Please Help! My Husband Wants to get rid of our GSD - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 45 (permalink) Old 01-09-2017, 11:12 AM Thread Starter
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Please Help! My Husband Wants to get rid of our GSD

My GSD is 8 months. I am well aware of the teenage years and have read many threads about this time period. My husband has just reached his breaking point and is running out of patience. I have to talk him off the ledge every single day. He wants to get rid of the dog and I become emotional every time he brings it up. We also have a 10 week old newborn but to be completely honest, the newborn baby is less work than our GSD.

Zeus is 8 months, male, and is a long haired GSD. My husband wakes up 2 hours before he has to go to work to exercise the dog. Typically he runs him in our 1/2 acre backyard playing fetch and tugging games. Zeus is pretty responsive during play time but of course can get into trouble. He is exercised for about 45 minutes in the morning.

After this he just continues to misbehave. He cannot be trusted. We don't have gates up anymore because they just kept falling down. So whenever Zeus leaves the room we have to follow him or command him to come. He still bites moldings, the hardwood floors, rugs, people's hands, jumps up on the counter tops, and pretty much gets into everything possible.

We currently are using a combination of positive reinforcement with treats, the e- collar, and the prong collar. We are not overusing the e-collar or prong collar. We only use this when he is being really defiant and has something dangerous in his mouth that he refuses to drop or if he refuses to come inside. Zeus knows the following commands: come, sit, down, and leave it. He CHOOSES when to listen to each of these commands.

He is getting a tremendous amount of exercise a day. Morning, afternoon, and evening. We do long walks, tugging games, hide and seek, and fetch. Nothing seems to calm him down. He will rest for about 35-45 minutes after play and then get into something bad again.


I think that my husband and I underestimated the amount of time and energy having a puppy entails. We were just hoping that Zeus would be better behaved at this point. I know everyone keeps telling us "you have a puppy for at least 2 years" and I just think that we are having issues seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. We were very stupid to get the dog right before having a baby. I don't know what we were thinking. None of this behavior started after the baby came home. He has been like this since we got him. Is he just a high drive dog? Will he ever calm down?

I return to work in 3 weeks. We are thinking about putting him in doggie daycare while I am at work so my mom can babysit the baby and not have to worry about the dog. Is this a good idea?
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post #2 of 45 (permalink) Old 01-09-2017, 01:21 PM
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Zeus hasn't been taught how to settle in the house.It's simple but made more complicated with a baby to care forBasically you leash them to you and ignore them until they give up their antics and learn how to relax and rest.
Is an outdoor or even basement or garage kennel an option?Gsds as a general rule don't do well at day care-research it further before deciding.
As far as willful disobedience,yeah he's a teenager.And he may just be confused about what to do and when.That's a lot of different adversives to be using.He needs to know clearly when he's doing it right and be rewarded.

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post #3 of 45 (permalink) Old 01-09-2017, 01:26 PM
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Sounds like you have a lot going on. IMO, he's not getting enough attention and training. Passing that problem off to daycare wont' solve your issues. If you don't have time to do that, then yes, please contact your breeder to rehome him. If you didn't get him from a good breeder, then call a rescue to help you rehome him.
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post #4 of 45 (permalink) Old 01-09-2017, 01:54 PM
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This is the age when so many good dogs get rehomed, and I wish I could say you are the first one with a baby to think about that...but it happens all the time. Any breed rescue you contact will know this song.
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post #5 of 45 (permalink) Old 01-09-2017, 02:00 PM
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45 minutes play will calm him down for about an hour.
45 minutes of training will calm him down much longer.
Is he crate trained.
What is his daily training now. When my oldest was that age if I didn't take him outside for minimum of an hour and play fetch with obedience mixed in he was a complete jack ass. I mean full sprint chasing Chuck if balls. Then making him stay, sit, down, recall, mixed in so he had to work on commands while jacked up and hold them if he wanted the ball back. I will again stress crate training.
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post #6 of 45 (permalink) Old 01-09-2017, 02:09 PM
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Shadow is my enerizer bunny. Lol.
At 8 months we were walking 5-10kms a day and working on obedience for 5 minutes at a time or so in between rounds of fetch.
We worked a lot on sit, watch me and bed.
You need to crate your dog. Especially as you have a baby distracting you.
Invest in some kong toys that you can stuff and give him one to work on in his crate.
This is doable but you need to invest yourself.
Good Luck.
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post #7 of 45 (permalink) Old 01-09-2017, 02:13 PM
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I understand that everyone has a lot on their plate with the new baby, however if your husband is on the edge and wanting to give up the dog - him giving so much time up in the morning and being the one responsible to meeting all of this dogs exercise needs is not fair to him.

Much of what you consider a tremendous amount of exercise - doesn't count as actual exercise. The long walks and hide and seek games are not physical exercise. It's mental stimulation. I know at that age 45 minutes of back yard games wasn't enough for my dog.

I very rarely recommend this... perhaps you could look around and see if there is a reputable facility that offers board and train? Get the dog out of the house a few weeks. Let hubby decompress. When he comes back he will have been taught better manners with more consistency by the trainer. Then it's just a matter of keeping up with that consistency, exercising him and giving productive things to occupy his time like a stuffed kong.
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post #8 of 45 (permalink) Old 01-09-2017, 02:14 PM
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I agree with your husband to rehome him, not to "just get rid" of him. Contact the rescue for GSDs in your area or your breeder. You have plenty on your hands with a human baby and a husband who is not on one page with you. Better preserve the harmony in your life.
Where are you located?
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post #9 of 45 (permalink) Old 01-09-2017, 02:37 PM
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Do you take him to classes?

My dog is probably what you'd call low drive, but I remember her at 8 months old and it was a challenge. She had a lot of energy and was a very busy puppy. I agree with the people saying it's mental stimulation. We did a ton of puzzle toys, training, class once a week, searching games (tea ball with a stinky treat, or small treats hidden in places around the house).

The big game changer for us, I think, was the consistent and ongoing obedience training. I didn't even practice with her every day (bad owner!) but we did most days and we were in class every single week. It helped reinforce our bond, helped with socialization (learning to handle herself around other dogs and people), reiterated that I was the leader, honed life skills that generalized to house manners as time went on. My trainer was - and actually still is - an ever present resource if I have questions about a specific issue or behavior. It sounds like you work with your boy at home, but classes could be helpful as well.

He's also not too young for a dog sport like Nosework. And I'm also shamelessly trying to encourage more people to try it because it is SO fun, but for real - my dog is TIRED after class. It's pretty great. We go and have fun and then I take home a dog who has satisfied her need to mental exercise and who is happy to settle in the house after a few games of chase.
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post #10 of 45 (permalink) Old 01-09-2017, 02:40 PM
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If your husband is playing tug & fetch games with your dog already, would he be interested in turning that into training games?
That`s the sort of activity that can equal a great relationship with a dog, and teach the dog self-control. Would he have ANY inclination to be interested in formal dog sport, protection sport has lots of guys, it would be an excuse get out with the guys, he might end up loving this dog. Its a long shot, but, 2 hours of tug & fetch could be turned into one awesome sport dog. That`s a lot of training time.
And yes, as others, my guess is your use of aversives (ecollar & prong) is well-meant but un-guided and could be making things worse. Formal training geared to gsd`s and similar dogs is what I`m recommending.
Again, 2 hours!!! Maybe I`m reading more into that two hours than I should, but it sounds like sufficient dedication but insufficient knowledge. If you and he cannot get this dog into classes, (and secure enclosure (dog proofed room)) for your away time, then rehoming is the thing, and rehoming should be done sooner not later while your dog is still a cute rambunctious puppy full of potential not a dog gone sour problem dog.

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