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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey everyone. So I have a german shepherd that's about 1 year and maybe 4 months old. I've had her since she was two weeks old.

Lately, her behavior is becoming a real issue, and my mom has been talking about selling her/giving her away. (lately, as in it's getting to the point where my parents are fed up. She's always been a little mischievous puppy) But what I fear, is with how mistrained she is, no one is going to want her, or is going to tolerate her. Above all, I just want to keep my baby.

I don't need to hear that it's my fault, or I shouldn't have gotten a puppy with such little experience. I ALREADY KNOW THIS. Telling me these things isn't going to change my situation. I (as well as my sisters), take full responsibility for her mischievousness and lack of training.

My dog:
>has chewed up our leather couch
>continuously dig under the shed in the garden
>has chewed up some cables connecting to the TV
>chewed through 2 hoses
>always grabs random things and chews them up, (example: towels, scrubs, etc from the garage.)
> HATES HATES HATES this one guy who rents a room in our house. Whenever she sees him she goes BAT SHIT CRAZY. She sounds VICIOUS.
>continuously tries to dig to our neighbors yard
>her hair problem is also an issue, but that obviously isn't anything she can control. I've started brushing her more often.
>she barks at people (in a vicious, protective manner) that she knows but doesn't exactly interact with. For example my grandma/grandpa. She has barked at my grandpa in a pretty frightening manner, even when he just enters the room
>chewed up our screen door. Seriously we cant' open our door during the summer, bugs will get in because we don't have a screen door anymore.

I walk her almost everyday. We scold her for her misbehavior. My parents, (whom she loves, and respects more than us) scold her as well. They scold her to the point she knows shes done something wrong, but continues to do it.

I love her so much. But even I know that her behavior is becoming a real hassle. I'm not willing to give her away, she's part of my family. My grandpa continuously complains about her, and I'm Asian/Chinese. I hate to say this but, he wasn't brought up respecting animals as much as my sisters, my parents, and me. I'm seriously scared that if my dog doesn't change, he will become so fed up and do something awful, in or not in self defense.

I can't always watch her, all of my sisters are in school, and my parents work all day.

Money is tight. I've done one session of training (120/hour) and it helped her ON A LEASH. I need help with her behavior at home ASAP.

What should I do?


title is meant to say GROWN not drown
 

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It sounds like she generally needs more exercise and mental stimulation. A walk almost every day just isn't enough for a GSD. She will probably need multiple hours of walks in addition to training games and other mental stimulation.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The thing is, I'm still in highschool, my sister is in college.
I can definitely try and exercise her more, but there's no way it'll be HOURS a day.
 

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The thing is, I'm still in highschool, my sister is in college.
I can definitely try and exercise her more, but there's no way it'll be HOURS a day.
Well then you either have to reconcile with your house being destroyed, or find her a home that can meet her needs.

Either you need to find a way to meet her needs, or she's going to keep up this behaviour because she's bored and under stimulated with energy to burn.
 

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The thing is, I'm still in highschool, my sister is in college.
I can definitely try and exercise her more, but there's no way it'll be HOURS a day.
Then rehoming is probably the best thing for her. GSDs are working dogs, they need mental stimulation just like they need air and water. If you fail to provide it, they will destroy your home, as you have seen.
 

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Does she stay outside or inside while you're gone? I would either a) crate her while you're in school or b) get a good kennel for her to stay in outside while you're gone. That will curb a lot of the destruction she's been doing. Once you get home, she needs to RUN .. as in chase a ball you throw or a flirt pole. Something that expends energy that a walk just can't. Walks are important, but she needs something she can do off-leash as well. I don't mean take her for a jog...she's too young for that still, but she needs to be able to get some sprinting around exercise that will help take the edge off and then teach her things that make her 'think'. Make her work for her dinner by using it as treats as you ask for various things .. teach her tricks, teach her obedience. That will also tire her out.
 

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It sounds like she generally needs more exercise and mental stimulation. A walk almost every day just isn't enough for a GSD. She will probably need multiple hours of walks in addition to training games and other mental stimulation.
Agreed. But for some more specific advice.... Sheesh, where to begin?

1. The chewing/destructiveness issues: These probably stem from lack of stimulation and exercise. GSDs are intelligent, working, herding dogs. As ireth0 said, a walk every day isn't going to cut it. Two HOURS of running after a frisbee every day was enough for my particular GSD. Get her out of the house more. Also, where is everyone while she is chewing these things up, or digging through the yard? Why is she unsupervised so often? Does she have a crate? I didn't leave my GSD mix unsupervised and uncrated until he was 2 and 1/2 years old. I'd recommend that you *immediately* start crating the dog whenever you can't be watching her closely. When she is out of the crate, don't just let her wander around and destroy things. A tethering system can be used to help you keep an eye on her - just keep her by your side at all times. While tethering is generally a thing used for small puppies, it sounds as though because you have no basic training in place, it may help you keep her out of trouble.

2. Scolding/barking/growling at your grandfather: If your GSD gets scolded every time your grandfather walks into a room and she reacts, she learns that *HE* is a negative presence that causes her to get in trouble, which means she will continue to dislike him being near her. If you use the previously suggested tethering method, she will be under your supervision when he is around, and you will be able to ask her to sit/be calm when he is around, and then reward her when she calms down. Scolding will get you nowhere.

3. Barking/growling at people: GSDs are a protective breed. They generally bond strongly with one or two people and want almost nothing to do with anyone else. Get used to her not liking people being around or on your property.


In all honesty, it sounds like you were (and are) unprepared for the requirements of owning a GSD. It sounds like your family will not help you work with her, as she has become a menace, and like you don't have the time or resources to do the training yourself. Between those factors and the worry of your grandfather's retaliation, it sounds like rehoming her would be in her best interest. If she remains under-exercised and under-stimulated, she will continue to destroy your house and be a nuisance to your family.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I really appreciate everyone's advice. After a talk with my mom, it turns out money is more tight than I thought.
I will continue and try to work with my dog, as well as my sisters.
I've considered re homing her, but it will be extremely difficult to find someone. And of course I want to keep her, but if it's not an option..
 

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The thing is, I'm still in highschool, my sister is in college.
I can definitely try and exercise her more, but there's no way it'll be HOURS a day.
So, this is a really hard lesson to learn at any age, but the troubles you're having are *exactly* why people need to do research and purchase a dog that fits their lifestyle versus getting a dog because they "like it" and "it's pretty". It sounds like if you honestly sat down and assessed the care that you are able to provide to a dog right now, there's NO WAY a GSD would fit into that picture.

You say you refuse to consider re-homing her, but if you can't begin to provide her the exercise and mental stimulation she needs, it would be the most mature and responsible decision you could make. Yes, it would hurt like heck, but it would be best for HER and for your family, in the long run. Part of owning a dog is prioritizing their needs - you are not meeting her needs, and if that can't change, then something else needs to.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Yes I understand that, and we did do research, but clearly it wasn't thorough enough.
We've had her for more than a year. It's just becoming more of a problem now.
 

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Agreed with everyone else - pretty much every problem you've described comes from boredom.

She does need more exercise, physical and especially mental. Even though she looks full grown, she's still a puppy. You'll need to dedicate time every day to training - doesn't matter what, as long as she's learning something. Tricks, obedience commands, relaxation, etc. I would give her mental food puzzles - feed her from a ball that she has to roll around to get the treats out of it. That'll give her exercise without you having to be actively doing it. Look into nose work games - they tire out a dog mentally pretty well.

If you say she gets a walk almost every day, then I'm guessing you have a backyard where she goes for potty breaks? Lots and lots of playtime in the backyard would be advisable. Fetch, running, tug, flirt pole - anything that's active.

Scolding won't help if you are not providing something positive for her to do instead of the thing she shouldn't be doing. If she's chewing something she shouldn't be chewing, give her something she can be chewing instead, and praise her for chewing that.

Regarding people whom she seems to be barking at - take this advice with a grain of salt since I'm not a trainer or anything. If it were me, I would focus on having those people be a sign of positive things - so instead of her getting scolded for barking at them (which leads to association of "grandpa = bad", and not "barking at grandpa = bad"), have those people mean positive things. If they can safely get close enough to her, have them feed her treats (it might help if they have their back turned and are sitting down, and she can approach them herself - again, only if you think this is safe). If that isn't possible, whenever they enter her sight, have them drop treats around them, or toss treats to her. She might ignore them in the process, but she'll pick them up once the person is gone and she's calmed down enough. You can probably use the Look at That game as well (google it). Tell people that if they are looking at her, to blink a few times. A staring contest = a challenge to a dog.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thank you so much, this was actually very helpful to me.
Again, I will try to take everyone's advice into mind.

Again thank you guys so much.
 

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Also, I don't agree that rehoming is the best option here to be honest.

When I was in high school I had more free time than I have now (I work full time), and I now own a GSD with no problems. Yes, my GSD is older and better trained and calmer in general, but there is no reason a high school student (with siblings, no less) categorically cannot have enough time to exercise a dog.

I think you did a great thing by coming here to ask for help. It shows you are proactive about doing what it takes to keep her in your home. :)
 

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Yes I understand that, and we did do research, but clearly it wasn't thorough enough.
We've had her for more than a year. It's just becoming more of a problem now.
So, having been in your position, I can sympathize. I imagine this thread, with all of these strangers telling you to rehome your dog is probably rather saddening and disheartening to read.

Everyone makes mistakes, especially when it comes to their first dog. Unfortunately, you've landed upon a breed that is very unforgiving of mistakes. From what I know of GSDs (which isn't a tiny amount, but I'm not an expert), your dog will continue to grow more and more territorial and destructive as she ages, unless you can intervene now. The puppy phase is over - she is a frustrated, bored teenage dog who constantly gets scolded instead of getting shown the right things to do.

The silver lining is that you're being responsible right now by posting in this forum, looking for answers and considering your options.

One thing to consider, if you're actually willing to rehome, is finding a local GSD rescue. Most breed rescues function by using fosters to handle the dogs until they find permanent homes. A potential foster who has time to work with her could really turn her behavior around and find a home in which she can get the hours of mental and physical exercise she needs every day.
 

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At $120/hour it sounds like you probably did the private lesson / trainer thing. Perhaps a more affordable obedience class that lasts over a period of a couple of months might be more feasible? It's less expensive, and would A) get you and your dog out of the house to socialize with other people and other dogs; B) give you lessons to focus on with her when you ARE at home; C) take you back to basics and get out of some of the bad habits she has developed. I know my local obedience club has classes that are generally about 6 weeks long, at $75 for the whole class and it's totally worth it.

I also agree with crating, more on-leash time, and mentally stimulating training/play times. Try using more positive reinforcement methods instead of scolding.
 

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I really don't believe that there is any dog in existence who needs hours upon hours of exercise in a day unless it's created by the owner. For me, in this situation, I'd be giving the dog an hour of exercise, crate training, and then spending some time teaching desirable behaviors. Supervising, teaching tricks/commands (very basic ones) and generally just not letting the dog practice destructive bad behavior.

And yeah, I say that with both a high energy GSD mix and a high energy, high drive, BC. The teenage stage is a nightmare. You are nto goign to exercise the dog into being well behaved, that takes teaching. Teaching shouldn't take multiple hours a day, either. 5-10 minutes here and there will do it.

Dog needs exercise, yeah, but mostly just needs to be taught and prevented from practicing the bad behavior. That shouldn't take endless hours a day. It might take weeks or months because new habits take time to form but I don't see this as a situation where you need to rehome. Just... limit the opportunity to practice bad behavior. Ie: CRATE TRAIN and keep the dog on leash in addition to upping the exercise some and frequent, short, training sessions.

Also agreed re: Finding GROUP classes. Even PetSmart would work, just something to help you get started. Basic obedience videos from youtube, even.
 

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I really don't believe that there is any dog in existence who needs hours upon hours of exercise in a day unless it's created by the owner. For me, in this situation, I'd be giving the dog an hour of exercise, crate training, and then spending some time teaching desirable behaviors. Supervising, teaching tricks/commands (very basic ones) and generally just not letting the dog practice destructive bad behavior.

And yeah, I say that with both a high energy GSD mix and a high energy, high drive, BC. The teenage stage is a nightmare. You are nto goign to exercise the dog into being well behaved, that takes teaching. Teaching shouldn't take multiple hours a day, either. 5-10 minutes here and there will do it.

Dog needs exercise, yeah, but mostly just needs to be taught and prevented from practicing the bad behavior. That shouldn't take endless hours a day. It might take weeks or months because new habits take time to form but I don't see this as a situation where you need to rehome. Just... limit the opportunity to practice bad behavior. Ie: CRATE TRAIN and keep the dog on leash in addition to upping the exercise some and frequent, short, training sessions.

Also agreed re: Finding GROUP classes. Even PetSmart would work, just something to help you get started. Basic obedience videos from youtube, even.
I think that when myself and others said "hours of mental and physical exercise a day", we didn't mean hours of running next to a bike. At least, I didn't, so I should have been more clear. I have only ever met one dog who needed two hours of exercise a day. He was my GSD mix. And he was insane. Literally batcrap crazy. I'd get done swimming for an hour with him, and he'd get home and run circles around my house and then pick up a ball and want to play fetch for the next three hours. Most dogs (thank goodness, or I'd never own another one) are not that demanding.

What I mean by 'hours a day' is that this dog is clearly unsupervised and destructive, living amongst a household of people who are not at all on the same page about what training a dog should entail. The dog is getting scolded by multiple people. Even if OP finds time and steps up to the plate, it sounds as if her family will be a very negative influence on the positive steps she makes with the dog. Unless she can somehow get her entire family on board, including her grandparents who have very different culturally-driven viewpoints about animals, the dog will continue to get mixed messages about how it should be acting.

So between an hour of exercise, 5-10 minutes of training a few times a day, and attempting to leash and supervise to stop destructive behaviors as well as watching to make sure the family doesn't undo the training being done.... Yes, it's hours a day to turn this mess around into something workable. That is an unfair burden to put on a high school student who isn't receiving much support from her family, in my opinion.
 

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A GSD surely needs hours of interaction, though I suppose not exercise. They were bred to work closely with humans for hours upon hours, not to be thrown in the back yard and ignored all day. The OP says "money is tighter" than she thought, which means classes of any kind aren't happening. And then what happens if the dog gets sick? It'll sit out in the back yard suffering because there's no money to take it to a vet.

A GSD rescue could find a home for this dog, and it would be better for that to happen now than when the dog fully matures into a neurotic, unsocialized mess, or gets sick.
 
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