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hi hi -

first sentence of the post: I run with my dog every day. She gets enough exercise.

I am trying to wean my dogs OFF the crate by enclosing them in two rooms (bedroom/kitchen - I have a shotgun house) while I leave, and in the past two weeks, my bookshelf and my mattress have been destroyed.

I dont want to leave them (1 husky, 1 shepherd) in a crate while I'm gone for 4-5 hours, and yet I cant afford a new bed every week! My reason for not crating is that my neighbors have complained that when I do crate them, my husky howls for hours on end and annoys them (she doesn't do this when not crated).

I have tried endlessly to re-crate train her using positive reinforcement, and she just can't be left in it without pawing at the crate loudly and howling.

Thoughts? Do I crate them anyway? Do I let my stuff be destroyed? Do I buy my husky a bigger crate more like a kennel?

Any thoughts would be appreciated!
 

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Funnily enough I talked to a lady with exactly the same problem with her Inuit dog. She wanted to get him out the crate because she felt bad for him, she felt she also exercised him enough in the morning. Even if you take them for a run you should bear in mind a long run for you is probably nothing to them, huskies can run ridiculous distances. They are probably also bored as you have exercised their bodies and not their minds. I am told Kongs are good but I don't know how your dogs are at sharing.
I got the owner of the Inuit dog to exercise him with a doggy backpack on, it really can help with tiring them out, but only if your dogs are comfortable with them. I also got her to leave toys for him. If I think of anything else I'll let you know, but I must say I am impressed as many dog owners do just crate their dogs for hours and it is not very fair.
 

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sounds like you have a dog that has separation anxiety. I would read up on it and take the steps you need to to correct the problem.
 

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I'm not sure what a shotgun style house is, but if you are giving them access to anything destroyable then you are asking too much too soon.

While I have a uncrated Husky, he's nondestructive by nature. What I would do, were I determined to give my dog free roam, is start by giving him access to only areas that won't get destroyed. That is to say, your funiture and stuff. But your carpet, moldings, trims, walls, etc are all fair game to destruction.

So don't be surprised if you come home to thousands of dollars worth of property destruction.

I would also start for short times. Start with 5 minutes. Slowly move up to 1 hour. If he's still doing good, then keep moving the time you are gone up and up.

I can leave Priscilla alone in the house for 3 hours right now without any messes to come home to. It's taken me 3 months to get to this point. I would rather be too slow than too fast.
 

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Same as Rbark.. i do too have an uncrated Husky in my house, a puppy so you know.
He won't destroy anything, he'd crap and pee all the house when he wasn't housebroken, but that's other thing..

Proper excersize for a husky isn't just a walk to the park (should be 3 times a day, 45 minuts) PLUS mental stimulation (games, puzzles, like a kong) etc..etc..

*Some Huskies tend to be more destructive when bored, not excersize, etc..etc..
I think you should crate the dog, even if pawing and howling is involded, Huskies are such drama queens sometimes, so they will howl as if someone was killing them when you crate them.. It's their way to try to take control over you.


I say again... *SOME huskies can be like that, some others not*
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I appreciate all the responses here - they're all so contrary.

Erick - my husky certainly is a drama queen, and I'd be willing to ride out the howling if my neighbors weren't involved (two of them are elderly and it really bothers them).

RBark - you're right about the thousands worth of damage - sheesh the things we go through for these huskies! The advantage of a shotgun home is that each room has a lockable door. Thus, I can really close off sections of the house to the dogs quite easily. Right now (as stated in the original post), they have access to the first two rooms of the house (kitchen, bedroom - including the bathroom and laundry area)... I would really like to keep them relegated to the kitchen area because there's tile floor, whereas the rest of my house has hardwood flooring... yet I'm scared to death that they'll chew the cabinet corners like they chewed up my bookshelf - I rent, not own. I think perhaps I'll take your advice and start EXTRA slowly with her - 5 minutes at a time if need be, in the kitchen to start.

In terms of mentally stimulating toys I can leave for my dogs, what are the choices? I generally leave them with peanut-butter filled kongs, filled bones, and tennis balls (the husky LOVES the tennis balls and actually doesn't destroy them), but I'm always open to suggestions. I found that they REALLY enjoy it when I stuff the kongs with treats instead of peanut butter because it takes them a while to get them all out if they're oddly shaped.

Vegas - I'm aware she has separation anxiety. I also know I don't have the money for a behaviorist and I use consistent positive reinforcement (and always continue to do so) and leaving-the-house exercises in order to curb this - it's a process. I am working on it, and have been for a quite a while. Can't do much more about that than I already am.

bXers - I've been looking all over for a good doggy backpack for my pups! I was thinking of trying to train her to mush with a little red wagon, too --- but I see problems with her taking off and smashing up a thousand cars with the wagon as she runs away LOL
 

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I think another thing that calms dogs is to leave a ticking clock or the radio on, next to the crate, might be that your pup howls because because she feels alone, that's what my Husky did for 4 days:rolleyes:
 
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