After many years of successfully breeding the German Shepherd Dog, I can honestly tell you that each and every time your Bitch gives birth it feels like a brand new experience. You will get nervous, anxious, and try to remember how things went with your last litter, and the anticipation is exciting and nerve racking. Just as with human births, there are definitely signs and signals that your dog is ready to drop a brand new puppy.
Although the anticipation is great and you may feel nervous, try to channel your energy to create an environment for your dog that is soothing and comforting. Remember, she is nervously anxious, too. She will need you tremendously at this time and will look to you for comfort and security…more than any other time in her life. You will notice a big change in her around birthing time because she will linger around you more than usual. Pet her and give her comfort as this helps her know everything will be O.K. Her eyes will become dilated and she will begin to noticeably pant faster than normal.
When your dog is very close to giving birth, she will begin to dig. It is ideal to have her in a contained area such as a child’s plastic swimming pool
or a whelping box to give her security and to contain the puppies. I have always used a plastic pool for whelping and line it with newspapers that I get in bundles from my local newspaper office. They have bundles of old or imperfect papers that you can purchase for $1 a bundle. This makes it easier for any messes to be cleaned up and allows your Bitch to be able to dig a place to have her puppies. This is normal for her and she needs something to dig up and prepare. If she were outside (which I don’t recommend) she will dig a hole in the dirt to drop her puppies in for security. Newspapers have always worked the best for me since I have all of my puppies indoors in a controlled environment.
Another sign that your dog is ready to give birth is her inability to get comfortable. She will pace, often in circles, in her contained area and rarely finds comfort in laying down. She will often look behind her repeatedly to see if a puppy has been dropped. This is a very good sign that birth could happen any second.
Dogs have always given birth naturally, outside, because they are in fact animals. But a good breeder wants to make sure that your female Bitch and her puppies are optimally cared for. You can often prevent a puppies death or other bad things from happening by being attentive and observing the birth of these precious puppies.
If you have any other questions regarding birthing of your GSD, please feel free to leave a comment and I’ll answer your questions as soon as possible. Good luck with your new litter!