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Hi everyone, this is Ezra, my 9 and a half week old East European shepherd.
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I'm having some trouble getting her calm in the evenings! For some reason, at some point past 8pm, she starts going absolutely wild. Growling, biting, lunging, running around. I've done a lot of research and I'm very torn between believing she is overtired or not tired enough or neither, it's difficult to tell if that's what's causing it. She's mischievous during the day but in a way that's super normal for a puppy her age and there aren't any issues, I let her play and run around and we still manage to have training sessions and we go on 2-3 very short training walks.

I give her bones stuffed with something (because I haven't managed to invest in a Kong yet) which can keep her busy for 5-10 minutes, I give her a bowl full of cardboard pieces with treats scattered so she has to sniff them out, or large pieces of ice that she lays down and licks at, we chase some toys, etc. She will nap for 1-3 hours around 3-4 times per day. She will sleep through most of the night and is usually up at 5:30am. We don't use crates so she kind of has free roam of the living room. No toy or snack or anything has kept her occupied for longer than 15 minutes, and in most cases she gets bored after 5 or so minutes. I've got soft toys, squeaky toys, balls, ropes, sticks, ice cubes, cardboard, etc etc. I give her as much time and attention as possible, but regardless she seems to lose interest in toys pretty quickly. She's not crazy food driven either, even chicken or beef in my hand don't keep her attention for very long, she's quite the free spirit I think!

I don't want to shout and I try my very hardest to keep as calm as possible when she starts going crazy which can be so difficult because she bites hard and it's not easy to ignore it. I don't mind her having fun, but I don't want to let her continue harmful behaviour in case it gets worse and doesn't go away when she grows older. Running around and causing havoc is totally fine with me, but the growling, biting and lunging gets far too crazy.

I'm hoping to get some advice for what I can do better to help her calm down. I give her her favourite snacks and she seems to settle and then when she's done, she gets crazy again. I don't want to keep feeding her treats and overfeed her. I just want to do what's best for her, so she's happy and comfortable and healthy!

Any advice is very welcome! :)
 

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Oh, my gosh. Ezra is the cutest thing!!! Loving the floppy ears. :love:

I know you said you haven't invested in Kongs yet, but oh man... I highly, highly recommend it. She's still a puppy, so you can get her the classic puppy version. They come in baby blue and pink colors. They're cheaper, too! You can buy her a large size and stuff it with mushed-up moistened portion of her kibble and freeze it for a minimum of 3 hours.

My puppy is much smaller than Ezra, and it takes him around 50 minutes to eat his food from a frozen Kong. You could start implementing a feeding routine where she starts dinner around the time you know she goes bonkers. In other words, when you can see her getting all lungy and barky and crazy, invite her to her bed and give her the frozen Kong. Of course, nothing comes for free! So...

Before you feed her, you can even start doing some mental work with her, such as impulse control. You can ask her to sit and stay or lie down and stay. Shepherds are working dogs, so I feel like she'd love mental work. Once she sits and stays politely, you can give her the Kong and enjoy the wonderfulness of peace and quiet, haha!

Also, you can teach her to play fetch before bed. Fetch can be tricky to teach (I always had problems with my dogs, personally), but Shepherds usually love this game, so maybe you can be successful! You can watch McCann Dog Training videos on YouTube or Zak George's videos. They have some great resources on how to tame crazy puppies like that with fun fetch games.

Most importantly, though, get the Kong! This is seriously the best investment you can make. I am considering buying a few more and keeping them in the freezer. They're incredibly helpful!
 

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Oh, my gosh. Ezra is the cutest thing!!! Loving the floppy ears. :love:

I know you said you haven't invested in Kongs yet, but oh man... I highly, highly recommend it. She's still a puppy, so you can get her the classic puppy version. They come in baby blue and pink colors. They're cheaper, too! You can buy her a large size and stuff it with mushed-up moistened portion of her kibble and freeze it for a minimum of 3 hours.

My puppy is much smaller than Ezra, and it takes him around 50 minutes to eat his food from a frozen Kong. You could start implementing a feeding routine where she starts dinner around the time you know she goes bonkers. In other words, when you can see her getting all lungy and barky and crazy, invite her to her bed and give her the frozen Kong. Of course, nothing comes for free! So...

Before you feed her, you can even start doing some mental work with her, such as impulse control. You can ask her to sit and stay or lie down and stay. Shepherds are working dogs, so I feel like she'd love mental work. Once she sits and stays politely, you can give her the Kong and enjoy the wonderfulness of peace and quiet, haha!

Also, you can teach her to play fetch before bed. Fetch can be tricky to teach (I always had problems with my dogs, personally), but Shepherds usually love this game, so maybe you can be successful! You can watch McCann Dog Training videos on YouTube or Zak George's videos. They have some great resources on how to tame crazy puppies like that with fun fetch games.

Most importantly, though, get the Kong! This is seriously the best investment you can make. I am considering buying a few more and keeping them in the freezer. They're incredibly helpful!
That’s some amazing advice, thank you so much! I haven’t thought to try freezing the treats before giving them to her, it’ll definitely be harder for her to get them out and take up more of her time. Also it’s summer, she loves anything cold!

I have ordered a Kong, except because of where I currently am, it’s going to take several weeks to get to me! Now I absolutely cannot wait to get it and try out freezing the treats inside. I’ll see what I can use as an alternative in the mean time. I’ve got some lickimats and a lickibowl I should receive by the end of the week fingers crossed, I’ve heard nothing but good things so I’m hoping that will help also!

Thank you for your suggestions, I’ll definitely be trying my hardest to utilise them! 😊
 

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That’s some amazing advice, thank you so much! I haven’t thought to try freezing the treats before giving them to her, it’ll definitely be harder for her to get them out and take up more of her time. Also it’s summer, she loves anything cold!

I have ordered a Kong, except because of where I currently am, it’s going to take several weeks to get to me! Now I absolutely cannot wait to get it and try out freezing the treats inside. I’ll see what I can use as an alternative in the mean time. I’ve got some lickimats and a lickibowl I should receive by the end of the week fingers crossed, I’ve heard nothing but good things so I’m hoping that will help also!

Thank you for your suggestions, I’ll definitely be trying my hardest to utilise them! 😊
You're so welcome! I know it can be tough to deal with an energetic puppy. And yes! Frozen Kongs are a godsend, and I cannot recommend them enough! I don't know how much you feed her, but basically grab her regular portion of kibble or whatever else you feed her and stuff the Kong. Freeze it for about 3 hours or longer, and see the magic unfold, haha! The lickimats can also be frozen! You can smear some peanut butter, pumpkin, or even mashed apples on them. Frozen treats are so much harder to get to, so she'll stay busy!

Good luck! :)
 

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You're so welcome! I know it can be tough to deal with an energetic puppy. And yes! Frozen Kongs are a godsend, and I cannot recommend them enough! I don't know how much you feed her, but basically grab her regular portion of kibble or whatever else you feed her and stuff the Kong. Freeze it for about 3 hours or longer, and see the magic unfold, haha! The lickimats can also be frozen! You can smear some peanut butter, pumpkin, or even mashed apples on them. Frozen treats are so much harder to get to, so she'll stay busy!

Good luck! :)
Just wanted to let you know - my Kong arrived and I stuffed it her breakfast in it and froze it and honestly, it’s such a good idea! It gave her so much enrichment, you can tell she was really trying to figure out how to get her food out, and it kept her nice and busy for ages. I got her a Lickimat and a Wobbler too, I give her food on those often! Such good produces! Thank you for the suggestion of freezing, it’s made a huge difference!
 

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Just wanted to let you know - my Kong arrived and I stuffed it her breakfast in it and froze it and honestly, it’s such a good idea! It gave her so much enrichment, you can tell she was really trying to figure out how to get her food out, and it kept her nice and busy for ages. I got her a Lickimat and a Wobbler too, I give her food on those often! Such good produces! Thank you for the suggestion of freezing, it’s made a huge difference!
Yay, that's so great to know! Great job! Eventually, you'll notice her being calmer in general because slow eating and busyness will make her forget she was ever crazier than that, haha!

Hugs and kisses for lil' Ezra!
 
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