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Serious Sudden Crate Anxiety


Guest hankthetank
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Guest hankthetank

Hi All,

 

We've had our dog for about a month & a half. When we got him, we followed all of the crate training / separataion anxiety / alone training protocols. Everything seemed to be going quite well while we were away work- until today.

 

My wife came home & found that Hank had tried to chew through his wire crate. The upper wire mesh was pretty much mangled, his blanket was shredded, water dish knocked out of its holster, etc. It was terrifying to see.

 

A couple hours ago, I decided to put him back in his crate with his basket on (for safety purposes) & leave for 30 minutes (camera rolling) to see exactly what type of behavior is going on. In the time I was gone, he tried to ram the front of the crate with his head, wouldn't settle down (constantly turning in circles), & barked / howled at the top of his lungs almost the entire time.

 

My wife & I are both teachers & recently came off of a 2 week long Christmas break. I can understand anxiety from him due to the change in routine, but is this normal? Could we really have regressed this much? I assumed his previous behavior for the last month was ok, as he never tried to damage the crate & would be laying calmly when I would check in during the day (not every day, maybe twice per week) and/or come home from work.

 

We're thinking about restarting his alone training like we did on Day 1. Any suggestions?

 

Thanks!!

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No more crate.

Any chance he caught his tags on the crate?

 

Hada the podenco maneta, Georgie Girl (UMR Cordella), Lulu the podenco andaluz, Rita the podenco maneta
Angels: Charlie the iggy,  Mazy (CBR Crazy Girl), Potato, my mystery ibizan girl, Allen (M's Pretty Boy), Percy (Fast But True), Mikey (Doray's Patuti), Pudge le mutt, Tessa the iggy, Possum (Apostle), Gracie (Dusty Lady), Harold (Slatex Harold), "Cousin" Simon our step-iggy, Little Dude the iggy ,Bandit (Bb Blue Jay), Niña the galgo, Wally (Allen Hogg), Thane (Pog Mo Thoine), Oliver (JJ Special Agent), Comet, & Rosie our original mutt.

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Two of my greyhounds are very crate averse and that is how they were before they came to me. If someone were to crate them, they would seriously injure themselves trying to get out. It does not look like you will be able to use a crate - think about setting up child gates in some area that you can dog-proof.

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Guest hankthetank

I always take his collar off before putting him in the crate.

 

I'm nervous about leaving him outside of his crate all day while we're at work, namely for what kind of damage he may cause if his anxiety is more about being alone than being in the crate. It's something we have discussed transitioning to at some point, however.

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Yes, going back to your alone training is a great idea. For most dogs, leaving him uncrated won't solve the problem and comes with its own set of risks. I think it's worth trying it once to see what happens - set up the webcam and don't go far from home so you can return quickly if things aren't going well and then at least you'll know. In all of my dealings with SA (a good bit) I never actually fostered or worked with one for whom that was the simple solution until I fostered my own (eventually) dog Violet. But occasionally it does happen. Of course, the flipside is that he could also seriously injure himself on the crate - we had a dog who was to be returned and on the evening of said return his owner balked. The next day he lacerated his stomach on a broken crate bar (he needed surgery, but was eventually okay). So you need some sort of solution in the interim for what to do with him when you leave until you can work through this. Doggie daycare, a friend who could watch him, limiting your time away, possibly medication, etc.

 

Hopefully a quick refresher on the alone training does the trick. If not, 2 great resources:

 

I'll Be Home Soon

Treating SA in Dogs

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Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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I can't tell how crate averse your dog is but, a really bad outcome from this situation could be that the dog could try and get out of the crate and end up with the wires impaled in his mouth or through his foot. I've been there with my first dog and once I realized what was happening, I did not put him back in the cage ever again. Not easy ... Your choice ....

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It seems to me that your dog is trying desperately to communicate with you that he is not comfortable in a crate. Can you use a baby gate to keep him in one room of your house while you are out? Also, is there some reason that you don't trust him out of the crate? Maybe if you gave him a chance he would do great.

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Guest hankthetank

Thanks for the insight. The big sticking point for me is that he had no apparent problems before today (without being home to monitor every work day). He may have barked / howled when we were away, but in no way showed any signs of aggression to the crate structure. So why the sudden change? What is the trigger?

 

I'm inclined to say that our 2 weeks home with him acted as a serious setback to what we had accomplished with alone training, but I can't be certain. Dump trucks doing snow removal, strong wind, or any external noise could have triggered him today as well. Just no way to tell.

 

For now we have decided to use two crates. One upstairs in the bedroom for sleeping only & one downstairs in the living room, which is where we did his alone training in the beginning. Hopefully this experiment works. I like the idea of starting over with alone training. After spending his first 4 1/2 years in a crate at the track & then starting off his first month with us on a positive note, I don't think I'm ready to abandon crating quite yet.

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No more crate.

 

Better to dogproof well and leave him with his basket muzzle on.

 

Dogs who try to get out of crates can injure themselves badly. Sometimes they die. Not worth it.

Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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Guest hankthetank

Another reason I'm not convinced that his anxiety is necessarily crate-related is because he sleeps fine while crated in the bedroom every night. The anxiety begins whenever we both leave his sight.

 

I'm concerned that keeping him out of his crate while we are away will increase the anxiety, pacing, etc. instead of quelling it. I have nightmarish visions of him trying to go through a window or knocking over bookcases trying to get to wherever he thinks we are.

 

 

 

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Thanks for the insight. The big sticking point for me is that he had no apparent problems before today (without being home to monitor every work day). He may have barked / howled when we were away, but in no way showed any signs of aggression to the crate structure. So why the sudden change? What is the trigger?

 

I'm inclined to say that our 2 weeks home with him acted as a serious setback to what we had accomplished with alone training, but I can't be certain. Dump trucks doing snow removal, strong wind, or any external noise could have triggered him today as well. Just no way to tell.

 

For now we have decided to use two crates. One upstairs in the bedroom for sleeping only & one downstairs in the living room, which is where we did his alone training in the beginning. Hopefully this experiment works. I like the idea of starting over with alone training. After spending his first 4 1/2 years in a crate at the track & then starting off his first month with us on a positive note, I don't think I'm ready to abandon crating quite yet.

I think you're intuitive and on the right track and you should trust your gut. ;) Does your schedule allow you to work on alone training while otherwise not leaving him alone?

gallery_12662_3351_862.jpg

Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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No more crate.

 

Better to dogproof well and leave him with his basket muzzle on.

 

Dogs who try to get out of crates can injure themselves badly. Sometimes they die. Not worth it.

Amen, amen. Stop crating this dog.

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Tricia with Hopper the terrier mix and Kaia the wolfhound-schnauzer mix
Always missing Murray MaldivesBee Wiseman, River, and Holly
 Oaks Holly 
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The question as to why he did ok for the first month doesn't really matter anymore now that you know his level of distress has escalated to where he could seriously injure himself if left in a crate. You don't, and won't, know whether your concerns about leaving him out of the crate are justified until you try it. What you do know for sure though, are the dangers of leaving him in the crate.

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I had ONE dog who liked his crate, and two who hate it.

 

The two who hated it never caused any damage in my home once I accepted that they didn't want to be in their crates. Ditch it. Dog proof your house, and realize that the VAST majority of dogs in the US do not live in crates all day. We recommend them to new adopters of retired racers because, in theory, they are used to confinement and might find it comforting. Seems rather clear your dog has just announced this is not the case.

 

You cannot compare him sleeping in it while in the bedroom with you to him being trapped, all alone, while no one is home.

 

For the same reason you really cannot compare a dog using a track crate (surrounded by his buddies on all sides) to being confined, all alone, in the living room in an empty house.


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

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our Kingsley hated his crate, and once we allowed him free-roam of the house, he never destroyed anything.

I'd leave him out and do some alone training (just quick ins-and-outs) right away, and he may hopefully prove SO happy to be out of the crate that he will be totally fine!

 

Oh-- and Kingsley "hit the wall" a couple weeks in, maybe a month in to our having him... he had been ok in the crate, but then started flipping out and destroying anything left in there with him.. so that was the sign that he wanted OUT!

Amy and Tim in Beverly, MA, with Chase and Always missing Kingsley (Drama King) and Ruby (KB's Bee Bopper).

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A dog in a crate with people or other dogs present is very different that a dog in a crate in a house all alone. My very firm advice: do not leave this dog unsupervised in a crate - ever, you will regret it.

 

When a greyhound chews on the bars of a crate they grind the enamel off the back of the canines. The teeth are now seriously weakened and prone to decay or fracture. This has likely already occured. And this is the best case scenario. More serious permanent damage to teeth and gums is also likely with continued confinement.

 

Follow the advice here. Go to the muzzle.

 

Many greyhounds lose it in the crate when alone. These dogs often do better when given more space and often do best when given the run of the house. Work on the alone training and this will likely be your outcome.

 

Good luck, sorry you are facing this challenge. Many of us have been through it and come out with perfect dogs on the other end and you will too.

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True separation anxiety is about the dog not being able to tolerate being "abandoned" by his owners. Yes, in some cases leaving a dog uncrated "fixes" the problem, but that's typically confinement anxiety, not separation anxiety. The truth of the matter is that any dog with separation anxiety that is left alone for longer than he can tolerate, whether crated or uncrated, has the potential to seriously injure himself. So yes, it's worth doing a short monitored trial to see if uncrating him solves the problem, but otherwise, the underlying/ie. real issue needs to be addressed. The dog needs to go through alone training and in the interim he shouldn't be left alone for longer than he can tolerate, or he should be put on medication, crated or not.

gallery_12662_3351_862.jpg

Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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There is no way to tell from the info whether the dog has separation anxiety or crate anxiety.

 

Most dogs who chew the crate bars and try to escape the crate do much better outside of it. At least they don't break their teeth or become entrapped/punctured and die.

 

There are far more ex-racing greyhounds who have easy-to-resolve crate/close confinement anxiety than have severe separation anxiety.

Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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Guest hankthetank

Hi All,

 

Since I posted the thread, we have kept him in his crate with a muzzle on while we are at work. Everything has gone well, we have had no issues. Things have returned to how they were for the first month or so (normalcy).

 

With that being said, we are planning on trying to gradually begin leaving him out of his crate when we leave, beginning tomorrow. Thinking of starting at 5 min. & eventually working up to an hour within a week or two. We'll see how it goes & go from there.

 

Thanks again for all your input!

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We are going through a very similar situation with our Ed - if I'd seen this thread before I posted I could have saved most of these guys from having to comment the same thing twice. ;)

 

We started leaving Ed out of his caret while we're at work this week. He's perfect out of his crate so I'm not looking to rock the boat but interesting that you've had a good experience with the muzzle. Do you know if your boy is still anxious/panicked with the muzzle and it's just keeping him from doing damage? Or is he calm? Ed pants and drools like crazy while he's tearing up his crate so I'm not sure the muzzle would help him with anything other than preventing injury.

 

Thanks!

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Guest hankthetank

The muzzle is mainly for his safety. But we have also noticed that the more he barks / howls, the more "wound up" & anxious he gets. The muzzle appears to have a calming effect. When we leave for work he barks & howls, but when I check in during the day he is docile & quiet.

 

We have tried leaving him out of his crate & the anxiety is still there. We have left the house birefly & filmed him. Lots of pacing from window to window. He also will try to chew on anything that his mouth will fit around.

 

For now, we are sticking with the previously mentioned plan. The motto being: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." We seem to be back at baseline as far as the Separation Anxiety in the crate goes.

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