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Need Advice About A Possible Spook (Long, Sorry)


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So we made a mistake--the adoption representative was very strongly encouraging us to take a dog home for a trial week, with the idea that he would go back for the weekend while we're out of town, and if it worked, we would adopt him after that. George's issue was that he whines when left alone (even in a room with people outside) and we can't keep him in an apartment if he's going to upset the neighbors.

 

So George came home Sunday, Sunday and Monday were good--he progressed from whining when left alone in a room to being quiet when left in the apartment for short periods, played with me with his toys, cuddled... All good.

 

Tuesday we turned a corner though, he's been nervous in the hall going to our front door since he got here, but on Tuesday he started refusing to go outside at all. It's not the outside, he loves to go out on our fenced porch and would clearly go outside that way if it weren't fenced, and once he gets outside likes to walk. His foster mom mentioned he was afraid of his food bag, and we've noticed he's afraid of a lot of things, and is spending a lot of time in his "safe spot"--wedged between our bed and his bookshelf on our dirty laundry anytime he gets at all nervous.

 

It's been 10 years since I had a new dog so I could really use some opinions about how normal this is with a new greyhound--he's been off the track about 2 months, but has gone through a couple of foster homes. We've been doing the standard alone training and that, coupled with playing NPR for him, seems to be working nicely. But I have no idea what to do about the spookiness. Is this the kind of thing that we are likely be able to train him out of? At the moment the only way to get him outside is for DH to carry him, I can't safely lift him. We've been using lots of positive reinforcement with affection and treats--come into the scary hallway and you get food and praise. I hope that's not the wrong thing to have been doing.

 

I really, really love the little guy already, he's a complete cuddlebug, and part of me really wants to keep him in hopes that we'll get through this. He's in heaven when he's in the same room with both of us, and loves to be physically touching me, right now he's playing with DH and a toy. But I think he's unhappy a lot right now and I don't know if we can fix that. In full disclosure, I am a high anxiety person myself, so I worry that everytime I'm upset about work or whatever I'm going to be upsetting him. I'm afraid that bringing him home, knowning he was going to have to go back to his foster mom's for the weekend, was a big mistake that's just further disrupted his life, but I can't fix that now. If it matters, he's been throughly vetted. He had some bathroom trouble in his first foster home that turned out to be caused by worms, but they treated that and he's been a perfect gentlemen in that department here and at his most recent foster home. He's not in the least distructive, nor is he doing anything that could hurt him. He eats normally.

 

I wonder if he would be better off in a multiple dog family. Unfortunately, getting a second dog isn't an option for us for another year or two. I don't know if that would help, since he's been with another dog (not a greyhound) at his foster home and was having the separation issues there.

 

He's going back to the group tonight, before he gets any worse, and then we'll have to decide if we're bringing him back on Sunday. I'd really like to keep him, but not if he's going to be unhappy here. Of course while I've been writing this, he's started playing with DH, which he has been refusing to do for two days, so maybe that's a good sign. I don't know.

 

Any thoughts, advice, opinions, stories, reading suggestions are welcome.

Beth, Petey (8 September 2018- ), and Faith (22 March 2019). Godspeed Patrick (28 April 1999 - 5 August 2012), Murphy (23 June 2004 - 27 July 2013), Leo (1 May 2009 - 27 January 2020), and Henry (10 August 2010 - 7 August 2020), you were loved more than you can know.

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He's only been home for q couple of days. Give him a little bit of time to get used to his new surroundings and people. Be generous with the treats, just like you've been doing.

 

Do you think it would be easier to get him outside if you put him in a harness? Sometimes Iker doesn't like going for walks, either, but I don't give him the option on staying inside. I just go so he has no choice but to follow me out the door.

 

He sounds wonderful and it seems like he's happy. He even plays with toys and you and your husband! Relax and he'll be fine. Of course you know this already :)

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Xavi the galgo and Peter the cat. Missing Iker the galgo ?-Feb.9/19, Treasure (USS Treasure) April 12/01-May 6/13, Phoenix (Hallo Top Son) Dec.14/99-June 4/11 and Loca (Reko Swahili) Oct.9/95 - June 1/09, Allen the boss cat, died late November, 2021, age 19.

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Could you dab a little bit of peanut butter on the hallway floor to the front door?

 

Hada the podenco maneta, Georgie Girl (UMR Cordella), Lulu the podenco andaluz, Rita the podenco maneta, Howie the portuguese podengo maneto
Angels: Charlie the iggy,  Mazy (CBR Crazy Girl), Potato, my mystery ibizan girl, Allen (M's Pretty Boy), Percy (Fast But True), Mikey (Doray's Patuti), Pudge le mutt, Tessa the iggy, Possum (Apostle), Gracie (Dusty Lady), Harold (Slatex Harold), "Cousin" Simon our step-iggy, Little Dude the iggy ,Bandit (Bb Blue Jay), Niña the galgo, Wally (Allen Hogg), Thane (Pog Mo Thoine), Oliver (JJ Special Agent), Comet, & Rosie our original mutt.

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Guest PhillyPups

As Robin said, he has only been there a few days, only off the ttack a couple of months and never anywhere long enough to get settled in. Poor boy, must be a very confusing world for him. I say go for it. He will adjust, especially if he is starting to play now too. :)

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We ended up taking him back--he had to go back one way or another for the weekend as we have an out of town committment and didn't want to board a brand new dog even if we decided to keep him. Watching him with her pack of 4 greyhounds, we're obviously not the right home for George. He was ecstatic, confident, bouncy, even stealing toys from one of her dogs. It's hard to explain, but he was playing in a much more joyful, confident way. I'm feeling sad and guilty, but he obviously needs to be in a home with other greyhounds. DH just got off the phone with one of the foster mothers who apparently has been seeing the same signs, fine the first day or two, then over time getting more and more mopey, until he goes back to one of the other foster homes (this mom travels a lot so she's more of the fillin foster home), but she thought it was because she was getting him on the weekend and it was her going back to work that was the problem.

 

Lesson learned: DH and I need to go back and reread some of the books we have, we're realizing we haven't had a greyhound for 10 years, we've had Patrick for 10 years, complete with his own neurosis and needs, but we've adapted to those and I think we've forgotten some of the hard parts in his early years--over time the good stays with you much longer.

Beth, Petey (8 September 2018- ), and Faith (22 March 2019). Godspeed Patrick (28 April 1999 - 5 August 2012), Murphy (23 June 2004 - 27 July 2013), Leo (1 May 2009 - 27 January 2020), and Henry (10 August 2010 - 7 August 2020), you were loved more than you can know.

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Well, as hard as it is, I'm glad you made this decision early enough. It seems you made the decision based on his best interests

Our boy was fostered with other greys, and so of course no one could have realized what he was like without other greys. When we got him, we gave him lots of time assuming he was just 'adjusting'. He is relatively happy with us. But he is SO HAPPY with other greys, and we are not in a position to get another for a couple more years. Is it too late to find another home for him in which he would be happier? I think it is. He is happy enough with us that there is no immediate need to rehome. We love him, like crazy. But we also know he isn't just 'happy', but THRIVES with other greyhounds. We wish we would have known early enough to offer him that opportunity. We would give him a home with other greyhounds if a loving one was available, but the need is not so extreme that we would return him at this point, and there aren't any homes in our community looking for an additional grey.

I'm glad you made a decision you can probably feel good about, for the dog's happiness. Hope you guys find the perfect dog for your family in the future.

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Bri and Mike with Boo Radley (Williejohnwalker), Bubba (Carlos Danger), and the feline friends foes, Loois and Amir

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Guest Greyt_dog_lover

Just a thought, do you have stairs that the hounds have to go up and down? If so, I would think that was your issue. Water under the bridge now, but realize that nearly all greyhounds when they are first learning stairs will balk at the notion that they will have to go outside before they master the stairs. I foster broken leg hounds and they have to learn the stairs from day one. For the first week until they are comfortable with the stairs, they will refuse to go outside. I have to grab the collar like a suitcase, and take them down the stairs. Once they get used to the stairs, the balking at going outside stops. Just a thought.

 

Chad

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No stairs, Patrick couldn't do stairs after his neurological breakdown and we picked the apartment out for him. There are stairs around to train a dog on for when we travel later, but there's no reason why they would have to learn right away. I appreciate the advice everyone, and for being so nice. Diane, I did worry a lot about bringing him back and I feel really guilty, but the adoption group seems to move their dogs around a fair bit, I don't know if that's normal since last time we adopted from NGAP and they don't foster at all.

Beth, Petey (8 September 2018- ), and Faith (22 March 2019). Godspeed Patrick (28 April 1999 - 5 August 2012), Murphy (23 June 2004 - 27 July 2013), Leo (1 May 2009 - 27 January 2020), and Henry (10 August 2010 - 7 August 2020), you were loved more than you can know.

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Before I got to your last post, I was going to say that he'd likely be more happy in a home with other dogs. It doesn't sound like his fears would be insurmountable in your home, but if he's immediately and clearly happier in a home with other dogs, why force it? Bit of a digression, but I used to be much more judgmental about people choosing to return their dogs, but now I look at it purely from the perspective of a dog. A dog that has SA for instance, that could get over it with medication and a lot of training on the owners part, but who would instantly be "cured" in the presence of another dog - I think that dog would be better of in the new home with additional dogs (obviously not all SA is fixed that easily, just using that as an example). Yes, it can be difficult for a dog to be bounced around, but they're fairly adaptable creatures and he'll eventually land in the right home and figure out that's where he is for good.

 

You'll find the right dog for you as well. Why not just foster full time, but with the understanding that when the dog who is the right fit comes along, you will adopt him/her? Then take your time and really wait for the best fit. I would think a mature female would do well in your home. Good luck!

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Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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