Here at Liberty's West German Shepherds we regard every puppy as a unique and precious life. We are humbled and grateful to be entrusted with the caring of each precious puppy, and take very seriously the fact that we are framing their perspective of the world from their first moments. One of the ways we do that is by having them in our home from birth until they leave us for their new families. Our little puppies are around a variety of activities associated with normal household functions, all of which will be familiar to them as they leave us to join you!
Another way that we try to bring stable puppies into this world is by carefully selecting who their parents are. Yes, it is imperative for the parents to be health tested, but here at Liberty's West German Shepherds we choose to dig a little deeper.
For our choices in males we tend to favor the ones that exhibit confidence, stability, and a sense of who they are from the time they are very young. However, we have to see that male submit mentally to the alpha male and have the wisdom to know that it's not his time. A young male who seems to respect the alpha male and is content to dwell peaceably with him is a sure sign of a really nice male. Our males have to love the kids and must respect our authority. Because the males are so large and powerful, there is absolutely no tolerance for an alpha mindset from our males toward us. Every one of our males has to be submissive, yet confident to protect his keep with no questions or hesitations. We have found that to be very easy to find in the high quality West German males.
We tend to be more choosey when it comes to our females. None of what I believe about how much a female affects her puppies can be proven with verifiable data, but there is a pattern of behavior that stands out to us here at Liberty's West German Shepherds that proves a female to be a truly great mother. First of all, I will not breed a female that wants to fight with the other females. I personally find that the females who don't want to fight with the other dogs are better mothers. This does not mean they are weak or timid. This means that they are calculating and smart and know that it is best not to "go there" with the other dogs. We believe that not every female dog that can be a mother should be a mother.
They must also have a deep sense of devotion toward our kids, and be gentle and obedient to them. The last major characteristic is if the other females trust them around their puppies. I love the sense of togetherness that can transpire between females who see any litter of puppies as valuable and worth their affection. This most resembles what happens in the wild amongst a pack of wolves or coyotes. There is always a sense of community and responsibility for the pups. I watch my adult females to see which upcoming females they trust with their puppies and which ones they do not trust.
Having these prerequisites is not always expedient for us. Sometimes we have to let a magnificent young dog go to a pet only home where she does wonderfully. Our goal is to pass on not only the healthiest puppies possible, but to also pass puppies on to you that have been raised in a stable pack with a stable mother whose people oversee and care for every aspect of their little lives. All of our dogs whether male or female, like the puppies, play with them, and are patient with all the goings on that a litter of puppies brings into their world. This makes for very social and confident puppies.
How long we breed our females for depends on the individual female. If we have a female who still seems to have good energy and the desire to care for her litter, then we will let that female breed into her fifth year. If we have another female who seems to be slowing down before that, then we will not push her to keep breeding.
Food & Nutrition
The first way in which we help your puppy get a great start is not just in what we feed them, but in how we feed them. The what is that our puppies are fed Nature's Logic canned and dry dog food. Nature's Logic is rich in animal protein (not plant protein) which is essential for heart health and for strong joints and muscles. It is a human grade food with no synthetics whatsoever. Nothing comes from China. The added bonus of this food is that it is void of the ingredients that the FDA has recently cited as being suspect for causing an increasing amount of health problems that many people are experiencing with their dogs today. The FDA has released numerous statements and is working on keeping the list of dog food brands updated and available online. I encourage you to NOT take our word for it. Read, study and educate yourself as to what is in your dog's food. Learn how it affects your dog and be prepared to learn so much about what most dog food on the market today is actually doing to your dog's health. We get absolutely nothing from Nature's Logic for mentioning/using their food. The advice that we give here comes purely from our personal experience and wanting to help others who are are looking for a better product for their dog. Does your dog constantly scratch or chew itself, always have an ear infection, have a dull coat, or not have a robust appetite? Start with their food. Some dogs develop health problems that seem to be "out of the blue". That is not so. These health problems have been slowly brewing under the surface over time until the dog's body says, "I can't take any more." Many of these problems are due to what the dog is eating.
*As a side note to the mention of high-quality dog food that is NOT grain free, I feel that it is only fair to mention that as with all things right now, the price of dog food has risen significantly in a relatively short amount of time. I am keenly aware that Nature's Logic dog food is expensive. Although it is far and away (in my personal opinion) the best food on the market it is simply not doable for a lot of people right now. Understood. Feed your family first. I have been looking around and testing out other dog food on the market so that I can offer other options to my clients. They are listed farther down on this page under the "Companies Whose Products We Love To Recommend" heading.
Too many dogs are possessive of their food through no fault of their own. If you have a dog that can't be trusted not to bite a child or that growls when anyone gets too near its bowl, then a good place to start is with the food itself. On the other hand, some dogs will never become possessive; they'll just eat enough to stay alive and maintain borderline body condition. Others will eat like they're dying, yet be of a healthy and sometimes too healthy weight!! That's because they're taking in calories so their weight is good, but there's no nutrition in it and they are literally starving for sustenance. If you have more than one dog, meal times should never be frenzied or a run of the gauntlet for you in order to keep them from stealing one another's food. Again, start with changing the quality of the food and educate yourself as to what a properly formulated dog food should have in it (commercials can't offer that). Of course there are other issues that can lead to food aggression and my advice is not a one-size-fits-all formula. It's just a good place to start.
The how is in that our puppies are fed in groups of two or three. This not only ensures that each puppy gets the amount of food it needs, but it also creates a less frantic eating experience. We feed them twice daily a combination of canned and dry food and scrambled eggs, cottage cheese and pumpkin puree. These are excellent sources of animal protein, calcium and fiber respectively that can be immediately used by the dogs' digestive systems. Since eating can be quite a competitive sport with puppies, creating a more relaxed eating experience diminishes the chance that "resource guarding" will be an issue while they're with us. A week before they go to their new homes we start mixing a small spoonful of Greek yogurt and another spoonful of organic, non-gmo pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix) into their food. This helps bolster their little systems as the transition to a new environment can be stressful.
Our puppies are also fed Glucosamine supplements called NuJoint daily. We purchase them through NuVet in California. These tablets are human grade, synthetic free and combined with the right ingredients to ensure absorption and effectiveness. Glucosamine is great for joint and cartilage health and is also great for strengthening the cartilage in dogs' ears. If you purchase a puppy from us, we will send you home with an access code from NuVet that allows you to order these supplements for your dog. NuVet/NuJoint can only be purchased through an access code.
Each puppy will go home with a bag of either Nature's Logic or NutriSource dry dog food, one can of food, a starter supply of NuJoint Plus (for hips/elbows), and a starter supply of NuVet (immune system booster). We also have goody bags full of fun stuff for each puppy to help get their new life started.
As cleanliness is important in order for a puppy to develop a good standard, we bathe our puppies regularly and make sure that their play area is kept clean and void of their mess. We also take them on car rides in order to avoid the motion sickness that is often a result of not being in the car enough when they are young. Here at Liberty's West German Shepherds we strive earnestly to make sure that your puppy gets the best start in life both nutritionally and environmentally. We do suggest that before you bring your puppy home that you purchase a non-slip bath mat for your puppy to stand on when bathing. It really helps the puppies keep their footing in the bathtub. It is not good for their little hips and elbows to be slipping in the bathtub and it also makes for a more pleasant experience. They feel more secure when they're not sliding all
We offer a two-year health and hip guarantee on all of our puppies. Our guarantee is two-fold, offering you a way to customize your warranty to fit your preferences. Feel free to ask for more details.
Companies Whose Products We Love to Recommend
As most of us can say, we've ran the gamut of products that are out there only to be disappointed in the quality, durability or price to product ratio. We also feel a very strong loyalty to American owned and operated businesses when they keep all of their manufacturing here in the U.S., ensuring that so many of our fellow Americans have employment. We have found that U.S. products are better, more durable and healthier respectively. Another interesting detail is that the companies we deal with not only know more about their products, but they love to talk about their products. This just ensures that the consumer is better able to make an educated purchase. Here are a few companies we highly recommend for product quality, price to quality ratio, and for their customer service. All of these companies use materials sourced in the U.S.
Nature's Logic (Nebraska). Their people are educated and passionate about manufacturing the quality food that your pet deserves, and they welcome calls from people just like you. Ask them anything at any time. Our puppies will be weaned onto and sent home with either Nature's Logic or NutriSource. www.natureslogic.com
NutriSource (Minnesota). I found this food to be a very satisfactory substitute for Nature's Logic. It has a very good amount of protein and fat and has a variety of proteins to rotate amongst. All of my dogs like this food. I DO NOT use grain free food, so I am just referencing the standard formula of NutriSource. Our puppies will be weaned onto and sent home with either NutriSource or Nature's Logic. www.nutrisourcepetfoods.com
Diamond Naturals (California, South Carolina, Missouri). This is a good economical food that is fit for anyone who wants to stay away from the grain free recipes. In my experience, I did have some of my dogs that liked it more than others. In all fairness, I do have a couple very discriminate eaters in my crowd. I don't believe that it has anything to do with the food as much as it is that there are couple of food snobs in our midst. I do feel that our puppies required more than the recommended daily servings of this food. www.diamondpet.com
Diamond Naturals Extreme Athlete (California, South Carolina, Missouri). NOT FOR PUPPIES!!! The nutritional balance is not appropriate for growing puppies. This food is only for dogs that are athletes, engaged in intensive training, sports, or otherwise requiring a food that can rapidly replace what they are burning due to intense physical demands. This has a very appropriate balance of protein and fat and has a clean ingredient list. www.diamondpet.com
NuVet Labs (California). Again, the customer service is great, and they love to answer questions about their products. Their quality control is excellent. nuvet.com Use order code: 950411
Leashes, Collars, Vests and Other Training Items
Mendota Pet (Minnesota). Their people have excellent knowledge of the product, are honest about every aspect of the product in relation to your individual needs and are willing to make sure you make the right purchase the first time. Their warranty is outstanding! If you buy a product from them that doesn't hold up (dog chewing excluded as that is operator error), they will replace it for you free of charge. It doesn't matter if it's two years down the road. www.mendotapet.com
*This page is solely for informative purposes and is not intended to replace or equal any advice that one may receive from a professional nutritionist or trainer regarding their dog's personal needs. I get a lot of questions about nutrition, supplements, and collars/leashes and am only recommending what works for us and our dogs.