Your Playful 8-Month-Old German Shepherd Puppy

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German Shepherd puppies are extremely cute and playful at 8 months old. They have endless energy and curiosity about the world around them. Raising an 8-month-old German Shepherd takes patience, consistency, and lots of love, but it is an incredibly rewarding experience.

This age marks an important transitional period as your puppy gains more independence and tests boundaries, requiring you to start serious training. However, the loyal and intelligent nature of German Shepherds makes them highly receptive to training at this age.

If you put in the time and effort during these months, you’ll be rewarded with a wonderful companion for years to come.

Growth and Development

An 8-month-old German Shepherd is right in the middle of the rapid growth phase. Your puppy will have nearly tripled in size since you first brought them home.

German Shepherds continue to grow and fill out until they reach full physical maturity around age two. Between 8 months and a year, expect your puppy to gain another 10-20% of their adult weight.

Male German Shepherds at 8 months typically measure 20-22 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh 62-66 pounds. Females are a bit smaller, usually measuring 18-20 inches tall and weighing 53-57 pounds.

However, there is considerable variation based on breeding lines, diet, exercise, and genetics. Some German Shepherds may be slightly outside these ranges but still healthy.

The ears are one part of your puppy’s body that may change dramatically around this age. German Shepherd puppies are born with floppy ears that eventually stand upright in adulthood. However, the ears can go through multiple transition stages.

At 8 months, the ears may alternate between being erect and floppy before finally standing. This is perfectly normal. Proper nutrition, chewing exercises, and genetics impact how quickly the ears strengthen and stand. Don’t try to force the ears up, as this can damage them.

While your puppy is getting bigger on the outside, their internal bones and joints are also still maturing. The growth plates, areas where bone growth occurs, typically finish hardening between 12-18 months old. Give your puppy food rich in calcium and phosphorus to support healthy bone development during these critical months.

Also ensure your German Shepherd gets adequate exercise to strengthen bones and muscles but avoid any high-impact activities that could damage young joints. Signs of hip and elbow dysplasia may start to appear around this age if your puppy has this inherited condition.

Energy and Sleep Requirements

The typical 8-month-old German Shepherd puppy is lively, energetic, and even hyperactive at times. With their high exercise needs and play drive, they require a significant time investment to properly stimulate and supervise them. German Shepherd puppies should get a minimum of 60-90 minutes of active exercise and playtime daily, divided into several shorter sessions.

Take your puppy for on-leash walks around the neighborhood two or three times per day. In a safely enclosed area, play fun games of fetch to burn off energy. Interactive toys and chews are also great for engaging your pup’s natural curiosity when you can’t directly supervise playtime.

Just as importantly, German Shepherd puppies need substantial nap and nighttime sleep to support their continued growth and learning abilities. Plan for your 8-month-old puppy to sleep around 15-20 hours per day.

Aim to provide 2-3 hours of naptime during daylight hours, either with you relaxing at home or crated if you can’t monitor them. Puppies who don’t get adequate rest can become rowdy and nippy. Sticking to a predictable routine with scheduled mealtimes, walks, training, play, and naps will help your puppy settle in.

Training and Socialization

The key to raising a well-adjusted and well-behaved German Shepherd is diligent training and socialization starting from puppyhood. At 8 months old, your dog is becoming more independent and testing boundaries. Without proper leadership and training, this is the age when annoying jumping, nipping, barking, digging, and chewing habits can strengthen.

The good news is that German Shepherds are incredibly intelligent and eagar to please. Starting around 6 months old, they have the focus and cognitive ability to learn basic obedience commands and good manners.

Training sessions with your 8-month-old German Shepherd puppy should be kept short, rewarding, and positive. Aim for 5-10 minute sessions two or three times per day. Work on reinforcing essential commands like Sit, Stay, Down, Come, Heel, and Leave It. Use high-value treats and enthusiastic praise to motivate your puppy to pay attention and obey.

Regularly practice training commands in different environments, so your pup learns to listen regardless of distractions. Avoid punishment or scolding, which can damage your bond. Patience and consistency are key over the next few months for training success.

Ongoing socialization is also imperative. Safely introduce your German Shepherd to new people, animals, places, sights, and sounds. Reward calm behavior during introductions to build confidence. German Shepherds often become wary of strangers around this adolescent age, so don’t force interactions.

Socialization prevents overreacting and teaches appropriate interactions. Puppy kindergarten and manners classes are great structured opportunities for socialization training

Grooming Needs

The thick double coat of a German Shepherd requires weekly brushing and grooming. During growth spurts when they shed heavily, daily brushing may be needed. Invest in an undercoat rake and slicker brush to keep their coat free of mats and excess loose fur. Bathing is only necessary every 6-8 weeks or when truly dirty, as over-bathing strips away your German Shepherd’s natural skin oils.

Check and trim your pup’s nails regularly to prevent cracking and overgrowth. Their nails should not touch the ground when standing. Start young with handling their feet and nails so they become comfortable with trimming.

You’ll also need to brush your German Shepherd puppy’s teeth 2-3 times per week and provide plenty of safe chew toys. Dental hygiene is crucial in preventing plaque buildup and costly cleanings later in life. Pay attention to cleaning inside their ears to avoid infections.

Nutrition and Feeding

Providing an adequate diet with proper nutrition is vital for your rapidly growing German Shepherd puppy. At 8 months, puppies should transition to eating 2-3 meals daily. Feed approximately 12 ounces of food per meal, totaling around 36 ounces per day.

However, guidelines vary based on the individual puppy’s age, weight, and activity level. Divide their food into a morning, afternoon, and evening meal to maintain consistent energy.

Choose a high-quality dry kibble diet formulated specifically for large breed puppies. Look for a recipe with wholesome ingredients and nutrients for bone, joint, brain, and immune system health.

Avoid “free feeding” food all day, as this makes it harder to monitor intake and can lead to picky eating or obesity. Speak to your veterinarian if you have any concerns about your puppy’s diet, weight, or nutrition. Provide constant access to clean drinking water.

German Shepherds are prone to bloat, where the stomach twists. To reduce risk, don’t allow rigorous exercise 1 hour before and after meals. Additionally, invest in a slow feed bowl to prevent your pup from gulping down food too quickly. Avoid potentially gassy foods like soy, peas, beans, and dairy.

Common Health Issues

While German Shepherds are generally healthy dogs, some hereditary conditions are common:

Hip Dysplasia: This painful condition stems from abnormal hip joint development, causing arthritis and lameness. Check with the breeder that the parents were screened. Maintain a lean body weight and avoid overexertion.

Elbow Dysplasia: Similar to hip dysplasia, this results in painful arthritis in the elbows. Have your vet examine your puppy’s elbow joints during checkups.

Bloat: This life-threatening condition occurs when the stomach twists, trapping air, food, and water inside. Feeding smaller meals may reduce the risk. Recognize signs of bloat like retching, restlessness, enlarged abdomen, and weakness. Bloat requires immediate emergency veterinary treatment.

Allergies: German Shepherds often suffer from environmental or food allergies. Symptoms usually start between ages 1-3. Treat with medications, bathing, and/or dietary changes recommended by your vet.

Regular veterinary checkups, exercise, proper nutrition, training, socialization, and love will help set your German Shepherd puppy up for a happy, healthy life as your loyal companion. Be patient and consistent, keep expectations realistic, and enjoy this special time with your energetic, growing furball!

Conclusion

Raising an 8-month-old German Shepherd puppy is filled with challenges but immense rewards. At this age, puppies are playful and energetic, yet testing boundaries and needing leadership.

Take advantage of your intelligent pup’s training receptiveness through positive reinforcement methods. Meet their high exercise requirements but also allow proper rest.

Feed nutritious meals suited for their growth needs. Continue socialization to new environments to build confidence. While demanding, following these puppy-raising tips will strengthen your bond and mold your German Shepherd into a well-adjusted companion who brings joy for years to come.

By Andrew Garf

Andrew Garf has loved dogs, especially German Shepherds, since he was 10 years old. Though he also loves burgers, training dogs is his real passion. That's why he created the website TrainYourGSD.com - to help dog owners learn how to properly train, care for, and bond with their German Shepherd dogs.