Handy tips

Bench
Size: 123x77x83cm – This format is perfect, an adult can stretch out and lay down comfortably
Color: Zwart – The dog and you can see through the bench easier when it’s colored black
Bench training: Start slow and go from there. Feed the meals in the bench and make it a fun place. Place the puppy int the bench when he is sleepy or already fell a asleep. Build up the time in the bench and start closing the door while you are still there and continue slowly to go out of sight until you can leave the room etc. when the puppy understands and is okay with it, start building up being-alone-time. I suggest to leave a nice snack in the bench and then to leave. Pick a snack that is not dangerous for your puppy to eat and one that will last longer.

Pillows
Size: I suggest to go about the same size as your bench, that will give you more flexibility if you want to change things around. I have made really good experience with memory foam or so called HD-Beds. Dogs sink a little in and find it very comfortable.

Supervision
Webcams work really well to keep your puppy in check when you are not home or when you are in another room. IPcams are affordable and easy to use, many even have nightvision. If you want to use it on your mobile phone with your subscription, I suggest you lower the image quality so your data traffic won’t go off the charts.

Harness vs. collar
Collar: I only use this on puppy’s so they can get used to the sensation and with a tag as identifier for just in case. On adult dogs I only use it as identifier, in cases where I don’t want them to wear a harness – like on long trips in the car of on the beach.
Harness: I am a big fan of Y-formed harnesses, please be aware that the fitting of a harness is really important. So try to get one that fits comfortably and won’t rub and hurt your dog. I have tried a lot of harnesses and won’t advice any fleece ones, hairs stick to them like crazy. I have 4 harnesses now from Aura4Dox, this site allows you to customize your harness or even have it custom made. The facbric is very durable, easy to clean and soft at the same time!

Training
Please do visit a puppy course and don’t stop there. Continue especially during puberty, you can also ask your instructors any questions you might have and get some extra advices. They can see your dog and can assess them better than any Facebook group ;). White shepherds are working dogs and are very versatile, once they are fully grown and adult you can try dog sports as well and boy, they are fun!

Neutering/Sterilization
We do not support neutering and sterilization without medical need, however we also realize that this is a personal decision. We only ask that you will wait until the dog is fully matured in body as well as mentally. The hormonal changes will influence a dog in growth a lot more than a dog that has finished the growth. In average this will be around 18-24 months.

Brushes & Brushing
Don’t brush too often, it will only stimulate the loss of fur. We only brush after drying off from a muddy walk to brush out the remaining dried dirt out of their fur and like once a month just to make sure there is no tangled fur behind the ears etc.
The only 2 brushes we really use are these two:

The left one has short pins, this one is perfect for just the regular brushing. The right one has longer and shorter thick pins, this one is perfect during shedding time, as it will reach to the undercoat. Do not use fur cutting/destroying brushes such as the furminator.

Washing & Drying
You can give your dog a wash every now and then, just make sure to dry the dog off well. A quick wash/rinse is best done without soap, as you will require more rinsing with a shampoo and that means that your dog will get wet to the undercoat, which means drying more difficult. For the quick wash you can checkout dog bathrobes, they soak all the moisture quite well.
I advice an extensive wash during shedding season, make sure the dog is wet all the way through the undercoat and use a good dog shampoo and conditioner. Let it sit for like 30 mins and wash it out. Repeat if dog is really dirty. Then use towels to hand dry and use a strong dog grooming blower (not hot!) to blow out all the loose fur and also the water. They look like this:

You can also use them to blow out the dirty after a walk etc. just don’t use them inside, they are really powerful and you might end up with a clean dog but very dirty walls.

Vaccinations
We are not against vaccinations, however we are against over-vaccinating. We advice to get all puppy vaccinations done and then go for a titer test. This test only requires a few drops of blood and it will test the current amount of antibodies. If there are sufficient anti-bodies present, a vaccination is not required. In the Netherlands this is accepted and added to your passport. If vaccinations are required, try to spread them out as much as possible. So don’t get all vaccinations done in 1 go, especially for puppys, it can weaken their immune system by quite a bit.

If you want to travel abroad, you need to timely get rabies vaccination done. This vaccination requires 3 weeks until it is considered active, which means that you need to have it done 3 weeks prior to your trip.

Ticks/Flees/Others
We are fortunate to live in an area with a low amount of ticks and flees. There are also dogs that are more attractive to them than others. For us the daily addition of coconut oil to the dogs diet is enough to prevent them. In high season or on vacation we sometimes add garlic tablets (Brand “Grau”) to their diet. When we go on vacation in countries that have sand flies, we will make use of a collar from brand “Scalibor”. After the vacation we also deworm our dogs to make sure they are not affected by heartworms or any others worms.

Insurance
It’s great to have an animal health insurance for your puppy, especially when you are a first time owner or when you simply want the comfort of being able to go to your vet without a lot any concerns about the costs. We suggest that you insure your puppy for at least the first year. Please remember that a facebook group advice or any advices from a distance are never accurate, so if you think there is something wrong – please just go to see a vet.

Food
We have made good experience with ‘KVV’, rolls of minced meat/organ/bone. We also feed high % meat kibble during vacations and sometimes just for a change of tastes. On a fresh meat diet, the dogs will have less stools and the stools also smell less. However, you need to get a good brand and also watch that you don’t feed the dog too one-sided. Here’s a really good website(Dutch) about kibble and meat: https://www.voerwijzer.com/

Medicines
There are a couple of medicines that are handy to have in house:
– Finidiar: Against light diarrhea, can be combined with mashed cooking pumpkin for extra support
– Betadine: Antiseptic used for skin disinfection
– Vetramil: Salve for wound care
– Ballistol Animal: Oil for general skin care and wound aftercare
– Jean Peau Eye Care: Against tear stripes and to rinse out the eyes if needed
– Paw Balm: Paw care

General rules
I strongly advice that you start very early with setting down rules and boundaries, but also to work towards a goal which is your future with your dog. If you are person that works and your dogs needs to be able to be home alone, then you should start working on that early on. These are personal decisions to make, but keep them in mind when raising a puppy this will avoid many future issues.

There are also some rules that apply regardless of the situation:
No leash pulling, leash training starts at day 1: This is also one of the most common issues in general, as puppy it’s cute… later when they are 40kgs of muscles and pull you across the street or over ice… not so cute anymore.
Socialize: Make sure your puppy gets exposed to good dogs and humans, who know how to handle a puppy. You are the boss in these situations, it’s your puppy and your responsibility. Anything that is too rough for example means that it needs to end. Socializing wrongly will also cause a lot of troubles. Another thing is not to over-socialize your dog, too much is too much. Your puppy gets tired quickly and new things are even more tiresome. Be aware when it’s getting too much and head home or a safe place so your puppy can rest.
Dog schools: Make sure you picked a good dog school that works with positive reinforcement, but keep a good look at your puppy and make sure that you stop and give it time to rest when it’s getting tired or your have the feeling it’s getting too much for it. Even though there are instructors, you know your dog the best and you are the boss! Please also keep in mind that instructor’s can’t know everything. If the suggested methods are not working or you do not agree with it, change it and try it differently. If you are given advice that you do not agree with, then don’t take them. Go with a good common sense and listen to your guts, it’s your dog.
The vet: Your dog will have to see the vet once in a while, hopefully not too often. However, to avoid it becoming a very stressful situation, take your puppy to the vet office just to say hi and get a cookie. Making it a pleasant place and experience. Every now and then you can also just drop by to have your dog weighed, let the people there give your dog a cookie and leave. This way your dog will always consider it a nice place to go to. While we are at this topic, please remember also that you are the boss and you pay the vet to treat your dog the way you want it to be treated. Don’t be intimidated to say no or to disagree. Some vets want you to make a decision at the spot, but you don’t have to. Go home, do some research first and don’t let them push you. Also make sure you voice your opinion and wishes regarding vaccinations clearly. Some vets tend to try put their opinion over yours, but be aware that not all vets went to all courses and are up to date with the newest research.