Bringing home a German Shepherd puppy is an exciting time! These loyal, intelligent dogs make wonderful companions and protection dogs. However, raising a German Shepherd takes dedication and preparation to set your puppy up for success. Follow these tips to get your home ready for your new furry family member.
1. Puppy Proof Your House
German Shepherd puppies are naturally curious and energetic. Take the time to thoroughly puppy proof your home before your puppy arrives to keep them safe and reduce destructive behaviors.
- Use baby gates to block off rooms and sections of the house. This allows you to confine your puppy to one area while you are away or busy.
- Cover electrical cords and wrap them in cord covers to prevent chewing and electrocution.
- Place household cleaners, chemicals, medications, and other hazards in locked cabinets out of reach.
- Remove small objects and valuables from low tables and shelves. Puppies will chew on anything.
- Check for spaces around and under furniture where a puppy could get stuck. Block access to these areas.
- Inspect your yard for holes, sharp objects, poisonous plants and other dangers. Fence off unsafe areas.
Taking the time to puppy proof thoroughly now will give you peace of mind and save you trouble later. Reinspect as your puppy grows for any new risks.
2. Designate a Contained Area
Pick an area like the kitchen or laundry room to block off for your puppy using baby gates. This contained area allows your puppy to roam safely when you cannot directly supervise them.
Place their crate with the door open, toys, food and water bowls, and potty pads in this space. The crate doubles as a cozy den for naps and quiet time. Limit access to other areas of the house until house training is reliable.
Having a designated puppy zone prevents accidents around the house and chewing of inappropriate items. Expand their access gradually as training progresses.
3. Gather Essential Supplies
Obtain all the necessities for your puppy before their arrival. This allows you to focus on playing, bonding and training instead of running out for supplies.
- High quality puppy food formulated specifically for large breeds like German Shepherds
- Stainless steel food and water bowls
- Collar with ID tag engraved with your contact info
- Four to six foot leash for training
- Dog crate sized for adult German Shepherds
- Dog bed and chew toys of appropriate size
- Puppy pads for potty training
- Enzyme cleaner for accident clean-up
- Grooming supplies like nail clippers, brush and dog shampoo
- Treats for training
Research ahead of time to choose safe, high quality products designed for German Shepherd puppies. Buy extra food, treats, toys and pads so you don’t run out.
4. Find a Veterinarian
One of the first things you should do is find a trusted veterinarian and schedule your puppy’s first vet visit. The vet will examine your new puppy and discuss:
- Recommended vaccinations and schedule
- Deworming schedule
- Spay/neuter timeline
- Flea, tick and heartworm prevention
- Appropriate nutrition
Establishing a relationship with a vet you like will ensure your puppy gets the best care right from the start. Discuss any concerns about diet, growth, behavior and health at your puppy well visits.
5. Crate Train Your Puppy
Crate training is essential for house training your German Shepherd and preventing destructive behaviors. Dogs are den animals that naturally seek out safe, enclosed spaces.
Purchase a crate designed for adult German Shepherds, as your puppy will grow rapidly. Place the open crate in their confinement area with a comfy crate pad or bedding inside. You can feed your puppy in the crate and give them toys and treats for positive associations.
Start crate training immediately by having your puppy nap and sleep in the crate at night. Close the door, but stay nearby to comfort whining. Increase duration slowly as your puppy adjusts. The crate prevents overnight accidents and teaches your puppy to hold their bladder.
Never use the crate for punishment. Make it a safe den your German Shepherd will seek out voluntarily.
6. Introduce Your Puppy Slowly
If you have other pets, introduce them to your German Shepherd puppy carefully. Start by keeping them separated initially and allowing brief, supervised interactions. Watch closely for any signs of aggression or stress.
Give your current pets attention first to avoid jealousy. Make sure resources like food, toys and beds are plentiful to prevent guarding behavior. Introduce slowly, keeping your puppy on a leash and using baby gates or crates to manage interactions.
With young children, teach them how to pet appropriately before introducing a new puppy. Always supervise young kids and dogs interact. Set boundaries on behaviors like rough play and establish rules for kids on how to approach and handle the puppy under your guidance.
7. Puppy-Proof Your Yard
Inspect your yard for any holes, debris, poisonous plants or other hazards before allowing your German Shepherd access. They will want to explore every inch of their new home. Ensure fencing is secure and tall enough that your puppy cannot jump or dig out.
Remove any poisonous plants and vegetation. Walk the perimeter and fill any holes that could be dangerous. Pick up any debris, sharp objects, or toxic items. Keep all chemicals, compost piles and other hazards locked away outside.
Consider adding visual boundaries like fencing or landscaping barriers to section off unsafe areas like pools. Supervise outdoor playtime until you are confident your yard is fully puppy proofed.
8. Establish a Feeding Routine
Feeding your German Shepherd puppy an age-appropriate, high-quality dog food on a consistent schedule establishes a bathroom routine.
Choose a feeding spot like the kitchen or mudroom and stick to set mealtimes. Allow your puppy to eat undisturbed for 15-20 minutes, then pick up any leftovers. Feed at least 2-3 times per day based on age and recommendations.
Do not free feed dry food, as overeating can occur. Also, do not feed right before or after strenuous activity. Have fresh water available at all times in a tip-proof bowl. Keep an eye on appetite and stool consistency and report concerns to your vet.
9. Start Training and Socialization Early
As soon as you bring your German Shepherd puppy home, start positive training and socialization. Use reward-based methods to begin teaching basic commands like sit, stay, come, down and leash walking.
Socialize your puppy safely to new places, people, animals and experiences. Sign up for a positive reinforcement puppy obedience class for continued training and social opportunities.
Target training and mental stimulation during this critical period will help prevent behavior problems. Be patient and keep sessions brief and fun for puppies.
Prepare and educate yourself on proper German Shepherd training to get started on the right paw.
10. Have Patience and Enjoy Your Puppy
Raising a German Shepherd puppy takes a lot of patience, consistency and hard work. But it is incredibly rewarding! Focus on developing a strong bond through play, cuddles and training.
Soak up all the silly puppy antics and milestone moments that go by so quickly. Capture lots of pictures and videos! It is a short period of time before they grow into a regal, loyal German Shepherd protector.
With the proper preparation, you can ensure a smooth transition that sets you both up for success as you embark on an amazing journey with your German Shepherd puppy!
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I prepare my other dogs for a new German Shepherd puppy?
Go slow with introductions, keep interactions brief and supervised, use baby gates to separate when needed, make sure resources are plentiful, reward calm interactions with treats, and establish firm boundaries around aggression.
What vaccines does my German Shepherd puppy need?
Core vaccines for parvo, distemper, adenovirus and rabies. Your vet may recommend additional vaccines like leptospirosis, lyme disease and kennel cough based on your location and lifestyle.
Where should my German Shepherd puppy sleep at night?
In their crate in your bedroom. This aids house training and prevents night time accidents or destruction.
At what age should I spay or neuter my German Shepherd?
Most vets recommend waiting until your German Shepherd is fully mature, around 12-18 months, to reduce orthopedic risks. Discuss the ideal timeline with your vet.
How do I introduce a puppy to my cat?
Use baby gates to keep them separated initially. Allow brief, supervised interactions with treats as positive reinforcement. Ensure your cat has plenty of high perches and escape routes. Never force interaction. Go slowly!
Preparing for a German Shepherd puppy takes effort, but it is well worth it! Follow these tips to set up your home and start your puppy off on the right paw. With preparation and positive training, you’ll have a happy, well-mannered companion for years to come.