Advice for first time GSD owner - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-18-2015, 05:12 PM Thread Starter
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Advice for first time GSD owner

Hi guys!

I just picked up our 8 week old GSD female yesterday (Lily). We had been told by her breeders that we got the pick of the litter because she seemed to be the smartest of all the puppies, and picked up on things much quicker than the others. The breeder has been working with the puppies as far as house training amongst other very small training sessions. Once we got her home yesterday, I couldn't believe how smart she was. She will sit on almost all of my "sit" commands. She whines when she needs to go potty, although, I take her out before she begins to whine because I don't want to cause her to have accidents. She just seems to be soaking in every word that we say. I know GSD's are extremely intelligent dogs, and Lily will be no more than a family pet. No professionally trained dogs for us.

I have read all the other forums about puppies, but I would like some advice. Can any of you give your personal pointers? Whether it be about potty training, grooming, or health. Absolutely any advice would be helpful. Thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-18-2015, 06:23 PM
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1. Look up the "nothing in life is free" concept. The earlier you establish this, the better.

2. Socialization to everything and everyone is extremely important. Every single day. Start right now.

3. If you're going to get help with training, avoid any "positive only" trainers. Look for a balanced trainer that understands things like threshold theory (look it up yourself) and knows how and when to give proper corrections. Training you will be 90% of the entire "dog training" process. If you can find trainers that have extensive experience with German Shepherds, that's the best way to go.

4. Watch for signs of jealously/protectiveness (especially towards other female dogs). These can occur around 12-20 months or so. If this happens, take it seriously, and shut it down immediately with proper training.

5. Get used to the idea of giving commands, not making suggestions. Firm, calm tone.

6. Consistency is key in everything.

7. Any money spent on proper training will give you a tenfold return on investment down the line.

8. Get dog insurance for the first 12 months or so. Then decide whether you want to keep going.

9. Don't expect too much too fast. Pups have no attention span - give it time. Proper training involves small steps that build on earlier steps - find a trainer that understand this

10. Avoid dog parks like the plague.

11. If at any point in training you feel frustrated, stop and take a break.

12. Have fun!

Last edited by yuriy; 09-18-2015 at 06:25 PM.
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-18-2015, 09:32 PM
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I am a first time GSD puppy owner too.
When We brought Finn home at 12 weeks he was the sweetest, smartest, most laid back puppy. I couldn't believe ourz good fortune. lol
The day he turned 4 months...OMG!!!! He turned into a freakin little maniac. Literally, he was so bad that I got a consult with a trainer who owns and trains GSDs.
He said Finn's just flexing his muscles, and sign him up for basic obedience class.

For me, months 4 and 5 were the most challenging!!!!!
My advice is this:
Crate train your pup asap.
Sign her up for basic obedience class before she turns 4 months.
Congrats on your new addition. I love Lily's name.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-18-2015, 10:21 PM
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Another thing, the sooner you get into a routine of "scheduled" dog walks & short training sessions, the sooner you'll stop treating them as chores (believe me, the novelty stage will pass quick), and the faster you'll start enjoying them.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-19-2015, 12:07 AM
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My first 3 weeks were focused on bonding, socialization (in yard until shots were done), potty training and watching poop (to make sure her food was digesting well) and play! of course. You will become a poop pro! Biting is for toys not hands or feet (ouch!) Don't let a bad biting habit get started - it can take months to reverse and you will regret it.

The GSD's I've had the pleasure to own through the years all liked routine. I think establishing routines is important - feedings, potty breaks, exploring, play times, nap times etc.

Puppy proof everything. Put away everything they can reach that could harm them if it is eaten or bitten. Conceal and block off all areas with electrical cords.

Take tons of pictures! For the first 8 months taking pictures can be a challenge - they move so much Store the keepers and discard the blurry ones. Start a monthly height and weight chart. Keep it thru the 1st year or so.

One more thing... some new owners get in a hurry for training. Your puppy is a baby and the first few weeks they are overloaded just learning the new sights, smells, textures and tastes of our world. They have very short attention spans, so don't get frustrated. Enjoy!
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-19-2015, 01:17 AM
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Most importantly, kick back and enjoy your pup. Seriously, bonding and becoming the most fun person in your pup's life goes a long way.

Also, post a picture or two.


Nothing is as simple as it seems or as complicated as we make it~

Attitude is everything -- Pick a good one!
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-19-2015, 01:25 AM
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I have a small yard and I regret not training my dog to toilet in a specific place; my lawn is a mess now with dead patches of grass from his urine. I have flushable doggy poop bags so his messes go down the toilet, not in my rubbish bin to ripen till collection day.
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-19-2015, 07:44 AM
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I think one suggestion that I would make is to remember that your adorable puppy is going to be a large dog before you know it. Therefore, if you are not sure you should let her do something, picture her as a large dog and the answer will be clear. For instance, is your dog going to be allowed on the furniture, bed, or to jump up on people? I would suggest you make those decisions now and act accordingly now.

Another suggestion would be to behave calmly when you leave the house and when you first return home. I understand that it is exciting to return to her, but if you make it a big deal you are asking for problems later on.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-19-2015, 07:49 PM
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The best advice I can give is to imagine her in about 6 months or so and anything she is doing now that you don't want her to do then, you should nip it in the bud now. I really wish I would have thought that way when LJ was a pup. It takes more time to reverse YOUR bad behavior (aka your training or lack of) then it does to do it the right way the first time. Good now have a true BFF
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-20-2015, 01:17 AM
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Be persistent and constant in training and attention during the adolescent stage - from about 10 - 20 months. Don't give up! Your puppy is smart and you will think, oh yes my puppy is trained so soon, she seems perfect. But beware they go through different development stages like human children. They are dynamic and the training never stops.
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