She should remember you. It is important that as soon as you get there, you are very hands on with her. She needs to trust you completely.
As soon as you get there, set up the whelping area, and introduce her to the area. Just walk to the area and let her check it out. Her mother instincts should set in, and she will probably find it to her liking to go where it is quiet and warm, and she has papers to tear up.
I use newspapers -- lots of them. When she starts nesting, she will go in and move the papers around, and crash around in there a bit. Then when she starts whelping and during whelping, she will scratch and tear the papers, usually a bit frantically. I am wondering what kind of newspapers and what availability you have there. Black and white newspapers on rough paper (not shiny paper) are what you want. Our papers do have some colored ink and I have not had any problems with it, though others believe there is chemicals in the colored ink. The shiny stuff is of no use at all. It does not absorb and is slick -- not good for the bitch or the puppies.
If newsprint/newspapers are a problem, you can use wood shavings for bedding. Wood chips, straw, or old blankets. Blankets are the worst because it is a lot of cleaning and you will have to be very careful that she does not get a puppy stuck in a roll of the blanket as they can suffocate.
This is a VERY MESSY business. What I do, I go to WalMart and pick up packages of cheap washrags 14 for $2, more or less, and I pick up a couple packages of them. I wash them, and then when the puppies come out, I use two or three of them to dry each pup. After the pups are dry these washrags will be stained. If you are planning to never do this again, throw them away.
Again, get a book. Get two. Read them, keep them on hand when you go to whelp the puppies. The German Shepherd Today by Winifred Strickland and Jimmy Moses, has a decent section on whelping puppies. There is another book that I always refer to also: http://www.amazon.com/Breeding-Litter-Complete-Postnatal-reference/dp/0876054149/ref=pd_sim_b_6/182-0311458-3592716
And come if necessary and ask questions.
It is scary to see your bitch working to push out a puppy, and bleeding and the whole nine yard. Sometimes they come out head first, sometimes in a bubble along with the placenta, and sometimes they are feet first -- all perfectly normal, but sometimes it can be tricky. I remember my first litter when I saw nothing by tiny toenails, and I was on the phone with my vet and they are asking if they are front toenails or back toenails, LOL. Occasionally you do have to help. Really though, let's hope the main part of your job is as a cheer leader, "Good girl!" "Push." "Push the puppy out."
The books will help you know if your bitch is in trouble. If she spews water, then she should present you with a puppy within 30-45 minutes. If two hours goes by and no puppy, then you need to call a vet. If she is straining hard for two hours, and no puppy you will need to find a vet. If you do an x-ray, don't be 100% sure of the count, they may say 8, and there may be 10, but if they say 8 and she stops trying after 2 or 3, then you should give her some white (vanilla ice cream) or condensed milk to try and get her going again.
It is perfectly normal for her two have puppies as close together as 20 minutes, and as far apart at 4 hours. She may even surprise you with another one after you go to sleep for the night. Since this is her first litter, if at all possible, set up a cot for yourself right in her whelping area. Sleep with one eye open. I literally slept on top of my covers so I would be in an uneasy sleep and could hear what was happening when I thought we were getting close to the time.
Some other essential equipment:
1. A cheap digital thermometer for people -- you will want to rectally take her temperature twice a day from the time you get home. Her normal temperature should be between 101.5 and 102. It will start going down prior to whelping. It will go up and down a bit. Usually when it get down in the 98 region and stays there for about 12 hours, she will have the pups within 24 hours. After having the puppies, if her nose is dry and if she does not eat or drink, take her temperature. A fever over 103 and call your vet.
2. A kitchen scale -- cheap ones can be bought at discount stores for 10-12 dollars around here. You will want to weigh the pups each day and mark down their growth or loss. It is normal for them to lose a little at first when the mother is producing colostrum. But then they should start gaining. A method to mark the puppies is also important. I use rick rack because it does not tighten like yarn can, you have to check it every day, not let it be too loose or puppies will get their paws stuck in it. But it can't be too tight either. Some people use finger nail polish to mark them, I never have so get someone else to tell you what is safe and how they do that.
The puppies will all probably look black unless they are sables, and you will need some way to identify them from each other. JB wholesaler or other on-line pet stores have identification tapes you can use and small collars. The collars really need for the pups to be about a week old, or they will be too large. And after a week or two you really should not need to do all the weighing.
Good luck. Sorry if this is a little out of sequence. I am just thinking and spewing. A book should have everything you need in an ordered manner.
Jenna, RN CGC & Babs, CD RA CGC HIC
Heidi, RA CGC
SG3 Odessa, SchH1, Kkl1, AD
Ninja, RN CGC & Milla, RN CGC
Joy, Star Puppy, RN CGC
Dolly CGC & Bear CGC