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Hello all,

I'm new to the forums and wanting to get some advice for my new puppy. Here is the story:

It's been a long time since I owned a dog and I've never owned one since starting my own family (wife + 2 kids).

So, my brother-in-law has a German Sheppard who got pregnant (right before he was going to take her in for spaying).

10 puppies later, he asked us if we wanted one.

I had been thinking about getting a dog and the timing worked out where I'd rather take in a puppy from someone I knew like this. I just had a 6 ft. privacy fence put in in our back yard so hopefully that will help things.

We plan on picking out and taking one home next weekend (the puppies will be 8 weeks then). I've spent the last 2 weeks reading and watching youtube series on puppy training, puppy nutrition, and charting out what we will need over the course of a year and planning a budget for everything.

Now, I have a couple questions:

1. I've read that you should transition from milk to wet food, then slowly phase in kibble. Having priced out wet food, I think it will be quite expensive to keep them on wet food for very long. I've picked out a kibble I will be using and trying to figure out how long I should take to transition them to 100% kibble?

2. Collar vs harness. I havn't purchased a collar or leash yet and I'm having a hard time figuring out what kind of collar I should buy. Any thoughts?

3. So the mother is mostly German Sheppard (from what we can tell), but we have no clue what the father was. I figured I'd put some pictures of the puppies up here and see if anyone wants to take some guesses at the father breed? Eventually I'll do one of those doggy DNA things because I think those are pretty fun.

Anywho, I will probably be around here more and look forward to meeting you all here!
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Every recommendation I've had in recent years, including from the breeders of my last two dogs, which I did get at 8 weeks, was to use a harness. You can start training leash walking with a harness as easily as with a collar, and baby neck is protected. Getting used to wearing a collar is a good thing, though. Don't leave anything on in places there's the remotest chance of it getting caught on something.

By 8 weeks the puppies I've had and known about were all on solid food already (and weaned, no longer nursing). If these pups aren't getting food other than milk, new owners will have a problem. Can you imagine? Going to a totally strange place, no mom or littermates, strange people - and food you've never seen or smelled before? Although 10 of them? Surely they're getting something other than milk by now. Ask your brother-in-law. Start with the familiar.

My last puppy was eating kibble when I brought her home. I visited several times before then and watched the puppies fed, and it was kibble, but left to soak in I think milk (although knowing this breeder it may have been puppy formula) until it was the consistency of canned. When I brought my girl home I still soaked it a bit (water) to soften, but not as much. I always added a little canned and mixed it in, which may not be necessary, but kibble strikes me as so bleh.

No guesses as to dad. They look very shepherd to me, but when I was doing rescue, I placed some pups that had a Rottweiler mom and unknown father. They looked like purebred Rotties as babies except for a grayish cast to the tan markings you don't see in Rotties. As adults they did not look Rottie at all except for black and tan - tan that still had that grayish cast.

P.S. Do you really believe the b-i-l about that spay? It's pretty hard to miss when a bitch is in heat, and they don't get p.g. by magic. Maybe wouldn't hurt to push him a little now. She can be spayed now. Wean those puppies. Get it done.
 

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Every recommendation I've had in recent years, including from the breeders of my last two dogs, which I did get at 8 weeks, was to use a harness. You can start training leash walking with a harness as easily as with a collar, and baby neck is protected. Getting used to wearing a collar is a good thing, though. Don't leave anything on in places there's the remotest chance of it getting caught on something.

By 8 weeks the puppies I've had and known about were all on solid food already (and weaned, no longer nursing). If these pups aren't getting food other than milk, new owners will have a problem. Can you imagine? Going to a totally strange place, no mom or littermates, strange people - and food you've never seen or smelled before? Although 10 of them? Surely they're getting something other than milk by now. Ask your brother-in-law. Start with the familiar.

My last puppy was eating kibble when I brought her home. I visited several times before then and watched the puppies fed, and it was kibble, but left to soak in I think milk (although knowing this breeder it may have been puppy formula) until it was the consistency of canned. When I brought my girl home I still soaked it a bit (water) to soften, but not as much. I always added a little canned and mixed it in, which may not be necessary, but kibble strikes me as so bleh.

No guesses as to dad. They look very shepherd to me, but when I was doing rescue, I placed some pups that had a Rottweiler mom and unknown father. They looked like purebred Rotties as babies except for a grayish cast to the tan markings you don't see in Rotties. As adults they did not look Rottie at all except for black and tan - tan that still had that grayish cast.

P.S. Do you really believe the b-i-l about that spay? It's pretty hard to miss when a bitch is in heat, and they don't get p.g. by magic. Maybe wouldn't hurt to push him a little now. She can be spayed now. Wean those puppies. Get it done.
Thanks for the reply!

I talked to my brother-in-law and he is apparently mixing milk and kibble now. So I think they will be ready to go kibble pretty soon like you also experienced.

And yeah, he just procrastinated far too long on the spaying thing and then it was too late. I'm encouraging him to get the spay ASAP.
 

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Cute puppies! You're going to have your hands full!

I agree to get the puppy used to wearing a collar. You can still use a harness, but have the collar on as well. I prefer the quick release collars, in case they do happen to catch on anything. Our dogs go naked at home, but we put on their collars when they leave the house. So it's just easier to have that style of collar.

For the food, buy a bag of what your b-i-l is feeding now. Also buy a bag of what you plan to feed and slowly start mixing the two together until eventually you are feeding all the new kind (this should take a month or so).

It looks like your kids are pretty young. Remember that you have to train the puppy, but you will also have to train your kids as well. Teach them to respect the dog and learn the cues that the dog is annoyed. Never let the kids sit on the dog, pull ears or tails, etc.

Also with a big dog it's important to start early with training loose leash walking, not to jump up, etc. It's much easier to do it now than when they weigh 80 lbs. Trust me ;-)
 

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Cute puppies! You're going to have your hands full!

I agree to get the puppy used to wearing a collar. You can still use a harness, but have the collar on as well. I prefer the quick release collars, in case they do happen to catch on anything. Our dogs go naked at home, but we put on their collars when they leave the house. So it's just easier to have that style of collar.

For the food, buy a bag of what your b-i-l is feeding now. Also buy a bag of what you plan to feed and slowly start mixing the two together until eventually you are feeding all the new kind (this should take a month or so).

It looks like your kids are pretty young. Remember that you have to train the puppy, but you will also have to train your kids as well. Teach them to respect the dog and learn the cues that the dog is annoyed. Never let the kids sit on the dog, pull ears or tails, etc.

Also with a big dog it's important to start early with training loose leash walking, not to jump up, etc. It's much easier to do it now than when they weigh 80 lbs. Trust me ;-)
Thanks! I used to watch the dog whisperer and I think my biggest takeaway from the show is that need to train your dog, but you and your family also must be trained to have a dog.
 

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I used to watch the dog whisperer
Just be careful with what information you take away from that show. I personally haven't watched it, but I know there is a huge controversy on his training methods.

Just stick to positive-based training and stay away from any kind of negative punishment-based training. I'm sure others will reply with more information, but terms like "pack" and "dominance" are usually red flags.
 

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It depends on the context and how those words are used.

Shadow and I are a small pack. I am the Lead of our little pack.

I do not "dominate" my dog, but I do set behavior rules and boundaries.

I don't not agree with all of "methods" used on that show.

Example: When we are on a walk and happen upon a street or unleashed or uncontrolled dog, I will step in to assert control of the encounter. Depending on the other dog/owner, I will block or allow a meeting. The encounter is just a few seconds for a sniff, never more than about 30 seconds. Then a firm tug on the leash with "Shadow. Come" and we are off. This is an example of dominance and controlling the pack.

The only "negative" punishment I have used has been a 2 finger touch to break his attention. At one time, as a pup, he was excited about me putting on my socks......ruined several pair. One morning the 2 finger touch was not getting through to him. I used the 3 finger bite with him on his side. Only held the "bite" until he relaxed, then I relaxed the "bite" but held for a couple more seconds then released him. Immediately after the release was a pet and praise. He has not played with my socks since.

So, some of the methods from that show are effective and not cruel.
 
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