Get our 3 year old rescue to be ok with his crate - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-18-2017, 09:03 PM Thread Starter
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Get our 3 year old rescue to be ok with his crate

So for those of you that have seen my other posts, you will know that we rescued a 3 year old male who was tossed over the fence of our local SPCA.

We are trying to crate train him (he's already house broken, we just want him to have his own space) to contain him we we have to leave the house because the SPCA worker that fostered him during his eval period said he had separation anxiety and was destructive if she left him alone. We have been trying to get him comfortable with his crate by feeding him in there and by putting him in there for small amounts of time. We tried moving it closer to our other GSDs crate, changed the type of bedding in there. Everything our trainer has suggested or I've read on the web, we've tried.

If you look at the below pictures, this is the result of a 2 hour stint while we went to dinner, which is the longest he's been in it.

As you can see, he did a number on the door, along with several other spots that look like that. Also, its harder to see, but he skinned up his nose to the point that there is some minor swelling.

Does anyone out there have advice?

Saw this at our Walmart...didn't buy it, wanted to know the expert opinions. It is made of ginger, chamomile and valerian root.

New owner - 2 GSD's - General and Arrow
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-19-2017, 01:26 AM
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Have you tried taking him out and utterly exhausting him, then putting him in there right until he wakes up and taking him out with praise, treats, toys, whatever he likes as a reward before he panics? If you can create a habit of that, it could work in your benefit. A tired dog will generally sleep anywhere, and if you're nearby and can take him out and give lots of praise and rewards before he freaks out, you could likely break the cycle.

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-19-2017, 01:33 AM
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Box crate in the meantime.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-19-2017, 09:51 AM
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Boy, I would get a different crate for a dog that does that. The wire crates for the most part are pretty flimsy for a determined guy like that. I would go with a harder plastic one but I'm taking a Gunner or other brand that is nearly impossible to chew through. Expensive for sure. Just a safety factor.

I don't have a lot of advise for separation anxiety... it is hard to work with. Hopefully others can give you some feeding or supplement advise. I think you can try the stuff from walmart. No harm trying but often that stuff does not work.

Our GSD has a bit of separation anxiety but she doesn't take it out on the environment. She barks. Now that she knows the house she is fine. Prefers to have my dutchie around but fine otherwise. Wherever she came from (was a stray) she must have been raised in a truck. If we really need her to calm we put her in the cab of our beater truck and she becomes another dog, curls up and calms right down. Weird.

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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-19-2017, 11:41 AM
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I'm so glad he didn't hurt himself worse than he did. There was a thread on here 2 or 3 years ago where the dog ran one of the wires all the way through his paw. Injuries can get pretty bad with a wire crate whenever the dog is desperate to get out. I'm not usually big on using medications, but maybe talk to the vet about something you could use on a temporary basis until he gets a little more used to being left alone.
If I remember correctly, you haven't had him very long? Part of it may be that he just hasn't gotten settled with your family and routine just yet.
Considering how he was treated in his former home, it may take him a little longer than usual, even with your kindness and care. Unfortunately, some dogs have it their whole lives.

I remember talking to my vet about something natural to give our cowdog for vet visits and thunderstorms. She mentioned something that had natural ingredients, but I believe it is by prescription only. I'm at work, but I can call and ask if you are interested.
Also, Trazodone can work for anxiety for many dogs. I have some on hand for my GSD. He doesn't have separation anxiety, but sometimes acts really anxious for no apparent reason. Fortunately, he hasn't needed any for at least 4 months, but I have it if he needs it. Dogs taking Trazodone regularly have to have regular blood work.
Definitely, get a sturdier crate so he won't be as likely to get hurt.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-19-2017, 12:32 PM
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Give him time! He's probably afraid you won't come back.

Meanwhile, get a plastic box crate, and crate for shorter periods.

I don't agree with giving mood-altering drugs to dogs unless it is absolutely necessary.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-19-2017, 02:07 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for all of the advice.

Our other GSD, Arrow, loves her wire crate, that we ordered from Amazon. Its "bars" are about double the thickness of this one, which we picked up at the local farm store. The one we have for General is definitely cheaper, and I can bend the bars by hand myself. Definitely not a good fit for a dog with a lot of strength and determination.

To answer the question of how long we have had him...today is day 12.

To answer the suggestion of tiring him out...it doesn't work. He has such severe anxiety that he can be in a dead sleep and if we get up to go to another room, he jumps up to follow us.

I've called my vet and have an appointment with him this afternoon to discuss options.

Typically, until August, it won't be a big deal because my wife is a teacher and is home on summer vacation. But there are a couple of times where he has to be in his crate...like when we go to church on Sunday, or if she has to run an errand. We are hoping to have him comfortable with a crate, or able to be left out by the time she has to go back to school

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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-19-2017, 02:11 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunsilver View Post
Give him time! He's probably afraid you won't come back.

Meanwhile, get a plastic box crate, and crate for shorter periods.

I don't agree with giving mood-altering drugs to dogs unless it is absolutely necessary.
I know, I hate the idea of turning him into a zombie. Hopefully, if he does have to have something, it will be short term.

We borrowed a thunder vest, and have really been working with him yesterday and today spending short periods of time in there. We will invest in a plastic crate, but we won't be able to do it today.

New owner - 2 GSD's - General and Arrow
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-19-2017, 02:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cheffjapman View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunsilver View Post
Give him time! He's probably afraid you won't come back.

Meanwhile, get a plastic box crate, and crate for shorter periods.

I don't agree with giving mood-altering drugs to dogs unless it is absolutely necessary.
I know, I hate the idea of turning him into a zombie. Hopefully, if he does have to have something, it will be short term.

We borrowed a thunder vest, and have really been working with him yesterday and today spending short periods of time in there. We will invest in a plastic crate, but we won't be able to do it today.
The natural product I was trying to remember that the vet recommended for our cowdog was made by Virbac and is called Anxitane (L-Theanine) Chewable Tablet. L-Theanine is an amino acid naturally found in green tea leaves. You can't order it from Virbac. You can get it thru your vet. We haven't really needed it, so I'm not sure how expensive it is.
Just a thought-in case you'd rather not go the med route.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-20-2017, 12:02 AM Thread Starter
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Well, the vet prescribed trazodone. We gave General 75 mg before we went to dinner, and he was ok for an hour. No real side effects that we can tell. He isn't groggy or out of it. He did drag his feet more than normal for a little while. Hopefully, this is something that is temporary while he adjusts to his new home. I plan on ordering that natural remedy you suggested. That way I can test it and compare the results to the trazodone.

Thanks again for all the advice.

New owner - 2 GSD's - General and Arrow
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