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Our Sweet Girl "fired" 3 Dog Walkers


Guest Lily
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We got Morticia about two months ago. My husband and I work regular weekday schedule so we hired a dog walker to take Morticia out for a mid-day walk.

 

Things started very smoothly with the dogs walkers. We hired a team of 2 brothers who came during the first weekend for an introduction. Two days later, Morticia started going out with them every afternoon. They took turns at walking her and not once they reported issues. She would happily go out with them and allow them to put on the coat, etc. Things were great until we hired a person to clean our place, about 3 weeks after we got her.

We did a proper introduction and he was schedule to start a few days later but on his first day, he had issues with the keys and it took him many attempts to finally open the door. When he got in, Morticia (who was crated at the time) was baring her teeth and barking at him. When the dog walker arrived in the afternoon and opened the crate, she got out fairly easily but was initially a bit reluctant. Once out, she rushed to her bed in the living room and stood there staring at them. The dog walker tried calling her but she wouldn't move. He spent some time in the room with her but she wouldn't allow him to come too close. He eventually gave her treats that she took but when he tried to put the coat on her, she snapped. I had to come home from work that afternoon. Morticia was lying down in her bed with her coat half on looking miserable but, as soon as she recognized me, she became the sweet gentle dog she usually is. The cleaning guy resigned that day.

This incident happened just before the holidays so there was a bit of a gap before she saw the dog walkers again. It is earlier this month that we realized she didn't want to be walked by strangers anymore. We attempted a few "reintroductions" with her usual walkers which didn't work. Last week, we brought in a new dog walker and we had the same issue. The lady was here for a good 45 minutes, Morticia was friendly to her until the moment she grabbed the leash and coat.

This is the biggest bump in the road we've faced so far. Other than this new quirk, she is the sweetest dog. She does well during the day alone, she doesn't seem to suffer separation anxiety. Neighbors haven't reported any noise and there's been no destructive behavior at all.

 

Up to now, we've been taking turns at coming back home to walk her but we won't be able to sustain that for very long.

 

I'm curious to hear if others have been dealing with a similar situation, or if anyone has thoughts on how to resolve this.

 

Thanks!

Edited by Lily
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How long are you actually out of the house during the day? Many dogs of working parents manage to hold it all day. Not saying it's best, but it can be done.

 

Also, what about walking with her and the dog walkers for a bit, and having them give her super-yummy-extra-good treats first? Or have them just hang out in the house with all of you a few times?

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We are away for about 9 hours.

 

Also, what about walking with her and the dog walkers for a bit, and having them give her super-yummy-extra-good treats first? Or have them just hang out in the house with all of you a few times?

We tried all of the above suggestions. We had him come over for 3 "house visits" of 45 mins each. On the first one, he gave her extra yummy treats while trying to get closer. At first, she recognize him and didn't want him to get too close. She would bare her teeth. After 30 mins of treats, she was fine and would come really close to him and even licked his face when he was sitting on the ground. He didn't try to take her out of the first visit. One the next two visit, we repeated the process but when he attempted to put the coat on her, she snapped. Same thing on the 3rd visit.

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I'd chalk this up to only having your dog acclimate to you for 2 months before you've introduced her to a whole new set of changes and routines into your household. Some greys require months (heck, one of mine took a year) before he was really and truly himself and accustomed to our every day lives. Both my boys can easily handle me being at work for 8 hour stints - typical 9-5 shift and leaving room to commute. You'd have to work her up to it, but it is possible.

 

I'd give her a bit of a break on the dog walking and people coming in on her space. Let her settle for a few months, and then try again, but only with one person doing one thing at a time for a good length of time so she can get used to one change of routine at a time. Then introduce a cleaner, etc.

 

What if it were you? New place, 2 months, now suddenly new people coming into YOUR home, doing things to YOU without your new family there to turn to and be assured.

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Mine can do 9 hours. I hate it, but they can do it.

 

I come home for lunch daily, but if I go away hubby is alone with them and can't do a trip home for lunch. When my father had bypass surgery, they had to do it for a month and were just fine.

 

Most days, they don't bother getting up when I come home at noon, especially during the winter. When it's nice out, Brees mostly wants to go out to chase squirrels. Lunchtime is more for me than for them.

 

Sounds like the coat might be the trigger with the walker. Leave a light coat on her during the day and try again?

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When I was working (retired now) I lived close, so when I got a new dog I would come home at lunch to let them out, but after a couple of weeks, I would come home to sleeping dogs who would get up and go out in the yard to please me, but obviously would have prefered to stay asleep. They often wouldn't "do" anything once outside. Once they acclimated, I quit coming home, and they did just fine. I was gone about 9 hrs, and they never had an accident or seemed uncomfortable. I wouldn't leave a dog much longer than that, but I think many working dog owners are gone 8-9 hrs a day with no problem.

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I'm wondering about the coat too. If it's fleece there could be a lot of static electricity coming off of it. It almost sounds like the housekeeper may have done something to make her fearful.

 

Is she able to hold her pee if left alone for 9 hours?

 

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Sounds like the cleaner coming in certainly spooked her and with the dog walkers, she may also be afraid that the person is coming to take her away permanently from her nice new home.

 

It's normal for a rescue dog to feel a bit insecure for the first several months, but they all have different ways of showing it. My grey just about has a nervous breakdown when I take her to visit my parents (we have to stay for a little holiday, as they are so far away) and when I have to leave her in kennels occasionally (no other option unfortunately). But with her it comes out as nervousness, statue-ing out on walks and it's all internalised.

 

In the case of your Morticia, because her insecurity is coming out as defensiveness , if at all possible, I would try to avoid the trigger ie strangers coming into the home when you are not there. So no cleaners, no dog walkers.

 

Sorry it's not helpful, but is there any way you and your partner can continue to go home at lunchtimes for a potty break/short walk?

 

I think she likely will only accept a member of her 'pack' taking her out at the moment, and I'm guessing that like me you are not lucky enough to have a doggy 'grandma' or grandpa nearby who she sees often and knows well to help out .

 

Come time (maybe a year or so) she may be more accepting of a dog walker, but it would be best not to push the issue just now whilst she is still trying to settle in, just in case she nips someone and then you have a much bigger problem.

 

Edit - another option may be a doggy door if you have a very secure backyard...though I'd be a bit worried myself about a new dog having access to outdoors when I'm not there (in case they somehow escape, or a neighbour's cat comes into your yard or something like that).

Edited by Amber
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NEVER douibt your dogs ability to accurately evaluate people. If she doesn't like somebody you can take it to the bank that there is a good reason. Dog's know things and can tell things about people that we can't. IMO she just had a negative experience-too many new people and one of them 'bad' in her mind-too much stress- and she was still "new" herself. I truly believe that if you let her settle down and regroup and then introduce a new person properly that it won't be any problem-provided the new person is a good person, a knowledgeable K-9 person, and she approves of them- if that is what you want. Heaven knows that greyhounds are used to being handled by many different individuals. They will however sometimes have issues if the person trying to handle them is not an experienced and knowlegeable handler as houndies are smart and the inexperience they pick up on unsettles them etc. Always remember just because somebody sells themselves as a professional dog anything it doesn't mean they are or that they know what they are even doing. Look at poor K9 Karson-still loose after over a month in OH because a place represented itself and its personnel as capable of handling a working dog (vs a pet). The reality was that they didn't know how to handle a high drive working dog and their ignorance let him escape and now he's running wild in the cold with no decent food or water to even drink. But the business/people represented itself as knowing how to handle that type of dog. Sadly this happens to greyhounds too. These self professed K-9 know it alls are used to leading around retrievers and lab pets and don't know-even though they will argue that they do-they don't know that they have got to wrap a greyhounds leash around their wrist or something so that when it takes off after a squirrel they can't even see at a rate that can reach 40mph in only a few jumps they still have their dog and it is not instead running free headlong to its death. I remember a few years ago on here there was a lady and the vet let her greyhound escape and sadly I don't think the hound was ever found. I said all that to say this-TRUST YOUR DOG-don't trust people. Mortica has no one else to advocate for her-she is depending on you. Congratulations on adopting Morticia. She sounds wonderful and I know ya'll will have lots of good times!

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I remember a few years ago on here there was a lady and the vet let her greyhound escape and sadly I don't think the hound was ever found.

 

I remember that incident too and what made it even worse was that the vet tried to avoid responsibility by saying the greyhound tried to bite her and that's why she dropped the lead. I must admit I have a very hard time trusting anyone with my dogs, even so-called professionals.

 

Sounds like Morticia was traumatised by the house-cleaner coming in and needs time to recover from that, which means no more strangers for a while. When I worked full time I always came home at lunchtime to feed and walk my dog and spend some time with him. I personally would never leave a dog for more than 4-5 hours without the opportunity for a toilet break, some company and some food.

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I remember a few years ago on here there was a lady and the vet let her greyhound escape and sadly I don't think the hound was ever found. I said all that to say this-TRUST YOUR DOG-don't trust people. Mortica has no one else to advocate for her-she is depending on you. Congratulations on adopting Morticia. She sounds wonderful and I know ya'll will have lots of good times!

That was Finley and no, she was never found. RIP sweet girl.

 

Agree wholeheartedly to trust your dog. During Storm Sandy a few years ago, although given the opportunity to relieve themselves my dogs held it for close to 16 hours. While it didn't make me happy, they knew what they were doing. Most people have to work and not every dog needs or even wants a break during the day. Why interrupt a good nap - that is what I hear from my campers anyway.

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Guest mmmberry

Fire the cleaner. I have a feeling he did something. If she was safe in her crate and there was no contact between her and him, why is she acting like that? Now, don't misunderstand me. I'm not saying he abused her. I'm just saying he may have done something he didn't think was a big deal and hasn't told you about it. It could have been as benign as leaning over the top of her crate in an attempt to baby talk her and sooth her. For my male, leaning over is a no-no.

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I agree with it seeming like the cleaner was the catalyst and the coat seems... weird. I second what mmmberry said that maybe the cleaner did something totally "okay" but just not okay for the pup.

 

Mine girls are also home for 9 hours and are fine. If I had errands to run after work I'd head home at lunch for a potty break - no need to set my girls up for failure. I take my mutt to doggy daycare now that she's an only dog and since it's cold right now they don't have them out in the outside areas. I am 99% sure that Mis never potties while she's there and when I pick her up it's a river of pee when I take her outside. I think it's still "inside" for her and she just holds it.

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Remember also that many greyhounds can be quite crepuscular (active dawn and dusk only). Best case scenario is a long enough walk in the morning so she doesn't want to move until you get home. Problem is that could be an hour or more if she is young. Tough on winter mornings I know.

Edited by KickReturn
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