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My dog loves this thing. Got it from a family member after we adopted my dog and figured he would just destroy it. It looks like a cat toy. Boy were we wrong. Used it as a training tool to teach him "give" (or "drop it"), as he would fetch each squirrel and bring it to us. They're apparently scented and that's why dogs love them so much.
I have this one. Similar concept but seems to be cheaper. My dog gets them out pretty quickly but she still enjoys it. She doesn't chew up her toys though. A dog that likes to rip soft toys would have this one apart in minutes.
This thing keeps my shiba happy for hours. He loves digging the squirrels out of the tree, and he flings them around the room when he gets them out, or picks them up by the tail and shakes the life out of them.
This plushie toy is dog toy crack for any dog who shows remote interest in plushies. I don't know what it is, but they go nuts. Otherwise, may just be settling in, may just not care for toys, may be waiting for the one
Teddy is kind of picky with his toys. He has no interest in chew toys (even though he loves chewing and tearing things up), he could care less about squeaker toys. But he absolutely loves this squirrel tree
Bully sticks are a favorite for my pair, but they don't last long (maybe 30-45 min). Anything stuffed is shredded into stuffing and fluff within 2 weeks. My boy doesn't chew this toy, but it he loves it. Carries it around with him everywhere, licking it, tossing it, sleeping on it. Unfortunately the girl makes it her mission to actually destroy it, so I have to buy a new one every month or so. Funny enough, they have zero interest in the little squirrels, only the tree trunk, so i have like 20 little squirrels in their "toy bin" now.
I no longer give them elk antlers because they've both cracked teeth on them. They have had zero interest in nylabones.
My puppy is always crated when someone isn't home. We have nice things and it isn't fair to ask a toddler not to destroy nice things without supervision. What we do: we don't make it a big deal at all to put him in, or take him out. I got him this and he gets really excited about it. I hide treats under the squirrel, and I put it in his crate. He now will preemptively go in there as soon as he sees me pick up his squirrel house because he loves it so much. Also, because I don't want him to be anxious or lonely, I bought him a buddy (stuffed dog) and put it in there with him along with other toys, and his crate faces the TV, so we play a nature DVD in the background. I also bought him a crate cover so it's more den-like.
Just a quick reply, so this is stream of consciousness.
Sounds like you're trying all the right things! Good for you and your boyfriend that you are learning about dog training--everyone is there at some point. It's especially hard with a reactive dog to not get frustrated, but we humans aren't perfect either! And it's amazing that dogs are so forgiving :-).
Treats--I've also had success with stinky gourmet cheese (especially blues, but careful with Tron's stomach), canned salmon, and rotisserie chicken. I also used to save bits of my human food to see what my dog really responded to.
Nice, I heard the dog twister is super fun! Have you tried filling the kong and freezing it with beef broth or something similar? Sometimes my dog gets discouraged if stuff doesn't come out fast enough, so I break the treats up much smaller. I totally recommend you look up some youtube tutorials on Nosework. It's great for dogs with high prey drives and you'll be able to wear him out at home! This toy is also fantastic for high-prey drive dogs. [link]
Yeah there's no comparing being off-leash to on-leash, but have you tried training your dog to walk politely on a long lead? Making it a rewarding "job" to walk nicely might entice your dog more! I like it because it gives my dog structured freedom and an outlet to roam and smell without going totally nuts. My rules are that she has to stay beside or behind me and cannot pull me anywhere, but otherwise she gets 20 ft.
You could also find a tennis court or basketball court at night and let your dog off-leash in there.
I actually got at it at a store near me, but this is it! Before this toy, Melody wouldn't play with anything. Seriously. But she absolutely loves this! The squirrels are squeaky, and it's a real challenge for her to get an audible squeak out, but she feels so accomplished when she does :)
He definitely needs one of these...they are awesome...I was gifted the gigantic one for my dogs...but your can use the little one...oh and did I say squirrels!!! [link]
They're her favorite thing. Her "mommy" - the fiancee - gets her these plush squirrel sets... here, these - you place the squirrels in the tree and then she has to work them back out again. That's her favorite toy and she carries the squirrels all through the house with her.
When we take her outside for walks - we live in an apartment - she sees squirrels and immediately goes to huntin' mode: she gets real quiet and tries to sneak up on them before they get away.
Thanks to her leash they always manage to get away just in time.
He's actually a very loving and happy dog, but he will definitely make faces at me if I do something annoying (like wake him up, especially if it involves picking him up while he's sleeping... sometimes he'll run around snorting when he's displeased).
Anything furry will feel his wrath. I've bought tons of "indestructable" plush toys only to have a pile of stuffing left within 24 hours. He has a particular love of this toy and it fares better than most. Partly why I refuse to let him near the squirrels where we walk; I'm not really ever in a mood to clean bloody squirrel parts off him.
I have a dachshund, and it's all about the same for me too. She is particularly neurotic about squeaky toys, she doesn't stop until she's pulled out the squeaker and destroyed it. Her Kongs are intact, but ripped all around the edges of both holes, haha.
So, it isn't exactly what you were asking for (though it's surprisingly durable for a plush), but I bought this for her, and she LOVES it. It plays into her instincts to find and pull little squeaking things out of their burrows. I have to supervise, or she would ruin the squirrels, but she has a lot of fun figuring out how to pull them out of the stuffed log over and over. And the log is amazingly durable, somehow.
Both my dogs LOVE this toy Hide-A-Squirrel, its great because you can stuff it with a ton of toys and it keeps the dog occupied for a while trying to pull all the toys out. It's really popular on Amazon as well.
Another good classic option would be a Kong and treats to fill it like hard treats or soft treat.
Outward Hound Hide a Squirrel Fun Hide & Seek Interactive Puzzle Plush Dog Toy, 4 Piece, Junior/Large/Jumbo/Medium [link]
And the Trixie puzzle board games
I've heard that german shepherds are a type of "working dog" as in a dog that likes to have tasks and jobs. One possible thing you could try is taking him through obedience training and see if learning the commands helps him mellow out a little? You could also try to entertain him with "puzzle toys", my mom had a dog that used to love the kind like this https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0002I0O60/ref=twister_B01L1BJ8ZO?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&_encoding=UTF8&tag=rove05-20&linkCode=ur2&linkId=f06e87922d02817cfb6e44c22ba5ef78&camp=1789&creative=9325
and there's even more in this article https://www.rover.com/blog/best-puzzle-toys-for-dogs-in/
But I don't think your dog is necessarily the CAUSE of your anxiety, it's possible that the added stress of a high energy dog is just the thing that set it off. I think you should hold out a little longer before you think about rehoming him. If your mental health is really suffering than you may have to consider it in the future, but in the meantime you're making the right choice by seeking out professional help. The question to ask yourself is, if you rehomed him and then found out that he wasn't the root cause of your anxiety and/or you found a way to control your anxiety through therapy and/or medication, would you regret giving him up?
I just got this hide-a-squirrel toy for my 30 lb. dog and she loves it: [link]
Outward Hound Hide-A-Squirrel Dog Toy Plush Dog Squeaky Toy Puzzle, 4 piece, Large [link]
These are my papillion's favorite toys:
Classic Kong toy
West Paw toys like this one
I also have a couple of the puzzle toys. I like to get ones that have several layers of difficulty so my dog doesn't get bored right away. Like this one, but I found it at HomeGoods for a lot cheaper!
Brandy looks wonderful. Such lovely colouring.
I get these for Butters. He loves them.