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;) You guys tired of me yet? Lol, I've still got plenty of questions to ask, believe it or not.

Just a couple on a few basic items, I apologize if they seem a little obvious or stupid. :blush:

Crates:

What kind of crate is everyone using for their German Shepherd? (And where can I find said crate?) Do you use a crate in the car or one of those doggy seatbelts? (Which one is safer, do you think?) Where in the house do you keep the crates? In one specific location all of the time, or do you move them occasionally?

Collars:

How tough do collars usually have to be to withstand the average German Shepherd? Any recommendation on where and what to buy? This may or may not affect your answer, but I'll be getting an adult dog, so any information regarding puppies is nice, but not necessarily what I'm looking for. Still helpful! Should some strange turn of events suddenly present me with a German Shepherd puppy o__O.

What are prong collars for? Correcting behavior?

FOOOOOD!:

I see threads pop up all the time regarding all different types of food, and I've got a few questions in particular that are gnawing at the back of my mind.

What is raw feeding? (I'm sure this one's supposed to be obvious, but I don't want to 'assume', and then end up being left in the dark because I never got around to asking about it)

What type of high quality dog food would be good for a German Shepherd?

Anything I should be adding to the dog's diet besides their normal food?

Toys:

After browsing through various threads, I've come to the conclusion that German Shepherds spell 'fun' with four letters: KONG.
What makes Kong Toys so often recommended? Is there anything in particular that I HAVE to get for my GSD? (Like those kong toys that you stuff peanut butter into?)

Are German Shepherds particularly rough with their toys?

Backpacks and outdoor wear!

Where do you guys get your doggy backpacks from? (Which reminds me to make a thread later on to ask about any plants particularly dangerous to dogs when you take them camping)

Just how cold tolerant are German Shepherds? I live in one of the coldest parts of Ohio (At least it feels like it), and we get so much snow... Would it be a good idea to buy my GSD a doggy coat or jacket in those long winter months?
 

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;) You guys tired of me yet? Lol, I've still got plenty of questions to ask, believe it or not.

Just a couple on a few basic items, I apologize if they seem a little obvious or stupid. :blush:

Crates:

What kind of crate is everyone using for their German Shepherd? (And where can I find said crate?) Do you use a crate in the car or one of those doggy seatbelts? (Which one is safer, do you think?) Where in the house do you keep the crates? In one specific location all of the time, or do you move them occasionally?
I use wire crates. I have used Midwest but prefer Precision, I have cracked NUMEROUS Midwest crate pans but the Precision pans hold up for me. I do use them in my Pilot - they are SUV crates. I can see Madix and Midas being very annoyed with seat belts lol. I had a "dog room" I kept my crates in, which is where they stayed when we were gone and where they were fed.

Collars:

How tough do collars usually have to be to withstand the average German Shepherd? Any recommendation on where and what to buy? This may or may not affect your answer, but I'll be getting an adult dog, so any information regarding puppies is nice, but not necessarily what I'm looking for. Still helpful! Should some strange turn of events suddenly present me with a German Shepherd puppy o__O.

What are prong collars for? Correcting behavior?
I have a HUGE collection of collars and I think it's largely personal preference. I have bought numerous from Collarmania with their names on them. I also like the polyurethane collars with the brass name plates for swimming and dock jumping. Just received my first collar from Bridgeport and really like that too. Prongs are training collars usually for hard pullers.

FOOOOOD!:

I see threads pop up all the time regarding all different types of food, and I've got a few questions in particular that are gnawing at the back of my mind.

What is raw feeding? (I'm sure this one's supposed to be obvious, but I don't want to 'assume', and then end up being left in the dark because I never got around to asking about it)

What type of high quality dog food would be good for a German Shepherd?

Anything I should be adding to the dog's diet besides their normal food?
Raw is exactly what you think, feeding raw meat, bones, organs, whole chickens etc. Or you can buy prepackaged raw as well. Food is largely personal preference too. I rotate foods every 3-4 months and have used Canidae, Tast of the Wild, California Natural, Innova, Holistics Selects and am now using Nature's Variety Prairie. I also mix in canned Evo for a treat. I supplement with Vitamins C, E, Salmon Oil and Coconut Oil. But, again, that is personal preference.

Toys:

After browsing through various threads, I've come to the conclusion that German Shepherds spell 'fun' with four letters: KONG.
What makes Kong Toys so often recommended? Is there anything in particular that I HAVE to get for my GSD? (Like those kong toys that you stuff peanut butter into?)

Are German Shepherds particularly rough with their toys?
Kong toys are tough and they also work their minds by putting treats and food they have to work for in them. My boys LOVE LOVE nylabones, especially the new denta chew ones that are supposed to be super hard. We go through numerous nylabones every year. They also like antlers when I get them. Oh and Madix is ball and tug crazy but that is for training time or play time only, not just around the house always.

Backpacks and outdoor wear!

Where do you guys get your doggy backpacks from? (Which reminds me to make a thread later on to ask about any plants particularly dangerous to dogs when you take them camping)

Just how cold tolerant are German Shepherds? I live in one of the coldest parts of Ohio (At least it feels like it), and we get so much snow... Would it be a good idea to buy my GSD a doggy coat or jacket in those long winter months?
I have a Ruffwear Approach pack and I LOVE it. I originally got an Outward Hound pack but we wrecked it with inappropriate usage LOL

My boys don't wear coats. I've never had a problem and we do a lot of winter hiking and outings. However, I did buy them for in between splashes when dock jumping but haven't used them yet.
 

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Crates: I also use wire crates. I have 2 at home she uses...one in the family room when I'm gone and the other is in the living room and she uses that one for bed time. I also have a crate at my boyfriend's place so I don't have to drag one over there. :D

Collars: I use a nylon collar for everyday wear and she wears an Easywalk harness when we go for walks. I'm trying to get her used to a Halti as well.

Food: I've always thought its a personal preference and what will work for your dog. I feed Blue Buffalo Basics Salmon and Potato recipe since my GSD seems to have runny stools with any type of chicken products.

Toys: I have a few different types of balls that we play fetch with. They are hard rubber and are indestructible. :D I also have a jolly ball for her but after a few months she will rip the handle off of them. So I just replace them. She also has a KONG toy and she likes that one too.

Backpacks: Haven't used one yet.

Outdoor wear: None. We live in AZ and there isn't a need. My last GSD traveled with us everywhere...and she was in Colorado during Christmas with lots of snow and never needed anything to keep warm either.
 

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Crates - Have 1 wire that he now uses only when we are not home. Local pet store or if you have a Farm & Fleet.

Collars - I have several and leashes too! Use whatever you like for the everyday collar and put your tags on it. I have a prong for training.

Food - Feed a high quality, I feed Acana, but have used Fromm, Oijen, Taste of the wild.

Toys - It is hard to find toys a GSD will not destroy. Max loves loves loves, did I say he loves his chuck it balls! Frisbee, for inside we have kong one of those stuffed toys with out the stuffing. Big mean kitty and a few others.

Back pack - have an older one but have not used it with him yet.

Outdoor wear - We live in Northern IL so my weather is like yours. No jackets or such, GSD love cold and snow, as a matter of fact I have to make him come in when it is -20 and his paws are freezing!
 

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you've gotten some great suggestions and tips.

With you getting an adult dog, I think depending on which dog you get, will depend on where you go from there.

I'm sure the breeder will tell you all there is to know about your new dog, if he's crate trained, what food he eats, what type of toys he likes..that kind of thing:))
 

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Crates

I have a Midwest brand wire crate that I use in the car, especially when we are going to events. In addition to it being put together, the corners are zip-stripped for security and the crate is tethered in the vehicle with tie-down straps that go from the crate to the roll bars on the Jeep, so it doesn't move around. (And so I can stash my other gear around it.) The Midwest crate cost me $60 at the PX on base.

With the way my Jeep is set up, a seatbelt is not an option, nor would it be practical for us for traveling since it wouldn't contain the dog AND give me room to stash all my gear. So a crate is the best way to go for us. But it really depends on your vehicle and whether you will be transporting anything beside your dog.

At home, I have a VariKennel, which is an enclosed plastic crate. I have two of them, a newer model and an older model. I prefer the older model, myself. You can usually find them on Craig's List at very reasonable prices (around $50). They are about $120 new, if memory serves.

We live in a split-level home and our downstairs is half garage and half L-shaped "family" room. I use the back part of the L-shaped room for the dog gear - crates, cabinet with all my first aid / supplements / medical stuff, hangers with leads, etc. and the front part is mostly empty at this point, though I sometimes use it for training.

I don't move my crates around at all - well, the car one I do since I don't always have it in the car. When I am not using it, it sits next to my hubby's work bench in the garage.

I recently bought a welded-wire kennel that I will be using in my downstairs family room in the near future, but I have not yet figured out what type of flooring would be best to put underneath it. (It's sitting on carpet now but I am thinking rubber stall matting would be a good solution for durable flooring.) I got that one off Craig's List for $100, and they sell for about $300 new. It's 5ft x 5ft in size and about 6ft tall.

Collars

I have a bunch. :D I have two nylon collars with plastic buckles, one of which is my standard tag collar that I throw on the pup when we go outside or travel. I have one leather buckle collar, 2 nylon slip collars, 1 nylon agitation collar with a metal buckle, 1 choke, 1 fur saver, 1 prong collar, 1 Dogtra e-collar. I use whatever is most suited for what we're doing. :D I have not used the prong, chokes, or e-collar in some time, tho.

Where to buy - depends on what you want. For a nice, inexpensive, leather collar, I recommend GunDogSupply.com. They have $5 leather collars that are very nice and come with an optional name plate at no extra charge.

FOOOOOD!

Raw feeding is exactly what you think it is - feeding raw meat and bones. :D There's a whole forum here dedicated to raw and home-cooked diets.

With foods in general, I'm a big fan of grain free foods since they're dogs and really do not need grains in their diet. I am feeding Taste of the Wild, which is one of the more inexpensive grain free foods and my pups have been going better on that than they have on Orijen (also grain free, but more expensive). There are tons of good grain free foods out there.

Adding to the diet - never hurts to supplement. I do Fish/Flax/Borage oil, Vitamin E, Ester-C and Clucosamine/Chondroitin/MSM. One pill of each a day.

Toys:

Kongs are awesome and withstand a lot of rough chewing. I have a red Kong (the regular kind), a black Kong (for heavy chewers) and a dark blue Kong (for extra heavy chewers). You can find red and black ones at most pet stores. The dark blue ones are generally special order. My local vet happens to sell them.

Besides Kongs, we have a Jolly Ball and several soccer balls, which are for outdoor play only and put away otherwise, as well as several Skinneeez (plush toys without stuffing). We also have ball-on-rope and jute tugs, but they are reward toys, not play toys.

Backpacks and outdoor wear!

Backpacks - if you want inexpensive, the Kelty K-9 Chuckwagon is the cheapest of the quality packs you will be able to find. It runs around $50 and you can order it online from REI Outlet. The next quality up is RuffWear, and will run you about $70. You can get them at some of the better outdoor outfitters (Easter Mountain Sports, REI, etc.) if you have one near you, or order online.

AS far as weather goes - depends on your dog. I've always had "blankets" for mine but have never been specifically happy with the ones that are available, so I wound up making my own. Most dogs don't mind the cold unless you leave them out in it, but it never hurts to have a coat handy for really cold and cold/wet days.
 

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Crate: I got a wire crate, 43x28 I think is the size. I saw them at petco / petsmart etc..for $115, so I checked Craigslist and got one for $50. I put down some quilts on the 'pan' inside and made a cover for it so it is nice and cozy for him. Toys: I have purchased him squeeky balls that he'll occasionally play with, but he isn't too toy obsessed. Treats: I bake thin cut chicken breasts and chop them in to tiny cubes, about the size of a pea. Food: I feed him Orijen grain-free dry kibble, chicken / turkey. He likes it.
 

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Well you've got a ton of good suggestions already. So instead of playing the same record, I'll just point out a few things:
Where to keep the Crates: Most experts agree that crate should be kept in a moderate traffic area. Don't crate your dog in a basement or garage where there isin't much human traffic or activity.
Toys:Provide enough toys to keep your pet occupied. Rotate some of the toys. Basically you are trying to keep them occupied with mental exercise.
 

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We have 7 GSDs here at our house. We tend to use whatever crate is handy at the moment ;). We keep an assortment of wire and airline crates. The airline crates do a better job of containing the fur, etc. We use the 500 size. For metal crate we have a few different ones. They are all the 42" long. I like the ones that have a door on the side and the end, so no matter how your room in set up you have options. http://www.petedge.com/assets/product_images/styles/alternate/ZW607_ALT1.JPG

We have a few kongs, the black ones are sturdy. We fill them with peanut butter, spray cheese, etc and leave them with the dog to get them to settle in the crate. The only other toy that has held up around here is called a Goughnut, the dogs love it and I love their return policy. GoughNuts Dog Chew Toy
 

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Looks like you've gotten tons of great advice already, I'll add just a couple of things:

Toys: My dogs have always been powerful chewers and have loved Galileo Bones, the large size last a decent amount of time.

Food: As I am sure you will see all over this site, there is no one perfect food for all dogs. Every dog is different and they tolerate foods very differently. We have always used higher quality foods, like Canidae, Taste of The Wild, etc, but our Rottie/mix could not tolerate any of them. We tried everything and finally went to Eukanuba Large Breed formula and she does great on it. Truthfully, for a while I felt guilty about feeding her a lower quality food, but it works for her and she is a much happier dog now. Our GSD is doing fine on TOTW, so he will remain on that. My advice is always go with the highest quality food you can afford, but also feed a food that your dog's GI system tolerates well.

Good Luck and post pics once you get your new family member.
 

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Crates, my last dog had a plastic airline-type crate and loved it. Current dog has a wire Precision crate. With a bed in it she finds it very comfortable. Doesn't love it but doesn't resist either, nor complain.

Food: good advice above, the high quality grain-free types mentioned.

Collars: Definitely no training collars. A good nylon collar is good. Also a long retractable lead. Ours is 17 feet and she learned that she can be a little bit
free but still under control. Was easy to teach her to be off leash using that.

Toys: The Kong Wubba is a real winner here, also a nylon frizbee, tennis balls. Just make
sure the toy is too big to swallow or choke on.
 

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Nooooo, not tennis balls. After years in the vet hospital world, they were commonly referred to as "college fund toys". Either the owner's had to dip into savings to pay for surgery and the vet was adding to theirs! Most large dogs can get them apart in no time and swallow parts of them which will either be a choking hazard or an intestinal blockage.
Also, the glue that holds the felt onto the core disintegrates the enamel on the teeth.
 

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Nooooo, not tennis balls. After years in the vet hospital world, they were commonly referred to as "college fund toys". Either the owner's had to dip into savings to pay for surgery and the vet was adding to theirs! Most large dogs can get them apart in no time and swallow parts of them which will either be a choking hazard or an intestinal blockage.
Also, the glue that holds the felt onto the core disintegrates the enamel on the teeth.
Wow, really? I had never heard any of that about tennis balls. Would it be bad to just rotate them out when they start showing serious wear and tear?

Do you have any idea where we could read about the glue?
 

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I've used tennis balls for rewards for drug and explosives training for 40 years. I've never had any damaged teeth because of their use. The choking hazard is real. They are not a toy that should be left unattended with a dog.

DFrost
 

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Crates: The best type of crate varys by dog. The wire crates with slide out pan tend to be the easiest. Plus they fold up if you need to move them out of the way. I've found that they don't work to well for escape artist though. For puppys i tend to use the airline crates. They contain accidents better, provide dogs with a "den" feeling, and they aren't as loud if you dog wags their tail a lot.

Collars: If your dog wears a collar 24/7 i would suggest a break-away collar. Dogs can easily get their collar caught on fences or even around the mouth of another dog if they are playing. Break-away collars will release if there is enough pressure on it for your dog to choke. If you only use a collar to walk the dog, any high-quality collar should suffice. I've had good luck with Planet Dog collars, as well as Lupine. Remember to get the dog micro chipped.

Toys: German Shepherds have very powerful jaws, whether they are destructive or not is going to depend on the dog. Plush toys like Tuffys and Go Dog are good for supervised play. For chew toys, i would recommend the Kong as others have mentions as well as the West Paw Design and Planet Dog. Never get any thing small enough for the dog to swallow.
 

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;) You guys tired of me yet? Lol, I've still got plenty of questions to ask, believe it or not.

Just a couple on a few basic items, I apologize if they seem a little obvious or stupid. :blush:

Crates:

What kind of crate is everyone using for their German Shepherd? (And where can I find said crate?) Do you use a crate in the car or one of those doggy seatbelts? (Which one is safer, do you think?) Where in the house do you keep the crates? In one specific location all of the time, or do you move them occasionally?

Currently i use a sturdy good sized plastic crate for my almost 6 month old pup. I also recently (today) bought two XL metal collapsible crates at petsmart for about $120 a piece (on sale with perks card). Its a preference thing. I prefer the solid plastic crates but the ones i just bought were cheaper and the size we've been looking into getting.

Collars:

How tough do collars usually have to be to withstand the average German Shepherd? Any recommendation on where and what to buy? This may or may not affect your answer, but I'll be getting an adult dog, so any information regarding puppies is nice, but not necessarily what I'm looking for. Still helpful! Should some strange turn of events suddenly present me with a German Shepherd puppy o__O.

What are prong collars for? Correcting behavior?

As far as collars go, i personally use the nylon buckle collars ($5-$15 depending on the size) from petsmart. the style collars are more expensive. Avoid anything with plastic in the collar and i also personally wouldnt recommend the collars that are like the straps on a shopping cart (those buckles). The Prong collars are used as a training device that helps in leash training. When fitted properly, its prevents the dog from pulling on the leash. Others will be able to explain it better than i. For me the prong collar was a last resort when my dogs (literally) refused to walk properly on the leash, even with leash training, using the slip chain. It depends on the dog.

FOOOOOD!:

I see threads pop up all the time regarding all different types of food, and I've got a few questions in particular that are gnawing at the back of my mind.

What is raw feeding? (I'm sure this one's supposed to be obvious, but I don't want to 'assume', and then end up being left in the dark because I never got around to asking about it)

What type of high quality dog food would be good for a German Shepherd?

Anything I should be adding to the dog's diet besides their normal food?

RAW is exactly as it sounds. expensive. lol. its basically feeding raw chicken and such. Personally never do it myself. I would suggest avoiding purina. We're in the process of switching from purina to 4Health from Tractor Supply. They're improving health wise and eating better and eating less. 4Health is a little more expensive but its a better quality food. I also mix in some Taste of the Wild with it. So basically i'm using what is a 4 star food and mixing it with a 6 star food. Again its what you can afford and what you want to do.

Toys:

After browsing through various threads, I've come to the conclusion that German Shepherds spell 'fun' with four letters: KONG.
What makes Kong Toys so often recommended? Is there anything in particular that I HAVE to get for my GSD? (Like those kong toys that you stuff peanut butter into?)

Are German Shepherds particularly rough with their toys?

GSD's are rough with EVERYTHING! When they play it sounds like they're killing each other. We never used KONG toys until i brought my puppy home. She loves it. Loves to carry it. Toss it around.... you name it. I just need to invest in a bigger one as she's going to be a very large dog and i need to get the bigger one and rehome the "baby" one we have.

Backpacks and outdoor wear!

Where do you guys get your doggy backpacks from? (Which reminds me to make a thread later on to ask about any plants particularly dangerous to dogs when you take them camping)

Just how cold tolerant are German Shepherds? I live in one of the coldest parts of Ohio (At least it feels like it), and we get so much snow... Would it be a good idea to buy my GSD a doggy coat or jacket in those long winter months?
GSDs are pretty tolerant of cold weather. Mine LOVE LOVE LOVE to play in the snow. But as with everyone, you should limit their cold exposure. Keep an eye on pads, watching for frostbite. GSDs LOVE to romp through the snow but when coming inside, they should be dried off to avoid getting a chill (same as you). They're like kids. Let them have their fun but keep an eye on them too. Because GSDs are a double coated breed, it shouldnt be necessary to get a doggie jacket. HOWEVER, if you have a senior, they need to be in good physical condition, just as with younger dogs, but keep in mind seniors are more prone to health related issues and risks and can catch a chill easier than younger dogs. Now if it was a doberman, yes i would recommend a doggie jacket. They have that short coat so could use the extra insulation but GSDs generally do very well. My female Zena has hip dysplasia but come winter time, she'll romp around like a maniac until she cant anymore and then when she comes inside (which trying to convince her to stop playing in the snow is like convincing a tree to set itself on fire, you get the idea) but she finally comes in and just lays there because she overexerted herself and her hips hurt. I cant tell you how many times i've literally had to tackle her in order to get her and drag her furry butt inside outta the snow. Some dogs, though, dont like snow. they dont like the cold and they dont like how it feels under their feet. Some dogs are prissy but most GSDs like to get down and dirty as long as they're having fun.
 

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I've used tennis balls for rewards for drug and explosives training for 40 years. I've never had any damaged teeth because of their use. The choking hazard is real. They are not a toy that should be left unattended with a dog.

DFrost
For what it's worth, I asked my vet about tennis balls and he confirmed that they are extremely bad for teeth and that he's seen many cases of large breed dogs with major erosion along their gum line from tennis balls. He was actually kind of surprised I asked him about them (he was surprised about a lot of my questions).
 
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