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Okay. So, my husband and I adopted our pup, Max, back in April. He is a german shepherd/boxer mix. His previous owners were another military couple who had him since he was a little pup, but they were having twins and couldn't take care of him anymore. He was around 7 months when we took him in. He's 10 months now, and around 75 lbs.

I am not a first time dog owner, but have never owned such a powerful breed before. We do have a husky, but she's only around 50 lbs and very well trained. She is going through her quarantine process to be able to come to Hawaii soon. In the meantime she's with my parents. Anyway, back to the questions.

Max, I am pretty darn sure, has SA. When we leave, we lock him in the laundry room because it's a big space. We give him all his toys and make sure there's nothing in there that he can destroy that's important. He whines a lot, and is hesitant to go into the room. When we get home, we used to just let him out and he would be crazy excited and jump all over us. We tried coming home and not letting him out until we wanted to, but still... even if he's calm in the room, when we let him out he's a nutcase! He listens to my husband way more than me, and it's really frustrating! I've tried to establish myself as a pack leader, but I feel like Max knows he can overpower me. I can't even walk him anymore, because he just yanks me around and I always hurt my arm. I try to pull him back, but even with all my strength it barely phases him. We've been looking into a harness, but unsure of which one would be best?

The only time he really behaves is when I take him to the dog park, he will play with the other dogs or play fetch with me. It's like he's a totally different dog. When we play at home, he always gets out of hand and I end up getting hurt because he's just so powerful! He runs into me full force, not realizing how big he is.

Can someone please help me so I can get control over this puppy?! I would really like to enjoy having this dog, and not spend 80% of my day despising him for being a puppy, and resenting my husband for getting another big dog... haha.

Oh - and he is not neutered yet, do you think this will help calm him down or is that just a myth? And do you think that when my husky comes here that having another dog around that's well behaved will rub off on him and make him act better?
 

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Welcome! I am not convinced it's SA. Whining and being hesitant to go into the room, and being a nutcase when let out is really not SA. If there is more that makes you believe that's what it is, I don't see it.

SA is a pretty severe disorder in many cases, and usually involves things like peeing and pooping uncontrollably due to stress and being upset, crying, howling until they're hoarse, scratching until their paws bleed, etc.

There are less severe cases, of course, but what you describe doesn't sound like SA.

When you put him in the laundry room do you close the door, or use a gate of some kind? Lots of dogs get anxious when they are completely isolated and can't see out. It really helps to use a baby gate to block the doorway, instead of shutting the door. You can put two baby gates on top of each other, to make it higher, if he can jump over, since he's so big.

As for letting him out, try letting him out, but not paying any attention until he calms down. Turn your back on him, or leave the room, if need be.

As for walking him, have you searched this forum for loose leash walking? When he pulls, try stopping and not going anywhere til he lets the leash become loose again. Then, proceed. He does need exercise that's for sure, and it's hard to get him exercise if you are stopping every time he pulls, but, you can always take him to the dog park to get some exercise in. Also, take lots of short walks, that way, you both don't get frustrated.
 

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Thanks for the reply!

Some other things I've noticed that led me to believe he has SA. He follows us from room to room, if I let him out in the back yard he will go potty but then he will come right back and stare at us through the door. If he can't see us, he'll paw at the door or start digging up the yard. When I take a shower, I have to leave the door open so he can be in the bathroom with me, or else he will pee or poop outside of the door, or he will go downstairs and find something to chew up that he knows he's not supposed to. Most of the time it's my husband's shoes or Army boots - which are expensive! Of course, we learned now to put the shoes away so he can't get to them.

I really want to be able to just leave him out so he can have the whole house to play in, but I just don't know if I can trust him. How can I find out if he's going to behave, without possibly sacrificing our expensive couch or something else valuable? Lol.

When we let him out, I've tried ignoring him and just walking away from him and trying to not notice him. But it's hard to do that with a 75 lb. dog jumping all over you and scratching up your legs.
When he's in the room, yes, we shut the door. How strong are baby gates? Even if we stack them, I see him just plowing through them.

I had not heard of the loose-leash walking. We will have to try that. Maybe we will have better luck if I tire him out at the dog park first, and then do a short walk with him. I really want to be able to walk him, because I know he needs the exercise and I can't always take him to the dog park.
 

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Hi there..we control excited jumping for our Ginny...by puttings a few pennies in an empty water bottle. I try to ignore her, and if she is too excited for that, we give a few shakes of the bottle near her. It works really well for her. After 5 or 6 times, I only had to ask her if I needed to get the water bottle. Now, a year later she is getting bad again, so I will use it for a bit. We kept one in the car, in the garage, in the basement, at the back door etc.
 

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Thanks for the reply!

Some other things I've noticed that led me to believe he has SA. He follows us from room to room, if I let him out in the back yard he will go potty but then he will come right back and stare at us through the door. If he can't see us, he'll paw at the door or start digging up the yard. When I take a shower, I have to leave the door open so he can be in the bathroom with me, or else he will pee or poop outside of the door, or he will go downstairs and find something to chew up that he knows he's not supposed to. Most of the time it's my husband's shoes or Army boots - which are expensive! Of course, we learned now to put the shoes away so he can't get to them.

I really want to be able to just leave him out so he can have the whole house to play in, but I just don't know if I can trust him. How can I find out if he's going to behave, without possibly sacrificing our expensive couch or something else valuable? Lol.

When we let him out, I've tried ignoring him and just walking away from him and trying to not notice him. But it's hard to do that with a 75 lb. dog jumping all over you and scratching up your legs.
When he's in the room, yes, we shut the door. How strong are baby gates? Even if we stack them, I see him just plowing through them.

I had not heard of the loose-leash walking. We will have to try that. Maybe we will have better luck if I tire him out at the dog park first, and then do a short walk with him. I really want to be able to walk him, because I know he needs the exercise and I can't always take him to the dog park.
Still doesn't sound like SA. You've had him for 3 months, and he was 7 months old when you got him. In the big picture, 3 months isn't a super long time to become adjusted. Lots of shelter, or adopted dogs DO take months to adjust to a new home.

When you need him to be on his own for a bit, and let you shower or do chores try giving him a kong stuffed with something yummy - we use peanut butter. If you freeze it overnight it makes it a bigger challenge for him to get the good stuff out.

Part of it is managment, at this point. Set him up to succeed by not leaving shoes or Army boots, where he can get them. When you can't supervise, put him in the laundry room, try the gates, and give him a stuffed kong, or other challenging chew. Baby gates come in different styles. Some are more durable than others and actually are installed to the door frame.

Like I said, 3 months, in the big picture, isn't long for him to settle in. And, dogs are different. My first dog was pretty trustworthy, and had no interest in chewing things other than his toys. He could be left to roam pretty early on, say 6 months or so. Another of my dogs is a shoe hound. She lives for finding shoes that we forget to put away. We used to be able to leave shoes out, before we got her, because the other dog never touched them! :)
Lots of folks here don't leave their dogs free to roam, period. They crate them whenever the dog is left alone. I don't, my dogs are fine, but it took time.
You can start with giving him short periods of freedom to see if he's ready. He doesn't sound ready yet. But, don't get discouraged, as they leave the puppy stage, the lose some of that puppy energy and desire to find trouble!
 

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No...3 months is not very long. Our Ginny did not really settle in for 6 months....though her issues were less bothersome. As she was a rescue, I really worried about SA too. I do think sometimes worrying makes it worse...both for you and your dog. I know our Ginny is so sensitive to our feelings. She seems to pick up on any of our insecurities. Not saying that is what is happening in your case of course. Just that your dog will sense your reactions. Calm is good...whether or not it is SA, in my untrained opinion...lol. Best of luck to you all.
 

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Hi there..we control excited jumping for our Ginny...by puttings a few pennies in an empty water bottle. I try to ignore her, and if she is too excited for that, we give a few shakes of the bottle near her. It works really well for her. After 5 or 6 times, I only had to ask her if I needed to get the water bottle. Now, a year later she is getting bad again, so I will use it for a bit. We kept one in the car, in the garage, in the basement, at the back door etc.
I hope you don't get a CGI/Therapy dog certification with someone who uses a shake bottle/can as a noise distraction. We had one dog whose owner had been throwing a can full of rocks at him, and he couldn't figure out what he'd done to get punished.
 

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I hope you don't get a CGI/Therapy dog certification with someone who uses a shake bottle/can as a noise distraction. We had one dog whose owner had been throwing a can full of rocks at him, and he couldn't figure out what he'd done to get punished.
No, we will not be doing CGI?Therapy dog training. Our last dog was in a bad way after having obedience training with a trainer who crushed bottles in his ears, and banged lawn chairs in his face. Ginny is way too nervous and sensitive for that. In fact...in her group training the trainer did not come near her unless she really had to. Ginny was very afraid of her loud voice and domineering attitude...which of course was needed for the training. Ginny has been abused in the past and gets scared really easily. We love her to bits and though she has done training and agility, it has been very hard for her. We just want her to be well behaved and secure feeling...so, the pennies in a water bottle works well for her. Sorry if I gave the impression that it was good for all dogs.
 

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I agree with Doxie this isn't separation aggression. It sounds like a 'simple' energy issue.

Boxers are very high energy... and it sounds like your may be a strong athlete. So some issues:
1. He needs to be walked twice a day for 30 min. minimum.
2. He could probably handle one hours runs, twice a day.
3. You can't walk him, because he is so crazed and hasn't been trained to walk with a loose leash.
4. Both GSD and Boxers are intelligent, trainable dogs... that need to be trained. And, training can help burn some energy.

I suggest that you get a positive methods trainer to help you teach Max to walk. Then, walk him twice a day for whatever you have time for, but at least 30 min. Then, start training for basic obedience, and keep going for other behaviors. At the dog park, notice the owners who have dogs that Max likes to play with, and ask how they handle their dog's energy levels.

One thing that I like to do is find a dog that is nearly the same energy level, and let them wrestle to burn off all that energy.

It sounds like you have a really good dog... I dunno if there are boxer owners reading this ... Wvasko ??? ... but they may have other suggestions. Think of it this way: You have the equivalent of an 18 yo football player who also runs track and wrestles, while keeping all A's... but he's been told to stay in the house all summer because it's raining outside... Imagine the teenage explosion... I believe that is what Max is going through.... plus he doesn't really know the rules yet... HOpe this helps a bit...
 

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No, we will not be doing CGI?Therapy dog training. Our last dog was in a bad way after having obedience training with a trainer who crushed bottles in his ears, and banged lawn chairs in his face. Ginny is way too nervous and sensitive for that. In fact...in her group training the trainer did not come near her unless she really had to. Ginny was very afraid of her loud voice and domineering attitude...which of course was needed for the training. Ginny has been abused in the past and gets scared really easily. We love her to bits and though she has done training and agility, it has been very hard for her. We just want her to be well behaved and secure feeling...so, the pennies in a water bottle works well for her. Sorry if I gave the impression that it was good for all dogs.
If you wouldn't do it to your dog, why recommend it to others? I do want you to know that shouting and domineering is NOT necessary for successfully training a dog. Sometimes obedience which is based on positive reinforcement can really raise a dog's confidence level, and help you find ways to make your dog feel more secure.
 

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If you wouldn't do it to your dog, why recommend it to others? I do want you to know that shouting and domineering is NOT necessary for successfully training a dog. Sometimes obedience which is based on positive reinforcement can really raise a dog's confidence level, and help you find ways to make your dog feel more secure.
Sorry...the trainer was not shouting...it is just that Ginny does not like louder voices...even when the grandkids come...she just is not used to it. Nor was she domineering. What I meant was she was the boss and guided them. She actually was voted trainer of the year in our area, and I was very impressed with her. Some of the dogs in the class did not take to training so well, therefore the class was not super quiet. And, by shaking a few pennies in a bottle...it was a gentle shake, and a ways from her. It was not loud, and did not make her feel insecure I do not believe. It is like obedience classes...she was often caught off guard. Did she like it? no, but she learned to trust and respect me. I was not suggesting this for every dog. They are like kids...what works for one does not work for them all.
 
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