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Can't Decide Whether To Babygate Or Let Him Roam


Guest KTPrime
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Guest KTPrime

Hi all, so my boy will be home in six days! I'm not a new adopter, I've had Optimus for about four years, but he stayed with my parents this past year due to some difficulties I've mentioned in other posts, one of the main being trying to find pet-friendly housing (especially for my huge boy!) in the DC metro area.

But the BF and I just moved into our new, pet-friendly apartment this past sunday, and my boy will be home on friday! I'm SO excited to have him home after what seems like forever!

I have to admit though, I'm a wee-bit nervous. Partially because my boyfriend is a little anxious about having a dog in the apartment (smell, messes, etc), so I really want things to go well. My Optimus is an angel for the most part when I'm around, but, like many dogs, is not a huge fan of when I leave. Due to my parents schedule, and a little brother at home, he pretty much has not been left alone at all in the past year, and now I have to get him used to us being gone 8 hours a day.

 

Unfortunately, I can't take any vacation time from work right now, so I basically have a day and a half to get him used to it. He did... all right with being alone when I've left for work in the past. There was somewhat of a problem with accidents, which I'd say he has about 30% of the time when someone leaves. Bear in mind, I was not being a very good pet owner, and was taking him for about a 10-15 minute walk in the mornings and then leaving him alone for the work day. (I have no excuse for this behavior except my own stupidity, and am planning on a good 45 minute walk in the mornings to really tire him out before I leave for work).

Optimus HATES being crated. I tried it for the first few months I had him and he just lost it every day in there and was miserable. Out of the crate, he was MUCH better, though with the occasional accident.

Our new place, unfortunately, is completely carpeted, so my plan has been to babygate him in the spacious kitchen (with a dog bed) so just in case he has an accident, he doesn't damage anything (we're renting so this is a concern). Now that I'm getting closer though, I'm having second thoughts. He has never really seemed to react well to being contained, and I don't want to stress him out needlessly if being let free in the apartment won't be an issue. He hasn't been gated in any way in years, so I'm afraid that he might just react badly or it might make him more anxious.

 

But I'm also afraid of letting him loose and having an accident on the carpet which will sit for 8 hours. I've considered hiring a dogwalker, but it is massively expensive in this area, and I'm not sure it will help the problem, which is more him hating us leaving rather than holding it, which I know he is capable of (at least sometimes!)

Any advice would be appreciated!

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Guest oldgreymom

We went through this same thing with our guy when we first got him. Hated the crate, so we baby gated him into our 25x13 foot kitchen. I thought that was plenty of room... he did not. He broke down the gate (actually damaged the wall... this was not an easy gate to break through) and settled himself into his favorite spot in the living room. He has not had an accident since his "escape." You could start out with the baby gates when he first gets home and spend some time gated in there with him. This way he'll feel like that's a happy place to be. If he is anything like mine, he'll get through them if they are stressing him out.

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Sure, try the baby gate and see how it goes. If he doesn't like it, then get rid of it, no harm no foul. Like crates, the room-babygate situation should be somewhere where the dog can see what's going on in the house and doesn't feel isolated. Some do fine with them, others make their own rules (jump over or bash them down).

Sharon, Loki, Freyja, Capri (bridge angel and most beloved heart dog), Ajax (bridge angel) and Sweetie Pie (cat)

Visit Hound-Safe.com by Something Special Pet Supplies for muzzles and other dog safety products

:gh_bow

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Guest oldgreymom

Sure, try the baby gate and see how it goes. If he doesn't like it, then get rid of it, no harm no foul. Like crates, the room-babygate situation should be somewhere where the dog can see what's going on in the house and doesn't feel isolated. Some do fine with them, others make their own rules (jump over or bash them down).

Yup. My guy BASHED it down with a vengeance. This after being told by my adoption group, "Don't worry. You could probably put a string across the door and he won't cross over it!" :rofl

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Yep, Capri too, told us exactly what she thought of the baby gate. :lol I think the difference is whether you're there in sight or not.

Sharon, Loki, Freyja, Capri (bridge angel and most beloved heart dog), Ajax (bridge angel) and Sweetie Pie (cat)

Visit Hound-Safe.com by Something Special Pet Supplies for muzzles and other dog safety products

:gh_bow

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Guest psdirector

We have our boys in our family room, kitchen, breakfast room areas during the day. They have lots of room and really respect the boundaries- they won't leave until it's time to go upstairs at bedtime. We have other issues in the house - my elderly dad and his yappy toy poodle have moved in with us and the one time the boys weren't confined my dad let Hutch get right out the front door. His reaction time just isn't there any more. The dogs all get along, but my dad is worried they will step on tiny Buttons. Anyway, we are making it work and Hutch and Tibbs are fine. The other issue is that after being here for almost five months and never touching anything, they have started to chew random items - tv remotes, DVD cases, a Wiggle, Wags harness, a phone (in spite of access to tons of dog toys, Kongs and deer antlers ) so now I would worry about what else they would find to chew in the house. We are starting positive training classes this week, and none too soon!

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Guest KTPrime

I guess I'll give the babygate a try and see what happens. Now the hardest part is the waiting! I feel like Friday is never going to get here!

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Guest Sourbuzz

How much time did your dog spend on the track? We just got ours and he actually never step foot (paw?) on the track. I think he doesn't have a high prey drive which is actually evident now as he watches countless cats and dogs stroll by our fenced in back yard. We were very fortunate as our dog has nearly 0 problems, but it took some training and patience to get him there (albeit with little effort).

If he was used to spending time in the kennel (where he would have been if he spent time on the track) he may just need more time to adapt. You said you've had him for four years? Was he ever ok in the crate? What symptoms did he/does he show when in the crate?My advice to you: try to get him to like his crate. When you're home, place treats or whatever he likes, in the crate. Pet him. Give him praise. If he comes out that's fine but have him go in again. If he does the "freezing" where he just stands there, be patient. pet him, lure him into the crate. Eventually lead up to not letting him out when he wants to come out. Give him commands, then he'll know. Step away. Then praise. Things like this take time and patience and Greyhounds are no exceptions; they tend to do things at their pace and on their terms which is fine, but you have to be willing to do it and let them know its worth it.

If this is not possible you can try the baby gate. Greyhounds actually don't need tons of room to live in. Think about the track: kennels are where they spend most of their time. Sure they might not be "happy" but as long as their fed and on a schedule I'm sure they're quite content. Even if 10 or more hours are in their crates. The idea that we need to give them tons of room actually could be the one thing they don't want. Think about the change from a crate/kennel to having a whole room to explore, especially when you're alone? Pretty freaky right? They're thinking "where am I? what am I supposed to be doing? where is that person I was with before? I have to go!" Too much at once, so take it one step at a time. They know if there's less room there is less they have to worry about therefore less to destroy. Also make sure not to talk or look at him when you leave/come home. And I mean nothing. Be as boring as you can be. Pretend he's not even there and you're just picking up the gate and going back outside. Trust me, this works. He'll learn to calm down, especially if you can compliment this with more frequent/longer walks.

 

"They" say that you really shouldn't have a greyhound confined for more than 8 hours at a time for the reasons mentioned above: they need to GO! But obviously we don't live in a perfect world where we can come home every 2nd hour to let them out. So they need to get used to all this time alone in addition to disciplining their body enough to hold it in. This is a lot to do for a dog isn't it? Imagine if you had to hold it after eating a steak or drinking 2 glasses of water/coffee. Its tough. But I bet if you trained your body to, you could.

Long story short: get him to like the crate. If this is absolutely not possible keep him in a more confined space in the kitchen with the gate with less room. They will not go to the bathroom where they sleep/eat.

Hope this helps. Just be patient and confident. He'll love you all the more!

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Guest debster

I'll say this: If he does mess, use some Nature's Miracle and a small spot-bot. It really is a miracle... it took the stain and smell of a giant poo pile out of my carpet Thursday night (first night home, left him unattended for 2 mins; completely my fault).

 

Wish I could weigh in more on the babygate issue, but I'm a brand new owner. I wish you luck on your baby's return! :)

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Guest kkaiser104

I would try the babygate if that's what you and your BF are comfortable with, but realize it might not last/work. Trying to confine Teddi, in any way, is not an option for me. He hated the crate so much he bent the bars trying to get out, and when babygated to a room he tried to bash his way out. Teddi only has accidents if I don't get him out in time and a quick run with the spot bot takes care of any stain/odor. Seriously consider investing--I wouldn't rent without one!

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Guest Trammell

Let us know how it goes. Mine hated the crate and the baby gate was the same (body slamming it) video tape if you can. I took the gates down so she wouldn't hurt herself. I just moved and I now prop a baby gate up, she could easily hop over, or knock it down. I think because she sees the little dogs who are baby gated into the utility room, and she can see the front door she is ok. Granted we have a dog door now, but she can hold it well past 9 hrs because she does so on a regular basis, even with open access to water and a dog door. She is my lazy girl though :)

 

ETA: the little dogs gates are high up so she can't hop them, and they are secured so she can't knock them down. I prop up gates to section off the room where my foster is crated.

Edited by Trammell
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