MID-KENTUCKY GERMAN SHEPHERDS

Breeders of Quality German Shepherds

In the Heart of Kentucky

Preparing for & Welcoming
Your New Puppy

          Bringing home a puppy can be a stressful time for you and your pup. He’ll be in a strange environment away from his littermates and mother for the first time. There’ll be new people and new expectations. That’s why it’s important to take some time to prepare for your puppy. You’ll need to make your house and yard safe and set rules for yourself and your family about how to care for your pup. You’ll also need to pick up any last-minute items on your puppy supply list. The more structured you can make this transition, the easier it will be for your puppy to adapt and your family to get used to the new addition.

        Set your vet appointment up for your new puppy several weeks in advance of picking it up. Your pup will need a 9 week old vet appointment.  We give the puppy it's first Parvo vaccination. These must be given at 3 week intervals and if missed must be started over from the beginning. As well we offer you a fantastic warranty. Not keeping your puppy propertly vetted will void all warranties we give you.

         If you have other animals on your property make sure they are current on all vaccinations and if it is a dog have it recently Brucellosis tested by your vet prior to the pup coming to your home. Keep your puppy at your residence only once you get your pup  until its completed all 3 rounds of vaccinations and its Rabies shot. Taking it even into a store in your arms you are risking it the same as if you let it run on the floor.

         If you vet properly this will all be completed at 16 weeks of age. Taking your puppy out in public at all you are risking diseases that can severely effect or kill your puppy besides voided your warranty with us. Their little immune systems are not fully developed until they are older. I personally didn't take my pups anywhere, except a vet office until they were 6 mos. old. Why? First because none of them were perfect enough on basic commands yet to take them out in public places and second there just was no need for it so young to chance infections.  Again we require you to keep your puppy propertly vetted which means you should be following your vets guidelines. No vet will tell you it is acceptable to take a pup out in public until after their first rabies shot and fully parvo series.

           The following is an excerpt from Chapter 6 of Cesar's book, "A Short Guide to a Happy Dog," Cesar explains how to bring a new dog home.
"This is the point in the process when many people make the biggest mistake, frequently out of excitement over having a new family member. They drive home, bring the dog out of the car and to the front door, throw the door open, take off the leash, and let the dog loose to explore her new home . . . and the poor dog has no idea what’s going on or where she is. It may look like she’s excitedly investigating as she runs from room to room, sniffing everywhere, but she isn’t. You’ve just thrown her into a completely alien environment with no direction, and these early associations are going to stick. The place is unfamiliar, it smells different, and there doesn’t seem to be any way out. If you have previously had pets in the house, it will smell like them, and your new dog will be uncertain about invading someone else’s territory."

          The idea is that you slowly introduce your new dog to her new place, one room at a time, and you should begin with the room where she will find her food and water, making her wait until you have gone through the door and invited her in. Have her sit while you get her food and water ready. After she has eaten, she should be even more relaxed. Now you can give her the tour of the rest of the house, avoiding rooms you do not want her to enter.
           Once you have completed the tour, it will be time for your new dog to meet each of the human members of the pack, one at a time. Let her smell them first, and don’t allow anyone to show affection until the new dog comes to them. Pack leaders do not go to their followers; their followers come to them.
          Take time to create a vocabulary list everyone will use. If Mom says "down" when Puppy climbs on the couch, Dad says "down" when he wants him to lie down, and Junior utters "sit down" when he expects the pup's rear to hit the floor, the result will be one confused dog! Putting the schedule and vocabulary list in writing prevents confusion and will help dog walkers, nannies, and others involved in raising Puppy.

This is what your puppy will have been used to from birth to 8 weeks while with us.

Sit- Bottom down on the ground, puppy sitting directly in front of handler, eyes on handler
Down- from sit position, down on tummy, not in ready to pounce position, eyes on handler (some of our puppies go home already comfortable with the down command.)
Off- No jumping on handler or items.
Kennel- Go to crate
Stay- Puppy Does not move stay in current position.
2 Claps, followed by command, have been used to get eyes on handler.
Puppy has been on leash quite often, only walked on left side of handler, preparing puppy for heel training.
Puppy has been made to stop in place, prior to going through doorways, then given okay command to proceed.
“Get Busy” is what we use to indicate it is time for puppy to do potty business.
We never allow animals on furniture. (What you don’t start, you don’t have to fix. )

          It is amazing how fast German Shepherds learn. If you stay consistent, and deliberately work with your dog you will be amazed as well. I find that by 12 weeks a puppy is old enough to start with formal dog obedience training. Some dogs are a bit slower to learn, but like a child, they do retain what your teaching whether you believe it at the time or not. I highly encourage you to schedule training time for you and your puppy. In the long run those few hours a week for 4 – 6 weeks will make a lifetime of difference in your long term relationship for both of you.
          You'll need to puppy-proof the area where the youngster will spend most of his time the first few months. This may mean taping loose electrical cords to baseboards; storing household chemicals on high shelves; removing plants, rugs, and breakables; setting up the crate; and installing gates. Once you think you've completely puppy-proofed, lie on the floor and look around once more to get a puppy's-eye view.
          If you have children, hold one last meeting to lay down the rules: Don't overwhelm Pup the first day, and don't fight over him or create mob scenes showing him to the neighborhood. Now you're off to get Puppy.
Here is my best advice:
         When you get home and BEFORE you bring your new pup into the house, take him to his 'potty spot' outdoors right away and let him relieve himself.
          This helps him to get started on his potty training right away, and your life together doesn't begin with cleaning up a puddle (that will come later!)
           Once you take him indoors you can let him explore his new surroundings at his own pace. It's very important to supervise him at all times, even if you've 'puppy-proofed' your home to the max, he might surprise you!
           Don't allow him to have full access to the house to begin with, it will hamper his housebreaking and be confusing and maybe a little scary for him too. Instead either use a puppy play-pen or exercise pen to contain him, or use baby-gates on doorways to limit his access to your rooms.
          Start crate training right away, but don't expect your puppy to like it right off the bat. Start out with short periods in the crate, but be sure to ignore any crying and whining he does when he's in there. The lessons he learns early will stick around, I promise!
          Always keep him on a leash outside until he learns to come when called.  Even if you have a secure back yard. 
          Remember we call all our puppies, “Puppy”. They don’t know any other name.
          The first things your puppy needs to learn from you is its name, and where you want it to potty.

Tips on How to and how not to hold a puppy on a leash:
In holding the leash, make sure that you do not hold it too tightly; there should be enough slack so that your puppy does not feel any discomfort. It takes some getting used to, since it is common for most dog-owners to hold on to the leash too tightly at first.

Some people feel that they actually have more control over the puppy if they hold the leash tightly, but the result is the opposite of what they are seeking to achieve. A puppy will tend to struggle against the pressure and discomfort on his neck when it is too tight, causing him to pull harder at the leash as you hold on tightly to it. When holding a leash, you have to exercise (seemingly) as little control as possible in order to be in control of your puppy.

Here are a few of the recommended ways to hold the leash:
The leash should lie on the palm of the right hand with the right thumb inside the loop.
Form a fist with your leash holding hand.
Use the first two fingers of your hand to hold the leash about a quarter of the length from the top. Place your right hand on top of your right thigh.
Hold the opposite end of the leash on the left hand with your knuckles facing forward. Rest your left hand on top of the left thigh.

 You are now holding the leash in a starting position. Your hands must be below your waist each time you walk your puppy, and you should give enough slack on the leash for the puppy to feel comfortable and unthreatened.

I always heel my dogs to my left side. There is no right or wrong side unless you are working Schutzhund. My left side works best for me as I treat with my right hand. Whichever is best for you, just be consistent with it for the puppy.
There are many great books at local libraries on dog training. I found them a great first step when I started working with dogs years ago. Training tips never become outdated so those older versions in the library are just fine for a beginning.

                                                                                                      Good Luck!! Call us if you need us!!!