Animal Welfare Professionals

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  • 1.  Escape Artist Dog

    Posted 04-08-2019 08:04 PM

    I just adopted a Pyrenees/Lab mix puppy (she's 8 months old and 65 pounds) who hated the crate. She escaped one, I bought a very sturdy expensive one, and she escaped that too. I moved to using a pet gate so she could stay in the kitchen and she is clearly so much happier, but she pushed the gate over (it was pressure mounted) and destroyed my living room. I don't think she has separation anxiety because she is very independent and she isn't crying or barking... just being a puppy and chewing things she shouldn't. I don't know what to do ... I'm looking for a sturdier gate, but I'm guessing she'll figure out a way to break that too. Any thoughts? She doesn't like Kongs, so "giving her something to keep her busy" while I'm gone is really hit or miss.


  • 2.  RE: Escape Artist Dog

    Posted 04-09-2019 01:17 AM

    As you know your pet is independent and also she is not crying and barking. I think she just wants to play with all those things around her. 


  • 3.  RE: Escape Artist Dog

    Posted 04-10-2019 07:07 AM

    Totally agree- the issue is her destroying things of value. I think I just have to get a really expensive unescapable crate...


  • 4.  RE: Escape Artist Dog

    Posted 04-09-2019 02:10 AM

    I've fostered feral and terrified dogs for 20 years. Some dogs have anxiety about being confined. In my experience as a foster, it doesn't always matter what the exact diagnosis is, our goal is always the same end. We want a well trained, happy, friendly lifetime family member. 20 years ago we didn't use medications on pets. Once I experienced a dramatic transformation with a feral Border Collie using mild medication from a vet, and it caused me to change my mind and my procedures. Animals and humans need to learn HOW to communicate, and part of that is the dog learns faster if not under severe stress. I often use medications when I see anxiety behaviors because I've found when I use them for several months, I can then wean them down and off the medication. The thing is the medication is not "the cure". It MUST be part of a very purposeful education. Training classes with dogs are the first step. Though I know how to train dogs, there is definitely something special about going to training classes. They learn from watching other dogs and the socialization there. It's also nice to have another set of eyes watching the dog to see behaviors and help me with timing and cues. Sometimes standard training must be adapted for a dog. It's also important to do ALL the things regularly with the dog that we expect it to be able to do: brushing, cutting nails, bathing (=groomer?), riding in car, going to park to walk and practice training, taking treats from strangers, go to vets office just for a treat etc. I have a large pack of my own so I pair each dog with the best "helper dog" for their personality. Usually that is an adult or senior calm dog. But all dogs get to interact inside and outside with a small pack. There are important tips for overcoming phobias and anxiety. NEVER EVER punish them for being afraid or stressed. It makes it worse. **Play and exercise, and small (15 minutes, twice daily) training lessons are mandatory.** No matter how scared the dog seems, after they learn the schedule, they get small doses of what they need to learn, followed by time to decompress quietly and absorb what they've learned. This can be calmly laying on floor, next to me on couch, or in a crate. After they learn a "baby step", I move them to the next step, and they never realize they are learning. Sometimes even if it looks futile, you should stick with it. I had a very extreme puppy mill rehabilitation. The dog was so terrified she was abandoned by the rescue that got her from the puppy mill. Each weekend I took kids and dogs to the dog park. She would run the back fence line and somebody said, "Why do you bring that dog, she doesn't like it"? I laughed and said, "Wait and see, she will!". Six months later the person could not believe that same dog was greeting multiple people and playing like a normal dog. Yes it was stressful for her, but she learned from my other dogs it was FUN, and she was calmer after she got to run some of her stress off. She honestly had all the signs of extreme PTSD, including terrible nightmares. This may have been because we found in an x-ray, she had been previously shot. This horrifically traumatized dog honestly became the dog I could most count on and helped me rehabilitate HUNDREDS of other dogs! She was the "greeter" when people came to visit. I'm sorry for being so verbose. My point is to stress 1. Dogs can have psychological issues and deserve help for them 2. We MUST make training, regular exercise, socialization, and variety part of their life if we want a long term family member. 3. Don't wait to start! The faster you start, the faster they heal! It's worth the journey :)


  • 5.  RE: Escape Artist Dog

    Posted 04-10-2019 07:09 AM

    Thanks! But she’s definitely not terrified or traumatized. 


  • 6.  RE: Escape Artist Dog

    Posted 04-09-2019 03:15 PM

    Please watch a Dodo video entitled Odd Couples about a nervous dog that suffers from separation anxiety and a surprising solution to this common problem.


  • 7.  RE: Escape Artist Dog

    Posted 04-10-2019 07:12 AM

    That would be awesome, but I can’t afford another animal. Also this dog definitely isn’t nervous. I’m just going to splurge on an expensive crate that can’t be escaped from. 


  • 8.  RE: Escape Artist Dog

    Posted 04-09-2019 04:43 PM

    swolinsky65...Great Idea! The Pyr in dog will make it want to have something to guard (take care of) and the Lab part (well known for having separation anxieties and being hyper, yet loving) will have something to love!

    There's another thing that is an amazing help to dogs with anxiety. I totally forgot it because it's just natural to me, MASSAGES. Here's a medical article detailing what happens in humans, and it applies to dogs too: Basically, it's saying that massage promotes all the natural "feel good" hormones AND it truly reduces "stress hormones". They found, solely using massage, stress hormone levels reduced as much as 45%! It's AMAZING to do this for a developing brain. It literally changes what the person or pet can accomplish in life! This isn't "petting". It's a real massage of all of them, at least once a day, for 20 to 30 minutes.  Start at the head and do all of them, ears, face, feet, back, stomach, and even the tail. It was mainly with massage that I was able to transform the traumatized puppy mill Leonberger I spoke of. I witnessed how much it changed her. It was truly worth the time. BTW: While you are massaging a dog, experiments have proven you increase YOUR feel good hormones too, so it's a double win!

    Looked on Amazon, this one might be good:

    Hope it helps, Holly


  • 9.  RE: Escape Artist Dog

    Posted 04-10-2019 12:25 PM

    Congratulations on adopting a new puppy! My top tip from my experiences with adopting and fostering bigger pups: Every day tire out your pup before you leave, both physically (exercise) and mentally (training). How much of each is needed depends on your dog and just like a human you'll want to gradually ramp up the exercise intensity and duration. I fostered lab mix pups that needed two hours before I went to work and another hour after I came home too - and they had each other to play with while I was gone. Let us know if you try that and if it helps!