Sudden destructive behavior

by Nancy Lehew
(Venus, TX USA)

I am having an issue with my beloved Brutus and am at a loss as to how to solve his sudden behavior. I've posted my story of Brutus a couple of time on here about how he had belonged to a neighbor 20 acres away from us about 3 years ago. The neighbor raised him totally outside from 10 weeks to 4 years of age. Then he suddenly showed up at our house 3 years ago for some reason and wouldn't go home even though we took him back to his home several times. His previous owner told us we could just keep him. So for the last 3 years he has been with us but has been a totally inside fur baby all this time. He has never had issues with me leaving the house and him staying inside till I get home, leaving him 7 or 8 hours at a time. But beginning about 3 months ago, he has now destroyed the shades on my front room window in trying to get outside when I am not at home. He doesn't do it all the time but has now caused me to have to replace the window shades 5 times in that time period. He is a very smart boy in that if I leave the front door open, he knows how to open the storm door with his paw and let himself out and does the same thing from outside when he wants back in. So I leave the front door open most of the time for him. To try and prevent him from ruining my front window, I started leaving him outside when I leave. We have an electric fence so he has never left the yard till a couple of weeks ago. I was at a friends house when I got a text from Brutus' former owner saying that Brutus had come to visit him in case I wondered where he was. I immediately came home and proceeded to go get him from his previous owner's house. We found out that there was a break in the underground wire and Brutus found that out and proceeded to wander off. We fixed the underground wire and all was good again. About a week after that, I was away from home again when I got another text from Brutus' former owner saying Brutus once again was at his house for a visit. So, again, I came home and went to get him. He had crossed the electric fence and there was no break in the circuits. He just decided he was going to cross it anyway. So again, I started keeping him in the house when I am away but tonight I came home from church to another destruction of my front room shades. I am at a total loss as to why he is doing this and how to fix this situation. I think my only alternative is to crate him. He is 7 years old and has never been crated because there has never been a need to do so. It just breaks my heart to do that to him. So, I am asking for any alternative suggestions from anyone with any ideas. Should I crate him inside, or build him a pen outside to stay in when I am gone. Thank you for any advice.

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Jan 27, 2017
Behaviour change
by: Donna

Has anything changed at all? A vet visit where he was treated for something? It sounds like he is having anxiety for some reason.

Crating is not a bad thing. They can come to like the crate as a safe place and come and go as the please even when they don't have to be in there. It's safer for him.

You'll need to take some time and patience to train him. A kong full of frozen raw food tied in the back of the crate is a good start. Leave the door open and let him come and go as he pleases for a few days until he's comfortable. Then, start closing the door for a minute or two, then open it and increase this over time as you see he becomes more comfortable with it. Play it by ear as to how quickly you increase the time in the crate. You may have to listen to a bit of whining before you let him out, again.

Here's a link to a handout:

Get a crate big enough for him to stand in, turn around and lie down in. It'll be a big crate.

Know that we never recommend invisible fencing. Many dogs ignore it and especially Pyrs. Dogs will not go back over it. We always recommend a secure 5-foot minimum high fence.

You could build a kennel for him outside. The only concern would be his barking would disturb neighbours unless they are far enough away they wouldn't hear it. You'll want to make sure it has a top on it. Pyrs will climb.

Or, is there any chance someone would hurt him in there while you're away?

Just a few things to consider. I hope this helps.

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