German Shepherd is a household name in the pet world and they have been serving humans in every field possible, whether for herding, police, military, or companion dogs.
On average, GSDs enjoy a lifespan of 9-13 years. They reach maturity at around the age of 2 years, before which they are considered to be puppies.
Raising a 2-month-old German Shepherd puppy is never easy especially for first time owners as they have a range of demands that need to be met, from their eating and sleeping habits to their health, fitness, and overall grooming, More so when they are pups.
Owning a 2-month-old German Shepherd Puppy 101
Especially for newbies, raising a 2-month GSD pup can be an overwhelming task. When not handled properly, it can lead to poor outcomes for the pooch and in many cases leads to the dog’s abandonment.
But don’t worry, having knowledge about the needs and how to fulfill them will push you through those tough years until it becomes a routine for you.
Let’s dive into the details right away:
1. Exercise Needs
German Shepherds are one of the most energetic dogs with high levels of vigor and exercise demands. Dogtime rates their energy level and exercise needs at 5/5.
Exercise plays a vital role in their growth and development. It strengthens the muscles and bones which are required for a strong build. These are stress-dependent and grow better when used regularly. Also, it enhances the release of growth hormones which causes the body to grow.
Ways to Exercise
There are many ways to exercise your pooch, but walking is the best one at this age. It is easy for your pup and convenient to do regularly.
How much to walk
You would need to start taking your pup out for walking by this time. Initially, 10-minute walks twice a day would suffice. It should be in a relaxed mood without any hurrying. Make it as calm and enjoyable for the pup as possible.
You can start in your backyard and once the dog gets familiar with walking, you can change the scenery to any nearby park. It is not recommended to take such a young pup too far away from home.
Increase the duration as the dog ages. With every consequent month, add 5 minutes to the initial 10-minute walk.
Having a routine
Very vital for the whole concept of exercise is having a routine. Make a schedule and stick to it, try not to miss these walks. Having a proper routine generates muscle memory in your pooch which helps to maintain the tone and endurance of muscles.
Nutrition goes hand in hand with sleep and exercise for the overall health of a pup. Without proper nutrition to support a healthy exercise routine, it would only be a burden for your dog’s body and it will deteriorate instead of growing.
During these growing years, your pup needs extra proteins and minerals for its growing muscles, bones, and brain. Lean meat is a good source of proteins. Avoid tough-to-digest meats like ham.
Get an overall diet plan set up by a dog nutrition expert. Do not rely on anecdotal evidence for the pup’s diet.
Food per meal
Half a cup to 1 full cup per meal is sufficient. You will also get an idea about how much to feed your pooch by the appetite it shows at meals.
Number of meals a day
4 to 5 meals a day would suffice.
2-4 times a day of snacking (depending on your dog’s mood) is a great way to cheer it up.
However, do not overfeed your pooch as this would lead to indigestion. Over time, this habit may make your dog obese and deteriorate its cardiovascular and joint health. This will reduce many potential years of healthy life.
During sleep, the brain gets rid of toxins that it accumulates over the day, and neural connections are formed for better memory and cognition.
Also, it is during the sleeping period when the muscles regenerate and grow after a day’s exercise. Growth hormone release also peaks during sleep, which is responsible for your pup’s growth in size.
This makes sleep essential for a pup’s growth and maintenance of cognitive functions.
A 2-month-old German Shepherd pup will sleep between 17-20 hours a day. This sleep would have a major part during the night and the rest of the hours would be divided into naps throughout the day.
Although you cannot control the naps in their entirety, it is still advisable to make a sleeping schedule for your pup, especially for the night.
Take your dog to bed at the same time every day for naps. Although it is difficult to have a routine for the many naps a pup will have but even a loose routine will help you use the waking hours efficiently.
You can use the non-sleep intervals for exercise and feeding your GSD pup.
Also, this should be the time when the dog relieves itself so that during sleep it doesn’t get the urge to void.
Making the sleep disruptions as little as possible will allow for a better sleeping experience and improve your dog’s mental and physical health.
For better sleep, have a comfortable crib for your dog. This should be placed near your bed or sleeping area, allowing you to keep an eye on the pup during its sleep and also making it accustomed to your scent. This strengthens the puppy-owner bond.
Regulate the lights and temperature during this time. The temperature should be cooler than outside in summer and in winter to make it as cozy as possible. Dimming the lights allows a natural sleep with fewer interruptions.
Prerequisites for a better sleep
Dogs sleep better with a tired body. A dog whose energy has not been drained throughout the day is less likely to sleep early and will have more waking spells during its sleep.
Make sure your dog exercises regularly each day for better sleep.
Having a routine for the loo is also effective for less disruptive sleep.
4. Behavior training
Before evolving into an adult dog with a more stable and predictable mood, dogs pass through many stages of behavior.
These need to be adjusted when they indicate a behavioral issue that would not resolve with time.
Biting and Nibbling
Biting and nibbling is innate to most dog species. They try to get attention and explore things through this behavior. Sometimes this suggests a negative sentiment that your dog is having for a person, animal, or object.
To get rid of any unwanted biting habits, use positive reinforcement. Refrain your dog from biting using verbal commands and gestures and reward your dog when it does so.
This will associate the wanted behavior with rewards and the dog will adopt it more and more, eventually, the negative habits will disappear altogether.
The reward could be your dog’s favorite snack or activity. Anything that can serve as a good motivation.
Approach your dog with an assertive stance and firm cues without getting physical. You would need to establish yourself as a leader that could be followed.
German Shepherds would become independent in the absence of a strong figure to lead them.
It is important to remember that behavioral training takes time and would require you to be both consistent and patient for better results.
Most of the time the reason for a dog’s laziness is either a lack of sleep or a poor diet. This can be easily dealt with as described previously.
Also, with proper scheduled exercise, it is less likely that your dog would show any signs of laziness.
Even after these measures, if a pup is overly lazy then this might be a sign of any organic disease. Set up a check-up with your vet as early as possible.
As with laziness, an overly fussy dog can be due to a poor diet and sleep. Identify the cause and fix it.
Sometimes, pups that are too sensitive get easily offended by your reprimands and show flare-ups. You need to be more gentle around such pups and use reward-based tactics for behavior change instead of reprimands.
Teach your dog to poop at the place you have set up for it and offer rewards when it defecates there. Positively reinforcing correct defecation habits is the best way to potty train your dog.
Potty training your dog in younger days is more effective as compared to later adult life. However, you would still need to supervise your dog’s defecation as accidents are bound to happen at this stage.
Some dogs are overly sensitive to environmental stimuli and would bark at the slightest of cues. This could be new people, animals, objects, or lights and sounds.
Get your dog accustomed to these signals with gradual and controlled exposure until it gets desensitized. During your walks, explore newer surroundings and once it gets used to a certain place, move to another.
This will allow your dog to be desensitized to the feeling of newer stimuli and it will stop barking when exposed to them.
However, barking can also be a signal of danger and a cry for help. Do exclude these before you link such habits to external harmless cues.
Apart from diet, exercise, and sleep, a dog’s health is also affected by many organic diseases that can be both acquired and inherited. These need to be looked out for and handled as early as possible for the sake of your pooch’s well-being.
The younger the pup is, the faster it grows. For all pups, it is important to measure their growth regularly and compare it to that of a healthy pup of the same age through growth charts.
Any lag in growth could mean a deficiency in the diet, sleep, exercise, or a disease process that halts a dog’s growth. This needs to be investigated on a priority basis.
Puppy shots protect your pooch against many diseases that would be otherwise deteriorating and often fatal. These include Hepatitis, Distemper, Leptospirosis, Covid, and many other illnesses.
Consult your vet for a proper Puppy vaccination schedule. You can read more about it at the AKC.
Your dog needs to have regular check-ups with a vet. Many diseases that are not obvious to you can be picked up by veterinarians early on and treated.
Do not miss your appointments just because you think your dog is alright.
You can go a step further with your dog’s healthcare and get a DNA profile of all the inherited diseases your dog might be having.
This would show such illnesses before they manifest themselves and give medical intervention a better chance to treat them.
Some breeds and lineages are more prone to these illnesses than others. Certified breeders can give you complete detail of your dog’s lineage.
This can be a little expensive and may not be covered by the dog’s insurance provider. You need to check for yourself the pros and cons before opting for it.
6. Grooming Needs
As a breed that is easily groomed, you will not face many problems tending to a German Shepherd pup’s grooming needs.
Ideally, start brushing your pup’s coat around 5 weeks. At this point a german shepherd’s coat is soft and fluffy, try not to damage it with harsh brushing.
Use a brush with gentle bristles. Make sure your pup is not allergic to artificial bristles, and use an organic brush when allergic.
Do not shave your german shepherd hair from any part of the body if not required.
Bathing and overall Tidiness
Until the age of 3 months, a GS pup’s body is not ready for a regular dog bath. Use wet towels instead to clean your pooch. The temperature should be regulated according to external weather conditions.
Do not use hair dryers to dry up your dog, use a gentle dry towel instead. Hair dryers can damage your pup’s natural coat which is delicate at this age.
Overgrown nails trap dirt and bacteria that can be a source of infection.
Regularly clean your dog’s nails when they are short and cut them with a nail clipper that is designed for pups. Leave 2-3mm of nail behind when cutting.
How big is a 2-month-old German shepherd?
A 2-month-old GSD weighs between 16 and 20 pounds with a height of 7-9 inches.
However, this would also depend on the genes that your pup is carrying, a pup from larger-than-average parents would be taller and heavier while that from smaller parents is more likely to fall below this average.
You can find the sizes for other ages here.
At what age does a German Shepherd start guarding?
Around the age of 4-6 months, a GSD would start guardian. Although an instinct, a GSD will show this trait more prominently when it has matured enough.
Is a female or male German Shepherd more protective?
Male GSDs tend to be more dominant and possessive when it comes to protecting their territory, although they would also protect their owner and family. However, female GSDs are more inclined to love and protect family members as compared to males.
Owning A 2-Month-Old German Shepherd Puppy – Recap
Taking care of a pup is different from an adult due to their delicate bodies and increased demand for care and nutrition as they are in their growing years.
Any neglect at this age can lead to growth retardation, cognitive impairment, and long-term personality changes that are difficult to deal with in adult life.
A 2-month-old German Shepherd pup has excessive sleep demands that need to be regulated with a proper sleep schedule. The little time in between the naps should be adequately adjusted for food and exercise.
The diet has to be in congruence with the increased needs of a rapidly growing body.
Behavioral patterns of laziness, biting, barking, and tantrums are bound to occur in young pups of an energetic breed.
Using assertive personality and positive reinforcement you can change these behaviors to more suitable ones. This takes time and would require consistency and patience.
Grooming goes hand in hand with behavioral habits and would require regular cleaning practices, brushing, nail clipping, etc. Finally, healthcare is of utmost importance for your dog’s longevity.
Have timely vaccination and regular check-ups with a professional. Any disorder needs to be detected early with prompt treatment for a better prognosis.