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Training your puppy

as per:


What if My Puppy Has Diarrhea?

There are many causes of diarrhea in puppies…some common, others more serious.

If your puppy has a loose stool or occasional diarrhea:

Common Causes:
•    Stress (new home, children, crate training etc.);
•    Overfeeding or feeding spiced table scraps or gravy;
•    Changing food too rapidly;
•    Eating things like leaves, mulch, snow, poop etc;
•    Giving too many treats
•    Worms
•    Change in water.

What to do:  
•    Give spring or bottled water for a few days and add tap water slowly;
•    Stop all treats;
•    Call your breeder and consult on the type and amount of food and treats;
•    Take a stool sample to your vet.

For severe or bloody diarrhea:

Possible Causes:
•    Worms;
•    Other parasites (coccidia, giardia);
•    Viral or Bacterial Infections (distemper, parvovirus, canine influenza).

What to do: See a veterinarian immediately.  Puppies with vomiting, bloody or projectile diarrhea, or complete loss of appetite can deteriorate rapidly to a life threatening state.  The name, phone number and directions to the nearest emergency veterinary facility should be instantly available to all family members. 

- contributed by GSDCA member Barbara Lopez


What About Dog Food?

The first 5 ingredients listed on a dog food label are required to be listed in order of their pre-cooked weight.  So the first 5 ingredients in dog food are the most important and should never include:  Corn, Wheat, Gluten, Artificial Colors or Byproducts

"When evaluating any dog food… you’re always looking for a high quality, digestible meat-based protein… as close to the top of the list as possible.  So, if you haven’t found quality protein in those first few ingredients… whatever the number… it’s game over for that dog food." Dog Food Advisor

The best way to choose a food for your new puppy is to read the ingredients on the dog food label and discuss the food with your breeder.

  • Protein should be the top ingredient in any dog food.Good protein comes from meat ingredients, but not just any meat ingredients. Good dog foods have specific meat sources, like beef, chicken or turkey, eggs & cheese. Bad protein ingredients include byproducts, like "chicken byproduct meal," or mystery meats, like "meat meal," which can include road kill, diseased animals from slaughterhouses and even euthanized dogs and cats. 

  • AVOID foods that rely on corn products as the main protein source.


Suggestions about House Proofing for a New Puppy

Crawl around to get a puppy’s eye view of his surroundings before he arrives and as he grows!

DO NOT bring a puppy into your home if your older dog is dog-aggressive.

Your new puppy needs you to watch out for him when he's little.  He will watch out for you when he's older for the rest of his life.

Read more: Suggestions about House Proofing for a New Puppy


Feeding Your German Shepherd Puppy

•    Feed what the breeder recommended especially for the first few weeks so as not to disrupt the digestive system.

•    Fresh, clean water should be available to the puppy during the day.  You should remove the water overnight.

•    Feed 3 times per day from 8 to 12 weeks of age and twice per day thereafter.

•    If you want to change the food, always choose a high quality puppy food labeled for large breeds.  Mix the new food with the old food gradually at a rate of ¼ new for 2 days; ½ new for 2 days; ¾ new for 2 days until you are at 100% new food.

•    Increase the amount per feeding gradually.

•    Mix the kibble with a little warm water and let it sit for 10 minutes to soften.

•    Discard any uneaten food and decrease the quantity of the next meal by the same amount that was left.  If the puppy refuses to eat 2 consecutive meals, or is a consistently poor eater, contact your breeder or see your vet.  

•    Do not add any supplements like vitamins or minerals to a quality kibble, however adding small quantities of yogurt, cooked vegetables or eggs to the food can be beneficial.

•    Monitor the weight of the puppy during the rapid growth period of 3 – 6 months.  Overweight can lead to bone and joint problems including hip dysplasia.

•    Never give chicken, turkey, or pork bones. Give only medium length beef marrow bones that are available in the supermarket. Do not cook but remove some of the marrow since it may give loose stool to a puppy.  Surplus bones can be frozen and old bones cleaned of the marrow can be stuffed with various things such as peanut butter or pumpkin (no spices added)  to keep a puppy busy.

•    Treats should always be given with caution.  Avoid any treat that has the potential to upset the digestive system.  Puppy biskits or pieces of the puppy’s kibble can safely be given as a treat. 

•    Do not feed table scraps or gravy especially if spicy since these will cause diarrhea and stomach upset.

 Written and Provided by GSDCA Member, Barbara Lopez

Suggestions for Choosing a Veterinarian

Ask friends and neighbours who their veterinarian is. 

Ask your breeder for his/her recommendation.  You may find many that they all rave about the same one!  

Call the veterinarian you select before your German Shepherd puppy arrives in order to book an appointment for the day following his arrival. 

Reputable breeders will encourage you to take your puppy to the veterinarian and will give you a record of any vaccines, wormings, and other health clearances that may have been performed.

Read more: Suggestions for Choosing a Veterinarian


Suggestions for New Puppy "Stuff"

The German Shepherd Dog Club of America wants to help you have the best possible start.

German Shepherd puppies are awesome.  However, they grow very quickly and will be large dogs. Because they grow so fast, investing in sturdy items that can be easily cleaned and will not be destroyed as your puppy grows is a good idea.


Here are some things you will want to get before you bring your puppy home:

Read more: Suggestions for New Puppy "Stuff"


Suggestions for Introducing your Puppy to a Dog or a Cat

DO Introduce them right away and understand that your puppy needs to learn to respect the cat
DO Have your cat in the same room as the rest of you when puppy arrives
DON'T hold one animal up to the other
DON'T intervene between their greeting - unless things are going very poorly

If you have a dog-friendly dog, DO have them meet on neutral territory
DO keep the older dog on a loose leash during introduction
DON'T leave puppy and older dog unsupervised until the puppy is much older
DO ensure puppy is learning his boundaries with your older dog
DO watch for signs of stress and control the environment when you need to


Suggestions for Pro-Active Training

Your beautiful German Shepherd puppy will grow very quickly!   Teaching them when they are puppies will pay off for the rest of their life.

Simple training should start the moment your puppy arrives home. Using the same word for the same activities will help them learn quickly:

  • "Let's go out" or just "out"

  • "Sit"

  • "Wait"

  • "Let's go"

  • "Come"

  • "Potty Time"

  • "Good boy/girl"

  • "Hurry up"


Children need to be trained right along with the new puppy and should not be left unsupervised with a young puppy.


Children tend to do all the wrong things.  They run away from the puppy, encouraging it to chase them. They reach over the top of the head which threatens the puppy.  Children in the household must be taught to treat the puppy with kindness and should be included in the puppy's training.

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