with the actual product and may not even be in the food in sufficient amounts to contribute to your dogs health. Artificial coloring is also a gimmick to please the person's eye, yet is dangerous for your dog.
Corn, corn gluten are now GMO in all dog food and is extremely detrimental to a dogs health. Avoiding GMO products would be a wise endeavor when choosing which food as these are proving to be hazardous in far too many cases. One Study done in France, feeding rats GMO corn for a two year period resulted in every rat developing cancerous tumors.
Often in the ingredients panel, by products are listed. This should be an indication the company is using the cheapest form of protein possible. Beaks, feathers, feet are a poor source of protein for ones dog. The first several ingredients will be a good indication of the care and desire of a company to provide good protein sources. Real meat, meat meal are far more valuable then 'feathers' which a dog cannot digest well. Another issue is where the meat source comes from. If your dog food reads "meat meal' and does not list the 'kind' of meat, it may very well be euthanized dogs and cats from pounds across the nation. This has become one of the more horrific, yet well kept secret in Dog food companies efforts to use less expensive protein sources.
Most dog foods are full of corn, soy, wheat & byproducts with a few vitamins thrown in to balance it out. These products cause allergies in dogs. That occasional reoccurring ear infection & itchy feet is caused by yeast overgrowth from corn, soy, and wheat.
I am not saying that we should not feed kibble dog foods and take up raw feeding although when done right it is a wonderful option! Raw feeding has it's benefits but you need access to multiple varieties of organic meats, bones and offal (heart, liver, kidney etc) It isn't just throwing your dog a grocery store bought raw chicken fed GMO feed and assuming you have accomplished raw feeding. This can prove difficult for some, and create malnutrition done without real knowledge.
We recommend only five star dog foods, non GMO and always use https://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/ to check our choices before feeding.