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Hi all,

A few weeks ago my dog started escaping out of her crate consistently, and having unusual accidents around the house when she would get out or around those times. I bought her a new crate, and she tried so hard to escape to the point of injuring herself (she has been brought to the vet and is both okay from the injuries and no UTI etc to explain the accidents). She has been crate trained her whole life and there has never been an issue. After this I bought a second crate which was much sturdier, so she wouldn't be able to begin to get out, none of the thin wire that she could scrape herself on etc, and came home after less than an hour to bumps and bruises and a seriously anxious dog. Shes always had separation anxiety, but our schedule hasn't changed at all. There was one incident two months ago where she got out of the crate because fireworks spooked her, but nothing major until the random change two/three weeks ago. I am at my wits end because I have to work and she needs the crate due to the separation anxiety to be safe and not destructive while I am gone. I can not figure out this behavior.
 

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I wonder if something happened one day while you were out that caused her to feel afraid and trapped rather than safe in there. Or if her SA has become too extreme that she can't cope in the crate.

She certainly doesn't sound like it's her safe and happy place now, and forcing her to use ones that are simply harder to break out of is just putting a sticking plaster over the problem rather than resolving it.

The one thing that is certain though is that it is not possible to resolve anxiety while the dog is in a state of anxiety.

So, I know this isn't what you want to hear but you really need to work on her SA.

Have a look at our resource files here on ways to do this -

I would also suggest contacting a good, force free behaviourist. I can recommend Emma Judson who specialises in separation anxiety, and she can do remote /online consultations at a very reasonable cost.


You may need to start from scratch with the crate if you want to use one, but I wonder if the crate is part of the problem rather than part of the solution.
 

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Hi all,

A few weeks ago my dog started escaping out of her crate consistently, and having unusual accidents around the house when she would get out or around those times. I bought her a new crate, and she tried so hard to escape to the point of injuring herself (she has been brought to the vet and is both okay from the injuries and no UTI etc to explain the accidents). She has been crate trained her whole life and there has never been an issue. After this I bought a second crate which was much sturdier, so she wouldn't be able to begin to get out, none of the thin wire that she could scrape herself on etc, and came home after less than an hour to bumps and bruises and a seriously anxious dog. Shes always had separation anxiety, but our schedule hasn't changed at all. There was one incident two months ago where she got out of the crate because fireworks spooked her, but nothing major until the random change two/three weeks ago. I am at my wits end because I have to work and she needs the crate due to the separation anxiety to be safe and not destructive while I am gone. I can not figure out this behavior.
Sounds like she's associating being in the crate with you leaving, so her SA spills over into being put in the crate. If she doesn't see the crate as a safe place (which, clearly, she doesn't), then you'll have to ditch the crate.

How old is she?
What methods have you tried to help her over the SA?
How long is she left in the crate? How long do you work?

Sounds like you need a qualified behaviourist, one who uses up-to-date methods, to help you and her get over her anxiety. In the meantime, could someone else come and pet sit for you so that she isn't alone?
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
@JoanneF @LMMB

She is a rescue so age is questionable, I have had her for over three years now and she was already crate trained when I got her to some extent. We worked with her trainer when I first adopted her to overcome her SA, and the crate played a huge huge helpful part in that for her. It was solidly under control from about six months after I got her to now. She would bark and panic slightly for about ten minutes and then go right to bed in the crate. I am usually gone from 3-6 hours a day on average, some days shorter and some slightly longer at this point. With the trainer we did the usual, don't make a big deal when you come or leave, give her the safe space of the crate, enough exercise, routine eating and going out schedule etc. and it was completely successful and under control for years.

At this point I have a sitter for about a week, but as a recent graduate who just started a pretty low paying entry job I can't really afford to hire a sitter all day every day while I work. I was planing on having someone come in on days when I would be gone longer to take her out and play for an two ish hours, but that still required her to be crated before and after which is only now an issue. (my schedule has also not changed with the new job, the longer days have not yet started)
 

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She would bark and panic slightly for about ten minutes
That to me says her SA wasn't under control.

Please look up Emma, she is a separation anxiety expert and is very reasonable for remote consultancy.
 

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If she was whining/barking or panicking - even for 10mins, then she wasn't happy in the crate - she just learned that nobody came whether she cries or not.

Have you tried leaving an item of unwashed clothing with her? It has your scent on it and may help settle her. What about an adaptil diffuser? It simulates the pheromones the dog's mum would naturally emit, which can also help calm dogs.

Putting the radio on on a talk station, or leaving the TV on might help.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
That to me says her SA wasn't under control.

Please look up Emma, she is a separation anxiety expert and is very reasonable for remote consultancy.
Given that we went from an hours long tornado to ten minutes (max) of slight barking it was under control, I never expected it to fully go away given the severity of it. That trainer seems great but they require her to not experience any anxiety for the duration of the training (20 weeks) so while a consult is affordable, this reality is not as I would have to have a sitter all day all week.
 

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If she was whining/barking or panicking - even for 10mins, then she wasn't happy in the crate - she just learned that nobody came whether she cries or not.

Have you tried leaving an item of unwashed clothing with her? It has your scent on it and may help settle her. What about an adaptil diffuser? It simulates the pheromones the dog's mum would naturally emit, which can also help calm dogs.

Putting the radio on on a talk station, or leaving the TV on might help.
She is a shredder ( with toys even when not under anxiety) so anything left in there gets shredded. Pheromones did not help when originally training her. She also would go in the crate on her own so she was fine with it. It wasn't extreme barking, just some sad whimpering for the most part and then she would settle. She also cries a little whenever people leave even if someone is home, so this is typical for her and not due to the crate.
 

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I'm afraid your trainer is right, to fix this she needs to feel no anxiety. In the uk we have a scheme called Borrow my Doggy where people who can't have a dog of their own literally borrow someone else's on various days - you might need two or three people to cover all the days you work, but could you find something like that?
 

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I'm afraid your trainer is right, to fix this she needs to feel no anxiety. In the uk we have a scheme called Borrow my Doggy where people who can't have a dog of their own literally borrow someone else's on various days - you might need two or three people to cover all the days you work, but could you find something like that?
That was from the website of the trainer you recommended not a trainer I have spoken to. Unfortunately I do not know of a program like that here to borrow dogs, and my friends and family all work pretty steady 9-5's so no one can watch her. I have someone on a very temporary basis as her husband is extremely sick so she is home anyway, but obviously it is extra stress on her and is not sustainable for more than a week or so as a favor.
 

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Ah, I thought your trainer had also recommended that.

I'm sorry, there really is no quick fix answer.
 
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