first time posting here but several months reading the forums! After a lot of researching, Im in a very good position to make a decision about getting a wl gsd. Id really appreciate if people with wl gsd experience could take a moment and check my plan. Right now, everything is theory although I have experience with dogs, I know 100% that a gsd, specially, a wl is way different that the dogs Im used to.
Ive recently moved to downtown Toronto from UK though Im spaniard. Ive always have had dogs, Yorkshire Terriers, with basic house manners training. In total three dogs rised from puppies to adulthood. After moving to UK I didnt want to have any dogs as the situation wasnt stable enough to consider having it. Several years later, here I am, in Toronto, in what its very likely going to be a very stable life ready to put down roots in Canada. After reading all the threads in this forum, watching videos and educating myself, I can say Im ready to have my dream dog!
Im a very active person. My lifestyle is pretty much work, sleep, workout during the week and outside activities (ie, paddling boarding this summer at the lake, rowing back in UK, cycling, sprinting, etc...) on weekends. I value more the day life as opposed to the whole night life (pubs, clubs and so on). I rather do some sport or train than having some drinks after work. Having said all this, I do have weekend days of staying inside studying, working or just exploring the new city.
I work full time in a typical 9-5 desk job. Commute is around an hour round trip. So just getting to the office and back and working is already 9 hours. I live in the downtown in a condo, so no yard, in the 9th floor (potty training would be interesting). Im in a very pet friendly condominium which doesnt have any specific rules about dog breed or size. My landlady is ok with me having dogs as long as it doesnt damage the property, which is fair enough and totally understandable.
In total Id have 5 hours a day (2 in the morning and 3 in the evening) to spend with the dog, though one would be chilling at home (while I cook or groom him or whatever chore I have to do to keep our life in order). Weekends would be all day, spending time together outdoors and/or with friends and their dogs doing some activity. Im planning to work with the dog every day as I truly enjoy the process of dedication and achievement. Cool thing is that I dont have to make any major lifestyle change as Im already used to hard work (ie, Im used to wake up early in the morning to go rowing/training). My training plan would be to go to an ipo (not sure about the protection part)/agility/sports club on weekends, during the week training the dog by myself and attending an obedience class. Also, lots of walks, games and whatnot. Not sure about the details yet, but clubs and classes are a must for me as Id be a first time wl gsd owner and training/walks/games/exercise as a form of bonding. Im likely not going to compete as I found in the past that I enjoy more the actual training than the competition itself. On the other hand, training everyday is a must to fit my lifestyle. Also, I hope that with time the dog turns into a solid companion in my life. Id describe the dog as a companion in my life that happens to love work and effort as much as I do.
First most Im looking for temperament and solid nerves. I love sables but genetics is the first thing I take into account. The dog is aloof/neutral around other dogs or strangers and have a solid nerve as its going to be exposed to a urban lifestyle. It has a switch and knows how to relax at home and work/play when being outside. Also, It has to be able to spend at least 10 days in a boarding facility as I get back for christmas and dont want the dog to fly if I can avoid it. I know some of this things are genetics and some are training. My goal is to get the most suitable puppy for me and my lifestyle, so we can both work on the training and have a happy life together. I have a list of breeders close to Toronto but that probably is better if I leave it for another post.
My plan to tackle the issues as single owner of a puppy for the first weeks is:
- First week: Take the week off. Start potty training, crate training, playing, imprinting, getting to know each other and very constraint socializing. Potty training would be interesting as I live in a 9th floor. So lots of runs downstairs (which I enjoy). At this point as the puppy will have just the first shot and Im going to be really paranoid about parvo and other deseases, I wont allow the puppy to touch the ground. The idea is once at the street, put a fresh pee pad in the ground and make sure the puppy doesnt leave it. Also, lots of playing and being as fun as possible so I can start working on engangement. Socializing is going to be handle very carfully. Ill walk with the puppy on me, so he can get used to the urban noises, smells, people, etc... I wont let anyone pet him on these outings unless its on my terms. Also, Ill have a few visits from friends that I trust and set an introduction with the puppy. This first week is when I want to set the schedule so the puppy can get used to it.
- Second and third week: Take half days off. Have a dog walker coming after 2 hours I left to get the puppy a potty break. Keep working on the same things as the first week. Maybe adding a puppy class depending if Im willing to take the risk or not.
- Fourth week and beyond: Start working full time. Have a dog walker coming twice a day, then once a day and then 0 times a day depending on how long the dog can hold it. Transition to the regular schedule.
I have more ideas about breeders, vets, diet, training methods, bonding, etc... but I think they are not relevant right now. What Id like to get away from this post is opinions of experienced wl gsd owners on my plan. Im here to figure out if Im missing anything or if there are red flags that makes the idea of having a wl gsd not recommended in my case. I have a list of what I think are yellow flags though with effort they seem feasible. Im very keen to know the opinions of others.
Thank you very much in advance people!