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New Greyhound Owners - Separation Anxiety

Guest FoolishLemming

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Guest FoolishLemming

Hi! I'm new to the forum but have been looking around and doing a lot of reading. My boyfriend and I got our greyhound, Rook, in August. He was doing really well being left alone until my boyfriend left to visit his family for a week and that really stressed Rook out. While the BF was gone, he would cry and howl and throw himself against the apartment door for the first ten minutes (possibly more? It can be difficult to tell if he's really stopped or will start up again once I leave for work). His anxiety is worse in the crate so we've been leaving him loose and he hasn't been destructive yet. He is always calm by the time I come home.


Since that week we've done a lot of research and learned that we did all the wrong things with him. We basically caused his anxiety by flooding him with affection and taking him out of the crate too soon. So now we're back-tracking and have set a new routine of crate-training and limited affection (only as a reward for obedient & calm behaviors).


We've been steadily working on desensitization and counter-conditioning, as well as trying to discourage velcro tendencies (avoiding eye contact, only giving affection when we call him to us, and just sitting down if he starts following us around the house). I'd say in the past two weeks we've made some good progress. We've gotten to the point where he won't cry when we leave the house.


So we thought, yahtzee! We're awesome dog trainers! Until we set up a camera. He'll quietly work on a Kong or puzzle-toy for 15 minutes, but then as soon as he finishes it's like he just then realizes he's alone and then he cries, howls and paces the apartment for about five minutes. Then he's fine til we get home.


Normally I'd say, hurrah, this is still good progress and with time it might go away entirely. Unfortunately just a few weeks after we adopted Rook, my boyfriend was laid off. Now it looks likely he'll have a great opportunity in another city. Which means there will be a period where it is just me and dog, followed by a move to the new city. We know that this will be a lot of stress to put him through, so obviously we'd like to get him in as good a shape anxiety-wise as we can before his life gets turned upside down again. We're both inclined to see our vet and have anti-anxiety drugs on hand when that process starts, but any suggestions for what to work on in the mean time? What sorts of things can we do to make losing a person easier? What about a move?


Thanks in advance for any advice!

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The fact that he settles down is a good sign. You'll get good advice here.



I just want to chime in with my usual warning: please be aware that some dogs are better off out of the crate. If the dog is not having accidents or destroying your home (and even then you can use a muzzle) then why use a crate? If the dog is happier being able to roam and find the spot that makes him most comfortable and secure, than try to accomodate him. By all means leave the crate set up, but leave it open. Cover it with a large blanket and make sure there is comfortable bedding inside. Rook then has the option to choose the crate.

Edited by KickReturn
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You don't mention doing any actual "Alone Training" with him. Search the forum here for good how-to's. As separation anxiety goes, your boy doesn't sound too bad - he's not destructive, he does settle himself down, and he's gotted better over time as you've worked with him. Greyhounds are very schedule oriented, so think about what's coming up for you and him, and try and put him on a schedule that will be maintained after your BF leaves town. This will reduce the stress he feels, though there will probably be some regression.


You can talk with your vet about anti anxiety meds, and they might be useful, but you should probably give it a try without first. There are several over-the-counter and homeopathic support aids you can try, as well - Rescue Remedy, a DAP diffuser or collar, several herbal supplements for reducing anxiety.


Good luck!

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

52592535884_69debcd9b4.jpgsiggy by Chris Harper, on Flickr

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, Lilly

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