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I'm new to the forums but I have an issue that I need help with. My 8 month old GSD keeps escaping from her kennel during the day while I'm at work. At first it didn't bother me because she wasn't getting into anything, I'd come home to find her sleeping in my bed. This past monday, however, she was left in her kennel for about 3 hours and when I got home, she had escaped and dug a hole into the mattress. We went a few more days without incident, then yesterday when I got home she had escaped and dug 3 more holes in the mattress! She doesn't normally have destructive behavior, usually at her worst she is just very hyper which is to be expected. Up until about a month ago, she had a mastiff to play with all day long... so my questions are:
Is she acting out since her friend is gone?
Could this be separation anxiety, or just boredom?
Any recommended kennels I could get? (Currently we have the wire crate, she is 82 lbs and pushes against the door so hard that is bends and releases the door latches - I'm thinking of padlocking the door closed for now)
I really appreciate the help, I don't have much experience with GSD puppies, most of my experience comes from taking in older rescues.
Thank you in advance everyone!! :help:
 

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Does she have anything in the crate to keep her busy? Pig ears, stuffed and frozen kongs, etc? If not, I'd try those. You're going to have to find a way to 'fix' the door... either with zip ties or locks or something. You don't want her to get caught in the partially open door, though, so it will have to be tight. Try putting on music or the TV also. Could be separation anxiety... but if it's new behavior it could have to do with the loss of her friend also. Is she getting plenty of physical and mental exercise before going into the crate? A tired puppy is a good puppy! How many hours is the pup in the crate for? Has there been a change in the amount of time she's in it? My male tore apart two of these wire crates later in life (and he wasn't crated often, either). I'm planning on using "Crate games" with my new pup and also switching from a wire crate to a kennel to see if this improves things. Unfortunately, it seems like when they escape once, then they keep trying over and over. (At least that's what happened here) Please check your crate for damage (sharp edges) that may have happened from her breaking out.
 

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You can either use zip ties or u-bolts to secure the edges of the crate and use multiple clips - like leash clips - so secure the door in more than one place. Also give her more exercise when you are home.
 

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All good advice. My problem wasn't Mac escaping his crate, my own guilt prohibited me from putting him in there in the first place. Big mistake...I cannot express enough how important it is...IMO :)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Jag- Thanks for the tips, I bought some padlocks to connect the door to the cage itself, seems to be working. She gets a good amount of exercise and is only in there about 9 hours while I'm at work. Most nights I let her stay out of her cage but with the bedroom door closed so she doesn't have too much freedom to roam. She is in there more than she was when her friend was still here but not by much. I also need to get more bones to chew, she has toys but doesn't normally play with them by herself.
Thankfully, she off leash trained and we are on 10 acres, so she has plenty of room to play and run. I'm thinking we may need to get her another friend to keep her occupied as well.
I really appreciate everyone's comments, definitely be sticking around for all the info I can get!
 

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escape

the airline vari-kennels are best. they are more enclosed and more secure and many dogs prefer the den like feeling of them as opposed to open wire crates.. craigslist always offers them in the pet sections
 

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I'd go on this from a bunch of different angles.

Better crate with more fun stuff in it.

EXERCISE EXERCISE EXERCISE. Real hiking/swimming/off leash activities.

DOG CLASSES!!!! The mental stimulation and socialization will keep her busy.

How many dozens of tricks have you taught her? Engagement training?

---> http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/welcome-gsd-faqs-first-time-owner/162230-engagement-key-training.html

--> http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/general-puppy-stuff/187976-teaching-trick-least-important-part-teaching-tricks.html

:paw:
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I'll have to try to find one of the vari kennels, although for some reason the Birmingham area doesn't have a very big craigslist market.
Maggie - Great info in the videos, thank you. She does get a lot of exercise, although its not very uniform just a lot of running in the yard, playing with frisbees and balls and hiking...and of course, chasing the cats through the house (not in a mean way, she loves to chase them and then turn around and let them chase her - I don't think she knows how big she is!) We do have a pond she could swim in, but summer in the south there isn't much water in it right now thats out until we get some rain.
 
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