I think Doggydad is right in that I think a lot of times we make it a lot harder than it has to be.
We read all those books and sit there and look at the 8 week old furball and start applying 17 theories on animal rearing. We hear socialize, socialize, socialize. And we run the poor pup off its feet. We hear train, train, train, and we have the dog doing sit stays, and down stays, and recalls, and are expecting it to be perfect. Sometimes we do too much, and we expect too much.
I know a guy who waits until his pups are 10 months old, and then obedience trains them in a week. His dogs all seem to have stable temperaments, are not afraid of people, and he uses a prong collar and teaches them the basics in a week, and that does it for him.
I think that when you are working with a number of dogs, or when you have gotten a number of puppies through puppyhood, you have a better handle on what to expect, and you avoid a lot of pit falls, which makes each puppy a little easier to manage. And while they are all different, you are able to focus on how this puppy learns, and what this puppy needs from me, instead of 17 different theories and how my puppy is reaching each of its goals.
Also, you simply do not have the time or energy to overwhelm the puppy with training and socialization. So your schedule is a little more laid back, and the puppy may not get its CD at six months of age, but by the time it is a year old, you don't have to be embarrassed when you take it to the grooming salon in PetsMart, and you can be pretty darn proud of her when you take her to the vet.
I think just the feeling of knowing what you are doing, that the experienced puppy raiser has makes raising the puppies a whole lot easier. Waiting for them to be through with teething before giving them more freedom in the house, makes it a lot easier to teach them what they can and cannot chew on.
That first GSD puppy is hard, because we are inexperienced. We have to learn everything. And we want to do an awesome job. I think we sometimes forget that a little is a lot. And sometimes more is not better. And if you put 5 years between puppies, you have plenty of time to forget everything your previous puppy taught you. Which makes puppy #2 harder too, in some ways.
Luckily for me, I learned on puppy #2, that what worked for puppy #1 was not necessarily going to work for puppy #2. I learned to adjust to the pup. At the same time, I did not make a lot of the same mistakes with the second that I did with the first. And there are things I just do, without thinking about it now, so it kind of becomes second nature.
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