Who knew that there was so much you needed to know about one breed of dog? Anyone who’s ever seen a well-trained, well-adjusted German shepherd knows just how sweet and compassionate these dogs can be. They might have been bred as guard dogs, but they are sweethearts, and when they are raised with the proper care and love, they are loyal companions that really make the best dogs.
That’s what this book, “Your German Shepherd Puppy: Month by Month by Liz Palika, Deb Eldredge, and Joanne Olivier“, really focuses on: helping owners understand their shepherd puppies and how to raise them into well-adjusted adult dogs. Here is an overview of what this book does well, and areas where it might fall a little short:
This is probably one of the most in-depth books you will read on German shepherd raising. Your German Shepherd follows a shepherd from birth to adulthood, and discusses even what is happening before you choose your puppy from his litter, and after he is no longer actually a puppy.
Besides the month by month chapters, there are also a number of extensive appendixes that discuss everything from how to assess your shepherd’s body condition to poisonous plants that you should avoid planting in your yard, as well as common hazards in the house and in the yard. It is incredibly in-depth, which might be off-putting for some owners who just want a little bit of knowledge about their breed, but is very useful for those who want to fully understand their dog and his needs.
This book takes an original month by month approach, as it says in the title. It starts from birth, and each chapter details a month of a German shepherd’s first year of life. Unlike little dogs that start little and stay little, a shepherd will grow by leaps and bounds during this first year, which is also the most important year for training and behavioral changes. While he isn’t done growing at month twelve, he is a young adult, and this book even addresses the challenges that come with transitioning from a young adult, into adulthood, even beyond month twelve.
This approach makes it possible for an owner to get very specific, necessary information about their dog’s immediate stage of growth. It isn’t a general overview of puppyhood for a shepherd, it’s a reference that the owner can open up to his month and get detailed information about what is going on with his puppy right now. While some might prefer a general overview, this more detailed approach is preferred by most owners.
This is a long book, which may be daunting for some owners. It is however, sectioned into smaller, distinct chapters, which make it more accessible and functional. Instead of having chapters that focus on diet, exercise, training, and behaviors separately, it is written to make it very accessible for the owner of a brand new German shepherd puppy.
It’s one drawback, however, would be that the twelve-month approach makes this book largely inaccessible for people who adopt an adult shepherd. But for new owners, this book is packed with information that is very easily accessible.
The writing style is casual and friendly, and is encouraging when it needs to be. The three authors of this book obviously have firsthand experience with young German shepherds and know that new owners will need as much patience as they need a sense of humor. The writing is designed to help owners find the information that they need quickly and easily.
Class of Information on the GSD and Practicality
What makes this book truly unique is that it does not just focus on what it is “like” to own a puppy. It provides very real advice, as well as breed-specific information, ranging from the history of German shepherds, their specific health issues, what jobs they are best suited to (like therapy work and search and rescue), and even legislations that has to do with German shepherds.
There is both basic and detailed information, making it possible for the reader to glean what he needs from the book. This is where this book really shines, in comparison to other puppy books: it provides both deep and expansive information, in a format that is great for both practical use and for learning about dog training theories and the history and legacy of a breed.