He won't be controlled (high energy destroying the house!)
We adopted a 18-month old neutered GSD almost 8 weeks ago. He had been crated for 12 to 14 hours per day at his previous owner's home, and wouldn't set foot in a crate when we got him. We didn't mind, because he was an amazing dog, then the honeymoon wore off.
I took him to training, which he excels at. When he's leashed, he does exactly as he's told. He responds well to commands. However, he's "overly playful" toward my younger kids. I don't think it's more of a desire to play than a desire to hurt them. I caught him nipping at the baby and at my 4 year old (neither were injured). The trainer instructed me to start keeping him in a crate.
So we got him in a crate. And then he broke out of the crate. Then he broke the crate.
And the next crate.
And the next crate...which was solid stainless steel welded wire. We used heavy duty zip ties to put it back together until we can afford to purchase yet another one.
I've come home to find my kitchen ripped apart more than once. He's ripped curtains down, broken out the back door to run around the yard, eaten chickens, etc... Gunner, all told, has done over $600 worth of damage to my house (not including the cost of the crates or livestock). He barks at the kids while he's in the crate. If I put him somewhere the kids don't bother him, he barks non-stop. If I try to cover his crate, he yanks the covering through and chews it up.
This morning, I went to the gas station with my 4 year old, and came home 20 minutes later to find trash all over the living room and kitchen. Plates that were stacked next to the sink were shattered on the floor. And Gunner happily in his crate, eating something he'd pulled from the trash.
I've talked to a dog behaviorist about SA. At first, this all seemed like SA. But...this morning, my husband was home (albeit asleep). So now I'm doubting SA and I think I just have a wretchedly defiant dog on my hands.
I've tried taking him outside to tire him out before we went anywhere. It worked for a few days, then stopped working. I've given him things to chew in his crate to keep him occupied. He destroys them in a matter of minutes, even "chew proof" toys. He has no cage mat right now. He DID have several...but he ripped them to shreds within the day of getting them.
I've tried letting him exercise outside on a 50' lead hooked to a maple tree while I'm doing livestock chores. I thought he was going to break his neck. And he dug a 3 foot wide, 2 foot deep hole in the yard to boot.
We've stopped going to training, hate to say. I'm so frustrated with it. Taking him there and having him behave SO WELL, then finding my house a mess when I dare leave for half an hour. I'm a SAHM, so 95% of the time I'm at home, but even still I can't keep him leashed to me 24/7. He's rarely crated and alone, and even less frequently for more than an hour. I've started to organize my schedule around when my husband is home, so the dog isn't alone, but even that doesn't do any good.
There HAS to be a solution I'm missing. I'm at my wits end. I'm rereading the novel I wrote and thinking "high energy"...but I have yet to find a way to actually tire him out for longer than ten minutes. Please help!
Last edited by MaggieRoseLee; 09-03-2013 at 10:43 AM.