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I posted on here last week about some trouble I was having with our new 10 month old golden. He came from an amazing breeder and was with her the whole time. He just didn't have the gusto for the show ring and she was going to find him a pet home. This is the second golden we have gotten from her. Here is the problem. He is so stressed in the crate that he actually injures himself trying to escape. We are doing everything in our power to put a positive association with the crate. So we decided not to crate him and give it a whirl with him just gated off to a certain area. He can jump a 5 foot gate! I have started some sound aversion training so that he will stay away from the gate, I thought we were headed in the right direction, to no avail...he escaped again today. I come home everyday to poop or pee in the house. Sometimes both. He pooped in the house twice today. What you have to understand is that he is barely alone. I took him for an hour long walk this morning, and he walked in the front door and went to the basement and pooped while I was wiping my other dogs paws. My husband was with him till 1pm today and I was in the door by 3:30...came home to another big pile in the living room. I am not new to dog ownership-he is my third and I am loosing it. I come home everyday in tears to poop, pee, or some sort of destruction. Sometimes all three. I have a dog walker 5 days a week and am at a total loss as to what to do here. He gets tons of exercise, never has to go more than 2-3 hours without a potty break, has lot of interesting toys...what gives. I suspect he has separation anxiety and his stress relief is pottying in the house. Does that sound insane? Any suggestions? Anything...Thanks for letting me vent.
 

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RIP Sweet Skyler
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Sounds like a kinda stupid question, but, does the little rascal pee & poop while on his walk, or, is he too busy investigating things? Almost sounds like he's so happy & excited to be on the walk and outside that when he gets home he rmembers he hasn't. While not a real big follower of Cesar's I have made a point lately of making sure my pack is in a somewhat calm & submissive (for them!!!) state before taking all three out. It does seem to work to the extent they spend more time in an enjoyable state of mind vs excited. (which in turn means my shoulder is still in its socket!!) For some reason he's not relating the walk & exercise with doggy doddy!! Maybe because of his heightened state of mind.
 

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ksipola,

I can completely understand your frustrations! I am sure it is rough! I wish I had any form of advice but I am clueless?!? Just wanted to send you my thoughts and hugs! I hope someone (which I am sure there will be) to have some helpful advice!

Good Luck!
 

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I contacted a trainer about Flora's anxiety with her crate (she would scream and howl for HOURS and have liquid poops all over her crate.) She gave me this paper, which I followed to the T. It took a LOT of time and patience, but it eventually worked. Flora learned to accept her crate (sorry it's so long!):

Desensitizing to the Crate

*The goal is to have your dog associate only positive things to the crate.

*Practice at least 10 times a day. The more, the better!

*If your dog is struggling with any step of the training, spend an extra day or two or more on the

previous step. Do not move to the next step until your dog shows a CER (“Yippee” response) to the step you are on.

*Note: If your dog already has a negative association to the crate from the past, the training may take a little longer. Be patient and positive with your dog.

Step 1: Toss a few treats in the crate once you notice the last treats are gone. Let your dog go get them as he feels comfortable (probably when you are not around).

Step 2: Toss a treat in crate (you will need really great treats such as hot dogs) – click right before your dog eats it, immediately click again and give another treat (while he’s still in crate and door is open). Click – treat – click – treat, etc. Reward frequently and rapidly.

Step3: Same as step 2 but gradually slow down the clicks and treats.

Step 4: Same as step 2 – but crate door is closed and click – treat through the door. The clicks are quick and the treats are continuous. Before your dog has a chance to get upset, open the door and let him out of the crate. Be sure to stop the treats when you let him out.

Step 5: Same as step 4 but gradually slow down the clicks and treats.

Step 6: Same as step 5 but even slower.

Step 7: Give your dog the Kong stuffed with really great treats. Close the door and stay in the same room. Be sure to return to crate to let him out before he is done with the Kong. Take the Kong away when you let him out. Before you know it, he will not want you to return. If he isn’t even interested in the Kong because he is so upset in the crate – you are moving too fast with the training, or find tastier filling for the toy.

Step 8: Same as step 7 but you leave and enter room frequently.

Step 9: Same as step 7 but you leave and enter room periodically.

Step 10: Same as step 7 but leave the room until you’re ready to let him out of crate. Still return BEFORE he is done with the Kong.

Step 11: Gradually increase the time he is in the crate – try adding 10 minutes at a time. You may need 2-3 Kongs to keep him busy while he is in there.



I must have worked on those steps for 2 weeks before I finally was able to leave Flora alone in her crate for over 30 minutes. It was so much work, but definitely worth the feeling of success and relief when I realized Flora wasn't freaking out in her crate anymore. I didn't do the last step - 2 or 3 kongs seemed like a LOT! - but I did save 3 special things solely for her crate, whether it was a bully stick, or a stuffed kong, or a marrow bone. She only got those items in her crate, never outside.

If your dog has SA, then I would really begin working on building up on the time you leave him alone. Rather than leaving him for 2 hours at a pop, start at something simple, like walking outside to get your mail, or taking a stroll around your house. Try ignoring your dog for 5 minutes before you leave, and 5 minutes after you come back into the house. Do you give him something to occupy himself with, like a stuffed kong or a marrow bone? Flora would get so upset in her crate she'd ignore those items, but with some dogs it seems to help.

Believe me, I know how you feel. I was crying all the time because I would constantly be cleaning up poop and it was so gross and so disappointing. It seemed like everyone's puppy/dog accepted the crate eventually, and NO one seemed to have the poop/diarrhea problem I did. It was really frustrating, but with a lot of effort on my part, Flora finally got used to being alone in her crate.

I hope you start feeling better soon. I know how frustrating this is, and my heart aches for you. It will get better if you work at making it better, I promise.
 

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Is there a chance he was mainly kenneled and never properly housebroken in the first place? A neighbor here has a beautiful 14 month old boy from a well known breeder who simply was never, ever taught house basics, but that was not communicated to her. Maybe you could treat this guy like a pup, and just housebreak him all over again, praising huge for pottying outside and teaching him a phrase for it. How about giving a kong stuffed with awesome food when you leave, and an acepromazine sedative from the vet for a month to break the cycle/habit of anxiety?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Quick response to the suggestions so far. I started out leaving him for 5-10 minutes for the first weekand gradually increased it to 30 min. He was fine-of course. He is not alone, he has my other dog with him too (not even sure if that matters). Also, I have started treating him like a puppy with the potty training. We go outside, and the minute he pottys he gets a click and a treat and tons of praise-I have also started saying my catch phrases with him (we started clicker training right away). Ljilly-I thought of the exact same thing with the sedative and kong. And, just and FYI-I have a special kong/bone that I fill and he only gets when I leave.
 

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I would ask the vet what anti anxiety med would work best. It does sound like separation anxiety but the lack of proper housetraining by the breeder makes sense too.
 

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How about the kong suggestion that Ljilly made and trying either some amatryptaline or even better, some Rescue Remedy or melatonin. I personally would start with either the melatonin or Rescue Remedy. They both can help a dog relax, and it does sound like he may have some separation anxiety. Can you double baby gate him into a room? Just stack one on top of the other in the doorway.
 

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My suggestion would be to call a good trainer to come to the house and evaluate him, then help you work on the problem. I agree, I think he has separation anxiety issues. Maybe he is even relating the crate to his aversion with being in the show ring. Good luck this does sound very stressful for all of you.
 

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The Missouri Crew
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Have you called the breeder???? Maybe its the stress of a new home etc.. I have had many foster puppies totally housebroke at my house only to go to there new home and act like they have never been potty trained.
 

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It sounds like somewhere along the way he has learned, or had to, to eliminate in the house.

Sometimes simple things can help. If you have walked him and he didn't go, then when you get home take him straight out the potty area, don't stop in the house, and don't bring him back in until he has pooped.

I'm not sure what to suggest for when you leave him, that does sound more like stress for those instances.
 

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shadow friend
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Okay here is a gate solution. Get another baby gate - one of the not so high ones that cost 11.00. put up your 5 foot gate and secure. Next, put up the new gate on top of the first gate and secure. It will look kind of like a cell door but it should do the job for now.
 

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I hope things are going better. I can't imagine what I'd do in your shoes, bc it sounds like a very tough problem. This is a very lucky dog that you are sticking with him through such a difficult transitions. High hopes that, by this time next year, you'll hardly remember all this and how hard it is!
 

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I think there are some great suggestions here. I'd just add that any and all sound aversion in the house is probably a really bad idea, since it may increase his anxiety level, particularly when he's alone. If he's already stressed when you're gone and then he hears scary noises to boot, it may make the problem worse.

I agree on working on crating so you can use it for the housebreaking. The main begins with his anxiety about being alone, so working through that step by step, starting with the crate, is the way that I would begin if I were in your shoes.
 

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The situation you are describing sounds exactly like what we went through with our Whippet. At about 3 years old he finally became comfortable in his own home being left and not causing mess or destruction. My husband stopped trying to crate him as he would come home to the dog soiled in his own excretement and the crate and the dog would have to go right into the tub. The last straw for crating was when he ripped out a toenail trying to dig out of the crate. So he wasn't crated but he chewed coffee tables, base boards and pooped and peed in the house for abut 2+ years but it was easier than cleaning the crate. (I was not living with my DH at this time)

We cannot leave him with anyone to go away because he trashes people's homes, etc. The last dog sitter tried crating him after he trashed her home the first night and he badly cut himself up trying to escape the crate. We still have the odd issue with him but we have found that consistency in his schedule and surroundings help a lot. His problems I believe stem from the fact that for the first 7 months of his life at the breeders he was kept exclusively in a cage in the breeders basement. He never saw life outside of that basement kennel. He did his business there and lived there 24/7 in almost complete isolation. Dallas was born in July and never saw the outdoors until he was adopted in February by my husband. I guess due to finally having a human companion and love he was fearful of losing it. My husband couldn't even shower without the dog trying to get in too at first.

Good luck with your pup and I feel for you as I have been through it.
 

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A resource that may help

Patricia McConnell, who I think is really excellent, wrote a booklet about dealing with separation anxiety. It is called I'll Be Home Soon. It is only 36 pages, but has some really good strategies for helping with these issues. It mostly deals with trying to desensitize the dog to the signs that you are leaving, since most separation anxiety is at its worst as the person gets ready to leave, at the moment the person leaves, and for a few minutes afterwards. She does things like has you notice what cues (grabbing your purse, picking up your keys, etc.) your dog starts to worry about and then has you work on reducing the negative associations with those cues. I only skimmed it several months ago, since what I thought was developing separation anxiety in my pup really wasn't. I would definitely recommend it though, especially if you don't want to or can't call a trainer. This sounds really hard and I hope it gets better soon. Good luck!
 

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How are things going?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Things are not so good-I have worked soooo hard at making the crate a good place. He is now walking in their on his own to go take a nap. We decided that while we were trying to fix this crate problem we would just accept the destruction, but it is getting worse. We need to replace 2 rugs now, a cordless phone (don't even know how he got that one), pillows on the sofa and 2 dining room chairs need to be repaired. So today I decided that this would be the first day he would be put in the crate for 1 hour alone-he has been in there for up to about 40 minutes now. Well, he somehow escaped again, even though I had extra locks all over the crate and destroyed another rug in the process. I know this is horrible but I am reaching a breaking point. I am stressed to the point of being sick to my stomach while at work, I am worried about him injuring himself, worried about what new will be destroyed when I get home. A little part of me thinks that he is just unhappy here and that he was somewhat traumatized when he was taken away from where he was born and grew up. Is that possible?
 

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shadow friend
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He's traumatized when you leave more likely. Seperation anxiety? Plus maybe idle hands the root of all evil - meaning, he's bored? Give him stuff to keep him busy. I'm having issues figuring what to do with mine as well - he's coming on 6 months. It's a tough time but I know I will not accept that he will just destroy my house the next few months.
 

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What has the breeder said...surely they had to have seen some of this behavior with him. As they've been with him the longest, they could advise on what worked for them. Was he a house dog at the breeder or kept kenneled?
 
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