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Chewing His Crate?


Guest kkaiser104

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Guest kkaiser104

Teddi is going through a bad patch--his separation fear (I don't think we're quite to anxiety yet!) has really gotten much worse then it was when I brought him home and I feel like I've tried a million things and nothing has worked. I've tried crating him, not crating him, lots of exercise before I leave, ignoring him while I leave, high reward treats in and out of the crate, moving his crate to several other rooms, using baby gates instead of the crate, and now melatonin. I leave the radio/tv on for him. Today I purchased him "quiet moments calming aid" and he's had one dosage so far and I think it might be helping a little? Hard to tell so soon. I also purchased him a pillow that has a heartbeat in it. In the crate, he barks constantly, cries, shreds his bedding, and bites the bars of the crate. Out of it, he's shredded my bed spread and chewed up a door knob (thankfully, both very replaceable things). I've never yelled at him about the shredding for fear of making it worse. When I leave, as per advice, I don't make a big fuss over it and I don't make a fuss when I return.

 

At the moment, he's been getting 3 walks a day (two around 40 minutes in the morning and evening and the last under 30 bc of the heat during the afternoon). He also gets a trip to the dog park nearly every night after his walk. I'm feeding Iams Green Bag (only thing that didn't upset his belly!) I'm not gone for an extrordinarily long time--today it was just for about 2 hours and he was very anxious upon my return.

 

Do you have any advice for me? Also, is there some way to protect him from chewing the crate? I'm afraid he'll hurt his teeth if this continues for much longer.

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I have no experience with this but I have read lots on the subject. Two questions immediately came to mind:

 

1. Have you done alone training with him?

2. When he did the doorknob chewing, had you closed him in a room by shutting the door or had you babygated him? Many won't tolerate being enclosed in a room and will damage it, whereas using a babygate is okay and they can still see out.

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Lisa B.

My beautiful Summer - to her forever home May 1, 2010 Summer

Certified therapy dog team with St. John Ambulance

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Stop crating him is my advice!

 

Those heartbeat things are for little puppies. I wouldn't bother with that. He isn't going to feel comforted by a fake heartbeat. He's anxious cause he's in a strange place and he doesn't know if you're coming back or not!

 

It takes time, but please get the McConnell booklet, "I'll be Home Soon" and give the alone training a try.

 

My dog had a HORRIBLE time adjusting, but he did it, and he's just fine now! So hang in there! The crate made it 10x worse, so I gave it up pretty quickly.


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Susan,  Hamish,  Mister Bigglesworth and Nikita Stanislav. Missing Ming, George, and Buck

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Guest SoulsMom

Ditch the crate. Soul was the same way, was actually a bounce due to "SA". Nope, he just hates to be confined. His teeth are nubs living years in a cage (and thus chewing on it). Once I ditched the crate he was fine. Happy and relaxed

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Guest HoundWorks

Having a boy with really bad SA I would also suggest ditching the crate. I've found it only made it worse. Baby gating in a room or area your Grey feels comfortable would be the best option.

 

I think one of the major factors I've learned is that when you leave the house you can't be anxious. Whenever I left my boy I would be so anxious about him and would want to hurry home. I think he could sense my anxiety about leaving him. He is now fine to leave home and has learned the routine.

 

I suggest the alone training as well. Getting your Grey used to the routine and having them know you'll be back is what you need to practice. Good luck! I have been there and I know it's tough but you can work though it!

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Guest kkaiser104

Tonight he went back in the crate and he almost seemed comforted that it was back up in the room. He barked for about 20 minutes and then fell asleep until I got home. No chewing, no shredding. He's got me confused tonight!

 

The door was actually open when he chewed the knob. He stayed out of the crate at my parents house, but I think he was comforted with the other dogs and that's why he didn't chew on anything/tear anything up. My roommate is actually getting a dog within the next week, so I wonder if that might make him feel better (obviously, we won't leave them alone together until they can be trusted). Tomorrow morning for work he's going to have to go back in the crate, but I'm going to try doing some alone training out of the crate with him this week (I've only done it in the crate). The supplements he got tonight seems to have helped him a little bit.

 

The strangest thing is that when I come home, he doesn't get up in the crate and get excited for me to be there, like I would expect a dog with SA (or SF, as I'm calling it) to do. He just lays there and waits for me to let him out. Tonight, I came home from the grocery and he patiently slept until I came and got him after bringing in groceries and putting them away (probably 5 minutes). I'm hoping to be able to ditch the crate soon, but I'm definitely going to have to do some alone training before I feel comfortable with that. I can't have him trash my house (and my roommates things). My stuff is one thing--I can deal with that because I love him. But my roommates will not be happy if Teddi eats their furniture or other possessions :P

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Guest kkaiser104

Having a boy with really bad SA I would also suggest ditching the crate. I've found it only made it worse. Baby gating in a room or area your Grey feels comfortable would be the best option.

 

I think one of the major factors I've learned is that when you leave the house you can't be anxious. Whenever I left my boy I would be so anxious about him and would want to hurry home. I think he could sense my anxiety about leaving him. He is now fine to leave home and has learned the routine.

 

I suggest the alone training as well. Getting your Grey used to the routine and having them know you'll be back is what you need to practice. Good luck! I have been there and I know it's tough but you can work though it!

 

I tried gating him into my room, where he spends a lot of his time but that seemed to make him more anxious. I'm going to try to keep working with him and I appreciate the luck! I was feeling a little overwhelmed earlier, but now I feel sooo much better after talking to a few different people about him (and receiving some words of encouragement from my adoption coordinator) I really do think it's all going to work out, and he's such a great dog in every other aspect and I feel so lucky to have him. We'll work through this :)

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Guest Greyt_dog_lover

If he is chewing the bars of the crate enough to bend or break them, dont crate him. He can hurt himself if he breaks away a bar of the crate and stabs his paw. Lots of blood! If you let him roam free outside the crate, why didnt you muzzle him, especially after he chewed in the crate? If he doesnt eliminate outside of the crate when you are gone, then just let him roam and muzzle him, problems solved... By the way, he has worn a muzzle for most of his life, so dont let him fool you when you put it on him and he rubs the wall, or your leg and basically looks miserable with the muzzle on. You need to muzzle him for his OWN PROTECTION. He can eat, sleep, drink, play with toys in his muzzle. A muzzle is not punishment, but a safety device, just like a seatbelt in a car.

 

Chad

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Guest kkaiser104

If he is chewing the bars of the crate enough to bend or break them, dont crate him. He can hurt himself if he breaks away a bar of the crate and stabs his paw. Lots of blood! If you let him roam free outside the crate, why didnt you muzzle him, especially after he chewed in the crate? If he doesnt eliminate outside of the crate when you are gone, then just let him roam and muzzle him, problems solved... By the way, he has worn a muzzle for most of his life, so dont let him fool you when you put it on him and he rubs the wall, or your leg and basically looks miserable with the muzzle on. You need to muzzle him for his OWN PROTECTION. He can eat, sleep, drink, play with toys in his muzzle. A muzzle is not punishment, but a safety device, just like a seatbelt in a car.

 

Chad

 

My fear of leaving him alone outside of the crate is that he still has very large legs that he can use to hurt himself/get into trouble. Last night when he was out of the crate he threw himself against the baby gate, completely crazed. I'm going to start alone training today, with the muzzle on, and go from there. I'm not sure how much of this is anxiety and how much of it is playful boredom (he's only 2.5). I'll write back tonight and let everyone know how the training goes!

 

Should I start with the door open and just the baby gate up? Or is closing the door better? I feel like maybe having the door open would work better, so he doesn't feel so contained.

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Guest kkaiser104

We did three sessions in the past 1.5 hours with a lot of success (started at 5 minutes and went up to 20 with breaks in between). Having the door opened stressed him out more, so I just shut it. I used my laptop/cell phone to connect to skype and watch him so I could intervene if necessary (only if he was doing something REALLY bad) but I didn't have to. He paced, barked, whined, and finally laid down only to repeat the process again eventually. However, it was a lot more manageable today then it has been in the past, and with the muzzle on he isn't able to hurt himself. He did try to slam into the door a few times, but I'm hoping by ignoring it he'll realize that it won't get him anywhere. I have to work in the morning for about 4 hours unfortunately--we're going to do a few more sessions tonight and then I'll decide the best course of action. I think putting him in his cage is doing more harm then good (like many of you have said) so I know that isn't going to work. I'll be able to set skype up while I'm at work and peak in every once in a while (I work as a caterer and have a few minutes of down time). One of my roommates will be home but in bed until probably 10ish and then she normally stays upstairs and does homework (my room is on the main floor and hers in on the second). If there is a major disaster I can call her and she said she'll get him out and stay downstairs with him. Otherwise I've asked her to just ignore him.

 

I'm hoping that after a few days of this routine (for the next 3 weeks I'll be working 7am-noon tuesday-saturday) he'll settle in and be alright. And then when school starts back up we'll have to establish a new routine and hopefully he'll be able to get into that also. I know that greyhounds are creatures of habit, and I wonder if his destruction last night was attributed to me disturbing his routine to go take a midterm? Obviously he'll have to eventually get used to this kind of thing, but maybe the whole situation (being left outside of his crate and being upset) just was too much for him.

 

Thanks for all of the support, it really does help me feel better. Last night I was feeling pretty frustrated, and this morning was even worse (the bed spread is officially in the trash...I'll buy a new one when I don't think he'll eat it again! at least I didn't buy a very expensive set). And I must complement my door--his jumping up on it and "scratching" (as much as he can do with his cut nails...) hasn't even made the slightest mark! If it becomes and issue I'll just throw some cardboard up there. Ill be sure to update again tonight.

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Guest Wasserbuffel
We did three sessions in the past 1.5 hours with a lot of success (started at 5 minutes and went up to 20 with breaks in between). Having the door opened stressed him out more, so I just shut it. I used my laptop/cell phone to connect to skype and watch him so I could intervene if necessary (only if he was doing something REALLY bad) but I didn't have to. He paced, barked, whined, and finally laid down only to repeat the process again eventually.

 

The key to alone training is to return before the dog's anxiety threshold is reached, building up to where you can leave without him stressing at all. To start it's usually a matter of walking in and out of the door for seconds at a time. You need to come and go so often that your leaving bores him to death. If your dog is calm for five minutes before his pacing and whining routine starts, that's his threshold and is where you begin with alone training.

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Guest kkaiser104
We did three sessions in the past 1.5 hours with a lot of success (started at 5 minutes and went up to 20 with breaks in between). Having the door opened stressed him out more, so I just shut it. I used my laptop/cell phone to connect to skype and watch him so I could intervene if necessary (only if he was doing something REALLY bad) but I didn't have to. He paced, barked, whined, and finally laid down only to repeat the process again eventually.

 

The key to alone training is to return before the dog's anxiety threshold is reached, building up to where you can leave without him stressing at all. To start it's usually a matter of walking in and out of the door for seconds at a time. You need to come and go so often that your leaving bores him to death. If your dog is calm for five minutes before his pacing and whining routine starts, that's his threshold and is where you begin with alone training.

 

Thanks Jayne! We'll keep working on it tomorrow. In the mean time, I left him alone in my room with his muzzle on tonight when I ran to the store (I was gone about an hour) and came home to a nice, calm, sleepy dog. This makes me feel better about having to work tomorrow. My roommate said he was pretty well behaved, only barking a little right after I left and then just going to sleep. I'm taking the crate down tonight and storing it away for a good, long time :D

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Guest LindsaySF

I am a big crating fan, but not for dogs that are destructive in the crate or trying to get out of the crate. They can really hurt themselves trying to bust out of a crate. So I agree with leaving him loose but muzzled.

 

What room does he spend the most time in when you're home? Living room? Where is his bed? I would gate him into this room when you leave. Also feed him his meals here, and give him a Kong with peanut butter when you leave. (They can still lick the peanut butter even with the muzzle on).

 

You need to do A LOT of alone training. It gets tedious and annoying, and might seem to take forever, but the payoff in the end will be worth it! :) Look for the booklet mentioned above, and also Google "alone training" for some more info.

 

 

 

~Lindsay~

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Guest kkaiser104

I am a big crating fan, but not for dogs that are destructive in the crate or trying to get out of the crate. They can really hurt themselves trying to bust out of a crate. So I agree with leaving him loose but muzzled.

 

What room does he spend the most time in when you're home? Living room? Where is his bed? I would gate him into this room when you leave. Also feed him his meals here, and give him a Kong with peanut butter when you leave. (They can still lick the peanut butter even with the muzzle on).

 

You need to do A LOT of alone training. It gets tedious and annoying, and might seem to take forever, but the payoff in the end will be worth it! :) Look for the booklet mentioned above, and also Google "alone training" for some more info.

 

 

 

~Lindsay~

 

Thanks! We're taking baby steps towards becoming better all ready, with as much alone training as we can both handle. Thanks for the tip about the kong too...i didn't realize he would be able to get the peanut butter! We'll do it tomorrow! I'm also going to set up the video again and record him so i can see what he does when I'm gone for a long while.

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Guest HoundWorks

Glad to hear your making some progress. I would also mention that a major point of alone training is finding the earliest cue that starts to stress him out. So my dogs know that when I pick up my keys I am heading out the door to leave most likely without them. It would stress Dex out and he would start pacing and showing small signs of anxiety. I spent weeks just picking up my keys and walking around with them to desensitize him to the sound. Now he looks at is as a good thing because I have a routine where I pick up my keys and the dogs get a treat right before I leave. This has become a good cue that I am leaving, but they know I will be back.

 

These may be things you wouldn't even think about whether it's brushing your teeth, putting on your shoes, grabbing your purse. They are quite smart and perceptive in picking up these signs that you are leaving without them.

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Guest kirstenbergren

We kinda had the other extreme and PJ wouldn't come out of his crate at all when we first got him. My dad had to come over and help us get him out. Well, we put the crate away for good and now he get to roam the house when we are gone with the muzzle on. Everything has been great. Good luck with the alone training! You'll get there, it already sounds like things are getting better. :goodluck:thumbs-up

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Guest kkaiser104

Glad to hear your making some progress. I would also mention that a major point of alone training is finding the earliest cue that starts to stress him out. So my dogs know that when I pick up my keys I am heading out the door to leave most likely without them. It would stress Dex out and he would start pacing and showing small signs of anxiety. I spent weeks just picking up my keys and walking around with them to desensitize him to the sound. Now he looks at is as a good thing because I have a routine where I pick up my keys and the dogs get a treat right before I leave. This has become a good cue that I am leaving, but they know I will be back.

 

These may be things you wouldn't even think about whether it's brushing your teeth, putting on your shoes, grabbing your purse. They are quite smart and perceptive in picking up these signs that you are leaving without them.

 

Should I just do these things so often that he isn't bothered anymore? I can tell his anxiety is beginning in the morning when I start to do my hair (normally the first thing I do). He stands and watches me and just looks really sad :( Then as I start to brush my teeth, put on my work shoes, he gets more and more "sad" looking. When I finally put him in my room he almost acts ok--he loves putting the muzzle on because he gets a treat when I take it off. He normally waits about 5 minutes to start barking and scratching at the door.

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Guest Wasserbuffel

Yes, do the things that cue him until he's so used to seeing you doing them that they stop being cues. You might change your routine up occasionally. Dress, grab your keys and put your shoes on, then do your hair. On a day you're not working, go through your whole routine as if you are, then don't leave.

 

You might try giving him a treat when you put the muzzle on him before you leave. It might change the cues in his mind from Bad=Mom's leaving to Good=treat! My grey is fine with the crate, but she still pays attention to my morning routine because she's looking forward to the cookie she gets when she goes to her crate before I leave. Most mornings I don't even have to tell her to go to her crate, I just start walking to the bedroom.

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