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Hello,

 

We just brought a retired hound into our home and we are struggling with whether we can provide the level of support she needs. She's only been here a week and a half, but she seems to be having a very difficult time adjusting. I fear her nervousness is more than adjustment woes and may be signs that she needs a companion. This is our first dog experience, so a lot of my ibservations are best guesses.

 

Here is some more details. She is almost 5 and retired this fall. She spent about 2 months in a prison program where her trainers described her as social with people and other dogs, and enjoyed playing with certain toys. She then spend 3 months in a foster where she was described as being very calm and not really bonding strongly with anyone in the house She vocalized when her foster parents came home, but they don't know if she was howling when they were gone (about 3 hours every weekday). They reported her vocalizing more often and more loudly in the week before she left.

 

In our house, she seems on edge a lot of the time. I thought she was just sleeping, but noticed she will pretend to sleep rather than explore the house or interact with us. Her tail is never wagging (except when we get home and she is panicking), and is often between her legs when we pet her. She often freezes when we interact with her. She will generally follow us around the house but not always. She dandruffs a lot. She will not play with toys or chew on a nylabone (except food toys).

 

When we leave she will be ok for 5-20 minutes and then whimpers and howls intermittently until we come back. When we comeback she howls loudly. One time she chewed up a small wicker basket. Her crying is more than heartbreaking, and really affects me and my wife.

 

We have done alone training from day one, it's not sticking at all. One day she can go 15 minutes another 3 minutes. In other words, we have not seen any progress (even baby steps). I am gone half the day, my wife is gone all day, and eventually I will be gone all day (with a dog walker or some other arrangement). We have her on a trial basis and are trying to decide how to proceed. I hate the idea of returning a dog, who I genuinely care for, but she seems totally miserable here. Given her history and long racing career, I suspect she really needs a friend and/or a more experienced owner which we cannot provide.

 

Any thoughts on how to proceed would be greatly appreciated. Moreover, if our troubles handling this make us unfit to have a retried racer that is information that I would appreciate as well.

 

Thanks

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Relax.

 

Week and a half is early days, and it sounds like things aren't going badly at all.

 

If she can be OK for 5-20 minutes, she will probably get the hang of things and get better as she settles in. No guarantee, but it's likely. Some other folks will be by here soon with suggestions for helping that process along :) .

 

You may not see much tail wagging, playing with toys, etc. for a few more weeks yet. Not a sign of misery. She has a lot to observe and learn, and that process takes up a lot of energy. Some hounds are not big waggers in any case.

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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I can't speak to all of the questions you have raised since I've only had one grey myself, and when he came to us we already another dog (lab cross). He howled when we left him crated...it was loud and awful and I don't know how long it went on. It sounds like you do not crate yours. Some dogs like the crate as it makes them feel safe. Is there a crate she can retreat to? When we stopped crating him after a few weeks, he stopped. I work at home however.

Our grey is very reserved - that's just how he is. If his tail wags a couple of inches, we know he is ecstatic. He hangs out in the bedroom, where we all sleep, instead of where we are. That's his "lair". He's not much of a toy guy either, except when he gets up before his breakfast. He only likes to chew real bones and pizzles, primed with cat food.

Some dogs are the more "velcro" type. Maybe that's what you are looking for. It also can take them months (six?) or longer to settle in before they feel at home. Django really didn't show his silly side until we had him for 6 months. Good luck to you, what ever you decide!

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Guest rarmstrong

Hello,

 

I'm struggling with the same thing. This is my first dog as well, and I've had my dog almost a week and a half. This whole process is incredibly overwhelming.

I took my dog to the vet and he suggested a couple things,

-alprazolam

-thundershirt

-a long, prolonged walk in the morning before you leave vs. many short walks

-continued alone training

 

I work 7 days a week, so it has been really difficult to implement alone training. I try to fit in a longer walk before a leave, followed by 15 minutes of quiet time and then another 10 minute walk. I turn some music and the TV for as long as I can (I don't have cable. I have Apple TV that shuts itself off once you haven't been interactive with it for awhile), and leave a Kong for him to nibble on. I decided to try a DAP collar. Maybe the combination of those things will aide in his transition.

 

So far we are hit and miss. My dog hasn't been destructive since we started the alprazolam, but has accidents. I've had 2 accident free days since we started the alprazolam on Friday. Per my landlord (who lives right above me), he vocalizes for a little bit right after I leave and then settles down. I'm thinking of investing in a video recorder to see exactly what it looks like. I'm hoping he will adjust with time.

 

I realize I don't have much to contribute, since we are pretty much in the same boat. I definitely understand what you are going through and empathize. My stomach has been in a constant knot since I adopted him. I hope with time things will get better.

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Guest IrskasMom

Batmom summed it up . Time , Patience and Love is what is needed. For some it almost takes a Year to come out of their Shell. Their whole Life has been turned upside down and are confused . In a Month or two you will see some slight Progress. It will pay off in a big way with Trust and Love ( very subtle ) .

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What you need to decide, most of all, and soon, is if this is the kind of dog you want.

 

Many greyhounds are NOT demostrative like other breeds. They may or may not ever wag their tails to indicate an emotion. They may or may not ever play with toys. Some are not even especially food motivated for training purposes. They are a very self contained breed, for the most part, and their indicators of how they are feeling are much smaller and harder to read. If you want a more demonstrative dog who will play with you at the drop of a hat, a greyhound might not be the right fit for your lifestyle. However, in most cases, both you and your dog just need more time and more patience and some training.

 

Both of you have had your dogs less than two weeks. This is hardly a blip of time for a dog who has had their whole world turned upsidedown in the space of a day. The vocalizing, the tucked tails, the withdrawing from the activity in the house are all classic signs of a dog who is overwhelmed.

 

Do a search here for the proper method for Alone Training. This needs to be done assiduously for as long as it takes your dog to adapt. The trick is to come BACK in *before* your dog begins to miss you. Slowly extend the time, and repeat, repeat, repeat. Even when you might feel your dog is OK being left. And if you have an upset to the routine at home, you might need to start over and begin again.

 

As others have said, it can take months or even years for some greyhounds to feel totally settled into their homes. DAP diffusers can help. Sometimes a dog needs a crate, sometimes they need to be out of the crate. Leaving the TV or a radio on can help, as most kennels have a radio on 24/7. A short course of an anti-anxiety drug - such as alprazolam (xanax) - *can* help, but I would not suggest it until you have given other, non-drug methods a good solid trial.

 

Make sure you have a routine set for your dog - the same every day, for the most part. This should include a nice long, tiring walk in the morning before you leave the house. A tired dog is a happier dog. They will mostly sleep the day away, if given half a chance. This walk should also include plenty of chances to eliminate completely. Don't leave rawhide chews or other longer lasting chew-type objects with your dog unsupervised. Freeze peanut butter or squirt cheese in a Kong to keep them occupied for right after you leave. Make your leaving low-key and matter of fact. Don't coo at your dog or make a big deal about saying goodbye.

 

If you have a dog with separation anxiety, any period of quiet is good. It means they can calm themselves down, at least for a little while. This also means they can probably learn to be OK with it once they know what's going on. Neither of you have written about any problem which would make me think a greyhound is not for you. It's just a little blip on the road!

 

You will find many, many, many, many threads on this forum about separation anxiety. They will all give you additional information and insight. 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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Thanks for the advise thus far. Let me clarify my concern. I understand Greyhounds are not all super affectionate and that is not the nature of my worry. My fear is based on the fact that she seemed much happier when she was in the prison program (which was for 2 months immediately after retiring), She played with toys, was described as more outgoing, and only had slight SA. Since leaving that environment, where there are other dogs, she seems really tense most of the time, even compared to other fosters at the event where we met her. I understand greyhounds take time to acclamate, but given what I know about her history I am worried there is a larger problem.

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Given that this is your first grey, everything you're feeling and stressing about is 100% natural. But greysmom is correct, all the behaviors you're describing are very typical of newly adopted greys. From your original post, I wouldn't say there's any underlying problem with your dog specifically. And unless she's routinely being destructive, having accidents, or vocalizing for hours on end, her SA is probably very manageable. It can take awhile for your dog to settle into her new home, even if she was fostered somewhere before. Given that your girl retired later (at 5-years-old, instead of say, 2), her routines are more ingrained. But with that being said, even the most well-adjusted grey usually requires more than a few weeks/months to "get it."

 

There's an adage about greyhounds that goes: the dog you come home with is not the dog you end up with. Very true! Just be patient with her.

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Do you know what routine she had at her foster home or prison? We had an extremely timid greyhound, so we stuck to a strict routine, e.g. early morning walks, walk at lunch, walk after work, walk before bed, fed twice at day at the same time 7 days a week to try and help her acclimatize to home life. Most greyhounds I know thrive on routine which is why I suggest this. There's lots of things you can do in the future once she gets more comfortable, but for now just relax because if you are anxious, she may pick up on it.

 

Honestly, when we adopted the next 3 greyhounds, I always felt a bit guilty or sorry for them initially, even though I knew within a few weeks everything would be fine and that's after 10 years of greyhound ownership, so I can empathize.

Jan with precious pups Emmy (Stormin J Flag) and Simon (Nitro Si). Missing my angels: Bailey Buffetbobleclair 11/11/98-17/12/09; Ben Task Rapid Wave 5/5/02-2/11/15; Brooke Glo's Destroyer 7/09/06-21/06/16 and Katie Crazykatiebug 12/11/06 -21/08/21. My blog about grief The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not get over the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same, nor would you want to. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

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Thanks for the advise thus far. Let me clarify my concern. I understand Greyhounds are not all super affectionate and that is not the nature of my worry. My fear is based on the fact that she seemed much happier when she was in the prison program (which was for 2 months immediately after retiring), She played with toys, was described as more outgoing, and only had slight SA. Since leaving that environment, where there are other dogs, she seems really tense most of the time, even compared to other fosters at the event where we met her. I understand greyhounds take time to acclamate, but given what I know about her history I am worried there is a larger problem.

 

 

Nearly all greyhounds are happier when there are other dogs around. They are raised, trained, live with, and are around other dogs their entire lives, so that's what they are used to. That doesn't mean that *most* of the them can't adapt to living by themselves. It just takes time.

 

It is possible that you have one of the very few greyhounds who simply can't live alone. However, as already stated, those greyhounds usually have much, much more destructive behaviors - chewing the moulding off of doors, chewing holes in drywall, destroying blinds and curtains, uncontrolled eliminating all over the house, severe anxiety attacks, non-stop and extremely loud barking and howling the entire time they are left alone. Unless you have mis-characterized your dog's behaviors, you don't have one of these.

 

Though your particular dog may take a little more work on your part. Only you can decide if you have the time and are willing to make the effort to help her get through this adjustment period. While everyone would prefer this, it's often not feasable, and returning a dog sooner rather than later is easier on everyone. This doesn't mean you can't or won't or shouldn't have a greyhound. It just means this isn't the one for you.

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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This doesn't mean you can't or won't or shouldn't have a greyhound. It just means this isn't the one for you.

 

Agree! That being said, OP is likely to run into the same problems with any other newly-retired greyhound.

I wouldn't give up on this one just yet.

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My fear is based on the fact that she seemed much happier when she was in the prison program (which was for 2 months immediately after retiring), She played with toys, was described as more outgoing, and only had slight SA.

 

When we adopted Summit he had been in a previous home for 2.5 years where he had been happy and loved. He was returned with his "brother" due to owner illness. When we adopted him he came to us with a couple of well worn toys and were told that he enjoyed playing fetch in the house. Our experience could not have been more different. He would not even LOOK at a toy. In fact I had to train him to fetch and from doing that he began to play more and more on his own, to the point that he now often randomly grabs a toy and brings it over to me.

 

I would also say that it took a good 6 months for him to show that he was happy when we came home. Now he meets me at the door almost every day at lunch and after work with his tail wagging and a bounce in his step.

 

Even for a dog with much less to acclimate to it still took us a year to really see his true personality.

 

On the SA, we have been fortunate to not have to deal with true SA. Summit never did being a bounce, and Kili we got at 8 weeks and were able to train. However, before them we had a foster dog. We had him for 3 weeks. For the first week and a half he cried whenever we were gone and I was worried (he was our test dog for our landlord) but with some alone training the rest of his time with us he learned to settle in and adjusted well.

 

Even a couple of months is nothing in the grand scheme of things. Your dogs won't be settled and adjusted for close to a year. Which isn't to say these are not problems that don't need to be worked on, but just keep the big picture in mind!

Kristie and the Apex Agility Greyhounds: Kili (ATChC AgMCh Lakilanni Where Eagles Fly RN IP MSCDC MTRDC ExS Bronze ExJ Bronze ) and Kenna (Lakilanni Kiss The Sky RN MADC MJDC AGDC AGEx AGExJ). Waiting at the Bridge: Retired racer Summit (Bbf Dropout) May 5, 2005-Jan 30, 2019

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Thanks for all of the replies. I think the points about routine, which we were not great about in the first week, were particularly enlightening.

Since my first post things seem to be changing rapidly. Two nights ago we went to the pet store to return a thunder shirt that I had tried (didn't do anything for her). There, we decided to try out a calming collar instead. I was skeptical that anything would have a huge effect, especially without more training. As soon as we put the collar on, her tail extended a bit and she was visibly less nervous. She's become more affectionate, especially towards my wife and even played with a toy for a few seconds when we weren't looking this morning. When I periodically skyped in on her yesterday, I didn't hear any howling until 4.5 hours after I left (and 10 minutes before I got home). Today I didn't hear any howling over skype, only when I came home. She is still certainly acclimating to all of the changes, but no longer seems to be totally miserable.

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