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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all

I'm the owner of a 6month old GSD, Hodgey. He's extremely energetic and loves socialising and attention. He's essentially an outside dog, only coming inside in the evenings when we are home.

We are having two major problems, the first being destructive behaviour. He rips apart everything - his plastic pool, water bowls, even our ducted heating machine- he ripped it off the wall and ate thru the wires.
We thought he may be bored - we are part way thru a renovation and so he's fenced off in the back part of the yard. But we take care to spend time with him and take him out to dog beaches or see other dogs and my mother in law takes him on a 10k run a few times a week, yet the behaviour continues. At our wits end as to how to address it..

Secondly, he's a jumper. Only in the initial excitement stage when we get home / he comes inside etc, but with a 35kg dog that becomes quite problematic!

Any ideas / recommendations etc? If appreciate it!


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Well GSD's are people dogs, meaning they love to be with their people... if he is in the backyard all the time except for in the evenings he's probably not getting to see you enough. Second they need to be walked/run/exercised everyday. I would also suggest taking him to obedience classes, and try to find a trainer that specializes in GSD's to help you work through some of these problems
 

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He spends days outside to allow him to play and be active- we both work full time, which is the norm nowadays and I'd think having dogs outside is somewhat common practice - I've always had outside dogs and never found a problem such as this. He's been to obedience training, he's fine with all of the basic commands etc, its just the destruction and jumping that are the issue.. Thanks anyway


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This dog is completely bored and he's going to hurt himself. He needs to be inside in a crate or if you insist on keeping him outside, in a kennel that is like Fort Knox. I don't think its the norm to keep dogs outside because someone works, that is what people use crates for. He is not getting enough mental or physical exercise. He needs to be going on hikes, long walks, obedience training, etc. Obedience training really never stops, it should always be re-enforced whenever it can be.
 

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I personally think a crate is crueller than outside. Putting him in a smaller enclosure where he's stuck in a confined space 8 hours a day, at least in a yard he can move around explore and burn off energy. People work, fact of life. He gets long runs, beach trips, dog parks and lots of socialisation. There's not a whole lot more we can do. We're not prepared to base our entire lifestyles on keeping a dog entertained. He gets more than most do. We have space outside, he shouldn't be kept cooped up.


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Well if you think you are meeting all of his needs (which if they were met probably wouldnt be having issues) then the only thing left is to speak to a trainer that specializes in GSD's and behavior problems... Have you taken him to the vet to rule out anything medical? And yes its a fact of life that people do work, but with my last GSD I was working in the office ( I now work from home) but I would be at the office for up to 10+ hours a day, and so would my ex, when we got home we would take our dog for a walk, come home eat do whatever and then take for another walk before bedtime, in the morning before work we would also take her for a walk, and play with her. On our days off we would go to dog parks, go to the beach, go hiking or camping ect. and our dog was always included... She was not kennel trained but even though we had a fully fenced backyard we did not leave her out there all day... We also worked on obedience EVERY day... I find that mental stimulation is just as good to tire them out as physical.... So again best thing to do is up the stimulation be it training sessions everyday, going for a walk when you get home or a combination of both, and if that doesnt work or your not willing to give it a shot then the only other option is to seek out a trainer. Best of luck
 

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A bored dog is a destructive dog. This dog seriously needs more stimulation- a GSD requires much more exercise than "burning off energy by roaming around the yard" and occasional hikes. They need a pretty good amount of exercise every single day.

They also require mental stimulation- all the physical exercise in the world won't replace mental exercise (obedience classes, training games, etc).
Training is much more than teaching them the commands. Training is engaging your dog, establishing a bond, establishing leadership, and giving his brain some exercise. Training is also curbing unwanted behaviors that stem from understimulation, like jumping. You can try all the methods in the world to stop jumping, but until you start fixing the boredom and lack of leadership and structure, they won't work.

These are pretty high-maintenance dogs in terms of the amount of exercise and training they need. A bored GSD=an axious GSD= a GSD who may develop some serious issues.

Being left to his own devices in an unstructured environment for eight hours a day is also dangerous. If you believe crating is cruel (you should talk to the majority of members here who crate their dogs-- my adult dog chooses to be in his crate and can come and go as he pleases), then build a large kennel for him with a concrete floor to prevent digging. A bored, anxious dog CAN and WILL try to escape, and can get into any other manner of trouble. Keeping a dog outside without some sort of kennel, unattended for such a long stretch, is dangerous.
 

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I don't have a problem with outside but if I were not at the house it would be in a secure dog pen, not a yard. And that dog pen would be in a fenced yard. It would be covered, with a concrete floor, and heavy duty. Soon enough he will be heading out to find more fun. Any fencing they can climb may be problematic even with a roof.

How many times a day to you wear him out with tug and fetch and obedience etc?

My dog is outside while I work (from home) and some fun things are a garden hose tied to a sturdy post, places ok to dig, and I do something with him about every two hours. Not sure I would run a 6 month old 10k if it was on anything but grass.

The jumping is simple enough; that is basic training and it sounds like he needs that so I would be getting up with a dog trainer or a good class now while he is still young enough to control. An upside of obedience training is that mental work wears them out more than physical work.
 
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