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Dog has become a Harry Houdini, need advice

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So my BC has become a Harry Houdini in a "wow that's amazing," and a "oh boy, that is bad" way. It started where she figured out she could cut screens with her nails and started breaking through open windows. Now she has learned glass is breakable and is breaking the glass out of windows to escape. She doesn't run away - as she's always broken into the yard - but I obviously can't trust her at home now (I just moved to a new spot a week ago). 

Any advice is welcome. What are people's thoughts on e-fences so I can leave her in the yard when I'm gone and while the fences are secure, the e-fence may offer an added sense of security? 

I've never really crated her when I leave but may have to do that. Do craters have any thoughts? I recently separated from my girlfriend so I've never had to crate her while gone, and don't like the idea of her being locked up. 

Some of this is likely nerves as we just moved and I bet she's spooked, but I also can't risk her hurting herself and I can't keep taking these financial hits from this darn dog. 

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  • 1 month later...

Is there something that causes her to try to break out?  A thunderstorm, or a high-pitched noise, or something like that?  Will she do it when you're home, or only when there's nobody at home with her?

I understand your not wanting to think of her being locked up in a crate, but that is really the best answer.  Pathetic as a dog in a crate may look, most of them really like their crates once they get used to them.  if you can trust her when you're at home, you can have her out then for quality time.  If she's reluctant to go in her crate at first, you might start feeding her meals in there.  I don't think an electric fence would contribute anything at all -- I think crating her is the answer.

BTW, I am moving this thread down to General Border Collie Discussion, because this forum is for training border collies to work livestock.

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Crating is one possibility, although I personally would try other things first, I think.

Can you block off the windows? Maybe keep her shut in only one room, with water and toys and everything she needs. And then put furniture in front of the window so that she cannot get to it. Or fit some heavy metal screen like hardware cloth to the window and fasten it there when she is in that room so that she cannot get to the window glass.  Brainstorm this and see what you come up with.

Electric fences are a bad idea, in my opinion. And they really do not work very well, either. A dog who wants to get out will learn that the shock doesn't kill and it's over quickly and they will go through it anyway. But....they may not ever want to come back in again, because they may not think that coming back into the yard is worth the shock. I have known several people who put in "invisible fences" and lost their dogs as a result of trusting that.

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Does this only happen when you are gone?  If so, can you set up a web cam (they are amazingly inexpensive nowadays) and see what triggers it (noise, fear, boredom)? 

I would suggest a crate, but only if she has been crate-trained and you know she will not try to escape the crate.  I have seen dogs seriously injured trying to (successfully) get out of a crate.  Once again, this is why I think I would want a camera on my dog to see what the trigger is.  If she is not used to being crated, then you will need to start slowly, build-up crate time, and then monitor it to make sure she does not try to escape the crate.     If she is good in a crate, then don't feel sorry for her.  She can do a lot of harm to herself breaking through glass.  You need to keep her safe. 

As for the yard, I would never leave my dogs alone, unsupervised in a fenced-in yard that they might be able to escape from (by jumping/climbing) and especially if the public could access that fence.  I would be afraid of someone taking the dog or harming the dog by throwing something in. I might consider that if it was a 6-foot privacy fence.  I agree that invisible fences will not stop a dog from leaving - and also do not stop others from coming in. 

Please keep us posted as to her progress. :)

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Thanks for the advice everyone. I went the crating method and after breaking out of the crate (she pulled the side panel in and pushed the main panel out, which was amazing as even I have trouble getting them set-up and broken down) she has largely relaxed and accepts it. I only do it when I'm gone and as stated, it's not my favorite idea but it's the best I can do. 

Unfortunately the way my house is set up I can't block her from all windows. I live in HI so basically the entire house is windows and she has even pushed furniture up against a window then jumped out that way.

I think the problem is largely solved for the moment...

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