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Hello,

My family just adopted a 2 year old GSD female, Faith, from a rescue. We were given the information that she belonged to a husband and wife that got divorced and after the divorce she was not taken care of very well, she is very skinny. The woman at the rescue said the wife was a babysitter so she is good with my two little ones.We adopted Faith on NYE, and the family was home the following three days. Now we are back to work and both my husband and I work full time. Meaning we are gone for 8 hours a day, neither one of us can get home for lunch to let her out. I believe she is fine without going potty during the day.

We did a trail run of us being gone on Monday night for about 2 hours, we placed her in the kitchen with the sliding door closed off to the house. She managed to get the door open and pooped in our basement. I had my husband go out and buy a crate that night. Faith hates being in her crate. Yesterday morning when my husband left for work she went downstairs and pooped. I cleaned it up and told her that was bad and put her outside again before putting her back in the crate when i left. I put her in the crate when I left and she managed to escape the crate during the day and pooped again in the basement two times, in my daughters room, and peed in my son's room.

The crate door was closed so my husband tried to figure out how she was getting out. Faith managed to chew the latch that holds the tray to the bottom of the crate. She pushes the tray out and bent the bottom of the frame so she could slide out. My husband thought he fixed it last night so we tried to put her in the crate again at bedtime, but she carried on crying for about an hour and managed to get out and was sleeping in the hallway when we woke up. We moved the crate between the couch and the wall to where she shouldn't be able to get out the front of the crate today, but I am super nervous. She was crying and carrying on again when i was leaving this morning.

I am new to owning a dog, my husband has had dogs before but I have no clue how to handle this or if this is normal for rescues? ... Can anyone offer advice to make crate training a little easier and get her to stay in the crate?

Thanks!
 

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Wow... she has had no time to adjust to her surroundings. I would buy a much better crate that she is getting out is dangerous and indicates it is a pretty cheap crate. A sturdy plastic one is better than wire. I would have a dog walker come by preferably twice a day. Yes, they can last 8 hours but she may never have been asked to do that. It takes some endurance training to do that. She also doesn't see you guys as home yet. That will take a couple months. She sounds freaked out. Can one of you take her in the crate to work in the car and let her out so she gets more comfortable with a routine?
 

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Hi DutchKarin,
Thanks for the reply. Neither one of us can take her in a crate to work unfortunately. I will look around for a dog walker, since I have never had a dog before i'm not sure there are any in my area. I live in Ohio, where weather is getting a little colder so walks aren't as long as we anticipate the walks being when it warms up. What else can i do to get her exercise?
 

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Can you section off an area of the basement where she can play and get around while you are gone? Is it a cement floor? Is it horrible if poops in there on accident once in a while? 8 hrs is too long. Mine naturally wait that long but she can't, so for now give her the freedom to learn. I would get a dog anyway, about four hours in each day you are away, for the exercise and stimulation. I crate puppies but by age two that is a long time to be locked up during the day.
 

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The problem is she wasn't crate trained before being left for a significant period in the crate. Of course she freaked out. The goal is to first acclimate them to the crate being a good place -- feed them in it, let them sleep in it, etc. Then it's their den...and it's not stressful to be left in it.
 

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She hasn't even had a chance to get used to her new home. The fact that she went all the way into the basement shows that she is housebroken but hasn't learned in what area to relieve herself. It is a lot to ask for a new dog. How about a neighbor or a dog day care? Some teenager who is home early?
 

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Hi- as an update... Faith has escaped her crate everyday. Yesterday she was successful in her crate all day while we were at work, my husband got home and let her out and he stayed for about 40 minutes then had to leave to get kids. She managed to get out of the cage again and then pooped on the floor. She won't poop or pee in the house when we are home so I don't believe it's a house training issue. We zip tied the crate and thought we had made alterations to the crate so she couldn't escape again. I put toys and bones in it. Drape a blanket over it.
The way she's getting out of her crate is nerve wracking that she is going to get hurt. Then today she was fine in the crate, my husband stopped by for a short time and she was fine in the crate. After he left she literally destroyed he side of the crate and got it. The wires are sticking out and the small slot she got out of was smaller than her head. Today she didn't poop or pee(that I saw or smelled) anywhere. we have no options for staying home during the day so we need the peace of mind that she's safe and confined. Should we try not crating? I attached the picture of the crate after today.
Also attached is the short video of the first day on how she was getting out of the crate. We put her back in the crate to attempt the crate training but waited to see how she was getting out. This is why I'm nervous she's going to get hurt.

She's not super destructive so far, the first day she pooped in my daughters room, the basement and peed in my sons room. She chewed a ball but nothing else. Last night we didn't crate her for bed and she had no issues. She slept through the night and didn't move. Any suggestions?
 

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I just have to say that you're doing fine, don't give up on her. I was in a similar situation-- rescue from divorce (end of July 2016, 2 yr 10 mo old female, me a 1st time GSD owner), undernourished, had to be gone a long time for work. I had a couple messes which may have been protests, but my girl settled in. Give her time. I am seeing consistent, gradual progress with my girl as she gets comfortable and used to her new surroundings. Your concern for her hurting herself is right on-- keep trying to make it better, heed advice here. But it will take time. Based on my experience you're going to have the best dog you could ever imagine in a few months.
 

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Please say you don't leave a collar on her in her crate?
Anytime you get a new dog, you should do a two week shutdown. Where you don't expect anything of the dog and are hyper vigilant in watching interactions. This is a high stress period, and being around children and other things might be too much.
You need a more secure crate for her safety. There are a lot of options online, just search secure crate.
Or maybe a closed off basement section?
 

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I might have missed this...can she be left out without access to the basement?

I have a couple that escape out of crates, the only thing that works on wire crates are small locks in every area they can pull at to pop open. I think I have like 8 small locks on the crate. I also invested in an Impact Crate. I paid like $650 for it, but it keeps the dog contained safely.
 

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I would look for a way that you can confine her to a part of the basement when you are gone, or at least confine her to a bathroom or a small bedroom.
 

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I don't mean to sound harsh but it surprises me that people acquire a large, intelligent working dog and expect it to stay in crate/cage to the dog, and expect it to not act up.

First you have not had the dog long enough for her to believe when you leave that you are coming back. You should try leaving the house and telling her "We will be back (dog's name)." Come back in 15 minutes and tell her "See, we came back dog's name). Did you miss us?" Give her lots of praise.

Try to do this several times a day while you are off on a Sat. or Sun. Let her learn to trust that when you say will return, you will. One of you can be home. She just needs to see one of you leave, tell her you will be back and then do it. Trust is something that builds over time.

Take her with you to the bank or any drive through so she can see some of the things that you are doing while you are out of the house. Get her excited and say "Do you want to go for a ride?" Lowes will let you take your dog inside with you. You don't even need to buy anything. It is a good opportunity for her to be socialized with other people and other dogs if you luck out.

Second, her defecating in house is a stress behavior. It might help to feed her at the same time every day as soon as you get home and wait 20 minutes and let her out. In that 20 minutes you should give her lots of attention and play with her with a ball or toy to chase to move her bowels. In 20 minutes she should go outside.If she doesn't go, try it again. Pick up her water at 7-7:30 pm and no more until morning. Get up early and give her a brisk walk and an opportunity to go potty again.

GSDs are very smart animals and need a job. If they don't, they become bored and become destructive in one way or another. Yours is going potty in the house. Some eat the couch.

The issue is partly you. You got a dog that you don't have enough time to give her. A walker is great or someone that can give her a physical workout in your yard playing fetch to make her tired or a walk to relieve tension. She will have ample time during that period to relieve herself.

Get her a soft toy that is hers. Have her sleep with it and keep it near her. I have found that a raised bed can be a comfortable alternative to the floor. You can get them for about $20 in Amazon. I put a fluffly blanket on mine that is soft.

Hide toys around the house and make her go look for them. You may have to go with her to start. Teach her to put them in a basket that if for her toys. This will give her a job to do while you are away. They have great "whistler" balls on Amazon that if you give them two they can entertain themselves for quite some time.

i guess all this is a) teach her to trust you that when you leave you will be back. Start with a small amount of time and increase it as she is better coping with it. b) be aware of when you feed her for the day, the earlier the better and not in the morning. Never give her people food. Ever. c) Keep her mind busy and challenged. There are Kongs out there that you can fill with small dry treats or her dog food. She will have to knock it around to get the treats out. d) I would confine her to the basement until the pottying in the house stops. You might want to toss a few newspapers where she usually goes. If you don't remove all of the odor she will return there. There are many good enzyme cleaners that will help eliminate the odors.

By doing these simple things and getting a walker in once or twice a day at first should give her a routine that she can adjust to. Crate training is great for a puppy but not as successful with an adult dog as they do not require the amount of sleep that a puppy does and they get bored easily. Remember, your dog is SMART. You will have to work with her with that in mind. I am blessed that I am home with my dog most of the time. GSDs like to be with their masters. Unlike some large dogs that are happy outside, they like to be with their family members. Mine is a velcro dog and with me from room to room and always lies down and crosses the doorway to protect me from someone getting into the room but more likely for me to get out without him. You will find your way and with patience and a great amount of love and praise you will end up with the greatest dog your family has ever had. Oh remember, dogs live in the moment. Scolding or rubbing a dogs nose in there poop only makes them wonder what on earth you are doing and why? Another good thing is to never let you dog see you clean up after them. These are all pointers from my trainer. Good luck with her.Don't give up. She has been through some major changes in her life and is just trying to cope and learn what is expected of her.

Below is my sweet Riley at 18 months. He is a long haired GSD.
 

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Wow, do not leave her in that crate, that is just plain dangerous. You got the dog now you have to invest. Get a good (spend some money because it will last forever) plastic crate or figure out some other way to contain her. I would prefer to get her to a dog sitter, have a dog walker come in or doggy day care. She needs some interaction and training I think. She needs to ease into new surroundings. Check with local vets, dog food stores, or training centers for dog care services.

You owe it to her. You got the dog now you need to commit.
 

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You owe it to her. You got the dog now you need to commit.
At least give it a try but also be honest. Maybe you bit off more than you can chew. It doesn't sound like the best match to be honest. A dog that destroys a crate like that has a major separation issue.
 
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