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Buster, Plan C failed also


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My husband and I are at our wit's end with Buster and his escapes. We bought him a 10x10 x 6 ft kennel to keep him in the yard during the day. There is a tarp over the top and we live in the woods where it is shady all day. Today I got a call on my cell from a neighbor who found him on her porch. My Father in Law went and got him and put him back in the kennel after he couldn't see where he would have gotten out. He went in to get some water and when he came back out he found Buster hanging by one paw stuck in between the corner posts at the top where he had tried to climb out. He went out and held him up while my MIL went to get something to pry the poles apart. He said he held him for about a half hour - FIL has a bad heart and Buster weighs about 45lbs. So right now they are both in the house. My husband is on his way home to dogsit and put up a hotwire fence. Buster needs a full time human companion and I don't know what to do. Before the second escape attempt of the day I made an appointment with the vet to up his dose of Clomicalm, but that isn't until Tuesday. If Buster wasn't 11 I would think about finding him a home where he gets 24/7 attention. I don't know that there would be a place for him anywhere. This would be so much easier if he wasn't such a nice sweet dog.

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It works really well for awhile, and then I have to increase his doseage. He is still taking a relatively small dose as defined by the suggested range. Part of his problem is probably that he can't adjust from spending the weekends with us, to us leaving him alone all day while we are at work. We take him with us when we go away on the weekends. He has an identical kennel where he is left when we go into town, he never fusses, he justs naps until we return, that is the disconnect I can't figure out.

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My husband and I are at our wit's end with Buster and his escapes. We bought him a 10x10 x 6 ft kennel to keep him in the yard during the day. There is a tarp over the top and we live in the woods where it is shady all day. Today I got a call on my cell from a neighbor who found him on her porch. My Father in Law went and got him and put him back in the kennel after he couldn't see where he would have gotten out. He went in to get some water and when he came back out he found Buster hanging by one paw stuck in between the corner posts at the top where he had tried to climb out. He went out and held him up while my MIL went to get something to pry the poles apart. He said he held him for about a half hour - FIL has a bad heart and Buster weighs about 45lbs. So right now they are both in the house. My husband is on his way home to dogsit and put up a hotwire fence. Buster needs a full time human companion and I don't know what to do. Before the second escape attempt of the day I made an appointment with the vet to up his dose of Clomicalm, but that isn't until Tuesday. If Buster wasn't 11 I would think about finding him a home where he gets 24/7 attention. I don't know that there would be a place for him anywhere. This would be so much easier if he wasn't such a nice sweet dog.

 

 

In my kennels I have the smae chain link top as the sides are made of. I don;t feel a tarp is a good enough solid barrier to eliminate what your dog did. Then I put pallets down on the ground and plywood over that to they have no access to ground to dig out of. I do not have problem dogs at all, so cannot comment on why your's appears to anxious and wanting out. I am just paranoid about loosing a dog so I try and cover all the bases. I know there have been dogs to eat their way out of chain link though. The kennel I about to try and buy from Costco is small square wire which seems as though it ould be tough.

 

Good luck with your dog.

 

Carolyn

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He has an identical kennel where he is left when we go into town, he never fusses, he justs naps until we return, that is the disconnect I can't figure out.

 

IS there a reason you can't leave him in that kennel? Is there a time cut off where he becomes anxious?

Poor guy and poor you, 11 is an age where I'd hate to be trying to find him a new home. What about doggy daycare?

Not that I could afford it but desprate times call for desprate measures.

 

I work from home, my dogs sleep the whole time I'm working which can range between 4-8 hours so they go for long periods of time where they are not moving, a kennel wouldn't be any different than what mine do naturally.

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Sorry for the confusion, the other kennel is at our property in the mountains where we go on the weekends. When I can work from home, Buster spends the whole day sleeping also. Even when we are away, he isn't very active, he spends most of his time sleeping under the truck even though he has the run of the place. I checked into doggie daycare - $25 a day and there is an hour and a half "nap time" which involves being crated. This is more than I pay for full care for my horse! I just don't have the money to put out.

 

He is just totally determined not to be locked up. A little more than a week after we first set up the kennel, he clawed his way thru the chainlink and got out near the door. My FIL was just driving up when he saw Buster trotting down the road. He put a 40lb cement block by the door and that seemed to have held for the past couple of months. There is a little voice that says perhaps he would be okay if he was left in the house and we just lock up the cats (they can be overly friendly or pushy) but the level of destruction that he visited on the garage would be devastating inside the house proper.

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I'm sorry that I don't know more about the history here -- But is Buster an only dog? Have you considered adding a second dog so that he wouldn't be alone?

 

I can tell you that if I leave any one of my dogs home alone they freak out and have a hissy fit, but if two are left together then they don't seem to care. Dogs are pack animals, they don't want to be left alone.

 

And I agree that a tarp isn't going to cut it for a known kennel climber.

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There is a little voice that says perhaps he would be okay if he was left in the house and we just lock up the cats (they can be overly friendly or pushy) but the level of destruction that he visited on the garage would be devastating inside the house proper.

 

How about limiting him to one room that you've taken any valuable stuff out of? Or are you worried about tearing up drywall/other structural elements?

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At least for a test you could try and contain him in the house but I wouldn't try the bathroom if crates aren't good. I think they feel like giant crates. But that's me not the dog.

I remember how he tore up your garage and I'd be worried big time about the house, could you set up a video cam like the ones they sell hunters and leave for short bouts of time watching the video to see what, when and how long he can be alone?

My parents had one set up outside to see what was killing their chickens, compared to doggie daycare it's not to expensive, better yet would be to know a hunter that might use one you could borrow. I"m sure you could rig a reg. video but if you don't own one, probably more expensive.

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Thanks for all of the suggestions, there is no way we can leave him in the house. Not to value possessions above the dog, but the bathrooms have been re-done and we have plaster walls in the rest of the house, not something that is easily or cheaply repaired. The tarp over his kennel was put there to make sure he had sufficient shade and protection from rain. In my wildest dreams I did not think he could climb out. My husband is just about done installing the electric fence, we live in an area that is very rocky and there are lots of tree roots - which is why we aren't too concerned about him digging his way out, but this makes it difficult to find a place to put in the ground rod to finish the install. Fingers crossed that we are craftier than he is.

 

The woman who found him the other day works in a vet's office, she was going to ask around to see if anyone dogsits, my upcoming concern is the winter time, I really don't want to leave and elderly dog out in nasty weather.

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Thanks for all of the suggestions, there is no way we can leave him in the house. Not to value possessions above the dog, but the bathrooms have been re-done and we have plaster walls in the rest of the house, not something that is easily or cheaply repaired.

 

It's not a matter of valuing possessions over the dog -- in addition to risking thousands of dollars of damage, the dog could become sick or worse from eating stuff he shouldn't. I feel so bad for both you and Buster. Hope you can find a solution soon!

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I had an enlightening day today working from home. Buster has been sleeping quietly most of the day. It is a little windy and some branches and black walnuts have fallen on the house and the deck. Sleeping dog became most agitated, panting and trying to climb into my lap. I confess, a few have caused me to jump, but I have been calm, and I tried to keep my interaction with Buster brief along the lines of its okay, you can go lay down, everything is fine - and then I ignore him and he settles down. I am meeting with the Vet on Tuesday to discuss his meds, I wonder if he just needs a little more than he is currently getting. I don't think it will be a magic bullet, but perhaps it will help keep him in the yard.

 

My husband, the ground for the electric fence and the rocks are getting ready for round 3. The first went in about 2 ft and wouldn't come back out. He sawed it off and tried again with the same results. So tonight is go buy another and try again. I won't be putting Buster back in the kennel, too high a risk of him hurting himself. This needs to be fixed so I can return to work on Monday, I don't want my boss to run out of understanding.

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I think I missed most of this thread so I apologize if you already went over this...but have you tried an aluminum dog crate? Or, have you tried a really strong kennel run such as http://www.optionsplus.com/diamondkennels.htm ? I have the diamond series for my belgian malinois and german shepherds. While they can get out of a chain link run very easily, they cannot get out of these at all, especially with the grate roof panels. Just a thought but it has probably already been mentioned.

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Thanks for the suggestions but we can't spend another thousand dollars on trying to keep Buster contained. Need to vent. In the past couple of years Buster has demolished the sheetrock in the garage to a height of about 3 feet, it is currently covered in plywood, he has destroyed the overhead garage door which before it was replaced was covered in plywood, we still need to replace the door and frame of the outside garage door, the door and frame of the door leading into the house. He demolished the room my husband built him to try to keep him contained where he wouldn't do any damage. He tore down and shredded the curtains. We purchased an electronic fence which we were able to return when we realized that it wasn't going to work, and this past weekend, he climbed out of the hotwire fence that my husband installed. I spent $350 on the vet behaviorist and I don't know how much on my regular vet. I know that you are supposed to practice behavior modification with the meds, but when you ask him to do anything, he shuts down.

 

Currently he is chained inside his kennel so he can't get to the sides to climb. My husband is going to get more plywood and cover the inside corners, the door which is mangled, and the top.

 

As I have said before, Buster is a wonderful, obedient, friendly dog, he is just insane when we are not at home. I think there is something hopelessly broken in his head. I haven't given up, but I just don't know what to do anymore. If he was a nasty dog, there would be no issue. After making a bad choice of a companion for him (she had worse SA than him it turned out) my husband is unwilling to try that route again. Thank you all for your advice and suggestions. I hope the latest fix works at least for awhile and perhaps we can come up with another solution.

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wow! Poor guy......I do hope the medication works for him. You have certainly gone to great lengths to try and keep him comfortable and safe. If you do get at your wits end but don't want to give him up, I would try that run in 5 foot square with a top. I think it would be about $550. A lot of money especially considering what you have already tried....but even our working belgian malinois can't put a dent in them and they can demolish anything if they decide they want to get out :-) I wonder though even if you tried a run he cannot get out of, if he will continually hurt himself trying....

 

Best of luck with your boy.

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The trip to the vet was rather sobering. He suggested returning to the behaviorist and that the drug alone is not going to help. How do you do behavior modification to a dog who acts like you are punishing him when you ask him to learn something new? On the plus side, he agreed to give me an Rx for generic Clomicalm which will save me about $45 a month. I also met up with a young woman who is going to the local tech school, they have doggy daycare, I left a message to find out more.

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The trip to the vet was rather sobering. He suggested returning to the behaviorist and that the drug alone is not going to help. How do you do behavior modification to a dog who acts like you are punishing him when you ask him to learn something new?

 

I'm sorry you didn't get some answers you were hoping for. I wish I could think of something to suggest. The only thing I can think of is trying a holistic vet if the behaviorist was not much help or finding a different behaviorist. The holistic vet is probably a long shot, but Quinn had some weird sound sensitivity he developed a few summers ago and it became enough of a problem that he frequently was too nervous to stay outside in his own backyard even if he was play fetch (second only to sheep for him). The holistic vet gave him a remedy and to my amazement the noise sensitivity faded steadily until he was back to his original level (some sound reactivity but nothing serious and with quick recovery when he does spook). Anyway, just a thought. I know sound sensitivity is a very different problem from SA. You have a huge challenge here!

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Thanks for the suggestions but we can't spend another thousand dollars on trying to keep Buster contained. Need to vent. In the past couple of years Buster has demolished the sheetrock in the garage to a height of about 3 feet, it is currently covered in plywood, he has destroyed the overhead garage door which before it was replaced was covered in plywood, we still need to replace the door and frame of the outside garage door, the door and frame of the door leading into the house. He demolished the room my husband built him to try to keep him contained where he wouldn't do any damage. He tore down and shredded the curtains. We purchased an electronic fence which we were able to return when we realized that it wasn't going to work, and this past weekend, he climbed out of the hotwire fence that my husband installed. I spent $350 on the vet behaviorist and I don't know how much on my regular vet. I know that you are supposed to practice behavior modification with the meds, but when you ask him to do anything, he shuts down.

 

Currently he is chained inside his kennel so he can't get to the sides to climb. My husband is going to get more plywood and cover the inside corners, the door which is mangled, and the top.

 

As I have said before, Buster is a wonderful, obedient, friendly dog, he is just insane when we are not at home. I think there is something hopelessly broken in his head. I haven't given up, but I just don't know what to do anymore. If he was a nasty dog, there would be no issue. After making a bad choice of a companion for him (she had worse SA than him it turned out) my husband is unwilling to try that route again. Thank you all for your advice and suggestions. I hope the latest fix works at least for awhile and perhaps we can come up with another solution.

 

In the meantime, I'm going to recommend a place that sells nice padded collars for dogs.

 

http://www.bulldogsupplycompany.com/collars.html

 

They're fairly inexpensive, and if a dog is going to be pulling on a chain, as your's likely is, a wide collar is less likely to hurt their neck. I keep a 2" thick collar on my pit bull (and she has the same neck size as my border collie). Honestly, if you're going to keep him on a chain in a kennel, you might as well just keep him on a chain that's strong enough for him to not break.

 

But regardless of the route you take, a thick padded collar can save your dog some neck pain. They're collars designed for dogs who are going to be hitting the end of a chain. It will disperse the pressure over a wider area.

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Liz, your suggestion made me think that perhaps accupuncture might help, it did a world of good for my horse for other issues. NJ -thanks for the info, but I never had any intention of keeping Buster chained, my husband spent an evening closing in his kennel with wire across the top. A four foot chain was not acceptable as a long term solution.

 

I have re-opened the discussion of getting a companion for Buster, we will be a lot pickier this time, the dog has to be able to be crated at least until we determine that she won't destroy the house or kill the cats while we are asleep. Found a website for a lab breeder who gives away the 6/7 year old females who I guess they no longer want to breed, seem more like a family operation than a puppy mill. I am going to check out some of the rescues, but the last one I contacted wouldn't place a dog with us because we were keeping Buster in the yard during the day on the advice of the behaviorist, he needed to be strictly a house dog. I don't want to lie, whatever dog I get will eventually be kenneled with Buster in the yard when we are at work, until he comes around and can be trusted in the house.

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This is going to be a tough one...do you mean, actually in the same kennel, or in a next door run where Buster can see him? Two dogs shouldn't be in the same run together.

 

I don't want to lie, whatever dog I get will eventually be kenneled with Buster in the yard when we are at work, until he comes around and can be trusted in the house.

 

Just a thought, but if you ran a cost/benefit analysis, can you really rule out day care as "too expensive?" as opposed to getting another dog and trying new methods of containing him and relieving his symptoms (i.e. the cost of acupuncture) that might also not succeed?

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Liz, your suggestion made me think that perhaps accupuncture might help, it did a world of good for my horse for other issues. NJ -thanks for the info, but I never had any intention of keeping Buster chained, my husband spent an evening closing in his kennel with wire across the top. A four foot chain was not acceptable as a long term solution.

 

I have re-opened the discussion of getting a companion for Buster, we will be a lot pickier this time, the dog has to be able to be crated at least until we determine that she won't destroy the house or kill the cats while we are asleep. Found a website for a lab breeder who gives away the 6/7 year old females who I guess they no longer want to breed, seem more like a family operation than a puppy mill. I am going to check out some of the rescues, but the last one I contacted wouldn't place a dog with us because we were keeping Buster in the yard during the day on the advice of the behaviorist, he needed to be strictly a house dog. I don't want to lie, whatever dog I get will eventually be kenneled with Buster in the yard when we are at work, until he comes around and can be trusted in the house.

 

Oh okay, I didn't realize how quickly the kennel was being repaired, but yes, I agree a 4' chain isn't an acceptable solution. I use a 20'.

 

If you do get a 2nd dog, I do not recommend kenneling them together, especially with Buster's SA. Kennel Buster outside and crate the dog inside. I mean, I generally separate mine if I'm going to be gone all day. Both are trustworthy not to destroy anything, but I don't want to risk a stupid spat over a toy escalating when I'm not around. Fortunately, my new house has an INSANE amount of doors, so it's easy to do.

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If I'm reading their situation correctly, the OP is thinking that the second dog will help Buster when they're not at home, so for that plan to work, he will need to be able to see the dog. My thought is this is quite a bit to put on a new dog coming into a household -- remember, the OP noted that they had already tried a second dog and the situation failed. Even among two dogs of solid temperment, there's a "getting to know you" period of adjustment that can last some time. Added to that, Buster's problems means extra challenges.

 

There's a need for long, considered conversations about Buster's SA before bringing another dog home. Sometimes it's easier for one dog to imprint it's less desirable habits, than for the "good" dog to influence the other.

 

Liz

 

 

 

If you do get a 2nd dog, I do not recommend kenneling them together, especially with Buster's SA. Kennel Buster outside and crate the dog inside. I mean, I generally separate mine if I'm going to be gone all day. Both are trustworthy not to destroy anything, but I don't want to risk a stupid spat over a toy escalating when I'm not around. Fortunately, my new house has an INSANE amount of doors, so it's easy to do.
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