Dear Dog Lady,
I have a 2-year-old German shepherd, which I got when he was 11 weeks old. I struggle to understand his behavior. He is scared out of his mind of cars, bikes, people, balloons, boxes and all objects in motion. He is especially afraid of people and even shakes. He was a normal puppy when I got him from the breeder.
He is also a severe chewer, and although he is now 2 years old, he chews up everything (the house, shoes, rugs, cables and, most recently, my entire couch, which I had to trash). I hated to do it, but I finally got him a crate. He gets plenty of attention throughout the day, even when I’m at class or work for eight hours a day, because my roommates care for him in my absence. When I exercised him even more, he became worse in his chewing and hyperactive behavior.
A: Your German shepherd is still an adolescent and needs care and attention and socializing. Walk him frequently so he becomes accustomed to the noises and surprises in the world. When he is calm, reward him with high-value treats (freeze-dried liver or chicken). Don’t expect your roommates to provide your dog the same quality of consideration. In all her years, Dog Lady has never heard of a well-exercised dog chewing more and becoming hyperactive. A crate will help if the crate is used well and not as punishment. You have a big dog requiring a big part of your life. Make room for the responsibility.
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