A 4 month old German Shepherd has braved the waters of puppy hood and made its way into the juvenile stage of growth. They are still super cute but starting to outgrow some of those adorable puppy dog looks. They have grown massively since day 1, surpassing the foot mark at the shoulder and almost reaching half of their full adult weight.
If you’ve ever had teenagers, you can expect some of the same with these little rebels. A 4 month old German Shepherd is two months in to the juvenile stage and may act out daily with some unwanted behavior.
Similar to the 3 month mark, you will need some serious patience to endure these little buggers for the next few months. Luckily, the 6 month mark and the end of the juvenile stage is right around the corner.
At this age they are looking more and more like an adult and less like that precious little pup they were just a few months earlier. That being said their behavior will still be puppy like and they will most likely still be biting, chewing and jumping on anyone or anything they can get their little paws on.
Biting and Zoomies:
If you didn’t take care of their tendency to bite the month before, now is the time to “nip” it in the bud. As we discussed in the previous month, you can used different techniques for preventing them from biting you.
That being said, this behavior is a normal part of their development. Referred to as the “zoomies,” dogs at the stage, will have sudden outbursts of energy. This is a common way for them to release all of that pent up puppy energy.
Along with this playful disposition comes some roughhousing with their siblings or people. This is a great time to take advantage of that energy and play some tug-o-war with their favorite toy.
Hang in there, the biting should subside when they are done teething at 6 months. However, you may sustain some damage along the way in the form of scratches. You may even lose a few pair of pants due to rips and tears.
This is a critical stage in their behavioral development. Make sure you are consistently training them in obedience and bite inhibition. Contact a local trainer for help if you cannot do it on your own.
At month 4, they are still growing at a pretty rapid pace. Males will be in the range of 11 to 14 inches at the shoulder. Females will be maybe an inch behind and in the range of 10 to 12 inches at the shoulder.
They have probably packed on another 10 pounds in weight, growing another pound every 3 days. Males will be close to 50% of their adult weight and somewhere in the range of 35 to 40 pounds. Females will be close behind, weighing in the range of 31 to 35 pounds.
They will continue to teeth as their adult teeth begin to replace their puppy teeth. This will continue for approximately 4 more months.
Their ears should be perking up and their adult hair should be replacing their puppy coat. You may notice a lot more shedding during this time. Not to fret, this is part of the natural process. Make sure you give them a nice brushing once a day during this extra shedding.
A German Shepherd this young is growing fast and needs a consistent diet of high-quality puppy kibble or homemade food to sustain their caloric intake and provide them the necessary energy.
If you can, we recommend feeding them an all-natural raw diet of healthy meats, fruits and vegetables. Just make sure you are feeding them the right foods. Stay away from any toxic foods and avoid giving them too many fatty treats.
GSDs are already prone to health conditions from their size. Obesity can increase their chances of developing other diseases such as arthritis, diabetes, hypertension and even cancer. This can decrease their lifespan and reduce their quality of life overall.
For standard puppy kibble, feed them two cups of food, three times daily. Make sure you stay on a consistent schedule.
A young German Shepherd at this age should be healthy and growing quickly. Document their size month to month, to make sure they are in line with their height and weight for their age.
They should have already had their first two sets of vaccines. If they haven’t already, they should be getting their third set which includes DHPP and rabies at 16 to 18 weeks.
Provided you are feeding them a nice lean healthy diet and they are staying active, they should be very healthy at this point. There is no need to worry about any significant diseases this young. Most of the prominent diseases don’t show up until around 5 years of age.
If you do want to take a preventative approach, you can get a DNA test which can possibly predict certain conditions such as degenerative myelopathy. You can also look at their history and bloodline for any predictors of possible health issues.
Even if they are healthy, you always want to stay on the lookout for any possible sickness that may arise. There are lost of possible symptoms that reveal sickness in your GSD puppy.
Here are some things to look for:
- Change in their normal sleeping patterns
- Coughing, gagging or sneezing excessively
- Decreased appetite
- Difficulty urinating
- Eyes or nose become runny
- Losing weight at an abnormal rate
- Skin is dry or itchy
- Gums get red or swollen
- Personality change
- Trouble breathing
- Throwing up
- Urinating too much or thirsty all the time
If you notice any of these symptoms or anything unusual and out of the ordinary, contact your local veterinarian for help immediately.
By now they have moved on from depending on their mother for care and are reliant on you for food, shelter and training.
During this young juvenile stage, they are soaking up everything like a sponge. Therefore, it is critical to instill the proper traits that will benefit them as adults.
Although the time frame for socialization usually ends at around 15 weeks, you should continue introducing them to other animals and people whenever you can. Hopefully at this point, they have been around at least 100 people. If not make it a goal.
You should continue obedience training on a regular basis. Seek a professional if you are unable to train them on your own.
Caring for a 4 month old GSD pup won’t be easy and you will need to be consistent for optimum results.
Here are some good care tips to help you along the way from 4 to 5 months:
- Make sure you have a proper sized dog crate and a warm blanket for them to sleep with.
- Feed them a healthy diet of either a high-quality puppy kibble or an all-natural raw homemade diet.
- Give them a constant supply of fresh water.
- Write down their height and weight monthly on a chart to keep them on track.
- Make sure they have gotten their 16 to 18 week vaccinations.
- Continue training them in bite inhibition, obedience and socialization.
- Don’t let them get around any stray dogs around the house.
Important: These are just our personal recommendations. You should contact your local veterinarian for a specific plan regarding their diet and health.
You will definitely have your hands full with a 4 month old German Shepherd puppy. It is a giant responsibility and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. However, they will bring lots of love and joy into your life and there will be plenty of fur flying, shoe biting, cuddle bug moments. There will be highs and lows but stay patient and, in the end, you will have a loving, loyal and constant protector.
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Have you ever taken care of a German Shepherd puppy at this age? Let us know! We would love to hear about your personal experience!