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We rescued a stray from the desert. Way too big a dog for us, appears to be a great dane/husky mix about a year old. Great heart, very social, no aggression but some separation issues. I couldn't give him to a shelter...I tried, none would take him. So I got him neutered and fixed up and on erlichya meds and I have an obedience coach coming over weekly to help us train him and we take him running with us occasionally as his health seems capable. He's a sprinter, but not an endurance runner and the erlichya left him with a feeble leg that is almost completely healed. Anyway, he's a doll but not a great match for our family. I have a 6' fence that he recently started jumping. We work all day and I don't want to keep him in a crate all day while we work, I want him to be able to be in the backyard during the day. We put him on a tether after he started jumping, but he ate through the harness. I can't keep getting calls at work from HomeAgain that someone's found the dog...he hasn't gotten more than a mile away before he decides to go say hi to a stranger and they call the number on the tag. We caved in and put an electric collar on him last night. Today I'm home sick so I'm watching him outside. He really wants to jump. He looks at the fence and cries. But he's also whimpering in the middle of the yard. I know the collar isn't biting him in the middle of the yard, he's just lonely and bored and wants to jump the fence and go running around. He's about a year old. I hate that he's so unhappy. I have another dog, a little border collie mix, but he's old and has a heart condition so he won't play much with the pup. I can't afford to get the fence raised for at least another few months, so I'm hoping the pup will learn not to jump, but his sadness is breaking my heart.
 

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Have you tried looking for a new home since he is not a good fit for yours?

How much exercise is he getting?
What kind of mental stimulation are you giving him? (Such as interactive toys and chews in addition to training)
Why is he alone in the yard when you're home?

Why are you opposed to the crate?
Have you looked into daycare or a dog walker to help drain his energy?
 

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I admire that you took him in, got him fixed and are getting him healthy. I'm not a fan of electric fences and collars. Basically, you're causing the dog pain. He may be whimpering because he wants to run outside, or whimpering because he's afraid of the pain. He may not understand that pain equals *this* point in the yard. All he knows is that he was walking around the yard and, at some point, he got hurt. In time, if he gets hurt in the same manner at the same point in the yard, he'll catch on. But electric fences may cause anxious dogs (and even non-anxious dogs) to become more anxious and afraid. You could be creating a more difficult dog. At some point, if he really can't stand it, he may try to jump the fence in spite of the pain just because the yard isn't a pleasant place to be.

I'm not sure how much they cost as opposed to raising a fence, but you can purchase outdoor dog runs and kennels. They give the dog more space to run around, and also provide a roof structure so the dog can't jump out. You can search online for various brands, sizes, etc. You can also try using various anti-anxiety devices, like a thundershirt which the dog wears. It applies gentle pressure that is supposed to sooth. If you have a CD player that you can leave outside, I've had success with playing gentle piano music. There are even CDs made specifically for dogs (like "Through a Dog's Ear"). Piano music is best; music with lyrics is a no no.

I'm assuming the dog doesn't do well in the house? If there is a room large enough for him that you can section off during the day (and dog-proof, i.e., remove electric cords, things he can chew through), then that could be a good option. Dogs don't need a TON of space during the day, primarily because they aren't as active during the day. A lot of dogs sleep most of the day, so long as they aren't full of anxiety. So if he's in a room where he can stand up, walk a few paces, turn around, then that is actually big enough for him. You shouldn't keep him in there all the time. He should be let out, under your supervision, to play in the yard, or go on a walk, etc.

Just some suggestions. The best thing for an anxious dog is to do everything in your power to reduce the anxiety. Electric fences do the opposite.

PS: I also agree with Tofu_pup. Just because a shelter won't take a dog doesn't mean that you can't do your own search to find a better home for your dog. Or you could try other shelters; maybe even shelters in a town over from yours. Now that the dog has been fixed and is getting healthy, shelters may be more apt to take him. I would, of course, try to find a no-kill shelter. You can also put up notices on petfinder -- they have a limited service for individuals looking to re-home dogs.
 

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The dogs are both in the house when we're home after work. Just not today because I'm home with the flu so I'm trying to stay in bed as much as possible. I don't hate crates, they sleep inside in crates every night and they're comfortable. My border collie didn't sleep in a crate before, because he's house friendly, but the big pup eats furniture if left unattended and the older dog wanted a crate once the pup got one. My husband and I grew up on farms with dogs that had acres to run, so having dogs in the city seems cruel to us. We only have the dogs because if we didn't adopt them they'd suffer and die in the streets. Having adopted them they are part of our family. Putting them in pens all day seems cruel to us. The area of the yard he can run free in without getting bit by the collar is bigger than a fenced dog run would be. In our city they kill almost 30,000 dogs a year. It's a border town and culturally people here just don't spay and neuter their animals, so placing anything other than a chihuahua or pit bull, which are incredibly popular here, is nigh on to impossible.
Thanks for your input, I guess there probably isn't a good solution.
 

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Well, there are solutions, just not any you're willing to look into.

I live in a border town as well. I know about the dog situation in border towns. I also know that many border towns are located fairly close to larger cities that have more shelter options. Nobody is telling you to get rid of your dog; but what you're doing right now may be causing your dog a whole lot of anxiety. We are trying to help you to relieve that anxiety.

Consider this - is it more cruel to put your dog in a kennel or crate or have him get hit by a car? Because that's the choice you're making. Eventually, your dog will get hurt if he continues to get out. Hurt, or caught by animal control, or stolen (which also tends to happen quite a bit my town). For that matter, is it more cruel to put your dog in a kennel or crate (where he would likely sleep all day anyway) or cause him pain via an electric fence? Dogs are most active in the early morning and at around dusk. They are NOT most active in the middle of the day, meaning that's the time when kenneling or crating just means putting your dog in a safe place to sleep. For a dog that chews and tears up furniture and escapes, kenneling and crating is MUCH safer than the alternative.
 

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Good solid kennel run with a cover on the top and concrete pavers (so he can't dig?) You can also put anglers on the fence that angle in. Or have a safe area for him inside. Some dogs really don't adjust well to invisible fences, and they can not be depended on.
 

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Putting them in pens all day seems cruel to us. .
But shocking your dog doesn't?
I've known dogs who were supposedly trained to the fence, and were terrified to go into the yard, because the yard "bites" and they don't understand how to avoid that bite. If' he's standing in the middle of the yard whining means he's not getting any use of the yard that is available to him, because he's afraid of it. If he is inside with people when you are home, it's not like he's spending his life confined
 

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Well, there are solutions, just not any you're willing to look into.

I live in a border town as well. I know about the dog situation in border towns. I also know that many border towns are located fairly close to larger cities that have more shelter options. Nobody is telling you to get rid of your dog; but what you're doing right now may be causing your dog a whole lot of anxiety. We are trying to help you to relieve that anxiety.

Consider this - is it more cruel to put your dog in a kennel or crate or have him get hit by a car? Because that's the choice you're making. Eventually, your dog will get hurt if he continues to get out. Hurt, or caught by animal control, or stolen (which also tends to happen quite a bit my town). For that matter, is it more cruel to put your dog in a kennel or crate (where he would likely sleep all day anyway) or cause him pain via an electric fence? Dogs are most active in the early morning and at around dusk. They are NOT most active in the middle of the day, meaning that's the time when kenneling or crating just means putting your dog in a safe place to sleep. For a dog that chews and tears up furniture and escapes, kenneling and crating is MUCH safer than the alternative.
I agree. I can't speak for the husky part of your dog, but if you are right about him being half Great Dane I will tell you that it is very common for them to suffer from separation anxiety. These are dogs that NEED to be close to their people. Of all the GD's I know, and I'm in contact with literally hundreds everyday through facebook and forums, very few of them are dogs who will just hang out in the yard or run free on their land without their owners. It's just not what they do. If the owner is in the house, that's where they want to be. So for that part of him at least, don't feel bad that he isn't roaming the land all happy and free because if you're not with him, he'd probably be happier sitting in the house with you.
MANY...and I mean MANY Great Danes have to be crated when their people work. Again, due to their tendency to have anxiety. Destruction of furniture and basically anything they can chew goes hand in hand with that. So it IS safer for him to be crated, or left in one room perhaps that is dog proofed.
What a breed combo though, you have two very different genetic drives going on at the same time here, which could make things more difficult for you and for the dog. I think when it comes to the point though that your dog is in danger, you either re-evaluate your options and maybe do some things you'd rather not, or you do whatever you can do to find a rescue, NOT a shelter, to take this dog and provide him with a better suited home. Good luck.
 

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he's just lonely and bored
I think you just diagnosed the problem. "Running occaisionally" is probably not going to cut it as exercise for most dogs, let alone a suspected husky mix. Heck, my 13-year-old Lab mix has arthritis and cancer (which is, yes, going to kill him eventually) and he gets a half hour walk every morning and another half hour walk every afternoon. One whole hour. Every single day, rain or shine. Additionally, we play a little fetch here and there, practice his old commands, and sometimes learn a couple new ones.

Your dog is not old or in pain, which means he's going to need substantially more physical and mental exercise than you seem willing to give him. I hope that you will try to find him another home instead of just letting him sit in your yard.
 

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If I were in your shoes:

- Crate the dog during the day or put him in a dog proof room
- Get rid of the electric fence (I'm not sure how shocking the dog is any less cruel than confining him to a harmless crate)
- Walk him. Exercise works wonders on a husky/husky mix behavior. Siberian Huskies are known for being destructive when bored, understimulated or underexercised. As a young dog + the mix he is - he needs more exercise. My Siberian becomes destructive is not exercised but is a perfect angel when it comes to not destroying things that aren't her's if exercised (she will still chew Mr.Fox to bits). She can focus more after a walk, she can learn better and she is better behaved. Walk him! Not just around the block either - go for at least an 30-45 minutes. My dog walks/exercises 2-3 hours a day. Your dog needs exercise.
- Exercise will also help with any anxiety, a well exercised dog is more inclined to sleep than rip stuff to pieces.
- Electric fences (as already mentioned) are more likely to scare your dog than anything. They won't stop him from jumping.
- Get some large, heavy duty (ex: xlg black kongs) interactive toys. Try to relieve some of the boredom. Get some xlg antlers to chew. Something to redirect his chewing/boredom to. At 1 year old he is not grown - he is an older puppy - large breeds aren't finished maturing at a year old. He will still have puppy tendencies and probably a need to chew and unless you give him something he is supposed to chew on (and recognizes he can chew on) he will substitute the nearest item or behave inappropriately (jump the fence out of boredom)
- I know you said you and your SO view it as cruel to confine him when you both grew up on farms where the dogs had acres to run on - with that logic every city/apt/small home dweller is being cruel to their dog. Not having acres to run on just means the owner (i.e. you) must exercise/mentally stimulate the dog in a way other than letting him run on acres of land. It is possible - my Siberian Husky is perfectly content to live in a yardless one bedroom apartment.
 

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Since I'm not as experienced when it comes to dogs as many of the regular posters here I can only speak from my experience. I spent the majority of life living in the country and day working on cattle ranches. In my over 30 years living and working in the country I know dogs allowed to run lose in the country without supervision tend to end up on roads and get hit by cars. Myself and other responsible dog owners that I know who live in the country either keep dogs under their supervision when outside or in a fenced in outside yard with a high enough fence or dog run to keep their dogs safe and at other times they are in crates. The alternatives to doing so whether you live in a city or in the country are ending up with a dead, seriously injured dog, stolen, lost, or possibly euthanized dog. Having lived in the country or currently living in the country is no excuse. We are responsible for the care and safety of these beautiful creatures so its your decision whether or not to do so responsibly. I don't live in the country any longer, but I do live near enough that I drive country roads to work every day and I cannot keep count of how many dead dogs in and beside the road I see during my commute to work.
 

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Since I'm not as experienced when I comes to dogs as many of the regular posters here I can only speak from my experience. I spent the majority of life living in the Country and day working on cattle ranches. In my over 30 years living of experience living and working in the country dogs that are allowed to run lose in the country without supervision tend to end up on roads and get hit by cars. Myself and other responsible dog owners that I know who live in the country either keep dogs under their supervision when outside or in a fenced in outside yard with a high enough fence or dog run to keep their dogs safe and at other times in crates. The alternatives to doing so whether you live in a City or the Country is ending up with a dead, seriously injured dog, stolen, lost, or possibly euthenized dog. Having lived in the country or living in the country is no excuse we are responsible for the care and safety of these beautiful creatures so its your dicision whether or not to do so responsibly. I don't live in the country any longer, but I do live near enough and drive country roads to work every day and I keep count of how many dead dogs I see during my commute to work.
Amen! The dangers to a loose dog in a country setting may not be as visible, but they are there. Another thing that happens to country dogs is they end up shot or poisoned. Farmers and ranchers cannot afford to have the weight or milk run off their stock, not to mention having them seriously injured or killed. And that does happen. I once lost a flock of 12 sheep that I'd bought to train my dogs with and was keeping on a friend's acreage to a couple of dogs. Dogs got shot. Sheep got throats ripped out. If a property owner sees your dog out with his horses, cattle, sheep or goats, he doesn't need to wait for your dog to do damage to shoot him. Free roaming country dogs frequently just don't come home. Either they have strayed where they shouldn't and gotten killed. Or they end up victims of coyotes. Responsible owners don't allow their dogs to roam whether they live in town or in the country
 
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