Interesting. I want to become a dog trainer/AKC show dog handler/dog breeder for german shepherds in the future. I'm gonna start taking dog training classes so I can become a certified dog trainer which is why I ask and because I'll have this knowledge when I actually get to the level to breed high quality GSD's but that won't be for a while. Thanks for the responses, very informative.
The more aspects of life with GSDs you master prior to breeding, the better. Evenso, some things you cannot learn from books. Read the books, yes, because there is great info in them. And buy them, and keep them, and while you are waiting alongside the whelping box, have them at hand.
But, some things it takes experience for. There is only one way to get experience and that is to get your hands dirty. And, with whelping, you will indeed get your hands dirty. There are bitches and there are bitches. I have one who has never lost a pup or whelped a dead one. She can be with her puppies until they are 18 months old (or longer) and never be cross with them. I have other bitches who are ready to hang up their apron at eight weeks.
I have had typical easy whelpings, where you sit at the box and promise the bitch you will never put her through this again, but the pups pop out with relative easy and in a timely fashion. And then there are the tough whelpings, where the bitch circles and contracts, and no water, no puppy. She sits like a grasshopper, pushing, and no puppy -- off for a C-section. Others where you have to stick your fingers up there and help the puppy, grasping it so that your girl doesn't lose ground between pushing. And the one where the head was stuck and the pup was just not able to pop out, and into the car with her, to the vets, where I held her head, and the vet and the vet tech worked on getting that baby out of there. And let's not forget that really small litter where the bitch just did not go into labor. C-section on that one.
And then when you know there are more puppies to come, but your girl is wiped out and, you are feeding her condensed milk or vanilla ice cream hoping it will give her enough of a boost to start pushing again.
All that stuff though isn't terrible. Breeding isn't for wimps, though. You sometimes have to make heart wrenching decisions, and if it comes to the point where it doesn't rip you up, then its time to hang it up. The books fall short with everything when it comes to breeding and whelping. I think it is something you cannot wholly be prepared for, until you do it a couple of times, and even then you can be surprised. And count on it that you will make mistakes, and mistakes can be fatal, and you have to be able to live with that.
Most people will do ok with one litter. They may not run into any difficulties, and if they do, they will probably be able to manage them ok -- Expect some challenges, and you aren't surprised when they happen. But, when you have been breeding long enough you will see/deal with plenty of stuff. And for the most part, I think most people are better served not breeding their dogs. If at all possible, before you go the whole nine yards, foster a bitch due to whelp and go through it and raise the pups for the 8-9 weeks until they have homes. That would be better preparation (even if the pups are already born when you get them) than any book will be.