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Hello. I have a few questions about playing and toys. First, I'm on the look out for puzzles and dispensers that can actually keep him busy. He figured out the puzzles I got within seconds, plucks the snuffle mats if left with them for even a moment too long, and a Kong with with soaked and frozen food lasts maybe 15 minutes. I like to mix things up and give him various things, so any recommendations would be appreciated.

I also want to get a good tug toy that will actually last. Osiris prefers flat plush toys, so was wanting to see if anyone knew of something he might like that would last longer than most plush toys.

I am having some trouble getting him to bring toys back too. We'd made some progress at the park and he was pretty consistently bringing a ball or frisbee back, but there were about three days where that just went out the window. We worked on it and now he'll sometimes bring it back, but usually not more than two, maybe three, times in a row. Inside is about the same or worse. He may occasionally bring a toy back to me though whether or not he'll drop it is a different question. He prefers playing keep away which I don't mind playing sometimes, but don't want to all the time. He's also perfectly content to lay down and chew on his toy and I can't use food because then he won't play, so it's hard to motivate him to bring it back. I have to grab his collar or a leash to get him to come to me.
 

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There's no plush toy that will last more than a few minutes in a GSD's jaws.My dogs like them too and every so often I buy them an extra long one full of squeakers. Raw bones will keep him chewing for a longer period.
Have you tried playing with two balls? He gets the second one thrown as soon as he fetches the first one. Other than that, put him on a long line and work on his recall.
 

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There's no plush toy that will last more than a few minutes in a GSD's jaws.My dogs like them too and every so often I buy them an extra long one full of squeakers. Raw bones will keep him chewing for a longer period.
Have you tried playing with two balls? He gets the second one thrown as soon as he fetches the first one. Other than that, put him on a long line and work on his recall.
I kind of figured on the plush toys, but thought maybe there was something similarly. He just doesn't have the drives of a pure GSD, so I want to use toys that he really likes as reward toys, but so far those have only been plush toys. I have used bones, but will admit I've been a bit nervous since my Chi x cracked two of her teeth on antlers.

I need to get two identical balls to try, but I'm afraid he'll just go off with the ball and chew on it or drop it further away. He's not actually a huge fan of fetch. He likes frisbees better, but they lose his interest relatively quickly too. Another thing I was wanting help with, actually. It would be nice if he had a little more drive for chasing the ball or frisbee since that's a good way to tire him out and, as it is, I only get three to five throws to work on him bringing it back. If I call him back, he'll drop the toy thinking he's getting food. It's the same with tug toys though I'd say he's a little better at bringing them on command, but he won't just bring them back on his own.
 

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The shepherd we owned before this one was obsessed with frisbees and would go all day long. This one not so much. Think about finding something else you and he could enjoy doing. Find it games,tracking, trick training, etc.
 

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Somebody posted this on this forum a while back. I wish I had seen this before I started to play fetch.


Fetch is complicated game, lots of moving parts. You are going to need patience because IMO dogs that play fetch for sustained periods of time are taught to. No two dogs are the same, some like to chase, GSDs tend to be possessive and do not want to release the ball. Mine can go for a hike with a ball in her mouth!

My guys get antlers, no issues. I also give them raw, frozen soup bones, which can keep them busy for about 90 minutes but is not something you can do every day.

Here are some things I do to keep my dogs busy:
  • wrap/fold their kibble in a towel.
  • hide their kibble around the house.
  • spread a thin layer of yogurt/unsweetened apple sauce in a thin layer on a plate and freeze. feed later as a treat.
  • clean up the dog toys.
  • tricks.
Honestly, nothing keeps them busy for more than 5 minutes unless I am busy with them.

Also, and forgive me if I misunderstood you here, OP, your dog has to learn to be bored sometimes. You can't always entertain them, so I use a crate. I sit on the dog to teach them that when I settle, they must also settle.

Are you trying to tire him out? I cannot tire out my GSD. She's 13 months and her ball drive is insane. She likes to chase and she wants to play keepaway, not fetch or tug etc. Again, I use the crate at various times during the day. I have found teaching tricks etc to be a better way to tire her out.

PS there will be regression sometimes, it's just how things go.
 

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Try Ruffwear. Our fabric tug/float is at least 5 years old. We control how long they have but held up so well.
 

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How old is Osiris?
About 8 months or so.

The shepherd we owned before this one was obsessed with frisbees and would go all day long. This one not so much. Think about finding something else you and he could enjoy doing. Find it games,tracking, trick training, etc.
We definitely do other things. The last few days I've been "hiding" his squirrel toy at the park which he enjoys, but I can't hide it really well since 1. it's mostly open land and 2. he sees where I put it. I do want to get into some scent work/nose work, but I got a bit overwhelmed doing the research. I just thought it would be nice to have a way to physically exercise him that doesn't wear me out just as much!

Somebody posted this on this forum a while back. I wish I had seen this before I started to play fetch.


Fetch is complicated game, lots of moving parts. You are going to need patience because IMO dogs that play fetch for sustained periods of time are taught to. No two dogs are the same, some like to chase, GSDs tend to be possessive and do not want to release the ball. Mine can go for a hike with a ball in her mouth!

My guys get antlers, no issues. I also give them raw, frozen soup bones, which can keep them busy for about 90 minutes but is not something you can do every day.

Here are some things I do to keep my dogs busy:
  • wrap/fold their kibble in a towel.
  • hide their kibble around the house.
  • spread a thin layer of yogurt/unsweetened apple sauce in a thin layer on a plate and freeze. feed later as a treat.
  • clean up the dog toys.
  • tricks.
Honestly, nothing keeps them busy for more than 5 minutes unless I am busy with them.

Also, and forgive me if I misunderstood you here, OP, your dog has to learn to be bored sometimes. You can't always entertain them, so I use a crate. I sit on the dog to teach them that when I settle, they must also settle.

Are you trying to tire him out? I cannot tire out my GSD. She's 13 months and her ball drive is insane. She likes to chase and she wants to play keepaway, not fetch or tug etc. Again, I use the crate at various times during the day. I have found teaching tricks etc to be a better way to tire her out.

PS there will be regression sometimes, it's just how things go.
I'll have to watch that video.

I don't have a problem with him dropping the ball if I can get him to bring it to me. I have a flirt pole that he loves, but the balls and the frisbees don't keep his interest as much.

I'm trying to get myself over my nervousness with bones and the like, but I'm not used to giving them and since Stella fractured her teeth, I've been especially nervous. It's not cheap to get dental work done.

I do fold food into an old blanket. I have snuffle mats, but he no longer gets them because he was plucking the fabric strips out. The frozen yoghurt/apple sauce is an interesting idea though. I have to be careful with food around the house because he's shown some resource guarding towards Stella. He only has access to one or two chew toys constantly. The rest are put up.

Oh, yes. He settles around the house fine. He's in the crate for anywhere from 1-4 hours a day (usually 2-3) and sleeps in there. He gets restless sometimes still, but he's a lot better. I've noticed he gets restless in his crate at night though, so I was worried he was sleeping too much during the day. I'm a college student with a part time job with four other animals, so unfortunately I only have so much time to give him. And my classes are going to be starting again soon. It looks like I'll have to go to campus once or twice a week which I didn't plan on doing, so it would be nice to give him something to do while I'm gone (he won't be completely alone, but does have to be settled).

Well, Osiris doesn't have the energy, drive, or intensity I expected from a young GSD. He'll keep going about as long as I want him to and sleep after, but that makes it a little hard to figure out how much he needs. And I've noticed now that it's colder, he doesn't get quite as worn out as he did when it was warm. Getting him to run more requires me to run more though! He's food motivated, but prefers to work as little as possible for it and can get a bit bored and/or frustrated with repetitive training or if he doesn't get a quick reward.

Try Ruffwear. Our fabric tug/float is at least 5 years old. We control how long they have but held up so well.
Cool, that looks promising.
 

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Hm. Interesting. Osiris sounds like Juno. She plays but only as long as I do so. She's handler-focused. I think a lot of GSDs are and I think she will keep going as long as I do. So I decide when she is tired. She gets enough exercise, she's happy and healthy.

I remember her as a puppy, chasing after a ball, sleep drunk, stumbling along my kitchen floor. I went through a phase where I was trying to tire her out, and I took her out 4x day and I could not tire her out. So then we started to freeshape in the evenings, 20 minutes each night of toy discrimination and putting the right one in the box or basket (no clicker, but verbal markers). These exercises, her trying to figure out what I wanted, really helped our relationship. We do these in the evening, then potty, then bed. She's restless at night, too. She changes places throughout the night and wakes me up 10 minutes before my alarm does, but she's not obnoxious about it.

I think you just have to find the right toy and game for your puppy. Juno likes balls, then balls on a string, but best she likes tugs. She likes to play keepaway more than fetch, and I am still trying to find a rhythm for when we play.
 

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Hm. Interesting. Osiris sounds like Juno. She plays but only as long as I do so. She's handler-focused. I think a lot of GSDs are and I think she will keep going as long as I do. So I decide when she is tired. She gets enough exercise, she's happy and healthy.

I remember her as a puppy, chasing after a ball, sleep drunk, stumbling along my kitchen floor. I went through a phase where I was trying to tire her out, and I took her out 4x day and I could not tire her out. So then we started to freeshape in the evenings, 20 minutes each night of toy discrimination and putting the right one in the box or basket (no clicker, but verbal markers). These exercises, her trying to figure out what I wanted, really helped our relationship. We do these in the evening, then potty, then bed. She's restless at night, too. She changes places throughout the night and wakes me up 10 minutes before my alarm does, but she's not obnoxious about it.

I think you just have to find the right toy and game for your puppy. Juno likes balls, then balls on a string, but best she likes tugs. She likes to play keepaway more than fetch, and I am still trying to find a rhythm for when we play.
I honestly wish he was more handler focused. I think he pays more attention to me than he lets on, but he likes to explore on his own and keep an eye on what's going on around us. But I can't just sit on the bench and let him run. If I'm at the bench, he's at the bench. I have to get up and walk around. Then he'll go off on his own and sniff around.

Osiris tires out pretty quickly. He kind of reminds me of a sighthound with bursts of energy, but then he's content to curl up on the couch and sleep. But it does take a little extra effort now that it's colder. And I wasn't sure if his restlessness at night was normal or a sign of him sleeping too much during the day. I had a camera set up on him for a few nights and he'd basically sleep from 2-3 hours and then after that he'd be changing positions about every hour. I don't think the cats help. One in particular likes to get the zoomies at night.

These have been the most successful toy for us - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01BWF0AR4/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o03_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
We have 2 and play 2 ball with her, she learned fetch the out using these. They have lasted for months now and is a good shew toy also as it does not rip and keeps her entertained. Here is a short of my 9 yr old playing fetch and out indoors in a small space -


View attachment 568289
Cool, thank you.
 
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