German Shepherd Dog Showing Tip (Training GSDs to Run Out at the End of the Lead)

Exploring the vast prairie of the Washita National Wildlife Refuge
Exploring the vast prairie of the Washita National Wildlife Refuge

Hi Everyone,

Conformation judges tend to like to see German Shepherd Dogs to run out at the end of the lead while being trotted around the show ring.  This allows the judges to see the dogs without being distracted by the handler and it allows the German Shepherd Dog to show its full extension while in the flying trot.  This is somewhat tricky because while the German Shepherd Dog should be at the end of the lead, the lead should be a loose lead.  The German shepherd Dog should never give the impression that they are pulling hard on the lead or dragging the handler around the ring.

Champion Heidelberg's Stefanie Pulling Out In the Show Ring
Champion Heidelberg’s Stefanie Pulling Out In the Show Ring

For our Heidelberg German Shepherd Dogs, it is somewhat difficult to train them to hit the end of the lead because it goes against their nature of wanting to please their owner. They readily accept us as the pack leader and a pack member never challenges the pack leader by taking the lead. This is one reason our Heidelberg German Shepherd Dogs are such a pleasure to walk or run with because they never drag their owners along the path.  Whereas, many German Shepherd Dog types from other kennels often will drag their owners the first mile or so on a walk until they tire, and this makes for a miserable experience for the owner and the shepherd.

An Example of Not  Pulling Out
An Example of Not Pulling Out

We train our Heidelberg German Shepherd Dogs to pull out to the end of the lead by placing two  people 50 yards apart on flat level ground.  We then have a third person as the handler, which will run the German shepherd Dog back and forth between the two people.  Because so much running is involved it is best to have four people so that the two can trade off on the running.  The two people 50 yards apart will enthusiastically call the German Shepherd Dog each in their turn.  If the German Shepherd Dog runs to the end of the lead, the callers will reward them with a treat.  I prefer to use boiled liver because the dogs love it and get very excited about getting a little piece of liver.

Once the German Shepherd Dog has mastered this exercise of pulling out to the end of the lead, I like to reinforce this behavior by getting another German shepherd Dog of the same sex in front of the dog that we are training.  We do this and allow the dog we are training to trail behind the other dog on the way to the bait.  The caller will reward both dogs with the liver treat, but the dog we are training will continue to think it is a race to the liver.  Once the German Shepherd Dog has completed this exercise several times, they should pull out just fine in the show ring.

Champion Heidelberg's Tundra Pulling Out On a Loose Lead
Champion Heidelberg’s Tundra Pulling Out On a Loose Lead
Heidelberg's Fontana Pulling Out to the End of the Lead
Heidelberg’s Fontana Pulling Out to the End of a Loose Lead

If you are having trouble getting your German Shepherd Dog to pull out in the show ring try the above exercise and you will be pleased with the results.

Ask me a Question and I will provide my opinion.

Sincerely,

KeystoneGermanShepherds

German Shepherd Dog Breeding Tip

Exploring the vast prairie of the Washita National Wildlife Refuge
Exploring the Vast Prairie of the Washita National Wildlife Refuge

 

Hi Everyone,

We at Keystone German Shepherds & Kennels only allow our German Shepherd Dogs to breed with our oversight and under controlled conditions.  We do this to protect our stud dogs and our breeding females.  German Shepherd Dogs are very vulnerable to bites and physical injury during the act of breeding because they do lock-up, which is known as a “tie”.  This is especially true when, we are breeding an outside virgin female that is possibly scared because this is the first time that she may have been away from her owner and home.

We provide stud services at Keystone German Shepherds & Kennels, and because we stud out our males, we assist them in breeding by actually putting the German Shepherd Dogs together. We do this to ensure a tie when breeding customers’ German shepherd Dog females.  Also, some prodigious anatomical differences exist between different German Shepherd Dog types along with size differences, and without assisting; we would never get a tie on these females.  For example, it is very difficult for a large male to breed a small bitch. In addition, virgin bitches due to the lack of experience often times will not stand for the male or may snap at him with her teeth as he tries to mount her.

Controlled Breeding With a Heidelberg German shepherd Dog Virgin Bitch

Controlled Breeding With a Heidelberg German shepherd Dog Virgin Female

In addition, we have learned to trust our stud dogs to let us know when a female is actually ovulating and ready to breed.  Our males may mount a female that is in season, but is not quite fertile.  However, our German shepherd Dog studs will not really try to get a tie unless the female is ovulating.  When we notice this behavior, we put the dogs back up in the kennels and try again the next day.  Once we get a tie, we only allow our males to breed every other day.  This ensures the maximum amount of mature, viable sperm at each breeding.

When breeding German Shepherd Dogs, the owners should always be present to protect both the male and female from injury.  We recommend that you keep the female tied up to the fence so that she does not drag the male all over the place and potential cause injury to his penis.

 

Heidelberg's Samantha's  First breeding Under Controlled Conditions
Heidelberg’s Samantha’s First breeding Under Controlled Conditions

Ask me a Question and I will provide my opinion.

Sincerely,

KeystoneGermanShepherds

German Shepherd Dog Feeding Tip

Exploring the vast prairie of the Washita National Wildlife Refuge
Exploring the vast prairie of the Washita National Wildlife Refuge

Hi Everyone,

We feed our weaned German Shepherd Dog puppies twice a day approximately 12 hours apart from between 7:00 and 8:00 am and then again between 6:00 and 7:00 pm. Once our German Shepherd Dog puppies become six-months-old, we have noticed that they will not finish one of the twice daily feedings.  When this happens we switch to once a day in the evenings.  This decrease in appetite usually corresponds to a decrease in their rapid growth rate.  Young puppies seem to grow significantly fast from weaning until six-months-of-age.  All one has to do to observe this is to go out-of-town for a few days, and upon returning it is almost unimaginable how much larger the German Shepherd Dog puppies have become in only a couple of days.

Hey Is It Dinner Time Yet
Hey Is It Dinner Time Yet

For our adult German Shepherd Dogs, we feed once a day in the evenings.  They seem well adapted to this and rarely appear to act like they are starving.  We have tried morning feedings only, but our German Shepherds appear to be extremely hungry the rest of the day and act famished by the time we have fed them again the next morning.  Anecdotally, I am quite comfortable skipping breakfast and even lunch sometimes, however, if I eat a large breakfast it seems as though I am hungry all-day-long, and actually will eat more through the day.

I also, believe that since, we feed in the evenings and our German Shepherd Dogs are less active after feeding that this allows them to digest their food better and may actually help prevent bloat also known as torsion.  Bloat is where the stomach twists over itself and becomes a life or death situation requiring immediate medical care from a veterinarian.  Albeit, some German Shepherd Dog nutritionists and veterinarians recommend feeding two smaller meals twice a day to decrease the potential for bloating.

In the wild, a more natural situation for a pack of wild dogs may be to eat every other day or third day depending on when the pack makes a kill or finds a carcass. Upon feeding they gorge themselves, thus eating several pounds of food at a given feeding.  Then the pack would lounge for a day or two around the kill site to digest their meals.

Relaxing After Dinner
Relaxing After Dinner

Nobody is positively sure about the best way and the correct timing to feed German Shepherd Dogs, and more research is needed in this area not only to reduce the risk of bloat, but to maximize the health of our German Shepherd Dogs.  Until we learn differently, we at Keystone German Shepherds & Kennels will continue to feed once a day in the evenings.

Ask me a Question and I will provide my opinion.

Sincerely,

KeystoneGermanShepherds

German Shepherd Dogs (Vets and Dog Kennels)

Exploring the vast prairie of the Washita National Wildlife Refuge
Exploring the vast prairie of the Washita National Wildlife Refuge

 

Hi Everyone,

I am going to discuss a paradigm that I have observed regarding the inability of veterinarians and breeders to work together.  To me the relationship between vets and breeders should be the perfect match from a business perspective.  The breeder has a lot of dogs and in my case German Shepherd Dogs that need the rabies shots, at time veterinarian services for illnesses, etc.  However, the breeder to survive in the dog raising business has learned to take care of much of the health care needs for his own dogs unlike the average pet owner.  This care includes heartworm treatment, annual shots, nail clippings, wormings, etc.

Grand Champion, Champion and BIS Winner Heidelberg's Oklahoman Natashac (Kay)
Grand Champion, Champion and BIS Winner Heidelberg’s Oklahoma Natashac (Kay)

Somehow it appears that some small animal vets resent that breeders have taken responsibility for much of the care of their dogs, and this has resulted in a reflexive disdain for breeders.  The veterinarians are never going to provide the expensive full service care for the breeders’ dogs as they may do for the average pet owner. Rather than recognizing this and being happy with a portion of the breeders business, in my experience, vets become hostile toward the dog breeder and unwilling to work with them, thus losing the breeders business.

For example, I called a vet to schedule two rabies shots.  I had started using this vet on a somewhat regular basis, and the vet was very aware of my German Shepherd Dog kennel.  They insisted on charging me an office visit and vet exam fee.  Therefore, these two rabies shots were going to cost me over $100.00.  I explained that if I could come in at their convenience, I would be bringing in 30 or more German Shepherd Dogs in the next couple of weeks for rabies shots, but I could only pay for the shot.  They refused to lower their fee to $15.00 for the rabies shot.   I told them that I would have to go to a rabies clinic.  This greatly offended them and they hung up on me.

Grand Champion, Champion Heidelberg's Kodiak v Queridad (Kodi) Full Time Service Dog on His First Jet Ride
Grand Champion, Champion Heidelberg’s Kodiak v Queridad (Kodi) Full Time Service Dog on His First Jet Ride

From a business perspective, they just lost all my future business for C-sections, injuries, etc., and they also lost my immediate business of 30 rabies shots for a total of $450.00. More than this and almost never considered by veterinarians is they also lost 40 to 70 customer referrals every year from me.

Almost every German Shepherd Dog puppy customer asks me for my recommendation for a veterinarian.  Obviously, not all my customers would go to the vet that I recommend, but a certain percentage would and it would not take too many years for that veterinarian to build up a very successful business based on my breeder’s referrals.

I do not understand why it seems that most vets cannot see the advantage of working closely with a breeder and to take advantage of all the opportunities that breeder could provide their veterinarian business.  If I were a vet and a medium to large scale dog breeder came into my office for services, I would bend over backwards to make them happy, albeit, I am not a veterinarian, but rather an experienced business man.  Maybe, they should require a few business classes in Veterinarian College.

The above is not meant to be an attack on vets, but hopefully the start of a discussion that will provide a new perspective on this ongoing vet and breeder relationship paradigm.  I have great respect for veterinarians and what they have gone through to become a licensed vet.  As a research scientist in my previous life, I understand the demands and sacrifices required for a non-terminus graduate degree.  Many close acquaintances that I have had over the years have been vets, but unfortunately none of these were practicing in small animal medicine.

Ask me a Question and I will provide my opinion.

Sincerely,

KeystoneGermanShepherds

German Shepherd Dog (Disaster Preparedness)

Exploring the vast prairie of the Washita National Wildlife Refuge
Exploring the vast prairie of the Washita National Wildlife Refuge

Hi Everyone,

Yesterday, we were inspected by the American Kennel Club (AKC) and we passed with perfect scores, but that is not what I wanted to share. AKC is asking kennels to develop Emergency/Disaster Plan for evacuating and/or protecting their dogs if there is a natural disaster such as a tornado, fire, earthquake, hurricane, etc.  They are not asking for a detailed plan that requires an inordinate effort to complete. Rather, for people to take some time and think about what would be the best way to protect, in our situation, our German Shepherd Dogs. What is decided should be written down so everyone involved has access to the plan and could implement the plan if necessary.

For us, tornadoes are a real concern, and we realize given the short warning before tornadoes hit, we would be unable to evacuate all our German shepherd Dogs.  Therefore, we have prioritized those dogs that are to be loaded in our vehicles and driven to safety.  During tornado season, we will keep dog crates ready in our vehicles and when tornado warnings are given, we will load the German Shepherd Dogs so that we are ready to leave immediately if conditions warrant an evacuation.  For the remaining German Shepherd Dogs, we will let them out of their kennels and let them go on the back of our property where they can find low spots to find protection form the tornadoes.

Prioritizing, the German Shepherd Dogs that will be loaded in the vehicles in preparation for a possible evacuation by having ready a list of their names and kennel locations will save precious time. Posting this list in prominent place in the house with simple directions on what to do would be invaluable to family or staff members in case I am not here during the disaster.

Even if you only have one German Shepherd Dog, it is good idea to take some time to think about how you would evacuate your family members and animals for each potential natural disaster.

GrCh. Ch. Heidelberg's Kodi and Heidelberg's Zoya Watching the Weather
GCh. Ch. Heidelberg’s Kodi and Heidelberg’s Zoya Watching the Weather

Ask me a Question and I will provide my opinion.

Sincerely,

KeystoneGermanShepherds

 

German Shepherd Dog Tip (Weening)

Exploring the vast prairie of the Washita National Wildlife Refuge
Exploring the vast prairie of the Washita National Wildlife Refuge

Hello Everyone,

When my Heidelberg German Shepherd Dog puppies turn 3-weeks-old, I begin the weening process by soaking in water our Victor Super Premium Dog Food (Beef Meal & Brown Rice for All Life Stages) formula.  I wait until the dry-food is turned into a mush consistent with oatmeal, and then I mix into the mush a heaping table spoon of Dannon plain white yogurt.  I will then let mom outside and introduce each individual puppy to this mush.  The puppies will usually lap at this mush for a while and then fall asleep.  I then will let mom back in to finish off the mush.  The puppies learn to eat this mush by watching mom eat it.  I feed the puppies this mush twice a day.

A Three Week Old Heidelberg German Shepherd Sleeping After the First Meal
A Three Week Old Heidelberg German Shepherd Sleeping After the First Meal
Victor Super Premium Dog Food Beef Meal & brown Rice For all Life Stages
Victor Super Premium Dog Food Beef Meal & brown Rice For all Life Stages

I will feed this mush for four days before adding cooked eggs.   I prefer scrambled eggs with the eggs cooked in extra virgin olive oil.  Never feed raw eggs to German Shepherd Dog puppies or adults because of the risk of salmonella and e coli.  After the second day, I will add a table spoon of our Pure Total Vitamin Supplement, packaged and available here at Keystone German Shepherds & Kennels.

Add Eggs After Few Days to Puppies Mush to Help In Weaning
Add Eggs After Few Days to Puppies Mush to Help In Weaning

After three to four days of adding the eggs and vitamins to the puppy mush, I will pour the juice of a can of mackerel on their food for one day.  The next day, I will add the mackerel.  By now the puppies are acclimated to eating adult food.  However, I will not feed them our evening diet, which includes cooked vegetables for another two weeks.

Starting at five weeks I will start separating mom from the puppies for longer stretches during the day.  Towards the end of their fifth week of age, I will only place mom with the German Shepherd Dog puppy litter at night.  When the puppies turn six-weeks-old, I separate mom from the puppies for a week to let her milk dry up.

The first night, I separate mom, I do not feed her, and while this may seem cruel, it actually helps prevent mastitis and makes mom more comfortable because she will produce less milk if she does not eat.  After her milk has dried up, I will supervise play time with mom and the puppies.  Once I am sure that the German Shepherd Dog puppies will no longer nurse, I allow mom and the puppies to spend considerable time together until the puppies are nine-weeks-old.  The German Shepherd Dog dam teaches her puppies manners and how to exist in a social pack.

A Heidelberg German Shepherd Dog Mom Playing With Her Puppies
A Heidelberg German Shepherd Dog Mom Playing With Her Puppies
A Heidelberg German Shepherd Dog Mom Visiting Her Puppies
A Heidelberg German Shepherd Dog Mom Visiting Her Puppies

 

Ask me a question and I will provide my opinion.

Sincerely,

KeystoneGermanShepherds

 

 

German Shepherd Dog Tip (Whelping in a Crate)

Exploring the vast prairie of the Washita National Wildlife Refuge
Exploring the vast prairie of the Washita National Wildlife Refuge

Hi Everyone,

Over the years, I have found that the most efficient and effective way to whelp a litter is to place the German Shepherd Dog bitch in a crate while she is whelping her puppies.  To provide some comfort to the Dam, I will cover the crate with sheets leaving the front open so that I can observe her progress and immediately intervene when she drops a puppy.  Puppies seem to be delivered in the middle of the night and labor can take several hours in some circumstances. Therefore, to stay awake and keep myself entertained while waiting for the puppies to be delivered, I will place the crate in such away that I can see everything that is going on and also be able to comfortably watch television.

A Heidelberg German shepherd Dog bitch in Labor
A Heidelberg German shepherd Dog Bitch in Labor

Once mom drops her puppy, I will clear the airway and allow her to eat the placenta and cut the cord.  Once she has cut the cord, I will clean and dry the puppy off and make sure it is breathing well.  Once I am confident that the puppy is doing well, I will place it in a whelping box under a heat lamp.  As soon as I am sure all the puppies are delivered, I will place mom in the whelping box to care for her puppies.

Heidelberg German Shepherd Dog New Mom Feeding Her Puppies After Delivery
Heidelberg German Shepherd Dog New Mom Feeding Her Puppies After Delivery

Some new moms may not take cut the cord and clean their puppies immediately after delivery.  If so, I will remove the puppy’s sacks, cut the cord, and then I will clean the puppy.  Again, once I am sure the puppy is doing well, I will place it in the whelping box under the heat lamp.

Since I have started using the crate to observe mom during deliver, I have lost very few puppies to drowning due to them not being removed from their sacks soon enough,  Sometimes new moms get so busy with their new puppies that they stop pushing and allow puppies to drown inside them.  By using the crate method, mom is not with her puppies until all the puppies are delivered, therefore, I no longer lose puppies that die in the birth canal.   Try using a crate method to deliver your German Shepherd Dog puppies, you will find it efficient and easier on you and the dam.

Ask me a question and i will provide my opinion.

Sincerely,

KeystoneGermanShepherds

 

German Shepherd Dog (Socialization)

Exploring the vast prairie of the Washita National Wildlife Refuge
Exploring the vast prairie of the Washita National Wildlife Refuge

Hi Everyone,

Today I am going to discuss socialization for your new German Shepherd Dog puppy.  Socialize and do it often. Once your puppy is over 16 weeks-old and has completed the majority of their immunization program, start taking them to public places as often as possible,  Dog parks are good, but to acclimate them to strangers and even stranger situations, I prefer Home Depot or Lowes, which both are dog friendly.  Also Bass Pro shops allow dogs into their stores.  In addition, well used walking and jogging trails are an excellent choice because these often allow interactions with people and their dogs while enjoying a bonding experience by walking your puppy.

While German Shepherd Dogs’ temperament and personalities are as diverse as are the varied breeders across the country, socialization is beneficial and is often necessary to ensure your German shepherd Dog is balanced and well adjusted.  If you love the breed, and want to promote them, then it is your responsibility to ensure a good German shepherd Dog citizen.

Well socialized male Heidelberg's German Shepherd Dogs
Well socialized Male Heidelberg’s German Shepherd Dogs

 

Ask me a question and I will provide my opinion.

Sincerely,

KeystoneGermanShepherds

 

German Shepherd Dog (Whelping Boxes)

Exploring the vast prairie of the Washita National Wildlife Refuge
Exploring the vast prairie of the Washita National Wildlife Refuge

Hi Everyone,

Today I am going to discuss whelping boxes.  I am a strong advocate for the use of enclosed whelping boxes especially for the first time mom or for female that is the family dog and are likely spoiled.  Enclosed whelping boxes mean just that built in such a way that the mom cannot leave her puppies unless let out by her owner.

The perfect dimensions for a whelping box for German Shepherd Dogs are 48-inches by 48-inches for the base, and the height should be a minimum of 48-inches tall, but 60-inches is better and still allows for most owners to peer over to make sure all is going well with the newborn German Shepherd Dog puppies.  Simple construction with the use of ¼-inch plywood is all you need.  Adding 2×4 around the base will also serve as a rail to provide protection for puppies that crawl behind mom.  The 2×4 base provides a space for the puppies to crawl away if mom falls asleep and traps the puppy between her and the wall.

New German Shepherd Dog Puppies
New German Shepherd Dog Puppies

If you find that your German Shepherd Dog mom wants to jump up on the whelping box walls so she can look around to see what is going on outside her whelping box.  You must make her stop this before she accidentally comes down and steps on one of the puppies.  If she will not stop after telling her that is not allowed, you can drill a series of holes every six inches at the top of the whelping box and install 1 1/4-inch pvc pipes to block her from being able to jump up and see out.

The advantages of using a whelping box are that it forces mom to stay with and care for her puppies, and the enclosed whelping box keeps mom’s body heat in the box, thus keeping the puppies warm.  In addition, if needed, you can hang a drop light with a 100 watt bulb placed approximately 12-inches from the floor to keep the puppies warm.

The major disadvantage is that it is difficult to climb in the box for cleaning purposes, and someone has to let mom out every few hours to relieve herself. In addition, if mom has an upset stomach and has diarrhea, she will fowl the whelping area.  Although rare, when this may happen mom is usually careful not to fowl her puppies, which is a good thing because washing newborns is dangerous since puppies cannot self-regulate their own body temperatures.

Ask me a question and I will provide my opinion.

Sincerely,

KeystoneGermanShepherds

German Shepherd Dog (Companions)

Exploring the vast prairie of the Washita National Wildlife Refuge
Exploring the vast prairie of the Washita National Wildlife Refuge

Hi Everyone,

Today I am going to discuss companionship for your German Shepherd Dog puppy or adult. German Shepherd Dogs are gregarious, social, and pack animals.  If you or your family spend the majority of your day with your German Shepherd Dog then your puppy or adult will never feel alone, and interaction with the human family suffices for the German Shepherd Dog’s need to be a part of a pack.

However, if you and your family are like most of us and heading off for school and work at least five days a week, you may consider getting a companion dog for your German Shepherd Dog.  You do not have to spend big money to purchase another high quality German Shepherd Dog.  You could check into pound or rescue dogs.

If you consider a pound or rescue dog, you should also consider getting the opposite sex of your German Shepherd Dog.  Same sex dogs with German Shepherds Dogs may fight for dominance within the pack that includes you and your family, whereas, opposite sexes naturally assume their role in the pack without usually fighting.

In addition, you should consider getting a large dog that can withstand the rigorous and rough play of a German Shepherd Dog.  My personal favorite is a Labrador or Labrador mixed breed. If you want a smaller dog, Corgis are an excellent choice.

German Shepherd Dog Females, Kennel Mates Grooming Each Other
German Shepherd Dog Females, Kennel Mates Grooming Each Other

Ask me a question and I will provide my opinion.

Sincerely,

KeystoneGermanShepherds