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Discussion Starter #1
Rufus is my recent adoption that suffers from severe Separation Anxiety. He broke out of his crate twice last week and I came home to find him napping on one of the beds (which he isn't allowed to be on). Other than that I couldn't find any damage. My roommate hid in the closet and I pretended to leave today so we could see what he did in the house. He eventually found her but he seemed to just pace around and whine. I'm considering leaving him loose in the house in the morning since the crate is clearly not working. Is this a good idea or a bad idea? Anyone have any suggestions or experience with this?
 

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Severe SA requires medical treatment which consists of anti-anxiety medications and more importantly, treating the underlying cause (thyroid imbalance or other neuological disorder). If your vet has already started the medications and you're still having issues, I suggest another visit.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
He's just starting week 4 of his Prozac and Xanax doses. I haven't seen much of an improvement but it could take up to 8 weeks apparently. I've been posting on another thread about the struggles, but I heard that some dogs just hate crates and that their owners had more success when the dogs could pace out their frustration. At any rate, now that he's escaped twice I think he'll never stop trying to bust out of the crate, and seriously injure himself in the process.
 

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Being loose poses greater dangers than a crate...jumping through a plate glass window, getting into poisons, chewing on electrical cords, shredding the furniture, etc. But, I'm sure you're already aware of that so, I really don't know what you're looking for in the way of a solution.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Yes, I'm aware of the dangers. That's why I have been working on crate training. He's breaking teeth pulling the bars out of shape and the squeezing through tiny areas with sharp edges though, so right now being in the crate is just as lethal. It made me somewhat relieved that after escaping and being loose in the house he didn't cause any damage. That's why we're going to try leaving uncrated for a few hours. Like I said, I was just looking to hear from others who were familiar with SA or anyone who leaves their dogs loose when they leave.
 

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The single biggest thing you can do before leaving him alone is take him on a 15 mile run. Really wear him out and hopefully he'll just sleep when you leave. It's going to take awhile for all your confidence building exercises to take root to the point where he is content/comfortable with being alone....that's why the physical exercise is so important at this stage.
 

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You know, if you can find a room where he feels safe and you feel ok for him to be left out in, do it. There is a bigger chance of his killing himself trying to escape his crate then to your house at the moment.

I would try it for a short 15 min time and see what he does, then slowly move it up and see how he does. He may do just fine in your house, and just doesn't like the cage. It's worth a shot.

Oh and SA isn't always medical... Some dogs are just traumatized from past experiences but medical reasons should be ruled out first.
 

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I'm dealing with this right now with two dogs, one of whom does better crated and the other doesn't. My border collie will tear apart a room if I leave, baseboards, carpet, even if it's just for a minute he'll destroy something, anything he can get to. He destroys crates too, but mostly the plastic pans, breaks the pans into pieces, digs the carpet underneath, but I've rigged the crate so that the pan doesn't slide out, and that seems to help. He'll also work on a frozen kong now, which he wouldn't before, so a kong is good for at least a trip to the store.

The other dog is much worse in the crate, tears up the crate but also escapes, vomits, had diarrhea...but the times she's gotten out I've found her sleeping on the couch or the worst was a chewed shoe. I've been thinking of trying her loose, or in a room with my other two dogs, and seeing what happens.

It seems like I'm dealing with two different things though, even though both involve destroying crates, with the bc it seems to be driven by a need to chew, or something beyond his control...I've observed him and he gets this look in his eye, dilated pupils, like he's out of himself...I'm seeing the vet on this one, so I'll update when I know something.

With the puppy it's more like a frantic attempt to escape the crate, and once out she's better, rather than chew chew chew.

I have noticed, and Darkmoon said the same thing I think, that the doorbell sets them off when crated...halloween was a nightmare, and I've been able to pinpoint the doorbell as a trigger on other days too.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Here's an update on Experiment: Free Rufus.

Sunday my roommates hid in various closets of the house while I left, and snuck back around the house to look in the window. The neighbors probably thought I was insane. He whined when I left, looked out the door, then started running through the house looking out windows. After a while he discovered one of my roommates in the closet, so I didn't get to see what he would do after a longer period of time. We tried it again later in the day and had pretty much the same results. He pulled a bag of dog food off the counter and jumped on a bed, which shows how sneaky he is because I've never seen him do any of those things when I'm around...

The good news is he did NOT start throwing himself at the door like i've seen him do before. Either the meds have started kicking in, or the desensitization, or he's just better out of the crate. We'll see what happens this week when I go to work during the day...

Sheltiemom - thats exactly what Rufus does to his crate. It's really sad to come home to. Keep me posted on how things work out. And Darkmoon thanks for the advice - I read your posts on Carters SA and you're certainly the resident expert.
 

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I have noticed, and Darkmoon said the same thing I think, that the doorbell sets them off when crated...halloween was a nightmare, and I've been able to pinpoint the doorbell as a trigger on other days too.
Yup. I had just gotten Carter under control when I'm positive someone rang the doorbell or knocked on the door. one or the other.

And Darkmoon thanks for the advice - I read your posts on Carters SA and you're certainly the resident expert.
You are very welcome. I hate that I am one of the resident experts knowing that I never was able to come up with the way to get a handle on Carter's SA. I still to this day feel bad for not having the one answer to help everyone out.

Easy answer: never leave the dog alone!


I would ask all your roommates to also leave when you do this. Can you borrow someones video camera? Tape what he is doing, give him about 10-15 mins alone (not long enough for him to cause too much damage, but long enough to see what happens.

Have you tried the stuffed frozen kong? Playing music when you leave (This helped out a lot to block out noises outside)? Taping yourself on a normal night, and leaving it play while your gone? A blanket that smells like you in his crate?

I wish I had an easy answer for you. Good luck...
 
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