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My german shorthaired pointer mix is 10 months old.

Everything is progressing nicely with him. We've had problems, especially around separation anxiety, and still do, but we're working through them and I see consistent improvement. For the last three days he's sort of been the perfect dog. Heeling, obeying, being calm, etc.

I also do the "magnet" technique where good behavior draws me to him with a treat. This has helped get him to be calm and obedient around him.

When I tell him to drop something he drops it. When I tell him to sit he sits. When I tell him to go down he goes down. etc.

But the second I turn away, he starts to get destructive. If I see him and I tell him to drop it and I give him a chew toy to replace it, it works. But if I'm not consistently watching him and managing him, he just destroys everything. He doesn't have free run of the home yet.

He's 10 months. If I can't watch him, I crate him. I was hoping that by this time he'd have free run of the house when I'm home, and I could at least leave him loose in a room when I leave the home. But I can't imagine that happening at any point.

How on earth do you get a dog to behave when you're not watching him? I mean I understand that maybe he's just too young, but I don't understand what I'm supposed to be doing to even move him in that direction.

I'd appreciate any insight!
 

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Some dogs can't be trusted for longer than others, and it may take until they're 2 or so to get them to calm down. That's generally when the puppy behavior fades away. There are occasional dogs though that can never really be trusted. I very much doubt that's the case though, I think it may just take him awhile.

The best way to get him there is to continue to crate when you can't be around. Because if he gets the chance to destroy something, it's just reinforcing that behavior and making it harder. Eventually I would try to leave him in a room when you aren't around, that's very dog proof. And just gradually go from there.

My youngest, Echo, is a year and a half. She's fine loose in the house when I'm home, but I wouldn't trust her when I'm gone yet. She can be left in my bedroom though and doesn't touch anything. She's not a big destroyer, and for the most part only touches her toys. But I know with the whole house to explore unsupervised, it'd be asking for trouble. Good luck and just try to have patience!!
 

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@ChessaQ

Thanks! A few months ago I did try to leave him in a puppy proofed room for just an hour. Just the bathroom. I emptied it out of everything, including the toilet paper, which I know he loves.

He managed to chew up the toilet seat and rip it off the toilet in only an hour. Granted, it was a plastic toilet seat I was planning to eventually replace, but wow.

It sounds like it's just going to take some time and management. That's good to know. It seems like I meet some people who've always given their dogs run of the house.

What did people do before crate training was a thing?
 

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Most of them will grow out of it, and some are just worse than others. My current 1.5 year old has about driven me batty with his chewing, destructive, aggravating self, and I swear I've never had one like this...until I start remembering what the other dogs were like when they were puppies/young. My oldest dog, when he was a pup he spent most of his time outside on 7.5 acres with a big horse barn and plenty to do. He laid under one of my trailers and chewed all the wiring for the lights out. 7.5 acres with another dog, a bunch of cats, some horses, plenty of sticks, toys, and whatever he'd want, and that's what he chose to do. We only know he did it because one day we caught him under there chewing. So even when we were home, he did it. But when he grew up, he became very reliable and never chewed anything again. He has stayed in the house unattended for all of his adult life and never touched a thing.
Winston, my current youngster, would chew even if I was in the house and just not paying attention. I remember being at the sink washing dishes and kind of sensing something was passing behind me. I turned around to catch him transporting a couch cushion from the living room towards my bedroom, where he was almost certainly going to attempt to rip it to shreds. Sneaky booger! But he's definitely less interested in destruction now that he's a bit older. He still works on some old cushions and an old mattress out in his room in the horse barn during the day, and hasn't been given the chance to destroy anything else in the house (he has separation anxiety and has remodeled the walls and trim around the front door and front window), but I'm hopeful that he'll be a responsible citizen once he gets over this adolescent age.
Now my Aussie, Pete, has never even THOUGHT about tearing ANYTHING up since I got him at about 3 months old. He just isn't that kind of dog. Completely trustworthy.
Don't fret. Puppyhood seems like it lasts forever and they seem like they'll always be holy terrors. They won't.
 
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