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My son adopted a 3 - 4 yr old GSD from the shelter. They clicked right away- almost as though the dog had been with him forever. Well, he started a new job (just got out of the US Air Force) and decided to crate the dog. He started with five mins, then 10 and 20 mins. Then went to 10 and 20 mins in the crate and my son outside of the house. The dog tore the crate apart!! Heavy duty wire crate with wires all bent apart and destroyed- in 20 mins. So he goes out and buys one of the airline approved plastic crates. Same thing- door completely pulled into the crate. So now he puts a muzzle on the dog, resecures the door with industrial strength zip ties, and goes outside. Within a half hour the dog shows up in the front yard. The dog removed his muzzle, tore the crate door off, opened a sliding glass patio door, climbed a six foot fence and went out front to be reunited with his "Daddy"! He took the dog to the vet with pictures in hand of the crates to see if the Dr. could give some mild sedatives or something until the dog gets used to being alone. Doc says "that is animal cruelty to crate him against his will." Son said "this visit is over". I HAVE NEVER SEEN A DOG WITH THIS KIND OF DETERMINATION!! ANY SUGGESTIONS?
 

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That vet sounds like a real jerk!!! Hopefully your son can find a vet he can work with to try to find something to help the dog's anxiety attacks.
I've had problems with two escape artists,
have never used one of these crates, but they look like they'd hold a determined escape artist.
http://www.elitek9.com/Crates/index.htm

Here are some articles about separation anxiety.
http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=C&C=176&S=0

I don't know if this would work, but you son might want to get information about anxiety wrap to see if it could help:
http://www.anxietywrap.com/

GOOD LUCK!!!
 

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WOW- 52 views of this post and just one person with input?! Thanks for your reply. I sent this along to my son. Those cages/ crates would probably do the trick- but affordability is a problem right now. And yes, he is looking for a new vet. Thanks again.
 

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I just saw this. Rafi had separation anxiety. It took me (and Rafi) 7 weeks but I worked him through it. I can leave him for however long I need to without any destructive behavior. I do not crate him because he had major issues in the crate and it was dangerous for him.

Here is the little pamphlet I used: http://www.dogwise.com/ItemDetails.cfm?ID=dtb667 It lays out the entire protocol. Basically you have to counter-condition the dog to think your leaving is a good thing. It starts with not leaving at all but just doing the triggers (picking up your keys, putting on your jacket, etc.) and then sitting back down. Whenever you activate the triggers you give the dog something really special like a treat filled kong or bone and then you take it away when you "return." From there you graduate to leaving the house for really short intervals (a minute or two). You cannot progress further until the dog is not anxious. It can take anywhere from 3 to 16 weeks, depending on the dog. While I was working with Rafi I had to take him everywhere with me. I was able to leave him in my truck (we worked on that first) before I could leave him in the house. Another alternative would be to find a doggie daycare facility for the dog while your son works on counter conditioning him.

I do know a dog like your son's who destroyed crates, rooms, etc. They followed Patricia McConnell's protocol and are now able to leave her home alone without a problem.

It takes time and patience but it will work. Rafi is living proof.
 

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My dog sounds almost as bad - or I have a better crate. She was crate trained before I got her though, but always dug at the crate door whenever I left her. I initially assumed she couldn't get out and once I turned the key in the door lock it was like a switch turned off - she just quit. She popped the mechanism off the crate door once but I was able to reassemble it and now I put a web tie-down around the crate to keep it from popping apart again.
I no longer have to crate her but keep her in the basement and when she hears the lock its the same thing - she quits. If she can see me go, though, she only throws the fit until I get in the car. My Mother stands at the door and holds her so she can watch and she settles as soon as I am gone. If she doesn't get to see me go it takes her about an hour or more to settle down.
Do you have anyone that can help you with trying to see you leave?
I have had other issues that we have been working on since I got her and since we can manage this one I haven't worked seriously on it yet. I will have to look up Patricia McConnell's protocol though, when I try to conquer this.
 

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How is the dog's behavior if he is not crated and left home alone? Because maybe he's just reacting badly to the crate, and maybe he has separation anxiety -- or both.

Some dogs just go nuts in a crate, and your son's dog's reaction seems so strong that I wonder if there is another way to restrict him - or is he extremely destructive in the house when left alone?

I have one dog (Butters) who did not tolerate the crate well, and the house would be in tatters because of him trying to get out of the crate (an oriental rug ripped in half and the crate half way across the room with him still in it?!).

Zora loved her crate from the word go. Of course she could easily open her crate (without destruction), open the front door or pop a screen, and let herself out - she is also a fence climber, so I understand your son's shock when his dog appeared.

I dealt with each dog individually, and didn't insist necessarily on how I thought they should behave, rather I adapted my techniques on how they did behave and tried for the shortest route to my best outcome - that I could just leave them in the house with no worries.

With Butters, instead of using the crate that he hated, I used baby gates and restricted him to the kitchen - he could have easily jumped the gates but did not. For awhile there were issues with them getting into the trash. So I used to put the trash out when I left.

With Zora - I realized what was driving her; she'll only do this if she thinks I'm in the yard or down the street. So I make it clear that I am going and she is staying home. She understands the ritual now, once I turn the TV on and tell her she's staying home, she goes to her bed (unhappily but calmly!). Since she can open doors with push down latches, and pop screens out without even damaging them, I made my one concession of having to shut the windows and lock the doors when I leave so she doesn't decide to go wandering.

I also used the techniques in the pamphlet to train them initially -- practicing the going away triggers without actually going (i.e. keys, coats, etc.). Rewarding them with a peanut butter filled kong, frozen yogurt in a cup, etc. I did have one dog that immediately calmed if I just put a bit of kibble in his dish right before I was leaving - I think his main fear of me leaving was starvation!

Now that they have all been with me for over 2 years, I can leave all three of them with the run of the house with no worries at all. For example, after removing the trash for a few months, they just got out of the habit of pillaging it, and it never happened again.

My concern about your son's dog is that his reaction to the crate is so violent that he could have had a very bad experience in a crate that you don't know about, and it could just be very traumatic for him to continue to try to put him in it, and could cause the situation to worsen.
 

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When Bill is home, the dog is fine. Sits in the crate and everything. If left home alone, not crated, MASS DESTRUCTION!!! Curtains torn down, etc.
It's Bill (my son) the dog is severely attached to. Even when the room-mate lets the dog out- the dog realizes Bill is gone and off he goes looking for him.
I was thinking of running an electric cattle fencer attached to a couple of runs of wire about four feet up on the chain link to keep him from climbing the fence. The crate is probably a matter of conditioning.
 

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Rafi is the same way, can't stand to be separated from me. However, he can now stay home alone. If the dog is that anxious he could easily electrocute and/or seriously injure himself with the set-up you describe. He needs counter-conditioning. PLEASE buy the book for him and have him go through the protocol. It really does work.
 

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I agree on getting the pamphlet - identifying it as separation anxiety and treating the dog for that is really important. A good vet and/or dog behaviorist could also help. Re-inforcing fences, crates, etc. will likely cost a lot more and could result in the dog injuring himself.
 
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