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Anxiety With Our New Grey


Guest Elbasunu
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Guest Elbasunu

My wife and I are recent adopters our first Greyhound, Atrus. He's got some behavior issues though that I'd like some advice on, and if this format isn't correct for Greytalk, I'll gladly make a separate post for each.

 

Right now our primary concern is his separation anxiety. We've had him for a month and a half, and he barks and eliminates in the crate, but so far hasn't shown any signs of self harm, or crate destruction. He gets two walks in the morning, one of which I try to get him to trot around our complex for 30 minutes. He usually only makes it 15 or 20 before statueing and wanting to go back in. He starts barking 20 minutes or so after I leave off and on for about an hour, and again several more times throughout the day (i check up on him with a webcam).

 

Initially, we thought he was having trouble holding it a full work day, so I requested an hour for lunch so I could drive home and walk him. I am worried that I am only reinforcing his behavior, though, since he holds it just fine at night, and only has accidents when we are home if we miss his "cues", which we're still learning.

 

So far I've tried:

 

Comfortzone DAP plug-in

Thundershirt (he looks adorable, but I don't think it's doing much)

10 mg of melatonnin

Radio

TV

No crate (same room, but gated)

Yesterday's shirt.

Various toys.

 

On the weekend we do alone training, and we always wait ten minutes before, and ten minutes after coming home before paying attention to him. He's gotten a LOT better at calming down before and after we leave. I used to not even be able to leave the ROOM if he was crated before barking, so I do think he is improving. I'm just so exhausted and worried, and we've gotten a complaint already from our condo association.

 

He doesn't show any other signs of a UTI, and he had a clean bill of health before we took him home from a very nice foster mom (who I've been in contact with since about these issues as well. She's been very helpful!.

 

The other issue we're having is with our Cats. He's very territorial about the room his crate is in (the computer room, which is the room we spend most of our time) and he barks at the cats if they come in. He also becomes HIGHLY interested in sniffing (attacking? I can't be sure and I'm scared to see...) if we pick up a cat, or if we are petting a cat on our bed. He will get up and come over and whine/bark at the cats. Can anyone recommend a good way to get him used to the idea that the cats are allowed attention too? He's tested "cat safe", and usually could care less when they walk by, and our one girl Chloe has made it VERY CLEAR that she's not interested in his sniffing, and he's responded positively to her warnings.

 

Finally, when this boy is done with a walk he is DONE. He refuses to go any further. And some days, he outright refuses to go to his usual bathroom areas. Just plants his feet and looks at us. He's got a harness, so I CAN bodily move him, but I don't want to hurt his arms or something, and if he doesn't want to go somewhere, I have to wonder why. We're good about walking him around AFTER he's gone to the bathroom, and not just turning him around and going back inside, since I heard some dogs start to hold it so they get longer walks.

 

Again, this is a lot of stuff for just one boy, and I'm sorry if i've slapped too much in one big starting post. Here's a pic!

 

AyhZOCMCUAIXD7U.jpg

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I'm in the same situation with a relatively new grey I adopted in June.He was fine until his greymate died unexpectedly about 6 weeks ago. within 2 days I came home to a shredded side door molding,chewed up blinds, and ripped up curtains.Luckily, he's very good about not eliminating in the house.I asked my vet to place him on 40mg of prozac while we work on away training.It definitely has helped lower the anxiety level.He still cries and paces when we leave but when I sneak a look at him when we return he is asleep on his bed.We also play with him with a stuffy toy tied to the end of a horse lunge line to make him nice and tired before we go out.He chases it like crazy. It might not be good for your dog though if he's questionable with your cats right now.

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Guest Elbasunu

So far I haven't had any problems with excessive chewing yet (although he does a number on anything stuffed. right now he has fleece, stuffless toys), but we keep him crated while we are out. As far as exercise, there's just not much we can do other than jogs, since he needs to stay on his leash. What are some good on-leash activities?

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Guest jenniferk

Congratulations on adopting Atrus! He's very handsome! I adopted Django 3.5 months ago, and we had the same problems with walking. We hired a positive-reinforcement trainer to help us with some other issues we had with him. I created a post about what she said, but I'll repost here what she said about walking. I've been following her advice, and the problem went away...until three days ago, when a newspaper delivery car scared him so bad when they threw newspapers out the window right in front of him, and he now won't walk when he sees cars coming...but we're working on it! So I know that it does get better! I can't speak to the separation anxiety or cats issue (I have a different issue with cats!), though so many people on this forum are experts and are sure to help you. Good luck!

 

Refusing to Walk

I saw other posts about this—statuing or refusing to walk further. She said start with him on a leash in the house or your yard or somewhere where you don’t have to worry about how to get him home if he refuses to walk. Every time he moves, say, “Good dog!” or “Good walk!” and treat him. When he’s walking nicely, treat him. She said do not coax with treats. Instead, if he refuses to move, just wait him out. As soon as he moves, praise him and treat him in the direction you want him to go. She said to also pay attention to when he stops. She said he could be seeing, smelling, or hearing something he’s not comfortable with. I’ve read Temple Grandin’s books on animals, and she gives a checklist of things that can can scare most animals--things flapping in the wind like flags, the color yellow (a high-contrast color for them) like a yellow flag or raincoat hanging on a fence, anything moving fast and silently like bikes, and areas of high contrast between bright light and darkness. In other words, get in the head of your dog and try to see if there’s anything that could be scaring him if he’s stopping at the same place. If you can identify it, do classical conditioning (treat and praise him as soon as he sees whatever’s scaring him, then praise and treat him as he gets closer, etc.) Because our boy would balk about turning around and wanting to come home, she recommended giving him a really special treat after every walk, like a kong filled with treats and cheese, so that he would always look forward to coming back from his walks.

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Guest Elbasunu

I just wanted to say thanks for the info on "planting" it's been useful. Not 100%, but he does seem to respond to gentle pushes and circles.

 

He's still peeing in his crate when we leave the house, though. Sigh. And it's been pouring/raining every morning lately, so I can't get him a good exercise walk. I saw someone say "you can't judge a greyhound's behavior until they've had an hour's walk".

 

I guess I gotta get up even earlier D:

 

Also, the last two days he's been barking at the cats when they hop up on the bed with us. I'm worried he might be getting overly defensive about the bedroom, which is the room he sleeps in with us.

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I just wanted to say thanks for the info on "planting" it's been useful. Not 100%, but he does seem to respond to gentle pushes and circles.

 

He's still peeing in his crate when we leave the house, though. Sigh. And it's been pouring/raining every morning lately, so I can't get him a good exercise walk. I saw someone say "you can't judge a greyhound's behavior until they've had an hour's walk".

 

I guess I gotta get up even earlier D:

 

Also, the last two days he's been barking at the cats when they hop up on the bed with us. I'm worried he might be getting overly defensive about the bedroom, which is the room he sleeps in with us.

 

Walk an hour? :rotfl Not in this lifetime during the bad seasons. No apology here cause I think that's crazy. For one thing, in the heat of the summer, Annie is worn out after 10 minutes with tongue hanging out and panting heavily. For another, she *hates* to walk in the rain. I'm lucky that I get her to go out at 6 AM for her first-morning P&P. Come winter, with ice and snow and wind chills of below zero, I won't walk 30 minutes let alone an hour. It's too cold for me and often too dangerous for a Greyhound (and her mom) to walk safely. I also don't understand the meaning behind "you can't judge a greyhound's behavior until they've had an hour's walk." ::shrug:: I must be missing something.

 

I have no advice about the continuing problem with peeing. After reading all the problems, every single day my girl gets a special big kiss and hug because she has no major issues like that.

Edited by Feisty49
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Guest Elbasunu

If I come home and he hasn't peed his crate, is there any way to reinforce that behavior? After being out, and then a 5-10 minute ignore period when I come in, would he even know what I was praising him for?

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And it's been pouring/raining every morning lately, so I can't get him a good exercise walk. I saw someone say "you can't judge a greyhound's behavior until they've had an hour's walk".

 

I guess I gotta get up even earlier D:

 

 

 

You do know that neither you nor the dog will shrink OR melt in the rain, right? Lots of info about statuing throughout here, but neither of mine love the rain. Both get walked in it because they get about an hour in the morning and 30 minutes - an hour in the evening. Even if it's raining. And I live in Sydney so welcome to the world of semi-tropical rainstorms, high humidity and bushfires. Obviously you adapt to the climate but seriously, buy a raincoat and get out in it. Get up earlier and get into it. Before we had raincoats, I had to towel dry the girls. They LOVE the towel.

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I'm glad I'm not the only one who picked up on the "it's raining, we can't walk" comment.

 

I don't have a yard for my dog--and I'm on year 17 of daily walks NO MATTER WHAT here in New England. Rain, snow, ice--you can't tell the dog, "Sorry dude, the weather stinks."

 

While I admit that if there is ice on the ground, I cut the walk short (too dangerous), my discomfort is never an excuse not to take care of my dog's exercise need.

 

George had SEVERE SA when he was first adopted. That's when I started getting up an hour earlier than I "need" to to walk him longer. I've had him for five years now, and we still do it because he enjoys it. He's alone all day--I figure it's the least I can do for him.


Hamish-siggy1.jpg

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

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Guest Elbasunu

Hey, look, I have no problem going out in the rain. He does. Rain coat and all. I'll gladly take suggestions on how to keep him outside in the rain long enough for a proper trot, but please refrain from assuming I'm wimping out here.

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Guest zombrie

Hey, look, I have no problem going out in the rain. He does. Rain coat and all. I'll gladly take suggestions on how to keep him outside in the rain long enough for a proper trot, but please refrain from assuming I'm wimping out here.

Both of mine are babies in the rain too. I've attempted to walk them in the rain twice today already. They statue and turn around the whole time. rain coats don't help. They don't normally statue, they just hate the rain. If I try to pull them along, Doolin screams bloody murder. I feel your pain. Wish I had advice for you!

Does he play with toys? Maybe have a good play session in the morning inside on rainy days? Mine go nuts if I tie some sort of rope on a stuffed toy and drag it around.

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If I come home and he hasn't peed his crate, is there any way to reinforce that behavior? After being out, and then a 5-10 minute ignore period when I come in, would he even know what I was praising him for?

 

Probably not, but if it were me with my girl, I'd still give a lot of "good girl" talk and praise her anyway because I do not ignore her at all when I return from being out. There's never been a need for it. What your boy will understand is lots of praise when he pees outside -- reinforced by a treat.

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Guest iMrCrumbs

I'm glad I'm not the only one who picked up on the "it's raining, we can't walk" comment.

 

I don't have a yard for my dog--and I'm on year 17 of daily walks NO MATTER WHAT here in New England. Rain, snow, ice--you can't tell the dog, "Sorry dude, the weather stinks."

 

While I admit that if there is ice on the ground, I cut the walk short (too dangerous), my discomfort is never an excuse not to take care of my dog's exercise need.

 

George had SEVERE SA when he was first adopted. That's when I started getting up an hour earlier than I "need" to to walk him longer. I've had him for five years now, and we still do it because he enjoys it. He's alone all day--I figure it's the least I can do for him.

 

 

You would think that people would want to stay out of the rain. My Dillon loves going out in the rain... So I just bundle up and we go out and play. Of course, summer weather allows this so I am now looking for winter clothing for him because Im sure he will want to go play in the snow :)

If only I could teach him to help me build snowmen :flip

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Guest Greyt_dog_lover

I just wanted to say thanks for the info on "planting" it's been useful. Not 100%, but he does seem to respond to gentle pushes and circles.

 

He's still peeing in his crate when we leave the house, though. Sigh. And it's been pouring/raining every morning lately, so I can't get him a good exercise walk. I saw someone say "you can't judge a greyhound's behavior until they've had an hour's walk".

 

I guess I gotta get up even earlier D:

 

Also, the last two days he's been barking at the cats when they hop up on the bed with us. I'm worried he might be getting overly defensive about the bedroom, which is the room he sleeps in with us.

 

His barking at the cats is NOT possessive behavior, it is him being interested in the cats. Plain and simple. You need to desensitize him with the cats. Two people, one person has the hound on a leash on one side of the room, the other brings in the cat to the opposite side of the room. The hound is allowed to look at the cat, not make any forward movement towards the cat. If he doesn’t move, looks at the cat, then call his name. When he looks at you, praise and give a treat. Repeat Repeat Repeat. Once he doesn’t even consider moving towards the cat, then the other person can let the cat out of their lap to move. Again, same procedure. When the hound starts to move towards the cat, you simply say with a very loud firm voice "ahh" (sharp sound very abrupt). This should startle the hound momentarily to redirect him towards you. You should not physically grab the hound, this is the reason you have a leash on him. You can keep his leash short enough so he cannot move far. One thing you can do, you say you have one cat that will swat him, put your hound on a leash and let him sniff the cat that will hit him. LET THE CAT HIT HIM. He will learn to leave the cat alone. If he gets swatted and acts excited about the situation, you have a hound that cannot live with cats. Any time he can see the cat, you should call his name, if he looks at you, reward with a good treat. This is positive reinforcement for leaving the cat alone. This behavior lasts longer than the correction method because the hound realizes that you have to be in the vicinity to correct him. The best method is being slightly afraid of the cats, which is why you let the cat smack him.

 

The elimination issue. Alone training needs to be performed and you need to return BEFORE he gets upset. If he is crying or barking, then it is too late. You need to be around to hear when he starts getting upset, and the next time you leave, make it less than his tolerance. Once you know his tolerance level, you should be able to increase it in short increments (maybe only 10 seconds at a time) until you can leave for more than 30 minutes. Try making a kong with kibble in it, then capping it off with peanut butter. Give him the kong in his crate when you leave. Realize that when you give him a Kong, he should pay more attention to the kong than you going. Come back before he finishes the Kong and repeat. Realize that when you are giving him food in his kong to reduce that amount in his dinner or breakfast the next day, don’t want a fat greyhound, nothing worse.

 

Statuing hound. You need to understand why he is statuing. Find the stimulation that is the cause, and remove the stimulation. It could be noise such as vehicles, it could be kids running around playing and screaming, it could be the wind blowing things. One good way to work through the statuing is to slide your hand into the loop of the martingale like a suitcase and simply hold his head close to your hip and walk. Keep an upbeat cheery voice and say "lets go" and simply start walking. Once he starts moving, he should release his legs and walk. Other methods, reverse your walking direction, then back again to the original direction. This sometimes works. You could use the carrot method of leading him with a treat so that he focuses on what is in front of him to start moving, then give him the treat and keep walking. There are a lot of different methods to try.

 

Prozac for dogs, I am opposed to drugging an animal in lieu of training.

Edited by Greyt_dog_lover
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