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Old 08-27-2010, 01:23 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default HELP - very frustrated with 7 month old puppy

The entire family is extremely frustrated with our 7 month old German Shepherd and the amount of time that is required for us to responsibly care and train for this type of dog. I never dreamt the intensity of the drive of this type of animal. I love Zoot but reluctantly I am getting very close to thinking I may need to find a new home for her. My wife is frustrated at the amount of additional cleaning required, the children (ages 9, 12 and 15) canít handle her nor have they fulfilled their end of the agreement we had as a family to commit to working with a German Shepherd. I have found a daily routine that calms her down to a tolerable level and it resembles this: Get up early (before kids) shower, take zoot out, walk her ďat leastĒ one mile, make sure she poops, play Frisbee, go through training routine of sitz, plotz, a few recalls, foose, etcÖ, brush fur, bring in house on lead, close doors to all rooms, serve food and water, she drinks some, she either waits or chases kids and doesnít eat for at least 15 Ė 20 minutes while I wait around for her. After she finally eats she usually goes out and then gets crated or comes to my office with me. Now that the kids are in school if she gets crated she is in there until at least 3:30 in the afternoon. When girls get home they take her out and then usually crate her again because they canít handle her energy and playfulness. She is usually ready to freak out when my wife or I get home. When I have meetings at night (which is often) my wife is forced to care for zoot as well as cook supper, laundry and do homework with kids. My wife is at her wits end and I have evening meetings often. If I am home early/mid evening I feed her and then take her for another long walk and play Frisbee (she loves Frisbee). I finally get to eat while she goes in her crate, after I am done I help whatever homework couldnít be figured out from earlier and then spend all evening with zoot babysitting her while she is out of her crate. She usually turns into a crazy maniac at night, sometime between 8pm Ė 10pm. So I will either work her in the house or take her out to play or for a late night walk. On top of this exhausting schedule she continues to nip the kids when she gets excited. She was doing so well for a while but then the kids went back to school and everything changed. I believe that she is beginning to suffer from a slight case of separation anxiety and sometimes we come home to a crate and dog covered in urine. (I have another thread for advice on working with that issue)

I donít know what else to do. My family has been taxed emotionally, physically and financially by me trying to own my dream dog Ė a personal protection German Shepherd. I think at this stage of life it may simply be too much for us. I donít want to give her up but I see no other solution at this time. My trainer recommended maybe building a small dog run in the garage to periodically place her in when we donít have time or when we leave for long hours. I donít know if this is a good option. Please make a recommendation if there is something you see we are missing.

Thank you in advance to all of you for your wonderful suggestions. ;-)
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Old 08-27-2010, 01:42 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I just wanted to say that I understand your frustration and exhaustion, but it does get better. My husband wanted a working line german shepherd also, and I have never had a dog that required as much time and work as this one has. For a good portion of the first year I was covered in bruises on my arms and legs from him being a gator, and physically bumping into me. One thing that did help was obedience classes, or classes of any kind. I physically could not tire my dog out, and since my yard was not fenced he was not allowed to run loose. I had to put him on a leash and walk him. He was so high energy I would walk him before I took him to the vet hoping to tire him out some. The classes would tire him out mentally, as I have heard people on here say. He would come in from a low impact obedience class and go straight to sleep. As he got older he is much more settled. Still a ball of energy if you want to go, but not constantly following you around the house. I didn't get to sit down to watch a move with the family for close to the first year. Anyway, he just turned three, but it has been so much easier, definitely since he turned two, and for a good while before that. I will say that I have never had a dog that has given me as much as this one has either, so it has been worth every minute I ever put into caring for him, as well as all the lost sleep.
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Old 08-27-2010, 01:45 PM   #3 (permalink)
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1) She would benefit from some exercise in the middle of the day. Either hiring a dog walker or someone coming home at lunch

2) Classes

3) Springpole/flirtpole

4) Play 2-ball
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Old 08-27-2010, 01:53 PM   #4 (permalink)
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This should be a sticky thread for all prospective first time GSD puppy owners to read.

Now that you own a working dog, you have but two options...you're in the deep end of the pool, and you can either sink, or swim?

If you elect to sink, absolutely nothing wrong with that...and when you think of sharing your life for the next ten years or more with this GSD, that really may be the best option. I would urge you to make that decision sooner rather than later. The younger you rehome the pup, the better for the pup and the next owner/trainer.

If you decide to swim...get into some type of training activity...good for you, good for the dog, and good for the family when the dog has a job, there will be more downtime in the evening. It does get better as the GSD matures, but the first 12 to 18 months are very challenging.

Posting here is an excellent way to sort-out your decision...best of luck.
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Old 08-27-2010, 01:56 PM   #5 (permalink)
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A dog run could be a viable option, as long as you use to it help and not as a crutch. She can play with toys, use the bathroom, and just have some free "her" time. She can use her mind if you give her good toys, satisfy some drive as well.
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Old 08-27-2010, 01:59 PM   #6 (permalink)
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On top of classes, flirt pole (God send), fetch, also maybe try a treat/kibble dispensing toy that she can eat her kibble from. It will make her use her mind and give you some extra time. But I agree sooner to make that choice than later.
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Old 08-27-2010, 02:57 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Not a knock on the original poster, but I wish people would really think before they get their 'dream' dog. I think people seriously underestimate the work that comes with owning a GSD. I understand also, I work, play in a hockey league, have a 1 y/old daughter and a pregnant wife. It is hard, but I made the choice to hang out with my dog every free chance I get versus doing anything else.

As far as advice, people are saying the correct things. It will get easier with age and more excercise and classes definitely will help. But, IMO, most critical is the mental satisfaction. These are working dogs, they need a job. Obviously, its hard to commit to organized schedules but you can always play interactive games to make him think and work. Hide his favorite toy and make him look for it. Coach him at first by looking at the area and when he finds praise like crazy and treat. Once he gets the hang of it, stop coaching him. In no time you will witness the true majesty of your dog as he will start using his nose and find the toy under a stack of pillows. The game will satify his physical and mental activity needs. And, hey, you just started on Search and Rescue training.
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Old 08-27-2010, 03:15 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Maybe you've read several similar threads recently- I can think of at least three where the owner said the same thing, they made a big mistake and were ready to give up. Try reading those and you'll get some good ideas and see how others have handled the frustration and the things that worked for them. I would suggest a class as well and take the entire family, or have a trainer come to the house and train everyone as a group. As W. Oliver said, if you do decide to rehome the dog, do it soon! This is a stage they all go through but without proper training, and soon, your problems will only escalate.
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Old 08-27-2010, 03:17 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by W.Oliver View Post
This should be a sticky thread for all prospective first time GSD puppy owners to read.

Now that you own a working dog, you have but two options...you're in the deep end of the pool, and you can either sink, or swim?

If you elect to sink, absolutely nothing wrong with that...and when you think of sharing your life for the next ten years or more with this GSD, that really may be the best option. I would urge you to make that decision sooner rather than later. The younger you rehome the pup, the better for the pup and the next owner/trainer.

If you decide to swim...get into some type of training activity...good for you, good for the dog, and good for the family when the dog has a job, there will be more downtime in the evening. It does get better as the GSD matures, but the first 12 to 18 months are very challenging.

Posting here is an excellent way to sort-out your decision...best of luck.
Well put! And exactly why I pretty much never recommend a GSD for 'normal' people with 'normal' busy lives.


Getting a GSD puppy is a much bigger commitment of money, patience, training and TIME (have to say that again, so I will ) TIME, than most people are able to schedule into their already overwhelming lives. And, sadly, many of us don't realize what this actually means until after we've added the puppy to our lives and the issues and problems start popping up cause we are in no way prepared to adequetely deal with them.

Good luck with whatever you decide, and hopefully you have a great RESPONSIBLE breeder that you purchased your pup from that will be able to help with any decision you make.
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Last edited by MaggieRoseLee; 08-27-2010 at 03:21 PM.
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Old 08-27-2010, 03:19 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I kind of winced when the OP mentioned "Dream dog ... Personal Protection German Shepherd".
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