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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
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?
 

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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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Discussion Starter #4
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.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
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?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
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.
 

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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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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
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.
 

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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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I second what others had said regarding the Adolescence stage. Red which is now 14 month old, had a his worse rambunctious behaviours from 7 - 11 months of age. If you survive this time ( and yes, survive is the word ), then the maturation process will slowly start to set in, and he will likely mature into the great breed representative that everyone cites in this forum. We starting to see it now, and hopefully you will hang in there, and get rewarded in the long run; with a wonderful family member that will give you so much more in return, that what you have given him/her.
 

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Hang in there! I’m current going through some of the stuff with TWO 10 month old puppies.

For the toy I think you just have an aggressive chewer. Both my dogs started destroying toys a couple months ago. So we bought super tough toys for aggressive chewers and it’s honestly the best!

It occupies them for hours now because they cannot seem to chew it up. Provides great mentally stimulation. They aren’t any interested in Kong unless it has PB on it.

I would try maybe exercising before crating for long periods of time. We do this if we are gonna be our for longer then 3 hours. A nice walk or a run in the park or even just playing some game in the house with them. And then crated with a kong with frozen pb on it or a peanut butter smeared on one of their chew toys.

Now in the am my pups are pretty laid back. They’re up for about an hour maybe two before they knock back out for at least 3-4 hours. This is probably cause my fiancé works over night shifts about 2 hours away.

So when I get ready to leave he’s usually just getting home. I have already fed and taken them out once when he gets home. And Usuallt playing catch or hide n seek while I get ready. Then when I leave my boyfriend Plays with them (wrestling, hide and seek or a walk) takes them out one more time & then they are happily back inside their crates till I get home. That’s been their routine most of their life. So even in his days off they’re still pretty much always laid back in the mornings. But once 4-5 hits their full energy till around 10pm even after adequate exercise.

So maybe try some mentally stimulation things for you guys before crating.

Mine have been TESTING me lately. So I’ve been extra firm and extra consistent with them throughout it. Some days I’m pretty frusterated from them play fighting too much or just not listening, I have to just take them outside for extra longer then normal to wear them out.

Some days they have 0 energy and are lazy all day. No in between. All or nothing!
 

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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. ?
I feel your pain and can relate to what you are going through. Part of me is envious of you, because you had so many months when your dog was "an absolute angel". My puppy, Cassie, is 7 months as well. I brought her home at 9 weeks. After a week or two, Cassie became "The Destroyer". She has continued to destroy things at any opportunity.

Cassie is my 3rd personal GSD. My prior 2 GSD's were angels, compared to Cassie. After following what others have recommended (regular walks, play time in the back yard, play time in the house, obedience training, tons of toys and rotation, etc.), she still has "Destroyer Episodes".

I've learned that there can be a range of puppy behaviors and that some GSD puppies can be on the extreme range of some behaviors. I have come to realize that it was a mistake to expect that my 3rd GSD wouldn't be any more difficult than my first two. I guess I have to expect that she will be a challenging dog until adulthood. I would be delighted if she gets the rowdy behavior out of her system early, and eases into adulthood.

With Cassie, there seems to be 3 modes:

NORMAL FOR HER: ENERGETIC & MISCHIEVOUS:
This is her normal state, when she is awake. The world is filled with nontoy things that she wants to make her toys. She can get into trouble in less than a minute unattended. I wish I were an extreme minimalist (with a hidden place for everything and everything in its' place), but I don't have that perfect situation.

She has lots of doggie toys, but most of the time, she is more intrigued with the following things:

In The House: Cordless laptop mouse (her favorite), any type of remote control, Arrowhead 24 oz. water bottles, Dr. Pepper cans, any aluminum or tin can, shoes, socks, tidy bowl brush, toilet paper (have to hide TP from her), broom, dust pan and mop. She will untie the shoe laces on the athletic shoes I happen to be wearing.

After multiple mishaps with her water bowl and floods to clean up, her current indoor water source is a bucket filled with water (kept inside a bathtub).

PS: Yesterday, Cassie was in her crate for approx. 4.5 hours, while I was away from home. I arrived home with groceries & quickly brought groceries into the house, and then let Cassie out of her crate (expecting she needed some water and a bathroom break). While I put groceries away, Cassie started to rip open a box (3-pack) of milk cartons and made multiple attempts to drag around a very large sack of potatoes.

In The Yard:
Unearths plants from pots (and shakes dirt everywhere). She seems to get a preoccupation with a certain plants and will continue to attack that target on multiple occasions, until it's totally destroyed. Will attack a bag of potting soil and drag it around and make a mess. Destroys plant pots - both plastic and ceramic. I'll spare you the story about the clumping kitty litter.

DESTROYER MODE:

We have episodes when it seems like the "rowdy button" is pressed. On most days, Cassie has an episode of extreme energy. It can last up to an hour (sometimes longer). You would generally expect an energy burst, after being crated for awhile or perhaps upon waking in the a.m.. Sometimes, however, her rowdy periods defy logic and happen after a walk or a play session, or at bedtime (after a very active day).

When possible, I try to take her for a walk or out to play in the yard when "destroyer mode" happens. Usually, she calms down during a walk, by the time we get half way down my street, or after a few minutes of yard play. Sometime, I have to cut a yard play session short because she is too rowdy and won't comply with commands of "off" or "leave it". During these times, she either keeps jumping on me and almost knocks me down, bites me in the rear end or bites at my arms. (or a combo of all of those).

Sometime, "destroyer mode" hits early in the morning (she sleeps on my bed) or at bedtime. During these very early or late in the day episodes, I either put her in her crate for awhile or put a leash on long lead on her and confine her is some manner.

SLEEPY MODE - CUDDLY MODE:

This is the time I treasure. Most nights, she sleeps on my bed and gets cuddly at times. One recent morning, she cuddled up to me and put her head on my shoulder. When she is in this mode, she has a soft mouth and doesn't generally hurt me when she tries to make me be her chew toy.

Things can change in a hot minute in the morning, and as soon as my limbs come out from the bed covers, She usually goes into an aggressive play mode. It can be very frustrating to have an urgent need to get out of bed and visit the bathroom, and then have a dog bite at your feet and hands aggressively as you try to leave the bed. Although I'm occasionally successful after a round of 40-50 repeats of "leave it" or "no bite", that isn't always possible.

Hang in there. Hopefully we will both be back in approx. a year from now and will be sharing success stories about well behaved dogs and how we survived the rowdy puppy times.
 
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