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Travis, the non-Sheltie

Back in July, we rescued a “sheltie” named Travis, about whom you can read here. Travis, aside from not appearing to have any Sheltie in him at all, turned out to be Very High Maintenance. He hated being in a crate and hated being left alone. When we would both have to leave the house, Travis would start systematically destroying everything in sight unless he was confined. Even when confined in a crate, if he could reach anything, he would drag it to or into the crate and destroy it. And if he couldn’t reach anything, he’d start destroying the crate itself!

If we left him in the crate while we were home (e.g., to get him crate-trained), he would scream as though he were being tortured to death. And if he was out of the crate, he was so hyperactive some of the time that the other dogs wanted to put him out of their misery. Argh!

But a couple of weeks ago, a couple of nice men (a father and adult son) came over to meet Travis…specifically Travis. They really fell for him and said that they wanted to adopt him. We sent them home to think it over, but they returned the next day (IIRC) and said they hadn’t changed their minds. We were very up front with them about his good points (very, very affectionate, wants desperately to bond, intelligent) and his bad points (see above). But they were serious about taking him home.

We decided that we’d send him home with them on a foster contract, just to see if they would find themselves unable to deal with Travis’ various issues. Well, here it is a few weeks later, and they love him even more. That’s in spite of Travis having eaten most of a door frame, part of a wall, several articles of clothing, a couple of rugs, and who knows what else! They both work, so Travis has to be left alone for about 6 hours each day. They tried putting him in a plastic airline crate while they were gone, but Travis, ummmm, ate part of the crate, cutting his mouth and gums pretty seriously in the process. So they tried leaving him confined to a room, but…well, see the door-and-wall story above.

So, for the last week or so, they drop Travis over here in the morning for puppy day care, picking him up in the afternoon, so he doesn’t hurt himself (or their home) while they’re out. But in the evening, they’re continuing to work on his crate training (which we also do here during the day). He seems to be improving — these two guys really adore Travis and are very patient with him…more than I could possibly be. I think they’ll succeed and the whole relationship will work out quite well. I suppose we’ll convert the foster agreement into an actual adoption pretty soon, too.

In the meantime, we’re going to swap the partly-eaten plastic crate for a strong metal crate with a metal pan in the bottom (he ate a plastic pan in a metal crate while here before these guys came along).

I’ve never encountered a dog with such serious separation anxiety in my entire life! Poor kid!

On this day..

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2 comments to Travis, the non-Sheltie

  • I wonder if using a Manners Minder would help with easing his stress in the crate? Might be worth a try? I love that you can dispense the treats remotely and even through walls, so he could get used to them walking in and out of rooms and still get reinforced for any quiet times…

  • mtnlady

    Sounds like doggie Prozac might be in order here. Jackie was diagnosed with an ulcer after we brought her home probably from all of the stress of relocating. She’s obviously never been noise desensitized so the sedatives for a couple months eased her into her new surroundings and the bad old house noises like mixers, microwaves, electric razors, toaster oven timers etc. Most of those she’s gotten adjusted too, but still reacts in a very negative manner when the thermostat clicks off and on. You know I just had another thought, how about soothing music played while this dog is crated? Couldn’t hurt to try. They actually have specific CDs for this purpose based on a study of what particular beats dogs find soothing. Good Luck.

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