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SS Cressa

Uncomfortable in Kennels

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I do apologize since I know this is a basic question. I have always used kennels with my dogs. Out of the 5 dogs I have had 4 either loved their kennel or tolerated it as a place to be while I’m not home. 
Val on the other hand has never liked kennels. As a puppy if you put him in a kennel he would sulk about it after letting him out. He wouldn’t eats treats you put in the kennel. He wouldn’t even go back into the kennel to eat the treats! Toys placed in the kennel he would either ignore or as quick as possible grab it and dart back out. His dislike of the kennel didn’t bother me much until recently(he is now 7.5 years old). From 5 months until around 6 he was trustworthy left loose. No accident. He didn’t get into anything. No destructive behavior. Three things happen which made me need to use the kennel more. He has always been pressure sensitive. As a puppy he was not super fond on tunnels eithers.

1. He is severely thunderphobic and scared of firework. He escaped my house during a thunderstorm while I was at work. He also chewed through the kennel to again escape my house during a different thunderstorm while I was at work. He now does take Xanax to help him cope during storms. I have tried to desensitize him to the noise without luck yet. He never wanted treats, or toys, playing sound on the tv he falls back to sleep it’s the real deal that sends him panicking. I had to get a heavy duty kennel and during storms he has to be kennel if I’m not home.

2. I got a terrier, Parker. When I’m home they are best buds 90% of the time. For the first 1.5-2 years Parker needed to be kennel since... terrier lol he got into everything and would eliminate inside. I started to leave the terrier loose when he started being calmer. I ended up having to separate Val since the second I leave he would become an a$$h@t to Parker. Val then escalated to being an asshat to Parker even if parker was confined. So I started separating them. When I am present Val is super tolerant to Parker it only happens when I leave. 

3. He started to be destructive within the last 3 months when I put him in my room. He damaged  the door and door frame recently making me have to use the kennel. Also he will at random times get into my cupboard and eat stuff when loose meaning I need to either have him confined  to my room or kennel. He has gotten past any barriers I put up. When he is naughty it stresses him more or when he is at level of stressed he doesn’t cope well.
 

I am still trying to make the kennel pleasant for him. He was, before being destructive to my room, taking Kong’s in his kennels since I would rotate between kennel and my room. Any bedding left in the kennel would be destroyed but he would take Kong’s and bones. I was also trying to do trick training in his kennel to make him more comfortable in the space (sit, down, stand, paw) with the door open and closed. I would also close the kennel and walk into another room without incident. When I actually leave though he starts squeaking, and now won’t touch the Kong’s or bones in his kennel. This last time he even had knocked the water dish off and was quite upset. Also it looked like he chewed on the kennel. The other thing is this is mainly when he is at home! At my sister house you can kennel him, he readily comes, and he is relaxed... even sleeping in a kennel. He doesn’t squeak when i put him in a kennel at her house and leave. It’s mainly at my house. 

Does anyone have suggestions? I was thinking of taking to a behaviorist once I can save up $$$ and have available time during the week. I’m also ordering more calm/anxiety med. (CBD oil for him, pheromones, and calming treats) I can also give him xanax if needed but it makes him have mad munchies.

We are going to traveling to Idaho for a 2 week vacation in the fall. He is joining us but at the Airbnb he will need to also be kennel if left behind when we go to a non dog friendly place.

 

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I'm sorry I don't have any suggestions for your main issues but have 2 observations.

I do not believe a truly noise phobic dog -- the kind that seem to have a genetic origin as in many of our border collies -- can be desensitized. These are the dogs who can tell the difference between the sound artificially created and the real thing. If it were me I wouldn't bother continuing on that route and look into other ways to mitigate it, such as meds or other calming mechanisms depending on the efficacy.

You've mentioned that he only acts this way re: the crate at home, but not at your sister's. It makes me wonder how he'll do kenneled at the Airbnb. It might be worth it to try to go somewhere away from home for a weekend or even just an overnight for a test run to see if it'll even be an issue.

That's a whole lot of weird behavioral change over the past year and a half. Best of luck to you.

 

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The thunder/firework phobia started when he was 2.5 years old shortly after neutering. I wasn’t as concern about that since we are hopefully managing it with medications. Shortly after the phobia appeared he started having seizures. After each seizure he gets a little more quirky fortunately he doesn’t have them often. :( I might be pessimistic but I just mentioned what we tried since a lot of people mention them to desensitize the phobia. 

Most of my vacation has always included the dogs. So while he has always join at cabins, hotels, campsites... he has never had to be left behind. Tbh the airBnB might not even be an issue since a lot of the places in Idaho are dog friendly or he may just stay in the car at the non dog friendly places.

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If this were my dog I'd consider talking to my regular vet about using medication daily (lower dose Xanax maybe or something else with less side effects for him) to take the edge off a bit while you save up for the behaviorist and continue to practice with the crate on your own. 

One of the big challenges with turning a crate into a safe space with training or counter conditioning alone is that you put in lots of work all weekend and then mostly undo it all when you leave the dog to be uncomfortable in the crate on Monday. I've seen some success pairing training with medication to reduce the stress of crating or other scary things that must be encountered even while you're struggling with the issue. 

Some people think a dog can't learn and take meds at the same time but in humans we pair pharmaceutical, behavioral and other therapies quite often with great success.

Also, heads up, some of the CBD products don't play nice with seizure meds and cannot be given at the same time. My understanding is that they use the same receptors in the brain and the CBD can block all of them and the seizure meds can't work. This is not an issue if they're given hours apart typically.

Also, one more CBD caution, they can have some small amount of THC in CBD product, THC is rough on dogs and may be fatal in high doses, if you're using a treat be cautious that he doesn't get to the whole bag, especially true for your terrier if he's a little guy. A Chihuahua, 5lbs if I remember, may have recently died of THC overdose from CBD treats but it's not totally conclusive.

Edit: Just reread and saw you went with CBD oil, that's great, I'm going to leave my comments about the treats I'm case they help you or someone else someday.

Edited by Rigby
Didn't read original post well enough the first time around

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I didn’t know seizures meds and CBD were bad given at the same time. Fortunately he isn’t on seizures meds anymore!

I will definitely be putting it in a dog proof cupboard to keep them safe from dogs who have munchies but good to know they can possibly OD on it! Val gets mad munchies from xanax.

Im getting both CBD oil and CBD treats. I’m really hoping the treats works for him. They are CBD and L-theanine soft treats. 

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I have the same problem so I'm going to join in and follow answers to original post (and share anything I learn)! A year ago, I rescued a border collie. The vet believes that the dog may have been neglected and he has terrible separation anxiety. He is NOT crate-trained and is petrified of storms. I have tried (unsuccessfully) to make the crate a safe, fun place (leaving door open/treats or toys inside/left food inside). He's so smart, he didn't fall for it. He used to sleep outside my bedroom door. Once, I was inside my room (he was outside) and I said his name. Since that time, he scratches at doors if he thinks I'm on the other side (which has damaged several doors). So, I've let him sleep in my room near my bed, but now he has started jumping up on the bed and lies his body across my neck. I am recovering from surgery, so I have got to get some sleep. (It's 3:23 a.m.now). This has been going on for months now. I have tried to put him in the crate. He puts all his legs around the crate and becomes dead weight. He's fine once I get him in, but he hates it. Lately, his crate-avoidance behaviors have worsened. He acts afraid of me (not just the crate)!  I have found a place that does training, but it's $660 for 12 sessions and I'm on medical leave (and not earning a full paycheck). So, I thought I'd ask if anyone has any advice on training an adult (possible 3- to 4-year-old) border collie who may have been left (or may have had such negative experience) with a crate. I need help! Thanks (in advance).

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@Mely If you are home and you just need to keep the dog off you/the bed while you recover from surgery I'd probably try just tieing him, with a leash, to a heavy price of furniture in the room you're in. Set him up so he's comfortable. I would not recommend leaving him tied if you are leaving the house but whole you're home it's totally fine and some dogs prefer it to a crate. 

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On 3/9/2020 at 12:29 AM, SS Cressa said:

The thunder/firework phobia started when he was 2.5 years old shortly after neutering.

That's about the age it usually develops in my experience, and I doubt it had anything to do with neutering. My absolute worst thunder/fireworks/gunshot phobic border collie was intact all his life. And it started when he was about 2 years old (sorry, more precise memory doesn't extend that far back for me, but I do know it was was the summer of his 2nd year, born in Feb.).

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@Mely, one thing I'd do is to feed him every meal in his crate. Leave the door open, just put the food dish in and walk away. You may have to put it right inside the door at first so he doesn't actually have to go in to eat, then gradually further back as he becomes more comfortable. If he doesn't eat at first, don't cave and feed him outside the crate. Make sure he sees you set the bowl just inside the crate door, then walk away quietly. Let him approach in his own time. A healthy dog won't starve itself, so when he gets hungry enough he'll put his nose in to eat. This isn't a matter of intelligence but of fear overriding his desire for whatever's inside the crate. It'll take time, maybe a long time, for that to abate.

In general, with the amount of anxiety the dog has, I'd be talking to the vet about some sort of calming supplement or even medication that might help ease his anxiety enough that he can be comfortable enough in his own skin to make some progress. There are a number of calming treats on the market with different ingredients, and pheromone products. Some dogs tend to respond better to some and not at all to others, so you might have to try several. One of my dogs does well with melatonin for his noise phobia though I've heard that others don't respond at all. My anxious, reactive girl is on CBD oil and fluoxetine. There are other meds for more severe cases. Clomicalm (sp?) is another to ask about.

Good luck.

 

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So I got Val CBD oil, CBD treats, composure treats, and calming pheromones (collar and diffuser). 

We also been doing calming sessions daily in the living room. I also moved his kennel. 
 

Work Day 1 Thursday : I gave him xanax, CBD oil, Pheromones collar, and composure / CBD treats in a kong in his kennel. I didn’t have to fight him to go to his kennel and he wasn’t acting as stressed about me going to work. We did calming training in the living room. He squeaked a couple time In his kennel but sounded like he calm down. However when I got home his water dish was pulled off the kennel door making me think he was stressed. 

Work Day 2: Not as stress with me getting ready for work. We did calm training in the living room where his kennel is. I did give him CBD oil, pheromones collar, and CBD/composure treats in his Kong. I also left him loose with his sister. Had an xpen set up so he couldn’t get into anything. Got home from work and he was WAYYY more relaxed. 

The weekend he seem calmer? Idk the right term. He normally in play always has a competitive edge and a drive to be first,  which he didn’t display. The weekend I left the calming pheromones collar on him. He also got CBD oil and just 1 CBD treat in the morning. 
 

Work Day 3 Monday: he got CBD oil, CBD /composure treats in a kong, and wearing his pheromones collar. Did a brief calming session in the living room. I left him by himself in the living room with the xpen up. He gave no problems going into the living room and when I got home he was relaxed.

Work day 4 (today): he got 1/2 dosage of CBD oil, CBD treat in a kong, and wearing his pheromones collar. I didn’t do calming training this morning but I did leave his sister in the living room with him and the xpen up. Today I put his kong in the kennel with the door open. He actually went into his kennel happily, didn’t immediately try to escape but was playing with his kong IN the kennel. I didn’t shut the kennel door but left it open. Will see how he is when I get home. 
 

I don’t want him acting drugged, just not anxious.

-The pheromones collar and diffuser is supposed to be going 24/7.
-Composure is supposed to only last up to 4 hours.

-I’m not sure how long xanax is supposed to stay in their system but on 4th of July it definitely doesn’t last him 12 hours more like 4 hours. I was only using half a dosage in this circumstance.

-CBD oil is supposed to last 24hours but some site mention it only last 4-6 hours

-CBD treats should last for about 4-6 hours

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@SS Cressa, most of what I've read about CBD added to treats is that it's very questionable and probably unlikely that the CBD remains viable through whatever heat process is used to make them. AFAIK they're not cheap, so you're probably better off spending the money on good quality CBD oil and increasing the dose a bit.

Very happy to see that you seem to be having some good results with Val! That's so encouraging.

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@GentleLake I’m currently using Honest Paw soft CBD calming treats and oil. They are supposedly tested to verify the ingredients and strength. They also have the lab results posted for each product. Lol I’m not the most knowledgeable about interpreting lab results but it seem legit. Which was why I went with them. I really like the ingredients in the soft treat why I tried them. 
 

and yes I am happy he isn’t as worried. Lol now to get him back in his kennel being relaxed. I didn’t want him to associate the calming treats/oil with his anxiety trigger. 
*tbh I’m curious to see how he will handle his true triggers if we get this anxiety under control.

I’m not 100% if it is the pheromones helping him or the CBD helping be calmer. 

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He has still been way more relaxed. I also have been putting his kong in his kennel when I leave. He seems to go into the kennel with the door open for about 3 minutes before bringing the kong out. 
I have still been giving him the CBD oil and treats plus composure and he is wearing his pheromones collar. When I gave him a little less CBD oil he was acting a little stressed. Lol that all might be a moot point since until covid-19 is passed (hope it does die out!)  I will be working from home now. 
Hope everyone is staying safe! 

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So quick update. I have still been using the kennel just for shorter time periods since now I’m home 24/7. :ph34r: He has been pretty relaxed in his kennel when I put him in. 
We actually had a bad thunderstorm a couple days ago. One woke me up and made me jump out of my skin. He still needed Xanax but he was calm again within 15 minutes! Normally it can take up to 45min for it to kick in. The second thunderstorm was during the day this time it took him closer to 30 minutes to calm down.

Im starting to see some OCD behaviors now. I’m not sure if it’s just because I have been trying to pay attention to stress signals or if they are appearing since he is calmer. 

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