You are so excited that you’re about to have a new puppy in the house, and the entire family is waiting with anticipation. You only have a few more days before that adorable little German shepherd puppy is finally released from his parents and becomes yours. It’s not quite like bringing home a new baby, but for dog lovers, it’s not that far off. Like preparing your house for a guest or a new baby, you have so much to do to get ready for your new German shepherd; puppies are so sweet and so cute, but they’re a lot of work.
You might have a basic idea of what needs to be done before you bring your puppy home for the first time, but you have a lot more to do than you realized. Buying or adopting German shepherd puppies is a little bit different than other, smaller dogs. This is a puppy that needs a few considerations that other puppies might not need. Before you get your new puppy home and realize you weren’t prepared for it, let us help you get your house ready for that new puppy.
Have Dog Food Ready
It might seem like an obvious thing to do, but many people forget that they need to have dog food already at home when they bring the puppy home. It’s something a lot of new pet owners do on their way home from picking up their animal and forget to do earlier. It’s imperative that you have your new dog’s food at home already. You don’t want to have to stop with a puppy and run into a store for food or get it home and not have anything to offer it while you’re out or while you wait until someone comes home with food.
With this in mind, you should also already have dog dishes and even a bed and toys prepared and ready for the dog. The German Shepherd Dog Club of America recommends that you use a stainless steel dish for feeding and watering German shepherd puppies. This will help the puppy feel more at home when you get there. This can help the transition from shelter or breeder to ‘home’ that much easier on the dog, who will be taken from his family and put into a situation in which he knows no one. It’s not that simple for a dog.
You’ll also need a few accessories for your new German Shepherd puppy. It’s important to remember that this is an animal that will not stay small for very long, so getting a small crate is not a good idea. You can section off a larger crate at first and expand it as the dog grows, and this is just a much better suggestion than having a dog at home with a small crate that has to be replaced almost immediately.
You will also need a collar. Do not buy one that’s made with metal. A nylon collar that’s expandable is the best solution. You want to be able to expand it when you notice that it’s becoming a bit tight around the dog’s neck. This is a dog that grows fast, so you could harm the dog if you don’t take this seriously.
Additionally, it will help to have toys on hand. Soft toys are not a good idea for this type of dog since he is likely to tear them up very quickly and they can become a choking hazard. Nail clippers are a must since this dog has long nails that grow quickly. As far as washing the dog is concerned, a dry bath is a good idea every few days, so you’ll want dry shampoo and conditioner designed for dogs at home.
Preparing Other Animals
Not everyone that brings home a German shepherd puppy is new to pet ownership. Many people already have cats or dogs, and you have to prepare those animals and your puppy for their first meet. If you have a cat, you can bring your puppy home and introduce them there. They’ll get along or they won’t, but they’ll eventually learn to either like one another or tolerate one another. Cats are less concerned with dogs than dogs are with cats, but the puppy is likely going to be excited that there is another animal in the house.
If you have another dog at home, have the animals meet somewhere that isn’t home. Bringing a new dog in your home is going to cause your current dog to become upset, and that can mean your new dog won’t feel welcome. Neutral territory is best. It’s a good idea to keep the older dog on a leash and never leave him or her alone with your new puppy without supervision. Sometimes dogs need a bit of time with one another before they are able to get along.
It’s a good idea, once you get your new puppy home, to watch carefully for signs of stress in either dog. They might be subtle, such as changes in eating patterns, sleeping patterns or behavior. This could indicate that one or both dogs are having a difficult time with the adjustment and attention is required to handle the situation before it spirals out of control.
Prep the Kids
Yes, you do have to prep your kids for a new puppy. Kids, especially small ones, are very sweet, but they have no idea how to treat a German shepherd puppy, and they’re usually very wrong in their ways. These are dogs that feel threatened when someone reaches over them, they learn inappropriately when kids run from them, and they even become nervous at the decibel in which kids speak. Until your dog is used to your kids, you’ll need to be on constant alert – and even after that. Train the kids to be gentle, to treat the dog well, and to always treat the dog with respect. A dog not handled well by children might be scared, difficult to train and it might even turn into a dog with aggression issues, which is not something you want.
Photo by Gary Gershoff/Getty Images for the American Kennel Club