Semi-feral Rescue

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sourced from: https://www.reddit.com/r/Dogtraining/comments/i9wl7v/semiferal_rescue/

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This is my first time posting here and I’m hoping someone else may have a similar experience. I adopted my dog Machi about 2 months ago after he had been in a foster home for 6 months. They said his mom was a husky and his dad was a jack russell, he’s 35 lbs and very lanky. He’s about a year and a half old.

For the first 8 months of his life, him and his siblings were kept outside in a pen and had little to no human contact. When rescued, his foster said he didn’t come out of the crate voluntarily for 6 weeks. Since then he has made a lot of progress at being a “real dog.” He is still a very fearful and anxious dog, he has bonded to me but if anyone comes over he will only stay on the couch and will shake for at least 10 minutes. When someone else pets him he flinches for some time before he’s comfortable. He seeks attention every now and then, but mostly likes to sleep on the couch or play with his toys on the floor when he feels comfortable. We’ve made some great strides, I’ve taught him to go to the door when it’s time to go outside (previously he would sit on the couch and wait for you to put on his leash then walk) and to “go to bed” aka get in the crate.

Our main issue is separation anxiety and crate training. His foster said he was fully crate trained when I adopted him, however after the 2nd night he was trying to break out. I did a trial period of leaving him out, but he becomes destructive and will also pee and poop on the floor no matter how many times I’ve taken him out that day. Things got better when I moved his crate to my bedroom, but the last week he has regressed and hates it. He takes at least an hour to settle down and has even gone as far as ripping out carpet in the middle of the night while I was sleeping. Nothing has changed, we had met up with my friend to take our dogs on a long 3 mile walk and that was the night it all started. He gets plenty of exercise, at least 2 miles of walking per day, and I have good chew toys that he loves. When he’s on a walk he is great with new people and loves other dogs.

His separation anxiety and destruction reached level 3000 when I leave. He will pant endlessly.c bite at his crate, and destroy anything in his path. Again, I am unable to leave him out due to prior destruction. His foster is completely baffled by his behavior as she did not have any of these problems with him. I know this is a very different situation and he’s not like “normal” dogs as he was once semi-feral and probably always will be somewhat. His vet prescribed trazodone and it helps only somewhat. I have reached out to a dog behavior specialist in my area but I am absolutely open to any suggestions as to how to help our situation. I’m working from home permanently but do have to be in my office next week so he’ll be in his crate from 7:30-5:30 and I’m very nervous. I have ordered a 2-way WiFi camera so I can check on him and talk to him.

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