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Old November 16th, 2009, 11:31 AM
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tenderfoot tenderfoot is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Boulder, Colorado
Posts: 1,249
Lets stop and take a breath (is that how you spell it? I always mess that one up).

This dog has had a few changes recently the greatest of which was being put back into the crate for long periods of time.

Changing homes is not as big a deal to a dog so long as they still have their leader to guide them and look out for them, and the general structure and routine of the day remains the same.

Introduction of a new pack member (boyfriend) shouldn't be as big a deal if it is handled well and the new 2-legged also provides good leadership.

Restriction to a crate or smaller environment can tweak a dog if it is done too suddenly. Some dogs do better in a crate or small environment because it helps them feel safe - less to worry about and be responsible for. Other dogs need to roam the house so they feel like they have a job to do - protect the house while the leaders are away.

A dog's energy can be determined by breed and yes, some Labs are insanely energetic, and many huskies are too, and there are certainly many members of each breed who are mellow. You should really think of each dog as an individual and only use the breed traits as a general guideline.

Moving him downstairs might have been fine until someone came knocking at the door (we don't know if this happened we can only speculate that something set him off) and he couldn't get to them and he stressed out because he felt powerless. So he knocked the gate down and reclaimed his job as protector of the castle. This was the tipping point.

I think you have a few choices.

Yes, more stimulation/exercise helps most all situations. His brain and body get a release of energy, release of calming chemicals and he is more tired - not as likely to be bored. But I don't think this is a boredom issue.

The crate could work if reintroduced slowly. Once a dog is well crate trained he should be for life. But to go from no crate to 8-10 hours isn't fair. Think about it. If you were used to total freedom 24/7 and then someone shut you in a tiny room with no windows for 10 hours you would go batty. But if you were slowly acclimated to it you could deal with it better.

If you want to crate him then you have to put in the time to reintroduce it to him in short spurts when you are home, then leave the house for short (minutes) times and work his way into longer times. He can do this again but you need to do it slowly. Be sure to make the crate a happy place just like you did when he was a puppy.

Personally I would think about reinstalling a really great, tall gate that he can see through so it feels more open, but that he can't push through. You should acclimate him to being in that space in shorter spurts just like you would the crate. Get good couch covers, or aluminum foil can work too.

No harm in thinking about daycare, or a walker. Perhaps he could be in the basement for the first 1/2 of the day, the walker comes and then when he has been exercised he could go in the crate for the second 1/2 of the day. Or the walker could pick him up after a 1/2 day at daycare and then take him home and put him in the crate. That way he is getting a shorter time in the crate and some freedom as well. Just until things smooth out again.
Love Them & Lead Them,
~Elizabeth & Doug
Dog Training the Way Nature Intended
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