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Thread: Staffy so anxious he has learn't to scale 6 foot fences. Advice, suggestions, HELP!

  1. #1

    Unhappy Staffy so anxious he has learn't to scale 6 foot fences. Advice, suggestions, HELP!

    Hello dog lovers,

    I need help with a pretty serious problem!!!

    His name is Miles & he is a 3 year old staffy x kelpie. He is without a doubt a beautiful dog, my family raised him from a pup and put him through puppy pre-school and then obedience training. So he is well trained. He gets lots of exercise, isn't aggressive and as most staffies go is one of the most loyal, loving and happiest dogs I have ever met.
    As a puppy everything ran smoothly except he had terrible allergies. He used to scratch till his skin was raw and no matter what drugs the vet put him on it never seemed to be an issue. Even to this day, although not as bad he still seems to have to constantly lick or scratch something before falling asleep.

    The problems started building about 4 months ago and there are a few things that could have set him off. My dad was made redundant and was at home for three months and when he returned to work, Miles started becoming more anxious. Then my sister (his owner) went to house sit for a month and that's pretty much when things started falling apart.

    The first time Miles escaped was when he was staying at my place ( everyone at his house was away for a few days so he came to stay with me & my dog Stella (a blue cattle) who Miles grew up with. This wasn't the first time Miles had stayed with me, so he knew the environment. The second night he stayed Miles escaped, this is surprising, because it's not easy to get out of my backyard. Miles squeezed himself between my garage and fence, a space that couldn't be wider than 15cms and dug through really hard ground under the fence and was gone for a few hours before we realised. He returned uninjured and extremely anxious.

    Since then things have got worse. Since the beginning of May whenever my family go to work or out, he has been escaping from his own backyard on almost a daily basis. He has eaten through hardwood fences, dug holes under fences, ripped away boards of the house and managed to get under the house and out, he even managed to bend a whole in a hard wood & wide metal mesh fence.

    Luckily for us, our neighbours are all very understanding and if they see him they either return him or hold onto him until someone gets home. The furthest he has got away from the house is about 1.5ks away to a friends house... but this means he has walked along main roads and had to cross them at some point.

    So what have we done about this so far?
    He is on prozac - which appears to be doing nothing. We are now paying someone to come and pick him up during the day three times a week to take him for a walk when we are at work, he goes to a friends place one day a week and on the 5th work day someone comes and sits with him for a few hours. We have installed a new 6 foot fence (which goes into the ground) and have replaced all the fences/gates of ours and of our neighbours that he has ruined.
    He whines and squeaks all the time if he is not on the floor at our side and if he is left outside for any period of time he cries and cries and cries. So its very obvious that this is separation anxiety.

    But today we reached an all time low. I bought my cattle dog over for a play day, took both of them for a 3 hour run this afternoon and then left them at home for no longer than an hour and a half to have dinner. We came home to one cattle dog but no Miles, he was in the yard next door. You won't believe it, actually you might, he has taught himself to climb up lattice and over the 6 foot fence.

    My mum is at the end of her rope and wants to get rid of him, but I think before that happens Miles is either going to kill himself or get killed.
    I desperately want to find away to get Miles back to the way he was, and I don't believe in getting pets and then giving them up because its too hard. But in this case, he is stressing my entire family out and turning them against each other, and as much as we all love Miles to pieces, we can't let this continue much longer.

    Does anyone have any advice in how to deal with this or what we should do, or where we can start?

    Sorry for the long rant, it's just difficult to understand how such a lovely dog has had a complete personality shift in such a short period of time.
    Any advice/help would be greatly appreciated and if you have read this far, thanks for taking the time to do so.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2009


    A 3yo escape artist SBTx - has a very small chance of finding a new home that is suitable.

    So best you figure out how to fix it.

    If he is willing to jump high fences (and I know quite a few dogs that will scale impossible heights eg 3m+ to get away from Thunderstorms etc), you need to keep him locked inside while you're out, or build a dog run that has a dig proof floor, walls and a CEILING.
    Dog Runs - Enclosure with Timber Roof over Kennel and Enclosure - Dog Runs - Dog Kennels - Dog Enclosures - Dog Enclosure Runs in Prefabricated Kits - We are the Pet Enclosure Specialists

    Staffies do like to be with their people not shut outside without them. What is it about next door that is so much nicer than being at your place?

    Once you have him secure - you might want to consider getting a behaviourist in to give you some ideas about how to manage the problem. It would help to know where you are so we could recommend someone near you.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    SE QLD


    Hi Kate, welcome to the forum.

    Staffies are more prone to separation anxiety and it doesn't surprise me at all that he has learnt to scale the lattice. If you re-home him it is likely he will be in and out of the pound for the rest of his life.

    Have you thought of getting a behaviourist in to help you out? When Bella went through her stage of going through/under/over out fence we got a dog run for her and it broke the habbit, however she didn't really have anxiety like yours does... just the need to escape I think for the fun!

    Anyway if you tell us your area we might be able to recommend someone for you, we also have a few trainers on board who will be able to offer advice as well.

    There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.

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