I’ve always wanted a German Shepherd since I was little. I even had the book The Art of Raising a Puppy by the Monks of New Skete since 1993. The book is for any puppy, but the Monks breed German Shepherds. So, this last July, I got Lizzie. She was my first young puppy. The other three dogs were 6-10 months old when I got them, so a 10 wk old German Shepherd was uncharted territory. But I wasn’t alone, I had my trusty book from the Monks of New Skete – How to Raise a Puppy.
I not only highly recommend this book, but I will say if you follow their recommendations and take into account the different developmental periods a puppy goes through, you will have a wonderful dog. Well, that statement goes with certain genetic caveats. But provided you select a breed and dog that fits you, and you follow these steps, your life will be much much easier. Actually, the book also explains how to select a puppy from a litter that will fit you and your lifestyle better. It is EXCELLENT. Read it BEFORE you even select a puppy!
I read the whole book before I got Lizzie, then went stage by stage following their instructions, including their puppy schedule. It worked like charm. She was potty and crate trained in two weeks and learned to ring the jingle bells on the door when she wanted out. Something she still does.
There is much more in that book I didn’t know about, but I followed. There are very defined puppy fear and socialization periods. Week 0-8 for example is critical dog to dog socialization. NEVER get a puppy before 7 weeks. They run the risk of being more prone to dog aggression because they didn’t learn dog to dog communication properly. Then 8-12 weeks, people socialization. Definitely, definitely, get this book when you get a puppy. I really believe it’s the difference between having a dog that is well socialized and balanced and one that is not. It’s easier to avoid problems that trying to fix them. Lizzie is 9 months now, and I am very glad that her foundations were well laid and I have nothing to complain about with her. She is my only dog that passed the AKC Canine Good Citizen Test, and I wouldn’t even try with Dogs 2 and 4. Maybe Dog 3, Darcy. Riyo freaks out with strangers, and Carmina needs a few months in the Cesar Milan dog psychology center before ever being trustworthy with other dogs.
**IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are interested in dog sports like Schutzhund and agility. This is not the book for you, nor are most training books out there. See my other posts and research more about the sport you are interested in and how to raise a dog for that particular sport.