A lot of how you work with a puppy depends on the puppy in front of you. Some settle well, some don't, but universally young GSD puppies don't seem to be up for much cuddling or lots of petting...that comes later, but it makes lots of people confused. Only pet or massage your puppy when he's tired out, and keep it very calm and soothing.
Something like a place command has to be taught in age-appropriate increments. You know what you want, but the puppy didn't get the memo LOL! Place, like stay, should be taught slowly with you right there next to him. Give the command and reward him after a few seconds if he doesn't move...then very very gradually lengthen the time span, all while staying right there with him, and always end it with your release command (very important!). Reward and praise profusely every time he stays. It's a long process, but like any training you need to build on success and gradually increase difficulty. So, once the puppy understand that stay means don't move, and is able to hold that for a minute or two, gradually increase the distance you are away from him. Again, slowly, if he fails move back in closer. It takes baby steps at first, but you'll find that the more he learns one thing, the faster he learns others! Puppies are so much fun, don't forget to just enjoy your goofball for the puppy he is...he'll grow up all too soon!
It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog. Mark Twain