Let me start off by saying that “raising a puppy” is a lot of work. especially for the first year, however, if you invest the time, energy, and patience into the process, you will be happy with the results when your puppy is older. The key components are patience, diligence, being firm but gentle, and making the training as “fun” as you possibly can. this all builds an incredible bond with you and your dog. Investing in these things from day 1 will help mold a happy, obedient dog to enjoy for years to come.
A couple of books that i recommend before getting a puppy are:
“How to Be Your Dog’s Best Friend” written by the Monks of New Skete.
“The Art of Raising A Puppy” also written by the Monks of New Skete.
They have been raising German Shepherds for many years and have a lot of helpful knowledge to share with people about training.
Your puppy has been bred for superior intelligence and a loyal, cooperative disposition. They are driven to excel and are very eager to please and learn new things. the combination of good genetics, loving care, and proper correction and training results in a dog that is capable of going far beyond the “family pet.”
potty-training, and leash training will begin the day you bring puppy home. puppy will also need to become accustomed to the crate. The first few days are usually hectic and stressful. puppy will be stressed from leaving their littermates and former home, and everything will be new to them, including the crate, but with patience and lots of love, they adjust very quickly. puppies will sleep a lot. They tend to play hard, and then sleep.
i do recommend putting the leash on puppy when you take puppy outside to potty etc. and I also recommend putting the leash on inside for short times so puppy becomes used to the leash. it will take a few days for this.
you will need to have puppy in the crate at night, and when you can’t watch them every minute. puppy will cry a lot the first couple of nights, but will become acclimated pretty quickly. once you put puppy in crate, you can not let him/her out until they are quiet. (They quickly learn that if they cry, someone will come and let them out……) They are very smart. “hang in there, this will get better in a few nights.” usually, the first few nights, puppy will need to go outside to potty every 3 to 4 hours. (I tell people to set their alarms the first couple of nights, and then after that, let puppy wake you up when they need to go out. It usually doesn’t take too long until they are sleeping through the night.) Then you will take puppy back to the crate. They will learn the routine quickly. I usually give them a small treat when i put them in the crate so it is a positive experience. keeping them on the same feeding schedule will also help with the training process. you will need to be ready to take puppy out immediately upon waking, after meals, and during play periods. sometimes during play periods, your puppy may have to pee every 15 minutes. they will grow and this will become longer times in between potty breaks.
you will soon want to start teaching the “sit” command, and the “stay” command. puppy will have a very short attention span, so gradually work the time up for the stays etc.
i do recommend enrolling your puppy in some obedience classes or puppy classes. they are a great place for socialization and starting the training regime. i usually tell people to go to the website for the AKC. www.akc.org to look for clubs in your area. you can contact them to see when they may be having some structured obedience classes etc. you can also take your puppy to tractor supply stores for some stimulation, and socialization. lowes stores also allow dogs and puppies to come in with their owners. I have also taken mine to a local nursing home to cheer the residents, and they have behaved very well. This is after they are walking on the leash well, and sitting etc. Please contact your nursing home before going to make sure this is ok with them.
your puppy will naturally need to chew while loosing baby teeth, so, please have a supply of nylabone ‘pooch pacifiers’ and soft chew toys, that puppy can chew and not “chew apart.” I do not recommend rawhides. rawhides only teach dogs to tear things apart, and there are chemicals used to cure them that can be harmful to your dog. especially, if your dog has a sensitive stomach. They can also swallow large pieces of these and they can become lodged, causing a major situation, and an expensive trip to the vet for surgery. this will also protect your favorite pair of shoes. we recommend having plenty of soft chew toys around. your puppy is teething and exploring and everything will go in his/her mouth. if your puppy “play bites”, this is normal, as this is how puppy played with thier litter-mates. One thing to try, and I know, it sounds weird, but to avoid a lot of yelling, or hitting on the end of their noses, when your pup bites down on your finger or your child’s hand, take a finger with no nail and stick it far down it’s throat. it is humane, but uncomfortable enough that puppy will think twice before doing again. do this immediately when puppy is biting. timing is everything, or pinch puppy’s lip and give the firm “no bite!!” command. again, timing is everything. You don’t have to scream at puppy, but you need to use your “firm” tone of voice. they are usually very tender-hearted at this stage also. make sure the whole family is consistent with all training methods, otherwise puppy will learn to respect only the one who carries through with discipline! remember the firm but gentle concept. You need to be the “leader of the pack”.
We do recommend waiting until puppy is 16 weeks before any driving lessons, and then only driving with adult supervision….. puppy will like to go along for rides however……
Last updated 3/15/2019