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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We have had Mitch for almost 2 wks. He is 1yr and a half and was being kept in a garage prior to his owners surrendering him.

He just started pacing, barking and will scratch the ground. We are on a midnights schedule, so a barking dog during the day is not something that works for us. He has bones and toys, walking him is not always going to happen.

Will he adjust? What other things can we do to curb this behavior?

Thank you in advance!
 

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Exercise...both physical and mental. Sounds like he might be bored.
 

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Hi and welcome. I think we need a little more information to give you any advice. We don't know what you are currently doing to address these issues. What kind of training and exercise are you currently doing? What is your current schedule with your dog?
 

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I would definitely be "upping" his exercise routine, hiking/running burn off some of that boredom.

He's probably not used to your schedule yet, and needs to still get acclimated.
 

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I apologize in advance for the long lecture, but I feel compelled to reply to your post, as it really hit home with me when I read it.

I am not an expert on GSD by any means. However, I have rescued a few dogs over the last twenty years. The first two were various breed mixes, and are waiting at the Bridge. I miss them dreadfully. The third, is our now 10 month old GSD. All three of my loves, were mistreated or neglected in some way or form before we got them.

We found our GSD Leya at the local pound. She was only 6 months old. Leya was an owner surrender, don't know much about her past except she certainly wasn't cared for much, and when a cute furry puppy turned into a bratty adolescent, she was out the door.

When our dogs, especially Leya came home to us, she was and still is to this day, a lot of work. Sometimes she can be a total pain in the behind, but with patience, a good sense of humour and lots of effort, she has turned into a fantastic dog, with great potential. As we continue to get to know each other, her intelligence and willingness to learn and love, never fails to astound us.

I suggest you take the advice of the more experienced GSD owners who replied to your thread, they know what they are talking about. My input however is please think about the life your dog lived before you rescued. How boring and scary to be left alone in a dark garage? I couldn't imagine. IMO, forget about your dogs current age and start from scratch with this dog as if he were a pup. Scour these boards for tips and training advice. I personally have found these forums to be a life saver, and when I thought I couldn't take having a landshark snappy alligator in a fur suit anymore, I would log on to the boards and read and learn about why GSD's act and do the things they do. They are different from other breeds. They are amazing dogs.

Your dog needs socialization. exercise. training. Most importantly, patience. Working Shiftwork is very difficult. Especially midnights. However, if you are committed to this dog, there are lots of options to make life easier on your family, and keep your dog happy. That might mean hiring a dog walker, or even a doggy day care program, while you are unavailable or need to rest. Please give the dog some time to adapt to it's new surroundings. He isn't used to being treated properly and is probably confused and maybe is not ready to trust. Do whatever you have to do and the rest will soon follow.

This is only my humble opinion, but I hope it makes sense, and is of help to you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Re: GSD rescue w/ issues...

Thank you for taking the time to reply to my post.

We try to walk him (which he is a pulling nightmare and we are trying to install him with manners), but mostly play with him inside. What sort of "training" is necessary, aside from sit, stay and so on? What mental exercises can we do?
We are not active, per se and would rather not be out when it is freezing. Of course he likes to be outside and will "ask" to go out in our fenced backyard.

Maybe we got in over our heads; we have an 11yr old black lab and knew we would have more action in our home, but never knew it might be a job in and of itself. Don't get me wrong, we want to make him happy. He may be trying to acclimate himself to us; initially he was not pacing or barking, that just started about 3 days ago.
 

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Two weeks isn't very long. He is still adjusting. You might feel like you are in over your head, but you aren't. You can do this. You will find a lot of good advice here. The board sometimes gets slow on the weekends, so if you don't get many responses, bump your thread back up.

I adopted a mixed breed puppy from a high kill shelter in October. He is somewhere between 8 and 10 months now. He has a lot of energy and is a lot of work. Every day, I do two short training session with my pup. In addition to his basic command, I taught him a lot of tricks. You should do the same with your new guy. Make him work for everything he gets.

I hand feed my pup. It goes like this - I put his food in a cup and put his bowl at my feet. Puppy must "sit" and "wait". I hold a few pieces of food in my hand and put my hand near my eyes. Puppy must "watch" - make eye contact, then he must "touch" - nose to my hand. I taught these things one at a time. It makes him think and makes him focus on me. In one meal, we are working on sit, wait, watch, touch. Sometimes I throw in a wait, where he has to leave the food in the bowl until I release him.

I made my puppy a flirt pole. Mine is a horse lunge line with a stuffed toy on the end of it. You can use any type of flexible pole and you can tie any kind of toy, or even a rag to the end. Drag the toy along the floor in a circle or up in the air. This activity really tires out a dog. (Probably a better outside toy, but we play in the house.)

You can work with his nose. Hide treats and let him find them. The more you tire him mentally and physically, the more his unwanted behavior will disappear. Work on obedience a LOT. Shepherds are very smart and want to please. When he gets it right...Praise, praise, praise. At 1.5, he is still very much a puppy. A big puppy, but a puppy.

Give it time. It will work out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thank you! We do feel a bit overwhelmed.. Once it starts to warm up a bit, we will bring him out more... For now, we need to focus on things we can do inside the house. I will look into the flirt pole!
 

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OP, I think you are going to have to either adjust your routine to include a whole lot more exercise out and about with your new dog, or you're going to need to return him to the organization you adopted him from.

A young dog like this is going to need so much more than some play in the house and maybe a walk. If you decide to keep him, find a good trainer and get involved in obedience training. It will help build a stronger bond and will give you a resource that can help guide you in building the daily routines that your new dog can live with. It isn't really a question of whether or not you can train this guy yourself, or whether or not he needs advanced training beyond the basic sit, stay, down and come. Training is so much more than that.

It isn't fair to you or him to expect him to fit into a lifestyle that does not suit him.

Good luck in reaching a decisions that is fair to everyone involved!
Sheilah
 

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We have had Mitch for almost 2 wks. He is 1yr and a half and was being kept in a garage prior to his owners surrendering him.

He just started pacing, barking and will scratch the ground. We are on a midnights schedule, so a barking dog during the day is not something that works for us. He has bones and toys, walking him is not always going to happen.

Will he adjust? What other things can we do to curb this behavior?

Thank you in advance!
A German Shepherd is an interactive dog. He can have all the bones and toys in the world, but if his owner doesn't interact with him, he will be frustrated and begin undesirable behaviors.

When you own a German Shepherd, a walk always has to happen. At the very least.
Mental stimulation, a job to do, exercise, all of these will ensure a happy and well-adjusted dog.
 

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i bundle up with coat, scarf,gloves, face mask, and take my dogs for a walk 3 times a night every night and we walk alot on weekends, no matter what the weather (rain dogs wear raincoats), the more exercise you give your new dog the better.. this breed NEEDS walks, mental stimulation and physical stimulation- without both you will have a dog that will have pent up energy who will destroy stuff, eat stuff, and pace and do what your dog is doing now to release that energy.. i agree with others , if you cant get out and walk him a few times a night and give him the outlet he needs then return him to the rescue where you got him from. ( if you want a slug of a dog get an older dog that just eats and sleeps and needs just a trip outside for potty)
 

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I walk mine three to four times a day. Mornings, lunch break, soon as I get off from work, and right before bed. Oscar is about 2 years old, still has a lot of that puppy energy, and needs to run. Even if it is 15 degrees outside, I will have him running with me (keeps me warm and wastes his energy). Theyre a working breed, they need the mental stimulation. Oscar doesnt pay attention to toys or balls at all, but get up and make him sit, stay, come, go, work on recall, etc. really does help me and him. It teaches boundaries, respect, and gives the interaction he needs with his pack. And he gets individual time with me, individual time with my husband, and time with both of us together.

Oscar is a rescue, and it has taken months to build trust (even now it is still a very shakey trust) but we have affection from a dog that for the first two weeks home didnt want anything to do with us. Three months in now, we are still constantly working on trust. But it has gone from him hiding in the darkest corner on the farthest side of the house to following us from room to room.

Good luck. The dog you will find at the other end of your developing relationship will be a very rewarding member of your family, but you have to shape him to get there.

LO
 

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Welcome! Where did you get him from? I would contact the foster home and ask them any questions you might have in addition to posting here.

Pacing can be a nervous/calming behavior for a dog. Transitions are rough for them. He is on a day schedule (like most creatures) so you need time for him to adjust - what is the schedule you can give him that will work for you both?

Thinking ahead to going to training classes - which will help a ton and be fun to do: I did a search on the CPDT website for find a trainer: http://www.purrfectpawsabc.com/Staff.htm but someone on this board has gone there with good feedback.

She has 2 Dutch Shepherds and more than a trainer who can work with Shepherds, I look for trainers that work with breeds that are harder to train and she does have a JRT/Bulldog mix - yeep. ;)

I would contact and go out to observe, and do that with some other places as well, and see what you think. I do appreciate her philosophy as it is written and always like to see it in action if I can before bringing my dog in.
 

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If you are not an active household and don't want to be, a GSD is probably not a good fit for you... especially a young one. Give him time to acclimate, but most importantly, give him what he needs in terms of interaction and exercise. Training is so much more than teaching sit and stay, it's building a bond with your dog, building trust, and establishing that you are his leader. These are not couch potato dogs, usually (there are exceptions to this, hence why I say give him time to settle, first). Who knows-- maybe you'll enjoy being more active and you guys can grow and explore new things together!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Hey! Thanks!! we were wondering about getting a trainer; just so that we could get some more personal advice!

We got him from Buffalo Paws and Claws, but I know they only had him for a week prior and he just started exhibiting the pacing/barking/scratching routine maybe 4 days ago; we had him a week before it all started.
 
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