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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan. 30, 2007
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    Default Dog anxious in crate - any thoughts?

    Just having a chat with a coworker while we put in some overtime and she was telling me about her young boxer's crate issues.
    Short version: She and her husband have a 2 yo son, and they adopted China following the divorce of the breeder. Dog is under a year old boxer, and aside from a week in foster, has otherwise had a stable living situation. She did have her dam as company until she had to rehome both of them (the breeder)
    Dog is wonderfully sweet and kind - until it comes time to crate her. Both of them work day jobs, so they prefer to crate, as China can get into things when they are not home (will steal and destroy toddler's toys, etc even if they are up on a table).
    They have tried to make her crate a happy place - feeding her there, putting her in randomly for short stretches, comfortable bed, everything. Friend's dad comes for about 2 hours at midday to play with her, let her do her business, etc.
    China gets extremely destructive in the crate - she has rocked it over to rip down curtains, got it up against a wall and scratched it so badly it had to be patched.
    They are not newbie dog owners - this is their third or fourth boxer.
    Am wondering about a Thundershirt or pheromone therapy - any other ideas or strategies?
    Thanks!
    D.
    Founder of the I LOFF my worrywart TB clique!
    Official member of the "I Sing Silly Songs to My Animals!" Clique
    http://wilddiamondintherough.blogspot.ca/



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug. 28, 2007
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    Triangle Area, NC
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    6,704

    Default

    amitryptaline or prozac.
    radio
    TV
    crate 30 minutes before leaving, crate randomly when everyone is home, DO NOT GREET once home
    www.destinationconsensusequus.com
    chaque pas est fait ensemble



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun. 9, 2003
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    Alabama
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    5,457

    Default

    I really hate the crating for dogs and then the subsequent drug use for ones like the Boxer you describe. Many young dogs of active breeds really have a tough time dealing with such close quarters and imprisonment for hours on end. I have a Border Collie who was crated as a youngster and she became very destructive when out and so we adopted her. It took her a couple of years to get over the destructive behavior even though she was on a farm with other dogs to play with and freedom -- we never crate. She is still neurotic and needy -- I would say find another home or a place at the owner's home where she can be safe and not crated. Some dogs accept it and do ok, but others just really don't adapt. I hate the whole idea -- it's a horrible practice for convenience.
    PennyG


    2 members found this post helpful.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr. 14, 2001
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    Fort Collins, CO
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    Default

    The thundershirt or a DAP diffuser or collar are certainly worth a shot.

    Clomicalm (clomipramine) can also be useful.

    I also have friends who simply SWEAR by Crate Games to get their dog happy in the crate.

    But honestly, given that the dog seems to be REALLY unhappy in the crate, I'd try a different tactic entirely. Can they use an x-pen instead? Can the dog be left baby-gated in the kitchen or a bathroom without melting down?

    Crating is a useful tool, but it's not the only tool. At the very least, I'd find some other way to contain the dog for awhile to break the cycle of crating = unhappy, while continuing with with the things they're doing to make the crate a happy place.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep. 23, 2009
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    567

    Default

    Crate games!!! They are helping with my puppies crate issues. Peanut butter filled, frozen kong toys help. You can also check out Sue Ailsby's training levels, she has a systematic approach to crating that works well too.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb. 25, 2011
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    So California
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Petstorejunkie View Post
    amitryptaline or prozac.
    radio
    TV
    crate 30 minutes before leaving, crate randomly when everyone is home, DO NOT GREET once home
    I think part of the problem may be separation anxiety and the worst thing is elaborate good-byes and enthusiastic greetings. Don't pay attention to the dog for a few minutes when you arrive home: act the same way as if you were watching TV, got up and went to the bathroom, and re-entered the living room. Pretty soon the dog will be very relaxed at your comings and goings.

    You said that they don't leave the dog in the crate too long, which is good. I have heard of people who leave their dogs in crates all day, an hour before work and an hour after work which can be ten to twelve hours, which is cruel. When a dog is home alone all day it should have a place to pee and room to move around -- at least a small kennel.



  7. #7
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    Apr. 19, 2004
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    USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by TKR View Post
    I really hate the crating for dogs and then the subsequent drug use for ones like the Boxer you describe. Many young dogs of active breeds really have a tough time dealing with such close quarters and imprisonment for hours on end. I have a Border Collie who was crated as a youngster and she became very destructive when out and so we adopted her. It took her a couple of years to get over the destructive behavior even though she was on a farm with other dogs to play with and freedom -- we never crate. She is still neurotic and needy -- I would say find another home or a place at the owner's home where she can be safe and not crated. Some dogs accept it and do ok, but others just really don't adapt. I hate the whole idea -- it's a horrible practice for convenience.
    PennyG
    Totally agree.



  8. #8
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    Apr. 19, 2004
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    USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Petstorejunkie View Post
    amitryptaline or prozac.
    DO NOT GREET once home
    That's terrible! Why even own a dog then?

    edited to add: My suggestion for the OP's friend is to take the dog out of the crate. Send the dog to day care, pay a sitter to visit during the day, or simplest solution: get a second dog. Dogs are social animals and they don't like to be left alone. Most of us wouldn't dream of housing a single horse yet expect dogs to adapt to solitary confinement and then wonder why they have so many behavior problems when left alone.



  9. #9
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    Jun. 14, 2006
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    VA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sswor View Post
    That's terrible! Why even own a dog then?

    edited to add: My suggestion for the OP's friend is to take the dog out of the crate. Send the dog to day care, pay a sitter to visit during the day, or simplest solution: get a second dog. Dogs are social animals and they don't like to be left alone. Most of us wouldn't dream of housing a single horse yet expect dogs to adapt to solitary confinement and then wonder why they have so many behavior problems when left alone.
    It's not about not greeting ever, it's about not making departures or arrivals an over the top thing. Waiting until they settle and THEN rewarding that behavior.

    For the OP, the other thing your friends may want to consider is how much exercise this pooch is getting.

    My dogs are higher energy dogs (lab and standard poodle) and even though they are nearly 10 and 3 respectively, very much house trained, were crate trained, etc, since we've moved to a place where they are dependent on me for 100% of their exercise, I've noticed that if I don't get them at least 2 hours of brisk exercise per day, they will be trouble.

    Even though Dad is taking this pooch out and spending some time with her, she may need quite a bit more exercise. A tired dog is a good dog!

    I would strongly suggest that they start trying to get pooch out for a brisk walk for at least 30 if not 60 min in the morning before work and again after work.

    Boxers are high energy to begin with and this is a young dog. I really wouldn't think of less than 2 hours of brisk exercise daily as being sufficient.
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...



  10. #10
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    Oct. 12, 2001
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    Exercising the dog hard in the morning before leaving for work should dramatically improve the dog's behavior at home during the day. You'd be amazed how many people think a young dog can be calm and well-behaved on a regimen of resting all night/ brief potty break/ left at home alone all day. Of course the dog is not going to lie around calmly all day under such a regimen- he's bored and restless. He's going to look for stuff to do.

    You said that they don't leave the dog in the crate too long,
    that doesn't sound true- they both work all day, and someone comes lets the dog out briefly at noon= an incredibly long time to spend in a tiny cage, day after day after day.

    Certainly dogs should be trained to tolerate being crated (for which Crate Games are wonderful), and crates are very useful training tools for housetraining young puppies, confining sick dogs, and for temporary confinement, but this kind of all-day crating is just flat-out abusive. The dog's behavior is a protest against this abuse. Instead of trying to drug the dog or train the dog, they should find an alternative.

    If they haven't managed to teach the dog proper house manners yet, there are other, much more humane options for confining dogs to part of the house- doors, baby gates, and so on. Or consider doggy daycare or some other solution. I don't think a dog should be left in a crate for longer than an hour at a time, it's just bad for their bodies to be so cramped up.

    Even if they don't care about the impact of prolonged crating on their poor dog's psyche, they should consider that prolonged crating of young dogs may increase the risk of the dog developing hip dysplasia. Hip replacement surgery is extremely expensive.
    Last edited by wendy; Apr. 19, 2013 at 12:53 PM.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr. 21, 2010
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    Default

    I can sympathize with the OP's friend. And honestly, for us, there ARENT other options for confining our dog that don't result in more destruction and/or dangerous behavior (both for the dog AND the safety of our home!)

    Our dog is crated after first being confined to the basement. All was going well until she started being destructive on dangerous things. So for everyone's safety, she is crated. I am in the process of finding/building a kennel for her in our barn so she at least has some room to roam during the day. But until we work through the issue, the crate is the safest place for her.

    It's not as easy as just "oh, take them to doggie day care". I don't know how people can just say "ok, I'm going to spend an extra $400+ a month on something" out of the blue. Our local daycares are $20-25/day.

    And taking on another dog is no guarantee that they'll stop their behavior, either. What if they decide that they're two troublemakers? Now you have two problems on your hands! Its like having a second child to give the first kid a playmate.

    A dog that is willing to destroy the inside of a crate is going to look at a baby gate like "pfft, whatever".

    We've actually employed some kids who come and walk our dog for us, which has helped tremendously. And getting some really good, hard exercise in the morning works too.



  12. #12
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    Apr. 14, 2001
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    Fort Collins, CO
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    Quote Originally Posted by spacytracy View Post
    A dog that is willing to destroy the inside of a crate is going to look at a baby gate like "pfft, whatever".
    Not necessarily. Sometimes it's just the tight quarters of a crate that's causing anxiety. Give them more room, and they settle down and sleep. Depends on the dog and what the problem is.



  13. #13
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    Mar. 6, 2002
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    Oregon
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simkie View Post
    Depends on the dog and what the problem is.
    Best thing I've read on this thread so far.

    I have not one, but two border collies and a GSD. Border Collie #1 has separation anxiety. He will crate, but cries nonstop and works himself into a frenzy. He knows the signs of his people leaving, down to non-specific things like putting on my socks or a sweatshirt and I don't dare say any of his buzzwords when I do leave. However, he does well left in the bedroom or even free in the house while I'm gone - he may cry at the door and watch me from the windows for a few minutes, but settles down pretty quickly and doesn't destroy things (beyond the "normal", like a paper towel with pizza grease left on an end table). He'll be 3 this year and is really a great dog. A little odd, but lovable and smart.
    What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what
    lies with in us. - Emerson



  14. #14
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    Dec. 18, 2006
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    NY
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    Quote Originally Posted by TKR View Post
    I really hate the crating for dogs and then the subsequent drug use for ones like the Boxer you describe. Many young dogs of active breeds really have a tough time dealing with such close quarters and imprisonment for hours on end. I have a Border Collie who was crated as a youngster and she became very destructive when out and so we adopted her. It took her a couple of years to get over the destructive behavior even though she was on a farm with other dogs to play with and freedom -- we never crate. She is still neurotic and needy -- I would say find another home or a place at the owner's home where she can be safe and not crated. Some dogs accept it and do ok, but others just really don't adapt. I hate the whole idea -- it's a horrible practice for convenience.
    PennyG
    Really? A horrible practice? It's possible that your BC might have been neurotic and needy to begin with; not necessarily attributed to the crate.

    I, on the other hand, have never known a dog that didn't take well to crating and have known many that actually like their crate and retreat to it voluntarily even when the family is home.

    I agree that #1 is hard exercise. A young boxer is a high energy dog. A leash walk around the block is not enough exercise before crating for any length of time. Hard exercise = off leash running/play for at least 20-30 minutes, plus having "hang out time". It always helps, and never hurts. Not sure if the dog is getting enough exercise, but if not, that is step #1.

    However, in the case where a dog is already not happy in a crate, I agree that just medicating isn't the answer. This may not be a good match for a number of reasons - I wonder about lack of other canine company. I also wonder about the placement of the crate - is it in the main living area of the house, or somewhere else? Maybe the location is part of the anxiety?

    I certainly would not think that medicating the dog and putting it in the crate is a good idea. In this case I might consider a gate with a crate in a small room with a bed, and see if it helps. (e.g. a bathroom, foyer or laundry room that can be closed off?) The crate is still there as a comfy place to sleep but not as a "prison".

    Also would consider the possibility that the anxiety is not necessarily crate-related but separation anxiety - especially for a dog that has never been alone.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov. 29, 2006
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    278

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    Sounds like a lot of potential issues and some great suggestions here. I can vouch for the thundershirts- one gun shy dog, and one who is afraid of fireworks. It's a miracle. Both dogs almost immediately relaxed, and have continued to relax with time wearing them. My mother has a dog that has a fear of any "ticking" or popping noises- anything from a gunshot to a rock hitting the windshield while they are driving has him panting, pacing, and trying to crawl under the seat. So mom got him this: http://www.amazon.com/Through-Dogs-E...nine+companion
    Says it is wonderful!! And there is a priceless video of a bulldog in the reviews
    Good luck!



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