09-03-2013, 11:11 AM
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Ottawa, ON
My sister and brother in law rescued a one year old Dobie who was abused by his previous owners, the least of their crimes being that he was crated 18 hours a day. Needless to say he had issues with being crated and had major SA as well which did lead to destructive behaviour, what they found worked very well was building a large pen in their basement. It was approx. 10'x8' and they used 2x4's and heavy gauge wire, it was large enough he could move around easily but was still contained in an area where nothing could be touched. Whether it's inside or outside, it sounds like he needs a concrete pad and heavy wire for his own safety, it's a good thing he hasn't seriously injured himself already. If you're really worried even run a hot wire on the top and bottom to ensure he knows to stay away from it
The size of the pen should hopefully not trigger any anxiety and he'll learn you leaving for a short period is not a bad thing. There are multiple threads regarding separation anxiety if you search for them. Start with baby steps, settle him in a down and turn your back on him. If he moves turn around and correct him gently and start over. Reward the calmness and progress to you taking one step away before releasing, then two steps, eventually leaving the room for 30 seconds, 2 minutes, etc. You need to counter condition the anxiety by replacing it with confidence that you will return.
I wouldn't give up the training class, learning obedience and working through distractions in a class setting can only help and not hinder his progress. Also it would probably be worth contacting a behaviourist to see if they can get to the root of the problems
If you like the trainer you're currently using could you get them to come to your house for an hour or two and work with both of you on your home turf. The trainer should hopefully be able to give you pointers and work with both of you on correcting them properly. The more you show the dog what it CAN do then the bad behaviours should wane and hopefully disappear quickly.
Some tricks you could use for tiring him out include a flirt pole, bike rides (or even running beside an ATV if you have one), obedience games, fetch. It might not exhaust him but every little bit that takes the edge off is good, it sounds like he has months of energy pent up and needs to release it. Tie him to you with a 4' - 6' leash for the day and have him follow you around while you do your daily routine, it will keep him out of trouble and in eyesight as well as mentally work his mind as he keeps pace with you. Also you can work on very short 5 second obedience sessions throughout the day. Get him used to sitting on the mat in front of the sink while you're making dinner in the kitchen, sitting on the threshold of the door while you're doing laundry, etc.
As his energy is depleted more and more you should hopefully notice a change in his behaviour and he should become more manageable.
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