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Help, Please! Neighbor Complaint


Guest TracyJimBo
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Guest TracyJimBo

Hi,

 

Tracy here. Sigh. Our dog Bo of 2 1/2 months has been doing really well (we thought, at least). 1 month in he started howling when we left. Well we got him the Thundershirt and it seemed to really help. When we would leave him, we would wait a few minutes and we never hear anything. Before he would start barking/howling immediately. So clearly it was working.

 

Well, he is home alone all day and from what we can tell, sleeps a lot. We play/go for a walk when I get home. He gets plenty of exercise and play with us. So he's alone from 8-4. Doggy daycare is not an option, nor is a dog walker... here we thought he was fine.

 

Well, the last week or so, he has started to, like, whine quite a bit, which he has never really done much of before. He always seems really hungry and when I wake up, he now follows me and whines, even though he knows he doesn't get fed til Jim gets up a little while later.

 

Overall he seems like a happy, content dog. He's quite lazy at 3 and sleeps a lot.

 

So tonight we go for dinner and we got the dreaded neighbor note. We live on the 3rd, top floor of a condo. Our neighbor left a long note saying how can we do anything, our dog still whines/howls constantly and she has to leave her place often b/c it's so annoying! She asked if we could do doggy daycare (we can't) and if we can keep him quiet in the morning. (I try! He's really not that loud, but she wants us to keep him out of the bedroom, I guess it's right above hers. He sleeps in our bedroom! Plus, he makes a loud thud when he lies down on the hardwood. We can't fix that... we have 3 giant rugs and can't put anymore. Gah.)

 

I am SO stressed about this. It was really shocking to hear that he does this. The Thundershirt seemed to be working so well. He would be calm when we left, and calm when we come home. Now he seems whimpery.

 

We did change his dog food recently to a grain-free version from chicken and rice. Could that be causing this? Is he just hungry now, like he's not satisfied? It's not like he's sick; he's totally fine when we're here.

 

I don't know what to do... but I understand how neighbor feels this way, and I can't blame her... I'm just so nervous because if we can't fix this, I know she'll go to the board. And I don't want to be forced to give him up.

 

Any advice? Does anyone have some sort of bark off device to recommend? We have to do something...

 

Thanks,

Tracy

 

:(

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It sounds like the activity / fun happens at the end of the day - is it possible to do a good, long, fast walk before you leave for the day? A tired dog is too tired to whine or howl.

 

As for your neighbor, I strongly recommend that you speak directly to her. Explain that you're working with him and appreciate not only her patience, but also information - has she noticed if he reacts to outside sounds, for example? It could very well be that she's just a bit nutty and doesn't like the idea of the dog and so lets normal doggie sounds like walking and laying down annoy her. But you won't know unless you talk to her.

 

Good luck

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Christie and Bootsy (Turt McGurt and Gil too)
Loving and missing Argos & Likky, forever and ever.
~Old age means realizing you will never own all the dogs you wanted to. ~

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Guest TracyJimBo

Hi again,

 

Well, I tried her and either she's not answering or she's not home. I did, however, speak to our neighbor directly across from us. I am SHOCKED because he told me yeah, Bo still howls (we thought he didn't). Apparently he said that during the morning, Bo's fine, probably because he's sleeping. But I guess pretty much every afternoon he howls/whines for 1/2 hour to an hour straight. AND when Jim and I go out at night, for like dinner or the gym or a movie? Well, when we leave Bo with his Thundershirt he's fine, and he's fine when we get home. Well, he's apparently been whining/howling then too. Like, every time.

 

I am so, so upset. Already had one crying jag. Just am surprised. Things had seemed to really been going well for all of us lately. Now I'm thinking hard that maybe WE aren't what is best for him. Maybe 2 working doggy parents isn't what this great guy needs. Are WE being selfish....maybe Bo needs to be in a home where someone is always there, or there is another dog, or just a big house so if he does howl, no one cares.

 

Just feel screwed. Jim and I love Bo and have really started to bond with him. But I really don't know how to fix this.

 

We leave the TV on, and the house is plenty cool.... he has 2 big fluffy doggy beds and lots of toys. And when we have worked from home once or twice, Bo just ignores us and literally sleeps all day.

 

We feel like we want to try some sort of bark (not a shock one) collar. I know it's controversial a bit, but we really are feeling out of options. I will say though, we have to be logical. And ultimately, we want what is best for Bo. I'm going to go and speak with the woman tomorrow. But if something does not change, we're going to have some serious thinking to do. If we can't get Bo to stop constantly whining/howling when we leave him, especially in the evening...we simply cannot keep him in this condo. We cannot completely give up a life outside our home because we know he'll be howling the whole time we're gone. Now, I keep going back to the thought that perhaps we're not right for him. But if we can get a collor that actually works, that might be something. Ugh.

 

Gonna go cry some more...

 

Tracy

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Is he getting exercise? Like Christie said above, a tired dog is a good dog.

 

He needs both physical and mental exercise. Take up an obedience class and start walking him in the mornings and evenings. Not just a potty walk but a good long, tiring walk.

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~Beth, with a crazy mixed crew of misfits.
~ Forever and Always missing and loving Steak, Carmen, Ivy, Isis, and Madi.
Don't cry because it's ended, Smile because it happened.
Before you judge me, try to keep an open mind, not everyone likes your taste.

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I would take off the thundershirt. I agree with pp that he's probably hot. I also second the radio or tv.

 

I'm a big fan of a crate for dogs who have s.a.; it's what they're used to on the track and it's a source of comfort for them. If you don't have a crate for him or haven't tried it that might be a thought. 2 of mine love their crates (one loved her crate more than she loved me :)). I know others will disagree with it, but it's worth a try. I would certainly try it before going right to, "maybe we're not the right home for him." You've only had him a short time and a home is a huge adjustment to a Grey who's been on the track his whole life.

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Guest EvanstonGrey

Is he getting exercise? Like Christie said above, a tired dog is a good dog.

 

He needs both physical and mental exercise. Take up an obedience class and start walking him in the mornings and evenings. Not just a potty walk but a good long, tiring walk.

I really agree with this - my girl Fika just turned 3 and if she doesn't get a run she's bouncing around all over the place, so we take her to the park every morning since we live in a condo. I think 3 year olds are still bundles of energy who need to burn it off a bit, especially if you have to leave him home during the day on his own. Maybe that would help Bo?

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Guest team_tonio

Maybe a silly question... but have you done alone training? When we got our boy this was a full week long project... really time consuming but so worth it.

 

I also found that a good mile and a half walk in the morning does wonders, we leave music on, and give him a stuffed kong too. He is free to roam the house but his crate is open and available if he wants it. I do come home at lunch still for a quick walk... and a fresh kong... can either of you come home for lunch... even for just a few weeks?

 

Don't give up on him so quickly... there are lots of options and many times you only need a temporary fix until your boy gets more and more adjusted. Wishing you well!

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Ugh. Your tummy must be in knots. Mine would be, too.

 

Good suggestions have already been given, and I can't offer any better. I can relate, sort of...

I learned that my two "perfect gentlemen" dogs also do this when we aren't home. My visiting teenage step-daughter - who sleeps-in in the mornings (sigh) upstairs in our bonus room - let us know that sometimes after we go to work in the mornings, the boys stay downstairs and start howling at the top of their lungs... "forever" she reported. Not MY boys! I was in perfect denial, as I have never heard them howl, and rarely even bark. They are quiet and well-behaved most of the time. Surely, she was mistaken.

 

A few mornings later, while I was at work, she sent me a text message with an audio recording of the Call-of-the-Wild-like howls! I couldn't believe it. I can just picture them having a great time playing off each other and egging each other on! We don't live in a condo, and no neighbor ever complained to me about them. Yet. I thought of getting a nanny-cam too, the kind where I can tune in to them, live, via my iPhone. I don't know how often they do it, nor what sets them off.

 

Good luck with Bo and your neighbors. I feel for you.

 

 

:gh_bow

 

Cheryl - "Mom" to RUNNER (Gunnah, born 6/15/2012) and FARGO (Ridin Shotgun, born 8/21/2015). Missing my Grey-Angels HEISMAN (RX Heisman) (3/29/2005-2/1/2016) and ALEX (Bevenly) (4/15/2005-6/7/2018).

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You need to do intensive alone training with your boy. I would suggest you get hold of Patricia McConnell's book "I'll Be Home Soon" This is not a bark collar fix. It is likely not a crate fix either. Dogs at the track do not sit in a crate all by themselves with no other dogs/people around them. It will be a lot of work over a period of time. Talk with your neighbours and let them no you have a plan and are working on it. Take cookies! |Ask for feed back. And please visit here often for support. A lot of people have gone through it and suceeded!

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Susan, Jessie and Jordy NORTHERN SKY GREYHOUND ADOPTION ASSOCIATION

Jack, in my heart forever March 1999-Nov 21, 2008 My Dancing Queen Jilly with me always and forever Aug 12, 2003-Oct 15, 2010

Joshy I will love you always Aug 1, 2004-Feb 22,2013 Jonah my sweetheart May 2000 - Jan 2015

" You will never need to be alone again. I promise this. As your dog, I will sing this promise to you, and whisper it to you at night, every night, with my breath." Stanley Coren

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I'm a big fan of a crate for dogs who have s.a.; it's what they're used to on the track and it's a source of comfort for them.

 

The crate is a source of overwhelming anxiety for one of our greyhounds. It's definitely not a source of comfort. Crating may exacerbate your dog's howling problem.

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Definitely mega alone training, I would try a regular T shirt if you think the Thundershirt is a source of comfort but may

become to heavy. Is your neighbor home during the day? If so maybe you can employ her to take your doggie

out. It sounds like in the PM he has had enough being home, can either of you go home for lunch?

Totally agree with a good long walk before you guys leave for the day. Keep us posted, this problem is usually

temporary and works its way out with time. Don't be discouraged, you are not bad doggie parents, its a period of

adjustment for you guys. Good luck.

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I am not only a condo owner, but a condo board chairman! And my dog had HORRIBLE separation anxiety when I got him.

 

First of all, READ YOUR CONDO DOCUMENTS. See what they say about pets. My first condo said that three WRITTEN complaints were required and then you had a hearing before the board. People usually refuse to put a complaint in writing and sign it, so that should help you relax a bit about being forced to get rid of him! My current documents say almost nothing about pets.

 

Second, video/web cam him. Make sure they're not exaggerating. Also, you can see if there's a trigger--cleaning service in the hallway, something like that. You'll want some sort of evidence if the board comes calling.

 

Third, do visit your neighbors and take him with you. Ask for their patience and understanding. Show them what a great dog he is. Explain that this nearly always passes with a bit of time.

 

Ditch the thundershirt. I think it would be foolish to try a crate at this point. Many dogs HATE being crated. It's a safe spot--at the track. Not so much all alone in a condo. Specially a young dog who probably didn't spend that much time in one, and has been uncrated for months now.

 

I came home from work one day and our Super was standing around looking really upset--bear in mind I was basically his boss as chairman of the board--and he said three people had complained in one day. I was stunned. When I viewed the video, I saw why they complained! It was horrible! He tipped back his head the minute the door shut and started this wolf-like howl that didn't let up until my 2 hour videotape ran out.

 

I left everyone in my vicinity notes with my cell phone number and asked them to call ME if there was a problem. Everyone was SO nice when they found out it was a retired racer! This was one time I used the heart-string tugging "rescue" term! Well, one lady was a horrible witch about it, but...fooey on her! I did tell them that if there was no improvement in a month, I would return him to my group. Not sure if I meant that or not. It was VERY upsetting.

 

I stopped crating him. I didn't confine him in any way. I used a DAP diffuser (don't know if it actually helped, but it wasn't expensive) and I got this really cool thing that spits out a pre-filled Kong on a set interval and holds for of them. I started getting up an HOUR earlier, and I walked that dog for an hour every morning NO MATTER WHAT.

 

Less than two weeks later, my neighbor knocked on my door and said, "Oh God, I hope you didn't get rid of the dog because of ME?" and she was shocked to see him wagging his tail at her!

 

For my dog, it was a combination of no crate (he HATED it, and this was a dog who was at the track for three years), lots of exercise, and things to keep him busy while I was gone.

 

I think most of us would prefer you return the dog to your group than use a punishment device collar on him. He's scared and he's lonely. Punishing him isn't going to change that. Although it might make him ever more stressed out.

 

And get the McConnell book!

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Guest BrianRke

I second the Idea of a DAP infuser. I would also try one of those doggie calming cd's and play it continuously. I think Victoria Stilwell markets one. Not sure if anyone mentioned this or if its anything you can do, but some dogs do MUCH better when there is another dog there with them. Could you foster for your group?

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Oh, I second that kong dispenser thing. They're expensive new (given they're a tiny little motor that someone clever could build from Radio Shack parts) and plastic) but maybe you can find one at a yard sale or ebay. You load it up with 4 stuffed kongs and you set it to eject one every hour or every two hours. It dings before ejecting a kong so that the dog knows to come get his treat.

Sharon, Loki, Freyja, Capri (bridge angel and most beloved heart dog), Ajax (bridge angel) and Sweetie Pie (cat)

Visit Hound-Safe.com by Something Special Pet Supplies for muzzles and other dog safety products

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Many Greyhounds need a potty break mid-day. 8 hours is too long to leave many hounds, especially a new hound who is trying to adjust to a new home. They often can't "hold in" urine and bowel as well when they are stressed. Your hound may be whining about being alone, and/or may really need to get out to potty. (Some adoption groups require hounds be let out every 4-6 hours during the daytime.) If his poops are not solid yet, that could be another factor, trying to hold in diarrhea/soft poop isn't easy. I agree with morning exercise, and at least 2 potty breaks before you leave the house for work.

 

Please contact your adoption group ASAP for help re: this issue, and to chat about alone training. They may be able to suggest another nearby Greyhound owner who could allow your hound into their home during your work day. Then you could work on alone training on weekends and evenings. Or maybe a nearby Greyhound owner who could drop by to take your hound out at lunch time (if you can't get home mid-day).

 

Please don't use any type of electronic collar on a Greyhound.

 

Good luck.

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Guest TracyJimBo

Hi,

 

Thanks all for the comments and advice. And please evryone know, there is no way we are getting any sort of bark collar, so no fear there. That was said out of a moment of pure shock/horror when I found out about this last night and I was desperately lookign for a magical fix. Wasn't in my right head. After like an hour, we were like, of course we can't do that! So, no fears there.

 

I'm calling the agency today. I just don't know what to do. Jim and I are going to discuss all of these recommendations. The kong toy thing sounds like a good idea. I just don't know. Very overwhelmed right now.

 

I appreciate the advice.

 

Tracy

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Is he getting exercise?

 

You haven't said what you have done to try and work on this. A lot of us have been where you are and can give you some suggestions but need to know what you have tried.

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~Beth, with a crazy mixed crew of misfits.
~ Forever and Always missing and loving Steak, Carmen, Ivy, Isis, and Madi.
Don't cry because it's ended, Smile because it happened.
Before you judge me, try to keep an open mind, not everyone likes your taste.

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Guest TracyJimBo

Sorry, yes. We walk/jog him in the morning. Though honestly with our work schedule it's like 20 minutes. It seems that that is not enough.Then he gets a long walk with me when I get home and lots of play, though he usually doesn't want to play much. Then at 9:30 like a half hour walk with jogging play. I'm guessing we need to go longer, from what I'm seeign on here? One reason we haven't been going longer is 1. It's been crazy hot here, so his afternoon walk has often been on the short side and 2. He seems to want to be done after like 25 minutes. (Panting, slowing down, tongue hanging out) He's always quite happy seeming when we get home. And then he's a lazy boy getting up the stairs and we're like, really?

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You mentioned going out to the gym and to dinner at night -- the dog has been alone all day and especially since he is new, needs to have some time with both of you. Maybe forgo going to the gym and start taking the dog for a walk instead - that's great exercise. Most greyhounds are used to getting out every 4 to 6 hours and while most greyhounds adjust to being alone 8 hours or so, maybe yours needs a dog walker for a mid-day break.

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While working my dogs are routinely in the house 8-9 hours.

 

The difference is that I make sure they are good and tired before I leave. I have a yard so they go out twice before I leave in the morning and some of that time is spent chasing toys. When I see that someone is more bored during the day they get extra work.

 

20 minutes isn't that long. I would bump it up to at least 45 minutes and make it a brisk, fast walk. No stopping to smell flowers and not a relaxing walk. You should both be tired by the end of it. It means getting up earlier and maybe even you doing one and then your spouse doing another one before he leaves.

 

He isn't being destructive so that is a good sign. He just needs to do more so that he is more tired.

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~Beth, with a crazy mixed crew of misfits.
~ Forever and Always missing and loving Steak, Carmen, Ivy, Isis, and Madi.
Don't cry because it's ended, Smile because it happened.
Before you judge me, try to keep an open mind, not everyone likes your taste.

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1. Wake up earlier and give your dog a long walk. Long. As in 45-60 minutes. It's cooler in the morning, so that's the best time to take a long walk.

2. Work on alone training. A lot. It works, but it's not an overnight fix. Read "I'll be Home Soon" by Dr. Patricia McConnell for instructions.

3. Write a note to your neighbors thanking them for informing you about your dog's behavior and let them know you are working on training. Let them meet him, see how wonderful he is and let them know what you're doing as far as the training goes. Ask them for feedback so you can know how you're doing. This way, they become a part of the training and will understand that you are doing your best.

4. Crating may or may not work. Many greyhounds find the crate comforting. A few do not. You won't know until you try. See if your adoption group has one you can borrow to test it out.

5. Work on alone training.

6. Work on alone training some more.

 

Excercise alone will not "fix" an anxious dog, though it does help. You have to do alone training. A lot.

 

Good luck :)


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