Most shepherds don't like to be alone outside. He would probably rather be inside, in the crate, than outside by himself. Is there a way to gate off a smaller room? He should not be, where you can't watch him. We use a baby gate to keep the dog in the kitchen. My laptop is on the kitchen counter, so I can sit here, while my dog chills in the kitchen. If I have another dog over and I don't want them together, they can be on opposite sides of the gate. You could tether him, while you work around the house. I taught my dog to relax, by keeping him on a leash and putting him in a down-stay. You could put your dog in a down-stay while you are doing homework, on the computer, or just taking a TV break. I would figure out something to make it work inside. I would never leave any dog outside unattended.
Natty Boh 6-27-12
Annie 1998 - 8-2-12 RIP