I intend to institute the 2 week shutdown with him. But I live at the house by myself during the week, my girls (wife and 13 yr old daughter) are in another city because of my daughters school. They are home on the weekends. Does this make a difference in the dogs acclimation process with their coming and going like that and if so, how do I adjust the process?
that will be kind of tough.
what i would do....
introduce wife and daughter outside, go for a short walk, then go in the back yard. dog on leash at all times, since you don't know how he is with kids. have your daughter stand still, facing sideways from the dog, and you should keep all focus on the dog.
get a 30ft leash and put him on that if he does ok with wife and kid.
turn dog over to wife and have her walk with him, if he does ok, then she does EVERYTHING for the dog while she's there.
You can't do anything, the dog has to see her as a family member who will take care of him.
Since it's just me in the house and since I watch TV in my office, is that where I should crate the dog? Is it okay, to let the dog out while I'm in there watching TV or should he be in the crate? (Actually, I should say I'm on the computer on the GermanShephers.com website, reading everything I can about GSD.)
i would crate the dog in a high visibility area, and one that you frequent the most, so he can see what you're doing.
You can let the dog out as long as he's on a leash. 2 week shutdown is no free time, it's either the crate or leashed to you.
I also live on an 11 acrea farm that's fully fenced and cross-fenced. During the shutdown, can I give him free access to the farm, or do I need to keep him on the leash at all time? And please, define "tethering to me"? Is he really tied at my hip at all times or can he just follow me around with his leash on?
the dog is not allowed to run on his own, this is where that 30ft lead will come in handy, giving him a little more running room, just make sure he knows he's still on a lead.
you hold/tie/secure leash to you, inside or out, when not in crate.
Lastly, and most importantly, what am I looking for behavior wise as a result of the shutdown? This will be my fourth GSD, but the first that I didn't raise from a puppy. I've never adopted a dog from a shelter/rescuse before and am a little out of my element.
this is letting the dog see your daily routine, so he can adjust to you and your schedule.
since you've read the other threads, you can go back and brush up on the why's, but this 2 week shutdown is for your dogs safety, and yours as well.
lots of people don't like it, and consider it extreme, but those people generally don't work with rescue dogs on a daily basis.
Thanks for rescuing a dog! Once you build a bond with him, he will be the greatest dog. Looking forward to pics!