They’re cuddly, and they’re cute. Really, is anything more adorable than a German shepherd Puppy? But is it the right breed for your family, and what can you expect as that puppy grows from a lovable ball of fluff to a dedicated companion?
One of the foremost police, military and guard dog breeds throughout the world, the German shepherd dog has long been one of the most popular dog breeds within the United States. A loving family companion, the breed is friendly, direct, and confident with an athletically built body. Originating in Karlsruhe, Germany, in 1899, the German shepherd dog breed was developed from several older breeds, including both herding and farm dogs. While traditionally black and tan, the German shepherd can be other colors.
A German Shepherd Puppy Can Grow Up to Have Many Responsibilities
Part of the working group within the American Kennel Club, the German shepherd dog has been utilized by its owners throughout the years in a variety of activities, either as canine work partners or within their role as a family companion. Considered by many to be one of the most intelligent of all the dog breeds, the German shepherd puppy is highly trainable and versatile, enabling them to excel in various service activities such as canine search and rescue, drug and bomb detection, or as service dogs for the blind or otherwise physically handicapped. As companion animals, their intelligence allows them to easily master basic obedience and agility skills, as well as obedience, scent, and protection training required to complete Schutzhund training.
Though it is clear that the German shepherd puppy is readily adaptable to a variety of activities, any family that elects to add one of these beautiful dogs to their home must be dedicated to nurturing the puppy’s natural athleticism and intellect in order to ensure its happiness. And once the decision to add a German shepherd puppy to the household has been made, there are various other considerations, including how the puppy will be trained, that must be taken into account, from basic health care to grooming and socialization.
As a puppy, your German shepherd puppy will look to you to provide all of his or her basic needs, from food and water to proper grooming and health care. Whether you elect to allow the puppy to have continual access to food and water is a personal choice; however, it is essential that both be made available to him (or her) in a timely manner to ensure his continued growth and health. As a double-coated breed, proper grooming should also be taken into consideration. While this double coat makes the dog more able to withstand any type of weather, it also makes it necessary to both bathe and brush the dog on a regular basis, a necessary ritual that the puppy should become accustomed to at an early age in order to maintain its coat and keep its high shedding coat in check. As with any puppy, the family will also need to ensure that the puppy is regularly seen by a veterinarian, receiving the necessary immunizations as well as flea, tick, and heartworm preventatives as he or she matures and grows into adulthood.
Health of Your German Shepherd Puppy
While proper care for the health of your German shepherd puppy is key, it is perhaps in the socialization and training of your puppy that you will make the most impact. Naturally inquisitive, intelligent, courageous, and athletic, German shepherd puppies are into everything, and it is only through careful training and socialization that they learn the necessary boundaries to ensure that they become a valued member of the family.
Proper socialization of your German shepherd puppy should begin at an early age. Though a family can carefully screen breeders to ensure that the puppy they acquire is not genetically predisposed to certain aggressive or fearful behaviors, it is up to them to ensure that the puppy grows up into a well-rounded adult.
Introduce Your German Shepherd Puppy to a Variety of Experiences
While some puppies are more sensitive than others, it is essential that all puppies be introduced to a variety of different experiences to help make certain that they are able to actively participate in family activities. Care should be taken to introduce the puppy to strangers, new places and environments, unusual sounds, and various other stimuli so that the puppy can become accustomed to new experiences and acquire the skill to adapt to change. It is essential that these introductions take place at the puppy’s pace, as opposed to the owner, so that each new experience is positive and does not create a negative association for the puppy. It is of utmost importance to ensure that any interaction between the puppy and other humans or dogs is positive, as any adverse associations acquired at such an early age can follow the puppy throughout its life.
Make Sure Your German Shepherd Puppy Grows Into a Happy Adult
Finally, appropriate training will be necessary to make sure that your puppy grows up into a happy adult. As a breed notorious for biting, it is essential to curb this behavior at an early age. While the playful nips and mouthing that young German shepherd puppies engage in can be cute and endearing, in an adult dog, it can be a lawsuit waiting to happen. Fortunately, the German Shepherds’ natural intelligence and desire to please will serve its owners well as other unwanted behaviors provided that consistent training is provided. All training offered to a German shepherd puppy should be positive. For example, in order to curb biting behaviors, an owner may redirect the puppy’s attention to an appropriate chew toy or mimic cry out to let the German shepherd puppy know that they have been hurt by the puppy’s rough play.
Make a Lifetime Commitment to Your German Shepherd Puppy
Making the decision to acquire a German shepherd puppy is a serious matter and should be considered a lifelong commitment. Not only will the owner or family be required to invest time in the proper care of their new companion, but they must also be prepared to ensure that your German shepherd puppy receives sufficient socialization and training as well. However, provided they are willing to take on such a commitment and are willing to put in the necessary effort, they will be well rewarded with one of the brightest, most family-oriented, loyal companions a family could hope for in a dog and especially a German shepherd puppy.
Above all remember to enjoy your German shepherd puppy!