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I have a very large german shepherd puppy, he's about 95lbs…

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I have a very...

I have a very large german shepherd puppy, he's about 95lbs at 8 months old. He's not overweight, you can still see his ribs. I've noticed a few things with him. He seems very anxious. He won't leave my side and likes to scratch doors if left in a room by himself. He also likes to climb on counters and tare anything he can he gets mouth on apart. Those are all minor concerns for me, but any advice for those in particular would be appreciated. My main issue is he seems to pant excessively. He's up to date on all his shots, eats very high quality food and gets plenty of water. He seems to pant whenever he's standing and moving around, but it's not all that hot here. We keep the house around 70 degrees and it's about 40-50 outside currently. The only time the panting stops is when he's laying down or asleep. However even when he does sleep, he tends to breathe a lot more rapidly than my other dog who is also a large breed, who gets about the same amount of exercise, water, etc and eats the same food.

Submitted: 9 months ago.Category: Dog Training
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Answered in 1 hour by:
11/7/2017
Dog Trainer: Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist replied 9 months ago
Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 20,442
Experience: Behaviorist /Trainer and Dog breeder 18+ years
Verified

Hi JaCustomer,

Welcome to Just Answer. My name is Jane. I have been involved professionally with dogs in the healthcare and behavioral fields for over 20 years. I’ve worked as a Vet Assistant and Behaviorist and have extensive experience in dog reproduction, as a breeder, for even longer than that.. Canine behavioral issues and training are also my specialties. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.

German Shepherds especially at this age are on the slim side. You can often see ribs on maturing German Shepherd puppies. Since you are disturbed over his "look" add a half cup to a cup of food to his daily amount to see if you can get him to gain a little weight.

It sounds like he may have a touch of separation anxiety going on as well. there are some things that can help. First thing is to take your dog for a nice long walk before you leave, preferably 30 minutes or long. Make it a long, quick paced walk to tire your boy out.

Second is to use a low-key approach to leaving the house. Ignore your dog before you leave and after you come home for at least 5 minutes or more. If your house is like mine in the morning everyone is running around getting ready to leave. This has the dog in an excited mood and then suddenly he is alone. If this is the case, put him away from everyone, say in a bathroom until the frenzy is over.

You can provide him with small stimulating toys or toys that you can fill with treats. Try kong toys with treat compartments. Fill with yogurt or peanut butter that does not contain xylitol and freeze it. Give the frozen kong to your dog when you leave. It usually keeps a dog occupied for a couple of hours so would be a good choice for a short trip out of the room.

Another thing that might help is a DAP collar. These use a pheromone to calm a dog. See one here:

vetmedicine.about.com/od/behaviortraining/gr/DAP-Dog-Collar.htm

Practice putting him in the crate, leaving the house, opening the door immediately and rewarding him with a hot dog treat if he did not scratch, bite and carry one. This teaches him that you leave but come back quickly. Once he seems to not do anything when you initially leave, lengthen the time he must be quet for you to come back in. Change the time as well. Make it 2 minutes one time and 10 mintues another, so he never knows if you are gone for an hour or gone for 2 minutes. It helps him stay calm for longer periods of time, just be sure you reward him when he is good.

Another thing that helps is to do things that might make the dog feel you are leaving and then don't such as putting on your coat or picking up your keys. Or leave without doing those things. This helps remove things that might trigger the dog to become anxious.

These should help his separation anxiety and boredo. It will not be an overnight cure and will take work on your and your family’s part to be consistent in your interaction with him. Here is a site that also offers idea to combat separation anxiety.

http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/dog-care/overcoming-separation-anxiety.aspx

There are many other methods available such as citronella spray collar, shock bark collars (I personally am against shock collars) that will stop excessive barking.

Another option is medication, which is discussed on this site:

http://www.fidosavvy.com/dog-separation-anxiety-medication.html

Now counter surfing can be difficult to stop since you are likely not present. If it happens when you are present getting him obedience trained will help as you can command him to sit if you notice him start to jump up. The following site is helpful in helping owners train their dog. Be sure and click on the link to the page on obedience at the bottom. and links on subsequent pages leading to detailed instructions.

http://www.schutzhund-training.com/training_theory.html

Before he is trained, a no jump harness would be a good choice. See one here:

https://www.amazon.com/Classic-Products-No-Jump-Harness/dp/B00061MO5W/

I hope I've given you great service. If so, I'd appreciate a 5 star rating. The rating should be based on my answer and not any site issue. Experts are not compensated until a rating is done. If you have any other questions at all, please reply here and I'll be happy to follow up with you even after you have rated. .

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Dog Trainer: Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist replied 9 months ago
Hi,
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?
Jane Lefler
Ask Your Own Dog Training Question
Dog Trainer: Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist replied 9 months ago

Hi Again,
I just thought I'd check in to see how things are going for you and your dog. I strive to provide the best answer possible. Did you find my answer helpful. If so I hope you will take the opportunity to let me know if this was helpful to you.

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