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Puppy Training

(scroll down for Crate Training Manual)

A few tips from us...making the first days, first weeks an easy transition…

    Your puppy has been bred for superior intelligence and a loyal, cooperative disposition.  The combination of good genetics, loving care, and proper correction and training results in a dog that is capable of going far beyond the "family pet.”

        I hope that you will enjoy your new puppy, and that he/she will soon feel a part of your family.  Have patience, as it may take him several days to adjust to his new surroundings.  We would like to offer a few suggestions that we feel will hasten this adjustment:        

Your puppy is now eating solid food.  There is no need to grind food, or to add milk , water, or soft dog food.  Your dog’s breath, and dental health will be good throughout its life if you do not feed soft dog food.  Your puppy has been fed on a schedule. He/she has been fed 3 times a day starting around 6:30 am, 12:00 noon, and also around 5:00pm. Puppy will have to potty within 5-30 minutes from feeding time... If you work during the day, feed once in a.m., allowing puppy to potty before you leave, and once when arriving home for the same reason.  It is recommended to have someone trustworthy stop in around the noon time frame to let puppy out for a potty break and to stretch his legs and feed for the first few weeks.   You may go to 2 feedings a day in a few weeks after taking puppy home, and the noontime feeding can be dropped.   Directions on the dog food bag will instruct you to feed 2-3 cups of food daily (divided over 2-3 feedings). 

Some puppy foods that we recommend are:

Life's Abundance Large Breed Puppy Food.... I have used this food and it works well for the puppies.......http://lifesabundance.com/shadowbrookshepherds

Fromm Heartland Gold Large Breed Puppy Food... I really like the Fromm Family food products....http://www.petflow.com or...http://frommfamily.com/products/product-guide/

Natural Balance LID Dog Food... They have several formulas and this can be purchases in most pet food stores. This food can be fed to adults as well. http://www.chewy.com also carries this.

Royal Canin Large Breed Puppy Food - Also usually available in pet food stores like Petco. http://www.chewy.com

*** Please remember that not all foods may work for your dog. Sometimes it is a trial and error thing. Some dogs can be allergic to chicken or the grains etc. If your dog/puppy is having issues, always stay in touch with your veterinarian. I recommend trying small amounts until you know how it will work for your dog/puppy.

Some Adult foods that we recomment are:

Natural Balance LID Dog Food- Available at most pet food stores. Also available through... http://www.chewy.com

Fromm Family Dog Foods - https://frommfamily.com/products/product-guide/

Annamaet Dog food - Available at limited pet food stores. Please check their website to find locations near you....http://www.annamaet.com or http://www.chewy.com

Life's Abundance Large Breed Dog Food......http://lifesabundance.com/shadowbrookshepherds

Nature's Recipe - Available at most Petco or PetSmart stores.

Innova - Available at most Petco or PetSmart stores.

When choosing a quality food, look at the ingredients. The first ingredient should be meat, not meat by-products, but meat. There is a website that can help you evaluate pet foods. That website is:


If you do decide to feed a different food than what puppy is used to eating, we recommend that you switch gradually, mixing the new with the old for about a week, so the change in food doesn't upset puppy's stomach, and cause a bout of "the runs".      Sometimes, a bout with “the runs” will occur after taking puppy home.  This can be due to stress of new surroundings, changing foods, and new water.  If puppy continues to eat and drink normally, don’t worry, your problem should solve itself in a few days.  Feed boiled hamburger or chicken and white rice for a day or two, or untill the diarrhea stops, along with bottled water. (Bring a gallon jug for us to fill with our water to take with you) Feed yogurt each day for 4 weeks. Usually a teaspoon mixed in puppy's food is sufficient.   If the diarrhea continues for more than two days, or puppy is not drinking or eating and is lethargic, then poisoning, Giardia, or Coccidia (a bacteria picked up by pups) could be the cause...take the pup to your vet!  Puppies stool may be soft, but it is when it is WATERY that there is concern.  Sometimes stress of traveling can trigger a bout with diarrhea for a couple days.   Be sure pup gets plenty of rest, too, to combat stress.   Take a stool sample to your vet within the first week of pup being home, although your pup has been wormed at least 2 times, pups can re-infest themselves (they are not exactly careful about where they step!) , so you may need more wormer to decrease the symptoms.

    Remember, a fat dog is not a healthy dog, a lighter dog is also easier on the frame of the dog.  Allow your vet to evaluate your dogs weight once a year.  Do not feed your dog cooked bones, as they can splinter and get lodged in the colon.  Limit puppy’s water intake during house training.  It is recommended to take the water up around 6:00pm, during house-training. But do not let puppy dehydrate.

      Your puppy will naturally need to chew while loosing baby teeth, but supply a Nylabone “pooch pacifier” that puppy can chew on and not “chew APART”. Rawhides only teach dogs to chew things apart.  This will help protect your favorite pair of shoes!  We recommend having plenty of soft chew toys around. Your puppy is teething and exploring and everything will go in his/her mouth... If your puppy “play bites”, this is normal, as this is how a litter of puppies play with each other.  It sounds weird, but to avoid lots of “hitting” on the nose or yelling, when your pup bites down on you or your child’s finger, take a finger with no nail, and stick it far down his throat,  it is humane, yet uncomfortable enough  that puppy will think twice next time! Do this immediately when the puppy is biting.... Timing is everything. Or, pinch the puppy’s lip.  I also recommend a firm NO BITE!! command. Your puppy will quickly learn to discern your tone of voice. You don't have to scream at puppy, just use a firm voice. (They are usually very tender-hearted at this stage also....) Make sure the whole family is consistent with all training methods, otherwise puppy will learn to respect only the one who carries through with discipline!


Photos courtesy of Dorothy and Ray.

       I could write a book on housebreaking alone...but a few suggestions that we might make are:   Take puppy out first thing in morning, after each meal, after nap time, after playing, and last thing before bedtime.  Praise him highly when he goes outside, and scold him with a firm “no” when he has an accident in the house.  When he eliminates outside, mark the spot, and each time, take him to that same spot, he will soon learn to eliminate whenever taken out and he smells the familiar smell ( you can also train them to go in the same area of your yard this way!)  Sometimes during play, puppy will have to pee about every 10 to 15 minutes. Don't depair, as after a few weeks puppy will grow and so will his/her bladder. After he has gone outside, let him have a little more freedom of the house, or a confined area such as a kitchen.  A dog crate, or kennel will come in handy when you are away or too busy to watch puppy.  The puppy will usually be clean and will not want to dirty his crate if the crate is small enough that he cannot eliminate in one end and sleep in the other.   If you can concentrate on the house-training the first few weeks you will not encounter many problems thereafter.

Baby gates are sooooo handy.....

    Do not play rough with your puppy!  Don’t let the puppy develop bad habits such as jumping up on you, biting at clothing, etc.  You must remember that your dog will weigh from 65-95 pounds at maturity.  Some of the bad habits that he develops as a small puppy will certainly not be desirable when he grows older.  Don’t let him get by with anything as a puppy that you won’t want him to do when he is older and  much larger!


      Although your puppy has been wormed, we suggest you take a sample of his stool to your vet on your first vet visit.  Your puppy has had at least its first vaccine as well.  The enclosed health record will inform you when to have the puppy’s next shot.  Also, a rabies vaccine should be given at 4 to 6 mos old.     Runny stool can be common the first couple days, due to change of surroundings, but be sure to call your vet if this persists.  If  puppy is eating fine, drinking plenty of water, and acting alert and playful, there should be no reason for alarm.


Uh, oh..... No chewing on shoes!!

That's better........

      The first couple of nights are often the most difficult. You may place a hot water bottle filled with warm water, wrapped in a towel, in puppy’s crate to simulate another pup.  Also, if you have played with puppy a lot and held him the first day, take off the shirt you have worn and place in puppy’s crate.  Familiar smells always comfort a canine.  A ticking alarm clock (heart rhythm), or a clock radio (voice) by crate can also be soothing.  Otherwise, hang in there, it won’t be long before your pup will be sleeping through the night on its own.  If all else fails...turn on a loud fan in YOUR room to drown out the puppy cries so YOU can get some sleep (ha, ha, ha) Once you have put puppy in the crate for the night, do not let him out until he is quiet. They learn very quickly that if they cry and throw a temper tantrum, you will come and let them out.....


  Katey, sit..... Good sit.....                               Katey enjoying her treat.....


Katey Stay..... Good Stay...                            Katey down...... Good down...

    Of course, your pup will have been wormed and have received its first vaccine when you pick him up.  The next vaccine will be due a couple of weeks from the date of pick up.  We recommend that you take your pup to your vet within the first week after receiving him just for a “well puppy check-up” (for your peace of mind, and for your own protection), and to make an appointment for his next vaccine.  Also take a stool sample to your vet during this first visit to double-check that puppy is all clear of parasites.  Even though we worm the pup, sometimes puppies can re-infest themselves (they are not picky about where they step and what they eat sometimes!) so we have you double-check once puppy arrives at your home and is separated from the rest of the litter.

Common questions asked by people before they pick up their puppy:

·          Leash/Collar?  Ask any pet store for an “adjustable collar for a German Shepherd  puppy”, and leash. (pup will be between 10-15 lbs at 7 wks of age) I usually tell people to get the first collar at the Dollar Stores, or Walmart. They usually don't use the first one very long before it's too small. I recommend the nylon leashes that are not retractable. The retractable leashes always have a little bit of pressure on them and you want puppy to get used to the leash without pressure. It won't be long and puppy will be happy to have his leash on. I also recommend having a long cotton or nylon leash for when you are home and taking puppy outside to play. They can get a long ways away in a very short time and until you are really confident they will come back to you every time when you call them the long leash comes in handy. You can keep them away from the busy street, or the neighbor's yard, by stepping on that longer leash before there is a problem.

·          Crate?  Many people only wish to invest in one crate and I recommend a large crate. You can make it smaller for puppy with a cardboard box for the first few weeks. The idea is to have a place for puppy to sleep comfortable, but not enough room to sleep in one corner and eliminate in the other. I also recommend the more enclosed crates as puppy will feel more secure in these. (they are more like a den would be.)


An example of the crate being handy when you are not home......

Lobo had fun with the papers...... uh oh!!!!

·          We appreciate cash on the balance due on your pup, or money order/ certified cashier’s check.

·          Bowls of Stainless Steel are best. You may also want a Puppy/Baby gate.

·          Supplements? Due to variation/quality of foods, and that there is not a vaccine available for EVERY canine illness, we recommend a supplement which is only available through breeders like  Shadowbrook Shepherds.  We recommend the NuVet Plus and the NuJoint Plus. The NuVet Plus is an immune system builder and has a ton of good nutrients. The NuJoint Plus is made with all natural ingredients and is an excellent joint supplement. This supplement is important for bone and joint development. You will want to have this supplement on hand before you arrive to pick up your puppy so there is no break in the puppy’s feeding/supplement routine.  You can order these supplements online at: https://www.nuvet.com/31825


Some books we recommend:

****The Art of Raising a Puppy, by the Monks of New Skete

**** How to Be Your Dogs Best Friend, by the Monks of New Skete

 ****The Canine Good Citizen, Every dog can be one, by Jack and Wendy Volhard

Why Supervising Dogs and Kids Doesn’t Work

by Robin Bennett

It’s sound advice given frequently: Supervise your dogs and kids while they are together. Breeders warn parents, “Don’t leave the dog alone with children, no matter how friendly the breed.” Veterinarians advise, “Never leave a dog and a child in the same room together.” Dog trainers explain, “All dogs can bite so supervise your dog when you have children over.” Everyone knows the drill. So why doesn’t it work? Why are there an estimated 800,000 Americans seeking medical attention for dog bites each year, with over half of these injuries to children ages 5-9? Note the good intention of the kids. Note the closed mouth and half-moon eye of the dog. Intervene! Note the good intentions of the kids. Note the closed mouth and half-moon eye of the dog. Intervene. The bites are not a result of negligent parents leaving Fido to care for the baby while mom does household chores, oblivious to the needs of her children. In fact, I’ve consulted on hundreds of dog bite cases and 95% of the time the parent was standing within 3 feet of the child watching both child and dog when the child was bitten. Parents are supervising. The problem is not lack of supervision. The problem is no one has taught parents what they should be watching. Parents generally have not received any education on what constitutes good dog body language and what constitutes an emergency between the dog and the child. Parents generally have no understanding of the predictable series of canine body cues that would indicate a dog might bite. And complicating matters further, most parents get confused by the good intentions of the child and fail to see when a dog is exhibiting signs of stress. The good new is all of this is easy to learn! We can all get better at this. Here is a simple list to help you improve your supervision skills:

Watch for loose canine body language. Good dog body language is loose, relaxed, and wiggly. Look for curves in your dog’s body when he is around a child. Stiffening and freezing in a dog are not good. If you see your dog tighten his body, or if he moves from panting to holding his breath (he stops panting), you should intervene. These are early signs that your dog is not comfortable.

Watch for inappropriate human behavior. Intervene if your child climbs on or attempts to ride your dog. Intervene if your child pulls the ears, yanks the tail, lifts the jowls or otherwise pokes and prods the dog. Don’t marvel that your dog has the patience of Job if he is willing to tolerate these antics. And please don’t videotape it for YouTube! Be thankful your dog has good bite inhibition and intervene before it’s too late.

Watch for these three really easy to see stress signals in your dog. All of them indicate you should intervene and separate the child and dog:

Yawning outside the context of waking up

Half-moon eye – this means you can see the whites on the outer edges of your dog’s eyes. Lip licking outside the context of eating food

Watch for avoidance behaviors. If your dog moves away from a child, intervene to prevent the child from following the dog. A dog that chooses to move away is making a great choice. He’s saying, “I don’t really want to be bothered, so I’ll go away.”

However, when you fail to support his great choice and allow your child to continue to follow him, it’s likely the dog’s next choice will be, “Since I can’t get away, I’ll growl or snap at this kid to get the child to move away.” Please don’t cause your dog to make that choice. Listen for growling. I can’t believe how many times I’ve heard parents say, “Oh, he growled all the time but we never thought he would bite.” Dog behavior, including aggression, is on a continuum. For dogs, growling is an early warning sign of aggression. Heed it. If growling doesn’t work, the dog may escalate to snapping or biting. Growling is a clue that you should intervene between the dog and the child. To pet owners, particularly those who also have children, thank you for supervising your dog! As a dog trainer and mother of two, I know that juggling kids and dogs is no easy feat. It takes patience, understanding, and a great deal of supervision. I hope these tips will help you get better at supervising.

If you want more information about this topic, a great resource is Colleen Pelar’s book Living With Kids and Dogs Without Losing Your Mind.


It is important to not let puppy drive until 16 weeks of age.......and then only with supervision!!

however, they usually like riding......

Photo courtesy of Ray and Dorothy.


Photos courtesy of Ray and Dorothy.

As you probably already guessed, all young dogs like speedy cars........

  Crate Training Manual

“the best way to house-break”

By Liz Palika

             Adding a puppy to the household can be a wonderful experience, but the relationship can sour before it even begins if the puppy is ruining carpets and chewing up furniture.  There is, however, a training  tool that  will enable you to train your new companion and avoid disaster—–a crate!

            Two types of crates are available.  The first type is often made of heavy molded plastic or fiberglass and is used by airlines to transport animals.  Plastic  crates usually come in two parts, top and bottom, and are easy to disassemble and clean.  Wire crates, which provide better ventilation, are also available , but they do not provide the privacy and seclusion puppies need when they retreat to their crates for naps.  However, a cover placed over a wire crate works if  privacy is needed over circulation. Do not keep a pup’s collar on when placing him in a wire crate, it can catch on the wires when they jump around  and there is a danger of strangulation.

            Its important that you , the new owner, understand that the crate is not a cage or jail.  A crate is your puppy’s own place—it provides them their natural “den” or bed, a place to hide special toys or bones and a refuge from times of stress.

            Puppies like to sleep in small, close places.  That’s why they curl up under the bed or under a chair, or crawl under the back porch.  A crate allows you to use this instinct as a training tool.  Begin by choosing a crate size to suit your dog.  A large crate to fit your full-size dog is fine if you don’t want a small crate and then another later, but section it off  (with boxes or something) to a space that fits your pup enough for it to stand up, stretch, turn around, and lie down comfortable.  The idea is you don’t want the pup to sleep in one end and have room to relieve itself in the other...the purpose behind using this crate is to house-train the pup utilizing his instinct to keep his bed clean.  He may have one or two accidents, but that will be all!

            Introducing the Crate

Introduce your pup to the crate by tossing a treat inside while the pup is watching.  Say, “(Name), crate!”  and urge the puppy inside.  Let the pup grab the treat and come back out.  Repeat the action a couple of times; later place the puppy’s dinner inside the crate.  Let the puppy eat with the door open, coming and going as it pleases.

            When the pup is comfortable going in and out, toss a treat inside the crate, close the door after the pup goes inside.  Wait a couple minutes, then open the door.  Gradually increase time until the puppy is comfortable with the door being closed.

            If your pup throws a temper tantrum when you close the door, do not let the pup out until it is quiet.  If you let the pup out  when it screams, it will have learned temper tantrums work.  Instead, tell the pup, “NO!  Quiet!”  in a sharp tone of voice.  

            Put the crate in your bedroom at night so the pup can feel your presence and be reassured that you are near.  It is eight hours that the pup can be near you even though you are sleeping.  If the pup is restless, you will be able to hear it and take it outside.  If the pup decides it wants to play, just reach over, tap the crate and say, “No!  Quiet!”

            During the day, place the crate near people, in the family room or kitchen.  Let your pup see and hear the normal sights and sounds of the household.

            When house training a pup, set up a schedule for the pup’s meals, playtime, crate time, trips outside, and follow it closely.  The pup should be taken out to eliminate after waking, after eating, and after playing and about every 3 hours in between.

            If you are a working dog owner, don’t plan on leaving the pup alone in its crate from 9-6 p.m..  That is entirely too long for the pup to be crated.  Confine the pup with its crate to an easy-to-clean area (kitchen/bathroom/laundry room) or hire a neighbor to come play with the pup and take it outside.

            If you are at home while housebreaking, feed pup 3 times a day knowing that potty time will be predictable right after, or within 5 minutes of eating/drinking.   If you work, feed pup in the morning, allowing potty time before you leave, and when you return from work.

            Preventing Problems 

            Puppies don’t intentionally get into trouble:  its just that our belongings are so alluring, at least in a pups eyes.  After all, a couch cushion that has been slightly chewed is a lot of fun when its shaken and the stuffing flies out!  Leather shoes and rawhide chews are very similar to many pups!

            Many of the destructive things pups do can be prevented by using a crate...they cannot destroy $100 shoes if crated when not supervised.  By preventing these problems, you will establish good habits.  The pup learns to chew on toys you give it, to sleep and be quiet, rather than learn to be destructive.


            A crate provides the pup/dog with security away from home.  If needed to be boarded, send it with its crate.   Use at hotels or when flying.   Also, teaching the pup to ride in the crate in the car may save its life  from being thrown from a car someday.  It also stops interference with the driver.

As an Adult

As your dog matures, it can be given more freedom, but if it does make a mistake, crate it again.  The dog must prove reliability by not chewing and having accidents.  Too much freedom too soon will result in problems.

            Your dog will still use its crate on its own if it has been used properly, as it provides its special place to sleep or to retreat when needed.  Your dog will go there when low or sick.  It will hide bones there to keep them away from the new baby or puppy in its new crate.


*****first thing in morning, pick up pup, take outside to a predetermined place, mark it, take pup back there always to trigger the idea of where to eliminate..  If you hurry, he will be more apt to do his job in a rush.  Bring him inside to a small area where you will be.  Around noon, let him out to run, after eliminating, bring into house for an hour or two of “confined freedom” with you.  Take out again for quickie before putting back in crate.  Just before dinner, take dog out to run, bring in for more “confined freedom”.  Feed dinner, not later than 6:00 p.m., take outside again after dinner.  Bring in for “controlled freedom” with you, taking outside again about 8 p.m., then again before retiring.


After about 2 weeks of this sort of routine, the pattern should be set, and you can allow more freedom as puppy becomes more trust worthy...and his bladder grows! (allowing for more freedom)


Photos courtesy of Ray and Dorothy.

Alexandra just graduated from her puppy obedience class. Way to go Alexandra and Dorothy!!

Shadowbrook Shepherds
Pat Holley
2216 Sylvania Road
Troy, Pennsylvania 16947

Tel: (570) 297-5136
Email: phickok@epix.net

Copyright 2018

Shadowbrook Shepherds

Last updated 1/3/2017

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