Dog with really bad separation anxiety. Any ideas?

My girlfriend and I have been fostering dogs for a few years now. Our latest dog (a 1 year old pit bull) has presented us with a problem we’ve never had before. If you’ve worked with pit bulls before you know that they grow EXTREMELY attached to their owners and are not too happy when left alone. After coming home to chewed furniture and cracked baseboards we decided to crate him while we were out. Amazingly enough he learned how to undo the latches and escape. Next, I pad locked the latches and he became so crazy with not being able to escape that he tore up everything inside the cage: the plastic bottom liner, his blankets. The funniest thing is that he really enjoys sitting in the cage when we are at home and he’s free to enter and exit it when he feels like it, hence he doesn’t associate the crate as a bad place. Now that he barely has anything to tear apart in the cage, he starts to cry a lot. We live in a condo and if I don’t solve this problem quickly I’m going to have to return him to the shelter due to noise complaints. Does anyone have any ideas? (I tried bitter spray on the latches and things he chews out of frustration for being left alone…no luck)

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4 Responses to “Dog with really bad separation anxiety. Any ideas?”

  1. savannah_jc23 says:

    Ok…I have a 12 week old pit who has already chewed completly through a wall b/c of seperation anxiety…I think alot of it is breed related…Pits do get overly attatched. When I first started reading i was going to suggest the crate but now i am not sure since you have trie dthe crate. THis is not 100% but you could try the following
    1.) get another dog to keep him company…THis may help him from being so crazzy when he is alone…then again you could get another who will just add to the fire…take a chance!
    2.) Doggy Daycare….I am not sure if you will have one near by and it is gonna cost ya but it may be worth it!
    3.) you can buy an over the counter calmy med at your local petstore or you can speak with the vet who can put him on anxiety med…sounds crazzzy but they really have stuff like zannex for dogs…He is extreme so it may be better for him.
    I wish you luck and please do everything you can to keep her b/c this is a wonderful breed and too many are wrongfully put to sleep! God Bless

    YOu can also try leaving him in the crate with lots of chew toys, bones, and some of the toys you stuff food in and leave the Tv or radio on to take away the silence of being alone

  2. BabieGee09 says:

    I also own a pit bull, and she used to pull the same thing. One idea to help your out with the problem is to get him a friend, like another dog; that is, if he gets along with other dogs. Having a companion to play with should get his mind off of not being able to see his family and being locked up. Another option is to get him a bunch of toys and possibly a blanket that he would like. If you and your girlfriend have a blanket that you don’t use very often, try to get your dog used to the idea of you not being home by helping him associate the blanket with you still being there; think of it as an actual security blanket. And like I said before, LOTS OF TOYS. Pits are easily bored, and that’s a partial reason for why he might be chewing. Toss a couple toys in with him in the crate that he likes until he stops chewing and stops crying. It takes a while, even if you do it while you are actually at home, for like an hour just sit in another room and make no noise, just to get him used to the idea that even though Mom and Dad aren’t home, he doesn’t have to be scared or bored.

  3. princess:] says:

    well you can start getting him useed to you leaving and showing him that you will come back by going outside the door and then going back in and keeping doing it for longer tmes and if all else fails maybe get a dog sitter good luck

  4. Leah G says:

    Crate training is never easy; I once fostered a pit bull puppy that hated the crate while we were gone but loved it while we were home. We got her used to the crate using two methods:

    1) Give him something to do while you’re gone. Kongs (www.kongcomany.com) are GREAT for this! You can even freeze things inside of them to make it extra challenging for him to remove. I would recommend a large regular kong or a medium extreme kong for a 1 year old pit (they love to chew!). You can also use something like the Tug a Jug to keep him busy (http://www.happydogplace.com/dogs/index.php?products_id=991). My current puppy (a lab/bull mastiff mix) likes to have squeakers while alone. I know that this might annoy your neighbors (I don’t know how thin the walls are), but my roomies far prefer the sound of squeaking to the sound of crying. This alligator is her favorite http://www.petco.com/product/108890/PETCO-Ruff-Toys-Natural-Rubber-Alligator-Dog-Toy.aspx.

    2) Create a ritual. Pits are super smart; you can turn going into the crate into a command. To crate train our puppy (admittedly easier than training a 1 year old), we gave her a kong with puppy paste kong stuff-in by throwing it into the back of the crate and saying "bedtime!" to get her to go into the crate. Once she was in there, we shut the door and we gave her a treat and said "good bedtime". We would sometimes sit near the crate for 15-20 minutes; we would sometimes leave for 5 minutes and then come back and let her out. Trying this for a week or so made a huge difference. As we gradually left for longer periods of time, our puppy didn’t seem to mind at all. She knows the ritual, and because of the structure she doesn’t doubt that we’ll be coming back.

    Also, if the crate is wire, you might want to cover it with a crate cover or a towel. Dogs like to feel as though a crate is their den, and a too-open crate could make the dog anxious.

    Best of luck with your 1 year old pit! Thank you for fostering pets!

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