Your mentor is retired and breeding dogs and has been doing this for 50 years or so. Without names, tell us a little about him. What lines does he focus on? What venues does he participate in? Has he gone with you to any shows, trials, seminars, club meetings?
If he has been doing this for 50 years, then he has a lot of contacts. He is not going to be doing this for another 50 years, so now is the time to get out and about with this guy and meet the people he is working with and learn from him some of the politics in your area. There are things a breeder can tell you that books can't, things about the people in your area. They can help you avoid some problem people and help you connect with people that can help you learn.
It sounds like you are farther along on the path to become a dog breeder than many who jump right in. Be careful not to put all your eggs in one basket.
Saying that, I am surprised that you are starting your program with bitches that seem to be from two different lines, GSL and WL, correct me if I am wrong. The reasons this can be problematic is that, for newbies, it is tough enough to study and learn the pedigrees (the dogs, what they produce, etc., who produces well with whom, and who to avoid), with just one line of dogs. And the two groups do not share fanciers, which means, while you can do IPO with both bitches, clubs, breeders, etc -- well two different groups of people. Some of them will totally discount you if you are breeding other lines, and breeding the lines together -- GSD world political suicide. This is important because you want to find the best stud dogs to complement your bitches, and if people peg you as a working line person or as a show line person, they might not want to do business with you.
And they're right in a way, because instead of focusing on one line, and learning what you can about those dogs, you are doing two and that's like a crash course on both. Breeding on a foundation of crash courses is kind of a train wreck. You need two mentors -- one for each line you are planning on breeding with.
First getting yourself established in one line, the venues that that line tends to favor, the people who follow that line, you can always branch out later on, usually for a purpose.
Keep learning. The breed needs people who are willing to learn and work hard.
To best help their customers, breeders need to learn as much as possible on the following:
Genetics and Bloodlines.
Health and diseases common in the breed
Whelping and Raising a litter
Behavior and Training
The GSD community in your area
Dog law and business
As a breeder, your puppy buyers will consult you on these things, and if you cannot help them out, then one of the main benefits of going the breeder route in getting their new companion is gone.
The good news is that there is a LOT of on the job training. Puppy buyers will bring up questions that stump you eleven years later. But, that is no reason not to put the effort in to learning as much as possible.
Heidi Ho, Odie
Joy-Joy, Bear Cub, Hepsi-Pepsi
Cujo2, Karma Chameleon
Ramona the Pest, Kojak -- who loves you baby?
Tiny Tinnie, Susie's Uzzi, Kaiah -- The Baby Monster.