A 5 month old German Shepherd is wrapping up the juvenile growth stage and only a month away from entering the adolescent stage of their journey to adulthood. Pretty soon their unruly behavior full of biting, chewing and jumping on everyone they see, will be tampering down as they become more and more mature. But don’t get too excited! You’re not out of the woods yet! These teenage delinquents will still test your patience for at least 4 more weeks before they enter the next phase of development.
Still young and full of energy, 5 month GSDs will still be full of vigor and ready to play. They are still in the juvenile stage of development and could still get into some trouble.
They should be behaving a little better than month 4 assuming they are getting the proper training. However, they will still most likely be acting out with some of the normal juvenile behavior.
You will need to be calm and consistent as pups this young will begin to test their boundaries. Stay firm with your commands and make sure they are aware that you are in control.
Biting and Zoomies:
Bursting with energy, they will need plenty of outlets to release all of their pent-up aggression. This aggression and sudden outbursts of intensity is often called the “zoomies.”
This means they will probably be biting and chewing everything they can find and may even destroy a few socks and toys along the way. Tug-o-war and other puppy games are a great way for them to release some of that energy.
Still teething for at least another month or so, you need to make sure that bite inhibition is being taught on a consistent basis. There are different methods you can use, to “nip” the problem in the bud.
Stay patient, once they finish the teething stage at 6 months, they will calm down a little and be easier to deal with overall.
At 5 months, they are still highly susceptible to training, so make sure to have a solid plan in place for bite inhibition and obedience. Although they are extremely smart animals, what you teach them now at this young ripe age, will dictate their future temperament immensely.
Some tips for effective training:
- Be a positive leader in their life and don’t try and force them to listen and learn.
- Don’t be aggressive when they are stubborn, it will backfire later on.
- Learn to communicate on their level to better understand what they are thinking or trying to tell you.
- Patience and consistency are key to successful training.
- Use positive reinforcement methods for training to establish a bond and trust.
Basic obedience training will involve teaching them some common commands. If you haven’t taught them these already, here is a good place to start. Ideally these should be taught when they are much younger at around the 2 month mark.
- Come – Teach him to stay after you walk away, then say “come” and reward them for obeying.
- Sit – Say sit and push their butt on the ground. Repeat this and reward them for obeying.
- Down – After sitting, teach them to lie down by saying “down” and then using the leash to direct their head on the ground. Reward them when they obey on their own.
- Heel – Teach them to heel when walking. Stand still and pull the leash until they are next to your leg. Reward them for being obedient.
- Stay – Tell them to stay. Walk around them in circles and stop them from following you. Pull on the leash when they try. Reward them for obeying. Repeat this getting further and further apart.
If you need some help with training, here is a video with some useful tips and tricks:
At month 5, they have grown quite a bit and should be right around half the weight of their full-grown adult size. They are still gaining weight pretty fast.
Males should be now standing close to the range of 14 to 16 inches at the shoulder. Females aren’t far behind standing anywhere in between 12 and 14 inches at the shoulder.
At this age, they’ve got some weight to them and may be fun to try and pick up especially for young children. Males should be tipping the scales at around 40 to 49 pounds. Females are right behind them weighing in between 35 and 40 pounds.
They are still in the teething stage with a few more months to go. Their adult teeth continue to replace their milk teeth. At this point, they have probably already had their incisors replaced depending on the dog. The canines and premolars will soon follow.
At this point, their ears should be standing up in most cases. If they aren’t at this point, you may want to look into taping their ears. Their adult double coat of fur should be almost done filling in at this stage.
It is possible that at this age, they start maturing sexually. Some males can even reach sexual maturity as young as 6 months old. This means they are possible getting close to the time when they look for mates. Be prepared and don’t let them roam around any street dogs.
At this age, a German Shepherd should be on a diet of either high-quality puppy kibble or a healthy homemade diet that consists of the right balance of calories and protein.
We recommend feeding your GSD an all-natural diet of healthy raw meats, fruits and vegetables. To do this, you need to know which foods are safe for your dog. Avoid any toxic foods and never give them too many fatty treats.
Obesity can add to the conditions that German Shepherds are already prone to. Extra weight can make it hard for dogs that already suffer from things like Hip Dysplasia. It also adds to the risk of them developing other diseases that include arthritis, diabetes, hypertension and worse case cancer.
If you do end up feeding them puppy kibble, two cups of food, three times a day is recommended. Make sure to stay consistent with their meals.
A German Shepherd puppy at this stage should be healthy and growing at a fast pace. Make sure their height and weight match up with this size chart to make sure they are keeping up with the standard.
At this point, they should have already had 3 rounds of vaccinations. Their last vaccination should have been their 16 to 18 week DHPP and rabies shots. Their next round won’t be due until 12 to 16 months.
With a clean diet and plenty of exercise, they should be healthy and thriving at this age. There is nothing major to look for as most significant diseases don’t show up until later on. Usually signs and symptoms won’t surface until they reach 5 years old.
However, it is much better to be preventative and prepare for any future problems. One way to do this is by researching their history and looking for any hereditary problems in their bloodline. You can also run a DNA test to look for certain conditions. Degenerative myelopathy, for instance, can be detected via the genes.
Regardless, you always want to keep an eye out for any sudden sickness that could afflict your GSD. There are many signs and symptoms that could mean your dog isn’t feeling well and may need a trip to the vet.
Here are some things to look for:
- Difficulty with urination
- Exorbitant coughing, gagging or sneezing
- Gums turn red or get swollen
- Hard time breathing
- Inexplicable weight loss
- Loss of their appetite
- Runny eyes or nose
- Skin is really dry or itchy
- Shift in sleeping patterns
- Urinating or thirsty more than usual
- Variation in personality
If you notice any of these signs or any other symptoms that are out of the ordinary, contact your local veterinarian.
Now that a GSD has reached the 5 month mark in their journey to adulthood, they are going to need to stay active and busy.
German Shepherds have high energy levels and need an outlet to release that energy. This is why they are so good at service work in the military and police.
Keep them busy with playtime and teach them some different games like fetch. Start taking them for walks and make sure that you are consistently training them in obedience.
Here are some care tips for a 5 month old German Shepherd:
- Provide them with a cozy warm place to sleep preferably a dog crate with a blanket.
- Feed them a good lean healthy diet of high-quality puppy kibble or an all-natural raw diet.
- Make sure they have a constant supply of fresh water.
- Check their height and weight monthly for fluctuation.
- Make sure they are current on vaccinations and free of parasites.
- Train them consistently in bite inhibition and obedience.
- Don’t let them get around any stray dogs as they begin to mature sexually.
Important: This is only advice. Make sure you connect with your local vet for a specific diet and health plan.
A 5 month old German Shepherd will be a bundle of fun, energy and joy. They will play and run around with reckless abandon. But be prepared before taking on this huge responsibility. Do your research and make sure you have a plan in place for diet, health and training. They are highly intelligent dogs that require the proper activities and training to be their best.
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Do you own a German Shepherd puppy that is this young? Do you have any additional advice for taking care of a dog this young? Let us know! We would love to hear about your personal story!