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Common German Shepherd Health Issues: What You Need to Know

German Shepherds are generally very active, happy and healthy dogs. Just like any animal, they can experience health issues from time to time, especially with age. At Ulvilden German Shepherds, we are dedicated to providing new dog owners with all the information necessary to ensure that their dogs have the healthiest and happiest experience possible. Here is some more information about health issues that can plague German Shepherds and what you can do to help.

Perianal Fistula

This is a disease that is characterized by draining openings on the skin around the anus, commonly seen in German Shepherds. This condition can make it difficult for your dog to defecate properly and cause cause irritation. Many treatment options are available for this condition—sometimes a simple dietary change is enough to counter this uncomfortable disease. If you notice that your dog is having trouble going number two, bring them to a vet as soon as possible for a professional diagnosis and treatment options.

Megaesophagus

Megaesophagus is a condition that affects your German Shepherd’s throat. Megaesophagus is characterized by a limp esophagus, one that is unable to normally pass food down to the stomach to be digested. Megaesophagus is a congenital problem in German Shepherds so signs tend to show early, such as regurgitation when being weened to a solid diet. Management of this condition is an ongoing process and may involve a number of solutions including elevated feeding or a liquid diet.

Hip Dysplasia

This is a common condition among dogs, German Shepherds included. Hip dysplasia occurs when there is a misalignment between the ball and socket of the hip joint that can cause pain and discomfort and lead to osteoarthritis. Although hip dysplasia is genetic in origin, improved breeding practices have significantly reduced the prevalence of the chronic condition in German Shepherds.

Health issues can affect even the most well maintained dogs, so it’s important to understand all the risks associated with German Shepherds before adoption. To learn more about how to help keep your German Shepherd as healthy and happy as possible, contact us today at Ulvilden German Shepherds.

Fun and Games with Your German Shepherd

Now that spring is approaching, you and your German Shepherd have the opportunity to get some exercise outside. After a long, cold winter, your German Shepherd is probably chomping at the bit to get outside and run around. Playing outside with your dig is not only important for their physical health—it can also help strengthen your relationship. Dogs are social creatures and playing games with them is a great way build friendship and trust. Games are also a great way to teach your dog commands an improve their obedience in a way that’s relaxed and entertaining. Here are a few ideas of games to try the next time you and your German Shepherd are flocking around outside.

Tug of War

Tug of war is a great way of practicing commands with your German Shepherd. The secret to this game is to always be in control. It’s important to choose a particular toy that will be the “tug of war” toy so your dog knows not to play tug of war with every toy. Pick up the toy and encourage your dog to the other end, then give a clear signal that the game has started. When you’re ready for the game to end, give a clear “drop it” command. If your German Shepherd complies, reward them with a treat or another round of tug of war.

Fetch

A classic dog game, fetch is a great way to work on your German Shepherd’s obedience and give them some exercise as well. Fetch requires very minimal effort on your end, so it’s a good game to play if you’re feeling a little tired but your dog is still raring to go. Similar to tug of war, the key to a good game of fetch is an effective “drop it” command—if your German Shepherd doesn’t respond to that command, the game will stop pretty quickly.

Spring is a great time to spend some quality moments playing outside with your German Shepherd. For more training tips and tricks, and to adopted your very own German Shepherd for your household, contact us today at Ulvilden German Shepherds.

Puppy Training Tips for Your German Shepherd

The first few months of living with a German Shepherd puppy are crucial to integrating your dog into your home. It’s important to ensure that your German Shepherd puppy is getting the training it needs during this period. German Shepherds are pack animals—in order to gain their trust, you have to position yourself as the leader of the pack through guidance and authority. Every puppy is different and there is no one-size-fits-all training method, but here are a few general puppy train tips from the canine specialists at Ulvilden German Shepherds.

Response to Positive and Negative Behaviors

One of the most important things to remember when training your German Shepherd puppy is to give the right response to positive and negative behaviors. Your German Shepherd won’t be able to tell right from wrong if you don’t give them any indication. Positive reinforcement helps to encourage good behaviour in the future. When your puppy does something good or responds to your commands or directions, let them know with a “good dog/boy/girl.” You can also implement a treat reward system if you want. Use your vocal tone to discourage negative behaviour as well.

Do’s and Don’ts of Puppy Training

DO:

  • Give a command only once. Show them – again – if they doesn’t get it right.
  • Use a normal tone of voice when you give a command. Your dog’s hearing is quite acute.
  • Be consistent in your actions and expectations.

DON’T:

  • Don’t nag your dog by repeating commands — nagging teaches your puppy to ignore you.
  • Don’t expect your dog to know what the word “no” means.
  • Don’t expect your dog to obey a command you haven’t taught him.
  • Don’t isolate your dog — German Shepherds are a social animal.

With the right care and commitment, training your German Shepherd puppy can be a fun and rewarding experience for both of you. If you’re thinking about adopting a German Shepherd puppy, contact us at Ulvilden German Shepherds and bring a new member of the family home today.

The Benefits of Owning a German Shepherd

German shepherds are beautiful dogs that have been human’s best friend for hundreds of years. These majestic canines are very graceful and a pleasure to be around. Beyond the obvious joy a dog can bring to a household, there are several benefits of choosing a German shepherd.

They are guardians of the home: German shepherds are very loyal dogs and will defend their home. These powerful dogs make great watchdogs and will protect all the members of the family.

They will bring you lots of love: These large dogs have lots of love to offer and make great snuggle buddies too. If you are looking for a caring canine, look no further than a German shepherd. These dogs love to be around family and are great with kids.

Highly intelligent and easy to work with: German shepherds are one of the smartest dog breeds on earth. These dogs will learn very quickly and they are super easy to work with.

They socialize well: If properly trained, German shepherds will socialize well with other members of the family including other pets. But always remember to start socialization training early for maximum benefit.

They are relatively easy to care for: German shepherds are very easy to take care for and require minimal bathing. While these dogs require regular brushing due to their long hair, they only need a bath once every few weeks.

They make great exercise partners: These dogs are very active and require a lot of exercise. If you love to work out and go for long runs, a German shepherd would make the perfect exercise partner!

For more information about our German shepherd puppies, contact us today!

Keeping your German shepherd Active in winter

German shepherds need lots of exercise and it’s important to pay just as much attention to physical activity when the cold weather season begins. Aside from their daily walks, these dogs need lots of play.  Winter makes many want to hide away but finding fun ways to get your German shepherd’s exercise in will give you an incentive to get outside and stay active. Here are some tips to keep your German shepherd active as it gets colder outside.

Create Challenges

Hide a toy like a ball that can let you put treats inside it somewhere in your yard. Challenge your dog’s sense of smell by letting them find it. You can also set up a little obstacle course to get them running and jumping out in the snow! Alternatively, if you do not have a yard, you can do this at the local dog park.

Winter Hikes

Take your dog up to a trail one weekend on a milder day. Your dog will appreciate the fresh cool air and freedom to run around – and it’ll be relaxing for you too! With some hot chocolate, friends or a loved one, some mitts and a Frisbee – you’ll be set for an active and fun day together with your German shepherd.

Indoor activities

For those days when it’s tougher to get outside, practice an indoor activity you can do together.  Work on commands like targeting – by instructing your dog to touch their nose to the back of your hand. This type of exercise will get them moving around and will stimulate their sense of coordination. It’s also a great way to help your dog learn to focus and you can use it as a distraction technique when your German shepherd is barking or about to do something “bad”!

Are you thinking about adopting a German shepherd? Read our FAQs to learn more about these dogs and get in touch with us for any further questions or inquiries.

Signs of Dominance with your German shepherd

Like many dogs, dominance issues can be present in a German shepherd’s (GS) innate qualities. As a breed, they are very territorial and operate in packs. In a family of humans, their instincts tell them to take the position of being the alpha of the pack. However, this doesn’t happen alone. German shepherds are highly responsive to approval – so if you, the owner is actively letting them take the lead by letting them do as they please, the problem will continue to grow into a dominance issue.

Dominance issues can also escalate into even larger problems as your puppy grows up. Your adult GS will then continually override your authority, situations of aggression can occur and in some cases, they can even begin to bite. Fear not, today we’ll discuss how to control this behaviour from a young age and how to set your GS up with the proper training so they follow your commands, rules and procedures.

Understanding the signs

If your dog begins to do any of the things listed below without your permission or seems to make decisions regarding any of the following, these can be seen as potential signs of dominance.

  • Barking and whining when you don’t offer food
  • Jumping and charging at family members and new guests
  • Stubbornness or ignoring commands
  • Growling unnecessarily
  • Showing signs of aggressions while you’re away (destroying things as an example)
  • Sleeping on your bed or other furniture (against your rules)
  • Putting paws on you
  • Difficulty walking on the leash (pulling, refusing to put it on etc.)

Steps to take

Dominance issues can start young so it’s highly important that your puppy has dominance training very early on. It’s important to pay attention to these details to ensure that you react properly to their aggression and communicate to your German shepherd that their behaviour is not okay with you.

Tips:

  • Show your dog that you’re not scared. Stand your ground and be authoritative.

Do this by: Using verbal commands like “No”, “Stop”, “Stay” or distract them from bad behaviour by making them obey another command such as “Sit”.

Another form of distraction is through a “put down” – an action where you put them onto their back or their side until they are calm and stop exhibiting aggressive behaviour. This is a submissive position and will communicate to your dog that their actions are not going to cut it.

  • Establish dominance

Do this by: Pulling back on the leash when they try to pull you.

Not react to their aggression with your own aggression – especially if it’s after-the-fact. Your dog will not understand what you are trying to communicate. Stay sharp and authoritative instead with your verbal commands as-in-when things happen.

If your dog isn’t following commands – be patient and ensure they follow it (no matter how long it takes)

German shepherds make wonderful companions and obedient dogs with the right training, nurturing and love. Interested in learning more about adopting a German shepherd? Get in touch with us today to learn more and to get the process started!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three Common Health Issues German Shepherds Face

German shepherds are wonderful companions to have in the family. It’s important to be aware of any health conditions a certain breed can face in order to take the right steps to ensure their health and safety. Knowing the most common health conditions that can affect German shepherds will allow you to detect the signs early in the light that your dog displays difficulties. Catching this early can prevent illness and sometimes even save their lives.

Sensitive digestive systems

German shepherds often face digestive problems like chronic diarrhea due to food intolerances, colitis (a type of inflammatory bowel disease), issues with their pancreas and hemorrhagic gastroenteritis. If symptoms of any of these are present you may want to reconsider the type of food you are feeding them.

German shepherds are also at a higher-than-normal risk for gastrointestinal syndrome bloat – a disease in dogs in which the animal’s stomach dilates and then rotates, or twists, around its short axis which cuts of blood flow. This can cause a number of situations that require emergency care.

What you can do: Feed your dog good food, exercise them often and always be aware of symptoms like restlessness and pacing, drooling, pale gums, signs of pain, lip licking and vomiting motions that don’t present any vomit.

Hip and Elbow Dysplasia

German shepherds suffer from the high rates of hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia – when the head of the bone doesn’t fit properly into the hip socket or elbow socket. Don’t fret; only 25%-30% of these cases are genetic which means you can play a large role in the outcome of your German shepherd’s health. Over-exercising or pushing them to do more than they can, especially while they’re young, can speed up the process of this disease. It’s important to understand how to exercise your German shepherd from the time its a puppy!

What you can do: have their hips checked after the age of two by an orthopedic specialist. This condition cannot be seen with the naked eye and by their movements. You will need to have an x-ray done to know how to proceed.

Heart Problems

Many large breeds like German shepherds can suffer from a variety of heart problems like valve diseases, heart murmurs or enlarged hearts.

What you can do: make sure your German shepherd has their heart checked annually to ensure their heart has no abnormalities.

Watching for the signs of these health conditions can be critical to your German shepherd’s health and safety. Want to learn more about this breed? Read our FAQ and check out the testimonials of new German shepherd owners!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Importance of Controlling the Weight of Your German Shepherd

German shepherds can grow to be quite big, but that doesn’t mean your dog’s eating habits can’t become a problem. Just like humans, obesity in German shepherds can cause a number of serious health risks that can jeopardize their longevity and wellbeing. Here is some more information about German shepherd obesity and how you can help your dog maintain a healthy weight.

How Do I Know if My Dog is Overweight?

The recommended weight for adult German shepherds is 30 to 40 kilograms for males and 22 to 23 kilograms for females. A dog is considered obese if it weighs more than 15% above the recommended weight. If your dog has over 20% body fat, it is also considered overweight. This depends on the diet and exercise routine of the particular dog—there are many German shepherds who weigh well above the recommended range and are still perfectly healthy. Check with your veterinarian to have the health of your German shepherd professionally assessed.

The Health Risks of Obesity

Obesity presents many health risks to your German shepherd, including the following:

  • Diabetes
  • Heat problems
  • Trouble breathing
  • Arthritis and joint pain
  • Infertility

How Can I Help Control My German Shepherd’s Weight?

There are many simple lifestyle changes you can make that will significantly improve the health and weight of your German shepherd. Maintain the weight of your German shepherd by calculating their amount of recommended calories per day based on their size and try not to feed them more than that amount. Make sure to include small snacks and treats in this calculation as well. Giving your German shepherd more exercise is another great way to help them shed some extra pounds. For older dogs or dogs with mobility issues such as arthritis, even an extra small walk a day can help improve their health.

Obesity is not just a human issue—it can also severely impact the quality of life for your German shepherd. For more information about caring for your German shepherd, contact us today at Ulvilden German Shepherds.

 

How to Ensure Your Children Get Along With Your New German Shepherd

A German shepherd is a great companion and guardian for every family. As with any new dog, it’s important to prepare your children for how to welcome your German shepherd into your home. Without proper guidance, your child may interact with your German shepherd in a way that hinders its training and development. Here are some tips for preparing your children for a German shepherd.

Reduce Roughhousing

German Shepherds make such great family dogs because of their playful energy. They are highly social dogs that enjoy plenty of exercise and companionship. As a result, German shepherds make perfect playmates for young children. However, German shepherds can get easily excited and may not realize their own strength, especially as puppies. For this reason, it’s important to supervise your child when they play with a German shepherd so you can step in if things get too rough. Let your child know beforehand not to tease or roughhouse too much with your German shepherd, as it could cause them to become agitated.

Simple Obedience

German Shepherds are one of the most loyal breeds of dog. If your child fosters a healthy relationship with your German shepherd, it is likely to be obedient and responsive to your child. German Shepherds can pick up simple commands very easily. Teaching your child some basic commands and letting them help you to instruct the dog is a great way to create a bond between your child and German shepherd. If your dog learns how to obey simple commands from your child early on, they’ll develop a strong relationship that will last a lifetime.

German shepherds make great family dogs. With the right preparation and supervision, your children and your dog can create memories that will last a lifetime. For more information and advice about how to care for your German shepherd or to adopt a German shepherd for your family, contact us at Ulvilden German Shepherds today.

The Ultimate German Shepherd Checklist

So you are looking into getting a puppy for your family and have decided to get one of the most popular, loving, and protective breeds. Having a German shepherd is very rewarding, but they are a big responsibility. Your new best friend will need a lot attention, exercise, love, and grooming, but everything you get back will be worth it.

Here are a few things to know before you get a German shepherd. Make sure to cross every item on this checklist off before getting your dog.

Is your breeder a good one?

The popularity of German shepherds means that there are a lot of breeders. This in turn means there are a lot of bad breeders. You need to make sure that the people you’re getting your dog from are skilled and dedicated to the wellbeing of animal, and not just in it for the money. A few things to look for are:

  • A breeder that breeds with the puppy in mind
  • A breeder that looks out for the health of the litter
  • A breeder that stands behind their puppies
  • A breeder that breeds on a limited basis

You can learn more about what makes a great breeder by contacting us and talking to us about why we do what we do.

Do you have the time and energy?

Every dog needs exercise, and German shepherds particularly so. We are talking about a few hours per day. That doesn’t mean that you have to go on a two hour jog in the morning with them, but it does mean you have to dedicate a lot of time to getting proper exercise for your pup. It could be a combination of time at the park, on a jog, in your own yard, or even fighting over a rope in the basement for a few minutes. It’s up to you to combine different kinds of exercise to make sure your pup stays healthy.

Do you have a job for them?

Ever wonder why German Shepherds are popular police dogs? It’s because they love helping their human companions out! Your dog will thrive if given a task to do. Some people let them carry things on walks with them, and others give them little chores around the house like closing a door or picking up toys. They love it!

Do you have the space?

Take a quick look around. Does your space look like it could handle a dog? Another major reason that Shepherds make great family dogs is because they flourish in bigger homes with yards.

As a reputable breeder, it is our responsibility to find the right matches for our pups. We want to make sure that you are getting the right puppy, and that the puppy is going to the right situation. So review our German shepherd checklist and don’t hesitate to contact us today!