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Increased Anxiety And Destructive Behavior


Guest RebekahMike1244
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Guest RebekahMike1244

Hi Greyhound experts!

 

We're struggling a big with some recent behavioral changes in our dogs, and we can't quite figure out what has caused it. Ken has always had some separation anxiety, but he's been fine for several months now. All of a sudden though, he's started to get destructive when we leave - chewing on anything he can find and peeing on things. He's even peed on Mike's (my human) travel clothes when Mike has gone into the next room. Gracie, on the other hand, is barking like crazy all of a sudden. When we leave, she'll just start barking at the window, and the go and bark in Ken's face, which gets him even more anxious. She also seems afraid of us all of a sudden when we try to put her collar on to go out for a walk.

 

We had some yard work done, but I cant figure out how on earth that would cause all this disruption. I know both of them are stressed though, and I want to help them! I also want to feel like I can leave the house without coming home to destruction.

 

any thoughts or suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated.

 

thank you!

Rebekah

 

 

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Guest RebekahMike1244

Thanks Greyaholic. I still voluteer at the adoption group, so I talk to the owner there. She thinks it's odd. Our daily schedule is food for dog, human workout, I go to work and Mike works from home, 1-2 walks during the day depending on heat index, then dinner for the dogs, then i come home, then evening walk.

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Without knowing anything about your situation, it sounds almost like something is happening outside during the daytime that frightens/stresses them. Are they home alone for most of the day and perhaps you don't know what is happening in your neighborhood? Kids shooting firecrackers, construction someplace, do they get a long walk in the morning to tire them out, someone to come home at lunch time, etc.

 

As cleptogrey said describing your schedule might help with comments.

 

I just read your reply - we were typing at the same time 😄. You said someone is home, so maybe they are just bored with this time of year and the heat. I work from home and have two greys - they mostly just sleep, eat and we go for long early walks. I am sure you will figure this out. Odd that they are both reacting differently.

Edited by greyhoundlady
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Guest RebekahMike1244

Thanks Greyhoundlady - i've wondered about the outside as well, particularly where the barking is concerned

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Has something changed in your neighbourhood? construction work going on, new dogs within earshot, any kind of extra activity? It sounds as if something has changed for the dogs and you need to figure it out.

Try the Adaptil diffuser and see if that helps.

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exactly how long has this been going on? as long as the pre-4th of july celebrations?

 

can you increase their morning and evening exercise? change your human workout to dog and human workout together? if it's early enough then the heat shouldn't be oppressive. btw, where do you live? can you rinse them down after a jog?- do you have access to a hose? feed them after their work out- not before. then a quick time to relieve themselves after eating and nite-nite all day long. also, if you do an after dark jog or fast walk, then feed, let out- you should have exhausted dogs. maybe that will help.how old are your dogs? a couple of walks won't get them tired enough to poop out and be good comatose greyhounds.

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Guest RebekahMike1244

thanks all - they get a good 60-90 minutes of walking and i'll jog with them too, so I dont think it's needing more exercise. I think there being some new stimulus outside that I havent noticed must be it. the adaptil diffuser looks very interesting, and I've scheduled an appointment with a local woman who uses flower essence in her training work with dogs. So we'll give that a go and see what it does.

 

of course, the funny side of this is that neither ken nor gracie could give a hoot about severe thunderstorms. they both sleep right through them!

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I'd take a sample of urine in to the vet if my dog started peeing inside!

 

Rule out medical first, at least for the part of the problem.

 

No idea where you live, but could you have an animal whose made a home under your porch or something like that?

 

We once discovered termites when our rock steady, calm as could be English Setter started frantically scratching at the floor of our screen porch. He could hear the destructive little buggers eating the wood!

 

Put on your detective hat and really think about all possibilities for the anxiety.


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Since I'm not sure how long you've had your hounds, I'll share some general thoughts for consideration.

I agree about outside noises or yard work being a possible factor. Seems they're getting more than adequate exercise, assuming that includes ample opportunities to stop, sniff and eliminate.

 

A couple of interesting keys regarding separation anxiety (you may already know these things):

 

Many dogs with SA can't physically hold urine/bowel as long as they normally would when they are not feeling anxious.

(Similar to humans feeling the need to urinate more frequently immediately before an important event, public speaking, etc.)

Example: Our SA hound needs at least 3 non-rushed morning "elimination outings" before we leave. One potty outing upon awakening; one after breakfast; one immediately before being left alone.

 

Anxiety is fear-based. Dogs should not be punished for anything stemmed from their fear.

Example: If an anxious dog is punished for an accident, it magnifies fear and anxiety, and compounds undesired behaviors for a long, long time. Also damages dogs' trust relationship with humans. (There's a saying about it taking hundreds of atta-boys to counteract one reprimand.)

Greyhounds are even more sensitive to human moods than other breeds.

 

If Ken (Greyhound) has been with Daddy Mike during the day a lot, Ken is likely becoming more and more reliant on Mike being home; thus, when both humans disappear, Ken is more uncomfortable so his anxiety drives him to chew as a his calming and coping mechanism.

 

I assume the dogs were fully housebroken before; if not, possibly limit their space with a baby-gate temporarily.

Dog-proof by removing non-dog-friendly items from their reach, yet provide dog-safe alternatives.

Workable treats like peanut butter stuffed Kongs, or food cubes are helpful if hounds can be separated for safe treat enjoyment.

Chew toys, like "Durachews" by Nylabone are helpful to redirect/reduce anxiety, but they should be thrown away before they get too worn down (for tooth safety). (A Greyhound favorite Durachew looks like an arm/fist, souper size.)

 

First, I'd ensure Ken is medically cleared (no urinary infection, etc.).

If needed, Ken could wear a "belly band" (temporarily) when left home alone.

A Greyhound turn-out muzzle could prevent Ken from destroying non-dog items in the house, while remaining able to drink water.

(If Ken is muzzled both dogs should be muzzled for their safety, unless they're separated. If only Ken is muzzled, he can't defend himself if Gracie gets in a tiff with him.)

 

As you already realize, dog barking is often stemmed from stress, fear, or territorial behavior. It's also some dogs way to communicate to humans when they need a potty break/walk/meal or to entice dogs to play, etc.

 

If you're so inclined, teaching hounds to (touch) ring a bell (hung very short on a door knob) with their nose provides wonderfully clear communication with humans when hounds need a potty break.

 

I hope some of this might help. Good luck.

 

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