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And if so, how do you manage them?
First off, is this term even valid based on our current understanding of dog behavior? So many terms that are thrown about in the dog world, like "dominant" or "alpha" aren't because they are based on out of date or skewed research or flawed observation or misapplied to the point of harm.
By hypervigilant I mean dogs who have trouble controlling themselves or calming down. They are reactive to any stimulus, rushing to investigate or bark at a noise or person, or leaping to their feet in a split second when they see you make a move. They want to move, move, move. If they are inside they want to go outside. They pace and patrol constantly. They pant restlessly. Even when in a down position they are ready and watching. If you exercise them, they will run themselves to exhaustion, and still want more. I believe a lot of this is hardwired in by breeding. These are traits that might be desirable for certain sports, but not to live with daily.

I ran across this site which advises not to "overdo" their exercise. Not sure I believe this is entirely good advice but I'd like your opinions.
Too Much of a Good Thing: Overexcitement in Exercise | Paws Abilities
 

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Yes. I have one exactly like that. She has no off switch.
 

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Kinda-sorta.

Pongu is fearful, so he can be hypervigilant in unfamiliar environments and will go into panicky machine-gun barking if he hears or sees something that he thinks is suspicious.

This is, let me tell you, a whole lot of fun when we're staying in hotel rooms or vacation cottages. A couple of years ago, when Pongu was younger and had even more of a hair trigger, we stayed in a hotel where there were three weddings going on simultaneously and the room directly next to ours was where an all-night bachelorette party was being hosted by some very drunk, very giggly sorority girls who partied literally all night long. I did not get a lot of sleep that night.

I can manage it now by touching Pongu to reassure him and telling him that I'm going to go check out whatever it is and oh hey it's not that bad, problem solved, let's go back to doing something else. Sometimes I'll ask him to Sit in Heel position, since that has such a long history of reinforcement that it is, at this point, an extremely soothing behavior for him and enables him to think past his fear.

But for Pongu it's situational and a fear-based behavior, which is a little different from the original description. He is not like that in our home where he feels secure, and he's not a generally hyperactive or highly energetic dog.
 

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That is Malachi 100%. I can't go to scratch an itch without him jumping up-ready for..something?...He follows so closely on my heels all day long that I trip on him regularly. He is constantly 'patrolling' the house. I honestly feel bad for him at times, it seems as though he's never able to really relax. Every so often he'll go to lay down and 'suckle' his blanket, but the second I walk out of his sight, he's back on my heels. I'm hoping this will improve with time...

Like Merciel, I think it could very well be fear based.
 

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I wouldn't say masi is "hypervigilant" as in the description in the link,

I would say she is 'vigilant' tho..She knows what's going on 24/7 and does have an "off" switch..
 

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Havoc is like this, he does settle in the house but if I even shift he jumps up to see what's happening. He is very easily stimulated, which is a huge problem because right now he is on strict rest. Honestly I have been correcting the behaviour and making him stop and collect himself. For example if he think we are going somewhere he will get super excited and scramble across the hard wood screaming and slamming into the walls. He gets a stern knock it off! And/or a correction on a slip collar. I feel bad but him doing this kinda stuff right now could basically cripple him. It is slowly improving with me but getting worse when he is with my husband because he doesn't respect him as much:( Unfortunately with this kind of stuff any positive reinforcement just serves to heighten him.
 

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I wouldn't call roxy that either...but she is ALERT I swear the dog sleeps with 1 eye open. I'm not sure she gets a full 8 hours of sleep because I hear her wake up if one of the cats walk past her kennel..or if I get up to go to the bathroom she hears me no matter how quiet I try to be ( there will never be a break in here without us knowing it).
 

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According to the article, yes, fits my dog to a tee.

But she does have an off switch and does not pace constantly (oddly, her half brother who is so much more mellow than she is, paces constantly!). She is happy to play with her toys on her own, or will lay next to the couch and chew her antler.

She is very alert though, she jumps up and follows me if I move, she barks at anything or anyone out of the ordinary approaching the house.
 

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Rogue is very similar. She doesn't pace but she does patrol and move constantly. She follows behind me and if she does lay down for a second, the minute I move she jumps right back up. She doesn't have a great off switch in the house unless she is EXHAUSTED, which is hard to do. Even mentally. She has no fear issues though, is very stable and easy to take places. The biggest bummer about all on this is that I want to either move her to my room to sleep at night or free roam at night. But she wouldn't sleep. And if she sleeps in my room, she jumps up in her crate every time I move a muscle. So that kind of sucks.

Last night, After doing nose work outside, in the garage and then taught her vehicle searches on the outside. She was panting hard. But Wouldn't settle inside. So then we did the flirt pole. I could tell she was slowing down and tired but when I brought her inside, again she couldn't settle. So I had to crate her to make her rest a bit. It's not easy.


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Ammo is like that. He will lay down for maybe 2 seconds but then is up again. If the kids are in the room with him and then leaves he freaks out because he doesn't know if he wants to be around me or the kids. He is always on the move. I have never been able to get him to relax in the house. If I want him to rest I have to put him in his crate. His father is like this also.


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I believe a lot of this is hardwired in by breeding. These are traits that might be desirable for certain sports, but not to live with daily.
Being hypovigilant, always alert, watchful and very sensative to any sound around - characterizes many GSD, but not every. The question is - what will you do with these qualities as his master?
I mean dogs who have trouble controlling themselves or calming down.
What do you mean by that? If you, yourself, didn't bother to take under your personal control emotional drives of your puppy, I suppose, an adult dog wouldn't have much choice, but to control himself. Of course, there would be a different story with rescued dogs, but that is exactly why I want to mention psychology.
It could be of a nature of mental desorder, you know. By breeding "kind to human babies" GSD, by trying to breed "agressive gene" out appeared such lines in GSD breeding. You guessed it right, it has to do a lot with breeding! Problems with phobias in GSD, excessive nervousness, overagressiveness and other extremes, we hear in this very Forum every day. Temperament is an inherited thing, we can adjust it with the help of methodical training, yes, we can do that, but only with one condition - that our dog is mentally healthy.
True GSD is moderately agressive and moderately alert dog. In addition to this, of course, that is a questionable truth, GSD posesses a great sense of reason. He wouldn't spend his energy for nothing, but if he does, he will do it with a full force.
There is no trouble training GSD from a good German line, very few people complain. They are agressive only if they were told to be, they are vigilant but calm. Of course, you cannot expect all people to become supertrainers, but why some say that it is easy to train GSD, and others say it is a torture? Because they have different dogs. How did they choose their puppy? The only way to know that if you get your puppy from the breeding pair who were checked for their mental health. I don't know anything better than SchH tests or Agility competition. The whole world of GSD owners know no better.
But, it also could be a matter of age. Many young dogs, especially females, show this sort of behaviour. They are always on alert, looking in the sky for aliens. It will go away with time, these girls will simply overgrow their fears. Aromatherapy meanwhile.
You say:
If you exercise them, they will run themselves to exhaustion
It is wery gut. It means you have a truly working dog! Don't hesitate and stuff him with new commands. Teach him to dance, if you don't like Schutzhund, you can take part in appropriate competition if you like. Just don't leave it in this monotony: just the ball and nothing else creates a squirrel's wheel in his head, and it leads to crystallizing his memory and his doggy's flexibility of learning something new.
You write:
rushing to investigate or bark at a noise or person
If you rush after him, it means he is a leader of you two. And, probably, he doesn't even need you there, you don't have to move from your spot. But, that is how young males become independent and leave the pack sometimes. It will go away as soon, as he understands that his destiny was designed to be a permanent baby. If your dog barks for a purpose of receiving some repercussion from that noise or person tells about his inquisitiveness. He is thirsty to experience different emotions. Swimming will do. Tracking will do. Training to be photographed with strangers and their kids will do.
You say:
leaping to their feet in a split second when they see you make a move
By doing this your dog tells you that he is ready to go. And, he, probably, knows - where. Some of our dogs think, that the doggy park works 24/7, and there are thousands of birds are waiting for him on the grass, millions of cats run around, and packs of disrespectful dogs dare to mark his territory, and he is locked away from all this wonderful world. Well exercised dogs, whatever the age they are, normally sleep a lot inside of your appartment, or in the shade in your garden.
 

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I have a hypervigilant GSD, she sleeps in the upstairs hallway so she can have a view of all our bedrooms and what is coming up the stairs. I don't think she's stressed, she has stress when she cannot be a watchdog, like in a field with tall, overgrown grass.

The article seemed to be focused on hyper arousal when playing and the stress it causes. Our former dog would get this way when we let her play with a stick at the beach. She would lose all common sense, get aggressive if dogs came too close and would not stop to rest. We'd time her for 15 minutes of play, took the stick away and she was a friendly, normal dog.
 

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I have found when a dog has a problem it can always be traced back to a handler.
While that is often true, it is not ALWAYS the case. Sometimes behavior is genetic. Rogue is happy, healthy, well exercised both mentally and physically and goes everywhere with us. She trains in ring sport and is starting some scent work. This doesn't stop her from having very high energy with a not so great off switch. She is who she is, I manage it well. And she's a happy dog.


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