Updated: Oct 27, 2021
It is always wise to plan ahead and, before you bring your puppy home, you should already know who your care service providers will be. You will need a vet, a pet sitter/walker and a training instructor. While indispensable, all these services can be quite expensive. However, there are ways to insure that your best friend will get the best care at low to possibly no cost to you.
It is important to choose a good holistic veterinarian. They can be hard to come by but, these practitioners tend to have a more conservative approach to vaccinations than conventional vets. This choice might help you avoid the old age problems that are related to a lifetime of over-vaccination. Also, a holistic vet will be your best bet if, God forbid, your dog will be diagnosed with a serious condition later in life.
While the quality of the health care provided by your vet is important, having a doctor that you can rely upon in emergency situations is absolutely crucial. Ask your prospective vet if he will be available for emergencies after business hours and during weekends. Unfortunately, there aren't many E.R.s for pets and you cannot call 911 if your dog has a health emergency. However, you can have a trusted vet whom you can call for help and, having that option, can make a difference between life or death for your pup.
You will not be able to be there for your dog at all times. As dog owners, we will have our own emergency situations and our pets need us to plan for their care if we will have to be absent for longer periods of time. I personally cannot even imagine leaving my dogs in a doggie daycare or a boarding kennel. These are highly stressful environments where a lot of things can go wrong, not to mention the fact that they can be pretty expensive.
Instead of rushing to call the first boarding kennel that shows up in your Google search when you have an emergency, plan ahead for this situation. Ask your friends – especially the ones whom your dog knows very well and who come to visit often – if they would be willing to step in and care for your dog in case of need. Offer to be their emergency sitter if they have pets or offer to babysit if they have kids. Having more than one person that you can rely upon in emergency situations is the best way to ensure that your pet will be taken care of and will not be overly stressed or at risk in your absence.
Training is an absolute necessity for a German Shepherd and, once again, these services can be quite expensive. The good news is that, unless you want your pet to perform in working competitions or become a highly skilled protection or service dog, you can train your dog yourself.
Atlas Shepherds offers life-time advice and support for every pup that we sell and we will always be just a phone call away. We strongly encourage you to use this option as much as needed. While we are not professional trainers, we can definitely help with advice and ideas regarding basic obedience training, home and social manners.
There are a multitude of videos and articles about dog training and you can definitely learn how to train your dog to be a great companion and a well behaved pet. Choose the advice of balanced trainers who will show you the everyday, small and often boring steps of the training process.
Avoid the overly sensational videos of trainers who will impress you with a dramatic change in the behavior of a problem dog without revealing the small steps that turned that bad boy into a good one. There is little value in seeing the before and after. It is the middle part that you must learn and, unfortunately, the everyday dog training steps are not sensational enough to attract a lot of views or clicks.
Leerburg.com is a great resource for beginners as well as for the more knowledgeable handlers. Their video catalog offers a great variety of courses at affordable prices. From managing everyday life and puppy development to e-collar training and protection work Leerburg will provide you with many of the skills needed to succeed no matter how far you wish to take your training.
Check out this free video that will help you get on the right track with your pup's training right from the start:
Finding and joining an AKC club near you that offers training classes is another great way for you and your pup to learn and socialize. Here's a directory of all AKC clubs divided by specialty and type of training offered: