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bbrannan 06-29-2014 04:40 PM

Howdy, from a new member

So, just found the board. Can't promise I'll be in a ton, but hope that when I am, to learn a bunch.

I'm new to GSD's, having only really admired them from afar. Figuratively from afar, at any rate. Such noble dogs. Gotta love the ears.

Anyway, I'm currently laying the groundwork to get my first GSD puppy. With two dogs (a Cairn Terrier and a Labrador), this should be fun and interesting.

Here's my diabolical plan. I've been a guide dog user now for 18 years, now working my third. Two have been Labs (including the current one), and my first was a Golden. My first two worked roughly 6.5 years each, so if Leno holds to pattern, I've still got about two years and more of active working life from him, as we're coming up on our fourth anniversary.

Make no mistake, I have absolutely no problem with established guide dog training programs, and the Seeing Eye is, in my always humble opinion, the best there is. Two of my three guides came from there. But I plan to raise and train my own guide for #4. Even if I never do it again, I do want to do it at least once. And I want to raise a dog and start in on training while Leno is still working. Formal guide training wouldn't start until well after the first year, 15-18 months, and with no super hurry about it, it wouldn't be done until no *earlier* than two years, and later is all right by me.

Working with dogs this long by no means makes me an expert, and I'm under no such delusions. There will be lots for both me and a new dog to learn. But for me, this is all about the journey, not so much about the destination, important as the destination might be.

So that's pretty much it. Rock throwing shall commence. *LOL*

Nigel 06-29-2014 07:49 PM

Welcome to the forum! Sounds like a good plan, curious as to where you would get your puppy prospect?

TAR HEEL MOM 06-29-2014 08:04 PM

Welcome! Sounds like a good plan to me :) As the mom of a Lab and a former Labrador Breeder, I congratulate you on owning the greatest love hound in the world. And as the mom of a 2 year old GSD, I tell you in advance, he will steal your heart and your soul and you will never be the same :)

onyx'girl 06-29-2014 08:04 PM

Welcome to the forum. Alta-Tollhaus has generously donated quite a few pups to the guide dog program.

Wishing you success in your journey/plan!

bbrannan 06-29-2014 08:38 PM

Thanks y'all.

Of course, I wouldn't be doing this under the auspices of any program. I'm pretty sure that at least some programs might consider this to be foolhardy at best, dangerous at worst! It's true that it's a big job, and there are things I don't know how I'd train for (traffic is the biggest one, and I won't pretend that I think I'd do as thorough job with a traffic s the Seeing Eye does, but then, I don't think *anyone* does as thorough job of traffic). Fortunately, I know other owner trainers who have done this before I have.

As for where, so far, I've been talking to a local breeder. Just a couple litters a year, and local seems to be an advantage. For a variety of reasons, I can't just hop in the car and drive a couple hours to meet breeders. Not that I'd object to meeting breeders from elsewhere, mind you.

Wait...there's really a breeder called Tollhaus?! Pass the cookies.

Nikitta 06-29-2014 09:03 PM

Welcome and good luck with your plan. Your going to fall in love with this breed. I did and I've never recovered. :p

HappyFurKid 06-29-2014 09:13 PM

Welcome to the forum! You're guaranteed to find a lot of information here from the many knowledgeable members.

onyx'girl 06-29-2014 09:22 PM

Alta-Tollhaus German Shepherd Dogs
yes yummy red and black cookies!
I'd be careful on which breeder you choose. "Local" may not have what is necessary to produce a balanced SD. I'd find a breeder who knows what they are breeding and establish a relationship with them(look at what they've previously produced) and not limit myself to a local breeder.

selzer 06-29-2014 10:09 PM

Welcome to the board.

I agree with Jane.

The people you know who have trained their own dogs, did you ask where they got their pups.

bbrannan 06-29-2014 10:23 PM

Naturally, I wouldn't limit myself to one specific breeder. And I have a lot of time before anything has to happen. Of the people I know who have done this, I don't think any of them have gotten GSD's, except perhaps one person in New Zealand who has trained her own guides since well before I was born. There's at least one poodle, a lab/boxer mix, a Golden, some that came from shelters (someone got very lucky!) I will certainly be dropping Alta-Tollhaus a note and chat with them, as they don't have puppies currently and don't really specify when they plan their next litter(s). One advantage they'd have would be that they have an idea of what to look for, and their description of the puppy prepping and testing sounds an awful lot like what the guide dog schools do with their own breeding. That was pretty impressive.

Even so, I'm meeting with the local breeder next week and will meet her dogs. I know at least one person who has one of her pups and is pleased with her, which is pretty helpful.

In any case, no rush, Leno is happy to keep on going.

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