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Do You Consider Greyhounds High Maintenance?


Guest KTPrime
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Guest KTPrime

I just found this forum and am loving all the great grey info and opinions! I got my first rescue about two years ago, and it was pretty much love at first sight. The problem is, when I got him, I was in grad school, and thus we spent a great deal of time together, as I was rarely gone for more than a few hours at a time. Then, I moved to the city and got a 9-5 job, and for the first time I realized that my pup may present some problems for me. He got so attached to me, so when I was gone he would misbehave. When I left he would have accidents in the house and chew things. Try to imagine my 90lb grey having an accident in my tiny studio apartment... it was a real mess! I employed a dog walker to help alleviate the problem, but he would still have accidents even when walked.

 

Overall he's just very demanding of my attention. When I'm home, he's only happy if he gets to sit next to me. If I try to keep him off the bed or couch he won't settle down or he'll whine. He'll respond to my command to go to his dogbed, but only for maybe 10 minutes max before he's trying to get closer to wherever I'm sitting.

 

Eventually, because I was having a hard time affording dog-walking and was tired of finding lakes of urine in my place, I reluctantly sent him home to live with my parents for a while (my mom is retired and can be with him pretty much all day). He's still my baby, and I'm planning on having him come back to live with me within the next year (I miss him terribly)!

 

What I was wondering is, do you think his behavior is typical of greys? I really love the breed but when I think about getting others (in the future when I have more space), I'm a little hesitant. Do you consider your greys high-maintenance?

 

~KT

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I will let others answer in detail, but it sounds like your dog may have separation anxiety. You may be able to teach him that he CAN be alone and survive, which would make him less clingy. Or getting a second dog (particularly a greyhound) might be a solution. You have to understand that these dogs (assuming he's an ex-racer) have never been alone, so they need to be taught that. Some pick it up better than others.

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No, I don't think greyhounds are high maintenance. They're dogs, like any other dog, with the potential for behavioral issues like any other dog, but in general they're very laid back, require less exercise than other large breeds of a similar size, and are very routine oriented which makes helping them adapt to home life quite simple imo.

 

As far as your specific issues are concerned, it sounds like your dog has separation anxiety - can happen with any breed. A second dog might help although I wouldn't recommend taking that on without somehow checking first and making sure you're totally prepared financially and work wise for a second. Otherwise, alone training is your friend. Patricia McConnell's I'll Be Home Soon is a great resource to get you started. It's a booklet available online for less than $10.

 

Welcome to GT and good luck with your pup.

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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

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Get the Patricia McConnell booklet above and read it.

 

You have "trained" you dog to be used to your presence basically 24/7/365, and then it sounds as if you didn't spend enough time re-training him to be by himself when you got a job. He developed some separation anxiety. It can happen to any breed of dog, not just greyhounds, who have had a big schedule change such as you describe. It also sounds like he has YOU trained pretty well. If he whines long enough or makes a pest of himself, you'll give in and allow him to do/be whatever he wants. Greyhounds are pretty smart trainers that way. Your dog IS a high maintenance dog because you've let him become one.

 

Lots and lots of greyhounds live very well and very happily, with no problems at all, in homes where their people are gone to work. But you have to get them used to the new schedule and to being alone. It's going to take some work, some will power, and some consistent training to get your boy to this point, but it's totally doable. Sometimes getting another dog can help, but there are a lot of other things to try before you can make that determination. Do a search here in T&B for other threads about Anxiety and Separation Anxiety.

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I'm a pet sitter and I can honestly say that greyhounds are generally easier than most other dogs (for me at least). They tend to have quirks, but so do other dogs. I have 2. Bu is one of the easiest overall dogs you will ever meet. I drag him out of bed 2-3 times a day for a walk and put food in front of him when he asks and thats it. He doesn't care when I come or go from the house. Sailor is also pretty easy, but he is the biggest mommas boy ever. He has some slight separation anxiety. If I'm home with him he can go 9-10 hours without going outside. But, if I'm out, he can only go 6-7 hours or I come home to an accident. I think working on separation anxiety would help you. It may help to bring him to obedience class as well. I did this with Sailor to help with confidence and he has come very far. Find a good positive reinforcement trainer. Working on "stay", "down" and "go to your bed" while you are home may help when you leave. Also, more exercise. A tired dog is a happy dog. Wake up a little early and go for a long walk, try to get him into agility, find other greyhounds to have play dates with. There are also toys, like kongs, that can help keep him busy.

Good luck.

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No, I consider them EASY dogs! It's one of the reasons I love them so much. :lol

 

As others have said, it sounds as if your dog has separation anxiety. He has got used to you being there often, and suddenly you are not. This - SA - is not confined to greyhounds, although it's possibly more common in newly-adopted greyhounds than some other breeds because they have been used to living with a lot of canine company, and a lot of human activity around them all day, every day, right up until they're adopted out.

 

Usually, it's a fairly simple fix, though some dogs are more resistant to behaviour-modification than others. If you do a search on 'separation anxiety' in the Behaviour & Training forum, you'll get a lot of results and there are many where people have given a good run down on the way to go about training them out of it, but basically you have to set aside three days minimum -

 

Begin early, because you have a lot to pack in!

 

Put on your coat, pick up your purse and your keys, walk out of the door (without the dog), close it, walk two or three paces, wait five seconds and go back and let yourself back in, all the while completely ignoring the dog. Put down your things, take off your coat and carry on as if nothing had happened.

 

Twenty minutes later, do it again, staying out ten seconds. And again, twenty minutes after that, staying out fifteen seconds. As the day progresses, stretch out the time between sessions, and begin to stay out a little bit longer. DON'T be tempted to jump to ten minutes after a few goes outside. This must be done gradually - particularly with a dog who has got himself into a bit of a state over all this already. Stretch it out to a half-minute, then a minute. Then a minute and a half. Then two minutes. That's how slowly you need to take it. Your aim is not to ever give him a chance to panic that you're not there, before you're already back. :)

 

By the end of the first day, you'll probably find that you're going out every half hour or so for about five or ten minutes. Trust me, this is good progress!

 

The second day would be the same, except this time, walk away from the house. Continue with the same time interval as the day before at first, and if he's comfortable with that, stretch it out as before. If he begins to howl, cut the time back a bit and begin again - but don't rush straight back, and don't comfort him when you get in. The aim is to bore him out of this behaviour, to let him know that you go out, you come back, you go out. You come back. Ho. Hum.

 

The third day, if all is going well and the time outside allows, dress for work and go through the same routine - again, use the same intervals and time-outs that you finished with the day before. If you can, get in your car and drive around the block, come back, be very matter of fact. Do not add more than two to five minutes on to the time, and stay within the 'stretching out' regime you've been following. Again, if he gets upset, go back a step or two. If he doesn't, continue to stretch the time out. By the time you can do all that and stay out for half an hour, I'd consider him pretty much cured - apparently dogs begin to panic (if they're going to) within quarter of an hour of you leaving, usually ... but they're all different.

 

I've had to go through this with a couple of mine, and it usually only takes a couple of days. Now, even though we're here most of the day, every day (being retired) we can still go out for four or five hours occasionally, and while the dogs are very pleased to see us when we get back, they're fine and spend the time sleeping. And yes, it is possible for one to have SA, even with another dog for company! I have had to de-sensitise new dogs, even though we already had another. :)

 

Don't forget also that leaving on a radio or TV for company can work for some. Try plugging in a pheromone diffuser (Comfort Zone, I think they're called in the US). And give him something to do - a kong with a frozen filling, for instance. Chewing is a self-calming behaviour and can help a lot.

 

Good luck!

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Guest pegasusridge

Agree with all of the above posts. I think our greys have been the easiest dogs we have ever owned (and we have had everything from mutts to Jack Russels to Black and Tan Coonhounds). Three of the four could have cared less about being let alone, one of our current dogs has slight separation anxiety. It only seems to manifest itself when he knows we are on the farm but he can't get to us.

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Guest BrindleBabes

I fell into the tender trap of adopting a second grey after having my first for a few months. Now they're inseparable, so even if I want to take one to the vet, on a walk, or do anything without the other, there's some anxiety (but no accidents, thankfully). I'm continually working on that, but the fact is, they prefer each other to us (tho I'm not sure that's true for all greyhounds), even if they're sleeping in separate rooms LOL.

 

Remember that two dogs cost twice as much $$ and take significantly more time -- but they also mean more fun and love. :nod

 

As far as maintenance, compared with my friends' standard poodles, schnauzers and labs, greyhounds are a piece of cake !!!

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If they were high maintenance we wouldn't have three ;)

 

:nod

 

We've had several dogs over the past 30 years ...Springer/ 3 Dobes / GSD/ Pointer and the Greys are easy, easy, easy.

 

The McConnell booklet is fabulous. Anything by her is good!

 

Nancy...Mom to Sid (Peteles Tiger), Kibo (112 Carlota Galgos) and Joshi.  Missing Casey, Gomer, Mona, Penelope, BillieJean, Bandit, Nixon (Starz Sammie),  Ruby (Watch Me Dash) Nigel (Nigel), and especially little Mario, waiting at the Bridge.

 

 

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You're not having a Greyhound problem. You're having a DOG problem.

 

Dogs are not all that happy to be alone all day, but they can learn to deal with it. Dogs are social animals, he lived one way for a while, then you expected him to just change his lifestyle when you did--but he cannot understand that without retraining him to.

 

There is no reason to believe a Golden Retriever or a mutt would have reacted in a different manner.

 

Being single, working full time, living in an apt., and owning a dog takes a lot of committment. Trust me--I am describing myself! I have been doing it since 1995, and I don't even stop for gas on the way home--that's how strongly I feel that asking more of him than being alone all day while I work is more than enough to expect. Sure, on occasion I might do something later in the evening, or on a weekend, but I am home WITH the dog when I am there. I get up extra early so he gets a long walk. I pay attention to him at night. We try to do fun stuff on the weekends.

 

I think it was smart to ask your Mom to take over, at least for now. But know this--another breed of dog is going to require just as much time and attention--and probably MORE if you choose to get another one some day.


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Guest ManyBlessings

I have had many dogs in the past 30 years and my grey has been very easy to transition to our home. Ok, so I've only had him a week :hehe Still......I can tell. He is no way high maintenance.

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Guest kkaiser104

I'm 20 years old and in college full time (taking upwards of 25 hours of classes each week). In addition to that, I work up to 20 hours a week. Plus study time, homework time, practicing (I'm a musician)...you get the picture. I adopted Teddi in the summer so I would have time to work on alone training if needed. And boy, am I glad we did!!!

 

When I first brought him home, I crated him (as was recommended by the adoption group). It proved to be a bad idea when Teddi started non-stop howling, crying, and biting at the bars of the cage. When he pullled my comforter off of my bed and into his cage, absolutely ruining it, I put the cage away for good. Teddi just doesn't like being locked up all day. I spent two weeks with him confined to my room by a baby gate with a muzzle on. He would throw himself around the room, but at least he didn't eat things or ruin anything! After he started calming down in the room (and after a LOT of alone training) I started letting him have the run of the house but kept him muzzled up so he wouldn't eat any of my furniture. A week later he got to just stay in the house with no muzzle and did great.

 

Now he doesn't even get up when I leave or come home (unless he wants a potty trip or dinner). He literally spends all day in his dog bed or on my bed. My roommate has a puppy, but he is locked up in a crate when we leave so I don't think that he really helped Teddi's SA. I think he just had to have some time to adjust to my schedule and my lifestyle.

 

You can do it, with a lot of hard work and patience!

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Guest Jacks_Human

The easiest breed of dog I've ever been owned by! SA is workable and you've gotten some good suggestions. I always leave the radio on for mine.

^THIS

I've had a 9-5 job the entire time I've had Jack, and even though he's a major 'Velcro Dog' and wants to be at my side at all times when I'm home, he's happy to snooze away the day when I'm at work.

IMHO, check out some of the SA threads on this forum.

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Guest KTPrime

Thanks for all the advice, I'm definitely going to pick up that booklet and try the methods you've all mentioned for dealing with SA when my boy moves back in. I know it's partially my fault because I pretty much spoil him to pieces... I guess I have to learn how to be a firm mom :)

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Guest jaws4evr

I’d consider our female “high maintenance” just because she’s extremely sensitive. Our Pitty Mix I rarely worry about, he’s extremely tolerant of people and being handled, and very good with other dogs.

 

Our GH is another story though, she’ll spook away from scary things, will scream if she’s petted too roughly, and is very soft tempered around other dogs, to the point that she gets picked on by more “bossy” types.

 

In her normal routine she’s an easy keeper, but out in public I need to pay more attention to her than the other… therefore, “high maintenance”.

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Guest sireltonsmom

The advice to leave and come back is how we handled training Sir Elton. Mindy had more SA issues because of how she was treated in her first home (not well). After the in/out training, I give our kids a greenie before we leave the house (I stay til they are eaten for safety's sake) but the kids understand we are going away but WILL be back. We are so glad for your asking others' experiences and your willingness to put the time and energy needed to get your boy comfortable with your new schedule. It's SO worth it! These greys love you like no other breed. No offense to non-grey owners. I have owned and loved other breeds too. Greys are not high maintenance. Best of luck to you.

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Other than thunderstorms and shiny floors (although she WILL walk on them), Summer is relatively bomb-proof. And many dogs are thunderphobic -- she's not even all that bad. She will do anything I ask of her, go anywhere even if it's strange or could be scary, wear anything I put on her. I would say she's the most low maintenance dog I've ever had EXCEPT for the greyhound teeth thing.

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Guest karilynn

I consider mine to be pretty easy. Though, he does have his quirks, which I find endearing. Like any dog, he needs exercise and attention, which I gladly give him. It isn't always easy. As Susan said, that's dogs in general, though. Would I recommend a dog to someone who works a lot, travels a lot, likes to go out a lot? Probably not. I have a friend who does all of those things and while she loves dogs, she wouldn't get one because she wouldn't be able to devote the time to the dog. And that's what I find not easy about dog ownership - it's a responsibility, albeit a fun one, it's still work. In regards to greyhounds, I find them to be easier to care for than other dogs. They like to sleep, they're relatively laid back, most of them are very well behaved. But you get back what you put in, so for me it's hard work that is very rewarding. It could be that your greyhound has some behavioral issues that need addressing or perhaps he is clingy by nature and that is his personality.

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Guest greytone

I don't think that greyhounds are high maintenance. However, my old guy is kinda needy at times. He doesn't go upstairs and if I stay upstairs too long, he'll stand at the bottom of the stairs and bark for me to come down.

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Guest maidmarcia

Other people have probably already said this, but I don't think it depends on the dog breed at all, but more with the individual dog.

 

Obviously there are certain shared traits. Most greys are probably not going to need A LOT of exercise, compared to a boxer for example. However, the younger they are, the more exercise they will need.

 

I had a husky for 10 years and I think that she was just as low maintenance as my current grey, but in a different way. Licorice (my grey) is far more cuddly and needy than she was.

 

However, that being said, is the need for cuddling and attention really that high maintenance? I don't see it that way at all! I love spending time with my dog. Why else would you have one? It definitely sounds like your poor houndie has separation anxiety though. I'm sure everyone here will have lots of super helpful advice to get you through the issue :D Good luck.

 

Other than thunderstorms and shiny floors (although she WILL walk on them), Summer is relatively bomb-proof. And many dogs are thunderphobic -- she's not even all that bad. She will do anything I ask of her, go anywhere even if it's strange or could be scary, wear anything I put on her. I would say she's the most low maintenance dog I've ever had EXCEPT for the greyhound teeth thing.

 

 

Hmm, Licorice is afraid of shiny floors as well... Linoleum, waxed tiles... Do you know why and have you made any headway with it at all? Licorice is so bad, he won't go off the carpet runner at the pet store.

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nope, not at all...either I've been very lucky or everything I do is out of love and doesn't seem like work...probably a bit of both :colgate

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