When a new German Shepherd puppy is about to enter your life, it makes sense to prepare for the challenge. Although puppies are adorable and endearing, they can also be a significant pain if you fail to train them properly.
As you make your preparations, you will probably find yourself asking what items you might need to buy. Let’s go over some essentials to include on your German Shepherd puppy checklist.
For German Shepherd puppies, having an appropriate chew toy is crucial. This might seem like a non-essential thing because toys are unnecessary for survival. But, they are essential for the mental well-being of both yourself and your dog.
Like children, puppies get bored quickly. When they start looking for something to do, things like curtains, shoes, and socks become very appealing, so you have to give them something else to chew on to divert their attention. Large-breed dogs, even puppies, can do some severe damage with their teeth.
We recommend that you stick with tough chew toys that are soft and simple. Anything with small pieces will present a choking hazard, and a puppy can choke to death more quickly than an adult. Thus, you must be careful when choosing toys. Stick with simple things like pull ropes, nylon chew rings, and small rawhides.
Some options to consider:
- Nylabone Teething Pacifier Puppy Chew Toy: This puppy pacifier uses raised nubs that stimulate gums and teeth to soothe teething pain. This toy is designed for puppies up to 25 pounds.
- KONG Puppy Goodie Bone Dog Toy: Fill with puppy snacks for an interactive game that will keep your puppy entertained while stimulating his brain. The soft rubber material will help soothe your puppy’s gums.
- Petstages Crunch A Chew Tough Dog Chew Toy: Crunchcore toys appeal to dogs that love crunching on water bottles, but get frustrated when the bottle collapses after chewing. The familiar and irresistible crunch sound will keep your puppy engaged.
- Nylabone Teething Rings Puppy Chew Toy: This sturdy toy helps pet parents build bonds with their puppies by playing a gentle game of tug-of-war. It’s also a safe chew toy that soothes teething pain and helps keep puppy breath smelling fresh.
- KONG Puppy Binkie: This pacifier-inspired toy made of a natural rubber material helps promote proper chewing behavior and soothe sore gums. Stuff the toy with treats, yogurt, peanut butter, or kibble to stimulate your puppy’s brain and keep him occupied.
Water bowl with non-skid mat
German shepherd puppies often love to jump in their water bowl and go swimming. Of course, you can’t blame them for that, but it dirties the water for all the other dogs. Even if you have just one dog, the puppy will probably slop water all over the place as they come out.
This annoying habit will tend to go away on its own, right about the time your dog becomes too big for the water bowl. Until then, we would recommend using a heavy metal water bowl and a non-skid mat. By putting the mat underneath, you make it much harder to move the water bowl.
The right bed
Your dog’s bed is like a little den. As such, you want your dog to feel safe and comfortable. A stressed dog is much more likely to become aggressive, so you need to get something that they like. Unfortunately, this will often require a little bit of trial and error.
There are many kinds of dog beds on the market, and all of them are a little bit different. Because each dog has individual preferences, you might have to return several of them before you find the right one. Make sure you always keep your receipt when buying a dog bed to ensure that you don’t waste your money.
We would recommend that you look for several things in a good puppy bed. For one thing, you want one with thick padding. You also want one that is enclosed, as this provides a feeling of refuge and safety. You should also make sure to get one with a waterproof liner, as your puppy will wet the bed at some point. All puppies do it to one extent or another, so you might as well be prepared for that.
Because all puppies require some degree of potty training, you will be in for some rather disgusting cleanup jobs. It’s vital at this stage to understand that your puppy is limited in their comprehension skills. They have not yet learned what is expected of them, and you can’t expect them to understand right away. That’s why housebreaking a dog requires plenty of patience and diligent monitoring.
One of the best ways to housebreak a dog is to use a method known as crate training. The idea is straightforward: You keep your puppy in a crate or cage for most of the day, letting them out every couple hours to use the bathroom. Most dog owners don’t like doing this because it makes them feel as if they are a jailer rather than a pet owner. However, it is the most effective way of housebreaking dogs who have failed to comprehend other methods.
Crate options include a hard-sided plastic crate, a collapsible crate, or a soft crate.
Although you don’t need a large crate/cage for your German Shepherd puppy, it will grow up to be a large dog. Therefore, you might as well buy a full-size crate now. If you buy a smaller one, it will only be useful for six months to a year, after which you will have to buy a larger one anyway. You also need to make sure there is a waterproof tray in the bottom of the crate because, again, puppies will certainly urinate in there.
The best kind of cage is one with an elevated floor. This allows urine and fecal matter to fall through gaps in the floor, being caught by a tray below. However, because of the airspace between them, the dog can still use a blanket or cushion without allowing it to rest in filth. If you intend to go camping with German Shepherds, a portable crate will be worth its weight in gold. Camping with German Shepherds will require something that can be folded up and carried, so bear that in mind as well.
Collar and leash
Last but not least, we should also mention the humble collar. This is an instance where you have to buy something intended for puppies. This item needs to fit the dog’s neck, so those meant for adult dogs will not do. Naturally, a collar won’t be much use without a leash.
There isn’t much to say about this, except that you need to look closely at the thickness of the collar and leash. This, combined with the materials of which they are made, will tell you just how durable a collar or leash might be. You don’t need to go with heavy-duty items for puppies since they will out grow them, so save some money by going with the less durable options.
There are all kinds of dog-related products on the market, and this article does not have the space to cover all of them. However, this short German shepherd puppy checklist should help you to get started as you work with this little creature to establish a healthy relationship.
Andrew Garf is editor-in-chief at TrainYourGSD.com. You’ll often find him playing with his furry friends, Max and Roxie. He loves to write about all things dog and loves to share his knowledge!