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Remember that your 6 month old German Shepherd is not a puppy anymore. It is the age when your pet officially enters the adolescence stage. What does this mean for it and you as its owner? The most troublesome period starts here. Your doggy can become rather unpredictable, and it is sometimes frustrating.
The teenage stage, much influenced by hormones, can change your puppy’s behavior completely. It may still seem like a big fur ball, but it shows its temperament and character, so you need to be very careful. Moreover, it is very strong, too. So if your puppy is not properly trained, you may experience some difficulties in controlling it.
Here are some helpful recommendations, tips, and pieces of advice on your doggy’s feeding, dealing with behavioral issues, exercising, training, and taking care. We hope they will help you change your relationships with your pet from the ‘parent-child’ to true companionship mode.
Size and Appearance
Your 6 month old German Shepherd puppy continues growing. It is 75% of its adult size now, and it looks more like a grown-up dog than a fluffy little cub. It has already gained 7-8 pounds (3-3.5 kg) more since the previous month. It is a large dog breed, and it has become obvious now.
Your boy weighs 49-57 pounds (22-25 kg), and the girl, though smaller, is 44-49 pounds (19-22 kg) heavy. The height of a male puppy at this age reaches 16-18 inches (40-45 cm) at the withers, while female dogs are 15-17 inches (38-43 cm) tall.
Now, teething is almost completed, and your doggy can normally show all its 42 adult teeth already. However, some puppies continue teething until they are 7-8 months old.
The fur coat is also almost adult, with its double layers and a lot of shedding. It means that you need to develop a direct schedule for brushing and grooming. Buy a high-quality undercoat rake and brush your pup at least once a week.
Since teething is finished, the ears stand up straight at this age. If not, it’s time to consider taping. However, some puppies do not have perky ears until they are 12 months old. It depends on their hereditary characteristics – if their parents didn’t get their ears standing until one year of age, your puppies will not get them standing before this age, either.
Another very important thing to consider in your six month old German Shepherd is that its sexual maturity begins. This stage is equivalent to teenagership or puberty in people. The hormones start kicking in, so males may want to look for a mate when outside. That is why it is so important to keep your puppy away from stray dogs at this time. Your boy may also start marking its territory and displaying aggression toward other animals and people. Estrogen in females also results in uneasiness and aggressive behavior. Walking in a dog park is not the best idea for your girl at this period.
6 Month Old German Shepherd Behavior and Activity
Once your German Shepherd pup reaches 6 months, it has almost the full-sized bladder of an adult dog, so it does not need a potty at night, or it may have only one potty call. On average, a 6 month old GSD sleeps 10-12 hours a day. Most of them are at night, but it may also need several naps in the daytime.
Your puppy is very active at this age, so it needs a lot of walking and running. It is capable of walking long distances or even jogging. It is a truly great breed that can be very energetic. The puppy can walk up to 6 miles or 10 kilometers, and many believe that it is OK, since wolf pups as their ancestors could walk and run with their pack for many miles. However, every veterinarian will tell you that too much exercise of this kind can be dangerous for your pup because it can result in problems with joints at this age. So, choose other types of activities for exercising.
Teach your doggy to walk on a leash, with frequent breaks, increasing the length of the walk gradually. 5 minutes per every month of age is recommended, so we get 30 minutes of walking per day. Never walk your puppy in very hot or cold weather. Take care of the surfaces you are walking on – they don’t have to be slippery or sharp. If your pup shows the slightest signs of lameness, talk with your vet about it.
The age of 6 months is the time when many behavioral problems can appear. It is connected with the period of puberty and hormonal disbalances. Your pup needs more independence, so it may wage a war against all your belongings if not trained properly. Chewing, tearing, and demolishing everything around is common. The puppy may want to roam around, so it’s time to buy a secure leash, collar, and even harness when you go outside and use per-safe baby gates inside.
Even if your doggy has been potty-trained properly, it may have more accidents indoors now because it finds pleasure in looking for secret places for doing its business when indoors.
Your 6 month old German Shepherd weight consists of 75% or even more of an adult dog, so it can cause serious harm when jumping at you orbiting, so you need to be careful about it testing the boundaries. Therefore, you have to show it who the boss in the household is and become a true leader of the pack for it.
When playing, your pup may become rougher and try to dominate. It can get pushier with other dogs due to the start of its sexual maturity. Your pet can display a lot of boldness and attack other dogs fearlessly when walking in the park. It may also develop more aggressive reactions to other people, especially strangers. Even if it does know most commands, it may pretend to forget them because its hormones fluctuate. So, you need to be very careful to avoid incidents.
Scent marking is another sign of puberty. The pup can do it inside your home and display disobedience if you try to prevent this. Female pups can experience the beginning of heat. It may cause them to feel subdued and insecure, so they become less sociable and even aggressive to their owners.
You need a lot of patience and knowledge to train your doggy to behave properly at this age. Try to be persistent, provide it with more outdoor exercise, and never use force or physical punishment in response to its misbehavior. Increase the amount of exercise gradually to avoid bad injuries to the bones and joints. Find the most appropriate and appealing activities and games for your puppy to keep it healthy and out of trouble. Offer it a lot of chew toys to reduce boredom and get a good workout for the pup’s jaws. Include mental stimulation in your everyday exercise. Offer it new brain challenges or mental games. ‘Fetch’ may be a great option for a proper game for your 6 month old GSD.
Health and Care
You need to be carefully observing whether your pup meets its weight and height requirements for this age. Learn to measure your doggy regularly to be on the safe side.
Your pup has already had three vaccination sessions by this time. So, you won’t need any more vaccines for DHPP and rabies until it is one year old.
Neutering or spaying your pup is an issue that you may have to consider. However, most veterinarians do not approve of this at such an early age.
Recent research shows your male dog’s health risks of too early neutering. It can result in joint disorders, incontinence, musculature injuries, and even cancer. They can be explained by lessening or eliminating the production of hormones associated with growth. The cartilage in long leg bones may get soft or even be missing, contributing to skeletal weaknesses. That is why you should delay neutering until your boy is one year old. Or, if your little male displays too many signs of disobedience and aggression due to its sexual development, delay neutering until the veterinarian X-rays your doggy and ensures that the growth plates are hardened and completely closed.
As for female German Shepherds, the additional safety considerations for spaying should also be taken into account. Too early spaying can increase the risks of mammary cancer and urinary incontinence, along the common joint and bone issues. It is recommended to wait until your girl is one year old or even longer. Most breeders will tell you that a female German Shepherd should go through one or two heat cycles before spaying to reduce the risks of severe health issues. That is why the most desirable time for spaying the GS female is 18 months of its age.
As for other health problems at the age of 6 months, you do not need to worry. If you give your 6 month old German Shepherd puppy a healthy diet and enough exercise, it won’t display any health issues until it is 5 years old. If you want to know what to expect further, research the pedigree and ancestors of your pup to see whether there were any hereditary issues in their bloodline. You can also have a DNA test to predict future problems, such as degenerative myelopathy.
However, you need to be watchful and careful about different signs and symptoms that may signal some temporary disorders. If you observe changes in your puppy’s sleeping patterns, appetite, digestion, urinating, and skin condition, go to see a vet. These symptoms may not mean anything serious. Though, it is always better to be sure.
You need to feed your 6 month old German Shepherd puppy an appropriate diet with the correct number of calories and protein rates. It still grows rapidly, so you should be careful when choosing between high-quality puppy kibble and raw homemade feeding. The latter should include raw meats (fish, turkey, or chicken are good) and different vegetables and fruits. Don’t give your doggy human food and avoid toxic ingredients.
Do not offer your puppy too many treats during the daytime. Remember that they can be full of fats and lead to obesity. You do not want your pup to suffer from hip dysplasia or other health issues caused by being overweight. Arthritis, hypertension, diabetes, and even cancer can also result from improper diets.
Give your puppy 2-3 cups of kibble per each of 2 meals daily. Develop a feeding schedule and be consistent with following it. Never leave the food your puppy hasn’t eaten in the bowl. Self-feeding can also lead to obesity.
Provide clean and fresh water to your dog, and you do not need to take the water bowl away. Your pup should have access to it whenever it wants.
Never add any supplements or extra treats until your veterinarian recommends them. You should also learn to feel your puppy’s torso and ribs to check if everything is OK with its weight. If your puppy refuses to eat for more than two subsequent meals, have a talk with your vet.
You do not need to make a transition to adult food at this age yet. However, in some cases, it may be appropriate and recommended, even if normally such a transition is due closer to the age of one year. If you decide to do it now, make it smooth for the puppy by adding some adult food for 10 days or more in the proportions starting with 90% old puppy food and 10% new adult food for the first two days, and then change these proportions to 80%:20%, 70%:30%, and so on. If you do not do it gradually, you may face digestive upset in your puppy.
How To Train a 6 Month Old German Shepherd
You should have started training your puppy at the age of two months. The start for a 6 month old GSD is not the best option because the socialization window closes at 4 months in German Shepherds, and you may encounter some behavioral issues now.
Never use harsh, negative, or punishment-based methods of training. Your pup is very sensitive, and all this can damage its psyche. The positive, reward-based methods are more appropriate, and they will produce better results.
Continue socialization by exposing your pet to unfamiliar animals and people in a friendly environment. Though, you need to be very careful now because hormone disbalance can evoke unpredictable reactions.
German Shepherds tend to be enthusiastic barkers, so you have to discourage your pup from barking all the time. Teach it to inform you when someone unknown is approaching, but keep from barking all other times.
Try to stop your dog’s rebellious teenage behavior, such as pulling a leash heavily or disobeying commands. Always control your doggy persistently. Instill that you are a leader to obey. Do training for at least 10-15 minutes per day regularly and always use positive reinforcement. You can teach your pup such new commands as ‘Crawl’ and ‘Fetch’ at this age, in addition to the other 5 commands it already knows and follows.
If you need help, ask a professional trainer to assist or teach you.
How big is a 6 month old German Shepherd?
Your GS pup is 75% of the adult dog size. It is pretty tall, with the height of a male reaching 16-18 inches (40.5-45.5 cm) at the withers. Female dogs are a bit smaller, with 15-17 inches (38-43 cm) in height.
How much should a 6 month old German Shepherd weight?
Your pet continues growing quickly, so its weight also increases. The average weight of a boy puppy is 49-57 pounds (22-25.5 kg), while a girl weighs 44-49 pounds (19.5-22 kg).
How much should a 6 month old German Shepherd eat?
You can give your puppy 2-3 cups of kibble per each of 2 meals daily. If you want to start transferring it to adult food, introduce it in the proportions of 90% puppy food to 10% adult food for the beginning.
How much should a 6 month old German Shepherd sleep?
Because of its almost full-sized bladder, your pup does not need a potty at night or may need it just once. Therefore, it can sleep peacefully the whole night. Normally, the average sleeping time is 10-12 hours, with the biggest amount at night. Though, it may also need several naps in the daytime.
How far can a 6 month old German Shepherd walk?
Even if you think that your pup needs a lot of exercises, walking and running should not comprise the largest part of it. The puppy can walk up to 6 miles or 10 kilometers if it is needed, but never make it walk for such a long distance. Its bones and joints are not formed completely yet, so much walking can cause many health issues. Choose some other activities for exercising, then.
Now, you can see that your 6 month old GSD puppy is a source of both enjoyment and trouble. You should be very patient, persistent, and careful about feeding, training, and exercising your little one to raise a healthy, energetic, and loyal dog, the best companion and protector for all your family.
Follow the advice of your veterinarian relating to health and care. You can also consult with a professional dog trainer or hire them to help you. We hope that some recommendations and tips in this article will also be helpful.