11 Great German Shepherd Puppy Care Ideas That You Can Share With Your Friends

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Wouldn’t it be amazing if you knew the best ideas on German Shepherd puppy care to have a successful life with them? 

If you’re like me, then you want all of the essential information that’ll give your dog the best life possible to make sure your days go smoothly and stress-free.

All you have to do is read along to feel confident in understanding your new, rambunctious GSD puppy.

1. Hit the Ground Running

how to take care of a german shepherd puppy at home
Save yourself some stress by setting up your home to take care of your new GSD puppy.

You’ve been waiting for months or even years to bring home your new puppy! 

But, don’t let the excitement overwhelm you. 

Instead, focus on what you can do now to prepare yourself to feel confident that you understand how to care for your German Shepherd puppy. 

Plan for your new puppy’s arrival by having all of the necessary supplies on hand. Have their special puppy-safe area already set up for them.

  • Choose an area for their bed where the family spends much of their time so your pup isn’t alone for too long.
  • Place their bed in a corner of the room, out of the way of busy footpaths.
  • Make sure their bed is away from cold drafts or hot heaters.
  • Pick a place to put their food and water dishes that will not cause your family to trip over them while they’re eating and drinking.

Keep your pup in their special room when you can’t watch them. It only takes two seconds for them to soil the carpet, eat a table leg, or chew an electrical cord. 

Be sure to use the pet safe baby gates instead of closing doors. Keeping doors shut prevents your dog from seeing you, and this can cause anxiety and stress, especially in a GSD that craves and needs human attention.

2. Communicate the Essential Information

german shepherd puppy care means communicating information
German Shepherd puppy care means communicating information the right way.

When learning how to take care of a German Shepherd puppy, then you must commit to the role of teacher and guide for your dog. 

They look to you to learn the ways of their world and want to understand what you expect.

The best way to accomplish this is through clear, effective communication. 

Use the following words to convey your message.

German Shepherd Puppy Communication Guide

Word Meaning
“Let’s go”Encourages your pup to follow you, use on loose-lead walks and around the house.
“Wait” / “O.K.”“Wait,” tells them to control their impulse and encourages them to look to you for direction before proceeding, while “O.K,” tells them to proceed, use this pair of words when going through doors or crossing roads.
“Sit”This keeps your pup’s behind on the ground and is useful when you need to get their attention or keep them from going through with another unwanted behavior, use this before giving them their meals or a treat.
“Stand”“Stand,” tells your dog to raise to all 4 paws and allows you to get them ready for their next command or for grooming, use this for bathing or brushing.
“Excuse me”Encourages your dog to think about where they’re at in relation to you and reminds them of their manners, useful when your dog blocks your way into a door or room, runs into you, or ignores your directions.
“Down”This word places your pup on their belly to keep them in a position for a longer time or while you’re busy, use it when you’re standing while talking to a friend for a longer period.
“Settle”“Settle,” tells your pup they need to relax. Use this command while they go to a specific place (like their dog bed) and you need quiet time, or when you are reading silently, or having dinner and don’t want them under your feet.
“No”“No” tells your dog they’re performing an unwanted or inappropriate behavior and need to stop it, it’s best used when catching the in the thought process before a behavior, for example – use “no” when you see your dog sniff the air in the kitchen near the countertop where you just set down the cooked chicken (before they place their paws up on the counter to grab the food).
“Uh oh”“Uh oh” works best for younger dogs (under 4 months old) to discourage inappropriate behavior, use “uh oh” to discourage their interest in objects or rooms you don’t want them in.
Their NameTeach your dog their name and associate it with food during the early stages (8 to 10 weeks old), use it to get your dog’s attention and preceding any command to let them know that you’re speaking directly to them.
These are some basic puppy commands you should use.

Familiar words such as those in this list help your dog feel connected and to start bonding with you. 

Be sure to follow this easy German Shepherd puppy training guide to begin their basic obedience commands at home.

Your dog doesn’t develop impulse control until 6 to 8 months old. Keep this in mind when discouraging behaviors and using corrections.

After safety and security, your dog has five basic needs:

  • eating
  • drinking
  • sleeping
  • bathroom time
  • and playing (This includes training, too!)

They live their days around these basic needs.

Your dog may become easily overwhelmed if you don’t meet these needs. A dog who nips and scratches you isn’t always wanting to play but may have other needs that you aren’t meeting.

It’s your job as their leader to understand what your puppy needs and to make sure you meet these demands.

3. Everyday Meet Their Needs

german shepherd puppy daily care needs
It’s best to have a schedule set up for your GSD puppy’s daily care needs.

In this section, see all the best ways to communicate information to meet their needs and understand how you must meet these needs on a daily level.

Your Dog’s Need Key Words or Phrases Your Routine
Drinking“Water, want a drink”Keep the water dish in the same spot and show them the water bowl when they are likely to have thirst (after playing or after a walk).
Eating“Hungry, eat, go eat, want dinner”Schedule all feeding times and don’t allow them to eat all day. Keep the food dish in the same area and have your pup sit before offering their meals to them.
Playing“Go play, toy time, ball, bone”Ensure all four paws are on the ground before you give a toy or toss a ball. Maintain a play area inside and outside the home in the same areas so your dog knows what actions to expect.
Sleeping“Go to bed, on your mat, to your crate, nap time”Have one spot in each room you share with your dog that is their quiet sleeping space. Take your dog to this spot when you give the phrase and offer them a chew toy to keep them on the spot and quiet.
Going potty“Go potty, outside”Take them to their designated potty spot and follow a potty schedule.
You can use your own special command as long as you stay consistent with saying it.

Leaders meet needs.

Every time you meet your German Shepherd puppy’s care need, they develop a stronger bond with you. 

Over time, this bond grows as you continue to show your pup that you can and will meet all their needs.

4. Choose the Right Food

feed your german shepherd puppy the right food
Treats should only make up about 10% of your puppy’s daily food intake.

Puppies eat frequent meals as they’re growing. 

Split their meals into regular intervals throughout the day to suit their high metabolism.  

German Shepherd Puppy Feeding Schedule

Age Morning Meal Midday Meal Afternoon Meal Evening Meal
8 to 10 weeksXXXX
10 weeks to 4 monthsXX
X
4 to 6 monthsX

X
This is a general schedule. Your dog may eat more or fewer meals at each stage.

Around 4 to 6 months old, your dog naturally eats less.

Your Shepherd’s longevity, health, energy, and overall condition all depend on the quality of their food. You must choose the right food that is not only age-appropriate but made especially for a large breed (akc.org).

A fit and healthy dog is one that is less likely to have behavior issues and gives you more daily cooperation. Poor nutrition increases your dog’s susceptibility to diseases and infections and could increase aggressive disorders.

If you’re concerned your puppy is too tiny, then read this next 5 Worrisome Reasons Why Your German Shepherd is So Small to help you find answers.

What to Feed Your New Puppy

It’s best to choose a top scientifically-researched food to keep your German Shepherd puppy healthy and avoid lifelong complications, like this Nutro Natural Large Breed Puppy formula for proper growth.

You can feed your puppy this formula for up to 18 months to ensure they grow at a steady rate and avoid stress to their joints.

All while getting the proper nutrients and keeping your mind at ease.

5. Play Routines for Stimulation

play and training is part of german shepherd puppy care
One of the most natural urges is that of play. 

Your dog wants to explore their world through fun and excitement. Use play to help your dog understand appropriate behaviors.

Think twice about using confrontational and rough games like roughhousing, when your dog is little and forming connections between you and their behavior. 

Stick to cooperative games such as:

  • fetch
  • playing with toys of all types together
  • brain games (like dog puzzles) and
  • gentle play that avoids confrontation

Some people think rough games early on may produce a more confrontational relationship later. Whereas cooperative games instill a fun-loving attitude that doesn’t involve your dog having to pit their strength against you.

Only use toys that are non-toxic, and made for heavy chewers, like the ones listed in this guide for safe toys for German Shepherds to prevent boredom.

And, I don’t know about you, but I think every German Shepherd puppy should have a job from the very beginning.

I bet your dog will love it when you give them one of the best jobs for German Shepherd puppies!

6. Avoid Puppy Crankiness

set sleep routines for proper puppy care
Since you’ve already created a quiet space for your pup before they arrived, this part should be easy. 

Make it clear to your family and friends that when your dog is sleeping, leave them alone. Naptime is off-limits time for any other activity.

You don’t want an overtired, cranky pup that will become impossible to control and deal with. A stressed pup that doesn’t get enough rest may snap or growl under pressure.

Your puppy sleeps an average of around 6 hours a night for the first few weeks you bring him home. Sleep allows your dog’s body and mind to recover from their work. 

They awake refreshed and ready to begin anew!

Try these tips to help them sleep more soundly:

  • Place a white noise machine nearby so they’re not in the quiet alone.
  • This also drowns out any usual house noise that may keep your dog awake and disturb them.
  • Install a soft night light so they’re not in complete darkness.
  • If it’s too bright pull the curtains or install blackout curtains.

Keep their sleeping area clean and free from unnecessary distractions.

Help make them feel secure and comfortable, but don’t coddle them or you could validate their fear. 

You’ll also need to use the right discipline for a German Shepherd puppy if your puppy starts to act out due to lack of sleep and general puppy crankiness to keep your expectations understood.

7. Stick to Potty Routines

set a potty routine for puppy care needs
Keep track of when your dog needs to take a potty break to avoid accidents!

Many new puppy owners dread the dirty bits of care—like the house and potty training. 

But it’s a necessity that you can’t overlook.

Good news! Shepherd pups are easy to train and catch on quickly to new routines. If you keep to a regular schedule, you can excel at the house and potty training.

Puppies usually want to eliminate very shortly after:

  • waking
  • eating
  • drinking
  • play
  • or exercise

They may signal this by putting their nose down and sniffing or walking in circles with their heads lowered down. Quickly place your dog in their designated potty area. Praise them when they urinate or mess in the correct area.

It’s pointless to punish your pup after an accident and even worse to shove their noses in their mess or hit them! If you catch them in the act a simple stern “Uh oh” is all that’s needed. 

You must always watch them when they are loose in the house, or else they will have an accident.

Follow this guide on potty training your German Shepherd, step-by-step, for a stress-free experience.

8. Enjoy Gentle Daily Exercise

gentle daily exercise for healthy german shepherd puppy care
German Shepherd puppies have lots of energy, but still need gentle exercise.

Your breed is highly active and loves the challenge of new activities!

But these activities must consider their age. 

Here’s a good daily routine for your GSD puppy:

  • Aim for two brief daily walks.
  • Start with a shorter walking session and work on building up the time and distance as your dog matures.
  • Increase distance very slowly to avoid injuries to your dog.
  • Puppies can’t walk for long without tiring out.
  • Begin with only 5 minutes of slow walking for every month your pup is old.
  • An 8-week-old pup can walk 10 minutes at a time.
  • A 12-week-old pup can handle 15 minutes of walking at a leisurely pace.

Don’t push your pup too fast or too soon! Your large-breed pup needs time to let its bone fully fuse and to gain an increase in strength.

Here is a few more safe, healthy German Shepherd puppy exercise for steady growth. This is the same program I used for my GSD and she now jogs a 10k routinely.

9. Mental Exercise and Training are Essentials

mental stimulation and training for taking care of your german shepherd puppy
Without proper mental exercise, your dog becomes bored. 

Boredom leads to destructive and annoying behaviors such as:

  • excessive barking
  • inappropriate chewing
  • biting and nipping you and your guests
  • mouthing your hands
  • or digging up your yard

Brain games mentally stimulate your dog. These games require your dog to figure out a small task to receive a reward.

Mental activity is shown to help keep dogs more engaged in their environments and prevent boredom. They help control unwanted behaviors from boredom.

I started my German Shepherd with this activity flip board dog brain puzzle. It took her a few tries, but now she’s a pro and loves when I get out her brain game!

As your dog becomes proficient in a game, you make the game more challenging. There is no end to how easy or hard you can make these games!

Now is also the time to use positive, reward-based training to begin your puppy’s obedience skills.

10. The Joys of Grooming

taking care of my german shepherd by grooming her regularly
Start puppies out with grooming gloves, which are gentle and easier on their skin. Even my older GSD still LOVES her grooming gloves!

GSDs need a brushing routine that keeps them and your house free from excessive loose hair and helps their skin stay healthy.

Here’s the best way to start a grooming routine for your puppy:

  • Expect to brush your dog at least three times a week.
  • Use these grooming gloves on your puppy while in a quiet area.
  • They are soft and gentle and create a positive association with future grooming.
  • Offer tasty treats to keep the grooming upbeat.
  • Use a soothing voice and tell them how good they are.
  • Above all, help make grooming and brushing positive experiences from the very start to save yourself and your dog stress later.

A baby German Shepherd that tolerates and even enjoys a daily brushing is a dog that is easier to keep in better health and experiences less frustration when you bring out the grooming tools.

11. Vaccinations for Long-Term Health

taking care of a german shepherd puppy means the right vaccinations
Caring for your baby GSD pup means staying on top of a strict immunization schedule.

While a puppy gets immunity through nursing in the first weeks of life, the immunity wears off shortly. It’s impossible to know when this immunity wears off.

Therefore puppies get a series of shots during their initial vaccination schedule. Vaccines prevent illness and keep your pet safe from disease. Stay on top of your dog’s routine vaccines.

Your breeder should give your pup their first vaccination series before you bring them home. Bring this vaccination history with you to your vet on your first visit.

Keep to a yearly vet exam, even if you think your dog doesn’t need it.

German Shepherd Puppy Quick Care Guide

Here’s a quick guide for your German Shepherd puppy care. Use this as a reference so you don’t forget anything and to make caring for a German Shepherd puppy a breeze.

Your Priority of CareWhat to Do
1. Make your house puppy ready for your new dogPrepare their sleep area, have the right supplies on hand, and make sure any hazards are put away out of reach.
2. Communicate the essentialsHave a list of words printed out so that you and your family know what to say to help your puppy learn what you want and what he needs to know.
3. Meet their daily needsYour puppy has a lot to do each day for their basic care, so understand what routine you must develop for them to thrive.
4. Feed for steady growthMake sure to buy food that meets all your large breed puppy’s nutriention requirements.
5. Use play to bondPlay should be used for bonding and isn’t a competition; be sure to pick cooperative games.
6. Set sleep routinesHaving a sleep routine in place keeps your puppy from becoming too unruly.
7. Teach potty trainingStart from day 1 to teach potty and house training by using a structured schedule.
8. Daily gentle exerciseGerman Shepherd puppies need gentle exercise so avoid running, jumping, or jogging with them until around 18 months or so to prevent joint issues later.
9. Brain training and mental stimulationYour smart breed needs to keep their mind occupied by using a training program to brain train their obedience skills and include mental stimulation with fun games and puzzles. 💡
10. Early introduction to groomingA grooming glove is your best friend for a safe, easy introduction to later brushing and coat maintenance.
11. Stay on top of vaccinationsKeep reminders on your refrigerator and phone alarms for your pup’s vaccinations to prevent disease.
This chart guides you through the most important steps for your puppy’s care.

German Shepherd Puppy Care for Life

While there are many aspects to puppies, this guide is a great start on learning how to take care of a German Shepherd puppy so you feel confident with your new puppy.

First impressions are important, especially from your puppy’s point of view.

These early encounters set the pattern of his future relationship with you.

Use these ideas to make your German Shepherd love you and give them plenty of love and affection throughout the day. Don’t use harsh punishments when correcting your pup.

With proper care and attention, you and your GSD will enjoy a long, happy life together.

Want more help with your German Shepherd puppy care for even smoother sailing?

Are you prepared for any unusual and surprising behavior changes?

Do you want to know what to expect with your German Shepherd’s puppy growth?

Do you know what training your dog needs and when?

Keep calm…

there’s an easy way to find out even more essential information for your German Shepherd puppy’s care!

You’ll love this handy book, Your German Shepherd Puppy Month-by-Month packed full of the best tips and steps so that you stay a step ahead of your brilliant little puppy! 📕