Should I Get A German Shepherd As My First Dog
The short answer is No. German Shepherds and other high-energy, highly motivated, and intelligent dogs take more skill and understanding on the part of the pet parent.
The parent learning curve would be very steep and with such a large dog the potential danger to you, other people, dogs, cats, etc., could be much greater. German Shepherds are best suited for a person that understands the dog breed and who has had other more challenging, working dogs in the past.
Although GSDs are very easy to dog train obedience with, the cognitive-behavioral aspect beyond basic obedience training is where a persons past dog experience will come into play and help out.
Follow These Steps To Train Them To Focus On You
STEP 1 Pick a special, high-value treat and start in a quiet area of your home.
STEP 2 Hold the treat where your German shepherd can see it in your hand, but out of reach of your dog.
STEP 3 Now, say your dogs name once and only once. Dont repeat their name or youll teach your dog to ignore you calling them. Youre waiting patiently for your dogs eyes to look at your eyes but, theyll probably stare at your hand with the treat.
STEP 4 Next, use a cue word, such as look or focus as soon as your dog looks at your eyes. They will probably only look at your eyes for a split second at first, so be prepared to say your command cue exactly as they look at your eyes.
STEP 5 Reward your dog with the treat as soon as they look at you. Remember, you should reward them immediately, and not a second too late or youll reward them for looking away.
STEP 6 Repeat this scenario a few times a day, always with their super special treat in hand. Work up to your German Shepherd looking into your eyes in increasing times, such as 2-seconds, then 3-seconds, and so on in order for them to earn their reward.
STEP 7 Stay consistent with a reward for every time they look at you in the beginning. With practice, you can begin to wean your dog off of the treat, but only after youve conditioned them to the command cue.
Why Your German Shepherd Might Be Clingy
Whether you love it or hate it, your German Shepherd absolutely adores you but sometimes he takes this to the extreme. Honestly, why else would he be obsessed with remaining at your side for every minute of the day? Were going to take a deeper look at your German Shepherds clingy behavior and this is where it gets interesting.
Were going to examine just how common separation anxiety is in German Shepherds and how to distinguish whether your dog has separation anxiety or just likes to be around you. Then, well touch on just how in tune your German Shepherd might be with your own stress and anxiety.
Finally, we will look at how genetics plays a part and give some examples of your dogs learned behaviors whereby YOU may be to blame!
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Do German Shepherds Need Grooming
German shepherds shed year-round. Brushing your pets coat every few days will help remove loose hairs. If you notice an uptick in shedding once or twice a year, daily brushing will reduce hair on your furniture and floors and also prevent matting. German shepherds need only occasional baths unless they get into something.
The best dog brush for a German shepherd is a slicker brush or a pin brush for dogs. This is also the best type of brush for a long haired German shepherd.
Be sure to trim nails with the proper tools like the BarxBuddy nail clippers or visit your groomer. Regular tooth brushing is necessary to keep your German shepherd healthy.
How Much Water Do German Shepherds Need
In general, dogs need to drink at least an ounce or about 0.3 liters of water per pound of body weight daily.
Meaning, a German Shepherd male that weighs an average of 71 to 88 pounds will generally drink 71 to 88 ounces or 2 to 2.6 liters of water per day.
While a female German Shepherd that weighs an average of 62 to 70 pounds will drink 62 to 70 ounces or 1.8 to 2 liters.
That said, these numbers may increase as water intake isnt based on weight alone.
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Do German Shepherds Get Attached To One Person Or The Entire Family
German Shepherds are loving dogs, and thus they will get attached to whosoever behaves gently towards them.
So even if they are in a big family, they are going to bond with everyone.
However, Shepherds or other dogs commonly are more attached to their chief caregiver.
So it can be anyone who gives them more cuddles, cares for them more, basically is a little more loving than all others.
Not Enough Physical Exercise
Its already given that German Shepherds are highly active.
So because of this, they need plenty of exercises daily.
And if this isnt met
Theyll be frustrated and have lots of pent-up energy.
What to do?
According to PDSA, German Shepherds need at least 2 hours of exercise daily.
So, walk your dog longer than usual. And try more extreme activities that you can do with them. Like hiking, running, or swimming.
Oh, theyll also appreciate playing fetch or catching frisbees.
Note: If you have pups or senior Fidos, take them for shorter walks instead. For puppies, multiply their age in months to 5. And youll get the total minutes of exercise they need per day.
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From 9 Months To 24 Months
Dogs of different breeds and sizes mature at different ages, and while one year of age is commonly considered the end of puppyhood in general, a German Shepherd Dog may not reach an adult level of maturity before the age of two or three . So continuing to work on impulse control, improve obedience skills, and advance to training in more focused activities like tracking, scent work, protection work, agility, and herdingall of which are capabilities of this breedmust continue throughout this period and then be reinforced as your GSD reaches adulthood.
Keep in mind that this is a breed that thrives on constant and consistent work and training, and loves to have a jobor many jobs!to do. If you can provide your GSD with outlets for their intelligence and versatility, both you and your dog will reap the rewards.
Yasmine S. Ali, MD, is a cardiologist and writer based in Tennessee, where she lives with three Canine Good Citizens, including an AKC-registered German Shepherd Dog.
Caring For Your German Shepherd
German Shepherds are fantastic dogs and its easy to see why they are such a popular breed. However their size and strength means they arent suited to all families and need a lot of space to burn off their energy. Youll need to make sure you have a lot of time to spend with these dogs and you are committed to providing for their exercise needs every day.
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Does Barking Signal A Health Problem
Yes and No. Barking doesnt necessarily mean the German Shepherd has a serious health problem, but it can mean something is wrong with them, perhaps they are in pain or injured.
If they are barking excessively or displaying body language that signals a problem, this can be a possibility. At this point, their owner or family should take the time to discover what is bothering them.
If the problem cant be figured out by a physical inspection of their body than, it is best to consult their veterinarian. Barking that is excessive, on rare occasions can signal more serious health issues.
One area where excessive barking is connected to emotional issues is concerning anxiety, separation anxiety in particular. Some dog breeds can have a higher incidence of separation anxiety. The German Shepherd is one of those breeds.
They are loving and loyal and form a strong bond with their owner or family. Although they are physically strong, athletic, and capable, they thrive on this connection that they share.
This is one of the primary reasons they make such good protectors and guard dogs because they will protect to the bitter end.
This protective nature and deep bond that they form can bring other emotional issues if they are left alone for too long. If their owner or family is away for an extended period, they can suffer from anxiety, and separation anxiety.
Training Goal #: Socialization
Puppies of all breeds have a critical socialization window that closes at 12 to 16 weeks of life, and your GSD puppy is no exception. In fact, for GSDs, who by nature are protective guardians, socialization is extra important so that your puppy learns which strangers are friendly and not a threat.
GSDs are very observant, and your puppy will pick up on your cues and reactions around new people and new situations. During this critical period, having exposure to many different kinds of people in non-threatening situations will help your puppy be confident among friendly strangers rather than fearful or aggressive. And even during times of social and physical distancing, you can still socialize your puppy safely.
Proper socialization cannot be overemphasized for this breed as Adams notes, The foundation for most training is confidence. It is critical that the GSD puppy is well socialized from an early age onward. Safely exposing the puppy to new sights, sounds, and smells is absolutely critical for development. Good socialization translates to confidence.
Certified dog trainer and CGC evaluator Jacqui Foster, CPDT-KA, echoes this sentiment: I tend to lean more towards developing self-confidence in the puppy. For this I recommend short, fun, three-minute games that engage the puppy with the owner as well as in noises, weird and uneven surfaces, family members, etc., throughout the day. A confident puppy is a happy puppy.
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Positive Reinforcement Produces Positive Results
Your German Shepherd will respond best to training with positive reinforcement. Yelling or physical punishment will cause this intelligent breed to mistrust you.
Reward good behavior with treats or praise or both. Its the best way to show your German Shepherd that hes doing it right and its a motivator for him to continue with this behavior.
Remember earlier when I said that your German Shepherd actually wants to please you?
Well, once your dog has mastered the behavior, you can remove the treats and reward only with praise hell relish in it all the same.
You know by now that there are heaps of different training programs. Each program has a specific focus, function, and outcome.
Well take a closer look at some of these in future posts. So, for now, lets look at two basic programs
Why Is My Dog Whining For No Reason
Whining can be your dogs way of saying that he is scared or anxious. If your dog is also pacing, trembling, or panting while whining, he is likely fearful or anxious about something. Perhaps there is a new guest or resident in the house making your dog nervous, or perhaps he is worried because someone is missing.
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Consistency Patience And Proper Techniques Get The Job Done
The key to training a German Shepherd is to be consistent and patient, using proper training techniques. When disciplining your German Shepherd, never use physical punishment, yell, or use other aversive methods as this will only cause aggression, fear, and mistrust.
If you prefer, enlist the help of a trainer, and you and your companion will have a much better and calmer existence.
Toy Time: Designate Dog
I cannot overemphasize the importance of dogs having their own toys, and, especially for German Shepherds, getting the right kinds of toys. When Sultan was a puppy, we got her a few toys that were basically stuffed animals. She destroyed them in hours, and strew fluff all over the yard and the house. We started looking for more durable toys, hoping to find her something that would last longer than a few hours. She powered through everything.
Eventually, we started investing in toys that were made specifically for German Shepherds and other large dogs. We had a stuffed rabbit made out of firehouse material for a little over two years. She finally managed to rip one of the ears off after quite a whilethats how good these toys are.
It is vitally important that a dog has toys that they know are their own. These are toys that they can play with when they are bored and can field the chewing habit that most dogs, especially during their teething phase, have. Plus, giving a dog a sense of ownership over something can make them happier.
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Why Do German Shepherds Whine
All dogs whine you may have seen a dog whining when reuniting with their owner after a long day or when they get separated. This is because whining usually indicates either excitement or anxiety. That said, it can also indicate that a dog is sad, scared, frustrated, in pain, or wants attention, depending on the context of their whining.
The Bathe And Comb Method
This method is a simple bathe, comb, and spray method.
Here are the steps to follow
Step One Bathe your dog in warm water with good dog shampoo.
Although my dogs have healthy skin, I use shampoo for sensitive skin. This way I know their skin is being cared for in the best way.
Step Two Once theyre done in the tub, dry them well with a towel.
Step Three Spray them liberally with ShowSheen. .
But be warned
Do this outside. ShowSheen is very slippery. If you do it in your bathroom, youll slip, fall, and break a couple of bones. I promise!
Heres how to groom a German Shepherd for summer using ShowSheen
As you groom your dog, work from back to front, ruffling their fur down to the skin and massaging it in.
This is a great opportunity to tell your dog how wonderful they are!
Step Four Once youre done conditioning with ShowSheen, start brushing.
Again, work from back to front and then down the body. Work in small patches with the brush.
Start with a wide-toothed comb and work your way down.
You can use a de-shedding comb to make sure that you have gotten all the undercoat out.
Step Five Brush your dog weekly, or more often if necessary.
Find out about the best shampoo for dogs with sensitive skin.
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Your Dog Has One Basic Need Understand This And Training Will Be A Breeze
See that cute puppy snuggled up on your sofa? See that old dog that needs to learn new tricks?
They look to you for guidance
And Heres the trick:
The most valuable thing you can do for your dog is to show him that you are a good leader.
If you’re thinking good leadership is establishing yourself as an alpha’ you’re wrong.
Your dog knows you’re not a dog and so will never see you as a dog or an alpha.
Being a good leader means your GSD can and will always look to you for guidance.
Think about it
If your pooch is looking to you for guidance they feel comfortable and safe and that creates an environment of trust.
Being a good leader is about using brains over brawn to teach your German Shepherd.
Are German Shepherd Dogs Good Pets
German shepherds are very good pets, especially for active families and homes that have yards where your German shepherd can get exercise every day. German shepherds tend to have high prey drive, though, so they might tend to bolt if they see cats, small dogs and other small animals. If you adopt a German shepherd puppy, we recommend that you socialize it early, to get it used to being around your other pets.
Because they tend to have high prey drive, we recommend leash training your German shepherd.
This breed of dog is highly intelligent and highly trainable . They do tend to shed a lot so be ware if you have someone in your household who has pet allergies.
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Which Dog Breeds Bark The Most
The breeds that you would find to be the least likely to bark would be those of terrier lineage with bull and Jack Russell Terriers at the top of the list. Maltese, Yorkshire Terriers, and Bichon Frises make up a large group as well as several other breeds. These breeds tend not to bark as they are smaller dogs not bred for protection or for hunting. Dogs who are more known for their barking include Border Collies, Cocker Spaniels, Dalmations, Beagles and Dachshunds. These were among some of the most popular hunting dogs in Europe centuries ago and they have both a high tendency to bark but also a lower tendency more apt at being hunters than protecting property.
Keep Your Cat Indoors To Protect The Environment
When youre playing fetch, youre simply throwing something for your dog to retrieve. Once they catch the thing or have to fetch it from wherever it landed, theyll usually bring it straight back to you. Then, you can throw it again or move on.
Sound simple? It is. There are a lot of different things that you could use to play fetch with. A couple of the most common are tennis balls and sticks, but youd be surprised at what your dog will be eager to chase and catch. Other fun things include frisbees or dog toys.
Pretty much anything you throw past your dog, theyll run to catch, if theyve trained how to. Some dogs do this naturally, others have to be encouraged to chase after objects by being provided with affection or treats.
Once youve played enough fetch, you can begin teaching your German Shepherd simple tricks like how to catch things that you throw at them or to do jumping tricks while fetching.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the authors knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
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