7 month old starting to be destructive - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-15-2019, 01:21 PM Thread Starter
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7 month old starting to be destructive

So I'm thinking my 7 month old male has started his "teenager" phase.

Let me preface this by saying that up until now, Luka was an absolute angel. We started crate training at 8 weeks old and he has gotten used to being in the crate while we are at work. If he is crated for an extended period of time, I have a dog walker come in every 2 hours or so for a romp outside. My partner comes home during his lunch break to spend an hour with Luka also.

A couple of weeks ago, Luka managed to break out of his crate. And he destroyed many things in our room (curtains, windowsill, chewed on cabinets, etc.) The walker discovered this when she came to take him outside. A one-time occurrence, we thought, so we cleaned up and moved on with our lives. This week it happened again. He broke out but only managed to chew up a cardboard box that was on our dresser before my partner came home. We bought a new crate and reinforced it with carabiners so that he couldn't open it by himself. We put his old bedding in the crate, and since then, he's managed to chew up his bed into shreds. He has a Kong in his crate, and I always put chews in there as well. He of course doesn't touch any of them when in his crate. He is generally not very interested in Kongs no matter what we put in them. He's just not very food motivated, unfortunately (I've even put raw meat, sausage, cheese, pretty much every dog's "dream" foods in there without any luck.)

Lately we have noticed that he's taken up the hobby of chewing all of his toys to shreds. He just loves to destroy things, and he's never done that before as a younger puppy. I keep buying him "tough" toys for heavy chewers, and he has gone through them quickly.

When he is with one of us, he is an angel (apart from his toys.) He doesn't counter surf, chew on furniture, chew on bedding, etc. It is only when he is alone that he's destructive. We used to be able to leave him for an hour in our room uncrated and he wouldn't get into any trouble. Now when he is left alone for even 20 minutes, he will swipe something off the dresser or end table. Because he only does this when we are not around, I've never been able to "catch him in the act" to correct him.

He is crated only 3 days a week, and gets what I thought would be an appropriate amount of exercise. When we are at home, he is very calm and never gets into trouble. He just naps most of the time. When he's not napping, he's either playing with his ball (he loves to make it roll, then pounce on it around the house) or he's chewing on either his toys or the variety of chews we have for him. I'd love to be able to trust him outside of the crate one day so we wouldn't have to lock him up every time we left. But right now I'm just at a loss and am not sure what to do. Is this something he will grow out of? How can I break these habits when we are not around?

Luka - male - 7/4/2018 | Solid Black ASL GSD

Last edited by Storms; 02-15-2019 at 01:25 PM.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-15-2019, 02:30 PM
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Separation anxiety?



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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-15-2019, 02:45 PM
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He does sound anxious!

A week after we got our dog, I went out to lunch with friends and left him a Kong stuffed with cubes of Tbone steak (left over from last night's grilling). It was untouched when I came home, and I knew he had been stressed. After I got home, he settled down with that Kong and devoured the steak. I now come home to find empty Kongs and vanished bully sticks...so I know he isn't anxious any more when I go out.

I might try to peek at what's going on...you could get one of those apps or a webcam and position it so you could log in and view his crate?
I think you'll be able to tell if he's crying, whining, unable to settle, trying to break out. and destroying things (separation anxiety) or if he just really enjoys Chewing!!?

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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-15-2019, 02:45 PM Thread Starter
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Separation anxiety?
Can separation anxiety randomly develop? Up until now, he's never had problems in the crate when left in it. He's always had beds in his crate and has only just recently started shredding them. He's been crate trained ever since we brought him home at 8 weeks. I would leave him alone as a younger puppy in our bedroom for half an hour at a time, and moved up to 2 hours at one point without any problems of him getting into anything or chewing anything. Also no problems of howling or barking while we're gone.

It seems odd to me that he would develop separation anxiety all of a sudden, but I don't know enough about it to know either way.

Luka - male - 7/4/2018 | Solid Black ASL GSD
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-15-2019, 02:49 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by GSDchoice View Post
He does sound anxious!

A week after we got our dog, I went out to lunch with friends and left him a Kong stuffed with cubes of Tbone steak (left over from last night's grilling). It was untouched when I came home, and I knew he had been stressed. After I got home, he settled down with that Kong and devoured the steak. I now come home to find empty Kongs and vanished bully sticks...so I know he isn't anxious any more when I go out.

I might try to peek at what's going on...you could get one of those apps or a webcam and position it so you could log in and view his crate?
I think you'll be able to tell if he's crying, whining, unable to settle, trying to break out. and destroying things (separation anxiety) or if he just really enjoys Chewing!!?
I know for a fact that he doesn't cry or whine while we're gone. We have a roommate in the house who leaves for work about 1.5-2 hours after we do, and he said he never hears any whining or anything coming from our room.

The webcam is a good idea. What do I do if he is indeed suffering from separation anxiety?

Luka - male - 7/4/2018 | Solid Black ASL GSD
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-15-2019, 03:29 PM Thread Starter
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I'd also like to add that he shreds his toys when we *are* around as well. But he doesn't go after furniture or anything. He had a small period of counter surfing when he would see something on a dresser that looked interesting, and would pull it down (usually clothing) but we would persistently correct him. Now every so often he will stare at something on the dresser, but won't grab it in front of us. I don't know if this helps, but I thought it was worth mentioning.

Luka doesn't seem like what I would think of as a dog with separation anxiety. He's had the same routine of us leaving every morning since he was 8 weeks old, and he's been in his crate the entire time. He doesn't hate his crate and voluntarily goes in and out of it on his own accord. He doesn't seem anxious in the morning when we're about to leave, and usually just lays and watches us get ready. He is definitely not a velcro dog and doesn't feel the need to be by us 24/7. When I'm cooking in the kitchen, he will slink off and go upstairs by himself to lay down, away from all the people in the house.

I could of course be wrong, as I don't know much about separation anxiety. If he does indeed have it, I would love to know what I can do to condition him back to being ok when left alone in our room, both in and out of the crate. As I mentioned, I used to be able to leave him alone for 1-2 hours uncrated in our room without any problems (he would just sleep while I was gone.) I wish the same was still true.

Luka - male - 7/4/2018 | Solid Black ASL GSD
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-15-2019, 05:01 PM
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Is it possible there's some sort of noise/disturbance happening outside nearby that makes him anxious?Another thought is he's getting overstimulated during his breaks during the day and doesn't want the fun to end.Maybe the breaks should be a calm potty break and walk around a little to stretch his legs?Just throwing out ideas here....

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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-15-2019, 05:12 PM Thread Starter
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Is it possible there's some sort of noise/disturbance happening outside nearby that makes him anxious?Another thought is he's getting overstimulated during his breaks during the day and doesn't want the fun to end.Maybe the breaks should be a calm potty break and walk around a little to stretch his legs?Just throwing out ideas here....
Not that I know of... we live on the end of a cul-de-sac in a fairly quiet neighborhood. The overstimulation during his walks/playtime could be a factor I suppose. I like him to get a good amount of exercise during the day so he can be calm when in his crate, but it's possible that it's having the opposite effect.

Last edited by Storms; 02-15-2019 at 05:53 PM.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-15-2019, 07:32 PM
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Is there anyway you can put him in doggie daycare those 3 days a week? It's hard on GSDs to be alone with nothing to do.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-15-2019, 09:08 PM
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What do you consider adequate exercise? I also have a seven month old boy and while he is good in his crate and around me if I don’t take him outside to roughhouse with my other dog and run around for a couple hours he starts getting pent up.
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