German Shepherds Forum banner

1 - 20 of 23 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I'm not sure if the title is the best way to phrase my question. If this post turned out to be a rant, I apologize in advance.

We have a one-year-old German Shepherd, who's of course a little troublemaker at this age. We're told that we need to exercise him and give him mental challenges, or else he gets bored and becomes destructive. I take him to the dog park every weekend (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) to socialize. I play fetch with him each morning before work, making sure that he's exercised to the point that he'll walk to the ball and flop down to rest because he's had enough running. I leave him with a kongball full of treats and other toys while I'm at work. I take him to doggy daycare two days a week. He's currently seeing a trainer every week, so after work I practice with him the new skills that we learn from the trainer.

With all of that, I still feel like he's not exercised enough. There are still days that I come home to find a corner wall being chewed up or papers being shredded, and mornings that I wake up to his bed being torn into pieces. My husband has been abroad since September and won't be home until the summer, hence I'm the only one taking care of him. It has been a lot of work and a lot of stress on me, and every time I raise my concern to people on the internet, I get a "you should rehome your dog if you can't give him your time and attention." We've been pretty depressed ever since my husband left, and we need each other's company. I keep hanging on and telling myself that once my husband is back, everything will be better, because all of our lives were so much better when he was here.

Anyway, will there be a point that my dog will be perfectly content being home by himself? I won't have to spend hours running him and giving him my undivided attention when I'm home. I can walk him in the morning and play fetch with him after work, and I won't see any signs of destruction from him. I won't have to take him to daycare (or maybe once a week instead of twice a week), and he'll be happy with the toys at home while I'm away. Will there ever be such a point?

I'm only asking because my husband and I are planning to have a baby in the near future. We don't want a baby too soon that we'll have to eventually rehome our dog because we can't make time for both the dog and the baby. We also don't want to wait too long, because we want to maximize the time our baby have to grow up with our dog.

Is there a sweet age in dog that having a baby would be okay? An age where he'll get along with the baby and won't be sad if we have to devote our time with the baby and not with him 24/7? Of course we won't neglect him, we'll take him on strolls and to the dog park with the baby, and we'll play fetch with him while baby's enjoying the fresh air. But we want him to be okay if we spend time holding our baby or changing diapers instead of petting him.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
434 Posts
GSDs are high energy dogs that do need a lot of attention and exercise. I would not leave him loose in the house if he can't be trusted while you are gone. I still crate some of my dogs when I am gone. My rescue GSDs did seem pretty settled at 4-5 years old. My current youngsters, age 1 and age 3 are still very energetic and need lots of play time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,304 Posts
You have tons going on and there is no quick and easy answer. I had Sabi who was born mature and well behaved, Lex who was a proper little lady by 8 months, Bud who did not have any discernable brain function until he was nearly 5, Shadow who is a good dog that makes poor choices still at 8 and everything in between.
I have had dogs that adored children, dogs that tolerated them and dogs that really would have preferred not.
You said your husband is deployed so I would definitely wait until your dog is at least mature and trained.
But you need to crate train this dog, it should have happened already.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
6,120 Posts
It could be the contrast between daycare(stimulating) and being home alone calmly is a difficult transition.I would crate or kennel him to keep him from wandering around looking for stimulous.IME they are mentally/physically mature by age 3.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
5,510 Posts
Yep, a crate to keep the dog and your stuff safe. I made a mistake and let Russ have too much freedom one time. He chewed the upholstery on a chair, ended up at the vets with exploratory surgery and lost 3” of intestines. Sometimes they’ll fool you and not tear anything up for a long time, then go on a destructive binge.

Like Sabis mom’s dog, Carly was born serious and well behaved. She’s always been great with children, and loves them. Her vet suggested when she was quite young, that she would be a great dog for that program at the library where the kids read to dogs. Scarlet, on the other hand, will be 3 in August, and she’s still a feisty little beast. I think she’s too wound up for toddlers, but good with older kids. It’s just going to depend on your individual dog.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Thank you for all of your responses.

We do have a crate but he has outgrown it. I'm gone for 9 hours during work, so I feel really bad leaving him in the crate (even those puppy eyes he gives me when I leave in the morning make me sad). I don't know how to keep him entertained in a small space for 9 hours. How would he go potty? I just want him to be able to roam around and work his muscles instead of being jailed for 9 hours.

Yes, I know I probably have the wrong idea of crate training. I'm afraid he'd bark or whimper out of frustration. We had an anonymous complaint from the neighbors before about his barking (even though I can guarantee he only barks a few times at the mailman or at other dogs walking by, not "ALL DAY" like the neighbors claimed). They threatened to call animal control, so I got really scared and open the doggy door so he can stay inside the house or outside in the backyard. I spray vinegar/water at the house corners and take away things that he could chew up. Most of the times he'd be fine. A few times I'd come home and he had found something to destroy.

Every time I posted a question online to help with his puppy behavior, I got either "you need to exercise him more" or "you need to rehome him if you don't have the time for him." I don't know what I'm doing wrong. How much exercise is enough and how much time is enough?

I just started him in doggy daycare last week, because my husband and I decided that he needed the socialization, and I needed a mental break from coming home to him making a mess somewhere. How do I make the transition between daycare and home-alone better?

p.s: I'm a first-time dog owner so I'm very inexperienced. Please be patient with my questions. Thank you!
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
5,510 Posts
I also have a dog door. So just a suggestion. If you want him to be able to go out the dog door when you’re gone, then can you put something in the inside of the house to contain him? Large crate? Securely covered expen? I did this one time when we were having a lot of rain, and mud issues. I didn’t want them making my living room a swamp.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
434 Posts
You picked a very challenging breed for a first time dog owner. :) If he's outgrown the crate, you get a bigger crate and/or set up a nice enclosed area he can't destroy/escape as shown in the last post. Any damage incurred is your fault, not his, if he's not contained. It's a bit of tough love I'm afraid. Remember, you're in charge - not him. You do have your work cut out for you but I admire your commitment. Good luck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
708 Posts
I bought a very large crate from amazon for less than $75 shipped, think it’s the 48” model from amazon basics. My pup is 25” at least 70 lbs and he has plenty of room.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Thank you again!

It looks like I might have to start crate training him. Do you guys have any resources you'd recommend I start looking into? We used to live in a small apartment and I felt horribly guilty leaving him in a tiny balcony with toys and food and water. He looked so sad every time I drove by the balcony and looked up to check on him. Now that we're in a house with a backyard, I let him run around so he doesn't get depressed. Even so, I felt so ad leaving him at home by himself (but mama has to work to buy you food and toys and take you to places). Maybe I'm overthinking this. But I don't know how to keep him entertained for 9 hours in a small space, not to mention bathroom breaks, hence I've been so hesitant about crate training. Maybe I'll look for some indoor fence to keep him in a certain area. (Currently, all bedroom doors are closed, so he only has the dining area, kitchen, and empty living room to roam around.)

Trust me, I did not just pick him out of all the breeds and just now started complaining because he's too much work. My husband has grown up with many dogs, and he was working part-time and going to school part-time, so we decided that we could get a German Shepherd. I did hear from an experienced GSD owner that they go through their "teenage" phase around 8 to 18 months, when they get extremely stubborn and do things that drive you crazy. Unfortunately, that's also the time frame that my husband has to leave, which we did not know about until a month after we brought our puppy home. I'm really trying to hang on and train him a little each day and wait until his human papa comes home.

Thank you again for your help!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
118 Posts
Do you have a utility /mudroom the dog can be confined in until(it will happen) he is better at staying lose in the house? All my dogs were allowed to roam after one year but not my new puppy (who is now one) will not be allowed lose anytime soon by himself in the house. Pup goes into his extra large crate when I leave or he will go out into the kennel, weather permitting. Also since I do live on a large track of land, I was told by both my fire and police departments, who know the farms around here to keep the pet's crate covered and right next to the door in case of fire , they WILL NOT GO INTO A BURNING HOUSE risking their lives looking for a scared pet-(yep strait from their mouths) but they will pull the whole crate out or at least open the crate's door to let pup out of the house since it is right next to the door, under the window with the reflective pet here sticker.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
547 Posts
Bigger crate:



We use something like this for Jack when we had/have to contain him. He can stand up all the way, turn around, and it'll fit his dog bed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
466 Posts
If he's tearing up things, for his own safety, I would crate him. My female is 18 months and she is still crated whereas my shiba was allowed to roam free in the house at 8 months with no issues. He got into my medication at 5 months (my husband would take him out of the crate when I left for work) - let me tell you, that is no fun. Every dog is different. Yeah, you can feel bad, but honestly, how much different is it from being stuck in the house? Mine just sleep all day anyways. They can't go potty if you don't leave the back door open(unless you have a doggy door).

For those sad puppy dog eyes, get him a frozen stuffed Kong or something similar to keep him occupied as you step out the door. By the time he's finished he'll notice you're gone and just settle down for the day.

I like dogfaeries's set up, but mine would go over that gate in a heartbeat. It might work for OP, though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,649 Posts
Leerburg.com is a wealth of free info. My Dutch Shepherd wasn't allowed loose in the house until she was over 4. Gunny,my 20 month old GSD has run of my art room. But he does get into things if I have not done enough mental and physical work with him. Mental exercise is as important if not more important for working breeds. Start them young and they actually "learn to learn".
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
I think you’re doing a great job and your dog is lucky to have you!

Have you asked your trainer this question?

You’re doing a great job of exercising your dog, getting him the stimulation and socialization he needs, and working on his training.

Give yourself a big pat on the back!

I would suggest you banish the word “rehome” from your vocabulary. You two need each other. You’re committed to each other and you’re going to come out all right together.

I do second the suggestion for a crate. It’s not hard on dogs to be crated. It gives security and comfort. Nine hours is a long time though. Any chance for a dog-lover friend to come by halfway through the day and take the pup for a short poop and pee walk?

Other than that, I suggest just hanging in there. He will become a great dog and you two will be totally bonded for life.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
844 Posts
Thank you again!

It looks like I might have to start crate training him. Do you guys have any resources you'd recommend I start looking into? We used to live in a small apartment and I felt horribly guilty leaving him in a tiny balcony with toys and food and water. He looked so sad every time I drove by the balcony and looked up to check on him. Now that we're in a house with a backyard, I let him run around so he doesn't get depressed. Even so, I felt so ad leaving him at home by himself (but mama has to work to buy you food and toys and take you to places). Maybe I'm overthinking this. But I don't know how to keep him entertained for 9 hours in a small space, not to mention bathroom breaks, hence I've been so hesitant about crate training. Maybe I'll look for some indoor fence to keep him in a certain area. (Currently, all bedroom doors are closed, so he only has the dining area, kitchen, and empty living room to roam around.)

Trust me, I did not just pick him out of all the breeds and just now started complaining because he's too much work. My husband has grown up with many dogs, and he was working part-time and going to school part-time, so we decided that we could get a German Shepherd. I did hear from an experienced GSD owner that they go through their "teenage" phase around 8 to 18 months, when they get extremely stubborn and do things that drive you crazy. Unfortunately, that's also the time frame that my husband has to leave, which we did not know about until a month after we brought our puppy home. I'm really trying to hang on and train him a little each day and wait until his human papa comes home.

Thank you again for your help!
Hang in there. It will get better. From what I've read, I think you're already doing all the right things...wearing him out before you leave, the trainer, etc.

Your dog seems to fall into the category of "do not let it roam free when you're not around." I do agree with everyone...CRATE. It can't be helped. Some dogs are well behaved from pretty much the beginning like my first GSD. I could leave him to roam freely with a whole cooked chicken sitting on the kitchen counter top and come home hours later and that chicken would still be there untouched. (It's actually happened many times.) Some dogs cannot be trusted alone like my current one. This pup would've eaten the chicken AND the tray the chicken was sitting on. So the best thing to do for your sanity is to keep it out of trouble by putting him in a crate. The crate's not as bad as you think it is. Just think of it this way. 1)You're protecting your home from the destruction caused by him. You could be saving hundreds, maybe thousands, of dollars on repairing or replacing things. 2) what if he eats something that gets lodged in the back of his throat and no one is there to take him to the vet? Or he gets into something that is poisonous to him? In the crate, he doesn't have access to those dangers. And 3), not to mention, he won't bark as much and annoy the neighbors if he's in the crate and away from the windows.

Do you live close enough to home that you can come home during your lunch break and take your dog out? Or is there someone you trust (who can handle a powerful breed like a GSD) that can come to your home and take your dog out for a quick bathroom break in the middle of your 9 hours away? That could help ease your mind of the 9 hours in a crate. If you don't have anyone like a good friend or family member, you could use Rover.com or any other site to find a dog walker. Maybe better to spend the money on a dog walker instead of doggie daycare. Anyway, keep us informed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,304 Posts
Hang in there. It will get better. From what I've read, I think you're already doing all the right things...wearing him out before you leave, the trainer, etc.

Your dog seems to fall into the category of "do not let it roam free when you're not around." I do agree with everyone...CRATE. It can't be helped. Some dogs are well behaved from pretty much the beginning like my first GSD. I could leave him to roam freely with a whole cooked chicken sitting on the kitchen counter top and come home hours later and that chicken would still be there untouched. (It's actually happened many times.) Some dogs cannot be trusted alone like my current one. This pup would've eaten the chicken AND the tray the chicken was sitting on. So the best thing to do for your sanity is to keep it out of trouble by putting him in a crate. The crate's not as bad as you think it is. Just think of it this way. 1)You're protecting your home from the destruction caused by him. You could be saving hundreds, maybe thousands, of dollars on repairing or replacing things. 2) what if he eats something that gets lodged in the back of his throat and no one is there to take him to the vet? Or he gets into something that is poisonous to him? In the crate, he doesn't have access to those dangers. And 3), not to mention, he won't bark as much and annoy the neighbors if he's in the crate and away from the windows.

Do you live close enough to home that you can come home during your lunch break and take your dog out? Or is there someone you trust (who can handle a powerful breed like a GSD) that can come to your home and take your dog out for a quick bathroom break in the middle of your 9 hours away? That could help ease your mind of the 9 hours in a crate. If you don't have anyone like a good friend or family member, you could use Rover.com or any other site to find a dog walker. Maybe better to spend the money on a dog walker instead of doggie daycare. Anyway, keep us informed.
I like to tell people Shadow makes poor decisions. At over 8 years old she is crated when alone. I have caught her walking the ledge on the pass through between the kitchen and living room, climbing from my bed to the bookcase under the window, climbing UP the 8 foot bookcase in the office to inspect the shiny reflection on the ceiling, using the table to access the glass doors on the built in that were reflecting sun, sticking her head in a heat vent that she for some reason pulled the cover off of, climbing from bed to dresser to fight with the dog in the mirror and best of all …...using the chair to get to the counter to get to the bakers rack to get on the fridge! I guess because she saw me putting stuff in the cupboard up there and was curious? I know how she did it because she knocked stuff over on the way. I was outside for less then 3 minutes.

Have you ever walked into your kitchen to find your German Shepherd up on the fridge? It is a bit scary.

She is not bad or destructive, just curious and agile.
Some dogs just need crates.
 
1 - 20 of 23 Posts
Top