Well I had been recently thinking and saying how well Kirby was doing lately....turns out I jinxed myself. Today Kirby got out and ate my work shoes. I had him out to play and have fun before I left to tire him out but somehow he broke out of the pen that he has been fine in for a few weeks now. I locked him up again later when I went out to dinner and re-inforced the area he got out from and he broke out yet again. I am at my wits end and I think I am going to talk to the vet about medication. I'm just done dealing with his anxious behavior CONSTANTLY and now with him escaping the super re-inforced ex-pen I am just DONE. I am probably going to start to sedate him and lock him in a crate from now until I move. I am crossing my fingers that I will be in the new place by early July. I just can't deal with this anymore. Kirby is more of a hassle and source of frustration for me than a good companion. I've been keeping him on leash most of the time when out, and his remote collar broke a few days ago so I had to send it back so now I don't have that either. I'm thinking he will be a good candidate for an anti-anxiety medication though and maybe that will help. I've continued to give his calming treats and they don't seem to be doing anything anymore. *sigh*
Could you take a pic of the xpen weak area? may be we can think of ways to reinforce it?
I figured out a better way to anchor parts of the pen to the table and a few chairs. If that doesn't work I'll post a picture! :-)
I'm so sorry you are dealing with all that :( That sounds just like what I went through with Pippa. I really don't have much advice, because I finally just started putting her outside when we would leave, and when she misbehaved. She almost became a full-time outside dog. She finally just kind of calmed down on her own.
I second posting a photo of the weak spot. It couldn't hurt to brainstorm up a few ideas for you!
yeah I'll try to get a picture tomorrow of the area he breaks out of.
Seanna ate our brand new couch two weeks after we got it. She hated her pen/kennel too. Hang in there.
Do you have a plastic kennel? If not, get one. It's the only thing she never got out of, and she actually learned to like it. Best thing I ever did. It also may make him feel safer.
Separation anxiety is a huge undertaking. My shepherd mix is a mess. I guess you can look at it one of two ways. You can love Kirby for all his misgivings, and know that we all have issues, but it's love that gets us through them. I'd hate to think of what I'd be like if people had just given up on me. Or you can find him another home, where he'll continue to have issues.
Rescues are hard. They come with baggage. Kirby will always have issues, but they will lessen over time. He will always chew things up if you leave them where he can get them. He will never like being separated from you, because you are his world. He is lost without you. I know it is frustrating, and I've spent many days re-evaluating some of my rescues, and cried over many things they have done. But Kirby isn't doing this to spite you. He isn't doing all of this to make your days harder. He is doing it because that's all he knows to do to let out his anxiety and frustration. I don't disagree that he may need medication, because sometimes that is the best route. But, it won't fix the issues, just mask them.
Have you worked with a professional trainer? I'd get someone else involved to see if they can help you sort this out.
I had a professional trainer helping me the first few months I had him. No resolution. She gave me some ideas and basically said really focus on obdience and making sure he is really well exercised. She's also actually the one who suggested medication. I do have a plastic crate for him. The rescue I got him from said he was crate trained and he was always good about sleeping in the crate at night. One day he broke out of his ex-pen and into my closet and ate my favorite sandals. That day when I left for school later on I put him in the plastic crate, he was in there maybe 2 hours. When I got home he had destroyed the mat in his crate and peed all over. I couldn't put him in the crate again for several weeks. I can now put him in the crate and lock him in for very short periods of time when I am home but I am scared to leave him in it with me not there unless I drug him first. As much as I think about it, I know its not fair to him (or any future owners) for me to re-home him. Probably the only thing that would drive me to do that is if him and Franklin begin to fight. That is one thing I absolutely will not deal with. I really do think (hope) that with an anti-anxiety medication it will be enough to take the edge off and keep him a bit more relaxed. He is even really anxious when I am home, when I get up in the morning he will pace back and forth through the house, when I get home from work same thing, when we go out for walks he WILL NOT STOP MOVING just pacing up and down the beach. Only after a 2 hour walk will he finally crash out and sleep. If I move, obviously he needs to come too and when I am walking around the house he is pacing. I think part of the reason he is skin and bones and I can't put weight on him is because he uses up SO much energy just being anxious. I think my vet will have some good ideas to help as well.
Have you heard of the Thunder shirts. Some people say they work well on their dogs to calm them.
So sorry to hear this, Melissa. Hang in there! Look at it this way--you are learning so much so that when you have owners ask YOU questions, you will be able to give them some AWESOME advice!
I had to put Kramer on an anxiety drug each winter. He was scared of falling snow. He reacted like some dogs do for a thunderstorm. Living in Maine it was not possible to sedate him each time snow fell. He was on a low maintenance dose of alorazapam starting in fall, then the dose would move up. On bad snow days he he got it three times a day instead of twice. The anxiety didn't completely go away on storm days, but he was much more comfortable. I teach, so on the worst days I could stay home with him. He didn't like a crate when anxious but would wedge himself between my legs and the back of the couch.
It is a difficult decision initially. If they help it will be enormous. I would also look into the thundershirts as well.
Rescuing is not for everyone and certainly my circumstances would keep me from bringing a rescue into my home. A friend does rescue and she had a terrier who kept coming back who she said just needed an experienced owner. This was before we got Maddie and while I knew what she was hinting at, I just don't have the time that a rescue needs and deserves, nor do I live in an appropriate environment because the front of our house gets so much foot traffic, dogs and people both. So certainly I would find myself similarly in a bind.
I'll be very blunt. Here's how I see it: You need to either 1) Find a way to truly like Kirby and learn to see his smallest steps as big victories and his inevitable backslides as just part of the process, or 2) Find him a new place.
Dogs CAN tell how we feel about them. It's not fair to you and Frank to be (from your point of view) saddled with a dog who drives you up the wall. And it's not fair to Kirby to live with someone who, I'm sure he has figured out, he irritates the heck out of just by being himself.
From all you've described, he'd be a difficult dog for me to live with, personally. But in all honesty I know plenty of people who would just see him as a free spirit and would likely enjoy him. The escape-artist thing means he needs someone with space to contain him appropriately, for his safety and his owner's sanity. The not coming back when called--- well, honestly, I would not expect ANY one year old dog to have a reliable recall in stimulating environments. If it were me, I'd walk around with cheese and liver and dried fish in my pocket all the time til he just got so used to checking back with me it became second nature--- that's what I've done with both of mine.
It's tough to keep hearing how frustrating this experience is for both of you. Kirby sounds like a stressed dog who genuinely does not know what is expected of him. He needs a place where someone can spend time every day working on structure in baby steps. I can't do that myself because I'm gone long hours. It doesn't mean he's a bad dog, just a confused one who has yet to figure out what is expected of him. Once he figures that out he'll be able to relax and be a different dog.
Something has to change. You can't force him to change, so I think either the situation has to change, or you need to search deep and remember that his background is unknown and he's only doing what he's learned works for him. Every time he gets out and into stuff it just reinforces the behavior so he will try even harder. But I think you already know that.
I know you mean well and you are a fabulous owner for your beloved Frank. I just think Kirby deserves to be loved the way Frank is by someone. Adult dogs can be tougher to bond to than puppies, and if you are just not feeling it maybe you might find someone who will? You mentioned your mom adores him. Might that work? Then he and Frank can still play, you can help with training tips, and he'll have his own person who adores him too.
My only thought with re-homing is how do I find somebody who can tolerate him? How do I know they aren't just going to abandon him like his first owner and then me? I was thinking of just being really blunt from the get go about what he is like but around my area corgis are such a rarity that people jump at them no matter what they are like (I got him NOT wanting a young dog or puppy but after searching for a year with no luck there he was), I know there are MANY people like me who have been searching for months and months and are ready to take anything, then possibly like me end up with a dog that only the most patient and dog saavy person can deal with. That's my main reason that I haven't really considered re-homing. It'd be worse for him in my opinion to just be passed around from home to home because he is the type of dog he is than for him to have a home where it is pretty stable and at least I know he isn't being abused or yelled at or anything like that. I know he can tell I don't care much for him on most days and that is why I"m trying to find more ways to help him succeed so then I can hopefully build a stronger bond with him. We have an appointment Tuesday at the vet to discuss anxiety meds. He is the poster child for separation anxiety and an ADHD type personality (zero focus and hyperactive).
I wish my mom could take him. They don't want a second dog right now. I keep trying to get her to take him but no dice. That's not an option. If I stumbled across the perfect home I'd definitely consider re-homing him, but until then I am just going to have to do my best with him.
Melissa, my heart aches for all of you hearing about the troubles.
Something about rehoming you should feel comfortable about is that he is your dog. You have right to say no to anyone you do not see fit to caring for him, should you go down the route of rehoming. When we have rescues with us, we have said no to many people. not because they would not be fantastic corgi owners, but because the particular dogs they were interested in were just not right.
Again, if you were going to rehome, Kirby sounds like he would do fantastic with perhaps an older person/couple who are active, home a lot, have experience and patience. There are people out there who would love Kirby and all his issues. :)