8 Week Old German Shepherd – Puppy Routines and Training
An 8 week old German Shepherd puppy is a bundle of antics and endless energy!
And, while you’re excited to have this new puppy in your life, it’s also a challenge to understand their needs.
There’s the whining and crying at night, ever-watchful potty training, teaching them bite inhibition, and…
The joy of bonding with your new dog!
But, you’ll find plenty of help here to put your mind at ease.
Your 8 Week Old German Shepherd Puppy
An 8 week old your puppy requires a daily routine and training to help them become the dog of your dreams.
This article will not only help you understand your 8-week-old German Shepherd puppy but will also explain to you why your little puppy has certain behaviors.
You’ll also learn how to handle the everyday challenges of raising a baby German Shepherd Dog.
What to Expect From Your New Puppy
Raising a German Shepherd puppy can feel like an overwhelming task at first!
You’re going to lose a lot of sleep, have some potty-training accidents, and those cute, pearly-white puppy teeth may give you a lot of heartaches.
It’s totally normal to feel frustrated and wonder why you got a young German Shepherd in the first place!
Just remember, your 8-week-old German Shepherd puppy is also adjusting to its new life with you. They have just gone through a big change – leaving their mother, saying goodbye to their littermates, and entering a new home that’s so large and unusual to them.
You should expect your 8-week-old German Shepherd puppy to feel stressed and uncertain. They may seem timid and unsure of their surroundings. They might cry, whine, and not want your attention.
It’s your job to train them and provide a routine that gives them confidence and puts them at ease.
Having structure and consistency will help create a bond and help you both in getting along more peacefully and calmly.
Introducing A Puppy Crate
Many dog owners choose to use a crate when it comes to caring for their 8-week-old puppy.
While some people consider crates unnecessary, or even cruel, crate training is a useful skill to offer your dog. With the right training your pup will see its crate as their private safe space and will even go there to relax.
Leaving your puppy at home unsupervised can get them and you into a heap of trouble. Crate training helps prevent your home from being a destruction zone.
This useful guide to crate training a German Shepherd puppy gets you on the right track to success!
Crate training your puppy can:
- help speed up housetraining
- teach your dog to settle (calm down)
- offer your dog privacy
But you must introduce the crate slowly and positively so your puppy builds a strong connection to the benefits of the crate.
Don’t use the crate as punishment!
Never just shove or push your young German Shepherd into the crate without using positive training.
Your new dog also needs a routine and schedule to help them through the early days with you and set the expectations you have for them.
8 Week Old German Shepherd Puppy Schedule
Having a schedule helps your puppy to know what to expect in their daily routines. It keeps you from losing your mind and helps ease a worried puppy.
While you might work from home or have other obligations, try to follow a schedule that looks similar to this:
- Early morning: Take your puppy out for the first potty break of the day! An 8-week-old puppy can’t hold its bladder long. So, they may need to go outside even before the sun rises.
- Breakfast time: Your puppy may want to go back to sleep after going outside and this is perfectly normal. On the other hand, some puppies are wide awake and ready for their breakfast. Either way, always take your puppy back outside shortly after their breakfast so they can sniff and have another potty break.
- Mid-morning: Puppies should eat 3 – 4 small meals a day. Mid-morning is a good time for another small meal. Don’t forget you’ll need another potty break after their second meal.
- Afternoon: This is a good time for their lunch followed by a potty break and plenty of sniffing time to work off some of their energy.
- Late afternoon: Puppies need another potty break in the afternoon, and some puppies need more breaks outside.
- Evening: Their dinner meal and their evening potty time. Remember to let them explore outdoors in a safe area to help build their confidence.
- Just before bedtime: They’ll need one last trip outside before bedtime. Remember, your 8-week-old German Shepherd puppy can’t hold its bladder very long!
- Midnight or late night: You may need to also get up after they’ve slept a bit to take them out in the middle of the night.
While there’s plenty of potty breaks and mealtimes, there’s also lots of time for playing and supervised exploration. Scheduling exercise, potty breaks, and play at the same times every day helps ensure that your puppy learns their daily routine more quickly and settles in nicely.
And, even young puppies can learn basic training in their first weeks with you. Try training your German Shepherd puppy at home to start with.
Your puppy might not have a long attention span, but it’s best to begin training as early as possible with such an intelligent breed.
Potty Training an 8 Week Old German Shepherd Puppy
Potty training can be a nightmare when raising a German Shepherd puppy!
Don’t let your puppy have run of the house unsupervised. They’ll need plenty of potty breaks and a consistent schedule.
In the beginning, you may find a few accidents in the house. But, stick with your potty training and remember to always watch your puppy to keep them from having messes in the house.
They’ll soon get the hang of things and become more reliable indoors.
When you stick to a regular potty schedule, the likelihood of potty training mishaps decreases, and you and your puppy are less stressed.
Always, always, always…
Supervise your puppy indoors when you are potty training.
The First Night With Your New Puppy
Your toughest time together with your 8-week-old German Shepherd puppy might be the first few nights.
Your puppy has only known the comfort of his mother and siblings before. They’re never been apart from their family and their first home!
Having your puppy sleep away from you will only scare them more. If you place your puppy in another room, alone in the dark, there’s a high chance they’ll cry nearly all night.
And, although they are little, their cry is loud!
I doubt you’ll be able to sleep through the whining and crying, and your neighbors might begin to complain if you let it go on for too long.
In the beginning, it’s better to let your puppy sleep near you. Having a place for them near your bed is the best way to avoid a night full of tearful cries and howling.
Can I let my German Shepherd puppy sleep in bed with me?
Don’t be tempted by that sweet face…
If you let your puppy sleep in the bed with you, this will start a pattern they’ll expect. And, this isn’t the safest option since they could fall off the bed and injure themselves.
Worse, they may jump off the bed and get into trouble while you’re still fast asleep.
Plus, when your puppy is an adult and tries to sleep in bed with you there will be no room for you! A full-grown German Shepherd can weigh up to 100 pounds and will push you right out of your own sheets.
It’s better and safer to let your puppy sleep on the floor right next to you or in the same room and to use a puppy playpen to keep them safe and sound. Plus, you can awaken to their cries to go outside the potty and take them out more easily when they’re sleeping in the same room.
How Much Does An 8 Week Old German Shepherd Sleep?
A new puppy sleeps more often than they are awake. But, don’t worry – this is entirely normal.
An 8-week-old German Shepherd puppy may sleep as many as 18 hours a day!
Sleeping this much allows your puppy to have the energy they need to grow and keeps them ready to explore their new world.
This is one of the many reasons why it’s so important to follow a puppy schedule and routine where you allow for nap time, so they have the rest they need to grow strong and healthy.
Feeding An 8 Week Old German Shepherd
Your puppy should stay on the same food they were eating before you brought them home to keep them less stressed. This helps keeps your 8-week-old German Shepherd puppy from having an upset stomach and becoming ill.
Sometimes, you might want to switch them over to a different food. If you choose this route, do it slowly and in stages over a few weeks.
Start with only 25% of the new food to 75% of the current food to begin switching them over. Slowly, add in a bit more of the new food and less of their current food until you’ve reached 100% of their new food.
At 8 weeks old, German Shepherd puppies should eat 3 to 4 small meals per day. Although their stomachs are small if you overfeed them they could get sick and have stomach problems.
Spreading their meals out throughout the day in regular intervals is best to avoid any upsets.
What Should I Feed My 8-Week-Old German Shepherd Puppy?
As a large breed dog, your German Shepherd you should only feed your puppy food that is specially formulated for large breed puppies. Large breed puppies have different nutritional needs that are not found in ordinary puppy food.
Feeding a commercially available food that is formulated for large breed puppies helps them to grow at a sustained rate.
Steady growth in a large breed puppy helps to avoid stress on their bones and gives them a strong skeletal foundation for their athletic muscles. Limiting food intake in growing German Shepherd puppies has also been associated with fewer signs of hip dysplasia.
This is of extreme importance in this breed due to the high incidence of hip problems and the pain associated with this joint disorder. A growing puppy is best fed a proprietary pet food that has been specifically formulated to meet its nutritional needs.
Foods that are available as dry kibble are especially suitable to rear even the youngest of puppies. Homemade diets may, in theory, be adequate, but it’s difficult to ensure that all the proper nutrients are provided in their available form unless they are laboratory tested on every batch made.
Opt for this specially formulated food for large breed puppies to keep your dog growing at a healthy rate that helps them stay strong. It is a complete balanced diet so nothing is missing.
8 Week Old German Shepherd Puppy Diarrhea and Stomach Problems
It’s normal for puppies going to their new homes to experience some diarrhea and upset stomach problems. Within the first few days of arriving to their new home with you is a stressful time.
Your puppy has just made a drastic life change and left everything they knew to be with you. Diarrhea and other stomach issues are sometimes stress induced.
You can help your puppy by keeping to a regular feeding schedule and feeding them the same food they were on before coming to you.
Sometimes diarrhea is also a sign of an underlying health issue and, if left untreated, can become life-threatening.
If your puppy vomits blood, has bloody stools and diarrhea, becomes lethargic, or refuses to drink, call your vet immediately!
Don’t take any chances on what could become a potential serious issue.
8 Week Old German Shepherd Puppy Biting and Nipping
To an 8-week-old German Shepherd puppy biting and nipping are all part of playing with their siblings. It’s a fun game that they all explore and play!
And, your puppy will most likely bite and nip you at some point too. They may even growl at you and tug at your hands or nip your ankles. This is all part of puppy play.
It can really hurt you or make you bleed!
This is because your 8-week-old puppy doesn’t really understand how to control their biting and nipping – or bite inhibition – yet.
Understanding bite inhibition means they know how to control the power of their play bites and how hard or soft they nip you.
Preventing Nips and Bites
If you know the right way to prevent and stop German Shepherd puppy biting, you can train your puppy to understand how to keep their razor-sharp tiny teeth from sinking into you.
Don’t yell at your puppy or grab them!
Offer them plenty of puppy-safe chew toys appropriate for their size. When they bite or nip you, calmly show them the toy to chew instead.
Get their attention by moving the toy in a playful way around them so they begin to chase and bite the toy, instead of you or your furniture. If this doesn’t work you can also place your puppy in their playpen for a short time-out until they calm down.
Your Growing German Shepherd Puppy
As your German Shepherd puppy grows you’ll want to give them the best training and care.
Use these links to help you stay on the right track throughout their life.
- How to Discipline a German Shepherd Puppy
- How to Make a German Shepherd Happy
- How to Make a German Shepherd Love You
More Help and Support for Your German Shepherd Puppy
Is this your first German Shepherd puppy?
Then you’ll want to have a copy of Your German Shepherd Handbook: Month by Month.
It’s got everything you need to know about your growing German Shepherd and shows you what to do at each stage. This book gives you the right tools for helping take your playful puppy into a happy and well-adjusted adult that you’ll love to live with.
For an even more in-depth training course take a look at Brain Training for Dogs, the only online training course you’ll need to keep your super-smart breed engaged in their training.
The course is easy-to-follow and includes dozens of incredibly detailed videos. And as a student, you have access to a unique private members forum for additional support and guidance from the creator of the program herself.
💡 It’s a must-have training program for your intelligent breed!
References and Resources
- Horwitz, D., Landsberg, G., “Puppy Behavior and Training,” Veterinary Centers of America, 2013.
- Dunbar, I., Before You Get Your Puppy, James & Kenneth Publishers, 2001.
- Reisen, J., “Setting Schedules and Developing a Routine for Your New Puppy,” The American Kennel Club, 2016.
- Larsen, J., “Feeding Large-Breed Puppies,” Compendium: Continuing Education for Veterinarians, 2010.
- German Shepherd Dog Club of America