To raise sound puppies we need a dam with sound character who trusts
us because we treat her like a valued member of the family. For the first three weeks
we keep her inside our house with her pups. This is very important.
During the third week, the pups begin to hear and see. They start to
recognize their littermates. We are a big family with three children. Something is
always happening at our place. The pups become familiar with all kinds of different
sounds, movements-and, most important-they are in close contact with humans from a
very early age. When they are four weeks old, we take them outside to a big kennel,
with a big sandy area. Usually the pups will stay inside the kennel with their dam
for another week, although the gate to the sandy area is always kept open. At four
weeks of age, they are not entirely sure of themselves and their surroundings. This
changes rapidly by the following week. With every passing day, they become more secure
and start little adventures outside the kennel. If something strange comes up, they
hurry back to the kennel, where they feel secure. As they get older they will become
more confident and start going outside by themselves. Pups by nature at that age are
ver nosy. This will help them to overcome their fear of certain objects. Especially
if we give them this chance in an early stage. Also, we make sure that different people
come and play with them. We let them run around on grass, sand, in our court yard on
concrete etc. No matter how cold and warm it is, they will get out every day. When
it rains they go in their kennel by themselves, also if it is too hot. Then they come
out later on in the evening. If we give the pups the chance to eliminate outside at
a very early age, their new owners will have them housebroken in no time. People who
have received a dog from us always confirm this.
After the pups receive their last feeding in the evening,
the children and I play with them for about an hour. Pups love to play right after
they eat. At times it is very hard to get the children away from them.
My 14-year-old daughter helps take care of the pups. She does this
every day after she gets off from school. She hardly cannot wait to get to them.
Getting to know the new owner
If someone is interested in a pup from our kennel we give him or her
the opportunity to visit us every week-end. This gives us a chance to get to know each
other and answer any questions that arise. These get-togethers are very important.
It will give the new owner an idea what his pups upbringing is like and it gives me
the opportunity to know more about the person to whom I might be selling a dog.
During these conversations I usually give more information about the
breed and its needs. I do not recommend any dog purchased from us to be kept solely
outside. Family contact should always be guaranteed. The German Shepherd is a very
smart dog, who learns easily but wants to be with his "pack". At times he
loves to be outside, but not always. Keeping him in a pen or chained in the backyard
is no life for a German Shepherd. Everyone should know, too, that raising a puppy is
a lot of work and takes plenty of time, patience and understanding. If it is done right,
you will have a dog who will be your companion for life.
Copyright Dagmar Anderson 2001