After 9 years, we've reached the end of our tether trying to control our German Shepherd x Border Collie. Not content with climbing over our 8-ft high fences, he's now taken to breaking out the windows of our house. Is there any hope for him, and what should we be trying?
We have a 9-year old German Shepherd x Border Collie, Indy. We live in a suburban house with a large yard, bordering onto farmland and a beach at the back. The property is fenced all the way around with wooden fences. We also have a cat, and a King Charles Cavalier, all of whom are friendly with each other.
About 2 years ago Indy (who was an outside dog) started escaping from our property when we weren't home. Our back fence at that stage was a bit decrepit, he had found a way to squeeze open some of the planks and escape. We replaced the fence with a new one, with a height of about 6-ft.
He started jumping over this fence, so we started keeping both dogs in the house during the day when we weren't home, and making sure we took Indy for long walks to wear him out. Then he started jumping over the fence at any opportunity - first thing in the morning, we'd let the dogs out, then go and check on them 5 minutes later, and Indy would be missing, to be found running around the neighbouring paddock, or down at the beach.
I replaced the 6ft high fence with a solid 8ft high fence, at the back of the property. He never in the past jumped over the side/front fences, and things were okay for a year or so.
In the last two months, his tricks have gotten worse - we came home in December to find the kitchen window open, the flyscreen on the ground, Indy running around the yard, the kitchen bench trashed, and my wife's computer monitor and hard drive, in the living room, on their sides. Our first assumption was that we had been burgled, but after some investigation, we had figured it out - Indy had got up on the desks, knocked things over, and squeezed out through the sliding window.
The next step of our plan has involved making sure all the windows were completely closed when we went out - they don't have locks on them but they do have handles that clip them closed.
Everything was okay for the last months or so, but in the last three days, Indy has come up with new ideas - he's managed to work out how to "un-snib" the windows and slide them open. He got through the window above the computer desk on Friday when we weren't home and was in the yard. On Friday night, when we were asleep, he got up on the computer desk again, didn't manage to open the window but knocked the computer tower over. Today, when we got home, he had gone full helter skelter. Kitchen bench was trashed. Computer desk was trashed, with the monitor on the floor smashed. Computer desk window was open. Dog was half way up the street.
We're pretty much at the end of our tether in regards to what to do with him - he's clearly an outside dog, but for him that apparently means hanging around at the beach - his ability to climb fences means we can't see a way to keep him in, it would not be legal to surround all four sizes of our property with impenetrable 8ft high wooden fences. He was happy indoors it seemed, but now he's got a bee in his bonnet and smashes our things in an effort to escape.
Is there anything we're missing, that we should be doing to prevent this behaviour? It's difficult to correct him for behaviour that we're never there to witness and only discover some hours later. Options include keeping him in the shed - we have a large shed, but it has no windows and would be a pretty shitty life for him. Another is tying him up in the yard, something we've always been reticent to do - we're worried he'd harm himself trying to run around. Tonight we are going to try keeping the dogs in our hallway, with the door closed and where he can't get into any trouble, but I suspect neither dog will be happy with this and we'll have a sleepless night. We're pretty close to giving up on him and having him euthanized, as we feel we can no longer handle him in a way that's not cruel. Would welcome any suggestions.