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Ask Jane Lefler Your Own Question
Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 19772
Experience:  Behaviorist /Trainer and Dog breeder 18+ years
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My dog has broken the cover to the dog door. I closed her in

Customer Question

My dog has broken the cover to the dog door. I closed her in the bathroom and she ate through the molding around the door and the drywall. I believe she doesn't want to be alone. Should I get a large kennel and start kenneling her? I'm afraid she might even be able to break or bend the kennel door. I work from home so she's very attached to me and she digs through the fence and escapes the yard if I leave the dog door open while I'm gone. I adopted her last year from the local shelter. She was an owner surrender and I don't know if that effected her too. I'm at my wits end feeling like I can't leave the house because of her.
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 8 months ago.

Hi JaCustomer,

My name is ***** ***** I’ve been involved professionally with dogs in the health and behavioral fields for over 18 years. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.

I see there is a few things going on so I want to address each of them. Crating a dog is not a bad thing especially in cases where they are being destructive or ingesting foreign objects. You are right though that some kennels are easier to break out of. They make a very good kennel using square aluminum bars. It is an empire crate. See one here:

They are considered escape proof and the design helps prevent paw injuries as well. The second things seeems to be her escaping the yard. I have 6 rottweilers and have faced this problem over the past 20 years.

I have found a good method of keeping a dog from digging under a fence. You purchase chicken wire and attach one edge to the fence at the bottom with staples if wood and ties if chain link. You then bend it so the chicken wire lies on the ground around the perimeter. You can bury it with a thin layer of dirt or let the grass grow through it. Either way, a dog does not like the feel of the chicken wire on his nails and is unable to dig out.

A more practical and nicer looking solution in my opinion is installing an electric wire around the perimeter of the property similar to what they use for horses and cows but a much smaller voltage. They make plastic holders for the wire that attach to chain link. You can run one close to the top of the fence if a dog is jumping over and / or one about 6 inches or so from the bottom. One controller should power both wires. They do shock, but I can assure you that it is not a bad shock as I personally touched it and got shocked before I would allow it to be used for my rotties. It only took my dogs getting shocked once each to learn to stay away from the wire. My dogs would pull the chain link off the bottom rail of their kennel and fencing too. I used this and it solved the problem.. The following site has the main unit though the next site sells complete kits. Lowes and tractor supply stores sell these as should any feed type store.

Of course you could also use shock collars and underground fence as well. These work well as a secondary fence to keep dogs from climbing over or digging under existing fences.

Climbing dogs can also be kept in using this type of system. I haven't used this system myself but have some clients that have and they were happy with the results.

Knowing your dog can not escape the yard helps take a huge worry off you and perhaps allow her to be outside if you do not want to crate her.

Finally you have a separation anxiety issue perhaps. There are certain things that can help a dog not experience the anxiety associated with separation. First thing is to take your dog for a nice long walk before you leave, preferably 30 minutes or long. Make it a long, quick paced walk to tire your girl out.

<p class="MsoNormal" align="center" style="text-align:center;mso-pagination:none;
tab-stops:234.45pt"> Second is to use a low-key approach to leaving the house. Ignore your dog before you leave and after you come home for at least 5 minutes or more. If your house is like mine in the morning everyone is running around getting ready to leave. This has the dog in an excited mood and then suddenly she is alone. If this is the case, put her away from everyone, say in a bathroom or crate until the frenzy is over. Don't punish or shout at your dog when you come home and find she’s destroyed something. When you do, you increase her stress level rather than reduce it. You can provide her with small stimulating toys or toys that you can fill with treats. One is a kong that you can put peanut butter without xylitol or yogurt in and freeze. Give the frozen toy right before you leave and it will keep her occupied for hours. Sometimes leaving a TV or radio on can help a dog with this problem as well. Also remember to not reward a dog's excitement to you with petting and affection or even eye contact. You want to show him nice calm praise when she is being calm. The best way is to crate her. This prevents injury to the home and protects her as well. Another thing that might help is a DAP collar. These use a pheromone to calm a dog. See one here:

Practice putting her in the crate, leaving the house, opening the door immediately and rewarding her with a hot dog treat if she did not scratch, bite and carry one. This teaches her that you leave but come back quickly. Once she seems to not do anything when you initially leave, lengthen the time she must be quiet for you to come back in. Change the time as well. Make it 2 minutes one time and 10 minutes another, so she never knows if you are gone for an hour or gone for 2 minutes. It helps her stay calm for longer periods of time, just be sure you reward him when she is good. Another thing that helps is to do things that might make the dog feel you are leaving and then don't such as putting on your coat or picking up your keys. Or leave without doing those things. This helps remove things that might trigger the dog to become anxious. These should help his separation anxiety and boredom and help curb his barking. It will not be an overnight cure and will take work on your and your family’s part to be consistent in your interaction with her. Here is a site that also offers idea to combat separation anxiety. Another option is medication, which is discussed on this site: Some people use medication initially while doing desensitization training and then wean the dog off the medication. I hope this information is helpful to you. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have . If you do find this helpful, please take this opportunity to rate my answer positively so I am compensated for my time.
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
I've done the chicken wire in the back yard. She just S pushes or pulls it up enough to slide throigh the fence posts from my yard which is cjaonnlink and my neighbor's yard which is wood. Would you recommend medication and kennel and desensitization therapy at the same time?