I have a 3 year old pit bull that is an angel 95% of the time. He has separation anxiety for sure, but he's not so bad that he follows me around the house. He obeys commands and usually stays home fine alone. But that other 5%... he goes bananas and destroys my house and hurts himself. He has had two crates -- one enclosed plastic crate with a metal grate door and one all metal -- both of which he happily hangs out in while I'm here and sometime while I'm not, but he has permently broken both while trying to escape. Not only has he broken them, but he has broken a tooth (which had to be pulled), has hurt his paws and his nose. He also pees in his crate. But here's the weird thing -- not all the time. You could do anything to him -- crate him, not crate him, leave for 10 hours, leave for 10 minutes, have guests, tie him up alone in the yard for a bit -- and 9 times out of 10 he's fine. Randomly and without warning, that 10th time he goes crazy. He has ruined a couch, a loveseat, a chair, a window, four doors, and countless other small things. He's been to obedience class, he's been to several vets, and he's been on Clomicalm (which I recently stopped because it made him sick). From everything I've read and heard about separation anxiety, he doesn't seem like a classic case because he does it so infrequently. He responds to training, but then still goes wacko everyone once in a while. If he's breaking out of crates and hurting himself, what else can I do? He's become an unbelievable financial burden. I'm beyond the point of being able to "live with it". Does anyone have advice?
***Edited By: fed_up on 7/1/2005 11:16:04 PM*** Reason: forgot something
If you have room at your home, could you put up a small size dog kennel? The type made with chain link fencing. Be sure the fencing is secured to the framing. You can buy the smaller pens, as I doubt most people would have the room to put a 6' X 6' kennel in their home. They are available with tops also, in case he is a climber and could clear a 6' fence.
what about exercise. that could help a great deal. if your not doing it already. also, i would go back to crate training him. try this approach. keep the crate by your bed. feed him in it. also for a formal program put him in it for 30 seconds and sit by the crate let him out and praise do this 3 or 4 times. so, it doesn't become stressful. we don't want to c ause any stress on him. do that for two or three days. then try a minute if he freaks lessen the time. praise him calmly, keep excitement down to a min. then after a you get up to a minute leave the room for 30 seconds of that minute. then come back, let him out calmly praise. do not entertain any crazy excitement. wait till he calms down then give affection. then go to 2 minutes then 5, then 10 all the way to an hour, then 2. i know it sounds like a lot but you have an extreme situation. this will help the dog learn you always come back. make your entrances and exits quite and calm. no affection during major excitement.
That's just it... I do take him for walks and I do crate train him. He is happy as a clam to go in the crate all the time. I do the "leave the house and come back, but ignore him" thing all the time, and he's fine. Days and days go by with no problem, then poof -- instant insanity. He eats in his crate. He even sleeps in the travel crate (sans the door though since he broke it). The metal crate I have takes up half my kitchen and is ruining the floor because he moves it around so much. The basement is not an option because of poor air quality. He responds to all the training he is given, but still acts up once in a while in huge and unpredictable ways. It's like he has another personality that pops up here and there. With the amount of damage he's done to my house and to himself, I really can't afford doggie day care. Plus, he hates most other dogs.
If you are doing it al correctly like it sounds then the unpredictable spazz of your dog sounds like a flaw in the breed or genetics. Why would the dog flip for no reason? Sounds like a situation were a perfectly happy dog plays with a kid and then for no reason attacks them.
DontLikeMuttBreeders, just because you don't like pit bulls, doesn't mean you have to bash others with them.My neighbor's golden had the SAME EXACT problem.
Don't listen, it's nothing that has to do with a breed flaw or genetics. Why try not useing the crates? Do you have any empty bedrooms you could put him in when your gone? You could set up a bed, and put his toys and food and water in there for him, so when your gone he could stay there. When he's good, bring him to the room and praise him. Give him all his treats when he's in there, so it's like a treat to be in the room.
***Edited By: ShadowDog on 7/2/2005 8:42:23 PM*** Reason: add
I am not prejudiced against Pit Bulls, used to have a couple myself. But your dog sounds like a ticking time bomb. If you put him outside in a run, it had better have a concrete floor and a top, if he gets out he is going to do what he was bred for, kill any animal he comes across.
I think this is not a case of seperation anxiety. seperation anxiety occurs almost each and every time someone leaves. I maybe guessing here but something every once in a while is alarming the dog. mailman, sirens, a dog walking by the house. and he wants to either see, or protect the house. and will even go to the point of injuring himself. a dog only does this in ceretain thought patterens, either in prey drive, some dogs will go through fire to retrieve. this is just an example. flight drive AKA fear is another time, a dog is so scared no amount of pain will stop him from fleeing or fight drive or commonly known as aggression. a dog wants to attack something so bad, he will stop at nothing. so, where are we now. you have, i believe succesfully crate trained your dog. and i do not believe this is a seperation thing. something is alarming the dog to the point of the "red zone" normal seperation anxiety involves barking and chewing, not injuring themselves. and like i said seperation anxiety usually occurs regularly not sporadically. this just my opinion but the dog has another issue. this also would explain why your efforts are fruitless. you are solving a problem that is already solved. do you have a video camera? i would video tape the dog in it's crate and see when and exactly how the dog is getting wound up.
Defiantly not breed specific…. Does sound like separation anxiety … dogs are pack animals … and need companionship. You are the pack leader and when you go away… sometimes the dog feels lost, so they will act up to release the tension.
I have 3 rescue dogs ( 1 Boxer-Shep mix female and 2 American Staffordshire Terriers male & female) … I started with the Boxer-Shep. who had separation anxiety to the extreme. Not 2 min could I be out of her site… tried the vet drug therapy and all the training/ exercise suggestions … nothing worked… Until one day my 2nd rescue found me … and overnight … Pow .. new dog! No more problems. Then a few years later my 3rd rescue found me… to this day you would never know they did not come from the same litter. Yes, I know the stories about two pit bulls can’t be together or even with another dog with out supervision… I have never had any problems. I am the pack leader and they follow my lead… after a supervised introduction period to correct any improper behavior …which does take effort and time … the benefits are grand. They all eat out the same food bowl… never are crated and get along beautifully. Maybe another dog would help…. Have your dog evaluated by a professional dog trainer to get the rite advise on temperament and training. Hope this helps...
Although I wouldnt own a Pit Bull myself I am not against any one breed for a reason like that, they do need a certain amount of control compared to other dogs but what I mean is, why would a dog being cared for as well as fed_up descibes be such a pill?
Exept I do know that my German Shepard has serious separation issues. He cant stand being away from me and practicly starved himself when I left for 2 days. Some dogs just go bizzerk when they're left alone. I didnt know that this was common in breeds other than Shepards or Boarder Collies though.
okay wait, back up, what even makes this sound like seperation anixiety. the only thing i can find is that the dog is home alone when it happens. it is happens way to inconsistent to be sep anx. it's anxiety alright but something external is alarming the dog. other wise everytime mommy or daddy left the dog would go bananas. but it is not it is happening at random times. I tell you what mis-diagnosis of a problem is more of a problem than the problem itself. see dogs think like this, especially with somethng like this. operantly or classicly. classicly is like when hear a song and it makes you thin of what a great time you had at those beach parteis at bill's house, because you listened to that song everytime you were there. basically and repeated external stimulation creates an emotional response. dog sees leash, dog gets excited. dog sees mom leave, dog gets anxious. operant is when you go to work on time and do a good job. you get promoted. hoping this will happen again you continue the behavior hoping for another. basically rewarding behavior will cause the likely hood of that to happen again. so now using that. where does that fit into seperation anixety that happens every now and again. the external simulation is there everytime and the the reiforcement, if there are any i bet happen everytime. but the dog is not getting emotional to her absence. it is something else causing this.
seperation anxiety is not common in any dog breed. it is a human induced anixiety. a dog may have tendicied to be a little more attached. but constant coddling and attention as a puppy is what causes this. same thing with a baby, sometimes they cry when you put them down to bed. but the more you coddle the worse it will get. problems in dogs are not usually dog generated, most of the time it is handler error.
dontlikemuttbreeders, i have ti say you gave me a giggle. 2 days and the dog practicly starved. to ease your mind a bit. your dog probably go a month without eating before it started having real issues.
***Edited By: gunny on 7/3/2005 7:18:44 PM*** Reason: g
Sheesh, way to jump down my throught. Zane barely eats enough as it is. He is totally uninterested in food altogether and for him losing weight is real troubble. He has acted this way since I bagan his gaurd training as a young adult, he thinks I am his lord. Good thing or bad thing its what he thinks. He barked for hours at his kennel, so bad that the owner of the facility took him into their house to calm him down. Were talking a big kennel with like 45 dogs or so. He really made an impression... His issues arnt really related to this post though.
dear Fed Up There may be something different on those days that he gets destructive. Separation anxiety is the dogs reaction to being left alone. Hes simply doesn't know what to do when your not there.These dogs that have separation distress are very dependant on their owners, Its almost always the owner that indulges them. Plan your departures from the house. No greetings before leaveing and comeing home. Always have on hand in the freezer (hollow bones filled with yummy stuff, like yoguret, wet dog food, there are many other choices) Have times during the day your dog gets a bone time, even if your home. While hes chewing, be sure you leave the room occasionally, your training the dog to be independant. And in your absents hes constantly rewarded (chewing) when your not presnet in the room. Keep your routine for leaveing the house always the same, Make sure the dog gets 30-60 minutes of good exercise in the morning, before you leave give him his bone just before you leave, and sneak out when he can't see you leave, Get a toy box filled with his toys and some excellent chews. In time he should seek out these items to work off his stress of being alone. He probly has been liveing with this for some time so don't expect overnight success, I would't totally trust the dog for a few weeks.New habits and routines take sometimes up to 6 weeks.