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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My husband and I adopted our third dog, Tug in February of this year. He is a Golden Retriever/Lab mix and will be a year old next week. He lives with two other dogs, both male, and both smaller than he is. For a while, we had a lot of trouble housebreaking him, but eventually we got it. He is still not completely trust worthy, but enough so that we don't have to watch him like a hawk anymore. So originally when we got him, we had him in a plastic crate and with the potty problems, we switched him to a wire crate. That seemed to do the trick. He was in the wire crate for a few months, and all of a sudden, around September, he started having horrible anxiety problems in the crate. He would thrash around and bark non stop, for hours, whether we were home or not (or neighbors actually called us a couple times to see if everything was okay while we were gone). We got him some of the natural calming pills and that seemed to help. We also started giving him a frozen kong in his crate every time we left. He got a little better, but never back to being totally fine with being in the crate. Then about 2 months ago, he started jumping at the door while he was outside with the other dogs. He is almost 60 lbs, and our steel door has dents in it. He also chewed the dead bolt to the point that he put holes in it. We tried a Thundershirt, which worked for a couple days, then right back to it. Between the behavior in his crate and the jumping at the door, we decided to take him to our vet. They did blood work, which all came back normal and suggested anti anxiety medication. We decided to try some other options first, not wanting to put such a young dog on those kinds of medications. We got him a pheromon (sp?) collar and a different type of calming pills. That also seemed to work, but only for a couple days. Then, what pushed us over the edge. One morning I came downstairs and he had literally bent the bottom of the wire crate up about 3 inches. He had the plastic tray slid out onto the floor in front of the crate and it was covered in blood. I can only assume the blood was from him chewing on the crate and bending it, as we searched for any cuts and found nothing. That day, I called the vet and got the anti anxiety meds. So that was about a week and a half ago. They said the meds could take up to 2 months to build up in his system. We are noticing a bit of a difference outside. He plays with the other dogs more and jumps at the door less (although he hasn't totally stopped). Our biggest issue now is the crate. After the incident with the wire crate, we put him back in a plastic crate, figuring that at least then he couldn't hurt himself as much as he could in a wire crate. This morning, I came down to find he had found his way out of it and was chewing up our christmas tree. I have no idea how he is getting out of this crate, but however he is doing it, he's hurting himself in the process. He has droopy lips and one side of his mouth is swollen and pink. I also can't trust him enough in the house, especially during christmas time, to not get into something that will make him sick. On a lesser note, he's also not 100% reliable to not potty in the house. I know that's not a huge deal, I can always clean it up, but all of these things combined make it impossible for us to just not crate him.

I know I have to give the medicine time to build up, but at the rate we are going, I'm afraid he is going to seriously injure himself before that time comes. I don't know what to do. I'm frustrated, but I'm also scared for my boy. Please, any suggestions are welcome, we are willing to try almost anything to help our Tug. We just want him to be happy and have a good life with us, like our other dogs.
 

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can i ask in what situations the dog is in the crate? and for how long? have you got a room you can confine him to? or a garden you could have a kennel and a run?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
He is crated overnight or when we aren't home. Overnight he is in his crate from about midnight until 5:30, then again from about 7 until 10. The times we are out can vary, but rarely is in crated more than 4 or 5 hours in a row. He has a very regular schedule between my husband and my work schedule, it rarely changes. We have looked at all the rooms in our house, and I'm afraid of something in all of them. Our mudroom has a door with glass panes that I'm afraid he will break. The other rooms all have doors that he could easily break through (we live in an old house). As far as a run, I have thought about that, but this dog has literally climbed every gate we have ever put up. I guess I could put a dog house and such out in our yard (which he has never been able to get out of....yet), but being December I worry about doing that too.
 

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my pup has a crate, but it is in the kitchen diner and open. he is confined to that when no-one is at home. im sure you want to protect your house, but speaking for myself, i had to put gardening on the sideline, having a pup, cs he likes to dig. when you make that commitment, in my opinion you have to make sacrifices.
id think about choosing one room, to make him a secure den to snuggle up in, with some old clothing of yours why you are out, but allso not confine him to a crate for hrs. give a room up, for your new fur baby. try leaving some classical music on, when your out.
 

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Are you crating him at night to keep him off the furniture, or because you are afraid he'll mess in the house...or try to come into your bedroom? I have a full grown golden retriever, got him when he was 2, and he has slight learning issues. I've never had to crate him as he's not destructive. I don't mind that he gets on the sofa either. But a lot of times he just sleeps on his doggy mattress on the floor.

I have another dog that does have anxiety issues, she was beaten and isolated in a back yard for her first 5 years of life. She was so scared of everything that I finally resorted to giving her Prozac for about 3 months. It calmed her brain down long enough for me to get through to her without her going into a panic attack. After 3 months she was eased off of the drug and remained in her more stable state that she achieved while on the drug.

I don't know how much your vet explained to you about anxiety drugs, it sounds like you were told they take time to work. But also, you probably won't see a stop the anxiety. From what I was told and read about...and experienced with my own dog, is that they reduce reactions... The dog doesn't go into a panic so fast, and they recover quicker after being startled/panic or haven an anxiety episode.

I really don't think the drugs are going to completely solve your problem of a dog going wild in a cage when there is no on around to help calm him....or divert his attention from the panic episode.

I'm not a dog expert or a trainer or anything but I have had a lot of dogs in my life and I kind of wonder if your dog just hit maturity and isn't liking being confined....instead of finding comfort in his crate like he did as a pup, he's feeling trapped now.

Maybe you should try a crateless night and see how it goes if none of the stuff I mentioned at the start of this note worries you, if he's a non-destructive type dog he's probably not going to eat your sofa cushions :p If he is the type that would get into the trash or chew on things....then the crate seems to be your only solution.

Stormy
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Trust me, by no means am I trying to protect my home ahead of my dog. My bigger concern is for Tugs safety. When I talked about him breaking glass in our mudroom, I'm looking at the fact that he could cut himself badly on the shattered glass. When I talked about him breaking through doors, I'm looking at him getting stuck. Or getting out into the house in general and eating the Christmas tree or something else that could make him sick. As I said in my original post, I don't relish the idea of cleaning up his potty messes, but in comparison to having a happy, healthy dog, doing just that is a worthy sacrifice.

I can understand how you could misinterpret what I've posted here, but just as some background on myself and our furry family.....Our first dog Zero had parvo when we got him, we did what we had to do and spent what we had to spend for him to recover completely. After that, he had stomach surgery. Again, another vet bill and weeks cleaning up runny poop that he couldn't control. Our second dog Pierce got hit by a truck right in front of me. He had a completely shattered pelvis that required two surgeries, months of PT, and endless work on our part. Not to mention the almost 10,000 dollars it cost for us to save his life. Every time we went to the vet hospital, someone told us how most other people would have put the dog down. That thought only crossed our minds when they told us they didn't know if they would have enough bone left to fix his pelvis. But we still tried, with the understanding that if it didn't work we wouldn't let him suffer.

So, now that you have a better idea of how my family treats our four legged children, I hope you understand that there is not a sacrifice in this world I wouldn't make for them. They are all in training to be working dogs (2 search and rescue, one therapy), but more than that, they are the children that my husband and I have. We can't have babies, so our fur babies are our world.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Stormy....I think our biggest concern is him getting into things that would hurt him (trash, christmas decorations, etc). He hasn't been overly destructive other than the crate issues, just normal puppy chewing on shoes and such. All of our dogs are welcome on furniture, etc. Anywhere we sit, they can sit (except the dining room table, lol). I do worry about him messing in the house, but to be honest, at this point I would rather spend an hour a day cleaning up messes than continue the way we are. I like the idea of trying a night out of the crate and seeing how it goes. Since he has started getting out of the crate, it is hit or miss if he gets into trouble when he is out. This morning he chewed the christmas tree, but this afternoon I found him sleeping on the couch and nothing out of place. The idea of him growing out of his crate in interesting, I never thought about it that way. Something we will have to try. Thanks!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I have another dog that does have anxiety issues, she was beaten and isolated in a back yard for her first 5 years of life. She was so scared of everything that I finally resorted to giving her Prozac for about 3 months. It calmed her brain down long enough for me to get through to her without her going into a panic attack. After 3 months she was eased off of the drug and remained in her more stable state that she achieved while on the drug.

I don't know how much your vet explained to you about anxiety drugs, it sounds like you were told they take time to work. But also, you probably won't see a stop the anxiety. From what I was told and read about...and experienced with my own dog, is that they reduce reactions... The dog doesn't go into a panic so fast, and they recover quicker after being startled/panic or haven an anxiety episode.

I really don't think the drugs are going to completely solve your problem of a dog going wild in a cage when there is no on around to help calm him....or divert his attention from the panic episode.
Stormy

As far as the drugs go....I think thats the idea they were trying to get across, but the way you explained it makes much more sense. They also told us that it may help the other things (pheromones, etc) be more effective. We are hoping that we can get him to the point where we can do the positive reinforcement and get him off the meds. At this point though, once he gets into his fit, there is nothing positive to reinforce until we give him what he wants!
 

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At this point though, once he gets into his fit, there is nothing positive to reinforce until we give him what he wants!
and that is when your dog runs the house and not the other way round...have you had him checked for medical issues? cleaning up mess in the house, and letting him on furniture for an easy life dosent do you any favours here.
 

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@arwin, I don't think that letting a dog on the furniture is letting them run the house.

I've never encouraged my pets to get upon my sofa, but never kicked them off the furniture either if they did. I had some dogs that rarely got on the furniture and others that did so most of the time.

One thing that they knew though, was that if a human wished to sit down, they had to move somewhere else. : ) My dogs can follow me into the kitchen, but if I go in there to cook, and say 'out of the kitchen' they will lay down and watch me from the transition strip between the kitchen floor and the living area. I don't allow pets in the kitchen when I'm cooking or eating at the dining table.

As for the original poster's issues...her dog is young and it could be a few things causing him to get upset in his crate...it could be that he's just being head strong, or it could be he really is having panic attacks in there. Maybe he was in there one day and something unpleasant happened...a bee got in there with him, or there was a sonic boom, or thunderstorm and he now associates the crate with a bad thing.
@hburdsall877 ??? If he did have a bad experience in his crate, and I'm assuming the crate is in the same area of the house....I wonder if moving the crate to a different area might help? It might at least narrow down if it's the crate itself or him not feeling good about being in that particular area of the house, if he was scared at one point while confined to that area.

Might give it a try if you haven't already. I hadn't thought about this for a long long time, as it happened back around 1979, but I had a dog named Hey You, who as a pup was chased around in a circle for a good 30 or so seconds by a huge bumble bee - the bee never hurt her, but it sure scared her. Not only was she afraid of bees and flies for the rest of her life, but while I lived in that house, she never went over to that particular section of lawn again where the bee chased her. So she remembered a bad thing happened in that corner of the lawn.

So, maybe it's not the crate...but the location. ???

Stormy
 
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and that is when your dog runs the house and not the other way round...have you had him checked for medical issues? cleaning up mess in the house, and letting him on furniture for an easy life dosent do you any favours here.

A dog panicking and not responding to anything but what he needs to feel safe is not running the house. My own dog has a phobia of thunderstorms, and is fear aggressive when it comes to people and large dogs. He's not destructive in his phobia but does panic and nothing will do for him at that time but to get to his hiding place, he does not respond to any positive reinforcement. Now some dogs instead of hiding opt to destroy stuff in their panic. It's not that they are trying to run the house or think that it's the way to get what they want they are simply panicked and desperate to get to what they think may make them feel safe or out of what is causing them to feel unsafe. If letting the dog lay on the couch and have an easy life works to help them feel safe then it does not do any harm. My own dogs have always been allowed on the furniture and none of them ran my house. Now if any had taken to resource guarding the couch they would not have been allowed on it, not because I thought they were trying to run the house but because it would be the easiest way to handle the situation.
@hburdsall877 , have you thought about hiring a behaviorist to help figure out exactly why he's acting the way he does and the best way to go about helping him? Medicine is a good first step but you need to pair it with behavior modification and counter conditioning to really see results and even then the results may come slowly.

http://www.dogforum.com/training-be...ainer-behavior-consultant-behaviorist-113946/
 

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but being afraid of thunderstorms is a different situation. my oldie King has become afraid of fireworks in his old age, and that is simply because he has clouding of his lenses, and dosnt see so well anymore. he never used to be afraid of them. as he normally lives outside, i have let him in this year, as i completely agree, it is not fair to let a terrified dog suffer.
but medicating a dog, that is just not used to be crated for so many hours, i find not right. he is a year old dog, they have just adopted, we dont know where from, if it was a shelter, he must be used to confined spaces, but not crate proportions...
i my oppinion, the dog is shut in to long, and i would try maybe a dogwalker, or just someone who has experience with dogs that can be around when the owners are at work, so he is not in the crate for so long.
 

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in regards to the couch issue, i must say this word resorce guarding baffels me. when i had my last set of pups about 13 years ago, that wasnt about.
what im thinking is, it is a resorce to guard, that you the owner have given the dog, and i think that is personal preference.
i think a dog is perfectly fine with a nice comfy basket. and me as the owner "coming down to the dogs level" when i want to make him feel like its playtime, or cuddle time, or if i want to make him feel secure.
 

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in regards to the couch issue, i must say this word resorce guarding baffels me.
You and I come from the same school of thought, Arwen.

I wonder how in the world the millions and millions of dogs that lived before the rise of positive reinforcement, resource guarding, calming signals, crate training, reactivity, impulse control, counter conditioning, and the notion of hiring "dog behaviorists" and prescribing doggy anti-anxiety meds?

I'm old school. I don't tolerate growling or biting. Not at all. I don't care if they are "resource guarding" or whatever, it's not acceptable in my house for the dog I care for and pay a lot of money to keep in good health to growl at ME. The only exception is if they are in a great deal of pain and I do something that accidentally exacerbates that pain. I can deal with that. But food, toys, furniture? No. The dog has no say over those things. I give it to them and I can take it away. The end. They know this.
 

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You and I come from the same school of thought, Arwen.

I wonder how in the world the millions and millions of dogs that lived before the rise of positive reinforcement, resource guarding, calming signals, crate training, reactivity, impulse control, counter conditioning, and the notion of hiring "dog behaviorists" and prescribing doggy anti-anxiety meds?

I'm old school. I don't tolerate growling or biting. Not at all. I don't care if they are "resource guarding" or whatever, it's not acceptable in my house for the dog I care for and pay a lot of money to keep in good health to growl at ME. The only exception is if they are in a great deal of pain and I do something that accidentally exacerbates that pain. I can deal with that. But food, toys, furniture? No. The dog has no say over those things. I give it to them and I can take it away. The end. They know this.
Can I join you both?

I have my thoughts on why dogs these days are having so many issues, but I will leave that alone. The dog training industry is now multi-billion dollar business when before you got a dog, you trained it a bit and it learned to live happily in the human world.
 

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in regards to the couch issue, i must say this word resorce guarding baffels me.
You and I come from the same school of thought, Arwen.

I wonder how in the world the millions and millions of dogs that lived before the rise of positive reinforcement, resource guarding, calming signals, crate training, reactivity, impulse control, counter conditioning, and the notion of hiring "dog behaviorists" and prescribing doggy anti-anxiety meds?

I'm old school. I don't tolerate growling or biting. Not at all. I don't care if they are "resource guarding" or whatever, it's not acceptable in my house for the dog I care for and pay a lot of money to keep in good health to growl at ME. The only exception is if they are in a great deal of pain and I do something that accidentally exacerbates that pain. I can deal with that. But food, toys, furniture? No. The dog has no say over those things. I give it to them and I can take it away. The end. They know this.
Simple: they didn't.

In the past, dogs were more disposable. Most lived outdoors. A dog either learned to live and behave or it was "dealt with". Either naturally (dog is hit by a car, dog is kicked and killed by a cow) or unnaturally (dog is shot, dog is given to the pound).

This was the reality. My grandparents did this. My parents did too, to some extent. Dogs were just left to their own devices.

Now, we want to keep our dogs. If something is wrong, we try to fix it. In a nice way. Based on research. It seems better to me.

I'm not big on micromanaging but I do believe some dogs need the advice of a pro (clearly one of my dogs is one of those dogs). I've had dogs in the past that were just naturally really good dogs: they had some minor doggy issues but they resolved themselves in time on their own. Frankly, it took my current dog to open my eyes to the fact that some dogs are just wired differently.

Now, I'm all for setting boundaries. If you don't want your dog on your couch, that's your choice. But I'm not for bullying a dog and then punishing when the dog tries to communicate (via growl). Why not be a team, someone your dog can trust? Trust comes from your dog knowing you've got his back- that you're not going to constantly take things away, you're not going to bully, you're not going to throw him in a situation he can't handle and just expect him to figure it out. To me, that's nearly the equivalent of telling a person having a panic attack to just calm down and get over it.

Also, I'm surprised you haven't heard of resource guarding as just about every creature on earth does it in one form or another.
 

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i think allot of problems are created by bringing dogs into the house. i do think they are perfectly fine living outside. and dont forget after the war people didnt have the money to spend on pets, nor was most of them pets. they had a job to do. these days we have alarm systems, so dogs are a hobby, or a comfort.
we have more money to spend on them. more crap to spend it on.
dogs like huskys are not meant to lie in front of the radiator. in their natural habitat, they bury themselves in snow, at -40.
these days we buy dog coats... because we think we do the dog a favour, and it looks cute.
dogs act out of instinct, so if a dog bites someone because it thinks they are going to take his food or toy, are you supposed to sit there and have a conversation with it, because its communicating??? dont think so...
i agree with Gnostic Dog. Dogs have "issues" these days, because humans create them, and its been turned into a money spinning industry.
 

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@Arwen, your post compels me to post this......

Hahaha! That is one of my favorite memes ever! It looks just like my beloved old Zack dog (RIP), and that's EXACTLY something he'd say to this younger generation. He surely loved to chew up some sticks.
Have you seen those fake rubber sticks they sell in the dog toy aisles? FAKE STICKS!!! What next??? LOL!
 
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