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) can’t 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 “at least” one mile, make sure she poops, play Frisbee, go through training routine of sitz, plotz, a few recalls, foose, etc…, 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 doesn’t eat for at least 15 – 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 can’t 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 couldn’t 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 – 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 don’t know what else to do. My family has been taxed emotionally, physically and financially by me trying to own my dream dog – a personal protection German Shepherd. I think at this stage of life it may simply be too much for us. I don’t 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 don’t have time or when we leave for long hours. I don’t 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. ;-)