Raising a puppy demands quite an in depth knowledge and both artistic and scientific techniques. Raising a German Shepherd puppy may prove to be a bit more different from raising any other puppies. Your need for a dog may not match that of mine. While many people need a German Shepherd Dog because they love the breed and want a great companion, others may need one for guarding a premise and yet another group will probably be looking for a GSD as a working partner. Whatever the need and thought may be, everyone will be looking for a puppy that will grow up into a dog with all characteristics typical to this breed… self assured, confident, trainable, intelligent, and courageous with a stable temperament. If you are planning for a German Shepherd puppy you should understand the typical German Shepherd characteristics, so that you can raise the puppy correctly. All of the characteristics that you will read in this section (the link of which is given) are mostly genetic or psychological. But raising your German Shepherd puppy incorrectly may spoil its characteristics traits – be it genetic or psychological or psycho-genetic.
Remember, nearly around half or little more than that of your puppy’s traits are governed by its gene, but to get these traits pronounced environmental engineering (the way you raise your GSD puppy) plays a very important role.
Here are some tips on raising your German Shepherd puppy in the right way.
Food, Play and Care – Most important of all is what you feed your German Shepherd puppy, how much calorie to burn and what type of exercise should your puppy be getting! Insofar food for your pup a balanced diet is an obvious recommendation. Contrary to the popular belief, it is recommended not giving too much protein to your puppy. High protein will enhance the growth rate and eventually your puppy may get exposed to the risks of developing anatomic defects, due to gaining too much weight that may not tolerated by tender bones. Here is a great read on diet management for your German shepherd. More insightful read on food for your GSD puppy
Free play is strongly recommended until your puppy reaches at least 7 to 8 months of age. Play session should be a fun for the puppy, but a training session for you. A happy puppy would learn a lot of tricks. If he loves to chase the ball, let him do that only after he does something desirably on command. This way the play would turn to be a reward for him for desirable actions. German Shepherds are trotting dog, and the structure has been developed through conscious and selective breeding to meet the requirements of trotting while on work. But power trotting is a big NO until your puppy become physically completely able for that.
Proper socialization - Socialization is important and should be started as early as possible – preferably at an age of 2 to 3 months. A German Shepherd not properly socialized may be a nightmare, while a properly socialized dog is sure make the best companion ever. Socialization is an act of making your puppy familiar to wide range of situations so that when it grows into an adult dog it will less likely to react with fear. A properly socialization makes your puppy grow into a more relaxed dog, with rich experiences in different situations including mingling with other animals, strangers, children, etc. Socialization with sounds, crowds, darkness, men, women and kids of various ethnicities and other strange situations is a must. There is actually no limit or degree of socialization. Wider the range situations you will expose your puppy, better it is for both of you. I hope you will love the story of how I helped a battered German Shepherd girl (Rani) to regain confidence.
Obedience Training – Whether you want a guard dog or a family companion, obedience training your puppy is a must. Apart from just teaching basic obedience commands like Heel, Stay, Come, Go, Fetch and Halt, it is important to proactively teach your puppy the table manners. If you have other dogs too, it is a must that all of them should know that the meal time is not a battle ground. Your puppy will always communicate with you. All you need is to understand it’s communication and use positive reinforcement training methods to teach your dog new tricks.
Establishing alpha membership in your pack – Raising a German Shepherd puppy doesn’t only involve training it well and feed it good. You need to become the alpha member (Leader) of your pack. You puppy should know that you are the boss of the pack and s(he) must follow you. Dogs are perfectly social animals and in the natural state dogs lead their lives in a structured (hierarchical) social order. The same structure needs to be maintained in your family, where your puppy should know who the leader is and what is expected from him/her. As a successful alpha member of the pack you need to be dominant over your dogs. This will maintain a balanced relationship with your puppy as he grows. Here is how to become the leader of the pack
Here are some great resources that will help you raising your GSD puppy more technically. Who doesn’t need to be a good owner his puppy?