Thank you again!
It looks like I might have to start crate training him. Do you guys have any resources you'd recommend I start looking into? We used to live in a small apartment and I felt horribly guilty leaving him in a tiny balcony with toys and food and water. He looked so sad every time I drove by the balcony and looked up to check on him. Now that we're in a house with a backyard, I let him run around so he doesn't get depressed. Even so, I felt so ad leaving him at home by himself (but mama has to work to buy you food and toys and take you to places). Maybe I'm overthinking this. But I don't know how to keep him entertained for 9 hours in a small space, not to mention bathroom breaks, hence I've been so hesitant about crate training. Maybe I'll look for some indoor fence to keep him in a certain area. (Currently, all bedroom doors are closed, so he only has the dining area, kitchen, and empty living room to roam around.)
Trust me, I did not just pick him out of all the breeds and just now started complaining because he's too much work. My husband has grown up with many dogs, and he was working part-time and going to school part-time, so we decided that we could get a German Shepherd. I did hear from an experienced GSD owner that they go through their "teenage" phase around 8 to 18 months, when they get extremely stubborn and do things that drive you crazy. Unfortunately, that's also the time frame that my husband has to leave, which we did not know about until a month after we brought our puppy home. I'm really trying to hang on and train him a little each day and wait until his human papa comes home.
Thank you again for your help!
Hang in there. It will get better. From what I've read, I think you're already doing all the right things...wearing him out before you leave, the trainer, etc.
Your dog seems to fall into the category of "do not let it roam free when you're not around." I do agree with everyone...CRATE
. It can't be helped. Some dogs are well behaved from pretty much the beginning like my first GSD. I could leave him to roam freely with a whole cooked chicken sitting on the kitchen counter top and come home hours later and that chicken would still be there untouched. (It's actually happened many times.) Some dogs cannot be trusted alone like my current one. This pup would've eaten the chicken AND the tray the chicken was sitting on. So the best thing to do for your sanity is to keep it out of trouble by putting him in a crate. The crate's not as bad as you think it is. Just think of it this way. 1)You're protecting your home from the destruction caused by him. You could be saving hundreds, maybe thousands, of dollars on repairing or replacing things. 2) what if he eats something that gets lodged in the back of his throat and no one is there to take him to the vet? Or he gets into something that is poisonous to him? In the crate, he doesn't have access to those dangers. And 3), not to mention, he won't bark as much and annoy the neighbors if he's in the crate and away from the windows.
Do you live close enough to home that you can come home during your lunch break and take your dog out? Or is there someone you trust (who can handle a powerful breed like a GSD) that can come to your home and take your dog out for a quick bathroom break in the middle of your 9 hours away? That could help ease your mind of the 9 hours in a crate. If you don't have anyone like a good friend or family member, you could use Rover.com or any other site to find a dog walker. Maybe better to spend the money on a dog walker instead of doggie daycare. Anyway, keep us informed.