Won't relax out of her kennel! - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-05-2019, 01:33 PM Thread Starter
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Won't relax out of her kennel!

Hello there. We have a nine month old GSD, and she's been crate trained since we brought her home at 8 weeks. Now at nine months, we're working towards having her used to being out of her kennel much more often, specifically when we're home. In the past if my wife or myself would be in another room doing something, we'd have her in the kennel. Now we're having her out when we're both home, free to roam. The one issue that I've noticed is her inability to just lay down and relax. If she's not on her bed that's out of her kennel, she's pacing around the house constantly.

She gets plenty of exercise and I take her out on a long walk (typically 30 minutes minimum) daily, and we have a big yard where we throw the ball around with her for awhile multiple times a day, so I don't think it's an issue of her having pent up energy, although I could be wrong. Could it be the simple fact that she's acclimating to having the house to roam, and she simply doesn't know yet that she can lay down on the floor and chill?

We just got back from visiting our parents who have two 8 month old GSDs, and throughout the day they'll be laying down in the kitchen or living room, taking naps or just laying there. The fact that they're younger and doing this already makes me wonder if there's something I'm not doing.

Is this normal behavior for a puppy who's transitioning to being out of her kennel more often? Are there any tips to get her to relax?
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-05-2019, 02:40 PM
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What kind of training are you doing with her? They require both physical and mental stimulation to meet their needs.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-05-2019, 02:52 PM Thread Starter
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I’ve been doing sit and stay daily, working on the “down” command, and when I’m throwing the ball around I’m working on the “drop it” command. When we’re on walks she’s doing a ton of sniffing so she’s getting smelling stimulation too. Is she not getting enough mental stimulation?
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-05-2019, 03:34 PM
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Echoing the above poster as far as the need for both physical and mental stimulation.

Also, I dont like to speculate but it sounds like as a young pup she was in the crate too often and for too long. After housebreaking most puppies can be transitioned on to a drag line, tethering, or just monitored time in a few rooms at a time. When you relax, teach her to relax. So personally, at this point, Id put a light leash on her and when youre sitting - have her sit or lay down... step on the leash so that she stays put, give her something to do... a bone or something. Pick up several beds so that she has comfortable spots readily available around the house. Sounds like an acclimation issue w/o any transition.

Wont do you any good to compare to your parents dogs either - regardless of age, each GSD is different. If their dogs are more lower energy and laid back genetically - there is lots of room for contrast in dogs that are more typical of the breed (non sure which end of the spectrum your dog falls).

In my own home I have a more anxious, Velcro dog that needs to be where I am at all times...... another who will gladly take himself to another room to chill out. Theyre from different lines. Different personalities and temperaments.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-05-2019, 04:52 PM Thread Starter
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When we have her out of her kennel, there's always a bone/bento ball/kong for her to chew on, and we have a bed in the living room for her that's outside the kennel. If it's a new bone/chewy, she'll lay down fine on her bed with it. After awhile, she'll start getting up and roaming around. If she doesn't have a brand new bone, and we give her one that's already chewed, sometimes she'll lay down with it, but other times she'll roam restlessly around the house.

I do agree that we likely kept her in the crate for too long. I'll give the leash strategy a try.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-05-2019, 08:05 PM Thread Starter
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We have a bed for her outside her kennel that she'll lay on when she has a bone. She'll stay there for awhile, depending on the size of bone, then will start roaming around the house restlessly.

I do agree that we likely kept her in her kennel for too long. I will definitely give the leash technique a try.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-05-2019, 08:54 PM
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It could just be genetics at work. For the longest time the only way to get Shadow to settle at all was to crate her.
At about age two I noticed an improvement.
I would bring her out, let her be social and when I started to notice the pacing I would pop her in her crate for 10-20 minutes then try again. I also found that using gates to keep her near me made it better. A few of my fosters had a similar issue. If I kept Shadow out of her crate all day, which I did, by supper time she was a basket case. The minute she was in her crate she was out cold. She was simply too high strung to relax on her own.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-05-2019, 09:00 PM
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Your changing her routine, the structure she's learned to live in. Be patient, like Fodder mentioned, its a transition. If she isn't destructive and there isn't a concern for her getting into anything dangerous, I'd just ignore it for a while and let the new freedom become her routine.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-05-2019, 11:39 PM
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Lots of good advice here. I too agree about the need for both physical and mental stimulation. Walks, even long ones, are not as effective as some running. There are many other things you can teach her that she will enjoy and will be of benefit to her and to you. Look up Susan Garrett's Hot Zone game. In this game the dog will learn to go to a place and stay. It becomes a safe zone, similar to the crate. They actually get calm in the "hot zone." You might also check out Susan Garrett's Crate Games. It is available on DVD or online. This will give lots of mental stimulation and the dog will love it too. All that being said, your dog will also most likely get calmer as she grows. My 4 year old female, was wired for the first year but now she's actually pretty mellow most of the time. So as others have said, be patient.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-06-2019, 04:27 AM
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I agree with she was possibly in the crate too long during the times you guys were home even. Her crate may just be her scantuary. This might have been mentioned already, but you could try bringing the crate in the room with your guys and just leaving it open for her. She can go in and out and relax when she needs too and come out and play when she’s ready.

My boy Odin, whose 9 months, won’t sleep peacefully if he’s not in his crate. He has always fought his sleep and will “act up” when he’s really tired. As soon as we open our bedroom door he goes and lays in his crate and KNOCKS out.

Your pup may just feel safer in their crate. Odin loves his crate, but he will relax and lay with us on the couch and on the bed when we invite him. Or nap in his favorite spots around the condo.

But if he’s tired he needs his crate to sleep peacefully. Otherwise he is constantly waking up at the sound of anything outside the crate. When he’s in his crate and asleep he doesn’t even wake up when we are making noise or walk into the room.

Layla on the other hand will sleep anywhere. And prefers not to have to be in crate if she doesn’t have too.
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