A 7 month old German Shepherd is a month into its adolescence or “teenager” stage of development. The adorable, cute, fuzzy little furball, puppy days are over and your GSD now carries a lot more weight around the house. Their hormones will be fluctuating and they may attempt to disobey or get a little aggressive as they try to assert their dominance.
A 7 months old, they are still big puppies but things could start to get a little dicey. Similar to the “terrible twos” with human babies, dogs that are around 6-7 months old may go through a rough patch regarding their behavior.
In fact, your cute, floppy eared pup could turn into quite the pain in the neck. He or she may even take part in some behaviors that you have never seen before.
They may bark a lot more, become bossy, chew on things, disobey your commands, or start having more accidents around the house. Don’t lose patience! These are all normal behavior for a dog with changing hormone levels.
In Fact: This is a crucial time to buckle down and make it work with your dog. This Pet Finder study found that 37.1% of dogs surrendered were between 7 months to 1 year old.
It’s not going to be easy but if you can make it to the 1 year mark, your chances for success with you and your dog increase dramatically.
At this stage in their development, teething should be over but a new problem may present itself.
Similar to the previous month, “resource guarding” may start to surface.
Your German Shepherd may start to get really possessive about his or her belongings including chew toys, blankets, food etc.
This is a normal phase when they don’t want anyone touching their things. They may even growl or snarl at other animals or friends who try and take it away from them.
This type of behavior has to be nipped in the bud as soon as possible or it can lead to problems in the future.
Your dog may end up lashing out at other dogs or people in public settings.
We recommend keeping your GSD away from dog parks especially at this age. We will discuss how to put a stop resource guarding in the next section.
At the 7 month mark, your German Shepherd should have a solid foundation that includes bite inhibition, crate/potty training, and plenty of socialization. If they haven’t been fully socialized by now, it’s going to be tough.
The window for socialization usually closes at approximately 16 weeks. They should also know at least 5 basic obedience commands and 2 advanced commands. From this point on, you should aim for teaching him or her 2 new advanced commands per month.
Some tips to help you train effectively:
- Avoid being aggressive if they choose to be stubborn and not obey your commands.
- Be consistent and train them for a minimum of 10-15 minutes a day.
- Communicate and relate with them on their level.
- Show them that you are the leader but never use force to get them to listen or learn.
- Use positive reinforcement and reward them with praise or treats when obedient.
If your German Shepherd doesn’t have at least 5 basic commands down pat, teach him or her those first. If you have been following our previous monthly guides, continue with the following intermediate commands. Last month we went over crawl and fetch.
- Heel – Start by walking around the yard. Call your GSDs name and then point to your left side. Once he or she walks beside you, say “yes” and give a reward. Repeat several times. Now get them to walk over without calling or pointing. Increase the difficulty level. Now walk and say the command “heel” until they are successful.
- Speak – Run around and get your dog excited. Get them to bark. As soon as they do, say the word “speak” and reward them. Repeat several times only rewarding them when you command them to bark. Also, only reward them for single barks and never multiple barks.
Check out this video for some tips and tricks with training:
At month 7, growth slows a bit compared to the previous 6 months. However, they are still more than half of their future adult size and most likely gained around 5 pounds since last month.
Males are now getting closer to the 2 foot mark, standing approximately 19 to 20 inches at the withers. Females aren’t that far behind standing around 17 to 19 inches at the withers.
Males are now in the “large dog breed” range and should weigh anywhere in between 57 and 62 pounds. Females are closer to the 50 pound range weighing anywhere from 49 to 53 pounds.
At this point they are starting to look much more adult like. They should have all 42 of their adult teeth if they didn’t last month. They should have their adult full double coat of fur completely filled in. Brush weekly with a good undercoat rake to help with shedding.
Ears will most likely be fully standing at this point although in some cases it can take up to a full year. If they aren’t at this point, you may want to consider taping.
Sexual Maturity Continues:
Sexual maturity most likely started last month and will continue to develop until they are around 2 years old.
For males, hormones will be kicking in and they will begin to search for female mates anywhere they can. This is a god time to keep them separated from any stray dogs in the neighborhood or at the local park.
During this time, they will mark their territory. For females, their estrogen will kick in and they will begin to go into heat.
Nutrition is still extremely important for a German Shepherd at this age. They are still young and gaining weight so a healthy lean diet is vital for their development. You want to make sure you are giving them the proper number of calories and enough protein to sustain their growing bones.
We recommend feeding your GSD an all-natural diet. This includes lean meats that are high in protein such as chicken, fish and turkey. You should combine that with healthy fruits and vegetables like apples, bananas, blueberries, carrots, peas and pumpkin.
Be careful, there are some fruits and veggies that can be toxic to your dog. Avoid too many treats if possible, aside from training. Make sure to use lean non-fatty treats. Excess fat in treats can lead to obesity.
Over time obesity can lead to other health issues including elbow and hip dyplasia. It can also increase the risk of your GSD getting certain diseases like arthritis, diabetes, hypertension and worst-case cancer.
Keep in mind, feeding your German Shepherd an all-natural diet can get expensive. Calculate the costs to determine the best route. If you are on a budget or simply don’t have the time for cooking and preparing a homemade diet, you can feed them a high-quality puppy kibble.
Feed your GSD 2 to 3 cups total over the course of 2 meals throughout the day. Be consistent with your feeding times.
They should be healthy and thriving but it is a good idea to confirm that they are meeting the standard height and weight requirements for their age. You can write down their monthly measurements in a journal to make sure they are staying on track.
At 7 months, they should have received their first three vaccines. Their next DHPP, rabies vaccine won’t be needed until they are one year old.
While some veterinarians recommend getting your German Shepherd neutered or spayed around this time, most breeders will say to hold off until they are at least one year old.
This may not be easy with a female that is going into heat but try to postpone the procedure when possible. GSDs that are fixed before 6 months of age are more likely to develop the joint condition hip dyplasia.
Aside from providing a healthy diet and ample exercise, you shouldn’t have too much to worry about health wise at this age. Most major diseases won’t rear their ugly heads until around 5 years old.
However, we recommend getting ahead of the curve to try and prevent any possible future health issues. You can do some research into the background and history of the parents to look for any potential hereditary problems in the bloodline.
You can take advantage of certain tools like a DNA test to potentially predict future conditions. Degenerative myelopathy is one example that can be found in your dog’s genes.
Although it is too early to be on the lookout for any major diseases, you can still look for any symptoms of sickness your GSD may run into. Take your dog to the vet if you notice anything out of the ordinary.
Signs and symptoms to watch for:
- Breathing is labored
- Change in personality
- Coughing, gagging or sneezing a lot
- Drinking and urinating an excessive amount
- Dry and itchy skin
- Eyes and nose are runny
- Hard time urinating
- Irregular sleeping pattern
- Less of an appetite
- Loose stool
- Red or swollen gums
- Sudden loss of weight
These are just some of the symptoms that could mean your dog is sick. And while they don’t necessarily mean that anything serious is wrong, you are better safe than sorry.
Caring for a 7 month old German Shepherd won’t be easy. They are full of energy and working dogs that need to stay busy. If you are looking for a chill dog that doesn’t require a lot of work, you picked the wrong breed.
German Shepherds are extremely smart animals and on par with a 2 year old child when it comes to intelligence. They can remember up to 150 words which means you can teach them a lot of commands.
GSDs like to have specific tasks to accomplish. Not giving them enough to do throughout the day can lead to boredom and possibly destructive behaviors.
At this age, they need at least 35 minutes of exercise per day. We recommend one long walk or two shorter walks every day. Be careful not to overdo it because their skeletal system is still developing and too much impact on their joints can have a negative impact.
Rule of thumb: The best way to calculate the amount of exercise needed based on their age is to give them 5 minutes per month. (7 months + 5 minutes = 35 minutes of exercise)
This should be in addition to their daily playtime and obedience training for 5-10 minutes daily.
Care tips for a 7 month old German Shepherd:
- Feed them a healthy all-natural homemade diet or high-quality puppy kibble.
- Give them a constant supply of fresh water so they stay hydrated.
- Keep them far away from any neighborhood or stray dogs until sexually mature.
- Provide them with a nice cozy warm place to sleep such as a dog crate.
- Stay up to date on their vaccinations and make sure they are parasite free.
- Train them every day for 5-10 minutes in obedience and teach them at least two intermediate commands.
- Write down their height and weight to make sure they are staying on track.
Important: These are only our personal recommendations. Contact your local vet for a specific diet and health plan.
A 7 month old German Shepherd will be a bundle of fun and bring plenty of joy into your family. However, don’t take owning one for granted and do your homework. If you have never owned this type of working dog breed before, make sure you prepare ahead and have a plan for keeping them active and busy on a daily basis.
This age can be fun but it can also bring a lot of stress and your patience will be tested. Keeping them healthy and active are most important. Make sure they get the proper training needed and consistent socialization so that they know how to behave around other people and animals.
Please leave a comment below and let us know what you think!
Do you currently own a German Shepherd that is at this age? What would your personal advice be to someone who is getting a GSD at this stage in its development? Let us know! We would love to hear about your personal story!