Let me try to explain with out making it too lengthy.
My GSD has never torn up a toy. He just doesn't get that excited. When he plays tug, he plays as if he is playing with a child. He'll tug without using too much power, then gladly gives up. If you throw it, fine. If you don't, fine.
He has developed a new behavior that includes jumping up against a tree and biting the limbs he can reach. He does this when he is turned on and gets frustrated. So I see drive (energy) that needs to be released. We built a spring pole and I'm attempting to get him to use it, instead of the tree. He'll play with it, when I'm there. But not interested at all when it's in the tree. Nor does he use the same amount of drive while playing with it.
So, I experimented finding a toy that he really likes. My daughter bought him a plush toy that has a ball connected to it with a bungee cord. He loves it and will actually pull on the ball with much more power then any other toy. He likes the bungee effect.
I found a toy that is made of a more durable material and you hook your finger on the front of it, pull the tail and then release. It has a bungee center and it flys. I can get him nuts over it. He'll grab the front (like the lips of the fish, or beak of a bird) and pull on it hard. This is the first toy that he will attempt to rip to pieces.
So, now I'm putting the pieces of the puzzle together. If I attach a toy like this to the spring pole and get him to engage with the toy on his own, then he'll have an outlet for when the cats come snooping around or the horses come to the fence (this is what triggers the tree attacks).
BUT, I'm having difficulty getting him to attack the spring pole and not the tree. If I correct the tree attack - he ingores the spring pole (attached to the tree) and runs and finds something else to play with (ball, stick etc.) If I attempt to make the spring pole more interesting he'll play with it like it's made of china, therefore defeats the purpose.
Also - this isn't a matter of getting him more tired. He has a bad leg, and can only with stand a certain amount of exercise with out being totally lame afterwards for days. So I have to create things for him to do that help him not become frustrated.
Hondo Von Dopplet L Bauernhof "Hondo"- GSD
Lilie's Tug McGraw "Tug" - Golden Retriever
Maggie - Mini Dachshund (Rescue)
Lonestar Pivo - Texas Blue Lacy
Ashe - Barn Cat
Katie / APHA