6 Week Old German Shepherd Puppy Care (What You Should Know)

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Imagine you knew everything you needed to become an expert in 6 week old German Shepherd puppy care right now.

How successful would you be in raising a baby German Shepherd successfully?

Keep reading to find out all the best information to put your mind and worries at ease and to help you raise a happy, healthy dog for life.

How to Take Care of a 6 Week Old German Shepherd Puppy

A baby GSD is a sight to behold–fluffy, energetic, curious, and mischievous all rolled into one!

But don’t let that little bundle of joy fool you! They’re just as likely to wreak havoc on your home without proper care and training.

Shepherd babies are large for their age and need to be kept from dangers in and out of the home.

Home Preparations for Your New Arrival

home preparations for your new german shepherd
Have everything safely put away from your new puppy.

Puppies eat anything interesting and are into everything as they explore!

Therefore, you must keep things they can chew out of the way.

Don’t underestimate how quickly your GSD pup will find an ordinary item to bite, chew, or soil. Crawl around to get a puppy’s eye view of their surroundings before they arrive, and multiple times and as they grow.

Check the following items are stored, moved, covered, or put away (source):

  • Keep all electrical cables away from your pup.
  • Put away all rugs, especially ones with fancy tassels. Tassels are fun for pups to chew but can cause internal blockages if swallowed.
  • Put away small inconsequential items, such as jewelry, buttons, pens, coins, needles, screws, and small children’s play toys that might entice a playful pup.  
  • Avoid leaving any food on tables and countertops. While your pup might not be large enough to get to the items, don’t underestimate how hard they’ll try! They could injure themselves attempting to retrieve the tasty bits of left out food.
  • Get a pet-safe baby gate to stop your pup from going into areas that are dangerous or off-limits. Only buy the pet-safe baby gates as the grid type construction prevents your puppy from getting his head stuck and choking.
  • Lock away any cleaning products and medications. Puppies have very sharp teeth that can chew through plastic containers that contain these items and could ingest hazardous materials.
  • Remove all heavy objects in the home that can be knocked over or that are unstable. You don’t want to find your pup with broken bones or worse from a heavy falling item.
  • Tie-down lids on garbage cans or keep them behind a secured door.

Yard Safety

yard safety for your german shepherd puppy
Your yard can be a dangerous place!

Puppies are great escape artists, especially when they come to a new home from their previous living arrangements.

Check your garden and yard for all the following:

  • Remove all garden chemicals and tie large plant pots together or put them away. A Shepherd baby is agile and athletic and will try to climb on pots or use them for climbing to escape a high fence.
  • Store away yard tools to prevent injuries and cover those that can’t be put away with heavy tarps and securely tie them.
  • Put locks onto garden gates to prevent an accidental escape when your pup jumps on the garden entrance door or someone tries to open it. This also prevents others from entering to steal a young, beautiful GSD!
  • Ensure all fencing is secure –including all spaces at the bottom and between corners and boards. Use chicken wire fencing and bury it about 1 to 2 feet down below the fence if you’re worried about your dog digging out.
  • Place any items near the fence in another area, away from the fence. A puppy is curious and will try to use any objects left near the fence as a climbing device to escape.

While preventing issues is a major part of welcoming your new six-week-old German Shepherd home, so is helping them to feel welcome in their new world with you.

Making Your Puppy Feel at Home

making your german shepherd puppy feel at home
Help your new dog adjust to their surroundings.

Keep in mind that a puppy will need time to adjust to a new family, surroundings, and a different owner.

Your baby German Shepherd may be apprehensive about the strange environment in which you’ve placed them, having just spent the first few weeks of life with their mother, brothers, and sisters.

But in a couple of days and weeks, with love and patience, your new pup will settle into your home life and routine.

Making Their Own Space

setup their personal space
A warm bed and quiet area keep your dog relaxed.

Your puppy needs a warm, quiet, and safe spot to sleep and rest. One of the most important things for your pup to know is that they have a place that’s all their own.

The first few weeks this place at night may be a crate next to your bed. But at your pup grows this could be another room where they are safe and warm.

Set up your puppy’s area with these tips in mind.

  • Set aside an area in your home that’s quiet and away from heavy traffic. Loud noises and activities can cause anxiety in your pup.
  • Place their bed in the corner of a room or by the side of your bed and offer them a warm pad or blanket. Watch they don’t chew these fuzzy items!
  • Encourage your pup to sit on their bed and when they do offer a “good dog” and reward with a tasty treat.

It’s not too early to crate train your baby German Shepherd. Even if you don’t plan on using a crate, your dog will be in and out of them at your vet’s and groomers.

So, it’s a wonderful skill to master early on.

Read this guide on stress-free crate training for your German Shepherd puppy to make you and your dog’s life easier.

Meeting Your Family

meeting your family
Family meet-and-greets should not overwhelm your puppy.

Make sure your family does not overcrowd the room when you introduce your new Shepherd to the family.

Start with just one or two members of the family so that your dog isn’t overwhelmed with new people.

Use a quiet room in your home for the introductions and only have immediate family around for the first few weeks your pup is in their new home.

This is the proper way to introduce your new dog to your family.

  • Have each member of the family crouch down to puppy-level to gently introduce themselves. Speak quietly and softly – don’t yell or use big hand gestures or you may scare your puppy.
  • Family members can stroke the dog, hold out their hand so that pup can sniff, or just sit and wait for your pup to come over to them. It’s important to teach your children to approach your pup appropriately.
  • Don’t let your children come from behind your dog as this will scare them. Don’t let them tug, poke, or pull at the tail of your dog.
  • Your GSD is small and fragile at 6-weeks-old. Everyone, especially children, needs to be concerned about accidentally stepping on your dog and injuring them.
  • Very small children should be taught how to hold a puppy correctly with both of their arms securely around the dog – not grabbing a tail or leg to pick them up!

Supervise young children while they learn to handle the small pup appropriately and guide them in safe handling skills by showing them yourself first.

How to Help Separation Anxiety

how to help with puppy separation anxiety

Six weeks old is very young to be away from their mother and siblings, and most breeders don’t allow puppies to leave their first home until eight weeks old.

At 6-weeks-old your German Shepherd puppy needs a gentle touch, as they may have separation anxiety from being away from their families at such a young age.

In the beginning, your dog may follow you around a lot. This is normal and expected, but you need to get them used to not always being in the same room as you.

If you don’t get them use to staying on their own, they may cry or bark when left on their own.

Their separation anxiety may increase if not addressed early on (source).

Teach Them Alone Skills

teach them alone skills
Teach your baby puppy how to be alone and comfortable.

Hopefully, you’re not leaving such a young pup on their own too often. But, it’s bound to happen that in the few weeks after getting your six-week-old German Shepherd that you’ll need to return to work or your regular routine.

Don’t just up and leave your baby GSD on its own!

To help them ease their anxiety about being alone, use this pet-safe baby gate to section off the room where your dog will stay.

Although they can see you, they can’t follow you. The baby gate allows them to still feel close but teaches them about being alone.

Use these tips to help ease anxiety and work on leaving your new dog home alone in a safe, secure room with the pet-safe baby gate.

  • When you first close them off in another room with the baby gate, only step away for a minute or less. Then return, but don’t make a big fuss about your return. Greet them calmly.
  • Do this multiple times a day for a few days. Extend the time you are away from them on each occasion.
  • Try leaving a radio on quiet or the TV on low volume. Use this as a clue to your dog you’re leaving, but always return to them before they panic.
  • Keep extending the time you leave them alone in their room. Then begin to leave the house a few minutes at a time, until you have achieved a couple of hours.
  • Don’t leave your dog alone long enough they panic or you’ll increase the chances they develop anxiety.
  • Don’t punish your dog for having anxiety, as this makes the situation worse! From your pup’s view, being without you is scary and traumatic.

Natural Anxiety Solutions

You may find natural, tasty dog treats help to ease these feelings of anxiety and stress.

Some owners find this product useful during the first few weeks or months of bringing their pup home to help them adjust in a calmer manner.

These tasty treats are a great way to help ease your pup into being left alone.

Some reviewers have described the treats as a miracle for their dog’s anxiety!

How much should a 6 week old German Shepherd puppy eat?

Feed your six-week-old German Shepherd puppy anywhere from 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup of dry kibble soaked with warm goat’s milk 3 to 4 times daily. Your puppy’s energy needs and the food you provide will dictate how often you feed them. But, you should offer them their meals at least 3 times daily at a minimum. You can also offer healthy treats occasionally throughout the day as long as they’re dog-safe and don’t make up more than 10% of your puppy’s overall daily calories.

How often? How much? What foods?
3 to 4 times a day1/2 to 3/4 cup at each meal (depends on the calories of the brand you buy and your dog’s energy level)Soaked kibble in warm goat’s milk or water with some healthy treats occasionally

What Do You Feed a 6-Week-Old German Shepherd Puppy?

The best diet for a six-week-old Shepherd pup is a tested and proven kibble diet soaked in warm goat’s milk to soften the food. Only some brands meet your puppy’s nutritional requirements and it’s best to purchase brands that are known to be tested for optimum nutrition. These foods ensure your young dog gets the best nutrients possible to ensure proper growth, which is important in your large breed dog.

But only some brands pass this stringent food testing, and you need to know which ones.

Start your puppy with Purina ProPlan Large Breed Puppy formula which you moisten with warmed goat’s milk to soften the kibble. The nutrients will help your young pup grow strong and the goat’s milk helps ease their sensitive stomachs.

But let me confess something: owners the world over will debate the best puppy food for all eternity.

The truth is Purina not only meets AAFCO’s (the association that governs pet food) standards but systematically tests their food with feeding trials, which is a step above many foods sold in the pet food industry. It’s safety tested for your dog. Just read the reviews if you’re unsure of the quality.

You can find other approved German Shepherd puppy foods and how much to feed in this article about the right amounts to feed a German Shepherd puppy. The article also lists people-safe puppy foods that your dog will devour and love!

Mix the dry kibble with the appropriate amount of this warm goat’s milk replacement to encourage steady growth and entice them to eat. I find puppies grow healthier by mixing in goat’s milk.

You can continue to offer your German Shepherd puppy goat’s milk throughout their life as a tasty treat with their foods and to help with sensitive digestive tracts.

Always have fresh, clean water available nearby for your dog.

The new environment may make it stressful for your dog and he may not eat immediately. Be patient and keep offering your pup their meals.

Try not to vary what you feed as the main meal, as any changes can cause an upset stomach. Puppies have delicate tummies at this young age, especially German Shepherd puppies.

Watch for other signs of illness – like lethargy, stumbling, vomiting, and inability to keep food down.

Take your dog to the vet immediately if you notice any of these signs.

6 Week Old German Shepherd Weight and Growth

Every dog is different, but this chart is helpful to understand your dog’s average weight and growth during their first two months.

Age in Months Male Range Male Average Female Range Female Average % Adult Weight (approx)
15.5 – 8.5 pounds (2.5 – 4 kg)7.7 pounds (3.5 kg)4.4 pounds, (2 – 3.5 kg)6.6 pounds (3 kg)10
213.2 – 19.8 pounds (6 – 9 kg)15.4 pounds (7 kg)11 – 16.5 pounds, (5 – 7.5 kg)14.3 pounds (6.5 kg)22

Potty Training Schedule

german shepherd puppy potty schedule
Begin potty training habits early.

Potty training should begin the day you bring your baby GSD home, but don’t expect perfection at this young age.

Puppies learn potty habits beginning around 7 to 8 weeks old, but don’t master their bladder control until around 5 to 6 months old.

You should keep your new pup on a potty schedule that helps them learn when they need to eliminate.

Keep to the following tips when setting up your own schedule.

  • Take them out first thing in the morning as early as you can.
  • Take them out the last thing in the evening before putting them to bed.
  • Take them out within 10 minutes or less after they’ve eaten or drunk anything.
  • Take them out after they’ve played with you or become excited (they feel the urge to go once excited).
  • Give them praise when they do their business. If they have an accident, don’t punish them as it’s your job to help them learn and be on top of their potty behavior.

Watch for Your Pup’s Potty Signals

watch for your puppy's potty signals

Know the signs that your pup needs to eliminate.

  • They may look around anxiously, pace the floor, go around in circles, and put their nose to the ground.
  • You might also notice your dog looking in the corners of your room for a suitable place to go, sniffing the floor and worse – lowering their bottoms down quickly!
  • If you are being watchful, then you will avoid accidents and other surprises.

Learn the best way to house train your new German Shepherd, including a complete schedule with tried-and-true tips and tricks.

Don’t get caught cleaning up mess after mess!

How to Avoid Accidents

The best house training avoids letting your pup have any accidents in the first place.

  • Supervise your dog and don’t let them out of your sight – not even for one second. Keep them leashed to you for direct supervision. This prevents them from wandering away and finding a spot to relieve themselves.
  • Take them to the same place to go to the toilet. Their scent will have marked the spot and they’re more likely to do their business in the same spot.
  • Make sure you let your pup out at regular intervals and keep to a strict schedule to avoid accidents.
  • Clean up the mess indoors with a special carpet cleaner to get rid of the smell. Regular cleaners don’t work. You need a special enzyme cleaner to remove traces of biological agents in their urine.
  • Offer plenty of praise when they do their business in the right spot! Pet them, scratch them, and give them a tasty treat after they do their business in the area you want.
  • At this young age, your pup can’t even hold their bladder for two hours. Be on your most diligent behavior to get them outside often to avoid accidents!

Grooming

german-shepherd-puppy-grooming
Don’t bathe your young dog unless necessary.

A German Shepherd puppy doesn’t need frequent baths and bathing can strip the protective skin oils from them, leaving their skin open to itching and infection.

Try Perfect Coat Puppy Bath Wipes first to remove smells and dirt, as well as to keep their coat clean. You’ll also notice the wipes are easy for you to use, so you don’t have to spend a lot of time on grooming.

If you’re going to bathe them, then follow this section to take care of a 6 week old German Shepherd puppy’s skin and keep your pup’s fur in tip-top shape.

  • If you must bathe them use a gentle, hypoallergenic shampoo made for puppies and keep them out of cold drafts while they’re drying. At all costs, keep water away from their ears and face since German Shepherds are prone to ear infections.
  • Use a moistened cotton washcloth on their face. Never pour water directly onto their face or you risk them inhaling the fluid and developing respiratory issues.
  • Your dog may not enjoy being bathed or groomed at first. Go slow with the grooming sessions and keep them positive and short at first. Increase the sessions as they enjoy their shorter sessions.

Follow this helpful German Shepherd grooming guide for professional-quality results at home for more useful, quick information.

Brushing and Grooming Routine

Only choose soft brushes for puppies.

Only use gentle, safe brushes on your German Shepherd at this young of an age. The best introduction to grooming is the brush glove.

Your puppy will love this gentle and easy brushing glove and you’ll still use the glove as they get older.

A good puppy brushing schedule looks like this:

  • Use the glove brush for a few minutes a day to expose your dog to how grooming feels.
  • Softly touch all parts of their body with your hands and the glove mitt brush to expose them to gentle touch.
  • Take at least 5 minutes three times a week for their early grooming and brushing routine.
  • Praise them for good behavior and offer tasty treats to keep them near you for grooming.
  • Brushing is a wonderful time to bond quietly with your new dog!

As they get older, follow the best brushing routine for a German Shepherd to keep their coat’s in top shape.

Gentle Approach to Exercise

gentle approach to exercise
Find gentle ways to play with your pup.

At this age, your dog hasn’t even had their first shots, so it’s best to stay in your yard or in a known clean area free from other dogs so they don’t catch any diseases while they’re unprotected.

These guidelines for gentle exercise will keep your little pup safely growing into a strong, athletic adult.

  • A baby GSD is not ready for long walks.
  • Take them out for only two 5-minute walks daily at this young age. This time won’t allow you to go far, so don’t expect to even make it down the sidewalk to the end of the street.
  • Never run or jog with your dog at this young of an age. Let them set the pace.
  • If they stop to rest or enjoy a good sniff, let them. Sniffing stimulates their brains, and they made need a break before continuing on the walk.
  • Don’t let them use stairs as they are not coordinated enough to handle them and could get a serious injury from falling.

As your baby German Shepherd gains more strength and gets older, move them into a gentle, German Shepherd puppy exercise routine for healthy joints and steady growth.

There are many other ways other than walks for a young pup to get their exercise. You can play fetch with your pup indoors or in your backyard with a soft toy. Don’t jerk or pull them at all to avoid neck injuries.

Hide treats in the grass in your yard and let your pup find them as they explore the area and work on their balance and coordination.

Now is not the time to worry about how far, long, or hard your pup can walk. It’s best to let them off leash to explore in safe, secure areas for their exercise.

Obedience Training Your 6-Week-Old German Shepherd Puppy

six week old german shepherd puppy training
Even at 6-weeks-old, you can begin very simple training as long as you don’t expect perfection.

At a little over a month old, your pup has an extremely short attention span. Don’t expect them to perform all the basic commands.

You can still teach your young pup their name, “sit”, and “down”. But the other basic training may take longer.

German Shepherds are one of the smartest breeds, but even a six-week-old puppy will take time and patience to mature enough to pay attention.

  • Never shout at your pup for not performing a command you want. This doesn’t help them learn or respect you. They will only learn to fear you and avoid you.
  • Start with the two most basic commands of “sit” and “down” if you train your pup at this young age, as these are daily movements your pup already makes and you can put a name to more easily for them.
  • Keep sessions very short–no more than 2 minutes. And practice 4–6 times a day. Don’t use a training collar of any kind on your pup at this young stage.
  • The best way to train is during play so that your pup is engaged. Use a favorite toy and play with your pup, work on the commands for a minute, and then play with them again.
  • If your pup isn’t interested in learning commands, don’t force them. In the following weeks and months, your pup’s attention span will increase and they will learn more quickly. 

Finally, when they are around 8 weeks old, begin more formal training by following this positive and reward-based German Shepherd training.

Finding a Vet

finding a vet
You should already have a vet in mind to stay on top of routine health care.

It’s time to think about what vaccinations your 6 weeks old German Shepherd needs for their medical and health care.

The first vaccinations, called the primary vaccinations, are given when a dog is eight weeks old, but you need to prepare for their appointment and make scheduling arrangements.

Make an appointment now for these vaccines and a health check. During the exam, your vet will check your dog’s overall health, such as the teeth, coat, and heart. They will also check your dog’s weight.

Until your pup has had the first full set of vaccinations, they should stay confined to your home and yard only. If you go out, limit contact with other dogs and don’t let them down on any ground that is visibly contaminated with feces as this poses a great health risk to your pup.

Your main priority is to keep your baby safe and healthy!

Pet Insurance and Financial Planning

pet insurance and financial planning
Prepare yourself by investing in pet insurance.

You have a long life ahead with your Shepherd baby.

It’s also unpredictable and vet bills are expensive, especially for emergencies and long-term treatment.

It’s best practice in dog ownership to purchase pet insurance. One in three dogs needs vet treatment every year (source).

On top of vet treatment, there’s the annual check-up and routine visits, which are expected and necessary. Insurance protects you from large, unexpected bills incurred when your pup is unwell, injured, in an accident, and helps offset routine medical treatments.

Always read policies carefully and check the exclusions and cover limitations. Don’t get stuck in a financial disaster because you didn’t want to buy pet insurance.

How to Take Care of a 6-Week-Old German Shepherd Puppy

Taking care of a 6 week old German Shepherd puppy is a full-time effort.

Provide them the skills to learn to be alone calmly and positively. Stick to a schedule and a routine, and you’ll increase the odds of having a less stressful time.

6-week-old German Shepherd puppy care is a lot of work and can be difficult! But it’s also a lot of fun!

Make them feel at home and welcome. Meet their physical and mental needs, and you’ll have one happy German Shepherd for life!

Keeping your pup safe and healthy is a lifetime commitment. Visit ShepherdSense.com to find more helpful, unique information to love your GSD for life!

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