Looking After Your German Shepherd
German Shepherd dogs are vigilant dogs that can help you sleep peacefully in your home at night. You are an adventurous soul looking for a buddy to accompany you on your escapades – there are any number of reasons why you might want to get a German Shepherd. However, before you decide to bring your pup home, it is important to make sure that you will be able to give them the kind of care and life that they deserve. Whether you plan on getting a young puppy or an older adult. This article will list down the things that you should do to optimally care for your German Shepherd.
Looking After Your German Shepherd – 4 Things to Do:
1) Feeding a Nutritious Diet:
If you want your German Shepherd to live a long and healthy life. One of the first things that need to be ensured is the provision of a nutritious and steady diet. Adult Shepherds need to be fed twice a day to promote proper digestion and prevent bloating. Puppies, meanwhile, will have to be fed at least thrice per day, at regular intervals.
Depending upon your dog’s weight, it will require anywhere between 1,700 and 2,100 daily calories. Of course, other factors – such as age and the level of physical activity – also play a role in determining the precise caloric requirements.
Senior German Shepherds, however, do not require as many calories (a 90-lbs senior German Shepherd will only need around 1,500 to 1,600 calories per day).
Regardless of your dog’s age, weight, and physical activity, their diet should never consist of leftover food – especially since leftovers have inconsistent nutritional profiles which can hamper your pet’s growth and health.
2) Encouraging Socialization:
Another crucial factor in a dog’s quality of life is the extent and quality of their social interactions. If you want your German Shepherd to have canine friends, not put your visitors on edge, and receive the maximum number of compliments and pats, you should encourage them to socialize as soon as possible.
For starters, you can simply promote your new dog’s curiosity by tempting them to follow you around the house. You can make that happen by dangling a tug rope or any other playable objects in front of them. Another thing to do is to bring in objects that the dog is likely to observe outdoors – this helps bridge the gap between the outdoors and indoors, and creates a sense of familiarity.
3) Ensuring Adequate Stimulation:
German Shepherds, especially younger ones, are full of energy. Unless they have a productive outlet for all this vigor, can turn very destructive very quickly. So, if you do not want to come home to chewed-up slippers or torn rugs, make sure that your German Shepherd is getting enough exercise for their age. Typically, an adult and healthy German Shepherd should be exercising for around two hours per day.
Puppies, meanwhile, should receive five minutes of physical activity (twice a day) per month of age. This means that a one-month puppy should get five minutes of exercise twice a day. While a two-month puppy should get two, 10-minute bouts of exercise every day. This rule can be followed until your puppy becomes an adult.
Below are a few mistakes to avoid while exercising your German Shepherd:
- Taking the dog out on walks before they have been fully vaccinated. (a puppy receives their final vaccination at around 10-12 weeks of age. They should only go on outdoor walks at least two weeks after the final vaccination)
- Letting your dog jump before time. (if a German Shepherd jumps before they are 18 months old, they might damage their growth plates)
- Walking your dog until they are worn out. (while the key is to let your German Shepherd exert all their energy. You must make sure to not exhaust your dog before you have even begun the walk back home)
- Using walking as the only form of exercise. (while walking should make up the bulk of a German Shepherd’s physical activity. You must also incorporate routines that will help your dog exercise their muscles, joints, and mind)
- Treating exercise as a formality. If you treat your German Shepherd’s exercise as something that you need to get done with, your pup is unlikely to enjoy it. Dogs are sensitive to your mood and enthusiasm. You need to make the whole thing fun for the both of you.
As far as mental stimulation goes, you can teach them some new tricks. Create puzzles for them to solve, or bring their natural scavenging nature to the fore by making them work for their food.
4) Avoiding Separation Anxiety:
A German Shepherd loves being around people, and excessive loneliness or isolation can cause them to develop mental health problems.
Separation anxiety occurs when a dog and their owner have been separated. When you are away for an extended period of time, your dog may assume that you are gone forever. They may start displaying behavioural problems as a result.
To prevent this, make sure that you spend sufficient time with your dog and do not go out of their sight for long hours. Ideally, an adult German Shepherd should not be left alone, them for five straight hours (the duration is even lower for young puppies). If your work or other responsibilities require you to stay away from the house for several hours on end, you can.
- Ask family or friends to check up on your dog
- Use dog walkers
- Get a professional dog-sitter
- Get your dog into a doggy daycare
- Work flexi-time or from home, whenever possible
You can use a combination of the above solutions to ensure that there is someone to keep your dog company for the most part of the day.
Final Word on German Shepherd Dogs:
Looking after a German Shepherd might feel akin to climbing a mountain, considering all the things that need to be done.
However, if you put in enough time and effort, and focus on implementing one step at a time, this mountain-climb will soon start to feel like a walk in the park.