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Hello Everyone!
I am brand new to this forum, and have been searching all over for help (you'll hear my story in a second) so I am hoping that someone here might have some advice for me!

My husband and I got "our" first dog together in July of last year. We both grew up with dogs, and I have had a hand in training all of our animals (including horses) since I was a child. Our dog Chinook was 11 months when we got her, and had been returned back to her shelter (supposedly) because her previous adopters had to move and were unable to take her. I know, a risky move to take a "returned" dog, but we fell in love with her.

We started crate training (slowly) within the first week, and quickly realized that Chinook had a major aversion to being in the crate at all while we were gone. We assumed it was part of the normal process and continued. Since that point, Chinook has broken apart three separate crates (chewed the bars off of them and squeezed through) torn up countless areas in our carpets, literally chewed a hole in our wall and broken plumbing (in turn flooding our bedroom), ripped the stuffing out of a couch, peed all over the couch, ripped molding off of the wall, torn off wall paper... the list goes on.

We have tried increased exercise, thundershirt, rescue remedy, two other homeopathic additives, aroma therapy, three different crates, different crate locations, re-training with the crate, professional training (bark busters since October) and were even told by the trainer after about a month that "She doesn't know what to tell us" at that point we started with the medication Reliance, had some success, and now are back where we started.

We both LOVE our dog, and are trying so hard to be responsible pet-owners. So far, including the damage to our home and the training and meds, we have spent thousands trying to deal with this problem with little success. We are at the very end of our rope and are truly out of options that we can see, other than taking her back (which we dread having to do).

If ANYBODY has advice outside of the generic "leave a kong frozen with treats, more exercise, teach her to love the crate" we would REALLY appreciate any help... and so would Chinook.
 

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Have you tried a doggy day care instead? Some dogs just will not do well in the crate and need to be around humans.
 

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I, unfortunately, am in the exact same situation, so I can not offer any useful advice. But I would love to see what others come up with. I have been dealing with this for 5 years now with one of my dogs. It's by far the most frustrating things I have ever gone through with a dog before. He is anxious anyway, but the separation anxiety is the worst part as he is loud and destructive as well. It's awful.
Good luck to you.
 

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Has the Reliance stopped being effective? I would suggest trying other anti-anxiety meds, through your vet. Just as with people, there is some trial and error when prescribing meds: some meds don't work well on a certain dog, sometimes the side effects of a certain med cause issues with a certain dog, sometimes dosages need to be increased or reduced. I would make sure I had a vet I trusted, and then, try other anti-anxiety meds. Perhaps you just haven't found the right prescription in the right dosage.

Good luck.
 

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Also, is the dog only like this when crated? If so, perhaps allowing the dog to have its own area with a baby gate in place would work better.
 

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That's true, I had forgotten about that. Some SA dogs prefer the crate, because it's like a safe cocoon. But, other SA dogs feel trapped or isolated in it. Maybe a dog safe room blocked off with a baby gate might be better than a crate.

However, the holes in the carpet, wall, and the destruction to the plumbing doesn't leave much hope for a "dog safe" room.....Even if you had a room with no carpet, it will still have walls......
 

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You can also use 2 toddler gates stacked on top of one another in a doorway, if the dog can jump/climb over one. Make sure that the side of the gate with the adjustment bar is on the outside of the area so dog can't use that to get a footjold to climb over it. A laundry room or bathroom works best, since there isn't usually any uphostered furniture or carpet to chew. Make sure any appliances are unplugged, and nothing is on the counters so the dog can't get up there and reach meds/razors/glass perfume bottles, or anything that could be poisonous/dangerous to chew. I'd probably put child locks on cabinets just in case. You definitely don't want them getting any meds/cleaning supplies/etc. Even hand sanitizer is poisonous because it contains ethyl alchohol.
Leave a radio/tv on in another room. Give dog a frozen peanut butter stuffed Kong before leaving.

Google- "I'll be home soon".
 

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I have had some success with my dog in treating SA. He is ALMOST cured. So I will try to speak to this.

"We started crate training (slowly) within the first week, and quickly realized that Chinook had a major aversion to being in the crate at all while we were gone."

problem 1 that I see. If you are truely going slowly. He shouldnt have been in the crate at all when you were gone for the first week. Doggy daycare retired parents anything but getting him in there and leaving for 4+ hours. I am aware this is much easier said than done.

He should be trained with the HIGHEST of high value treats to enter the crate on his own and be put in a down stay there.

The crate should be located in a family area. This is extremely important.

Have him keep that downstay as long as possible while you are still in the family area watching tv reading whatever. Then
start closing the door still with you in the area. Then go back to a open door and try to leave the room. Reward if he stays clam and put for ANY amount of time at first. Then gradually increase the duration of calmness required for a reward. Repeat with a closed door. Ideally you should spend at least two weeks on each stage assuming you are in the family area for a hour or two each day.

While doing this trying keeping him in your bedroom or any other room and just leaving for gradually increasing amounts of time. Just showing the dog that if you leave you are coming back has great value. Especially in the begining where SA is very severe. When I first got ben I literally could not close any door between him and me without him whining howling and scratching franticly even if he could hear me on the other side.

This all said. Is chinnok some kind of power breed? I have a hard plastic crate something like a larger version of this http://www.dog.com/item/petmate-sky-kennel-pet-carrier/101554/. I find it hard to believe anything other than a extremely powerful extremely determined dog could bite their way out of something like this.
 

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I would second the daycare suggestion. Its what we do. And we get someone to watch her when we cant. Edit: i should also add that SA for us is about management, not curing. Given her temperament i dont believe there is a cure for her. So we decided to manage it the best we can to keep her safe and anxiety free as possible. Most other folks would have given up. Its a choice you sometimes have to make and there is nothing wrong with that. Search the forum for Darkmoon's posts on SA-- very enlightening.

Just curious...is Chinook a chinook? Ive only seen pictures of this breed and other than breeders havent encountered someone who had one.
 

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You might want to try another trainer. It's a bit hard to tell, but looking at Bark Busters' website, it looks like they engage in dominance theory training, which wouldn't be too terribly helpful in your case. At best, it wouldn't help, at worst, it would make things worse. I would consult a behaviorist, not a trainer, that uses positive reinforcement techniques. If there are no behaviorists around you, try a trainer who uses PR techniques.

I'd second ditching the crate. It's entirely possible the previous owners way overused the crate, creating a fear of the crate. You can try a safe room or a pen instead.

Good luck.
 
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