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Feel Out Of My Depth. Is It More Than Separation Anxiety


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Guest barnsleyfan

Trying to brief as supposed to be working. Can elaborate more if you need further info. We have been volunteering at local retired greyhound rescue centre in UK for a month or so. Wife became attached to a ‘quiet’ bitch who was always very calm, didn’t pull on the lead, friendly with other greyhounds. So we decided to give her a home. It is 4 years since we had a dog (whippet) in the house. I was brought up in a racing environment for the first 20 years of my live so have always been comfortable with greyhounds. But i still bought the two recommended books (dummies guide and another one) and read them from cover to cover .

Four year-old Eva arrived on Saturday morning. She seemed anxious when the rescue worker left, but settled down and was laid out on the rug sleeping within 2 hours. On that day walks were calm and uneventful with no pulling, although we didn’t really come across any other people or dogs. She tended to follow us all around the house, which is expected. She came up the stairs once but on subsequent attempts a polite warning made her turn around and she stopped trying. First night it was a struggle to get her on her bed in kitchen (not using a crate) but we chanced it without a muzzle. We had been advised to use a stairgate instead of closing the kitchen door. She wouldn’t settle but we left her and went upstairs to bed. We could hear her pacing, panting and drinking. There was the occasion scratch. After about 15 minutes there was a loud noise as she hurdled the gate and came upstairs. So I dismantled the stairgate and closed the door on her. She didn’t make too much noise so we ignored her. I was woke about 4am so went down to her. She wouldn’t come to me at first and kept moving away from me. I calmed her down and let her out. I then left her again and went to bed. My wife went down at 6am and was met by a wagging tail. During the day walks seemed calm and uneventful. Then things took a turn for the worse…..

 

We were advised to start leaving her, a few minutes at first. In the kitchen we have vertical blinds and a window sill that is reachable. We left her unmuzzled with a Kong filled with peanut butter. We went out for 5 minutes and went around the corner. When we returned the Kong was covered in saliva so she had been busy at it. A few hours later we tried again, but this time could see the window. For five minutes all we could see was the blinds swinging and her jumping up at the window. Eventually the blinds stopped moving so we waited another 5 minutes then returned. I don’t know where she was calm during these 5 minutes or whether her attention was on scratching at the door etc. Later I took her for her late walk when it was dark (same time as day before when there were no problems). I went to the normal grass area where she did a pee. I then took her around the corner and it was as though something really spooked her, even though there was noone around or any strange noises. What was normally a calm walk to heel dog became a scared dog that pulled with all her might to get away. We walked a bit and she calmed. Then she saw a person coming towards us and she totally flipped again, trying to back out of her collar and pulling for all she was worth in the opposite direction. So we turned and went home. An hour later we put her on her bed (11pm last night). Upstairs we could hear her constantly jumping at the window sill, scratching the door, whining etc. This went on for 2 and a half hours before either she stopped or we fell asleep. Wife went down to her at 6am and again was met with a wagging tail. We looked for evidence of what she had been upto and found foot imprints in the middle of the kitchen table, so it is clear she had jumped onto the 3ft+ table. This morning, before work, I took her for a walk at 7am. Again I took her to the normal place but also tried the place again that spooked her, in daylight to try and show her there was nothing to worry about, but again she was desparate to get away. My wife had to go to doctors and would be out for 45 mins so we asked mum to come down and sit with dog. She said there were no problems whilst my wife was out. My wife took her for a walk later and again she was not good. She was walking up the road and there were 2 girls at a bus stop, and she would not go near them, pulling with all her might in the opposite direction. She also tried to avoid other people in the same way. Later my wife tried leaving her for 10 minutes again (unmuzzled with the kong and PB), and stood where the dog could not see her, but she could see the blinds. For a long time she was jumping at the windows as the blinds were swinging furiously. When she went back in the house there was also evidence of chewing the window sill and paint flecks from the door at the back of kitchen counters so she has been jumping at them also.

 

Eva seems to be getting worse each day and I am concerned I may have a dog with more than separation anxiety problems e.g. is she scared of men/people in general. Does she need company of other dogs?

 

I realise we can use a muzzle to stop the chewing, but then the kong would be redundant and we would lose that area of focus. I don’t want to get too attached if she is going to be better suited elsewhere. It has taken me 4 years to feel ready for another dog after my whippet (who was also timid) died, as it would be heartbreak all over again. Also, I do not want to be causing the dog any distress, which may be happening.

 

Can anyone offer me any good advice. I realise it is only 3 days but should I be expecting her to get worse before she gets better? Although my wife does not work there is a few instances where she needs to leave the house for an hour or so each week. Should she still do this ?Can we expect to be able to eventually leave her for 3-4 hours ?

 

Any advice would be appreciated

 

 

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Is there a reason why you don't want her upstairs with you at night?

 

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Guest barnsleyfan

Given that when we went to bed she was still jumping at the window suggests she doesnt know the difference between us going upstairs or going out of the house, even though she can hear us moving around and talking upstairs. If we relented and let her upstairs then this still wouldnt solve the problem when we leave the house. I presumed it was better to have her get used to her bed when we are either out/in bed (as was the case with our previous dog)

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Guest sireltonsmom

If you have no objections to Eve coming upstairs and sleeping in your bedroom, I recommend you let her. She will feel more secure seeing you. It's a greyhound thing :-). Talk with your adoption group and get their advice as well - they've dealt with kids like this before. My hunch is it will get better in time so please have the patience to work thru this for a few months. She seems, from your note, to be very calm around your wife. I wonder if she had a bad experience with a man and you're being the disciplinarian right now. I have a friend in NYC who's been going thru similar issues with her new girl - the good news is all the issues are resolving. It's just taking time. Good luck with your Eve - I feel confident she will become your best friend in time. Let her know you have her back.

 

:ghplaybow :welcome2

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It's only been a couple of days. Please relax and be patient. Everything is brand new to her and she isn't used to being in a home. To me it doesn't seem so unual that she would have been on the table, which is new to her, or that she jumps at the windows. Do you think it's possible that she knew you were outside?

 

She needs to be able to bond with you and your wife and to know that she is safe. Do you tense up at all when she is walked? I'm sure she would be able to feel any change in your behaviour, be it verbal or non vebal.

 

Be patient and give her time and space. See if muzzling her when you both have to leave the house works, and try leaving the radio or the tv on for her since she probably isn't used to quiet.

 

Good luck! I'm sure it will be fine.

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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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This actually sounds like pretty typical separation anxiety behaviors, so you may be over-reacting just a bit. ;)

 

Yes, she can get worse before she gets better. Her behavior will change many times as she becomes more used to your house and you and your wife - her personality will be quite fluid for some months. I realize there are different expectations between people here in the US and people in the UK, but I would echo the above question and ask why you don't want her in your bedroom? Most greyhound really prefer to sleep with their people - they are more comfortable, and it helps them bond better. She doesn't need to be on your bed, but closer to you is better than farther away. Speak to your adoption group about borrowing a wire crate to see if that will help her. Some prefer it and some don't care, and some it makes worse. You won't know until you try. Dogs *can* lick a Kong through a muzzle, so don't discount this solution either.

 

Read the other thread in this section about a new greyhound being afraid of other dogs. It sounds a lot like what your new girl is experiencing. She's just overwhelmed right now. Make potty trips short and pleasant and don't worry about her getting enough exercise for a little while if it stresses her out (though exercising will help with her separation anxiety - a tired dog is a happy dog).

 

"Alone Training" is about getting your new dog acclimated to being alone in your home. Remember, she's never, ever been completely alone before. Even in the kennels there are other dogs. Alone training isn't just leaving her to see how she'll do. You need to leave and come back BEFORE she becomes anxious. And then stretch that time out longer and longer as she becomes comfortable. So set a routine for leaving. Do this routine every time you leave. If she is becoming anxious before you even get out the door, go back a step and just do the beginning steps over and over. Settle her in the kitchen (or wherever), give her a Kong, pick up your keys. If she's anxious, sit down for a minute or two, then pick up the keys again, put them down, pick them up - you want to de-sensitize her to the sound of jingling keys. When you can actually get out the door, just leave her for a few seconds or minutes at first - you must come back before she begins her anxiety behaviors. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

 

Yes. This will take some time.

 

You can also talk with your vet about a short course of anti-anxiety meds, though I know vets in the UK aren't as familiar with using them as vets here. Doesn't mean she'll be on them for life, but only for support as she's getting through this. If you want to try natural remedies, there is Rescue Remedy, DAP diffusers and collars, and other supplements you can try. Do a search here for separation anxiety for threads on this topic.

 

Good luck.

Chris - Mom to: Lilly, Felicity (DeLand), and Andi (Braska Pandora)

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Angels: Libby (Everlast), Dorie (Dog Gone Holly), Dude (TNJ VooDoo), Copper (Kid's Copper), Cash (GSI Payncash), Toni (LPH Cry Baby), Whiskey (KT's Phys Ed), Atom

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Guest barnsleyfan

Thanks for the advice so far. I'll hold back on the walks, trying to introduce her to new streets etc, and stick with what she knows. Thought that having the dog upstairs may make her worse for the 'alone time' and that being on her bed knowing we were in the house may get her used to being on the bed, which in turn would make it easier when we were out. Certainlu going to try a muzzle tonight. Gotto leave work now, but will check in after a few hours

 

Thanks again

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Dogs easily know the difference between being left alone and being forced to remain isolated from their pack. Right now, you want to encourage her to trust you and bond with you. Letting her sleep close to you tells her she is part of your "pack." and that this is a safe place for her. She's not comfortable being left alone, in part, because she's not comfortable when you're there. Right now, being left in the kitchen is a punishment from her point of view, and she doesn't know why.

 

Another thing you can try, especially if she is more comfortable with your wife, is for you to take over feeding and treating as much as you can given your schedules. Hand feeding her her meals will also encourage the bonding process.

Chris - Mom to: Lilly, Felicity (DeLand), and Andi (Braska Pandora)

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Angels: Libby (Everlast), Dorie (Dog Gone Holly), Dude (TNJ VooDoo), Copper (Kid's Copper), Cash (GSI Payncash), Toni (LPH Cry Baby), Whiskey (KT's Phys Ed), Atom

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Agree that you need to allow her upstairs at bedtime......

How is she ever going to bond with your family if you make her stay downstairs for almost half the time you are home?!?!?

 

Nancy...Mom to Sid (Peteles Tiger), Kibo (112 Carlota Galgos) and Mario (2nd Chance Rescue).   Missing Casey, Gomer, Mona, Penelope, BillieJean, Bandit, Nixon (Starz Sammie),  Ruby (Watch Me Dash) and especially  Nigel (Nigel), waiting at the Bridge

 

 

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Guest june

Great advice above. She needs to spend time with you and your wife. If you don't want her on the bed just put a nice soft bed at the side of bottom of your bed for her to sleep on.

Congratulations. I believe what you have is a "diamond in the rough." Patience is your best friend right now.

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Guest barnsleyfan

Thanks for the comments. We let her sleep upstairs last night. We have one bed (folded duvet) in the kitchen and another (comfy mat) in the living room. We left the one in the kitchen in case she wanted to go downstairs at any time but took the 'room mat' upstairs. She took a lot of coaxing to come up the stairs, which is surprising since over the first few days she was up and down them without issue, and had to be politely told to go back down. Clearly she was uncomfortable being told to come up and probably found it confusing after being told to go back down so many times. I had to put on her leash and walk her upstairs. She could see our bedroom and bed from where she was laid and i was able to keep sitting up in bed to check her. She walked into our room a few times but i softly told her togo and lie down, which she did do. Although she didnt seem as relaxed as when she is laid out on the rug downstairs. She seemed to sleep on all fours with her head between her front feet - is this a comfortable/usual sleeping position for a greyhound? For the hour i was downstairs before leaving for work this morning she didnt want to leave my side.

 

We were wondering if it was a good idea to put her 'room mat' back upstairs when leaving her and give her run of the kitchen, stairs and landing, rather than 'locking' her in the kitchen. However, we are only substituting the kitchen door boundary for the front door and doors to all the other rooms (which need to be kept closed to rotect both her and the contents). I suspect she is still gong to fret the same.

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Can't talk to the other stuff but for a sleeping position both of mine have slept like that and do when they're feeling insecure and want to keep an eye on me so they know where I am. They now sleep on their sides, upside down, curled up, whatever. Something you might like to consider is at some stage getting your girl a bed with sides. Both of mine love cuddling into the beds and seem more secure in them.

 

I'm also pleased she's able to sleep with the pack now. Maybe think about moving the bed into a corner of your room. Ours sleep on either side of our bed and seem to enjoy being so close.

 

I'm also glad you are beginning to experience the Velcro dog!

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Ummm...why not just buy another bed to keep upstairs?!?

 

Nancy...Mom to Sid (Peteles Tiger), Kibo (112 Carlota Galgos) and Mario (2nd Chance Rescue).   Missing Casey, Gomer, Mona, Penelope, BillieJean, Bandit, Nixon (Starz Sammie),  Ruby (Watch Me Dash) and especially  Nigel (Nigel), waiting at the Bridge

 

 

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Guest barnsleyfan

We have let her sleep upstairs 2 nights without any major problems. Although over the last few days it has been much harder to get her to do what we want. for example, it is extremely difficult to get her off her bed to either go to empty, or upstairs to bed, or for walks. Treats dont seem to do the trick - i can place one one foot away from where she is laid and she wont make a move for it. showing her her leash stimulates no response. Putting her leash around her kneck and trying to coax her up makes no difference. I don't want to manhandle her as thats going to stress her out even more. I am at work all day so my wife has the job of tending to her during the daytime. My wife has mobility problems and it is really tiring her out trying to manouvre "Eva" around in the daytime.

 

Additionally we are now trying the muzzle after leaving her without one for 5 minutes resulted in gouges/teeth marks in the window sill, but she really seems to dislike it and is constantly rubbing it against any solid object, so is still causing damage and possibly distressing her. I didnt want to try and crate her (i don't even have a crate) as i expect this would distress her even more.

 

Beginning to wonder if my wife and I have gone into all this without thinking things through properly. We chose a greyhound as we both love the look of them, and I was brought up racing them so have many years experience handling them. We thought that their 'lazy nature' would be ideal considering my wifes mobility problems - she could take her for little walks in the day/let her in the garden, and i would give her a good walk on an evening. We had spoke to numerous people who had adopted greyhounds from the same rescue and they all had positive stories about how their dogs had quickly settled in. I had purchased and read a couple of books about adopting retired racers. We went and walked the dog we chose 3 times a week for a month before agreeing to adopt. On no occasions did we experience the terrified nature when she came across other dogs (of different breeds) and people, that we are getting now, where she is out of her previous environment. I am wondering if we are out of our depth and are actually also damaging the dog.

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Sounds like you are making progress!

 

One of my former girls would *always* try to rub her muzzle off if somebody was watching. Once you actually left, she would cut it out and just go to sleep, watch out the window, etc.

 

For getting her up when she doesn't want to move, I'd clip the leash on, turn AWAY from the dog so you are not looking at her, bright cheerful "Let's go!" and stride off. When she gets up and comes with you, "Good girl!" and a nice small treat.

 

I can't tell you what to do. I can tell you, some dogs take a bit longer to settle than others. Mine have ranged from @ instant :lol to @ 3 weeks to the point of being relatively easy to manage (tho not necessarily without fears and oddities still).

Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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Just wanted to say that chances are slim you are irreparably damaging your dog in any way. We all make mistakes, and fortunately, dogs are incredibly resilient. :)

 

P.S. Trying to rub the muzzle against things is totally normal. It doesn't mean she's in distress. If you fit the muzzle correctly and make it part of her routine, that behavior will lessen.

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Guest barnsleyfan
For getting her up when she doesn't want to move, I'd clip the leash on, turn AWAY from the dog so you are not looking at her, bright cheerful "Let's go!" and stride off. When she gets up and comes with you, "Good girl!" and a nice small treat.

 

My wifes problem with this is when we simply want to move her from the room where she lays in the daytime (living room) whilst my wife is watching TV etc, into the kitchen, so we can close the living room door and try a little alone training. Should we stil be using the leash as a means of getting her from one room to another. Again, when we want to go to bed for the night and want to relocate her to her sleeping bed should we be using the leash to get her from one room to another? Will this then mean that she will ultimately only move when the leash is used?

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No, eventually she'll move just fine without the leash. Right now she's uncertain and wants to stay in what she sees as a safe spot. The leash is good because a frightened dog can get crabby, and many dogs don't like to be pulled by the collar. Leash is less threatening/frightening at this time. If you use your words each time you tell her to move ("Let's go!" or "Up!" or whatever -- same words each time), by the time she's well-settled she'll know those words and you won't need the leash anymore.

Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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Adding: If you're trying to do alone training while you are still in the house, STOP. It'll drive the dog nuts and won't serve any purpose. Alone training is when you leave the premises altogether -- as in, at least down the street 1/4 mile.

Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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Guest psdirector

We've had our boys about two-and-a-half months. We had to use leashes to coax our boys upstairs for about a month. Then one evening Mr. Tibbs ran up the stairs without his leash on. Hutch needed the leash to be attached to his collar (he would stand there steadfast until we attached the leash), but we didn't have to be holding it. Now they both run up the stairs at night, no leashes, although sometimes Hutch needs a bit of encouragement to get started. We used the same process to go back downstairs in the morning and now they both run downstairs (after a "wait" to hold them) without leashes. It just takes time for them to get accustomed to the routine.

 

Be patient with yourself and with your pup. Our boys were scared and Mr. Tibbs was really sad - both dogs had been in a prison program and Tibbs so obviously missed his prison "moms" - when we first got them. We were nervous as first-time greyhound owners. There was some trial-and-error until we figured out what worked during the day while we were at work. I truly believe that having them sleep in our room on their beds from the first night they were home has made a big difference in the bonding process, but giving that process time is the most important thing.

 

What a difference two-and-a-half months makes! I can't wait to see what they are like in a few more months.

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Guest barnsleyfan

Adding: If you're trying to do alone training while you are still in the house, STOP. It'll drive the dog nuts and won't serve any purpose. Alone training is when you leave the premises altogether -- as in, at least down the street 1/4 mile.

Sorry, I may have been vague. What i meant was that before we could leave the house we had to get the dog off her bed in the living room onto another bed in the kitchen so we could close the living room door, before leaving the house. But my wife is really struggling to get the dog off her bed in the room. Presumably the dog knows what is coming.

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Guest barnsleyfan

You cannot do "alone training" while your wife is home. The dog knows she's there.

sorry. I must be confusing. I am at work all day. My wife is trying the 'alone training' herself and is leaving the house. The issue was getting the dog out of the living room into the kitchen so she could close off the living room before leaving the house.

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