When puppies go to their new homes, they are currently eating Diamond Naturals Large Breed Puppy food (pink and white bag), this can be found at Tractor Supply. Feed about 2 cups twice a day. The puppies grow up getting raw meat mixed with their dry food, but they do not need to continue raw supplement if not desired although we do recommend it. If you would choose to supplement raw, use a high quality meat. They have been eating Blue Ridge Beef Puppy mix. The amount of the dry food will need to increase fairly quickly as your puppy is growing. Let the puppy eat as much as they will eat in about 20 minutes. If they clean the bowl quickly, refill with dry food until they are full. Try to feed at the same time each day and in the same location, we usually feed dogs in their crates so no one bothers them. Do not feed the puppy while you are eating and avoid table scraps or you will teach them to beg. Your puppy should be a healthy weight growing up, not too fat, not too thin. A fat puppy will not have a well define "waist" that tucks in between their ribs and hip bones. A thin puppy you will be able to see ribs. Keeping them an ideal weight will keep their joints healthy so they can grow up strong! Dogfoodadvisor.com has a great article to read about large breed puppy food: https://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/best-dog-foods/best-large-breed-puppy-food/
Make a schedule. This is vital to housetraining success. Puppies have tiny bladders, and water just runs right through them. The same holds true for solid matter. Goes in. Goes out. You have to make sure you are giving your puppy ample opportunity to do the right thing. A good guide is that dogs can control their bladders for the number of hours corresponding to their age in months up to about nine months to a year. (Remember, though, that 10 to 12 hours is a long time for anyone to hold it! If you doubt that, try it yourself sometime.) A 6-month-old pup can reasonably be expected to hold it for about 6 hours. Never forget that all puppies are individuals and the timing will differ for each. Think about your daily events and your puppy's individual habits when setting up a schedule. With very young puppies, you should expect to take the puppy out often: 1. First thing in the morning 2. Last thing at night 3. After playing 4. After spending time in a crate 5. Upon waking up from a nap 6. After chewing a toy or bone 7. After eating 8. After drinking
Many people new to dogs cringe at the idea of confining their puppies in a crate, but the reluctance to use this tool generally evaporates after a few days of living with a new pet. Crates make life easier. It’s a good idea to get your dog accustomed to one for many reasons, such as vet visits, travel, convalescence, and safety. Dogs are den animals and will seek out a little canine cave for security whether you provide one or not. That makes it relatively easy to train your dog to love its crate. The principle behind using a crate for housetraining is that dogs are very clean creatures and don’t like a urine-soaked rug in their living spaces any more than you do. It’s important that the crate is the right size—just large enough for the dog to lie down, stand up, and turn around. If it is too large, the dog will feel that it’s OK to use one corner for elimination and then happily settle down away from the mess. Many crates come with partitions so you can adjust the size as your puppy grows. When she feels an urge, the puppy will usually let you know by whining and scratching. That’s her signal that she has to go and wants out of her little den. Now! Don’t delay because if you let your pup lose control in her crate, she’ll get the idea that it’s OK to mess up her living space. Feeding your puppy his/her meals twice a day in the crate is a great way to make the crate a good place to go and also keep your puppy from being distracted away from the meal!
Scolding a puppy for soiling your rug, especially after the fact, isn’t going to do anything except make her think you’re a nut. Likewise, some old methods of punishment, like rubbing a dog’s nose in her poop, are so bizarre that it’s hard to imagine how they came to be and if they ever worked for anyone. On the other hand, praising a puppy for doing the right thing works best for everything you will do in your life together. Make her think that she is a little canine Einstein every time she performs this simple, natural act. Be effusive in your praise—cheer, clap, throw cookies. If your dog has an accident don't make a fuss, just clean up the mess. A cleaner that also kills odors will remove the scent so the dog will not use it in the future. Blot up liquid on the carpet before cleaning the rug. If you catch the dog starting to squat to urinate or defecate, pick her up and immediately rush outside. If she does the job outdoors, give her praise and attention. Remember that when it comes to housetraining, prevention is the key.
Look around your environment for possible dangers to your inquisitive puppy. Place household cleaners and chemicals out of reach along with potentially toxic plants. Electrical cords should be covered or made inaccessible to prevent chewing on them resulting in electrocution. Remove objects of curiosity that might appeal to your puppy such as shoes and socks, children’s toys and the like. Block access to rooms that have not been puppy proofed and consider crate training your dog for the times when he cannot be supervised. Provide appropriate chew toys for your dog to enjoy. Each dog will have their own personal preference as to what they prefer to chew and play with. Be careful with rawhide and beef bones as determined chewers can whittle them down to smaller pieces that can be swallowed. They can end up becoming lodged in the esophagus or small intestine so supervision is recommended when giving these treats and be sure to take away any small pieces that might be swallowed. Avoid chicken bones since they splinter easily creating sharp fragments that can easily puncture your dog’s gastrointestinal tract. Dog toys such as balls and kongs may appeal to your dog, just be sure to select a size that is appropriate for your dog. They should be able to pick it up and carry it but it should be of sufficient bulk that it cannot be swallowed. If you buy your dog a kong type toy check, make sure the hole in the toy is not so big that the dog can get his lower jaw stuck in it. Do not give toys that resemble inappropriate items; for example do not give your dog an old shoe to chew on because he will not know the difference between the old chew shoe and a brand new pair. If you do find your dog chewing on something inappropriate correct the dog by taking the object away and scolding him. Direct his attentions to an appropriate chew object and give praise when he chews on said object.
It’s natural behavior for puppies to bite. As they begin to teethe, they naturally need things to chew on. Also, dogs generally prefer to use their mouths over their paws for manipulating objects, and this behavior begins in puppyhood as young pooches start to explore their world. When puppies play, they mouth each other, which is totally normal. However, the mouthing can turn into a bite. When it does, the puppy on the receiving end will yelp, and this sound startles the puppy doing the biting, making them release. Humans can exploit this behavior to teach a puppy to inhibit the bite and learn how much is too much. When a puppy latches onto your hand or finger too hard, let your hand go limp and imitate that yelping sound. When the puppy releases, ignore her for ten to twenty seconds, then resume play. It’s important to remember, though, not to pull away from the bite. This can trigger your puppy’s chase instinct and make the problem worse. And if the yelp doesn’t work or you’d prefer not to make that sound, you can substitute a loud, “Ow!” or other verbal deterrent. Don’t repeat the limp and yelp process more than three times in fifteen minutes — when you get to that point, it’s time for a puppy time out. The goal here is to teach the puppy that gentle play continues; rough play stops. Once you’ve inhibited the hard bites, repeat this teaching process with more moderate bites. Eventually, you should be able to teach her that mouthing without biting down is okay, but anything more than that is not. To teach your puppy that his mouth on human skin is not okay at all, use redirection. When the puppy tries to mouth you, pull your hand away before contact, then provide a treat or wave around a chewy toy until he bites that.
Obedience training doesn't solve all behavior problems, but it is the foundation for solving just about any problem. Training opens up a line of communication between you and your dog. Effective communication is necessary to instruct your dog about what you want him/her to do. You can teach her anything from 'stay' (don't bolt out the door) to 'sit' (don't jump up on the visitors) to 'off' (don't chew the furniture). Most obedience schools require that you wait until your puppy is a little older before allowing you to enroll, that doesn't mean your puppy can't start learning the basics now. Work daily with your puppy to teach "sit", "come", "stay", and eventually "down". The sessions should be very short- only about 5 minutes to start. Always end on a good note- the puppy doing something correctly and make a big fuss about how awesome they are! You can use treats or praise, the puppy will work for either, they love to make you happy. Training should be done in a quiet area without distractions. A bathroom or bedroom is a good choice. For a link on instructions to start basic obedience, check out this link:
Other important points
- Do not allow your puppy to interact with dogs outside the home until puppy vaccines are compete at 16 weeks
- Avoid dog parks- these are chaos filed areas where your dog can get hurt or sick from other dogs.
- Ideally wait to spay/neuter at 1 year old to allow for bones to grow properly. If you have a female that means she may have 1 heat first- make sure she does not leave the house until out of heat or a boy may find her!
- Until 1 year of age no walks longer than 1-2 miles and no jogging on leash to allow their bones and joints to grow properly first. Of course they can run/play in the yard as much as they want! After 1 year of age, run, jog, hike as much as your dog wants!
- Trim nails/clean ears once a month from when puppy is little so it becomes a routine.
- Chose a vet that makes you and your dog feel comfortable. There are lots a vets, find the right one for you both!
- Never let your dog in the yard without a fence unsupervised. That’s how dogs get “lost” and “stolen”. Usually this is just the dog chasing a squirrel or rabbit and then not finding their way back home.
The German Shepherd Dog Club of America has a page devoted to information on puppy raising that is quite good. See link here
Always, don't hesitate to call/text/email or send a carrier pigeon to me, Cacao Kennels is your resource for life! Enjoy your new puppy and your lives together!!