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Just Adjusting Or Potential Separation Anxiety?


Guest sprocketta
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Guest sprocketta

Tomorrow will be two weeks home for my new hound, Joy. I love her to pieces and I thought she had been doing pretty well with adjusting to home life.

 

We came home from the after-work walk tonight and my neighbor in the apartment across the hall told me that Joy cries all day while I am gone. This is my first full week of work after getting her since the holiday threw my schedule for a loop. I thought she had been doing really well. She doesn't cry as I am leaving or show signs of stress while I am getting ready to go. I don't fuss over her when I leave and simply say, "Bye Joy." I don't hear any crying when I walk down the stairs and leave the building.

 

I've been trying to listen for crying or whining when I come home from work before I get into my apartment. Monday, I heard a little crying as I came up the stairs and got near the door. Tuesday, she was howling as I got into the apartment. Last night, there was no noise until I unlocked the door and she whined a little (I ignored her until I put away my things). It was the same way tonight. Once I go to her crate, say "Hi Joy," and let her out, she becomes insanely happy. She gets out of the crate, helicopter tail going, jumping and prancing around. I try to keep coming home low-key but it's difficult because she is do darn happy to be me with me when I get back. I'm not complaining, this has become the best part of my day without a doubt. It's just hard to keep it low-key when she is so bouncy happy.

 

I have noticed that she is very clingy and follows me from room to room, which I had pretty much expected from what I have heard and read. I did work on alone training. I started with 30 seconds, to a minute, to 5 minutes, to 10, to an hour, to 3 hours, to four hours over the first weekend she was home and a couple days the following week.

 

I fully admit I am a worrier. I'm just wondering at this point if all of this qualifies as simply a period of adjustment or if these are signs that she is developing separation anxiety. I live alone and I live kind of a quiet life at home a lot, so I realize I am pretty much the dog's entire world aside from when she is out for walks.

 

Will she just adjust and stop crying eventually and stop following me everywhere? Or should I consider this a sign of developing separation anxiety? I just want to handle it appropriately and in such a way that things don't get worse for her.

 

Advice and a reality check for a worried dog mom would be appreciated.

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Guest sprocketta

Awww! Sounds like you are doing all the right things. Do you put music or anything on for her during the day when you're gone?

 

I left her in the quiet during alone training but have been turning the tv this week. I just leave it on network tv, but was thinking I would leave it on a music channel tomorrow.

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Guest Nekos_Mommy

I posted this in another thread about SA, but I am in the EXACT same boat as you, here is my advice so far!

 

Something that has really helped me is first increasing his independence and comfort being independent before starting alone training. I met with Veterinarian and Canine behavior specialist Dr. Giovanna Rosenlicht to discuss my dog's issues.

 

The first step was to either have his bed, or crate (we used a bed because crates seemed to increase his anxiety) become his safe zone. Teach him to lay down on his bed and "relax" into a comfortable position. (I use down to mean patiently laying in the squat-like down position that greyhounds have, and relax to mean sprawled out on the pillow as if they were sleeping.) Because this is something greyhounds do naturally it shouldn't take too long to teach (clicker training helps a great deal!)

 

Next, train him the word "stay" At first you may have to stand still as well, and just reward him as long as he doesn't move. You can gradually increase the amount of movement you are doing around him from one step away, to two, to three, and start turning your back to the dog as if youre actually walking away. It may take a few weeks, but eventually you can start walking around a corner or out of the room and having the dog stay put. Gradually you can spend more and more time in other rooms, coming out and giving him love and attention if the dog is still on his bed/in his crate and not following you around.

 

This training method has worked wonders for the issue of following us around the house. We are still working on the howling while we are gone, although since we have started this he is howling less loudly (keep in mind we have only been doing this 2 weeks).

 

Try only giving your dog attention if they are laying down on their bed/in the crate. If the dog wont stop following you, wander aimlessly around the house until the dog is bored. Then, if the dog goes and lies down in its safe zone, make a big deal about him being there with treats and pets.

 

My last advice is to get them to hear the cues of you leaving (Door opening, keys, coats, shoes) as often as possible when you arent actually leaving. It'll help lessen the instant anxiety response.

 

I'll post more as I get more "homework" assignments from Dr. Rosenlicht and find out what is successful!

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Guest kkaiser104

Teddi went through a period of "almost-SA". He's since become perfect when I leave, but those first few weeks were hard! He pulled my comforter into his crate and ate it, ruined 2 mini-blinds, scratched up my door, peed in the bed, just everything you could imagine. Once I was able to trust him, though, and give him full reign of the house without a muzzle on, all of his problems vanished. I think sometimes dogs do better out of the crates and enclosed areas. Good luck! I also taught Teddi to "go to his bed" quickly, and made him do that everytime I left instead of a cage.

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What you described is pretty much exactly what happened and is happening to me now!

 

I've had my girl Raven for a month now and I come home to hear that she has been whining or howling on and off, sometimes at length, during the day.

 

My landlord lives upstairs, so I pretty much talk with her everyday to find out what she heard to see if maybe there is a trigger or something out of sorts. Usually there isn't, so I'm inclined to believe its part of the adjustment process. Raven does not destroy or soil her crate when I'm away, its just the vocalization.

 

Depending on how well you know your neighbours, is there a way you could ask them to report to you when and how long they hear carrying on for?

 

In the beginning I was leaving the TV on for her, but the set top box has a feature where it shuts off after 4 hours if you haven't touched any buttons. When the TV would go off, that usually coincided with the howling, so now the radio stays on.

 

I found having a routine helps, we go for our walk and she goes to her kennel and waits for breakfast. It took her about 2 weeks to go in there without a fuss. Now she trots right in there and lays down and waits for her food. Just before I leave she gets her frozen Kong and a bully stick to chew on. I will hide a few treats in her crate when she isn't looking so she has something to discover during the day, hopefully giving her something to use her mind for.

 

Does Joy get a Kong when you leave?

 

My girl is also super excited when I get home. I make her wait about 3-5 minutes until she is calm to come out of the crate. Then calm for a few more minutes once she is out, then we can play. It totally is a joy to see them play!!

 

The following around the house happens to me too. Extremely clingy in the beginning but over the last couple weeks she follows less. Nekos Mommy mentioned about the stay training, I would agree with all of that. It has also worked excellently for me! After about an hour or so Raven will go lay down on her bed in my room, she gets praise for doing this, and hopefully it encourages some independence in her.

 

I too like to worry, and despite all the research and preparations, until its happening its almost impossible to " prepare" for. Especially if its your first I think!

 

Sometimes it helps me to feel better when I think about what many other experience greyhound owners have told me is that it takes time, time and more time! Dogs don't reason the same way we do, so where we could be comfortable somewhere relatively soon, it might not be so easy for some of them. Having plenty of patience during this time has definitely been a benefit. Alone training is also super important and slowly I see progress, in the beginning it felt hopeless, but that is not the case!

 

I wish you the best of luck with your girl, please post back if you discover things that help you! she sounds like she has a very caring mama. :D

 

I've been creeping this website for a few months and it is a goldmine of helpful advice and encouragement on pretty much everything greyhound

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Off topic: But some of us have had problems with our dogs eating bully sticks (choking on the small piece at the end or in my case, my girl got a length of a stringy part caught in her teeth and kept trying to swallow it all the while gagging on it). It's not recommended letting a dog have a bully stick with nobody at home.

Edited by Feisty49
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Off topic: But some of us have had problems with our dogs eating bully sticks (choking on the small piece at the end or in my case, my girl got a length of a stringy part caught in her teeth and kept trying to swallow it all the while gagging on it). It's not recommended letting a dog have a bully stick with nobody at home.

 

thank you for that :). I usually get the 2 foot ones and take them away when they get smaller, for evening chews. Do you have any recommendations for a long lasting safer chew?

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Off topic: But some of us have had problems with our dogs eating bully sticks (choking on the small piece at the end or in my case, my girl got a length of a stringy part caught in her teeth and kept trying to swallow it all the while gagging on it). It's not recommended letting a dog have a bully stick with nobody at home.

 

thank you for that :). I usually get the 2 foot ones and take them away when they get smaller, for evening chews. Do you have any recommendations for a long lasting safer chew?

 

Himalayan dog chews! They are hard enough to last a very long time, but not so hard I feel a dog would crack a tooth on them. I got Boo a large one and he will chew for half an hour at a time, usually leaving it and then going back for more an hour or two later. He has had it for 3 days and seems to be chewing out it several times a day but is still only 1/4 of the way through it. I would supervise at first though, in case your dog goes through them faster than Boo.

siggie_zpse3afb243.jpg

 

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

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Off topic: But some of us have had problems with our dogs eating bully sticks (choking on the small piece at the end or in my case, my girl got a length of a stringy part caught in her teeth and kept trying to swallow it all the while gagging on it). It's not recommended letting a dog have a bully stick with nobody at home.

 

thank you for that :). I usually get the 2 foot ones and take them away when they get smaller, for evening chews. Do you have any recommendations for a long lasting safer chew?

 

Himalayan dog chews! They are hard enough to last a very long time, but not so hard I feel a dog would crack a tooth on them. I got Boo a large one and he will chew for half an hour at a time, usually leaving it and then going back for more an hour or two later. He has had it for 3 days and seems to be chewing out it several times a day but is still only 1/4 of the way through it. I would supervise at first though, in case your dog goes through them faster than Boo.

 

thanks! I also live in Calgary and recognize your dogs name from the adoption website! ( I'm pretty sure its the same one, what would be the odds!)

where did you get the Himalayan chews from?

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Off topic: But some of us have had problems with our dogs eating bully sticks (choking on the small piece at the end or in my case, my girl got a length of a stringy part caught in her teeth and kept trying to swallow it all the while gagging on it). It's not recommended letting a dog have a bully stick with nobody at home.

 

thank you for that :). I usually get the 2 foot ones and take them away when they get smaller, for evening chews. Do you have any recommendations for a long lasting safer chew?

 

Himalayan dog chews! They are hard enough to last a very long time, but not so hard I feel a dog would crack a tooth on them. I got Boo a large one and he will chew for half an hour at a time, usually leaving it and then going back for more an hour or two later. He has had it for 3 days and seems to be chewing out it several times a day but is still only 1/4 of the way through it. I would supervise at first though, in case your dog goes through them faster than Boo.

 

thanks! I also live in Calgary and recognize your dogs name from the adoption website! ( I'm pretty sure its the same one, what would be the odds!)

where did you get the Himalayan chews from?

 

Oh my goodness, how cool! You just made my day! I didn't realize your Raven was the SAGA Raven! Did you come to the Christmas party last weekend?

I creeped your girl's greyhound-data profile before she even arrived. She used to race at Palm Beach, my favorite track. Look forward to meeting her someday!

 

Not sure where in town you live, but I got the Himalayan dog chew from Tailblazers in Inglewood. I'm almost positive that 100 Acre Wood in Forest Lawn has them too. It was expensive in Inglewood (of course!), $10, but considering how long I anticipate it lasting and how well it quells his boredom, I think it was a good investment that I feel safe leaving him in his crate with.

siggie_zpse3afb243.jpg

 

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

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Off topic: But some of us have had problems with our dogs eating bully sticks (choking on the small piece at the end or in my case, my girl got a length of a stringy part caught in her teeth and kept trying to swallow it all the while gagging on it). It's not recommended letting a dog have a bully stick with nobody at home.

 

thank you for that :). I usually get the 2 foot ones and take them away when they get smaller, for evening chews. Do you have any recommendations for a long lasting safer chew?

 

Himalayan dog chews! They are hard enough to last a very long time, but not so hard I feel a dog would crack a tooth on them. I got Boo a large one and he will chew for half an hour at a time, usually leaving it and then going back for more an hour or two later. He has had it for 3 days and seems to be chewing out it several times a day but is still only 1/4 of the way through it. I would supervise at first though, in case your dog goes through them faster than Boo.

 

thanks! I also live in Calgary and recognize your dogs name from the adoption website! ( I'm pretty sure its the same one, what would be the odds!)

where did you get the Himalayan chews from?

 

Oh my goodness, how cool! You just made my day! I didn't realize your Raven was the SAGA Raven! Did you come to the Christmas party last weekend?

I creeped your girl's greyhound-data profile before she even arrived. She used to race at Palm Beach, my favorite track. Look forward to meeting her someday!

 

Not sure where in town you live, but I got the Himalayan dog chew from Tailblazers in Inglewood. I'm almost positive that 100 Acre Wood in Forest Lawn has them too. It was expensive in Inglewood (of course!), $10, but considering how long I anticipate it lasting and how well it quells his boredom, I think it was a good investment that I feel safe leaving him in his crate with.

 

 

yes!! that's her! I wasn't at the Christmas Party, but I heard it was a good time. I try to get to the meet and greets with her so perhaps I will see you there one of these days! Thanks for the info about the chews, Ill be sure to pick her up some this weekend :D

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Guest sprocketta

In an effort to see how bad this really is, I used a digital voice recorder to record Joy while I was gone. And it's terrible. She's cries and howls. It hurts my heart to hear this. I discovered last night that she had been chewing on her crate. This is new behavior for her home with me, but the vet said her teeth looked pretty worn and suspected she had previously been a crate chewer. I am concerned she may damage a tooth this way beyond just further wear.

 

We're going to try a kong with cheese wiz instead of peanut butter (since she won't eat the peanut butter). The adoption group suggested this. I don't leave any other toys because I don't want her to choke. A few friends also suggested leaving her in the dark and covering her crate with a sheet. Has anyone had a positive experience with this?

 

Her crate is in the living room which is directly above the entrance to my building and we also live right off a stairwell. I'm not sure if the coming and going noise of people in the lobby or on the stairs is bothering her as well so I am considering moving the crate to another part of the apartment.

 

There are so many variables, I'm overwhelmed trying to figure it all out. I just want to make things work. Thanks everyone for the support and advice. I'm going to try and work on increasing her independence a bit as well as was also suggested.

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Guest sprocketta

She might just really hate the crate. Could you try ditching it?

 

I am considering it, but I'm also concerned she may get destructive or hurt herself if she's out of the crate. I'm going to try covering the crate tomorrow with a sheet and if that helps at all. I'm willing to try leaving her in a room with a babygate for a short period to see how she does. Petrified I will come back to a mess and a panicked and injured dog, but I'm a worrier.

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Guest sprocketta

You can use marrow bones, fill with yogurt and freeze, kongs filled with food and treats, things that take a lot of time to get to the treat. Good luck, hopefully she learns how to comfort herself.

 

http://dogs.thefunti..._a_kong_toy.php

 

Thanks for this link, that's very helpful. I have been stuffing a kong, but breaking it down into different treats may be more interesting.

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Guest PaulEmandStan

Where do you let yours roam when you're out? Our stan was terrible and destructive until we let him sleep in our bedroom, now with a kong and a throw on our bed our neighbours never hear a peep out of him. We often have to wake him up when we get back when he used to be whimpering

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Guest sprocketta

I have really only babygated her into my bedroom once and she just gnawed at the babygate. I was only out of the apartment for a couple minutes. She loves my bed, but for some reason won't jump up on it. I'm wondering if maybe I should get her some stairs. She seems to dislike jumping up anywhere.

 

What are people's opinions on crate-safe items to leave aside from a kong? I'm wondering if a large nylabone is okay or not. I don't want to leave anything she can choke on.

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if you choose to leave her out, you could get a turn out muzzle for her if she didn't come with one. it might offer you some peace of mind and keep her out of trouble. I thought I would try and leave Raven out about 3 weeks in and she panicked. I do believe it was too soon for that. I am currently working with her teaching her how to relax (not just lay down) around the house and in her kennel. As for safe things in the kennel I'm sure others will chime in, some people say an item is safe, others will tell you its not, do what works for you and what you feel good about.

Sometimes I leave an empty cracker box or something with a few treats in it hidden in the kennel so she can find it and rip it open and get her treats.

 

please post updates on your progress! I hope your girl is settling into her new life :D

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Guest Angelique

Hello!

We went through some SA stuff a few months ago and this is what I learned.

 

1.-Create a routine...

He gets his breakfast when I leave in the morning, and a Big treat when I leave in the afternoon - usually a kong, a re-filled marrow bone, a xl greeny, or a rawhide*. (*Care with rawhides, my boy is not an aggressive chewer so they last a long time).

I hide a few pieces of kibble throughout the living room area.

I don't make a big deal about leaving, everything is ready, i give him his treat and walk out the door.

I give him a pat on the head when i walk in and then ignore him for the next 5-10 minutes.

 

2.- Figure out what your dog likes, does not like, and what makes him feel secure.

My dog does not like crates, does not like the dark, and likes the curtains open and a bed where he can watch the bystanders.

I keep a light on in case i get home after dark and now he has an extra couple of blankies and pillows in the living room - his room.

 

 

We tried the TV/radio thing and it didn't seem to make a difference. We live on a main street so there is always a lot of noise from cars and trucks and ambulances...

 

Try using a turn out muzzle instead of a crate one day, it may make all the difference in the world.

Leave him toys, a couple of fluffies, a small towel, whatever, even if you've never seen him play with them while you are home.

If you can, take him for a long walk before you leave. I know this is hard, but it will make him sleep better while you are away.

 

 

Be patient, don't forget most greys have never been truly alone, without a human or a dog... ever ever ever before. It took us about two months (I thank my neighbours every time i see them for being so understanding). I think a lot of it has to do with just becoming comfortable with the environment... "this house is really my home... MY home, and it is safe"... and realizing that you will always come back.

 

Best luck!!

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Guest sprocketta

Thanks for everyone who is chiming in. We had to see the vet for her vaccinations so we talked about the separation anxiety. She recommended a DAP diffuser and a midday dog-walker (not an option due to cost). We talked about a thundershirt and leaving her out of the crate muzzled.

 

She did better in the crate with a large nylabone as well as the kong, but she still had a fit when I left and for 45 minutes afterward (I record her now). She's usually going a lot longer than that so this was an improvement.

 

Tonight I babygated her into the bedroom with the thundershirt and a really interesting chew. I was able to be in her view without her melting down and then step outside for about 10 seconds a couple times without her howling. I figure that's progress. We've got a long road ahead.

 

Tomorrow I am going to try and muzzle her in the apartment and leave for a bit.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest sprocketta
if you choose to leave her out, you could get a turn out muzzle for her if she didn't come with one. it might offer you some peace of mind and keep her out of trouble. I thought I would try and leave Raven out about 3 weeks in and she panicked. I do believe it was too soon for that. I am currently working with her teaching her how to relax (not just lay down) around the house and in her kennel. As for safe things in the kennel I'm sure others will chime in, some people say an item is safe, others will tell you its not, do what works for you and what you feel good about.

Sometimes I leave an empty cracker box or something with a few treats in it hidden in the kennel so she can find it and rip it open and get her treats.

 

please post updates on your progress! I hope your girl is settling into her new life :D

 

I did try letting Joy out of the crate with a muzzle on. That was definitely not a good option. She was VERY upset, ended up closer to the front door and upset the neighbors across the hall.

 

She IS making progress. We now go for a longer, faster morning walk which amounts to 45 minutes to an hour. The vet recommended l-theanine, a DAP diffuser and a thundershirt. So, with the longer morning walk, 100mg of l-thenanine twice a day, the thundershirt and the DAP diffuser, Joy is not howling and barking the entire time I'm gone. We seem to have gotten to the point where she only seems to cry, howl and bark for about 10 minutes every hour. This is significant improvement and she doesn't immediately start right when I leave.

 

I'm bringing in a dog-walker twice a week to try and break up her day a bit. In the short-term, I'm getting her out of the apartment on Fridays since my neighbor, who is a college student, has Fridays off and likes to sleep. I figure I can help maintain some peace that way while I get my girl adjusted.

 

I'm also teaching "settle" as well as working on getting her to "wait" in another room to be comfortable with me not being right near her. We also do time with her babygated into another room or time in her crate while I'm home. Frankly, I love having her spending as much time around me as possible and don't mind the "velcro dog", but I want her to learn some independence.

 

My biggest struggle right now is getting in time for alone training on the weekend without upsetting any of the neighbors. We are on our way, though. A lot of this is difficult, but I am committed to doing everything possible within my budget. I realize a lot of this is a matter of time commitment over money, though the latter never hurts, either!

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Our first few months were a bit rough. She howled and barked when we left. We had a day where she tried to houdini herself out of the crate. We nanny cammed her while we were at work. Most days she'd calm down after an hour or so. After a while, she began biting at her crate, so we started using bitter apple.

 

We also had a crate peeing issue for a while, but I think that's more related to a pseudo hemaphrodism issue and infection. She's been on antibiotics twice since we've had her and that seems to be an almost instantaneous cure. So we're diligent about wiping her backside and watching for the warning signs of an infection coming on - if it becomes chronic, we'll look into surgery to correct it.

 

She's much much much better now. What turned the tide for us was boarding her. We went away for a week around Thanksgiving and she was like a new dog when we got home. We load her up with interactive toys - she gets a daily kong and some wobbler/treat balls to keep her busy while we're away. We've attached an ex-pen to the front of her crate to give her a bit more room to play and stretch.

 

For us it was really a process of trial and error. Lots of patience and some alone training.

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