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Is This Separation Anxiety, A Health Problem Or Just A Weird Behavior?


Guest CleverJason
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Guest CleverJason

I've had Baron for about a year, and he's never appeared to have a problem with separation anxiety. I was careful and did alone training, and he seemed to take to it no problem. But out of the blue over the last few weeks, he just stopped eating the treats I leave him when I go. Each morning, I get ready like normal, stuff a Kong, roll a few milkbones out for him and go to work, and when I come home, they're untouched...but he makes a B-line for them the second I walk in the door. I guess there's nothing inherently concerning there, but it seems strange the he will sit and ignore treats he obviously wants all day long.

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Maybe he's just not hungry and forgets about them and then gets excited when you get home and eats then. :dunno

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Wendy occasionally does the same thing. Just weird Greyhound behavior.

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Our prior dog, who didn't have any form of separation anxiety, would not eat anything while we were out. It could be a pig's ear - her absolute favorite - and we could hand it to her before leaving and she'd have it and I think she'd put it down as soon as we were gone. It would still be here, nearly untouched, when we got back and she'd be at the door to greet us when we'd get home with it in her mouth and then eat it when we were there, before we could even put her leash on her to go for a walk after an 8 hour day alone.

 

We just joked that she didn't like to eat alone, so waited until she had company to eat it.

 

(I could wish that Monty was the same way, but he's always trolling for food.)

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It's not "weird Greyhound behavior," it's weird DOG behavior!

 

My old dog did that all the time. He was happier when I was home, thus more interested in scarfing down treats.


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Guest skinnerjenna

Your dog is a social eater. It is a pack activity. Usually the "top dog" eats first and the other dogs protect them while they are not paying attention. When they walk away the other dogs get to eat and someone is always watching their back. We had one that wouldn't eat dinner unless someone stood in the kitchen until he was done. We started getting all our dishes done. LOL.

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Well I'll be the voice of dissent and say that a change in behavior, including one where a dog will no longer take food warrants a further look. I'd set up a webcam to see what's going on when you're not there, specifically to see if he's showing any other signs of anxiety.

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Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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I agree with Neylas Mom. My boy has days when he ok and relaxed when i am gone and days when he paces around the table and to the windows while I am gone. My M-I-L is home and feeds and walks him. On the anxious days he will not eat his dinner until I come home. No rhyme or reason to the different reactions.

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Actually, I think it's a good development. It's a sign of comfort and fitting in.

 

We use kongs, chews etc., to distract the dog to help them "not worry" that we leave, and keep them distracted. The fact that he no longer needs these things to distract him when you leave, because (no offense) he really doesn't care is a good thing! He's gotten used to being there, he's comfortable, and he's fully confident that it's not biggie that you leave. YEAH!!! Job well done.

 

We give Diana a pig's ear or a rawhide chew lots of times if we go away in the evening and she's going to be alone. She takes it, runs off to her bed, and we leave. When we get home she greets us at the door then runs off and grabs her treat and chews it for a bit. It's obviously not been chewed while we were gone. So - she doesn't NEED it. It's just part of our routine. It doesn't hurt anything. I almost think she only remembers it when we get home.

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It's not "weird Greyhound behavior," it's weird DOG behavior!My old dog did that all the time. He was happier when I was home, thus more interested in scarfing down treats.

I, too, had a dog who would not touch a thing while I was gone. I chalked it up to "survival behavior". Afterall, if the human's gone for a long, long time, that food's gonna have to last.

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Guest CleverJason

Well I'll be the voice of dissent and say that a change in behavior, including one where a dog will no longer take food warrants a further look. I'd set up a webcam to see what's going on when you're not there, specifically to see if he's showing any other signs of anxiety.

 

I think you're right. Not long after, he started chewing on my wood paneling near the doors when I was gone. So there may be some SA going on. I'm working on desensitizing him to my routine before leaving (the sound of the garage door seems to be a big trigger) and muzzling him when I'm gone. I hate muzzling him, but at least he can't hurt himself by chewing. Any other ideas?

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Does sound like that might be the case. Chewing could also be boredom, but coupled with the disinterest in his kongs I would guess SA. Have you had a chance to set up a webcam? It would be useful to know if he's panting, pacing, whining, barking, etc. when he's not chewing. If he's resting calmly most of the time and then suddenly gets up and chews, I'd be more inclined to say that's boredom and suggest you try novel food items in the kong or other safe chews. If it's SA, you might want to try a natural calming supplement - DAP, l-theanine, Composure, etc.

 

Either way, I would increase his exercise and mental stimulation when you are home. Not just walks, but running (or playing fetch or tug), training (maybe sign up for a class with a local facility that uses reward based training methods), food puzzles, etc.

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Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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