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Hi! Well after much thought we have decided to add a new family member to our small family. We are very excited to get our GSD puppy! She will be arriving to our home the end of July or first of August. I have lots of questions that I am hoping someone will be kind enough to give me some advice on. Please be patient, I have not had raised a large breed puppy in 20+ years (she was a GSD/Lab/Malamute) and it’s been 12 years since our Min Pin was a pup. Here goes..

Vaccinations
The breeder told me that she will be vaccinated at 5 weeks and 8 weeks. Does that seem right? I am not a necessarily pro-vaccine, but I do believe a puppy needs some of the vaccines. If that is correct, at what age would she need her next dose and with the 2 doses she is getting from the breeder, is it safe to take her out of the house when we pick her up or do we need to wait?
Also, how concerned should I be about our senior Min Pin not being fully vaccinated with the new puppy coming? She is 12 years old, has Cushing’s and had her full schedule of puppy vaccinations and after that I don’t recall where we are at with her besides getting a rabies shot in the last few years. She is an indoor dog and is even litter boxed trained. She doesn’t spend a lot of time outside anymore except our backyard or if we go camping.

Age at Pickup/Camping Plans
We can pick up our puppy anytime between July 17-August 7, when she will 8-11 weeks old and she is about 4 hours away from us so we have to schedule a travel day to pick her up. Here are a couple notes.. we had previously scheduled a camping trip in our trailer for the weekend of July 28-31. This would be at an established and paved campground. I am wondering if it would be a better idea to get the pup after this trip, around August 1 when she is 10 weeks old or if there is really no reason to not get her before the trip and take her with us. I am most concerned with her not having all her vaccinations and the possibility of bugs/ticks, etc. We go to this campground every year and generally we are the only other people with a dog while there but I do imagine other dogs frequent the campground as they are allowed. What would you do? When would you pick her up?

Crate Training/ExPen
We are lucky enough to only have to leave our pup home alone one day a week from 9:00-5:15 on Tuesday’s, otherwise I or my husband will be home with her for the most part and taking her with us. Our senior Min Pin sleeps in her crate in our office and has done that her whole life. So here are our thoughts on the pup… We will be crate training her until she is potty-trained. We were thinking of getting a large crate with a divider and having her be in it at night in our bedroom and while we are away on Tuesday’s. We are also lucky enough to live next door to my parents, so until she is a little older, one of my parents would be able to let her out a few times a day until we are home in the evening. We were also thinking of getting a ExPen for the kitchen area for her to be in while we are home but occupied, until she is potty-trained. Eventually we would like her to have full access of the house and be able to sleep on the floor on a dog bed in our bedroom. So the question is, would you attach the crate to the ExPen for more room on the Tuesday’s away or, since we have someone to let her out, just use the crate without the ExPen and avoid dealing with messes?

Socialization Classes/Puppy Classes/General Socialization
We have found an obedience center that we are excited to try out. They offer free weekly Pack to Basics socialization groups at their facility. They are about 30-45 minutes long and usually has anywhere from 30-60+ dogs per class. This would be an off leash no touch, talk or eye contact with any of the dogs, including your own. New attendees are required to have their dog evaluated and approved by staff. Any thoughts on if this would be a good thing and also, what age would be safe to take her? They allow 8 weeks old and up.
I am also considering signing up for a private puppy course. It consists of 3 sessions that are 2 hours each session and spaced 4 weeks apart. Another course they offer is a group obedience class which is 6-8 weeks long, classes 1-2 hours and 5-10 dogs per class. Thoughts on doing any or all of these and again, what age would be best to start?
We are planning on taking her with us everywhere… outdoor malls, home depot, hiking, walks… are all these places safe as soon as we get her? And maybe Petsmart if she stays in the cart…
I have also been watching Michael Ellis’ videos on YouTube and am considering the DVD “How to Train Your Dog with Food”. Would this be helpful in addition to the classes I want to do or a waste of money?

That’s all for now, but I am sure more will come up. But any thoughts or advice would be great! I look forward to being a part of this wonderful online community and can’t wait to get our pup!
 

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Age pickup: I always thought its best to leave the pup with the mother for at least 10 weeks. I fostered dogs and pups, had dogs of my own. They learn to not play rough from their mom and litter mates. GSD pups bite, A LOT. And though it will not solve the problem fully 100%, leaving them with the mom and other pups longer only does them good. When I had pups at 7-8 weeks old my arms, hands, ankles would be covered in marks. I might still have some scars from that time.

Ex-pen: I made the mistake of not having an ex pen for my first pup. He would tear up my furniture, shoes, clothes and I would find myself nagging the pup and playing the big bad policeman all the time, which totally killed my bonding experience. Get a nice big folding ex pen and just throw a bunch of random things inside like empty milk cartons, shoe boxes, toys, rags. This really stimulates the pups mind and tires them out so they will sleep peacefully at night. (side note, make sure they go potty before bed time, I usually use pee pads until all the vaccinations have cleared which takes a few weeks).

Vaccines: DO NOT skip the vaccines, get them all. If the breeder is giving the first 2, then you just have the last one to get from a vet. Bring the paperwork to the vet and he will see what to give, I believe the 3rd vaccine is the final parvo and the rabies one. You do not want your dog to get parvo, it comes from the pups coming in contact with other dogs poop. Puppies lick poop, or they step in it then lick their feet, and get parvo. It is deadly.

Socialization: I wouldn't take the pup anywhere until the vaccines have cleared, I wouldn't do ANY obedience for the first 2 weeks of getting the pup. You can teach them sit, stay, come in 5 minutes. The most important thing is bonding with the pup. Be the cool fun person in their lives for the first 2 weeks, when they bite you (and they will) just give them a toy to chew on. Hand feed them for the first 2 weeks, and then I would start obedience classes.
 

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Vaccinations: I would schedule an appt for the min pin and get her shots up to date asap. Once you decide what date you are picking up your puppy (and I would definitely do it AFTER the camping trip is over), call and schedule a vet appt for the puppy. I would schedule this the day after you bring the pup home. Just take the supplied shot record from the breeder and hand it to the vet. They will know what to do. I am a BIG believer in keeping all shots up to date. It's just too risky not to.
 

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Hi, you might want to check with your vet on the vaccines. My vet told me if they are vaccinated before 8 weeks the vaccine isn't absorbed correctly so they recommended starting the vaccines at 8 weeks.

I haven't asked other vets about this because Lay started her vaccines at 8 weeks, so it wasn't an issue for us.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hi everyone, thanks for the replies, I truly appreciate you taking the time to help.

To touch on a couple things... Yes, I am getting her fully vaccinated and have actually since called my vet on this. They told me that her getting her shots at 5 weeks and then 8 weeks is okay and then I need to get her the next set at 12 weeks and the final set at 16 weeks. But along with this they also told me that she won't be protected until 2 weeks after the final dose and to limit her exposure in public until then, which would put her 18 weeks old! 18 weeks seems like very late to start puppy classes and socialization classes, andf even taking her with us to socialize like I hoped. I have read varying opinions on this... some say okay to take out and about after 2nd dose, some say okay after 3rd dose and now my vet is saying 2 weeks after 4th dose! Still confused on this..!

I believe we have made the decision to pick her up after the camping trip, which would put her at 10.5 weeks old. I hope waiting this long will be beneficial.

We have to travel 3.5 hours to get her. When we pick her up, it will be only our first or second time meeting her. What is the best way to transport her home in the car? I am worried she will be scared. Should we plan on taking a crate and putting her in the back of the 4runner or would it be better for her to see us and put her in the second row seating? I am assuming a crate is the safest option, I just don't want to make it a scary or negative experience for her first car ride. I am also happy to hold her or make a spot on the bench seat but I just assume a crate will be what is recommended. Maybe we need to take some toys with us and something like a stuffed animal to rub on her mom for the crate?

I do have another question on crate training. How do I make the crate a positive place and what do I do if she whines while in the crate? My min pin is good in the crate but if we are home and she knows we are, she sits and barks. This is okay since we don't crate her except when we leave but I have read that the puppy should spend down time in the crate while we are home and I guess I envision her to whine/bark to want out to be with the family.

What are the benefits of hand feeding? And otherwise, should she always be fed her meals in her crate?

Leerburg seems to like Expen and/or tethering in the house for a long while until the puppy is older and can be trusted to have free reign of the house. What are the pro/cons of using an Expen vs just using the crate for the down time or time we can't keep an eye out for her? I am more than happy to get an Expen in addition to the crate and set it up in our kitchen but not if I don't really need one. Like I say in my first post, Tuesday's are the only days she will be home alone for the day. The rest of the week she will only be alone off and on for shorter periods of time. Again, I just want her crate to be a good place and not feel like a punishment.

Thanks!!
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Also, what type of collar and leash should we start with? (Again, it's been so long since I have had a large breed puppy.. this wasn't such a concern with a 7lb MinPin! :)
 

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We started with just the simple collar and a 6ft leash (I believe) which is what was required for the puppy class.

Crate training was super easy for us, (I don't know if this is recommended but it is what we always did with pups when I was growing up) I gave her a tee shirt I was wearing to snuggle with at night and she would calm right down.
 

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Can your breeder start crate training her before you pick her up at 10.5 weeks? Also, can you leave a tshirt with your scent on it with the breeder so that she can put it with your pup and the pup can get your scent? Just a couple of ideas.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
We started with just the simple collar and a 6ft leash (I believe) which is what was required for the puppy class.

Crate training was super easy for us, (I don't know if this is recommended but it is what we always did with pups when I was growing up) I gave her a tee shirt I was wearing to snuggle with at night and she would calm right down.
So just a flat collar and leash?

What about a Martingale, slip collar or slip leash? Any benefit to getting any of those?

Also, would there be any benefit to also getting a harness to use when bringing her home or the first few weeks while taking her out before she's used to a collar/leash?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Can your breeder start crate training her before you pick her up at 10.5 weeks? Also, can you leave a tshirt with your scent on it with the breeder so that she can put it with your pup and the pup can get your scent? Just a couple of ideas.
Excellent ideas! I will talk to the breeder about both of those. Thanks!
 

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Well, here are my thoughts, two canadian cents , lol

Camping trip: get the puppy after camping trip! Even although you really want the puppy ( trust me, i know the feeling, I got mine two months ago) they are a lot of work. I went camping with mine a whole mknth and half after I got him and it took a lot of energy. Besides the first week, the pup will be hightly stressed enough

Crate: I have never crated any of my dogs. Some people do, but I never done it. I slapped down an old mattress down, wife and I slept with the pup next to us ( he on his puppy bed ) the initial bonding is priceless and makes them feel very secure. Next to no crystal ng etc. Additionally, it allowed me to take him for his potty needs every 2 to 3 hours.

Enjoy your pup! They grow too fast!
 

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Kiko pup has some great videos on youtube for training. Do not leave a collar on the pup when not supervised by you. I litter train my pups (they already are now) so easy to potty train. A wire crate, ex-pen attached with bull snaps, litter box (for your Tuesdays). Frozen treats (kong stuffed with kibble and frozen) to occupy the puppies time. A water bottle may be a better option for water. Not a bowl that can be tipped. Or a bucket can hang on the wire.
 

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You are asking about this
" Pack to Basics socialization groups at their facility. They are about 30-45 minutes long and usually has anywhere from 30-60+ dogs per class. This would be an off leash no touch, talk or eye contact with any of the dogs, including your own. New attendees are required to have their dog evaluated and approved by staff. Any thoughts on if this would be a good thing and also, what age would be safe to take her? They allow 8 weeks old and up. "


My opinion? CRAZY
Primary socialization is and is done with the littermates and , importantly , the DAM , who should have required
good mothering skills as part of the selection for breeding requirements.
At 6 to 7 weeks another dynamic needs to be attended to and that is secondary socialization where human contact and transfer to our human social demands are best facilitate.
Scott and Fuller's study determined that dogs lacking adequate , appropriate , human contact will never properly bond .
That should be your concern -- bonding with the dog .
That pup should be NEUTRAL to all other dogs .
Look at how many threads there are where pups have been inappropriately . You have dogs desperately scramble , get aroused out of frustration , appear aggressive , may be aggressive , ignore the handler and making life miserable , reducing the number of walks which are no longer pleasant experience.


visit http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/general-puppy-stuff/400690-rethinking-popular-early-socialization.html


do I understand the concept of this Pack to Basics -- you take your puppy (8weeks and on) to a facility - where they are let loose in groups as much as 30 to 60 pups running around at a time . I picture a chicken hatchery barn .
If so, even if not , I know of no reason this and question the operators' knowledge.
Sounds a bit like they are modelling after Milan's dog rehab "psychology park" . Mish mash.
Bad idea .


So are dog parks.


Best age to start " am also considering signing up for a private puppy course. It consists of 3 sessions that are 2 hours each session and spaced 4 weeks apart. Another course they offer is a group obedience class which is 6-8 weeks long, classes 1-2 hours and 5-10 dogs per class. Thoughts on doing any or all of these and again, what age would be best to start?"


NEVER -- not ever , never.


A pup with a 2 hour session? Terrible .
Group classes 1 to 2 hours long --- terrible .


Bond with the dog . Get a feel , get in synch , learn to read the dog . Actually the dog will be doing this also . You are his subject.


That's a start for you.
 

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Also, what type of collar and leash should we start with? (Again, it's been so long since I have had a large breed puppy.. this wasn't such a concern with a 7lb MinPin! :)
I'll chime in on this.

Get a soy leash. I think the brand is New Earth, but in any case, you can find them on Amazon or google just by searching "soy leash."

NOTE: I would NOT advise a soy collar as I'm told those can stretch enough for puppy to slip out of them.

For the leash, though, the soy is very soft and easy on your hands, so it won't burn if your pup pulls (and s/he will) or be uncomfortable to hold for long periods of time. The leash is also very lightweight but durable and you can throw it right into the washing machine and dryer.

I have a leather show lead I use for training, but the soy is what I use for every day. My husband and I have his and hers, and I'm considering buying a third just to have around.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Well, here are my thoughts, two canadian cents , lol

Camping trip: get the puppy after camping trip! Even although you really want the puppy ( trust me, i know the feeling, I got mine two months ago) they are a lot of work. I went camping with mine a whole mknth and half after I got him and it took a lot of energy. Besides the first week, the pup will be hightly stressed enough

Crate: I have never crated any of my dogs. Some people do, but I never done it. I slapped down an old mattress down, wife and I slept with the pup next to us ( he on his puppy bed ) the initial bonding is priceless and makes them feel very secure. Next to no crystal ng etc. Additionally, it allowed me to take him for his potty needs every 2 to 3 hours.

Enjoy your pup! They grow too fast!
Thanks eljudo for your Canadian cents :) Unless something changes, I think we decided to wait until after the trip to get her. She'll be going with us a lot, but we'll ease her into it.

Kiko pup has some great videos on youtube for training. Do not leave a collar on the pup when not supervised by you. I litter train my pups (they already are now) so easy to potty train. A wire crate, ex-pen attached with bull snaps, litter box (for your Tuesdays). Frozen treats (kong stuffed with kibble and frozen) to occupy the puppies time. A water bottle may be a better option for water. Not a bowl that can be tipped. Or a bucket can hang on the wire.
Our min pin is litter boxed train and I love it! I never thought about litter box training this new pup since she is so big! But that's a good thought for the days we are gone. Do you still leave a litter box for adult dogs left alone?
Good thought on the water bottle. Bowls do get spilled! Thanks for the help!

I'll chime in on this.

Get a soy leash. I think the brand is New Earth, but in any case, you can find them on Amazon or google just by searching "soy leash."

NOTE: I would NOT advise a soy collar as I'm told those can stretch enough for puppy to slip out of them.

For the leash, though, the soy is very soft and easy on your hands, so it won't burn if your pup pulls (and s/he will) or be uncomfortable to hold for long periods of time. The leash is also very lightweight but durable and you can throw it right into the washing machine and dryer.

I have a leather show lead I use for training, but the soy is what I use for every day. My husband and I have his and hers, and I'm considering buying a third just to have around.
I'm very interested in the soy leash, thanks for the tip! I will check them out.

You are asking about this
carmen, I didn't quote your whole post because of thread length. Thank you for your advice. I had heard a lot of good things about this particular trainer (they have GSD training experience and as personal pets as well) and was excited to try them out but it sounds like maybe it's not a good idea.

I don't feel like I have the knowledge or confidence to train her alone at this point (besides that fact, she's not even here yet :) ) I want her to have manners and be able to go with me and my family without any hesitation. We will be spending as much as time with her as we can and hopefully build a strong bond. A couple weeks after she arrives our son will be going back to school from summer break and I will have full days with her to myself. I am treating her like having a new baby. She is going to be part of our family, just like our MinPin is. I have been watching YouTube videos like crazy (especially Michael Ellis) and love them but I always have so many questions and no resources for those questions to be answered. What would you suggest I look into? It seems like the length of time of the classes are the biggest red-flag. Would she be able to go to those at a older age or is it just not a good idea to train that long at any age? I truly appreciate your advice and opinions, but I'm just not sure where to look or what to look into next.
 
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