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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Before I start:
I rescued Comet (yorkie/bison terrier mix) as a 4 month old puppy at the local animal shelter. He is a good, loving dog. He is my best friend, we do everything together. Unfortunately he has an excessive barking problem when put in a cage if I'm not home. If i am home he just goes to bed, if i put him in it to leave to go to the store or whatever he cries the entire time I'm away and LOUDLY.

BUT - if i don't put him in a cage he eats the front door. Every time. And I don't just mean the frame, or scratches it, I mean LITERALLY eats the door and breaks the wood so we have to replace the entire thing. I have replaced the door so far 5 times.

I tried leaving for small amount of time, 10 mins, 15 mins, and working my way up. The dog doesn't care. I've tried putting on dog music, putting soothing dog aromas, I've tried the treat reward behavior, dog anxiety medicine, I even tried shock collar. Nothing works. Dog doesn't care.

Before any of you say he isn't getting enough exercise, I take him on a hike daily. I'm talking about 3-4 hour hikes, as well as take him to the dog park to play with other dogs, and as well as play with him and give him the BEST toys for distraction and stimulation. Money all down the drain. I also take him on night walks as I love walking with my boyfriend through town at night for another 2 hour walk.

Nothing phases him. It's gotten to the point when I can't leave my apartment to do simple tasks. I've just come to accept it. I want him to be a good dog, I want him to be able to be like other dogs and not have to be in a crate when I'm not home. I've raised 5 dogs from puppies and raised them well. None of them had this behavior. However all of those dogs were bought from other people whereas this one was from a shelter. I just wanted to do a good deed and not pay for another dog, and instead save a life. I love him so much. I do not want to give him up. But I can't live like this anymore.

Is there anything I do to help him learn to not destroy the door when I am gone? I know that apartments aren't good for dogs, but I originally had a house. I just moved into my own place because my parents passed away and didn't own anything. Forcing me to look for an apartment.

Maybe my dog doesn't respect me? How do I get him to know that what I say is law in my household?



 

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If it's separation anxiety, no training method will help. You can't train anxiety away :(. And any punishment will make the anxiety much worse. You can try to counter-condition so he learns better coping skills.

If it's that bad, he may need anti-anxiety medications. Sometimes they just need the meds for a short time, sometimes more long-term. But you should ask your vet about that, if he's too anxious for the counter-conditioning techniques to work.
 

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Have you tried an exercise pen instead of a crate? Many dogs who don't like to be crated do better in an exercise pen. However, if it's true separation anxiety, that likely won't solve your issues.
 
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