High drive or just high energy?
I've read many of the "best" puppy training books. I've had two GSD's before. I bought from a reputable breeder. When we got our little guy two weeks ago, he was as normal as all the other puppies I've had have been. He was clingy, whiny, and a bundle of puppy energy just as we expected. I rescheduled my work for the first two weeks, so he hasn't spent more than 3 hours at one time by himself (other than overnight crating). He was always easily distracted, never spending more than 20 seconds on any of his toys, but he would at least nap during the day, especially after our outside play/training sessions.
Two days ago, our 9 week puppy went full-on maniac. From 0530 until 2200, he doesn't nap anymore. If we put him in his crate, which we've had to do several times now, he will settle down and nap after a few minutes. Otherwise, he's full steam ahead the entire day. I know GSD puppies are landsharks, and a bit more headstrong than most other breeds, but this little guy takes the cake.
Is he high drive or high energy? I can't seem to find any information detailing the difference. Here are the issues:
1) He constantly bites to the point that he is drawing blood. Yelping doesn't work, redirecting to his toys doesn't work, withdrawing for 20 seconds doesn't work. We have a million chew toys. Kongs with peanut butter, puppy rings, Himalayan bones, bones you put in the freezer- you name it, we have it. If you redirect him and put one in his mouth, he chews it for a second and then eats your hand. We've had to crate him at several points because we were bleeding. He isn't vicious, he wags his tail- he surely doesn't know it's wrong, but I can't get him to stop.
2) He no longer settles himself. We bought him a floor bed for when we are in the closed off room with him (otherwise, he gets crated), and he loved sleeping on it for the first few days we had it. Now, he doesn't sleep, so he doesn't even lay on it. He can't seem to find a toy, sit down, and entertain himself for more than a few seconds without going nuts and going back to the biting.
3) He is constantly scratching his ear and chewing his paws, to the point he whines in pain. We've taken him to the vet 2x already, and she has checked his ears and said they are fine. She cleaned them for us, and a minute later he was back to trying to scratch his ear off. He chews his paws incessantly.
4) He whines. A lot. Everywhere, except in his crate, where he only whines for a few minutes before settling in. He whines when he's eating, he whines when he's playing with us, he whines when he's just sitting there, he whines to get out of his play room, and his tail wags through all of it. The vet gave him a good bill of health, twice, much to my objection that something must be wrong.
5) Because of the whining and chewing on himself, it makes it very hard to get his attention and clicker train him. He's incredibly smart, I can tell already, but he doesn't have the focus to do long clicker training sessions (I say long when I mean over 2 minutes straight).
6) He was usually pretty good with housetraining. He's never messed in his crate, and the few accidents in the house were our own fault. However, because his new thing is going to the door and whining regardless of the circumstances, I can't tell if he's whining to go out now or whining because he's a whiner. This has led to two accidents in the past few days when I thought he was generally being his whiny self, but he actually had to pee.
7) He is easily distracted outside, but his recall is great. After he gets busy outside, we let him off the leash and run him around the yard to tire him out, mixed in with some training. His recall is great, but I think it's more to do with his age than anything. However, he will catch something in his eye and get laser-focused on it. A rock, a flower, a piece of mulch...he sees it, and on leash or off leash he's gonna get it or rip his leash off trying. Every time he comes in, he needs to have a trophy (usually a rock), and while he looks so cute with how proud he is when he finds it, it's annoying that it's become a ritual for him now.
He has a ton of great qualities also. He's fearless, he catches on to things quickly, and he loves human interaction. We were nervous to have a party of 15 people at our house recently, but he loved everyone and was never overwhelmed. We want to do our best to raise him properly so that we can enjoy him as a family dog. None of the advice in any of the books I've read works with his issues. I've had GSD's before, but they were female and relatively calm even as puppies. This puppy has made me question my ability and I am worried I am in over my head now. I need to raise a safe and obedient family dog, and I will never use any training methods that are not positive. Does anyone have any advice? Thank you in advance.
Last edited by kl77; 11-09-2014 at 11:17 PM.