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First some background info (sorry it's so long):

My friend found a dog in the middle of the road one night ( a treeing walker hound, we named her Belle). My friend was not allowed to keep the dog so I kept her. She is very skittish and nervous and new people. My friend and I are about the only ones she is comfortable around and will wag her tail around. While I am at work I would put her in a crate. At first she was ok with it but soon became destructive. She would grab anything she could and pull it through the crate and destroy it. So I moved everything away. I always put in a chew toy (squeaky duck) and a rawhide bone. She hasn't touched either of them. She became so destructive that she was starting to bend the bars of the crate. I guessed she just didn't like that crate, so I left home for about 30 min and let her stay out of the crate. I came home to find several things chewed up. So back to the crate she went until a few days later she flipped the crate on it's side and kicked out the bottom, destroyed a lot of things in the home, broke out a part of the window and ran away. A week later she was found at the pound and I brought her back home. I got a chain and put it in the back yard with a doggy house. I went to work and came home to find more things (lawn furniture and even part of the house) destroyed. I decided to try letting her just roam around the yard freely (it is fenced in). She broke open the gate and ran away again, but a neighbor saw her and brought her back. Later the same day she broke part of the fence and took off once more, but later came back. When she is on the chain she goes crazy, jumping up trying to escape and trying to chew the chain through. She acts like the thing is on fire and burning her. It is hooked to a harness so I know it isn't hurting her no matter what she is acting like.

When I am home she is an angel. She behaves perfectly, even if I let her outside she just roams around a bit then finds a nice shady spot to nap. It is only once I leave. I exercise her (not as much as I need to but I will start giving her regular walks). She has lots of toys but shows no interest in any of them. She likes other dogs and I am trying to get her socialized with other people and dogs. I have taken her hiking in the woods with my friend and her dog a few times and she loves it. She yanks and pulls on the leash when she sees/smells another animal but other than that she walks fine on the leash. I think a previous owner may have abused her and that is why she is so skittish around strangers, but she loves me (I can tell by how she wags her tail when she sees me and how I am the only person she will come to) so I don't know why she is always trying to escape.

I don't know how to get her to calm down. The way she is going she is going to run away and get hit by a car, destroy everything I own, or hurt herself trying to escape. I'm not new to owning dogs, I've had them all my life but I have never had a dog that would go this crazy. Any suggestions?
 

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It definitely sounds like separation anxiety. I don't have personal experience with it, but I know some of the other forum regulars have. Hopefully they will chime in with some ideas.

You're right that more exercise certainly can't hurt. I'd try taking her for a long walk right before you have to leave and see if that has any effect.
 

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I recently adopted a dog from the shelter and went through the same thing. He utterly destroyed the crate and went through incredible anxiety when he was left alone. But when he broke out of the crate he didn't destroy much in the house. I've been letting him roam (which makes me nervous) but he seems to be somewhat better when he can pace it out. That being said, he's on Prozac and Xanax, so that could be helping too.

Desensitization techniques help (where you pretend to leave, or leave for just 10 seconds and come back until he's comfortable being left for longer periods of time). There's really no secret to success though - it's just something you have to try to manage and it may not get any better. Talk to your vet and see if he might be a candidate for anti-anxiety meds (although they don't always work). Good luck - its a tough situation!
 

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Umm. Before we run and say Separation Anxiety because somehow I doubt that it's SA. It sounds like boredom mixed with new home mixed with anxiety of a very skiddish dog.

Have you crate trained this dog? You can't expect a dog to just be crate trained it's something you have to work on.

I would also work on her own self confidence with training and getting her out into the outside world some more. Look into something like tracking work which she would be good at and have fun with.

This dog also needs MUCH more exercise. I'm talking about, that dog should be so tired before you leave she should just want to sleep. A tired dog is a happy dog.

Have you tried giving her something to focus on when you leave like a Frozen kong? A Kong filled with Peanut butter and other random things like bananas, apples, carrots ext. frozen over night?

It doesn't sound like she is escaping to find you, she is just escaping to escape. She also doesn't sound like she is crate trained, and she sounds bored as hell and wants to just run.

My best guess is to increase exercise a LOT, work on crate training, and work on confidence building training which is Obedience and games like Tug.

If you really want to, you can add Rescue Remedy to her water to releave some of that anxiety while you are working on everything else.
 

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Sounds like SA to me. Lola had it and what I did was to acclimate her slowly to me being away. Fortunately I had about 4 weeks when I adopted her to work with her before I went back to work. The crate has helped but in order for them to like the crate you need them to go into it on their own. To help this process put some treats inside and let her sniff them out.

When you leave the house do not let them know your leaving. Leave a radio or TV on. Try leaving as quietly as possible. Leave for a few minutes then return. When you return do not give the dog any attention until it is totally relaxed. Leave for longer and longer periods of time. If you do not see any improvement over a week or two period see your vet. To socialize her with other dogs and people take her for long walks where people and dogs would be such as parks.

If you have a dog park in your area that would be a good way to socialize the dog also. But before entering the dog park take the dog towards the dog park and see how the reaction is of the dog. If it is a good reaction then take the dog for a walk outside the dog park around the entire dog park. Then take the dog home. Do the same a few days later and see if there is any improvement in the reaction from the last time. If there is an improvement then see how the other dogs are interacting with each other in the dog park. If they seem to be ok then take the dog inside if you feel comfortable enough. If you do not feel comfortable enough then stick with being outside the dog park a bit longer.

If you do not have the time to work with the dog on the SA a little at a time IE working a lot of hours etc then you might consider re-homing the dog or calling in a behaviorist. SA needs to be taken in gentle steps. You can't work with the dog a few minutes at a time on a weekend and expect that the dog will be ok on Monday when you have to be at work for 8 hours.

You also can't baby the dog (not saying you are now) do not come home to destroyed property and reward the dog with petting, treats etc because that will only re-enforce the behavior. You need to show the dog that you are the one in charge.
 

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Darkmoon- at first she was fine in the crate. It wasn't until about a week later that she started becoming destructive. Nothing changed (that I am aware of) in that time so I have no idea why her behavior changed. I would toss a treat into the crate and say 'go to your cage' to start training her to go, and she would follow the treat in just fine. Now when I put a treat in there she is very nervous, grabs the treat then runs back out. I haven't forced her into the crate, and since she got out of it the first time I haven't put her in it at all, just tossing in the treat and letting her get it and run back out of it. I'm trying to reintroduce her to it again slowly. She won't play games. She shows no interest whatsoever in any toy I have bought her. Tennis balls, ropes, rawhide bones, squeekies, she doesn't seem to care about any of those. I started giving her more exercise today, not sure yet how well that is working.

I have raccoon scent (she is a coon hound) and a retrieving dummy. I hid the dummy in a tree and put a scent trail for her to follow to try and distract her while I left but as soon as she noticed I was walking away she lost interest in everything except me. She also howls while I am away. My neighbor grabbed her yesterday and brought her into their house (we basically share the same backyard and they have met her many times but she is still skittish around them without me there) and they said the entire time she was inside she was pacing around looking for me. I try to give her something to distract her but anytime she thinks that I am leaving she won't take her attention off of me for anything. I haven't rewarded any of her negative behavior.
 
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