Chief pics!

I just got these pics of Chief, formerly known as Mustang. He was the only longhaired male in the litter. He was one of the smallest in the litter when born. His owner says he now weighs 93 lbs. and is 27” at the shoulder. He is going to be big like his sire, Cash, and like his Uncle Johnny. He is getting great care, and it shows.

Chief at nearly 1 year old

The Reunion!

See See’s heat cycle is officially over after 28 days. I took her to Tractor Supply for a thorough bath and drying to get all the scent off (only $10, use of towels and dryer, and I don’t have to bend over my tub).

I brought her back to be reunited with her brothers, who she loves to play with. This can get a little rough, as stature needs to be reestablished. They are so good natured though. Hard to think they would ever really fight. Nevertheless, I introduced them one at a time.

Notice all the growling and posturing. And sniffing! And more sniffing. There was so much sniffing I shortened the videos. All is peaceful now.

See See greets Clyde, her littermate
See See greets Winston, her older half-brother

Did you notice that See See has put on weight? She looks more mature, less puppyish. Hormones are amazing. She still has lots of maturing to do though, as does Clyde. They will be 1 year old on February 6, 2022.

Mud, mud, mud, and mulch…

It’s that time if year, when the mud us ridiculous, the dogs track it in, and it gets everywhere. My solution is mulch. It’s not perfect, but it is cheap and relatively easy. Here are some before and after pics of the small area I had fenced in for See See.

Before….

See See’s yard
See See’s yard

After…

See See on her new mulch. She is 11 months old today, and on day 21 of her first heat cycle. Another week and she will get a bath and then play with her brothers.

Here’s the product I used. It is free of dyes. I got it at Home Depot. I think it was between 3 and 4 bucks a bag. I used 4 bags in this area. It’s not beautiful, but it’s better than mud. And much easier to clean up with a broom. I will probably need to put some more mulch down soon. I should have gotten more.

I hope this helps people who are struggling with muddy dogs tracking mud into their house.

Also, shout out to Home Depot, where the staff are friendly and helpful, and my dogs are welcome!

Can’t we all get along like these two?

Winston is nearly three years old. Clyde turns 1 year old on February 6th. I can’t get over how well these two guys can work things out. Here they are eating and playing together. In the second video you can see that Winston is dominant and occasionally disciplines Clyde. And Clyde responds submissively in an appropriate way. And no one gets hurt. Neither male is neutered. I keep thinking this will change, but See See has nearly finished her heat cycle, and there’s been no fighting. (I have kept Johnny separate, with Jane and Nellie, because he is too aggressive with other males. He is the territorial one and my protector.) Winston and Clyde are simply buddies.

Winston and Clyde eating together
Winston and Clyde playing together, with discipline! You can see Clyde being very submissive.

German Shepherds in the snow!

See See and Clyde were born in February, but didn’t see the snow because they were infants when it snowed last year. This is a lot of snow for a first romp! The older dogs are used to lots of snow, being born in WV. They also spent time in Ohio, with many sub zero days.

See See’s first snow
Clyde’s first snow, with the experienced Winston
This video stars Johnny, with costars Jane and Nellie
This video stars Nellie, with costars Johnny and Jane. Nellie will be 12 on May 1st. She is losing her hearing and her vision isn’t quite what it used to be. She is my love and will always have a piece of my heart.

More pics!

I forgot to include this great pic of Pony, now known as Cash.

When Pony was a baby, he was the smallest for awhile, and I had to make sure he got enough milk. Now he looks huge! His owner tells me his ear is coming up on its own.

This is Jean, now known as Bea. She was from Jane’s second litter, so she is almost two.

Playing nice with her Australian Shepherd friend

This is “Grandma” Nellie, enjoying the pink chaise lounge.

Nellie can smile. Not all dogs smile, but Nellie has always done so.

If you have pics of Jane’s puppies, I would like to post them. Please send them to my email, morganshep@aol.com

Christmas

Merry Christmas! Here are some videos and pics of my own dogs and puppies plus some from people who have Jane’s puppies.

For Christmas this year, I am grateful that my dogs are happy and healthy!

Even though it is the 9th day of See See’s heat cycle, Winston are still eating and playing together.

“Grandma” Nellie and her “puppies” 8 yr old littermates Johnny and Jane playing
See See doing a natural retrieve on the 9th day if her heat cycle
Connemara
Loosy
Maverick, now known as Ranger
Loosy retrieving with friends

See See is in heat, and secondary sex characteristics in GSDs

See See came in heat on my birthday, and will peak on Christmas Day, and be fertile through New Year’s Day. So my house is absolutely nuts. Good thing I didn’t make any big plans. With three intact males, this is a difficult situation! I do not have a kennel setup. I have always said that if I start thinking of building a kennel, then I have too many dogs.

A couple of months ago, my neighbor, Jon, fenced in a piece of side yard for me for the purpose of separating See See from her two brothers Winston and Clyde, and her Uncle Johnny. Hopefully this will cut down on some of the angst during her heat cycle. Notice how she still appears to be very much a juvenile because she has not developed secondary sex characteristics yet.

See See in her separate area off the sunporch

As See See matures with each influx of hormones during heat cycles, her head will broaden slightly, her chest will drop and round out, her hips will widen, and her fur will frame her face more. These are the secondary sex characteristics of female GSDs. (The dogs you hear barking that she turns to look at are her brothers in the back yard. )

Winston and Clyde with See See on the other side of the door, on day 2 of her heat cycle

Clyde, the lighter male, is starting to develop secondary sex characteristics. His head is starting to broaden, and his head will be much larger that a female’s of the same size, with a wider backskull. He us going to be a larger dog than Winston, probably with more prominent male characteristics. Right now, his ears seem to be too close together, while Winston’s look spaced apart. Winston is almost 3 years old, and Clyde is 10 months.

Many of the secondary sex characteristics of males are similar to females’, just more prominent. For example, males have a heavier ruff, called a mane, and generally have a bulkier chest. On the other hand. A male’s hips do not widen, but remain narrow, making the chest look even larger.

If dogs are spayed or neutered before their hormones are active, these secondary sex characteristics do not develop. Often, it is difficult to tell the difference (without looking underneath!) between a male and female. In the show ring, a feminine bitch and a masculine male are sought after, because the look is unmistakable. These features are not important to everyone. More important, as I mentioned in a previous post, early spaying and neutering contributes to the likelihood of poor bone development most notably in GSDs, but NOT in all breeds.

Of my two adult males, Johnny is the more masculine looking one. I think Clyde will look more like Johnny when he matures.

Spaying, neutering, behavior changes, and heat cycles in German Shepherd Dogs

GSDs usually come into season between 7 and 11 months. See See, the female I kept from Jane’s last litter, just turned 10 months old, and she has not been in heat yet. However, I just heard from her sister’s owner, and was informed that she had started her heat cycle. If any of the other females in the litter have started their heat cycles, I would like to hear about it.

This brings up the idea of spaying and when to do it. All the people who purchased one of my puppies were told about a recent study that determined that German Shepherds specifically should not be spayed or neutered until 24 months for the best orthopedic outcomes. This information is worth repeating because it is so important. While orhopedic problems such as hip and elbow dysplasia are affected by genetics, nutrition, and environment, they are also impacted by hormones, or the lack of them. Spaying female GSDs before age two is also linked to a higher incidence of urinary incontinence. Here is the link to the study:

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fvets.2020.00388/full

For a quick reference, here are the authors and credentials of the study:


Here is the paragraph specific to German Shepherds:

And here is the chart of all 35 breeds studied for comparison:

When discussing when to spay or neuter your GSD with your veterinarian, please keep this study in mind. I am a big believer in spaying and neutering, because I sincerely believe that doing so reduces animal suffering overall. However, I also know that responsible pet owners can take precautions to make sure that their dogs are not breeding, and to devise ways to minimize the inconvenience of having a female in heat, or a male who is tempted and starting to push boundaries and feel his oats (hormones). Remember that this is not a lifetime, but for a few weeks at a time for females, a few times before age two, and occasionally at random times for males.

First, I will offer some hopefully helpful suggestions to get through a heat cycle which typically occurs every 6 months, and what to expect. Sometimes when a female first goes into heat, she gets a little moody, or sort of pouty or sulky. I think this is just because they don’t feel good and they don’t know what is happening. Their appetite may be off. My females tend to get clingy, and want to cuddle. The heat cycle lasts about 28 days, but you won’t see blood the whole time. You will first notice your female licking herself a lot, and you will notice blood drops on the floor. No puddles, just a few drops here and there. These can be easily wiped up from most floors with a damp paper towel. Not so easy if you have carpet. I suggest confining your female to an area with no carpet during the first 2 weeks. Some people use a diaper type pad to keep their female from dripping onto carpet, because they don’t want to keep her in another area away from the family. The pads are available at pet stores or online. I have never tried this, but some people say it works well. Usually the blood turns to a amber colored discharge on about day 9 or 10. This is when she is most fertile. By day 15, the flow is usually gone, but there is still swelling. She could still be fertile. DO NOT make the mistake of thinking that if the blood flow has stopped, her heat cycle is over. She will be attractive to males until at least day 21, and usually for another week. Until day 28, do not take your dog anywhere where there might be loose dogs. The messiness is a lot less time than the whole cycle, but you must pay attention to the timing! When her heat cycle is done, give her a good allover bath and change her bedding to reduce smells that can continue to attract males.


Males. Yes, they have their own issues. It is around the 10 month mark that males are getting physically big, and they start to realize their strength. They start to think more independently, and can start to act territorial. The sweet puppy who loved everybody can start to sound ferocious. This is when people start thinking of neutering. I disagree. Females also start to push boundaries and guard territory at this age. It is part of the maturing process. Obedience training is the answer. Hopefully you have already done basic obedience and leash manners. If not, start. And do it yourself! The best training is the training you do yourself! Go to a class where the trainer teaches you to train your dog. The most important thing you can teach is the recall. Repeat and repeat. I’m going through this with Clyde right now. He is more distracted than he used to be, and dang he is strong! Another behavior of intact males is pacing and whining for no apparent reason. Well, the reason is obvious to them…. They can smell a female in heat a mile away! This is the behavior that will most likely change once he is neutered, plus all the ridiculous peeing. In the meantime, remember, a tired dog is a good dog!

Both males and females will try to mount other dogs. If there are no females in heat around, you can be sure this is about dominance and/or play. This happens with young puppies and adults, and is instinctive behavior. Distracting dogs when they do this at inopportune times works best. Play fetch, run, do some obedience.

Both males and females start to develop secondary sex characteristics around 10 months too. I will do another post on that, which also relates to spaying and neutering.

I hope this information is not too much, or not enough. Please comment or write to me directly! I look forward to hearing from you! When you use this form, it goes right to my email.