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I have a feeling I might not get much reassurance / sympathy here but my 10 month-old is making me nuts! I know she is bright and we’ve done countless hours of training but when she’s bored/ unexercised (I know, I know- I try and prevent this) she loses her mind: digging, chewing (loves Kleenex, armchair covers, gloves, etc) she still is super mouthy- good luck trying to wipe her feet when she comes in (and I have to go out with her every time) She also goes crazy when people come over or we go to training- the barking/whining, oh my! And she’s huge- 70 lbs and tall - any handling of her
is exhausting- I’m not very big. I have gates all over the house, And have foil on the armchair. Bathroom garbage on counter. I really want to relax and enjoy her but I feel like I’m in constant defense mode. Maybe I’m too Type A for. GSD.


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GSDs are type A so I don’t that’s it. How is your dog engaging in all this destructive behavior? When I crate train my puppies, they are in their crate when I can’t have my eyes on them. They don’t get a chance to be destructive because I’m correcting them in the moment.

I would get a trainer to help you teach her to settle and to work on engagement.
 

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She’s engaging in it right in front of me- I know it’s for attention. How do you correct when if you take a step toward her she runs. I don’t want to chase or do a anything to encourage her. If she has something of value I call her to come, give her a treat and take the item. But does that tell her she gets a treat if she steals stuff?


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Okay, she is getting away with bad behaviour right in front of you. Disavow yourself of the idea that she is doing this stuff for attention. You said yourself that she does it when she hasn't had enough exercise.

This is a huge problem. You have two choices.

1) keep your dog tethered to you so you can prevent the behaviour in the first place, and rapidly correct if something undesirable occurs.
or

2) Use an e-collar. Get some help about properly using an e-collar before trying this. The primary advantage here is that the dog realizes that it gets corrected if it engages in the behaviour regardless of your distance from her. You still have to pay attention!

When you are unable to pay perfect attention, put the dog in the crate!
 

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I am planning on an e-collar. Can’t get in for the training for 2 months (scheduled sessions in December for end of March/ April) Until then, you’re right that I should tether her. She literally is three feet from me stealing Kleenex from the garbage and then making a beeline down the stairs. She is also contained in the back of the house unless were with her. Crated if we cannot supervise.


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Discussion Starter #6
Also- I keep hearing about “corrections”- what exactly does that mean? I suppose, in part, it depends on the dog. What are some examples?


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You can't correct a dog for being bored and under exercised! Focus on that and many of these problem behaviors will vanish or be easy to extinguish!
 

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You can't correct a dog for being bored and under exercised! Focus on that and many of these problem behaviors will vanish or be easy to extinguish!
I don’t disagree with this at all. I have just never experienced the intensity of this dog (granted my first GSD- but have had a GSD/ husky mix and other large-breed puppies) Feeling like it’s consuming my life. Trying to get her plenty of exercise, etc., but I almost feel like she now expects a constant 3-ring circus like an entitled millennial!


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You can't correct a dog for being bored and under exercised! Focus on that and many of these problem behaviors will vanish or be easy to extinguish!
I agree with this 100%.

It is cruel to use an e collar or corrections because one doesn't have the time to exercise their dog. This breed requires a lot of exercise.
 

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2) Use an e-collar. Get some help about properly using an e-collar before trying this. The primary advantage here is that the dog realizes that it gets corrected if it engages in the behaviour regardless of your distance from her. You still have to pay attention!
Please do not use an e-collar for stealing a kleenex and just generally being a pest, she's only 10 months of age! It sounds like she might have had some inconsistent training and exercise on your part. You can't let her roam around your house being mischief and then resort to an e-collar for every thing that annoys you. Work on the basics and be 100% consistent. What's her daily routine and daily exercise like anyway?
 

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Not using a e collar for stealing Kleenex (that even sounds absurd)only getting it for off leash, outdoor use. Was just stating that I am going to get one and be properly trained to use it. Dog is walked 2 or so miles a day and plenty of fetch. Is crated for about 4.5 hours during week and let out by a neighbor about 1/2 way through. Do fence running with neighbor’s dog and training sessions- few car trips a week for training/ enrichment.

This is just what I do- hubby also walks and engages. Not sure how much more time I can give ( work, special needs child). Maybe I did choose the wrong breed-don’t want to give up on this.


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Not using a e collar for stealing Kleenex (that even sounds absurd)only getting it for off leash, outdoor use. Was just stating that I am going to get one and be properly trained to use it. Dog is walked 2 or so miles a day and plenty of fetch. Is crated for about 4.5 hours during week and let out by a neighbor about 1/2 way through. Do fence running with neighbor’s dog and training sessions- few car trips a week for training/ enrichment.

This is just what I do- hubby also walks and engages. Not sure how much more time I can give ( work, special needs child). Maybe I did choose the wrong breed-don’t want to give up on this.


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Can you try having her outside by herself more? If not, why don't you try mind challenging games and stuff that makes her think? They even have mind challengers like Bob-a-lots that make her engage her mind to get her dinner. It'll help her pay attention to something and use up some energy. Maybe also for your walks you could do some hikes? Some energy consuming hike will help drain out some of her endless supply. Um, let me think...how about one of those ball tosser things. Teach her how to use it and it'll toss her ball for her whenever she wants.

I've heard that they usually calm down once they become full adults, like around the 1-1 1/2 year stage.
 

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Not using a e collar for stealing Kleenex (that even sounds absurd)only getting it for off leash, outdoor use. Was just stating that I am going to get one and be properly trained to use it. Dog is walked 2 or so miles a day and plenty of fetch. Is crated for about 4.5 hours during week and let out by a neighbor about 1/2 way through. Do fence running with neighbor’s dog and training sessions- few car trips a week for training/ enrichment.

This is just what I do- hubby also walks and engages. Not sure how much more time I can give ( work, special needs child). Maybe I did choose the wrong breed-don’t want to give up on this.
I'm glad to hear that, I think sometimes people are too quick to recommend an e-collar for small issues. So do you mean an invisible fence or how are you planning to use it for outdoor use? Is this in conjunction with a trainer?

I think you need to also realize that German Shepherd puppies are a lot of work (for all of us!). There is usually a time with every puppy that you can feel quite exasperated, which is usually where the crate and relying on a firm and consistent routine comes into play. I have a very high energy dog, and when she was a puppy I sometimes felt like tearing my hair out. My current puppy is not as bad, but still one of the higher energy puppies in the litter. Honestly, it sounds like you are trying and your efforts will be rewarded, especially if you can take some of the good advice on here about how to mentally stimulate your dog vs just running around with her. Stick with it! It's like my current female flicked a switch around 12 months old and suddenly matured a lot. It will happen.
 

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Yes, in conjunction with a trainer and for use at our cottage which has no fence- like her to have some freedom to run around! Thanks for some reassurance! The current, crummy Ohio weather doesn’t help though I walk her down to about 20 degrees. I know I just need to keep working with her and things will improve. As you said, sometimes It just gets very frustrating. I have already gotten some good suggestions in response to my post- keep them coming!


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She’s engaging in it right in front of me- I know it’s for attention. How do you correct when if you take a step toward her she runs. I don’t want to chase or do a anything to encourage her. If she has something of value I call her to come, give her a treat and take the item. But does that tell her she gets a treat if she steals stuff?


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Tether her to you or keep a leash on her in the house so you can immediately correct her in the moment. She has too much freedom for this type of behavior. She shouldn’t have access to what she’s destroying.
 

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Not using a e collar for stealing Kleenex (that even sounds absurd)only getting it for off leash, outdoor use. Was just stating that I am going to get one and be properly trained to use it. Dog is walked 2 or so miles a day and plenty of fetch. Is crated for about 4.5 hours during week and let out by a neighbor about 1/2 way through. Do fence running with neighbor’s dog and training sessions- few car trips a week for training/ enrichment.

This is just what I do- hubby also walks and engages. Not sure how much more time I can give ( work, special needs child). Maybe I did choose the wrong breed-don’t want to give up on this.


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Is this walking all on leash? That's not considered exercise for a young GSD.
 

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If she has something of value I call her to come, give her a treat and take the item. But does that tell her she gets a treat if she steals stuff?
Who cares, as long as she brings it to you? But really, it simply tells her she gets a treat for bringing you stuff. Teach her to bring you stuff, her stuff, low value at first. Big praise, trade it for a treat and give it back. Make a game of it and make a big, happy deal about it. The more of that, the better. She may steal more stuff in order to get a reward, but so what? At least she's not playing keep away anymore.

All my dogs learned early on to bring me things - a ball, a bone, a toy. So when Halo stole eyeglasses or the remote or a potholder, she brought them to me. I thanked her and put them away where she couldn't get them. Positive consequences for bringing me stuff she was allowed to have, no negative consequences for stuff she stole. I never had to chase her around the house and forcibly take things away from her. Well, there was that one time she took a bag of cheese off the kitchen counter while I was cutting it up for training treats. I noticed she was gone and thought I heard a sound in the living room. It took me a second to realize the bag of cheese was missing, she was so sneaky I didn't see her take it, even though I was right there. I went to her, calmly pried open her jaws and removed the cheese.

Halo used to bring me her bones to hold while she chewed them. I was fair and consistent so she trusted me. Cava does the same thing.
 

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I'm not as young and athletic as I used to be, so I prefer to let my dog run around off-leash as much as possible. Truth be told, I have never been much of a dog walker, and it really isn't exercise for the dog anyway. If I had to spend hours a day walking my dog I wouldn't have one LOL!

Chuck-it is THE goto ball throwing stick, but you might also try playing tug with your dog, or using a flirt pole. Frisbee is fun too! Agility, parquor (basically climbing on stuff), swimming can be a lot of fun too.

A lot of people don't like dog parks for one reason or another, but that can be a good way to exercise your dog as well. And it has the added benefit of allowing you perfect opportunities to teach your dog how to behave nicely around other dogs.

Good luck, with proper exercise things will be much easier!
 
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