In a new home
Since we had our very first litter ‘A’ I’ve always wanted to list the general guidance for our puppy buyers to help you create a safe environment for your puppy and make the best out of our own experience in raising Polish Tatra Shepherd puppies.
Feeding your puppy
The Polish Tatra Shepherd is relatively primitive breed of dogs. The reason for it lays in where they came from and have been raised for houndreds of years. They come from a quite poor area in Poland and had to adapt to the extreme environment they were in when out with the sheep on the pasture in Tatra Mountains. Feeding was not an exception – they used to eat leftovers from making cheese (whey), guts from a killed sheep, ocassionally meat but most often – general leftovers. Dogs that were unable to maintain a good health in this extreme environment simply weren’t used for breeding anymore, which created this feature of digesting all the necessary micro and macro elements from a poor quality food.
Over the last two decades, the quality of food eaten by our Polish Tatra Shepherds has improved a lot. Most of the breeding dogs don’t live in Tatra Mountains anymore, they don’t protect sheep and eat leftovers but rather a good quality dry food. Most of them adapted really well to this new, improved environment. However, some have variety of problems caused by eating food too rich in vitamins, micro and macro elements. Problems are usually related to hip dysplasia, so to better be safe than sorry, we never recommend feeding your tTatra super premium quality food, even though you want the best for your puppy. A huge advantage of feeding your Polish Tatra Shepherd puppy with food that is less rich in vitamins, micro and macro elements is that it slows growth down, which for a dog that gains 40-50 kg’s in a year is really important. Slow and steady growth in a first year is a key to prevention from hip dysplasia.
Our recommendation for feeding Polish Tatra Shepherd puppies, based on our experience of raising 9 dogs from the puppy to an adult without health problems and with briliant hips results is feeding BARF (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food) and avarage quality dry food in proportions of 50% to 50% or 3/4 to 1/4 without additional supplementation in both cases. BARF and dry food shouldn’t be given to the dog at the same time but rather in sepparate meals. This would allow your puppy to grow on a totally natual type of dogs food, however, they would also get supplementation from the dry food if they need it. As much as you may hear from other dog owners about BARF being expensive and time consuming, I can only ensure you that it is a matter of researching the right supplier with relatively normal prices and you can make a meal for your dog in just few minutes. We do understand that people have work or other commitments – we do have too. We believe that this is a perfect combination that saves plenty of time and allows your Polish Tatra Shepherd puppy to eat food that is best for them.
If you research a skeletal scan of a few weeks old puppy you will soon find out that they are not born with a well developed bones and joints. In fact, their joints are hard to be seen on the scan in such age. The reason is that puppies of large breeds develop their bones and joints up to two years, with the first year being absolutely crucial. Therefore, we recommend limiting exercise of your Polish Tatra Shepherd Dog puppies to half an hour a day till they are 6 months old and increase it by 5 minutes every other month. The time recommended should be spred to 3 times a day and ideally it should be a steady walk on the grass, which is a naturall base for the dog to be running on. Exercises like running with the bike or running with a dog on the lead for an hour are absolutely prohibited and can cause hip dysplasia. Ideal type of exercise is swimming, and if you only have access and time to exercise your dog when swimming, we strongly do recommend this form of exercise, especially in the first year.
Spending a number of years with our Tatras we believe that they feel best living outside. The amount of fur they have protects them from extreme weather conditions like wind, rain or low temperature. Usually they just look like it is too hot for them to be at home with us for more than an hour, especially in the winter, when the heaters are on, or in the middle of the summer when they would just rather lay under the tree. Living outside also provides them with natural base for running, especially if you have grass in your garden. If you, however, invite your Tatra home more often, we advise you to make sure they don’t run on any slippery type of flooring. If you do have a carpet that provides stability for a walking or running Polish Tatra Shepherd puppy you will reduce risk of injuries or hip dysplasia caused by a slippery flooring.
We pay loads of attention to socializing our puppies. First weeks after birth is an ongoing process of socialization from both – their mother and us. She teaches them different dog behaviours and we teach them that humans are nice and fun. Our 5 years old daughter makes variety of noises I could never repeat, she spends plenty of time with them too and helps us socialize puppies from a day 1. So far it works perfectly, we are very proud reading emails, messages or getting phone calls about our puppies being so well socialized that after travelling to let’s say USA they jump out of their crate on the airport and welcome their owners immediatelly.
The process needs to be continued once the puppy is with their new owners. The more they see as puppies, the less is going to worry them when they become adults. It is all about making it fun and positive, without stress or a bad experiences.
Well behaved Tatra Shepherd Puppy on a walk with their owner is a pride for one. No one is going to walk by not looking at the beautifull, proud and well behaved dog.