You may ask whether an 8 month old German Shepherd is still a puppy. Yes, it is, despite its size and more adult look. These dogs become complete grown-ups when they are two-year-olds. If you are an owner of this breed or want to adopt a puppy, you need to know what it looks like and feels and how it behaves at the age of 8 months. To learn all these details, continue reading this article.
Size and Appearance
Your smart and cute little friend does not look like a fluffy cub anymore. It has sufficiently grown within the previous month and looks almost like an adult dog. It continues growing, so you need to measure your pet regularly to see whether it develops appropriately.
The height of an 8 month old German Shepherd differs between males and females. Male Shepherds are 20-22 inches (51-56 cm) tall, and females grow around 18–20 inches (46-51 cm). These dogs continue growing until they are 2 years old and completely mature. GSDs can differ individually – much depends on their inherited features.
The German Shepherd’s 8 month weight also differs between genders. Males can weigh 62-66 lbs (28 -30 kg), while females are smaller – 53-57 lbs (24-26 kg). The weight can also be hereditary. In addition, food habits can influence it a lot.
Your German Shepherd may have floppy ears at this age, though most dogs of this breed have upright ears already. This can also be caused by genetics. However, it can be a result of poor nutrition or trauma in some cases. That is why you need to provide your pup with appropriate food and chewing toys to strengthen its muscles and help the ear tap upright. If you suspect your doggy could have been accidentally injured, go to your vet instantly.
In general, your German Shepherd looks fully grown, but its bones will be hardening for the next 6–12 months, so you need to be very careful about its nutrition and exercise. It also has all the adult teeth, so it needs more chewing toys for this reason too. The coat has two layers already but continues to thicken. It will gradually become more lustrous.
Activity & Behavior
Your pet’s manners may change dramatically at this age, so you need to control the 8 month old German Shepherd’s behavior and stop it from doing something wrong. Your doggy starts acting like an adult Shepherd, so it becomes more independent and reacts to other animals and people, showing signs of aggression. It is also more active and curious, so it may become bored easily if not controlled. It will try to test boundaries and challenge you for alpha status. Another problem is excessive chewing. It will chew everything it sees, and your clothes, shoes, and furniture may be seriously damaged. Some other issues include digging potholes and barking loudly.
Remember that your doggy is a predator, so barking, showing aggression, chewing, and even biting is part of its natural behavior. You need to control these destructive habits and socialize with your pet by walking in the dog park or outside the house. Walking on a leash is an essential skill to teach it. Buy chew toys, and never leave your pup alone for a long time. Provide your doggy with new opportunities for exercise and training, but never punish it for doing something wrong. If your pet plays roughly, chases, bounces, barks, growls, and bites, stop it immediately.
Your German Shepherd’s 8 month old needs a lot of healthy sleep alongside proper nutrition. Sufficient sleeping time ensures that your dog’s immune and nervous systems and its muscles and bones develop properly. There is no exact standard of sleeping time, but the overall daily sleep needs to take 15–20 hours, while an adult dog sleeps 12–14 hours. Ideally, the pup needs 2–3 hours of sleep during the daytime and all the other sleeping hours – at night. It may no longer wake you up for a potty break if it is healthy and properly trained. Provide it with a comfortable place to sleep and avoid too noisy games before bedtime.
Since your pet is immensely energetic at this age, it needs a lot of exercises to develop its muscles and remain active and alert. The exercise should be regular. As for walking, add 5 minutes to every month of its age, so the average exercise time now should be 40 minutes. Walking is the most beneficial kind of exercise. It will help your doggy explore the surroundings and socialize.
Your puppy generally needs at least 90 minutes per day to play and explore things. Divide the exercise into two or three shorter sessions for running, walking, swimming, playing fetch, and training. Mental stimulation is also very important. Interactive games, obedience training, and playing with puzzle toys will also do much good during these sessions. Remember not to overload your pup with exercise because it may be harmful to its development and health.
Health & Care
Your German Shepherd of 8 months is a healthy and strong animal, and not many health concerns can occur at this age. However, you need to keep an eye on any inconsistencies in its appearance and behavior to prevent or stop undesirable conditions.
Many German Shepherds are prone to elbow and hip dysplasia. This condition can start developing when the joints are not formed healthily.
Bloat is a serious life-threatening issue that displays by restlessness, vomiting, and drooling. It happens when you feed a dog just once a day, and it gulps its food very quickly. Then, the stomach may twist and trap gases inside. If you notice the slightest signs of this condition, go to see your veterinarian immediately.
Your doggy may also be prone to allergies, so excessive scratching can be the first sign that you need to think about visiting a vet.
Your dog has already been immunized against all severe infections by this age, so the next vaccination will be at one year.
Groom your pet properly. Its coat needs regular brushing. Do it twice per week, or you may need to brush it every day if it is a shedding season. Trim your dog’s nails and learn how to clean its teeth just twice per month.
You don’t need to bathe your dog very often because it can be harmful to its coat and skin.
Your pup needs appropriate toys, so buy them for it. They are rubber chew toys, interactive toys to avoid boredom, and rope toys to play tug-of-war or fetches. Consider the size, material, and durability of the toy you are buying.
At this age, your puppy continues gaining weight. That is why the German Shepherd’s 8 month food has to be high-quality and nutritious. However, you need to be careful not to overfeed your doggy because obesity can cause many health problems in the future.
The frequency of feeding also influences your pup’s growth and development. There is a rule to feed a German Shepherd puppy three times per day at the age of 3–6 months and two times per day at the age of 6–12 months.
The food has to be balanced and regular. Feed your pup at approximately the same time of the day, in the mornings and in the evenings. The amount of food matters a lot. Your puppy needs around 12 oz (425 g) per meal, so it should be at least 36 oz (approximately 1 kg) every day. You may choose between two-times and three-times feeding and equally spread the food between these portions.
Young German Shepherds need the right combination of good fat, carbohydrates, and protein in their diet. Whole grains, vegetables, and lean meat will be the best choice if you want to feed your doggy with products. The kibble should be of the best quality if you prefer to feed your puppy with it. Look at the labels on the pack to see how many cups to feed to your pet.
Never give your pet too much food at once because its stomach is too delicate to cope with large meals. That is why dividing all the food into smaller meals is strongly recommended.
If you see that your puppy is underweight or overweight, it’s time to talk to your vet or consult a pet nutritionist. They will create a special feeding plan for your pup that can help it stay at a healthy weight.
Training is the most important part of your care and establishing closer bonds with your pet. Training an 8 month old German Shepherd involves improving its behavior and getting to know more about its surroundings. It will be easier to control your dog in the future if it is properly trained. If a German Shepherd is not trained properly, you may face aggressive behavior after a while. So, your doggy has to be properly potty-trained and socialized. While potty training is completed at an earlier age, socializing is essential at any time.
Training your pup can be fun and enjoyable if you know how to do it properly.
The first thing you need to consider is establishing rules and limits. Your energetic and curious pup needs more structure and discipline not to get in trouble or become unruly. Teach your doggy patience and self-control by setting a rule of sitting in front of you for a while before you give it food.
Then, you need to think about how good your pup is at obeying basic commands. German Shepherds at this age are very intelligent and eager to please their owners, so teaching commands now is quite rewarding because your pet will learn everything very quickly. Be consistent. If you give a command once but never repeat it in the same situation, your doggy will understand that this command is not mandatory to obey.
Use positive reinforcement and never shout at or punish your pup for disobedience. Positive reinforcement means you need to reward your pet with treats, praise, or petting every time it has done something correctly.
Never overtrain your doggy. German Shepherds have a rather short attention span at this age, so try to make your training sessions short and encouraging, or your pup will get bored or tired. If you see a problem with paying attention, break up your sessions into even shorter parts throughout the day. You should always be positive while training your dog. If you are not, it is probably better to consult a dog trainer or trust the entire training job with a specialist. Nevertheless, you can always teach your pup the basic commands, like ‘Sit,’ ‘Stay,’ ‘Down,’ ‘Come,’ and others. You can also teach your doggy to do little tricks like playing dead.
Pay attention to recall training because your dog needs to come back to you when you call it, even if there are some distractions. This skill is lifesaving because your pup may sometimes get loose from the leash and be injured.
German Shepherds are unique dogs. They are very intelligent, curious, and energetic at any age, so they need a lot of exercise and have some specific care needs. Your 8 month old GSD will also need a lot of training related to socialization.
You also have to provide it with proper nutrition and a balanced diet.
Be aware of possible behavioral problems. Your pet may sometimes be If you provide your pet with appropriate shelter, food, exercise, playtime, and training, you will get the best and most loyal friend ever.
How big are German Shepherds at 8 months?
The height can be different for males and females. Your boy may get 20-22 inches (51-56 cm) of height, while girls usually grow smaller – around 18–20 inches (46-51 cm).
Is the age of 8 months too old to train a German Shepherd?
It is never too late to learn something new for your doggy. At this age, German Shepherds are especially intelligent, curious, and ready to learn new things and please their masters. However, potty training has to be completed much earlier.
How much exercise does an 8 month old German Shepherd need?
Your energetic pup needs a lot of exercise at this age. It is about 2 hours or even more. However, if we talk about walking, your pup needs 40 minutes of walking time. Other exercises may include games, playing with toys, jumping, or swimming. Don’t overexercise your pet. If you notice that your pup is tired, think about splitting the whole time into two or three sessions.