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Roughly one month ago, my boyfriend and I adopted a dog from our local animal shelter. We volunteered there and fell in love with Tobei, a 40 pound Australian Shepherd Chow Chow mix. After getting him settled in at home, we took him for a physical at the veterinarian's office and discovered that he has heart worm. We are currently going through treatments to get this sweet guy back to great health, but have another huge problem in the meantime. Tobei has horrible separation anxiety.

In the month that we have had him, he has demolished a set of our blinds, pulled up my carpet twice, chewed apart my door frame three times, scratched up my dresser, locked himself in my bedroom by turning the deadbolt, and crunched my doorknob into the size of a pea. All of this has been when nobody is home. The first day I had him I left him in my bedroom with the door shut and came home to damage, so I bought him a spacious metal crate and nestled it in a corner to feel more like a den but still have an open view of the room. He has bent the bars on that crate several times and escaped. I have since tried two smaller kennels, and he has destroyed those too. Thinking that maybe it was the kennel that was the problem, I tried keeping him in my bathroom with a baby gate only to have him jump it and destroy even more household items. I live in an apartment, so not only is this racking up a ton of money I will have to pay when I move, but I am very worried he is going to injure himself.

I have tried gradually increasing the time being confined, mixing up my routine getting ready, and I never use the crate as punishment. I feed him in it and give him treats anytime he has to be locked up. I have all of his favorite blankets in with him, his Kong with his favorite filling, a bone, and a stuffed animal he loves. I praise him when he goes inside of it and he will go in on his own to sleep when I am home. I have tried leaving the TV on for him, making the room darker and brighter, and we always go for a long walk every morning and every night. I have to limit his exercise and be very cautious not to let him get too excited because of his heartworm diagnosis.

It is so hard for me to correct this behavior because he is the most calm, loving dog when I am with him. He sleeps the majority of the time that we are together and I have never had a single problem with his behavior. He seems fine when I leave but I come home to a demolished house. He is never alone for more than four hours at a time and is always well fed and relieved with a bathroom break before I leave for school.

Re-homing him is not an option for us; he is part of our family now and is really going to be a perfect dog once we get this sorted out. I have considered doggy day care, but the cost of that adds up quickly so I have been trying to find a solution on my own. Does anyone have any advice to give a desperate new dog-mom?
 

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im so glad for him that he found you first of all :)
the bathroom sounds like the place where he can do the least damage. is it no possible to put a strong gate on it. like a full door security gate.
Apart from his blankets and toys, maybe it will help calm him to leave him with something you wore that smells of you with him everyday.
Then I have one more suggestion, but I know not everyone is this lucky. there isn't perhaps an elderly lady in your apartment block or a friends mom that might need company and is willing to dogsit him for you for free in the day?
please let us know how it goes. best of luck!
 

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Hey. I'm sorry you are going through this. I've been there with Tesla and it is not fun.


Have all the crates you've tried been wire? Pups have preferences and your pup could prefer the enclosed type crates instead. A more heavy duty plastic crate like a ruff tough or gunner crate or a solid aluminum wall one like the impact will be more escape proof (Tesla knows how to flex the two piece plastic crates to pop the bolts).

If you prefer the look of the wire/open bars, you can look at welded bar crates like the zinger. You can also take a picture of a welded to crate to a local metal fabricator and they should be able to make one for you to save on shipping. The downside is that these crates cost a lot more (though they are about the same price as one or two eVet emergency runs to get paws stitched up).


And I'm mostly mentioning crates because I'm concerned that the pup will go on a destructive rampage in the bathroom once they figure out they can't jump out. Coming home to gnawed counters/toilet seats and running taps is not fun.


I would also talk to your vet about anti-anxiety meds for when you leave. Yeah, I know there is a stigma against drugs, but when brains don't make the chemicals that they need, getting them from elsewhere makes sense. When anxiety is super high, it overrides everything including the ability to learn. Anti-anxiety meds lowers that so the pup can learn and eventually (hopefully) you can phase them out.
 
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