I originally wanted to get this as a companion pet on my runs, walks, and hikes etc but the more I read about Schutzhund, the more I want to try my hand at it. The only factors that I am unclear about are the following-
1. I am a new GSD owner, I might be biting more than I can chew if I raise a pup primarily for SCH.
Maybe, maybe not. As was already suggested, visit some clubs in your area to get a feel for SchH/IPO and also talk to your breeder.
2. Training apparently starts at day 1 with emphasis on drive building over manners building.
I have never done drive building with my pups, but I am pretty lax in the manners department. Obviously house training, no counter surfing, sit and wait at the door before going out, crate training, walk on leash, etc.
3. You really have to be 'firm' in your corrections, leash jerking etc
Corrections do come into training at some point, but how firm they are depends on the dog.
4. You praise and emphasize prey drive over food drive.
I strongly emphasize both. It is far easier to shape behaviors with food and most people use food in tracking. Then the toys are used for a higher valued reward.
Now, I come here cos I really don't know how much of this is actually true or how much is bad information. I was really hoping that I could raise my dog as a pet for the first couple of years, i.e. informal exercise like ball chasing, long hikes, running across the field and then move onto agility, obedience and ScH when he gets older.
But apparently things like early training, drive, type of bite, socialization etc are all different if you are raising a ScH dog primarily over a family/companion dog.
The first dog I titled in SchH I did not start in protection until she was 2.5. She had been tracking and had her BH and CD before that so was training. There were some positives to this because I didn't have to wait for her to mature to start. There were also disadvantages when it came to learning the mechanics of the work. Sort of like trying to teach an adult a new sport Vs. how easily a child learns. If you wait until the dog is a couple of years old you will be missing out on training the dog when it is young and most impressionable. I would also want to start a dog/puppy on the agility equipment when young. I introduce my pups to the equipment (set low) when they are 8 or 9 weeks.
Yes, they can be a family dog as long as the breeder produces and knows how to pick puppies with the nerves/temperament that will allow them to be calm when not working Obviously this comes with time since most puppies are active and very mouthy.
The best way to handle biting is to redirect the pup into a toy and away from your flesh. Eventually the biting goes away.
Merry Christmas and good luck with your puppy.