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Just Whelped
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Newbie, be gentle

Newbie, be gentle (2/9)

  1. Thanks so much to everyone who's replied, I really do appreciate it. We're going to give it a month and then see where we are - not that we're expecting things to be perfect in a month, not at all! But just see how I feel after a month, and how much (if any) progress we've made. If it feels like things are getting better then we'll persist. If I still feel like this, then we may reconsider and accept that it's not right for us, and that our dog may need a more experienced home, or a home with other dog friends. Mentally I really need to have that escape clause. Our dog seems a little more relaxed today which is good. Last night he sort-of slept in the dining room while my partner slept on the sofa (the sofa isn't even a metre away from the dining room door). He cried when we shut the baby gate between the living and dining room, but he settled once it was open. If he'll accept sleeping downstairs without the gate then that would be absolutely fine - we just don't want him to come climbing upstairs. We're going to persist with this for now rather than have a baby gate on our bedroom and the dog on the landing, since he seems to find being stuck behind a gate (with us in sight) as upsetting as being alone. We don't shut him in his crate at night, it's just open as a den for him to go into when he wants. He chooses to go in there pretty regularly in the day, and hides his toys in there, and we've been able to shut the door on him for a few minutes at a time so long as we're nearby. Throwing some of his kibble around the living room (last night) and the garden (this morning) seems to have gone well. He's pretty good at waiting patiently for the food to be thrown, though he gives up on looking for things really quickly! We have an Adaptil diffuser (we got that before we got the dog, and it's been plugged in since the day before he arrived), and we've just ordered one of the collars as well. Our contact at the Trust recommended Valerian as a herbal supplement to try and it does seem to make him a little calmer in the evening. He can be happily distracted by a filled Kong for a little while, but he'll leave it if there's something else that gets his attention and then only remember about it later. I've read the Patricia McConnell book and I really like how practical it is, though we're definitely not at the point of leaving him alone in the house yet so we'll need to adapt it. It's impossible to never, ever let him cry, though. I already feel trapped downstairs with him in the day, and if it's wrong to let him cry for even a second then I don't know what to do. Everything seems so split on this - it's okay to let him cry sometimes! No, never let him cry, if he cries then you've gone too far and need to do less! When I leave the room I do it with as little ceremony as possible and ignore him, and then come back with equally little ceremony. When he finally relaxes and lies down after I get back to the room I give him praise. Hopefully he'll eventually realise that I do come back every time?
  2. Thanks for your response! About this bit in particular - at the moment he is freezing and statuing whenever we take him out, so our contact at the Trust said to just leave walks for now and let him build up his confidence in our garden, then move on to short "winnable" walks. We've been trying to wear him out with games and things in the garden (he is very unhappy about going out in the rain, though he lives in Britain so he needs to get used to that!) and doing some games with him inside. He lasts for about 10 minutes and then lies down. We do need to start leaving him more, though since we can't even leave the room right now I can't imagine how long it will take until we can leave the house. He's not locked in his crate! His crate is open for him to go into it whenever he wants. We have a baby gate on the kitchen as it is not dog-safe (we need to redo the whole kitchen at some point). We have minimal storage, so a lot of things (like his big bag of food) are just on the kitchen floor. He can see partly into the kitchen from where he is, but if I disappear briefly behind the door to get the milk out the fridge or something he starts to cry. He can be lying down asleep but if I go into the kitchen he goes right back to pacing and whimpering. Thank you so much for your reassuring words! We've not tried any kind of formal training so far (except things like redirecting him away from the table when we're having dinner and towards his own treats and toys) and are mostly just letting him hang out with us. The main problem is that he can't be with us 24/7, even though he'd obviously prefer that. A lot of guidance I've been reading has been so firm on things like establishing expectations early, so I'm very worried that we're creating further problems that we'll have to deal with further down the line. I hope our dog is as adaptable as yours!
  3. Thank you for this. Everything is so confusing - we've been told to be consistent about where he's able to go and where he isn't, so he knows which space is his. Letting him upstairs and into our room and then changing those rules seems like it would be confusing for him? I've never known anyone have a dog sleep in their room, and every dog my family owned just slept downstairs, so this isn't something I'd really anticipated. I hope we can get to this point! Right now it seems impossible, but it is reassuring to read about people who got puppies and felt this way and then got to a good place. Thanks so much for this practical advice, it's so helpful - I'm glad you're feeling better and that your dog has started to settle! I think I psyched myself out with some of the research really, because it made it sound like you should start working on things like separation anxiety straight away so you're setting ground rules rather than starting out one way and then changing to doing something else. We thought we knew more-or-less how to approach things but now we really don't know what to do for the best. We don't want to upset and distress our poor dog, but we also don't want him to always be needy and clingy and unable to be by himself. Unfortunately we don't have much space in our room (even if we wanted him in there), though there is a small amount of space on our landing that might fit his bed, though definitely not a crate (small UK house - houses in America seem to have endless amounts of space for dog crates!). Having him sleep on the landing might be an option. Honestly, we may end up giving him back if we decide it's not right for us, but telling people who are finding a new and difficult situation stressful to give up after a few days seems counter-productive. Have you considered offering advice and reassurance instead? Your snippy response is one of the reasons I felt so unsure about posting here. I'm glad other people are able to be kind and thoughtful.
  4. We've adopted a lovely greyhound from the Greyhound Trust, and I'm so anxious and depressed about it. I'm also really worried about posting here - please don't yell at me. We're really trying to do our best, but I am not coping at all. I was so excited to adopt a greyhound. I always had dogs and other animals growing up, and I'd known quite a few greyhounds and thought they were wonderful animals. We were finally in a place where we could have a dog, in terms of home security, finances, flexible work. We did so much research into having a greyhound, including all the negative things to expect, and thought we were prepared. We're only in the first week. I completely understand that this whole situation is overwhelming for our new dog, that he has no idea what's happening, that he's never lived in a house before and that his stress will hopefully decrease as he settles in. But I feel completely and horribly overwhelmed. I've been near tears or fully in tears for three days straight. Yesterday I just shut myself in the bathroom and sobbed for a while. I feel like we've made a terrible mistake getting this dog. We want to start a family in the next couple of years, and I can't imagine having a dog and a baby. And he's a lovely dog! He's very sweet and gentle, he's played with us, he's mostly doing a great job of going to the toilet outside. When we're around he's pretty happy to just crash out on one of his beds and snooze, or chew on one of his toys. But he cries and paces and scratches when one of us isn't with him for thirty seconds. Someone has to sleep on the sofa to be near him, otherwise he howls and cries and gets so distressed (and I know everyone will just say have the dog in our room, but we do not want him in our room - we want our room to be our space). We're working from home right now, and will be for the foreseeable future, but now I can't do things like go to the loo or make a cup of tea without the dog getting stressed and crying and pacing. He has a crate and he's really happy to go in there and chew on his treats or toys, or go to sleep, but we've been advised not to shut him in there and leave him alone since he gets so upset, and it might ruin the good associations he currently has with his crate. I thought I was ready for this, but I already feel overwhelmed and trapped by our new dog. I grew up with dogs but our lives didn't revolve completely around them. I feel guilty, I've lost my appetite, I cry all the time, I can't concentrate at work. I've been trying to read these forums and the greyhound subreddit and am starting to feel so alone because everyone loves their greyhounds. At the moment I can't imagine being able to cope for another week, let alone years.
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