Preparing to bring home a German Shepherd puppy

German Shepherd puppy laying on the floor next to a bed
German Shepherd puppy at home

There are few things more exciting than welcoming a new German Shepherd puppy into your home! While this loveable ball of fur is sure to bring you a lifetime of happiness, it also takes some effort to prepare for his homecoming.

To make sure that everything goes smoothly, you’ll want to take some steps to get ready for the big day. To begin with, it’s important to remember that bringing a puppy into the home can be stressful for everyone involved. This includes your new furry friend! Taking the time to go through the following steps will help ensure that your new puppy is safe, comfortable, and well-adjusted during his first days and throughout his lifetime.

Gather Up Your Supplies

First, make sure that you have all the supplies you need before the puppy arrives. This will save you from the headache of shopping after the puppy comes home and give you more time to focus on bonding, socialization, and training.

German Shepherd puppy chewing on a bone
German Shepherd puppy chewing on a bone

Some of the items you’ll need to have on hand include:

  • Food and water bowls
  • A collar, harness, and leash
  • Non-toxic toys
  • Comfortable bedding
  • An appropriately sized crate
  • Grooming supplies (shampoo, nail clippers, brush, towels)
  • Cleaning supplies/odor remover
  • Identification tags
  • Puppy treats

You’ll also want to talk to your German Shepherd puppy breeder to find out what kind of food they’re currently feeding the puppy. Plan to purchase at least one bag of that brand. Since the puppy will be going through a lot of changes, it’s a good idea to keep his food consistent for at least the first couple of weeks. If you decide to change the dog’s diet later, you’ll want to mix the new food in slowly over a week or so to avoid possible gastrointestinal issues.

Prepare Your Home

Your next project is to completely puppy-proof your home. You may want to purchase baby gates or indoor pens to keep the puppy in designated areas of the home. This will help keep him safe while also keeping him out of mischief.

Make sure all household chemicals are secured and put all medications, medical marijuana, tobacco, and vape products up out of reach. Remove any toxic household plants and make sure that electrical wires are secured where the puppy can’t get to them. Secure cords, such as those on blinds, and remove all sharp objects including scissors, knives and forks, nails, paperclips, thumbtacks, and more. Make sure your puppy won’t be able to get ahold of human foods that can make him sick, like chocolate, grapes, and anything containing xylitol.

You’ll also want to pick up any personal items that are laying around, including shoes, socks, clothing, game controllers, children’s toys, and more. Remember that if the puppy gets ahold of your personal items and destroys them, it’s your fault for leaving them within reach.

When you think you’ve finished puppy-proofing, it’s time for the final test. Get down on your hands and knees and crawl around the house like a puppy. You might look and feel silly doing it, but this is the absolute best way to find any dangerous items you might have missed, like a stray rubber band or a Lego.

Review the Game Plan

Many new pet parents don’t realize how many decisions they’ll need to make regarding their puppy. For example, where will your puppy eat his meals? What’s the best sleeping arrangement for him? Will he sleep in a crate, near your bed, or in bed with you? Who will take responsibility for feeding, walking, and training him?

Discussing these topics with the rest of the family and ensuring everyone is on the same page before the puppy arrives will help minimize stress.

Be careful not to underestimate the amount of time and attention a new puppy will need. If possible, it’s a good idea for at least one family member to plan to be home with the puppy during its first couple of weeks. This may require taking some time off of work or coordinating the family’s schedules.

Learn Basic Training Techniques

Many trainers recommend using a crate to help with puppy training and give the dog a “safe spot” where he can retreat when things start to feel overwhelming. If you decide to take this route, spend some time researching crate training so everyone in the home knows how to do it effectively. Either way, it’s important to educate yourself and all members of the family about positive training techniques.

It’s also important that everyone in the household agree on the keywords you’ll use to train the puppy. For example, if Mom says “Down” when she wants the puppy to get off the couch, Dad says it when he wants the puppy to lay down, and your son says “Sit Down” when he wants the dog to sit, you’ll end up with a super-confused puppy. Make sure everyone agrees on the training vocabulary before the puppy arrives and training will be much more effective.

Find a Veterinarian

If you purchase a puppy from, it will come with a health guarantee. However, you’ll want to bring your new family pet to the veterinarian for a check-up within the first two weeks after he comes home. Finding a reputable vet ahead of time will help ensure that you’re not scrambling after the puppy arrives. This will also give you the chance to interview several vets so you can find one that makes you feel comfortable.

Enjoy the Big Day!

When you pick up your puppy, it’s a good idea to bring a carrier or small crate for him to lay in on the way home. Make sure there’s plenty of soft bedding inside. If the puppy comes from a breeder, ask if you can have a towel or other item that smells like his mother and littermates. This will help him feel more comfortable during the transition.

Once you arrive home, put the puppy in the grass and allow him to relieve himself before bringing him inside. When he does, make sure you have a treat handy to reward him.

When you bring him in the house, remember that he will be scared and overwhelmed. Make sure everyone in the family stays as calm and quiet as possible and allow him to explore his new environment. It’s critical to make sure he’s supervised every second that he’s not in his crate. This is both for his safety and for training purposes.

Puppies usually need to use the bathroom as soon as they wake up and within 20 to 30 minutes after they eat. Taking the puppy outside on this schedule and every time it seems to be sniffing in circles will help him get a head start on potty training. Remember your German Shepherd puppy is still learning how to control his bodily functions, so never punish or scold him for having accidents in the house.

As your puppy gets more comfortable in his environment, he will begin to feel more adventurous. During this time, it’s important to stick to the puppy’s schedule and stay consistent with his training. Once he’s had all his shots, it’s also a good idea to begin socializing him and introducing him to new environments.

Training a new puppy takes a ton of time and patience, but, it’s one of the most worthwhile things you’ll ever do. Following the above advice will help you raise a puppy that’s a happy, healthy, and well-adjusted member of your family.