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Can't Leave Our Grey Alone, How To Stop Him From Crying?


Guest mike04gt
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Guest mike04gt

Hello everyone,

 

My wife and I recently rescued our brindle greyhound Clark from americangreyhound out in Indiana. He's been a really good boy so far, except last night when we crated him up so we could go get some groceries. He's up in our bedroom, with a lot of windows, so we went out the back door of the house, drove around front and sat there to see if we could hear him. I've never heard such crying, whining, barking ever. It was so sad sounding. We sat there for a good 10 minutes hoping he'd stop, but he just kept going. My wife ended up just staying home and I did the groceries myself.

 

I go to work early in the morning, and my wife works from home so she's with Clark all day long. He lays on his big pillow bed we got him most of the day.

 

What can we do to start making him be OK when we leave the house? I want to do this as soon as possible just so we don't have to worry about him crying and making a scene while we are gone. And believe me, it was loud. Even with the windows closed, everyone in the neighborhood could hear him.

 

Thanks so much for any help.

 

-Mike

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Suggest you purchase and read the Patricia McConnell pamphlet/book, "I'll Be Home Soon."

 

You can overcome this with some patience and some practice! Greyhounds are NEVER alone until they're adopted. They're surrounded either by other dogs, or dogs and people 24/7. Imagine how you'd feel is all the sudden your were in a wire box and your new people disappeared!

 

Many hounds start off this way; most all learn to deal with it. The book was a Godsend for me!


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Susan,  Hamish,  Mister Bigglesworth and Nikita Stanislav. Missing Ming, George, and Buck

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Guest TBSFlame

I am sure someone will offer alone training advice. I have never had this problem since I have a pack of hounds. I think many hounds just need a friend. I know alone training does help. Have you thought about fostering another hound?

 

 

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You really do need to practice "alone training" -- do a search for it on the forum [+alone +training]. Just sticking them in the crate and leaving is asking for a problem. I second the McConnell book, but you need to start alone training TODAY, not wait for a book.

 

In my view getting a second hound (when the first one is so new) is an overkill solution to what may be a small problem that hasn't even begun to be addressed yet. Not everyone wants multiple dogs, although I know I'm in the minority here.

Edited by PrairieProf

With Cocoa (DC Chocolatedrop), missing B for Beth (2006-2015)
And kitties C.J., Klara, Bernadette, John-Boy, & Sinbad

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Guest NJgrey

For a new dog being left alone for the first time this is totally normal. I would bet the majority of new dogs go through it. First time we crated our girl and left to pick up lunch we came home to hear crying, whining, etc. and it is quite heart breaking. Even after 4 days of alone training our neighbor left us a sympathetic note on our door just letting us know she had been crying off and on all day.

 

The key is, you need to work on alone training starting now. Even if someone is going to be home most of the time going forward, teaching him to be comfortable home alone is essential. You can't be a slave to the dog, you and your wife need to have lives outside the house, and your dog needs to have a life too.

 

Find a kind of treat that he loves - peanut butter, liver treats, pieces of hot dog or cooked chicken. Put some of them in a kong toy. That's his special treat for when he's alone. He should NEVER get those treats unless you're leaving him. He'll learn to make that association and for most dogs that alone will help some. Make sure he's got a lot of soft bedding in his crate so he's comfy, throw an article of clothing of yours or your wife's - a t-shirt for example - in there, lead him into the crate, give him his kong and tell him quickly and without emotion "be good." Don't make a big deal out of leaving. Both of you walk out the front door, count ten seconds, then come back in. No emotion, don't say anything, don't even look him in the eye, let him out, take the kong away, sit down for a bit, then repeat the whole process. The key in the early stages is to come back in BEFORE he starts to cry. That way he'll learn not to associate crying with you coming back. Repeat the steps with 10 second departures a few times, then try moving up to 30 seconds. If he does OK with that, move up to a minute, then 2, then 5, then 10 etc etc.

 

If it sounds like a lot of work and huge pain, that's because it is. On top of the work you're doing, you have to avoid giving your new buddy all the love and attention you want to. The way I see it, you adopt a dog, you have years and years to love on him - put in a few weeks/ months of hard work now in the beginning and once he comes around, you can shower him with all the attention and love you want. But in the early going, just keep in mind that coming off the track, he only knows what it's like to be around other dogs constantly. He knows how to take orders from people and be a good resident with the other dogs. That's it. Home life is totally new to him so you need to show him what's expected of him and you can't feel bad about it.

 

Eventually most of them "get it." They settle in, learn the routine, start to trust their owners, become comfortable in their new place and that's that. They, especially dogs in one dog households, just need guidance and some patience at first.

 

Also, FWIW, I would consider moving his crate downstairs to your living room or where ever he spends the most time with you two. He might be more comfortable there and feel less confined and separated.

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Guest Greyt_dog_lover

Yes, the book mentioned above is a good book, another book is "Greyhounds for Dummies". There is an entire chapter devoted to "alone training". This training is something that will take time, patience and determination. There are other things you can do such as getting a xl kong, filling it with kibble and capping the hole with peanut butter. Give this to him when you leave. You can leave a tv or radio on so he may think you are still around. DAP diffusers. There are a lot of things you can use as tools to help the situation, but when it comes down to it, you need to do the training. Do a search here on GT "alone training" and you will have a multitude of suggestions. Basically you need to crate your boy, and walk out of the room, then back in after a few seconds, but BEFORE he starts to get worked up. Then what you do is to slowly increase the time you are out of his sight. Then when you can be in another room silently for 5 minutes or so, you then move to the outside of the house. All the while you need to be very cognizant of his attitude. If you return when he is crying, you will actually be reinforcing the crying behavior, not the quiet behavior. If you have stayed away too long and he is crying, you need to make noise in another room and get him to be quiet before you re-enter the room. Remember when he cried and make sure you don't stay out that long the next time. As you can see, this is something that will take time. Another thing, don't make a big deal when you leave or return. Good luck, this is something that can be fixed, it just takes some work. Your boy is new, and has never ever been alone in his life, have patience with him. Good choice in finding this site and asking for help.

 

Chad

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Guest hlpnhounds

It sounds as if the crate is only being used for times when you will be leaving the house.....is that true ?

If so, your hound is associating the crate--which, btw, was a way of life for him before retirement----with you leaving and not with being alone. My suggestion would be to periodically place him in the crate as you go about your business at home....doing laundry, working on the computer etc. Try adding a Kong stuffed with goodies to keep him occupied. After a while, you should be able to do this and leave him without many problems.

 

Our crates are set up here in the main living area. The doors are open all the time except when we need the dogs to be confined---when we leave the house or at night when we are sleeping. Many times, the hounds go in on their own and stay there to take some their naps during the day. When we leave, we just say "time to go in" and they all go right into their respective cratesand wait for their treat (normally a milkbone)

 

No problems here.

 

I hope that helps ! Good luck !

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Guest mike04gt

Thank you all for the great replies. This has been already really difficult, especially since we were supposed to go away for labor day weekend, I had no idea our little man would have this problem. Any more suggestions are welcome, gonna try to start doing this training in and out. My wife will probably start today.

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Alone training is a definite.

Neigbors will think your crazy but alone training works with effort.

Go in and out of the house, make it a process.

Potty, goody, radio on, pick up keys, shut door- (this is my routine BTW)

All need to make a routine so dog knows what is coming next and that you will return.

Does he have to remain in crate? Can u baby gate and area with the crate door open when u leave?

Good luck and keep us posted.

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Guest mike04gt

Thank you all for the great replies. This has been already really difficult, especially since we were supposed to go away for labor day weekend, I had no idea our little man would have this problem. Any more suggestions are welcome, gonna try to start doing this training in and out. My wife will probably start today.

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Guest Jubilee251

Alone training is great, and I would definitely do it diligently.

 

Another option is to baby-gate Clark in an area. Molly hated being in her crate alone and cried, bit her crate bars, etc. but did much better when not so confined. I'm not sure how long you've had Clark, but you might want to try muzzling and baby-gating him for a few minutes at a time and seeing how he does.

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Guest caiteag

Thank you all for the great replies. This has been already really difficult, especially since we were supposed to go away for labor day weekend, I had no idea our little man would have this problem. Any more suggestions are welcome, gonna try to start doing this training in and out. My wife will probably start today.

 

I'm a little confused by something you said here... you are planning to go away for labour day weekend? What would your grey be doing for the weekend? Why would you be worried about leaving him alone in relation to you leaving for a weekend? I always try to be helpful and supportive, rather than judgemental.. but if you were thinking you could leave your grey home alone for a whole weekend... that is going to be a huge problem.

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I was just thinking the same thing as I was driving home after last reading the thread at the office. If you're planning on taking your dog and crate to where you'll be for the weekend, that's one thing. But if you're thinking you'll leave the dog in the crate day and night for a long weekend except, presumably, when a pet-sitter comes . . . I don't think anyone on this board would EVER EVER EVER do that. Yes, they're crated most of the time at the track etc., but a kennel situation with other dogs is different. About nine hours is the longest I ever leave Beth in the crate -- with a dog-walker visit in the middle -- even though she is not new and is fine crated.

 

If you're going out of town without your dog, you need to find someone he can stay with in a home (your adoption group may be able to help with this -- I think most of us would infinitely prefer our hounds to stay with someone who has/knows greys), or find a local boarding kennel (not an ideal option in many ways, but better than nothing -- many vets also offer boarding). Of course if he's staying in someone else's house, they're going to need to leave sometimes too!

With Cocoa (DC Chocolatedrop), missing B for Beth (2006-2015)
And kitties C.J., Klara, Bernadette, John-Boy, & Sinbad

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Guest mike04gt

Oh no no no, you read it wrong completely. We had plans to go away for labor day weekend, but now I doubt we'll even be going since he's having these separation problems. I don't want to have to make a family member have to deal with that if we left him with them or if they came over to stay at our house. Its hard enough on us, I would hate to have to put that on someone else.

 

Either way, my wife has been working with him today, i've been at work all day. When I get home, how should I approach him? Its hard to not jump up to him and pet him and show him affection, but I doubt I should do that since he is having all these problems.

 

I'm just a little bummed about our little Clark. I just want him to be able to handle being alone, it seems like the next month at least we are going to be confined to our house while we teach him how to be alone.

 

Someone please tell me that they do learn how to handle it being alone after a point! I'm feeling all kinds of feelings right now!

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Make your returns and departures very calm and low-key. As Patricia McConnell says, if you fall all over the dog when you leave or return it sends the message that there's something big and scary about your being away.

 

Is there any doggie daycare where you live? That might be something to look into while you're working on the alone training, though you'd want to be careful about the conditions (my girl can be a little too intense with submissive dogs so I've never wanted to try it). Or someone who could come over as a house-sitter for a few hours?

 

I'd also suggest you be in touch with your adoption group -- they are a great resource and should be there to support you.

With Cocoa (DC Chocolatedrop), missing B for Beth (2006-2015)
And kitties C.J., Klara, Bernadette, John-Boy, & Sinbad

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Oh no no no, you read it wrong completely. We had plans to go away for labor day weekend, but now I doubt we'll even be going since he's having these separation problems. I don't want to have to make a family member have to deal with that if we left him with them or if they came over to stay at our house. Its hard enough on us, I would hate to have to put that on someone else.

 

Either way, my wife has been working with him today, i've been at work all day. When I get home, how should I approach him? Its hard to not jump up to him and pet him and show him affection, but I doubt I should do that since he is having all these problems.

 

I'm just a little bummed about our little Clark. I just want him to be able to handle being alone, it seems like the next month at least we are going to be confined to our house while we teach him how to be alone.

 

Someone please tell me that they do learn how to handle it being alone after a point! I'm feeling all kinds of feelings right now!

 

You're just upset!

 

It'll be OK!!

 

When I first got George, my group felt very strongly that he needed to be crated. So that's what I did. I live alone, I work at a regular 8 hour a day job. So, I had to leave him alone! After about three weeks, the complaints started (I lived in a condo--apartment style building). Being president of the condo board, I wasn't too worried, and in fact I thought the first complaint was an exaggeration. A few more days went by. One day I got home, and our Super (my employee, basically) was waiting for me. He told me he'd gotten three complaints THAT DAY. I was mortified. I set up a video camera. From the moment I closed the door until the tape ran out, George tipped back his head and howled at the top of his lungs!

 

Oh no!! I wrote all the neighbors notes. I worked on alone training. I contacted my group--very upset--and told them if this didn't stop, I had to consider returning him. They told me to contact a woman who was a behaviorist. So I did. I explained it all to her--she was so sweet. She said, "Honey, if he howls in the crate, why do you keep putting him in it?" :unsure I told her that my group really wanted me to. She said all dogs are different. While many greyhounds take to being crated very easily, some don't. And she felt clearly mine didn't. I tried a baby gate. First day he crawled under, second day he jumped over, third day he howled all day. I gave up. He's been free in my apartment ever since, not another complaint! He has never chewed anything, he has never done ANYTHING! :colgate So please don't panic! The point of this long tale is that I've now had George for about 2 1/3 years, and aside from those first few rough weeks, he's been a terrific companion!

 

Give the alone training a shot. A good, honest try. If he continues to cry and fuss, there's no law that says you have to crate a dog who doesn't like it!

 

Next thing: exercise, exercise, exercise! I don't mean open the back door and let him sniff for an hour. I mean put him on the leash, hit the 'hood for a good, brisk walk. A tired dog is far less likely to make a stink when left. He'll be much more inclined to sleep!

 

I also suggest you give the D.A.P. diffuser a try. That's a thing that's similar to a plug in air freshener, but it emits pheremones which MAY be calming. That seemed to help George a bit.

 

Hang in there! Many of us have travelled this road and survived!!

Edited by GeorgeofNE


Hamish-siggy1.jpg

Susan,  Hamish,  Mister Bigglesworth and Nikita Stanislav. Missing Ming, George, and Buck

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Guest gecko_foot

Oh no no no, you read it wrong completely. We had plans to go away for labor day weekend, but now I doubt we'll even be going since he's having these separation problems. I don't want to have to make a family member have to deal with that if we left him with them or if they came over to stay at our house. Its hard enough on us, I would hate to have to put that on someone else.

 

Either way, my wife has been working with him today, i've been at work all day. When I get home, how should I approach him? Its hard to not jump up to him and pet him and show him affection, but I doubt I should do that since he is having all these problems.

 

I'm just a little bummed about our little Clark. I just want him to be able to handle being alone, it seems like the next month at least we are going to be confined to our house while we teach him how to be alone.

 

Someone please tell me that they do learn how to handle it being alone after a point! I'm feeling all kinds of feelings right now!

 

Here's my routine:

 

When I get home, I don't talk or look at Tumnus. I just calmly walk over, open the door to his crate, take his muzzle off, give the "wait" command, and sit on the couch. We've been working on this for a while, and Tumnus knows that he has to lay down and relax in his crate before he is allowed out. Once I "release" him, it's the same thing: he has to lay down and relax before we go outside. Tumnus' separation anxiety is VERY mild compared to what some others experience on here, and it actually helped him to spend some time alone in an area where he could protest as long as he wanted without disturbing my neighbors. Being the drama queen that he is, it only took a time or two for him to understand that being quiet meant he got more play time.

 

If you decide to continue crating, be sure to watch your grey's teeth. Some of them will gnaw on the crate, and if that happens, you might want to consider baby-gating him (muzzled) in a room. You can also try feeding your grey in his crate so that he has a positive association with it. Right now it's just the "place where I go when my people leave".

 

Take a deep breath. It will get better. :grouphug

Edited by gecko_foot
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Either way, my wife has been working with him today, i've been at work all day. When I get home, how should I approach him? Its hard to not jump up to him and pet him and show him affection, but I doubt I should do that since he is having all these problems.

 

There is no harm in showing your dog affection when you first walk in the door... or him showing it to you. It's my favorite part of the day. :)

 

 

Someone please tell me that they do learn how to handle it being alone after a point! I'm feeling all kinds of feelings right now!

 

They learn to handle it just fine. You'll see. You just have to try your options and find what works best for him. I don't think it is necessary to crate if your dog may not like it. Sometimes the only way to know is by trying him without and you may find your problem is resolved. If that were the case, it would be soooo much easier than going through the whole howling, crying and and being ignored routine. JMHO, dogs behave much better when they are relaxed and comfortable.

 

Jenn

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all the suggestions i've read here are great. when we first adopted abby, she would wail and cry horribly when we left the house. You could hear it all the way down the street!! i felt so bad. this was 14 years ago; i was pretty uneducated about dog training techniques, and knew nothing about "alone training". we were just winging it. anyhow, she just outgrew it naturally. most dogs will, but the alone training thing seems to work really well. good luck with your new pal and don't despair.

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Guest PawPrint

Yes, all suggestions here are really good! Zowie had/at times still has.. problems with being alone. What worked for me is that now I made her crate a "comfort" place she can goto anytime.. It's a place she can be safe (lots of training and patience). It's available to her 24/7 and she can come and go in it like she pleases. It really helps when thunderstorms hit!!! She hates them... and always backslides on the training with them around... lol

 

You'll get there in the end :) Just keep it up!!

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Guest mike04gt

Everyone, your replies have been amazing and inspiring. I've been having a hard time handling this situation, but am glad to hear that so many of you have had this problem and have gotten your grey over it.

 

A brief backstory of our Clark, he was basically abused at his foster families house... when we met him 2 weeks before we adopted him, he had two small areas of stitches where one of their other 2 greyhounds or Cat attacked him. They were minor, not horrible. We adopted Clark last week, we found out the day of the adoption that the association CEO had to go take Clark from the foster family and hold him for the week till we got our hands on him. Apparently the foster family let him get really hurt somehow, where he got a huge 1/2 dollar sized skinned mark on his hind leg, and on his rib cage he has about a 2" long GASH which is down to his muscle. He got hurt pretty good, least to say that family apparently no longer is allowed to adopt or foster greys.

 

So we picked him up this past Saturday, he slept fine in our house, but the next day the stitches on his side opened up, so Sunday we spent the day in the vet E.R. getting him re-stitched, so he's been having a rough time as well.

 

After reading all of the comments, I can see he's going to take a lot of work to get him feeling like this is home and he's safe here.

 

We are trying something a little different here in the beginning, at least for this first week, we are giving him free roam of the house to get used to the surroundings. After a week is up, next week Monday were are planning on trying to gate him off in our room and leaving his crate door open. We don't know how it will work, but I seem to feel like he can't relax at all when he's in his crate. So we are going to try that and see how he fares with his crate open and his bed in there. Maybe giving him room to roam may help his crying.

 

We are trying everything, we just want to be able to love him and be happy.

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Guest GreyFan09

Hi Mike,

 

I'm also with American Greyhound and we adopted our boy Comet from them about a year ago.

 

When we got Comet, we had the exact same problems your are going through, so you are not alone, and yes it is normal and fixable. All of the advice you received above is excellent (they beat me to it LOL), and is what had worked for us to fix Comet's SA. And, as mentioned, it WILL get better, but, like anything else, it is going to take some time, work and patience to get Clark through this.

 

You've only had Clark for a week, so everything is new to him and he has never been alone before. In six months to a year you will not have the same dog as you do now as he will adjust and grow into your family, and it will be fun to watch his personality change and blossom. As with all the suggestions above, what really helped us get through his SA was the alone training (very important), and not making a big deal of leaving or coming home. Yes, it is hard to ignore them, but its a very important step in the process and there will be lots of time in the future for goodbye's and hello's once he gets over this hurdle.

 

Another thing that really helped was giving our dog a kong or cow hoof stuffed with frozen peanut butter and a little kibble or some cheerios in it before you leave. Now, all we have to do is say "Comet, go to your crate", and he runs upstairs and goes right into his crate and stands there wagging his tail because he knows he's going to get his special treat. After we give it to him and shut the crate door he starts in on the peanut butter and could care less about is leaving.

 

If you do try leaving him out of his crate, free or gated in the house when you leave, I would strongly suggest putting a muzzle on him, at least initially.

 

As mentioned above, pick up the Patricia McConnell book: "I'll Be Home Soon" I also recommend reading her other books: "The Other End of the Leash" and "For the Love of a Dog" which contain lots of Greyt information for any dog owner.

 

I was also going to suggest talking to the former foster family until I saw your last post. I am wondering what your dogs name was before you got him and who was your adoption rep? Accidents aside, I'm very surprised to hear about any "abuse" coming from any of AG's fosters familys as they are all very experienced people who work very hard to take good care of the dogs. Maybe it was a new family? I will have to find out more about it but that is another subject. If you ever have any questions about Clark, please feel free to contact your AG Adoption Coordinator for help. However, as far as this issue goes, I'm sure they would tell you the exact same things that are listed above on this thread (always awesome advice on GT). Also, are you going to the AG Picnic in Sept? If you are, I'd really like to meet you and Clark!

 

Please keep us posted on how things are going with Clark, and welcome to GreyTalk.

 

Tony

Edited by GreyFan09
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Oh no no no, you read it wrong completely. We had plans to go away for labor day weekend, but now I doubt we'll even be going since he's having these separation problems. I don't want to have to make a family member have to deal with that if we left him with them or if they came over to stay at our house. Its hard enough on us, I would hate to have to put that on someone else.

 

Either way, my wife has been working with him today, i've been at work all day. When I get home, how should I approach him? Its hard to not jump up to him and pet him and show him affection, but I doubt I should do that since he is having all these problems.

 

I'm just a little bummed about our little Clark. I just want him to be able to handle being alone, it seems like the next month at least we are going to be confined to our house while we teach him how to be alone.

 

Someone please tell me that they do learn how to handle it being alone after a point! I'm feeling all kinds of feelings right now!

 

I feel for you, I went through the same thing with Duke when I first got him. It does get better, every dog is different but it does get better. It took him around two weeks to get the idea that I was coming back. I live in an apt. so I was especially concerned because they heard him all day but one day it just got better.

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