German shepherds grow very quickly, so they look adult at a fairly young age, so dog owners think they are in fact adults when they are still growing. The dogs are then fed incorrectly and used to full capacity, which leads to over- or malnutrition. We will guide you as a German Shepherd owner through the different phases of the dog’s early life.
Like all puppies, German Shepherd Dogs are born with closed ears and eyes. The newborn puppies are completely dependent on their mother-dog for approximately 2 weeks after birth.
The puppies begin to stretch their legs into the air lying on their backs and start crawling. They develop faster if they are constantly cared for by humans. Protect your new best friend from frightening situations at all times.
In this week, the puppies already crawl actively, with open eyes and partially opened ears. They become more independent of their mother and take their first wobbly steps. They also try to wag their tails.
In the Third Week, the cleft eyelids and the external auditory canals open completely, the visual and auditory faculties develop with the 17th or 18th day of life. At this time the puppies mostly depend on their mother for feeding. They begin to explore their surroundings and now actively perceive their siblings and the immediate surroundings including humans.
Socialization is important in this phase. The puppies communicate and play with their brothers and sisters, humans, toys. They try to find their social rank at the same time. They all get their teeth and can now be fed. During this time personality and temperament are shaped so that a puppy should not be kept alone because it will most likely result in socialization problems later on.
At this age, the puppies fearlessly explore their surroundings. All sources of danger should be kept away from the little ones. They also practice their jaws and chew on everything that comes under their eyes.
Fifth to the Eighth Week
This is the time when their fear reaction begins and in this phase, many contacts with the environment are called for. The puppies begin to learn to trust others and develop social bonds. They are probably the most important influences on their future relationships with people and pets.
Here, the german shepherd puppies begin to show their dominant behavior. They sniff each other’s noses and tails and try to fit into the hierarchy. Male puppies, in particular, try to dominate the others and test the dominant behavior by snapping for the ears and muzzle of their siblings and recording their reaction.
Seventh to the Twelfth Week
This is the perfect time to teach the puppies how to be house-trained, how to lead a line, etc. At this age, the puppies have a small attention span, so it is advisable to first arouse their attention before an exercise, possibly with a treat. It is difficult or even impossible to undo all the mistakes made during this phase. The human-dog relationship is now irrevocably shaped.
The ears begin to straighten up at this age. If they’re still limp, it’ll come a little later.
Now the young German Shepherd Dogs are going through puberty. Disciplinary issues should be taken very seriously during this time. The animals test their master for dominance. You have to set your limits for the puppy and teach him clear rules. The dogs are very sensitive in this time, even shy, so one should largely refrain from punishing or scolding the dog. Cuddles, “good boy,” treats will do the animal well. Be patient; they’re still just puppies.
In this stage, the dogs take their position in the ranking order. The ears are getting more straight. The motor skills have been developed and the dogs are ready to learn new things. One can now begin with their proper training.
At this stage the change of teeth takes place. Social maturity comes later than puberty. The dog looks for his place in the pack and strengthens his position. It is also the time to make it clear to the dog that his position in the family is the lowest.
In the meantime, the dog has grown considerably in size so that it looks like an adult dog. Check our Growth Chart for average height and average weight to see if the weight gain is in a normal range.
Female puppies reach sexual maturity and have their first heat.
Seventh – Twelfth Month
ales reach sexual maturity during this period. At this stage, they’re already lifting their leg to pee. Basic obedience training should now be finished.
Fourteenth – Sixteenth Month
The dog is now mentally mature and can hardly be changed. Positive and negative impressions and experiences now determine his further actions.
A veterinary or breeder can help you understand the puppy’s age/weight ratio to regulate the puppy’s diet and physical activity. Unhealthy, overfed or malnourished dogs are much more prone to problems such as hip and elbow dysplasia, stomach rotation, degenerative myelopathy, allergies, etc.
If you can avoid any of these complications and your German Shepherd Dog will thank you for it.