Originally Posted by Eiros
I think every dog is different as to when they are "mature enough" to not do this sort of behavior when left home alone. Personally I think 1 year old is too young and wouldn't try this with my dog until 18 months, two years, or even older! But it depends on the owner and the dog.
Maybe if it's common for him to be home alone during the week (as it would be for me and probably a lot of people here), is doggie daycare, a dog walker, or a pet sitter an option for a few times a week? Increasing his exercise will help with this behavior, whether you can keep him occupied during the week or take longer walks, do more OB, or get him started in a club or sport when you're home.
You may be right, he is still young. I'll probably try easing him into home alone time, like when I go to the grocery store. Oddly enough, he only seems to destroy things in the morning - when I come home for lunch, there's often a mess, but I don't think there's ever been a mess when I come home in the evening.
I have considered doggie daycare, but for one thing, I find it hard to justify the expense (I think upwards of $20 a day), and for another, he's not yet fixed, which I think auto-invalidates that option. I haven't really yet considered a dog walker or sitter, but he's only home alone for about 4 hours at a time. that's not too long a stretch, i'd hope.
I have thought about a club or a sport for a while, and I think it'd be fun for him and me, but i'm not sure how to get him started in that sort of thing. I'm in the denver, co, area - perhaps you could recommend some ways to get started?
Unfortunately, when I started looking for breeders in the area, I found the amount of knoweldge and helpfulness from german shepherd clubs to be sorely lacking. So I'd be interested to know how to get started.
On a side note - are the birth/death dates for blackjack accurate? If so, I am very sorry. It is hard to lose a dog so young.