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馃槩 I am beyond frustrated with my 15 month old standard poodle Betsy and I guess I鈥檓 just looking for moral support. This is our first poodle and I did do tons of research before we decided to go ahead and get her. I knew that they were an active breed and would require outlets for their energy but, DANG, no one said it would be nonstop commitment. Both hubby & I work so Betsy is in her crate from 7:00a-4:00p. I鈥檒l take her for a walk every day anywhere from 1.5 to 2 miles. Sometimes it鈥檚 fast paced sometimes she does a lot of sniffing and it鈥檚 a slower walk. When we get home she usually eats & hangs out on the deck for awhile. Some days we will play frisbee or catch for awhile. But without fail, she will steal something of mine and take it outside so that I play chase with her. She steals my hairbrush, scrunchies, shoes, makeup sponges, BRA鈥檚. 馃槨. Or, she鈥檒l pull the bedding out of her crate and drag it into the yard. We鈥檝e worked really hard on the drop it command but she doesn鈥檛 listen all the time. I鈥榲e tried ignoring her but she just sits on the deck & waits for me to notice what she has & she鈥檒l take off running when we make eye contact. She鈥檚 hyper like this until bedtime. She take a nap but I鈥檒l hear her chewing her bones during the night. On weekends she gets a morning & afternoon walk. And the chase game is non stop all day on weekends . I take her to daycare twice a week just to burn energy off & so I can get stuff done around the house. I am exhausted!!! I cannot be her playmate 24/7 much longer. Do they ever mellow out? Is she just a hyper active version of the breed? What else can I do to burn off the energy? I鈥檓 seriously considering getting a 2nd dog so she has someone to play with that isn鈥檛 me. She LOVES other doggies If I could afford it, I would take her to daycare all week.

I鈥檝e owned Boxers before so I鈥檓 familiar with active breeds but my Boxers were not as hyper as Betsy is. I鈥檓 not sure what I鈥檓 looking for - guidance, suggestion, recommendations, reassurance?

Please just tell me it gets better and that one day she will turn into a loving, cuddly Poodle that everyone else seems to have.
Thanks,
 

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Stop chasing her!!!!! That is the best way to teach her what a fun game it is to steal your stuff. If you can't manage things so that she doesn't have the opportunity to steal things, then I would make her wear a long line so that you can get hold of her without the chase.

Seriously, the worst thing you can do is to keep chasing her and taking things away from her.
 

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I can definitely sympathize. I went through plenty of similar experiences with my poodle as he was growing up. It sounds like you have three issues that are contributing to your problems, and tweaking things could really help.

First, your dog should not have access to things she likes to steal. This is a really fun game for her. Steal the item, mom chases me, lots of fun! The way to solve this is to not give her access to the items. Eventually she will probably grow out of this phase if she isn't allowed to constantly reinforce the behavior. Put up baby gates, keep items in securely closed areas... whatever you need to do. If she isn't a responsible adult she gets treated like a puppy.

Second, this dog is being crated for nine hours. That's a really long time. It is completely understandable that she's ready to go go go when she finally gets out of the crate. Perhaps a walker could come mid day to give her some time out. Another thing to look at is what you can do to make her crate time less boring. A stuffed kong and a good chew can really help to tire a dog out while you are gone.

Third, it seems like she is not getting enough mental stimulation. Walks are nice, but they really don't cut it for mental stimulation. How much training has she had? Is training a regular part of your interaction with her? Poodles thrive on activities that require brains. Incorporating training into your walks is a great way to work a dog's brain. Another thing you can do is vary where you walk her. Walking in new areas is always more mentally stimulating. Hiking in natural areas is especially good. Practicing training exercises while out and about can be as simple as asking for a sit or down in a distracting environment, teaching them to jump on a rock or bench, walk on a log... etc. I like to ask my dog to heel for periods of time because it really drains his brain.

I think 1.5 years is really very young. Dogs will mature at 2-3 years. Your dog may be higher energy than some spoos, but I'm not sure her behavior is abnormal for any dog that is crated for 9 hours. My two year old is a nice snuggly couch potato as long as he gets his 1.5-2 hours of activity. That's some walking with training, some hiking, and regular agility class. He'll still bug me at times but 5-10 minutes of play is enough to settle him back into snoozing on the couch.
 

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I鈥檓 sorry to be the one to say this, but you need to stop crating her for so long. A spoo cannot be crated for 9 hours a day. That needs to be your number 1 priority.

She needs purpose and fun challenges, and she absolutely needs to be able to stretch out and stretch her legs during the day. I don鈥檛 think she sounds hyperactive at all. I think she sounds bored and stressed. :(
 

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If you're walking her multiple miles and she's still amped, walking might not be the kind of exercise she needs. Mental stimulation is often just as important as physical, and time spent training increases the bond as well as makes a dog more invested in listening to you.

I agree with reraven123, definitely stop chasing her. Unless you have reason to believe she'll seriously hurt herself with whatever she has, ignore her and keep ignoring her. If it's important or dangerous keep it put up or keep her confined/restrained when you can't supervise. From day one I made sure if a room had a door and I could close it that door was closed.

Honestly it sounds like after 9hrs of boredom/sleeping she's trying to pack all of her stimulation into the limited time she has with you and she needs more boundaries and more structure.
 

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Hopefully you receive the feedback, you have to hear everyone's heart.

Playdates. How are you doing there? Are you in a setting to socialize 1:1?

You can rent yards in your neighborhood via the app spotsniff. For Betsy, it's an hour with your best friend at a dog playground. You rotate between yards. It's ~$8 or less on average per dog per hour. Also, find pet parents who you resonate with. It's a double win. Basil has a "wrestling friend" and a "running friend". Find Betsy a best friend.

All you have to say is "Is it okay if my dog says hi?"

It's going to make your life easier, I promise.
 

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When I worked, I left my minis in the kitchen-den area that had plenty of windows. Left them with plenty of toys. Sometimes I left the TV on, sometimes a radio. Or I left them in a bedroom. If I was concerned about them having an accident, I covered the carpet or wood flooring with plastic runners or linoleum. They lose that boundless energy soon enough and at some point you'll miss it. Guaranteed.
 

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Yeah, 15 months, that's about when people start breaking down if they don't have a good system in place for their dog. Very active dogs often end up in shelters or rescues about this time in their life if their people struggle to cope. Then someone else gets them, hopefully puts in another six month of training and viola! Awesome dog. They can't believe the original owners gave up. I hope some of the advice you've gotten here helps you make it another 6 months to a year so you are well out of spoo adolescence.

Try to look at it as you are going to have to give a little more, even though you feel like you are at your wits end. Pull out your imagination and come up with a solution that doesn't have her in a crate for 9 hours. It will help with her energy levels (and it might hurt a bit too, because she might do a thing or two you don't like with that freedom).

Training is excellent for active dogs because it can actually wear them out, whereas physical activity alone can take immense amounts of time to wear out a young healthy spoo- and then the next day they just have even more stamina. Obedience training at a local class is probably best overall, but if that just sounds too laborious and you'd rather slam your head with the fridge door repeatedly than add another "task" to your dog day, I would suggest signing up for a nose work class. Yeesss, it's training, but mostly its just fun with your dog- the training just kind of sneaks in there. Some people might say take an agility class, but it's been my experience that you need more basic obedience in agility than you do in nose work.

Another thing you can do to help yourself rejuvenate is take your dog with you to a big box store like Home Depot. Walk the aisles. Get that roll of duct tape you've been meaning to buy (but don't use it on the dog!) While you are there people are going to gush over your lovely poodle. Just soak that stuff in. Your heart needs it.

Also, get a flirt pole and play with your dog in the backyard. While you are doing this you can sneak some obedience training in there: dog has to sit to make the flirt pole fly. Dog has to release it on command, then you make it fly again. Playing like this with your spoo helps to build the relationship, works her mind and her body to help tire her.

What kind of things did you want to do with your spoo when you originally got her? Are you doing those things?

Many warm wishes to you and Betsy. Violet and I hope there are years of happy togetherness ahead for you.
 

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Nine hours in a crate! No company? No stimulation? I don't know anybody who would crate an animal for that long and not expect them to be shot out of a rocket when they finally have company and can play. So far all the posters are being so darn polite trying to come up with a bunch of activities for the dog! I'm not even going to bother to mince words here. This is not the dog's issue. It's you and your husband not making an arrangement for someone to come during the day and walk/play with your young dog for a good half-hour while you're both working. I have friends who work long hours and wouldn't dream of crating their animal. They bring them to Doggy Daycare. You mentioned you couldn't afford that. When I worked incredibly long hours, I always had somebody come by at minimum twice a day to take my dog out, socialize and play with him. That was much more affordable than Doggy Daycare. There were times I hired friends who had children in school who would come during the day & other times there were retired neighbors available. If there's a will, there's a way.
 

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9 hours in a crate, and a mile or two walk... I walk more than that with my elderly toy dogs, one of whom has liver failure. At even a slow saunter I make that 3/4 - 1 hour exercise, with 9 hours crated during the day, 8 hours or so crated or in bed at night, and 6 hours expected to chill around the house. Even a geriatric dog would struggle, let alone an active, intelligent adolescent bursting with energy! She needs opportunities to run flat out, to sniff, things to learn, people and dogs to meet, places to go and things to do. I would look for a dog walker if you can't get home during the day, do some classes with her (ideally in person, but there are lots online), look into dog sports like nose work and agility, set up play dates, spend more time playing training games, and fit in at least twice as much walking.
 

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Training is excellent for active dogs because it can actually wear them out, whereas physical activity alone can take immense amounts of time to wear out a young healthy spoo- and then the next day they just have even more stamina.
This x infinity. We could never wear Peggy out with regular walks, and she鈥檚 definitely not a high-energy girl. Long-leash, sniffy walks, maybe. The kind where she weaves about, just following her nose. Those are definitely more fulfilling/draining for her.

But one of her favourite things in the world is our super fun, ten-minute training session every evening. She flops down after, perfectly content. I try to scatter those sessions throughout the day, as well.

Anthropomorphizing is rarely a good thing, but I think it really actually helps with our highly intelligent, highly sensitive spoos. If you asked a toddler to nap for nine hours per day, what would your evenings and weekends look like?
 

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The bad news is, no, this will not get better on its own. The good news is, you can make changes today that will make a huge difference. A few management suggestions. First, hire a dog walker. Nine hours is too long to be in a crate.

Second, remove your dog from her crate and connect a leash to her collar. Indoors, Betsy is always on a leash. It will allow you to control her access to your belongings. Outside, disconnect the leash and play with a flirt pole. Flirt Poles for Dogs | Mental Exercise Toy | Pupford A flirt pole will give your dog something to chase that is under your direction and control.

Third, train your dog to do tricks. Ever notice how tired you are and all you did was stare at a computer? Brain power drains your energy. The same is true for your dog. You cannot exercise your dog into calm behavior. You can exhaust them through training. Tricks are fun to train and fun for the dog to learn.

First trick is paying attention. In your kitchen, put a treat on the floor between your feet. Do nothing. When the dog eats the treat, put another between your feet. It may take a few minutes for your dog to realize you're being a Pez dispenser. Eventually, your dog will eat a treat and instead of turning away and getting distracted, she will look up at you. This is the moment you've been waiting for. Give the dog five treats in a row, one after another while praising your dog for being so clever. Then stop. And do nothing. Does your dog look at you expectantly? Good, five more treats. Ignore you? Treat on the floor between your feet.

Keep playing this simple attention game. Play it in different rooms in your house. Play it outside. Why train attention? This will build value for YOU in your dog's mind. If there was a tree in your local park that always had a $20 taped to it, the first thing you would do when you entered the park would be visit the money tree. If you are your dog's money tree, your dog will look to you for good things. Once you have taught your dog to pay attention, you can train your dog to do anything she is physically capable of doing.

For ideas on tricks to train, and step by step how to train them...


 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Yeah, 15 months, that's about when people start breaking down if they don't have a good system in place for their dog. Very active dogs often end up in shelters or rescues about this time in their life if their people struggle to cope. Then someone else gets them, hopefully puts in another six month of training and viola! Awesome dog. They can't believe the original owners gave up. I hope some of the advice you've gotten here helps you make it another 6 months to a year so you are well out of spoo adolescence.

Try to look at it as you are going to have to give a little more, even though you feel like you are at your wits end. Pull out your imagination and come up with a solution that doesn't have her in a crate for 9 hours. It will help with her energy levels (and it might hurt a bit too, because she might do a thing or two you don't like with that freedom).

Training is excellent for active dogs because it can actually wear them out, whereas physical activity alone can take immense amounts of time to wear out a young healthy spoo- and then the next day they just have even more stamina. Obedience training at a local class is probably best overall, but if that just sounds too laborious and you'd rather slam your head with the fridge door repeatedly than add another "task" to your dog day, I would suggest signing up for a nose work class. Yeesss, it's training, but mostly its just fun with your dog- the training just kind of sneaks in there. Some people might say take an agility class, but it's been my experience that you need more basic obedience in agility than you do in nose work.

Another thing you can do to help yourself rejuvenate is take your dog with you to a big box store like Home Depot. Walk the aisles. Get that roll of duct tape you've been meaning to buy (but don't use it on the dog!) While you are there people are going to gush over your lovely poodle. Just soak that stuff in. Your heart needs it.

Also, get a flirt pole and play with your dog in the backyard. While you are doing this you can sneak some obedience training in there: dog has to sit to make the flirt pole fly. Dog has to release it on command, then you make it fly again. Playing like this with your spoo helps to build the relationship, works her mind and her body to help tire her.

What kind of things did you want to do with your spoo when you originally got her? Are you doing those things?

Many warm wishes to you and Betsy. Violet and I hope there are years of happy togetherness ahead for you.
Common sense tips mixed in with humor & kindness. Thank you. I appreciate the feedback and the tips. We originally got her right before our State went into Covid lockdowns and puppy training classes were not available. I haven鈥檛 checked recently but I think they are still being held virtually. I will definitely check into sniffing classes because she loooveesss sniffing things. It鈥檚 unfortunate that neither hubby or I are hunters because she would be an excellent bird dog. I do take her with me when I run quick errand. I don鈥檛 like leaving her in the car too long. Home Depot just recently started allowing dogs into the stores (Covid again) but I will start taking her inside when I go.

I am not the type of person to give a dog to the shelters because of minor issues like this. My last dog was a BullMastiff that developed epilepsy at 5 and I spent a 馃挬 ton of money on her care and meds until she passed. In Betsy鈥檚 case, that鈥檚 why I came here for suggestions.

Thank you again for the tips.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I can definitely sympathize. I went through plenty of similar experiences with my poodle as he was growing up. It sounds like you have three issues that are contributing to your problems, and tweaking things could really help.

First, your dog should not have access to things she likes to steal. This is a really fun game for her. Steal the item, mom chases me, lots of fun! The way to solve this is to not give her access to the items. Eventually she will probably grow out of this phase if she isn't allowed to constantly reinforce the behavior. Put up baby gates, keep items in securely closed areas... whatever you need to do. If she isn't a responsible adult she gets treated like a puppy.

Second, this dog is being crated for nine hours. That's a really long time. It is completely understandable that she's ready to go go go when she finally gets out of the crate. Perhaps a walker could come mid day to give her some time out. Another thing to look at is what you can do to make her crate time less boring. A stuffed kong and a good chew can really help to tire a dog out while you are gone.

Third, it seems like she is not getting enough mental stimulation. Walks are nice, but they really don't cut it for mental stimulation. How much training has she had? Is training a regular part of your interaction with her? Poodles thrive on activities that require brains. Incorporating training into your walks is a great way to work a dog's brain. Another thing you can do is vary where you walk her. Walking in new areas is always more mentally stimulating. Hiking in natural areas is especially good. Practicing training exercises while out and about can be as simple as asking for a sit or down in a distracting environment, teaching them to jump on a rock or bench, walk on a log... etc. I like to ask my dog to heel for periods of time because it really drains his brain.

I think 1.5 years is really very young. Dogs will mature at 2-3 years. Your dog may be higher energy than some spoos, but I'm not sure her behavior is abnormal for any dog that is crated for 9 hours. My two year old is a nice snuggly couch potato as long as he gets his 1.5-2 hours of activity. That's some walking with training, some hiking, and regular agility class. He'll still bug me at times but 5-10 minutes of play is enough to settle him back into snoozing on the couch.
Thank you! Yes, I鈥檝e put away the stuff that I know she likes to steal. It鈥檚 mostly my stuff never hubby鈥檚 馃槀 and I don鈥檛 chase her unless it鈥檚 an item that could cause harm. The last item was a green scrubby. She鈥檚 a big time counter surfer. Yes, I correct her when I catch her counter surfing. She did not get any formal puppy training classes because our State went into Covid lockdown right before we got her and only recently limited training classes have opened up. I try to vary her walk in our neighborhood so she doesn鈥檛 get bored. Excellent idea with the nature walks. We have walking trails not to far from us. I will try that. She will be super happy with a car ride and a new place for sniffies.

Thank you for the tips and advice!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
The bad news is, no, this will not get better on its own. The good news is, you can make changes today that will make a huge difference. A few management suggestions. First, hire a dog walker. Nine hours is too long to be in a crate.

Second, remove your dog from her crate and connect a leash to her collar. Indoors, Betsy is always on a leash. It will allow you to control her access to your belongings. Outside, disconnect the leash and play with a flirt pole. Flirt Poles for Dogs | Mental Exercise Toy | Pupford A flirt pole will give your dog something to chase that is under your direction and control.

Third, train your dog to do tricks. Ever notice how tired you are and all you did was stare at a computer? Brain power drains your energy. The same is true for your dog. You cannot exercise your dog into calm behavior. You can exhaust them through training. Tricks are fun to train and fun for the dog to learn.

First trick is paying attention. In your kitchen, put a treat on the floor between your feet. Do nothing. When the dog eats the treat, put another between your feet. It may take a few minutes for your dog to realize you're being a Pez dispenser. Eventually, your dog will eat a treat and instead of turning away and getting distracted, she will look up at you. This is the moment you've been waiting for. Give the dog five treats in a row, one after another while praising your dog for being so clever. Then stop. And do nothing. Does your dog look at you expectantly? Good, five more treats. Ignore you? Treat on the floor between your feet.

Keep playing this simple attention game. Play it in different rooms in your house. Play it outside. Why train attention? This will build value for YOU in your dog's mind. If there was a tree in your local park that always had a $20 taped to it, the first thing you would do when you entered the park would be visit the money tree. If you are your dog's money tree, your dog will look to you for good things. Once you have taught your dog to pay attention, you can train your dog to do anything she is physically capable of doing.

For ideas on tricks to train, and step by step how to train them...


Thank you!!
 

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Click-N-Treat summed this up well. However, I want to give you hope that you can work a full day and raise a dog (or 2 or 3, in my case!). I did crate all of my dogs during my work day, however, I was able to go home at lunch to walk them and give them a break from the crate while I ate lunch. Dogs are naturally at a low point during the day and will nap a lot. Then you need to be ready with activity when they're 'waking up,' and you might be ready for a rest after a full work day.

What I did. My poodle was in formal dog training classes from day 1, from puppy kindergarten, basic obedience, rally, agility, canine fitness, tricks, etc. I like to compete, so that was part of it. But it also gave me the structure to be able to continue the techniques at home. Think of raising a dog the same as raising a child. They are learning all of the time, whether or not you're teaching. So they may be learning undesirable behaviors. There are tons of free references online, if you don't have access to local dog training.

I have a canine 'support group,' which is my agility girls. We connected while taking an online agility course together ~8 years ago. This has turned into an invaluable resource for all dog questions with the many years of experience the group comprises. We belong to the same training club and meet there weekly to train together. A member club, and its members, can be a great resource. There's someone with a training idea or similar experience when you reach a low point in training. Or at least the support to help get through it.

The other point that others have mentioned is that walking may not be the activity that best tires your dog out. Mental games in the evening go a long way toward preparing my dogs for a quiet evening. This can be basic obedience, tricks, sniffing, etc. Nosework is a super good game for cold winter evenings indoors.

This is a difficult age for a dog. I've been hearing my sister's brags about her oh so smart miniature schnauzer for nearly a year. And now he's hit adolescence and she thinks that he's plotting against her. It's the age! (Or at least, partly the age.) The other part is that, unlike children, dog training never ends. Accept that your dog will need to practice some skills for a lifetime.
 

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I see a lot of young dogs who have been shortchanged developmentally these days and people blame COVID. COVID is not to blame. Lack of committed attention to the needs of an intelligent living being is to blame. Betsy is telling you she is bored out of her skull. Give her chances to really interact with you on a regular basis and she will show you she wants to enjoy time with you.

One of my current clients has a bernedoodle who is well loved but who was unruly in many ways when I met him because his owner just "loves" him but has never trained him to do much of anything. He dragged her all over during walks, now that is fixed. He has no recall, still a serious work in progress since he gets out into the yard of a couple of acres mostly very parklike and off he goes. He has no interest in coming when called. He can't go anywhere that requires a drive since he won't get in her car. You get it. He is the victim of benign neglect and I think Betsy is too. You haven't been mean, you just haven't been attentive enough. As to training classes, yes in many locations they went on hiatus, but private trainers have been working all along during the pandemic. I go to people's homes but mostly work in the yard only staying inside if the weather was bad. We all wear masks.

I second and third Raindrops, Newport, scooterscout and Click's well articulated tips and strategies.
 

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I agree with everyone else. You are dealing with a representative of one of the two most intelligent dog breeds on the planet. Her antics are her way of telling you she's bored and understimulated.

My boy Galen is almost the same age your girl is. His destruction is now probably at around $2000 - shoes, a down jacket, eyeglasses, etc. I consider each item destroyed to be a bad owner penalty. I left the item where he could reach it, and I wasn't giving him the attention he needed when he took it.

I spend a lot of time playing with him and training him. Keeping ahead of that sharp little mind is exhausting. (AmazonFresh needs to pay my dog a commission, as my brick & mortar shopping time has turned into poodle activity time.) Each time I find him ripping the lining out of my slipper I know I need to up my game again. I've been working my way through the list of AKC tricks for the trick dog titles and the skills for the AKC canine good citizen test. I don't particularly care about titles, but the work is necessary discipline for both of us.
 

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Agree with what everyone else said.

When I was walking Annie for exercise at that age she needed about 3-4 walks a day. One 30min to 45 min walk, the rest around 15 min. It really wasn't enough so we did trips to stores, I drove her down town, etc, to get her more mental stimulation, plus we did offleadh running /play a minimum of 2x/week. If she didn't get that, I regretted it. Stealing things, barking, etc, not fun to live with.

Even my childhood mini poodle mix needed three 15-30 min walks per day. My mom's Yorkie, especially when younger, got two 30 min walks per day.

At 2, I am home all day and my poodle gets about 45 min- 2 hrs of exercise every day. Usually a 20 min walk plus 30 min to 1.5 hrs of offleash play or hiking. On slower days we like to sit out on the porch in the evening so Annie can watch the world go by, play kibble scatter games, etc.

I would work on making a dog proof room rather than a crate. 9 hours in the crate in the day plus presumably 8-9 hours at night is a ton of crate time - more than 50% of a 24 hour day. I used baby gates, an ex pen, and doors to give my dog only access to my hall and the abiliy to sleep on my bed. As a puppy, she had an open crate and two expens wedged into a hall like space for stability but so she couldn't chew baseboards. This meant she could stretch her legs while I was gone, play a bit with the very safe toys I left, etc.

I also recommend after seeing to physical needs - work on relaxation. Down stays while you do dishes can help tire the dog out mentally. Perhaps also work on the Relaxation Protocol/Relax on a Mat (Google has a ton of resources). Don't feed in a dish - scatter on the floor, use a Kong, use a food toy, hide it in a box, etc - anything to make your dog work for their food.
 
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