GSD Puppy/Dog Rearing
What should I feed my puppy/dog ?
There are many different diets suitable for feeding puppies. The breeder of your puppy should provide you with a recommended feeding program (diet chart) at the time you buy the puppy. This is a requirement of all Breeders who sell through the GSDCA Affiliate Club Puppy Listings service. A puppy should receive a balanced diet in order to allow for correct growth and to ensure that no bone or joint abnormalities eventuate in the growing process. Puppy food formulated specifically for puppy growth are available to purchase at your pet food supplier. Access to clean, fresh water is essential at all times. A good diet is complimented by proper exercise according to the age of the dog.
What is the correct weight for my puppy/dog ?
This depends on many factors such as the sex of the dog, the age, the height, etc. As a guide an adult male should weigh between 30 and 40 Kg, whilst adult females should weigh between 22 and 32 Kg. Puppies/dogs that are overfed and become overweight can develop serious physical problems. See Weight for age chart on our Health articles page.
When should I vaccinate my puppy/dog ?
Your puppy should have been vaccinated at 6 weeks of age (if you buy through the Puppy Listings service), and you will receive advice from the Breeder on further vaccination. As a guide your puppy will require the next vaccination at 12 weeks, with a “booster” at 16 weeks. After this your dog must be vaccinated every 12 months. The GSDCA Affiliate Club Branches will need to sight your puppy/dog’s up-to-date vaccination certificate if you are training at one of those Branches.
When do I treat my puppy/dog for intestinal worms ?
Your puppy will have been wormed regularly prior to your buying it at 8 weeks. It is best to consult your local veterinarian who is aware of conditions in your area (as there are many types of worms), however as a basic guide: Puppies should be wormed at 12 weeks, 4 months and then bimonthly, and Adults (from 12 months) every 3 months. The breeder of the puppy can usually make recommendations regarding products to use.
When do I treat my puppy/dog for heart worm ?
Heartworm is prevalent throughout most of Australia, and preventative treatment may be needed. Your puppy/dog should be on a heartworm preparation according to its weight, via a monthly heartworm preparation or a yearly vaccination via the veterinarian. Consult your puppy breeder and/or local veterinarian for advice regarding the dosage and frequency of dosage for your pup.
There is a mistaken belief that a young puppy (up to 12 months of age) should have “plenty” of exercise. That belief is incorrect ! As a general rule up to 12 months of age, “on lead” exercise should be very limited. Natural free running is the best form of exercise for a youngster, because when they tire they can easily stop. Serious or extensive exercise should not occur until the dog has reached the age of twelve (12) months. When twelve (12) months of age, X-ray your dog’s hips and elbows under the GSDCA Scheme to see what the status is. This may influence the type and extent of future exercise. It is important that extensive exercise should not occur within four (4) hours, either before or after, the puppy/dog has had a meal, food or lengthy drink.
Why is it important to socialise my puppy/dog ?
A well bred puppy will have all the basics for the making of a sound, well adjusted puppy and adult dog, however this is just the foundation for the future. Once you take the puppy home it then becomes your responsibility to continue the development of the puppy. This means exposing and reassuring the puppy to and around people, other dogs, the home environment, and the community environment, so as it learns to be confident in all circumstances.
At what age can I take my puppy/dog to obedience training classes ?
The GSDCA Affiliate Clubs encourage new owners to socialise their puppy from a very young age, and therefore hold puppy classes for puppies from 8 weeks of age. Please ensure you bring your puppy’s up-to-date vaccination certificate with you.
Is obedience training important for my puppy/dog ?
Yes ! – It is your responsibility as a dog owner, to ensure that your dog is a well behaved, accepted member of the community. Obedience Training will assist in teaching you how to work with your dog, and teaching him good habits, and if necessary overcoming undesirable behaviour. A well trained dog is a pleasure to own, and please always remember to be considerate of other people who may not be dog lovers like us.
Can the GSD Club assist me with Schutzhund or Protection training for my puppy/dog ?
No ! – The GSDCA affiliated Clubs do not support the training of Schutzhund, or any form of Protection training and do not believe this form of training is necessary. It is a requirement of Victorian law that any dog that is trained to attack a person or animal must be reported to the authorities and will probably be declared a dangerous dog. Use the following link to view the GSDCA Policy – Policy on Schutzhund Training.
When can I treat my puppy more like an adult dog ?
This varies, but generally 12 months of age is regarded as the end of puppyhood. By 12 months, your pup would have reached maximum height. The period between 12 months and 24 months is a transitional period of gradual muscular development filling the skeletal frame. More serious physical and mental training of your young dog can now gradually commence. Most experts agree that the GSD reaches, or should reach, adulthood at 2 years of age. Further physical and mental development can occur after this with full maturity being attained at about 4 years of age.