extreme separation anxiety in dogs

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So I am filling in for this little border collie mix's foster mother, while she is away, with the hope of possibly adopting her, if things go smoothly.

But they are not going smoothly. Yesterday, this little 19 lb dog broke out of her crate while I was at work. She literally pulled the gate right out of the frame and it was laying on the floor when I got home. She tore thru my house, and pulled down or chewed up every set of blinds I had on my 1st floor windows. I mean, chewed them to shreds that she scattered all over the floor. Or they were lying in a heap on the floor, along w/ picture frames, knickknacks, whatever was close to the windows. And she crapped all over the floor.

This is not some generic crate I found somewhere but the crate from her fosterhome. In it, she had a kong w/ peanut butter, a treat, a rawhide bone and a tiny amount of water. The crate was positioned near a tv and a window she could look out of (blinds were down but partly open so sun was not blinding her).

I took her to the vet yesterday for unrelated reasons but the vet said that I can never put her back in that crate again bc now she will be determined to escape since she knows how and might really hurt herself. She could also hurt herself pulling down blinds.

I had a dog from 1995-2005 that also suffered from separation anxiety but was OK once in a crate and would voluntarily go to his crate. He never escaped from the crate, which was similar to this one, even tho he was a much bigger, stronger dog.

The rescue has made another wire crate available to me (that I can pick up tonight) and a girl friend of mine has lent me a hard-sided plastic crate.

The fostermother will not be back until Tuesday, so that is the first day I can return the dog to her, if that's what I decide to do. Btwn my boyfriend and I being off work, the dog will never have to be alone from now until then, except for Friday.

My kids and I like this dog and want to keep her. But the dog is clearly miserable and probably terrified when she is alone. And I don't want my house torn up. Like I cannot deal with a destructive dog! Even when it's just me, the dog sniffs around for my kids and seems sad w/o them. She and my daughter have a really great bond.

The vet said to buy her a $400 medical grade stainless steel quality cage and lock it (with her in it) in a bathroom or laundry room and go fwd w/ the deaf dog training course and watch videos from Dr. Sonia Yin on YouTube. The vet said deaf dogs sometimes have quirky, weird personalities.

Is it better to just give this dog back and suggest they focus on retirees and SAHMs adopting her? The first fostermother (rescue owner) said it was impossible to crate her so she just didn't, and the current fostermother said she crates her without much of a problem but there are other dogs right next to her in other crates...but she doesn't do well loose w/ other dogs.



eta - She had plenty of time to play and use the bathroom before crating and had been taken for a walk twice around the block both days beforehand.
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Last edited by spiderlashes5000; 03-18-2015 at 10:55 AM.
Have you tried covering the crate and either leaving the TV on or getting a white noise machine? We keep our dog's crate covered with a heavy blanket and keep the white noise machine on. This helped him greatly in the beginning. The first night was awful before we tried these. I think he has a bit of separation anxiety as well. He doesn't get stupid anymore.
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Have you tried covering the crate and either leaving the TV on or getting a white noise machine? We keep our dog's crate covered with a heavy blanket and keep the white noise machine on. This helped him greatly in the beginning. The first night was awful before we tried these. I think he has a bit of separation anxiety as well. He doesn't get stupid anymore.
Originally Posted by sixelamy
Yeah, like I said before, I did leave the tv on but she's completely deaf so the white noise machine wouldn't work. Maybe I could put something on top of the crate, tho, that cause some vibrations.

eta - if anyone has ideas of what might create comforting vibrations that I could put on top of a crate that wouldn't fall off or electrocute her or whatever, I'd love for you to share them.

I just don't understand how this little tiny thing can take down a metal crate...
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Last edited by spiderlashes5000; 03-18-2015 at 11:49 AM.
D'oh! I missed that part. I must confess, I skimmed

Vibrations might work. My recommendation would be highly inappropriate.
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She's absolutely gorgeous. Just beautiful!

However, I would bring her back to her foster home if you aren't willing to have a torn up house for a while. She is going to require a lot of training and attention, probably not forever, but it's going to be a huge task for the next few months. My brother's dog has separation anxiety which is manageable now, but was really bad when he was a puppy.

If you want to keep her, what about a doggy day care?

And don't border collies have weird personalities anyway?
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3c/4a
From wikipedia:

Due to their working heritage, Border Collies are very demanding, playful, and energetic. They are better off in households that can provide them with plenty of play and exercise, either with humans or other dogs.[5] Due to their demanding personalities and need for mental stimulation and exercise, many Border Collies develop neurotic behaviors in households that are not able to provide for their needs.[9] They are infamous for chewing holes in walls, destructive biting and chewing on furniture such as chairs and table legs, and digging holes out of boredom. One of the prime reasons for getting rid of a Border Collie is their unsuitability for families with small children, cats, and other dogs, due to their strong desire to herd. This was bred into them for hundreds of years and still one of their chief uses outside the household.[5] However, it is still possible for them to live happily with other pets.

Though they are a common choice for household pets, Border Collies have attributes that make them less suited for those who cannot give them the exercise they need. As with many working breeds, Border Collies can be motion-sensitive and they may chase moving vehicles
They are also super smart. That's probably how she figured out how to get out of the crate! lol

Is the rescue providing the deaf dog training?
3c/4a
From wikipedia:

Due to their working heritage, Border Collies are very demanding, playful, and energetic. They are better off in households that can provide them with plenty of play and exercise, either with humans or other dogs.[5] Due to their demanding personalities and need for mental stimulation and exercise, many Border Collies develop neurotic behaviors in households that are not able to provide for their needs.[9] They are infamous for chewing holes in walls, destructive biting and chewing on furniture such as chairs and table legs, and digging holes out of boredom. One of the prime reasons for getting rid of a Border Collie is their unsuitability for families with small children, cats, and other dogs, due to their strong desire to herd. This was bred into them for hundreds of years and still one of their chief uses outside the household.[5] However, it is still possible for them to live happily with other pets.

Though they are a common choice for household pets, Border Collies have attributes that make them less suited for those who cannot give them the exercise they need. As with many working breeds, Border Collies can be motion-sensitive and they may chase moving vehicles
They are also super smart. That's probably how she figured out how to get out of the crate! lol
Originally Posted by Po
You pretty much need a BS in engineering to open some of these contraptions LOL...and thumbs...

Is the rescue providing the deaf dog training?
Originally Posted by Po
Yes, the rescue will pay for us to attend the training (given by another organization) but only if/when we formally adopt her.

Thanks!

She's already been surrendered at least once, spent time in a shelter, got rescued and spent time in two foster homes so far, before mine. She just doesn't deserve to keep getting shuffled around. When she is around humans, she's the best dog ever!
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Poor thing is probably terrified.
I would imagine this will be a very slow transition, with many steps forward and just as many back. If you don't want your house torn up (and if memory serves, boyfriend is on board with a well behaved dog?), it may be better for the dog to go elsewhere, where someone has the time to spend meeting his special needs.
I'm sure it's a hard decision
Modified CG since Dec 2011
Wait. I just thought of something. PerriP suggestion still might work. My cousin is def but she can still feel bass. So maybe if you turn music on and it has some kind of thump, it still might work
Border collies are extremely intelligent, and they are also "working" dogs. That is, they HAVE to have something to do, and usually someone to do it with, As this pup has been through so many "temporary" homes, behavioral issues are very normal and to be expected. Unfortunately, the only remedy is time, patience, and presence (yours). You will need to be very sure that you are willing to take on the commitment it will take to incorporate this pup into your life.

Three years ago, I adopted a Dorkie (Yorkie/Dachshund cross) who was just under a year. Prior to coming to live with me, he had been through several homes and also had a few weeks of street life. The first 8 months or so were fraught with behavioral issues, and yes, some HUGE messes to clean up. Time and patience were key. However, I was determined to give that ornery little guy a forever Home, whether he believed it or not. It took well over a year before he did believe it and to become the dog I knew he was meant to be.
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Separation anxiety is sometimes hard to deal with in dogs. It takes a lot of patience and understanding on your family's part, which can definitely be frustrating at times. Border Collies are high energy dogs and get bored easily. Maybe you can get her some of those dog games they sell? The ones where they have to move the puzzle piece to find the treat or have to work to get the treat and put that in the crate with her?

I had to get toys like that for my dog because she got distracted as a puppy and wanted to chew on thing that weren't supposed to be chewed on. She completely destroyed the plastic tray that slides into the bottom of her crate and has shredded blankets. I think she just got bored and we weren't home. As she got older, these behaviors started to disappear and she's content with a chew toy that takes time to get the treat out.

Either way, she's absolutely adorable!


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Separation anxiety is sometimes hard to deal with in dogs. It takes a lot of patience and understanding on your family's part, which can definitely be frustrating at times. Border Collies are high energy dogs and get bored easily. Maybe you can get her some of those dog games they sell? The ones where they have to move the puzzle piece to find the treat or have to work to get the treat and put that in the crate with her?

I had to get toys like that for my dog because she got distracted as a puppy and wanted to chew on thing that weren't supposed to be chewed on. She completely destroyed the plastic tray that slides into the bottom of her crate and has shredded blankets. I think she just got bored and we weren't home. As she got older, these behaviors started to disappear and she's content with a chew toy that takes time to get the treat out.

Either way, she's absolutely adorable!
Originally Posted by DaniGirl88
Thanks!

Can you give me an example of a dog game that you can put in the crate? thnx

***

I can't do much about my availability; it is what it is. I realize my living situation might not be ~ideal~ for this dog. But she's nearly a year old, she is deaf and she's been surrendered before. Her options might be limited (or not). I know she should be on a little farm somewhere herding sheep (not really, bc she is small and not full border collie)...but she's not. I'm willing to give her what I can give her. I'm willing to be patient and take the time to train her and give her moderate exercise and lots of love. But I'm not willing to let her destroy my house.

I'm just trying to weigh what I can give with what she needs. Her foster mother does not want to adopt her (for whatever reason) so it's likely she could continue to be shuffled around. And I would hate to see that...but then again, the next place she gets placed could be a perfect fit.

She's such a smart, sweet little dog. I really am crazy about her. I've already started training her w/ hand signals, using Dr. Sonia Yin's methods.

I am borrowing a hard-sided crate from a friend. I hope it holds up. She'll only be in it today for 5 hrs. I left the music on, bass turned up. A chunk of porterhouse stuffed inside her Kong, blocked in by a Milkbone. I'm praying for the best.

Thanks, everyone! (If you are the praying kind, please send one up, when you get a min, for her and other sweet, little animals like her in need of permanent homes.)
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Last edited by spiderlashes5000; 03-20-2015 at 12:30 PM.
The games I have for Finlay say not to leave them unattended (he has two treat puzzle toys). He could definitely destroy them if he wanted and I'd be worried about him choking on pieces of it, I'd never leave him alone with them.
Modified CG since Dec 2011
Melatonin really helps doggy anxiety. Buy it in the people supplement section and give it to the dog in peanut butter. I used to give 5-10mg to my american Bulldog. Also don't put water in the crate.
Also get a kong wobbler and feed all meals in it. Take long walks on a leash before you leave the house.
How did she do today??

If you can get her settled in a crate, id give her a shot. She still a puppy, that's hard enough let alone the multiple homes.

Dogs are pack animals and it upsets them when you leave, because why would anyone leave where the pack is/food/bed/love/etc.

Make her crate a comfy place, not a threatening place. Don't put her in it if she's bad, throw treats in now and then, a favorite stuffy, if the kids are little have them play with her in it. Throw a blanket over it so it's dark and cavey. She can't hear, so is going by site, the less she can see may help her.

Give her lots of treats & praise if she goes in it on her own and if she's been good when you get home.

Not sure why they have as far as dog puzzles (I know they have the bowls for fast feeders, might be a company to check out), but that might keep her busy till she can settle once you leave.

Good luck!
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If you have a dog that requires higher amounts of exercise and stimulation (and Border Collies generally do) and then have no choice but to crate it for a number of hours a day, there are going to be some issues. Throw separation anxiety into the mix, and there are going to be even more issues. Moderate exercise for such a dog is not going to cut it. I know of what I speak because I learned this the hard way. It is much better to get a dog that already suits your current lifestyle than to try to change your lifestyle to fit the dog's needs. Most people aren't really able to do that anyway, and it's the dog that suffers. If you choose to keep her, you probably have a very hard road ahead of you.

My husband decided that he wanted a dog. He had grown up with dogs. I had no objection to that with the understanding that he would be primarily responsible for the care. I, stupidly, left it all to him. He came home with a 7 month old GSP/Redbone Coonhound mix. Within a week I knew it had been a REALLY bad choice, but because she had already been shuffled around so much, I didn't want to do that to her again. That thinking was a mistake. Two years later, and my life is still turned upside down. I really resent it, although I love Alice dearly. She *requires* a minimum of 2 hours per day off-leash and another 45 minutes leashed exercise. If she doesn't get that, she's practically tearing my floorboards up. My husband, who was all keen to take care of her exercise needs BEFORE he realized what those needs were, suddenly isn't quite so fond of attending to her needs. Who gets to pick up the slack? Me. Because her needs do have to be met, if my husband isn't doing it, I have to. It's not fair to her to just let it go.

If you don't think you can give her what she needs, then I would let the rescue find a home that can.
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I didn't see the picture before that dog looks soo border collier like.

I have been warned by a farmer more than once never to get a sheep dog/sheep dog mix unless I was prepared to give the dog lots of exercise and stimulation.

The problem with the dogs is they are friendly, gentle and very intelligent so easy to fall in love with. Border colliers are ranked the top in the most intelligent dog breeds. They are suppose to have an intelligence of a 2 year old child. Even though yours is a mix if she is a mixture of 2 intelligent breeds it's not surprising you are having trouble.

Walking the dog on the leash won't work for a border collier as they can easily be taught to walk off leash and will obey you even if you aren't their owner but live with them. In fact they will resent you if you try and walk them on the leash.

How do I know? I lived with a house mate who had a border collier and while she walked the dog, two of us separately realised the dog wasn't getting enough exercise and also "walked" the dog. Actually we just took the dog to a field started running and the she use to run off but within sight, come back regularly and indicated when she wanted to go home. To cut a long story short we eventually convinced the owner to rehome her with a family that had a SAHM as she started to have behaviour issues.

In regards to being too small to be a sheep dog - farmers look at the dog's sheep chasing behaviour. In this case the dog is deaf so can't hear signals so is not good for herding. It's common in the UK for farmers to sell cheaply or give away sheep dogs that they consider useless for herding.

Anyway if you can't give the dog enough to do and a lot of exercise then you need rehome the dog. I've met sheep dogs whose job was to keep a check on horses and others in very large gardens where there were other dogs. Their intelligence means they are nosey but if stimulated enough will behave e.g. not get out of fences.

Just asking for SAHM and retirees isn't enough the person needs to be prepared to train her to do something e.g. agility. You should try and rehome her yourself if possible so you can check what type of environment she would be living in.

Good luck whatever you decide.
You think an 18 lb border collie mix would have the same exercise needs as a 35 lb (average weight) full border collie? I wouldn't have thought so.

How did she do today??
Originally Posted by CurlyCanadian
It's been getting better, I guess. I have a new hard sided crate now that actually holds her in. She barks and cries and bangs on the gate when I put her in it but I noticed she once went into it voluntarily when I was home.

The rescue gave me the # to their traininer; they want me to start working w/ him/her. They said they "really want this to work" (meaning us adopting her). Pressure

But no, there is no way I can provide the exercise equivalent of a day of herding sheep on a farm. I wouldn't have thought a mix that is half the size of a full border collie would need that much exercise. Ugh, I wish ppl would be more careful about breeding their dogs! There are so many large/working/herding/guarding/etc dogs around that just aren't compatible w/ the lifestyles of the average family.
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Last edited by spiderlashes5000; 03-23-2015 at 10:19 AM.
It might need more!
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