Bringing home a new German Shepherd puppy is an exciting experience, and at Weidenstrasse Kennels, we are committed to making this transition as smooth as possible for both you and your new furry friend. Over the years, our experience with families and individual owners has taught us the importance of providing clear guidance and support from the very start.

Insights and Preparation

As you embark on this joyful journey, it is crucial to arm yourself with knowledge about canine behaviour. We highly recommend exploring a variety of resources such as books, articles, and videos on puppy training and behaviour. These tools will equip you with the insights needed to make informed decisions in your interactions with your new companion.

Socialising Your Puppy

The early weeks with your puppy are pivotal for socialisation. By the time you bring your puppy home at around 7-8 weeks, they have already been exposed to basic stimuli at Weidenstrasse, including different sounds, surfaces, and even short car rides. To build on this foundation, continue to introduce your puppy to a range of environments and situations during their critical socialisation period, which lasts until about 10-11 weeks of age. Remember, while some experiences might be stressful, your support and encouragement during these moments are key to fostering their confidence and well-being.

A Tip for Encountering New Challenges

If your puppy appears startled by an unexpected object, like a newspaper blowing in the wind, allow them to explore at their own pace. Encourage their curiosity and praise their bravery when they investigate, reinforcing their confidence with positive reinforcement.

Beyond Genetics

While we provide puppies bred from exemplary lineage, your role in their development is equally crucial. Regular outings, even if just for 15 minutes, three times a week, can significantly enhance their social skills and adaptability.

Addressing Challenges with Older Dogs

Even if your dog has not been exposed to many new experiences by the age of one, it’s never too late to start. Introduce new activities gradually, especially if they show apprehension, like associating car rides with visits to the vet. Use treats and positive reinforcement to create new, positive associations.

Health Precautions

However, be cautious of contagious diseases like Parvovirus. While socialization is important, prioritize your puppy’s health by choosing safer environments for exposure such as less frequented areas rather than busy public parks.

Bringing Your Puppy Home

The first few days at home are critical for setting the tone of your new life together. Remember, your puppy doesn’t inherently understand human language or your home’s rules. Patience, consistency in communication, and positive reinforcement are key to helping them adjust. Use specific, consistent commands to guide their behaviour, and avoid physical corrections.

Creating a Safe Space

Ensure your home is puppy-proofed, providing a safe space where they can explore without danger. Consider crate training as a safe way to contain your puppy when unsupervised, ensuring they have comfortable bedding, fresh water, and safe toys.

Feeding Your Puppy

Feeding your German Shepherd puppy involves providing a balanced diet suitable for their growth needs. Opt for high-quality puppy food and monitor their response to it, adjusting as necessary to avoid health issues like hip dysplasia, which can be exacerbated by improper nutrition or overfeeding. Puppies should be fed multiple times a day and should not be free-fed to avoid obesity.

Building a Lasting Bond

Invest time in daily activities to build a bond with your puppy. Simple activities like walks, playtime, and training not only stimulate their mind but also strengthen your connection.

The Journey Begins

With the right preparation and mindset, welcoming a new puppy into your home can be a rewarding experience filled with learning and love. Embrace these early days, and you’ll set the stage for a lifetime of companionship and mutual respect.

Maren von der Heyde, Zwinger von der Weidenstrasse, National Breed Supervisor November, 2011