Plans on having a wl gsd - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-06-2015, 12:19 AM Thread Starter
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Plans on having a wl gsd

Hi guys,
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!

Cheers,
Ruben
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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-06-2015, 10:57 AM
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Welcome, friend!

WOW! I am seriously impressed! You put a lot effort in this process.. as one should, but you just rarely see a first time GSD owner do this in such detail.

I am not experienced with apartment dwelling, so I will let those with the experience comment on the potty training portion. I would suggest you talk to your vet about the Parvo threat in your area.. if it's low then you shouldn't have a problem letting them potty on the grass vs pee pad. I'd take that part up with your vet though.

As for everything else, you have really taken into consideration most everything and all sounds wonderful. The only thing I didn't see you mention is food. Have you thought about what kind of food/diet you will have your pup on. Also, have you researched clubs in your area to get involved in before you get your pup? While not required, it's nice to build a relationship with the team you'll be working with and have some of them help with initial eyes on the pup.

I think too that you will find some that have issues with various aspects of your life... and whether or not it's fit for a puppy. Things you might hear would be that you live in an apartment, you work full time, etc. BUT things in your defense are that you have done a TON of research you seem and sound totally prepared for the extra responsibilities.. You have a plan for a dog walker to let your pup out when you are working until you no longer need them. There are PLENTY of people that work full time and have GSD pups.. WL and SL. I am one of them. I raised Titan since he was 8 wks.. similar to your plans, only I came home from work at lunch instead of hiring someone.. and I had a yard. still worked 8-10 hours a day and managed to train SAR for 3 years at the same time. It can be done!

Congrats for making your decision! Super exciting! Can't wait to see the little guy when you get him! (which undoubtedly means you are obligated to post photos).

v/r,

Whitney
and
Commander Charly Titan (GSD)-15 Jan 2010

Last edited by wyoung2153; 10-06-2015 at 11:06 AM.
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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-06-2015, 11:45 AM
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We lived on the 7th floor of an apt building when we first got Max. He ended up being a very vocal puppy, so we moved to a house. Just something to consider. GSDs, even puppies, can be LOUD
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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-06-2015, 12:11 PM
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If you get to an IPO club, you may want to train with them one weekend day and one work week night. Obedience training - get recommendations from the club if you want to do this independent of the club. (Once I started IPO I did no other classes). Prior dogs, yes, we did obedience classes. You will not be working the dog all day at club. You will have the dog out for maybe 15 minutes/1/2 hour, put him up, watch others and maybe bring him out a time or two more. So maybe out there 6 hours and 45 minutes to an hour total on the field. But you will get a lot of help from other people in the other 5 hours. You will learn a lot by watching other people work their dogs.

I keep my training sessions at home short, too. You don't want the dog to get bored with it or to shut down because it is too much. Keep it a treat for the dog and interesting for the dog.

You'll be fine. Just hope your pup isn't a screamer as someone mentioned. Puppy piddle pads can help with the "long trip to the yard"
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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-06-2015, 02:15 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wyoung2153 View Post
Welcome, friend!

WOW! I am seriously impressed! You put a lot effort in this process.. as one should, but you just rarely see a first time GSD owner do this in such detail.
Thanks! I still need to do more work on researching stuff like local breeders, vets, diet, etc... though I think that can wait at this point.

Quote:
As for everything else, you have really taken into consideration most everything and all sounds wonderful. The only thing I didn't see you mention is food. Have you thought about what kind of food/diet you will have your pup on. Also, have you researched clubs in your area to get involved in before you get your pup? While not required, it's nice to build a relationship with the team you'll be working with and have some of them help with initial eyes on the pup.
I havent done a lot of research on this yet. Ill probably get a mixed raw/prepared food but Ill stick with whatever the breeder uses and then transition to something more convenient without loosing quality if I needed. Clubs/trainers wise Ive a list that are close enough to my place. As soon as I make the decision ill start visiting them.

Quote:
I think too that you will find some that have issues with various aspects of your life... and whether or not it's fit for a puppy. Things you might hear would be that you live in an apartment, you work full time, etc. BUT things in your defense are that you have done a TON of research you seem and sound totally prepared for the extra responsibilities.. You have a plan for a dog walker to let your pup out when you are working until you no longer need them. There are PLENTY of people that work full time and have GSD pups.. WL and SL. I am one of them. I raised Titan since he was 8 wks.. similar to your plans, only I came home from work at lunch instead of hiring someone.. and I had a yard. still worked 8-10 hours a day and managed to train SAR for 3 years at the same time. It can be done!
Thats one of my main concerns. Leaving the dog once can hold it for that much amount of time. Some people say it definitely affects the quality of life of the dog and others say it doesn't matter as long as it has proper physical and mental stimulation.

Quote:
Congrats for making your decision! Super exciting! Can't wait to see the little guy when you get him! (which undoubtedly means you are obligated to post photos).
If I go ahead with this, my plan would be to get the puppy by spring 2016. Plenty of time to prepare myself and well, it seems to me rising a puppy would be definitely easier with good enough weather
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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-06-2015, 02:23 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by mchcthrn View Post
We lived on the 7th floor of an apt building when we first got Max. He ended up being a very vocal puppy, so we moved to a house. Just something to consider. GSDs, even puppies, can be LOUD
Thanks. This is something I have considered. My neighbors are all young people that most of the time are having parties or the music too loud. Fortunately, the noise isolation is pretty decent and cant hear them once inside the unit. To be honest, I don't know how this is possible as the walls seem to be really thin but hey, not going to complain. This gives me a little bit of room in the future to come up with strategies to deal with the issue if it happens. Having said that Ill search on the subject, see what others have done about it.
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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-06-2015, 02:28 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by middleofnowhere View Post
If you get to an IPO club, you may want to train with them one weekend day and one work week night. Obedience training - get recommendations from the club if you want to do this independent of the club. (Once I started IPO I did no other classes). Prior dogs, yes, we did obedience classes. You will not be working the dog all day at club. You will have the dog out for maybe 15 minutes/1/2 hour, put him up, watch others and maybe bring him out a time or two more. So maybe out there 6 hours and 45 minutes to an hour total on the field. But you will get a lot of help from other people in the other 5 hours. You will learn a lot by watching other people work their dogs.

I keep my training sessions at home short, too. You don't want the dog to get bored with it or to shut down because it is too much. Keep it a treat for the dog and interesting for the dog.

You'll be fine. Just hope your pup isn't a screamer as someone mentioned. Puppy piddle pads can help with the "long trip to the yard"
Thank you! My idea is to do some kind of sport/work aside from my own sessions with the dog. From what Ive read and seen, IPO seems well aligned with what I want though the protection work puts me off. This is pretty much because I dont have an understanding of it but visiting clubs in my area should help with this.
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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-07-2015, 08:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Ruben! View Post
Thats one of my main concerns. Leaving the dog once can hold it for that much amount of time. Some people say it definitely affects the quality of life of the dog and others say it doesn't matter as long as it has proper physical and mental stimulation.
Well let me comment on just my experience... Titan is a dog who's drive beyond any dog I have ever had or worked with. He needs PLENTY of physical exercise and mental exercises to even just scratch the surface. I work full time, as does my husband. Both pretty steady hours, but Titan is alone for a good 8-10 hours a day. He gets a good run/play/OB in the morning before we leave. Then the same when we get home.. with more exercise of both throughout the evening until bedtime. The weekends are when we do longer training/physical exercises, socialization, outings, etc. He is a happy camper.. loves life and enjoys the routine we have. The biggest thing I can say is get in a routine and stick with it. Your new pup will thrive off routine.

v/r,

Whitney
and
Commander Charly Titan (GSD)-15 Jan 2010
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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-07-2015, 11:21 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by wyoung2153 View Post
Well let me comment on just my experience... Titan is a dog who's drive beyond any dog I have ever had or worked with. He needs PLENTY of physical exercise and mental exercises to even just scratch the surface. I work full time, as does my husband. Both pretty steady hours, but Titan is alone for a good 8-10 hours a day. He gets a good run/play/OB in the morning before we leave. Then the same when we get home.. with more exercise of both throughout the evening until bedtime. The weekends are when we do longer training/physical exercises, socialization, outings, etc. He is a happy camper.. loves life and enjoys the routine we have. The biggest thing I can say is get in a routine and stick with it. Your new pup will thrive off routine.
Thank you. You are being very helpful. Thats pretty much what I was thinking to do, except the camping part as Ive never done it. Also, crossfit gyms are usually dog friendly so the hour Im working out in the morning I can have it there with something to chew.
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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-07-2015, 01:06 PM
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OK here are some more thoughts for you:
DVG America now allows dogs to compete in just tracking; just obedience; or just protection once they get their BH. If you are uncomfortable with protection, you can do tracking and obedience.

I wouldn't count on a pup lying still "chewing" on something while you are in the gym. I think you will find yourself busy enough with the pup and active enough with the pup that you might begin to limit your time at the gym. (you have your own little fitness instructor at home with you.)
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