German shepherds dogs (GSD) can be great pets. However, they are very athletic, intelligent, and protective. You do need to make sure you channel those talents in the right way when your GSD is a pup. Proper puppy rearing will help ensure your dog does not become aggressive or unsafe. So, how do you raise a GSD puppy well? Here are a few tips.
Offer chew toys when they get mouthy.
Puppies go through a mouthy stage during which they seem to want to chew everything in sight. This stage can be particularly intense in GSD puppies. It's important, however, that you do not allow your GSD puppy to chew on your hands or other parts of your body. It may not hurt now, but it will when they get a little bigger. If your puppy does attempt to chew on you, offer them a toy instead. Experiment with a few different types of toys to see which ones they like best.
Use treats for training.
Giving your puppy a lot of treats is not spoiling them as long as those treats serve a purpose. They should all be rewards for specific behaviors. Giving your puppy a reward for good behavior is called positive reinforcement training. It works well for most dogs, but especially for GSD puppies. It won't take your GSD pup long to realize that when they go potty outside, sit, lay down, and follow other commands, they get a treat. You never want to use negative reinforcement, or punishment, to train a GSD puppy. This can cause the puppy to retaliate with aggression, which is not at all what you want.
Socialize them early and often.
GSD puppies have a tendency to bond with their families and other dogs in the home, but they have a natural aversion towards strangers and strange dogs. Thankfully, you can minimize this aversion if you socialize them early and often. As long as they've had their puppy shots and the vet says it's okay, you can start taking them to puppy classes, dog parks, and happy hours where they'll meet other puppies and their handlers. Let your puppy spend time interacting with these other people and dogs, and they'll get used to it.
Bringing home a GSD puppy from a breeder—such as Sandy Boy Shepherds—will be such an exciting experience! Just make sure you follow it up with plenty of care and by following the tips above. Your pup will grow into a lovely dog.