Awhile ago we made a page called "Our Puppy Products" but we also get stopped to be asked "How is he so well behaved?!" These are our tips.
Do your research! All puppies are cute, when determining the breed you're going to get you need to understand the breed. I personally did about 8 months of research before I decided a German Shepherd was the breed for me. From watching videos on Youtube, reading books on regular dog training to psychiatric service dog training when I say I studied to the point that I knew I understood the breed I mean it. Any dog can be a service dog, but I wanted a dog that was easy to train, and eager to please. I didn't want him to be aggressive (nurture over nature) and trained that out of him, he's not very protective, concerned yes, but not aggressive. Yes, this can be trained out.
We personally did crate training for about 2 years. To prevent separation anxiety: when you get home, don’t immediately be like “Hi Puppy! Oh my gosh I missed you!” this translates in dog brain to “Oh my gosh, I was gone so long, I bet you’re so happy I actually came back and didn’t leave forever!” Instead get home, let them see you, go about your normal routine, then after about 5 minutes, then give that love, and affection, and take them out to potty. We personally always said a very specific phrase when we leave, this way they know when they hear that phrase (something like Bye puppy, love you, be good) they know, “Ok, they’re leaving” and I left on Dog Stimulation videos on youtube, and play Jazz music. This keeps him occupied and it’s a routine.
When to snip? If you have a boy, most breeders suggest to wait for 2-3 years before you snip. You can always tell how big your dog will get based on their paws, Nox’s paws were huge so we knew he was going to be big; we did heavy intense training with the basics right away, training can never start too early, especially when working up to the Public Access Test so we did heavy training, and while he was still squatting to pee (before he learned to hike, or hump) then at 8 months, we got him snipped, gave him a 2 week break (to heal), then immediately went back into training. This #1 kept him squatting to pee (hiking can increase a risk for hip dysplasia), #2 prevented him learning to hump, #3 prevented the aggression.
Almost all the training we learned could have been learned on Youtube. We did go to Petco (check out the 2017 posts) but we highly suggest to just save your money. Training is all about dedication. When you learn your dogs love language or training language so to speak, like are they food motivated, or affection motivated. See how your dog learns and what they respond to, once you know how they learn, training will be a breeze.
We did get a bark collar that we put on him while he was in the crate, and now that he’s older he doesn’t bark at all. We don’t suggest walking them on a retractable leash, we suggest the Easy Walk Harness so that when they’re older, the easy walk will prevent pulling, and since they’ve been raised in it, they’ll learn not to pull in the first place. This way when they’re bigger, and stronger, they don’t pull.
Chewing! When Nox was a puppy he ate 3 Turtle Bay headphones, 2 flipflops, and crown molding. This is what was our saving grace, Bitter Apple. Spray, and let it dry, he was not a fan!
Starting out we gave him Nutro Puppy Chow, which helped him bulk up quite a bit, when he got older (about a year) we then started to mix in with Purina Pro Plan. Puppy chow has lots of sugar in it, hence why puppies love it, so it’s important to acclimate them to the new food, so that’s why we mixed it. We did try Ollie once but he ate it up so quick, and it got a little pricy. German Shepherd, especially pure-bread have terrible seasonal allergies. So we swear by this Salmon Oil add in, you can add it to any food and it really helps, we also sometimes melt coconut oil, or a little bit of bacon grease (which is great for their coat) and add it to their kibble.
When your puppy is small, we massaged paws nightly, this will teach your pup that paw touching is good, which will really help with they’re older at the groomer to get their nails trimmed. You also want to massage their ears, not only will this help them stand up quicker giving you the signature German Shepherd look, but it also helped with growing pains!