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So I've been posting for a few weeks now and getting all of your advice. I am incredibly thankful for that and for all of you GSD owners who are teaching a newbie the ropes on these amazing animals!

I have also been just reading through these forums and seeing how others are interacting with their pups and I feel like the worst owner in the world.

You see, when I read about everyone else's stories, I see so many posts about how pups are in their crates for about 8-9hrs at night then people wake up and take them out to potty, back in the crate for another hour, then out to play and eat then potty, back in the crate for another hour or two then back out and it seems that I am a terrible owner because I don't have that option of taking my puppy out of the crate every couple of hours to engage in play or just let the puppy out.

To be honest, I started out with my puppy being in the backyard because it's completely fenced in and about 200-300sq ft of area. I grew up with all dogs being outside animals regardless of age of the dog. As long as the dog had water, shelter and I did poop duty every night, the dog remained outside and did just fine. But then I read on these forums and felt like the worst owner ever so I kept my puppy inside in a crate while I wasn't home. Now, I am not home for 9 hours a day. I have someone come in to walk the puppy at lunch and engage in some tug and play for about an hour or two but then the puppy is back in the crate for another 3-4 hours til I get home. I feel awful for doing this because I know she's bored. I know because I cannot leave anything inside of her crate without it getting destroyed and now she's taken to trying to chew on her crate so I have to put vinegar on the spots she chews on to prevent her from destroying the crate and possibly becoming loose in my home where she may get into something that I glossed over and injure/kill herself from. She's getting to the age where anything she can get her mouth on is getting destroyed even though she isn't teething anymore. She's about 7months old now and showing a few signs of teenager stage. I just don't know how to cope with this destruction phase and I am hoping and praying that it's just a phase.

I know the only option to really help this is to get someone to come in more often but I am curious how many other people are in my position where you are working all day and your pup is in their crate for most of it. I engage with her in play, walks and training before I leave my home. When I come home at 5pm, I am pretty much engaged with her in play, walks and more training til 10pm when it's bedtime with about 2 hours of that being me needing to cook food for myself, eat and relax for a bit. So she has about 7-8 hours out of her crate during the day. I can set up a puppy room but the last time I did that, she decided to try to chew on the walls even though they are concrete and not drywall then she turned her sights to the wood that borders doorways. I can't put toys in with her because she will try to eat them and if she cannot destroy, she doesn't want to play with them and will try to eat the walls/wood instead. I really do understand that she's bored but my work schedule isn't going to change anytime soon until I retire which is going to take many years to get to. Is this the teenager phase? How do you handle pups that are bored when they don't want to play with the stuff you give them and can't be there to always engage with them? Should I bring in more people to play with her through out the day? I'm nervous that if I bring in more people to break up the times she is in her crate then she will come to expect that routine. Then, when she is older and I stop having people come in all the time, she will turn destructive at that point and possibly harm herself.
 

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Geez, cut yourself some slack.
Most of us work, many of our dogs are crated, some of us don't even have dog walkers. It's a dog, it will be fine.
I worked sometimes 12 or more hours a day. I had someone come and let my dog out most days. But I just learned to make the most of the time I had with her.
 

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I don't know your location, weather and fenced back yard situation but if it's secure, safe and appropriate for the weather I would use it as an outdoor kennel or add a secure kennel inside it. Not everyone can do that, but use your own judgement. We're probably adding an outdoor kennel inside our fenced back yard this summer. If we decide to take off for the day, that's where they'll go. Please don't judge yourself by everyone else, just raise your dog in accordance with your life. She's safe, loved and cared for.
 

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Sometimes reading stuff on the internet is more harmful than good. You need to work out whats best for you and your dog and the situation you find yourself in. You and your dog both need to be happy! Your dog isn't there to cause you more stress, he's there to enrich your life.

We leave for work at 8am. We get home at the earliest at 5:30pm. Some days it is later... like 8pm.
My dog is outside in a secure, fenced in garden all day, by himself.
Yes I feel bad about this, so what do I do to make myself feel better about it all...
- Everybody in the family (me and 2 kids and occassionally husband because he works away) spend 10 minutes each every morning playing with him, so that is 30 - 40 minutes every morning of just play... soccer, tug, fetch, hide and seek, tag... fun games that he loves.
- Every evening I take him on a walk, an hr long walk and then we also do some obedience training as well.
- He is loved
- He is treated well and kindly, he gets lots of attention in the evening from the children
- The weekends are all about him (or my daughter's cheerleading at present, lol) - we go to the beach or hikes or bush walks, training, more games.

He is happy, he knows his place. He isn't destructive, he doesn't rip up the garden. I've had no complaints from neighbours that he barks all day so I assume he doesn't.
He chases bees, he chases birds and he sleeps.

You need to do what works for you and your dog and stop worrying about how other people say it should or shouldn't be. Do your best by your dog and you guys will be just fine.
 

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Oh gosh. Genali spent so much time crated today so I could focus on Hector. She was good with him, but he was dying and needed undivided love and attention, so Genali had to suck it up and crate. She didn't like it much, but she is fine.

Is your dog well fed? Loved? Is he happy to see you?

Stop beating yourself up! You've got a pup that will grow into a mature dog eventually. It will be worth it.
 

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If financially possible, and if you have a house, I really do suggest building an indoor/outdoor kennel. My girl is crate trained, but to be honest I rarely crate her. Instead I "pen" her - that way she has the ability to go inside or outside if she wants, can go potty, and has plenty of room to move around. It honestly helped with my own personal feelings of guilt. One part is inside the garage, so nice and warm and covered, while the other is outside and attached through a doggy door. Just make sure it's what I call "Ryka-proof" - my girl can jump anything under 7 feet and will destroy weak construction.

I'm the kind of person who starts off saying, "My dog will be crated regardless! I won't be a softy!" and then you find me waddling around with my pants around my ankles as I chase my year old pup after she's stolen my socks from me at 6:30 in the morning while I get ready for work... lol. Seriously happened this morning. My partner had a good laugh and didn't feel sorry for me. Trust me if you watched any of us day to day, even the ones you thought were saints, you'd see we still don't do everything perfect. Reading on the internet or forums is great for snippets, but it won't give you the whole picture. Especially since it changes for all of us, sometimes even from day to day.
 

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Before I got my first dog about 30 years ago, I read a book called "The Weekend Dog", written by a vet named Myrna Milani. It made me realize that yes, I could adopt a dog even though I was working full time. It's out of print, but available used for $2-$3. (Maybe your local library has a copy.)
https://smile.amazon.com/Weekend-Dog-Signet-Myrna-Milani/dp/0451157311/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1524067758&sr=1-1&keywords=weekend+dog+myrna+milani

I think you'd find it reassuring and helpful and practical.
 

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Do what you feel best doing and I agree with the one poster who said reading the internet can be a bad thing - ha, ha.... We've had many dogs over the years. Some were crated, some were not. We had a female GSD years ago when we were both working full time. she was the only dog and she was raised during the day loose in the back yard with a dog house and she did great. She was a wonderful, well adjusted dog. She came in the house when we got home. I don't remember how we kept her at night because I didn't have a crate. When I got my working Malinois (HIGH ENERGY) I crated him from the start. He spent the day outside in his yard and crated at night. Now we have a GSD puppy who is now 13 weeks old and we are retired now so we are home.
I'm trying to get her used to being comfortable everywhere. She has her place in the backyard which she HATED when we first got her. Well, she didn't "hate" it, she was just afraid to be out by herself. Now she's fine with it. She also has a crate inside which she uses and I put her in there when we go someplace and she sleeps fine in it. And I have her loose in the house with us in the evenings. But sometimes she's literally out of control when she's overly tired and I will put her in her crate for a nap. She will whine for a while and then she's out like a light. I still don't allow her free roam of the house. I have the hallway blocked off because I'm not 100% sure she's housebroke. She hasn't had any accidents in a long while but it could be that we're always letting her outside. She still sleeps in a large x pen in the bedroom and sleeps thru the night. We go to bed around 10:30 and she wants out at 6:00AM. NOT ME. I get up and let her out and go back to bed. My husband gets up, feeds the cats and then feeds her.
 

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Well, crates aren’t forever. At least, I don’t use them forever. Usually I start phasing them out when my dogs are around a year old. I think a kennel outdoors is a great solution for days when the weather is suitable. If you’re certain that your fence is secure and that your pup won’t annoy the neighbors or do something to hurt herself, you could probably leave her outside for part of the day. I leave my non-fence jumping GSD outside for several hours on most nice days. I only leave him outside when I’m home though...I’ve had so many strangers pull over and admire them while we’re walking, I’m kind of paranoid that someone might try to take them. Of course, they would be barking like crazy and would look formidable to anyone approaching the fence....
 
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