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Give Him Time? Or?


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Guest concerned

My greyhound has only be home for a week and while I know this is such a tiny amount of time, I am beginning to get quite worried and overwhelmed. For the most part, he is a sensitive, sweet boy that likes to take lots of walks and is then content to nap. He loves attention and except for the episodes that I will describe, is generally quite gentle.

Sporadically, however, he exhibits very strange, almost manic behaviour like he is possessed. He gets extremely agitated and starts bolting around the apartment, ears cocked, barking, growling and chasing at nothing. What is most alarming to be is that a)these incidents are not provoked by anything from what I can tell. It doesn't seem to be a matter of territorial aggression or social aggression either B) they usually only occur only for a minute or so and then he "relaxes" but still cases the apartment panting.

While I realize he's a dog, when he's in this "fit," he does make me and my significant other very frightened-like he might turn on us at any moment. He jumps around snapping his teeth and while I feel like I can get a handle on him, I am concerned that he might seriously injure me, my SO other or even himself.

I'm concerned that this is a behavioural problem that won't go away over time. Since the last episode, I've gone from being very excited, affectionate and loving around Sully to very fearful of him- and that's not good.

Secondly, while I am completely aware that dogs experience separation anxiety- he seems to be exhibiting that times about a million. On one particular occasion, he become so riled up that he transitioned from whining to very loud, aggressive barking. He did not have eliminate nor did he require food or water. This is alarming for a few reasons. First, it's getting to the point where he cannot be left alone which is impossible with my schedule. I cannot leave the house because his barking is so disruptive that the entire building can hear him. I am concerned that if this does not dissipate soon, at the very least I will receive a few noise complaints. I have tried toys (kongs, tv, radio) and easing him into separation.

I am completely aware of the patience and responsibility required in bringing an animal home. And while I know it is still very very early, I did want to address these things sooner, rather than later because they are making me very, very stressed out which I know isn't good for our hound either. I'm mostly concerned that these incidences won't subside and if so, I cannot realistically foresee how to deal with them or him. PLEASE HELP!

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Sporadically, however, he exhibits very strange, almost manic behaviour like he is possessed. He gets extremely agitated and starts bolting around the apartment, ears cocked, barking, growling and chasing at nothing. What is most alarming to be is that a)these incidents are not provoked by anything from what I can tell. It doesn't seem to be a matter of territorial aggression or social aggression either B) they usually only occur only for a minute or so and then he "relaxes" but still cases the apartment panting.



Sounds like "zoomies" which are perfectly normal. They do it about once a day, usually for a minute or so, usually they will end up doing it at a particular time of day. As I understand it (could be wrong here), greyhounds have more "fast twitch" muscles than most dogs and zoomies blow off the fast twitch muscle energy.


If you have a fenced in backyard hopefully you can get him to do it outside, though in the winter here in the north that isn't always an option. Zoomies are usually completely safe, except that my guy (Logan) has taken to grabbing a shoe and doing a "hammer throw" by the shoe lace -- he punched a hole in my drywall this weekend :-( . It was a good throw though, from the middle of the great room into the hall, with a heavy work boot.

Rob
Logan - LoganMaxicon15K.jpg - Max (Aug. 4, 2004 - Jan. 11, 2018)

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What you are describing is definitely zoomies. While one of my girls only gets wild a few times per week, the other goes into zoomie mode about twice every day. This is a great opportunity to engage your dog in some play. My "wild" girl loves playing tug-of-war with a rope toy, so when she starts to zoom around the living room, I will try to redirect her with a game.

 

In terms of the separation anxiety, key "alone training" into the GT search feature. You will find a lot of threads filled with great advice on how to address your boy's fears.

 

Most importantly, try to relax. Having a new dog in your home can be a stressful time for both you and your hound. Enjoy these first months with your hound as he transitions, and remember that he will adjust to life with your family in time.

Laura, mom to Luna (Boc's Duchess) and Nova (Atascocita Venus).
Forever in my heart, Phantom (Tequila Nights) and Zippy (Iruska Monte).

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Guest concerned

I agree and I know that patience and time are key to this process. While I'm prepared to be quite patient, I am unfortunately on borrowed time due to the other residents in my building. I REALLY really do not want to return him but our current routine is not sustainable by any means.

I'm willing to give him as much time as I can but the stress and anxiety that we are both feeling is getting the best out of "enjoying" each other.

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They all have their little things in the begining, I swear be patient, it gets better :) We only have Jack for a little over 2 months and it is going much better. There is still the occasional growling because we are learning to live with each other but overall he is a very good dog. He doesn't know yet what is expected of him :)

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Cynthia, with Charlie (Britishlionheart) & Zorro el Galgo
Captain Jack (Check my Spots), my first love

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Aww, no one told you about zoomies!! Look up "greyhound zoomies" on YouTube, and you'll see it's a very normal, playful thing that greys do. It does look scary the first few times they do it, but it's nothing to worry about.

 

As for the SA, it's a process that can take days/weeks to remedy. If that's not something you are able to deal with due to your housing situation, you may want to contact your adoption group and discuss a backup plan. Considering that greyhounds have never been alone in their entire life, it can be a really difficult transition for some dogs. As adopters, we kind of just expect to put them in a crate and leave the house for hours on end. Even under the best circumstances, though, it can be a very traumatic experience for both dog AND new owner. There are lots of helpful threads on here if you search for "alone training."

 

Best of luck! It's very normal to have the "OMG WHAT HAVE I DONE?" moment. But after you get past the initial roadblocks, I promise, it does get easier.

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One thing that might help is lots of exercise, especially before you leave for work. If he is tired out, he won't run around as much inside, and might (maybe) sleep more when you are out. Can you take him for a walk in the morning before going to work, maybe 30 minutes or more?

Rob
Logan - LoganMaxicon15K.jpg - Max (Aug. 4, 2004 - Jan. 11, 2018)

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Guest concerned

One thing that might help is lots of exercise, especially before you leave for work. If he is tired out, he won't run around as much inside, and might (maybe) sleep more when you are out. Can you take him for a walk in the morning before going to work, maybe 30 minutes or more?

Yes, I'd say he probably gets about 3 walks a day. An hour after he eats, one in the middle of the day and then once before I go to work to blow off steam. That seems to tucker him out but he is still really whiny and aggressive when I leave.

As much as I love him and am prepared to do everything I can do make his transition as smooth as possible, I HAVE TO LEAVE the house. Ideally, I'd like to leave without the fear of getting evicted.

So far, I haven't been able to leave to get work done or do research. I've been trying to coordinate things via phone but even that is not a long term solution. Things are not looking good and I'm beginning to really regret my decision. I'm so disappointed because I adore him and want to hold onto him for as long as possible but again, borrowed time because of noise complaints.

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How old is your dog? The first dog I started out with was a youngster (only 2) and did not do well by himself. He was a mess and after a month of him being completely stressed I did make the decision to return him. I took some time to think about it and got another dog about a month later. He was just shy of being 5 years old and fit in so well. He adjusted to life on his own fairly quickly and became what I can only describe as the love of my life.

 

Just a thought....

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Guest normaandburrell

He will key into your anxiety. Have you read any of the threads on alone training? Look at the advice by schultzc and a_daerr. They are not steering you wrong!

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Contact your adoption group for advise and help.

 

Do a search here for threads on separation anxiety, alone training, and anxiety. You will find a ton of information and tricks and tips to help you help your boy. If you don't have a crate, try borrowing one. If you're using a crate, try baby gating him into a smaller, comfortable area of your apartment. Tire him out completely before you leave.

 

DO ALONE TRAINING. Do not skip this step. It must be done in small baby steps, leaving and returning before he becomes agitated.

 

If you do and try everything, and he is still becoming very anxious, the next step is to talk with your vet about some anti anxiety meds to get you through this transition time. They are not a long term solution. The medication puts your boy's brain in a calm and receptive state so he can accept desensitization training (alone training) better. There should be information on some meds to try in the above referenced thread searches.

 

Contact your apartment manager and nearby neighbors and explain that you are working on the issue and that you appreciate their patience. That will probably buy you a little more time.

 

I don't mean to be a downer, but some dogs simply do not do well as only dogs. If you have seriously tried everything, the only solution may be to return him so that he can be re-placed into a home that better fits his needs, and so that you can GET a dog that better suits your lifestyle. This isn't a failure on your part. Sometimes, it just doesn't work.

 

Keep calm and good luck.

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

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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

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Guest concerned

How old is your dog? The first dog I started out with was a youngster (only 2) and did not do well by himself. He was a mess and after a month of him being completely stressed I did make the decision to return him. I took some time to think about it and got another dog about a month later. He was just shy of being 5 years old and fit in so well. He adjusted to life on his own fairly quickly and became what I can only describe as the love of my life.

 

Just a thought...

He is 2 and will be 3 in July. That does make me feel a bit better to hear. I would hate to have to return him but if he's miserable on his own and I'm overwhelmed trying to appease him that might be the only solution. He is such a sweet, loving boy though.

I'm less concerned now that I've heard "zoomies" are quite normal so my only legitimate concern is being able to leave him. I've been trying everything and nothing seems to be working. I plan to stick it out for as long as I can but at this point my significant other is becoming extremely frustrated about not being able to leave the home (even to buy groceries) and I don't blame him or the dog for their feelings. I have contacted the adoption agency to express my concerns- her response was to just be patient. Much easier said then done but very necessary- I know. I just feel like if progress doesn't happen soon, we won't have any good options and as I said, I would hate to resort to that.

Is it strange that he exhibits this "zoomie" behaviour even after a long walk?

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Guest Amber

He's maybe more lively in the house at the moment, cos the zoomies help relieve some of his stress, if you don't have a yard and he doesn't yet have the opportunity to run free somewhere fenced in, then he can't blow off steam outside by running fast.

 

It's a shame he is being so noisy when left, i suspect everything will calm down in time once he's settled, but with his particular foibles he might be better suited to someone with a house and a fenced yard, rather than an apartment . But if you really want to make it work and can manage the initial stress, he probably will get a lot calmer. Maybe you could consult a good, rewards based, clued up dog trainer or behaviourist (someone who is qualified and uses up to date methods) to advise and support you during this S.A. and settling in period? Would tthat be feasible?

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For the zoomies post-walk, my hound turn into a happy playful puppy whenever we are back from a walk - even a good brisk paced 45 minutes walk going up and downhill. It is like he goes into a happy state coming back home and he picks up his toys, throw them, run after us and eventually settles down and sleeps.

For a barking hound and boy do we have a barking hound! What I found really effective was teaching him that barking made us go away and being quiet (whining was acceptable at a certain level) made us come back. We started out by putting him in his crate - with toys, but no kong so he would be very aware of us leaving and coming back - then we would open the door, close it, and if he was quiet we gave him a cookie. Then once we felt confortable we stepped out and came back in RIGHT AWAY. Still quiet? cookie. If he barked during the time when I removed my boots and walked over for his cookie, he did not receive anything and we would step back out, wait 5 sec. and repeat. Or we would go back to the level below, opening and closing door. Our first session lasted maybe an hour and we reached 1 minute of alone quiet time. The important thing is that he doesn't reach his threshold. The next day we were up to 2 mins, then 5, then 10. It takes a few days but in 2 weeks we were able to leave for a few hours with minor barking. Stay constant and he will learn.

A DAP collar helped us a lot as well.

We were concerned at first as well because well we need to work right? And the first week with a grey was pretty much us crying and telling ourselves we would never make it. But we worked with him and it is MUCH MUCH better. At the moment I am watching Jack via webcam and he is snoozing away on his bed, nothing to worry about :)

23786382928_141eff29e1.jpg
Cynthia, with Charlie (Britishlionheart) & Zorro el Galgo
Captain Jack (Check my Spots), my first love

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He may not be getting enough exercise. For many dogs, especially young ones, walking is more mental stimulation than exercise. He may need a place to run and stretch his legs.

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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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Guest concerned

For the zoomies post-walk, my hound turn into a happy playful puppy whenever we are back from a walk - even a good brisk paced 45 minutes walk going up and downhill. It is like he goes into a happy state coming back home and he picks up his toys, throw them, run after us and eventually settles down and sleeps.

 

For a barking hound and boy do we have a barking hound! What I found really effective was teaching him that barking made us go away and being quiet (whining was acceptable at a certain level) made us come back. We started out by putting him in his crate - with toys, but no kong so he would be very aware of us leaving and coming back - then we would open the door, close it, and if he was quiet we gave him a cookie. Then once we felt confortable we stepped out and came back in RIGHT AWAY. Still quiet? cookie. If he barked during the time when I removed my boots and walked over for his cookie, he did not receive anything and we would step back out, wait 5 sec. and repeat. Or we would go back to the level below, opening and closing door. Our first session lasted maybe an hour and we reached 1 minute of alone quiet time. The important thing is that he doesn't reach his threshold. The next day we were up to 2 mins, then 5, then 10. It takes a few days but in 2 weeks we were able to leave for a few hours with minor barking. Stay constant and he will learn.

 

A DAP collar helped us a lot as well.

 

We were concerned at first as well because well we need to work right? And the first week with a grey was pretty much us crying and telling ourselves we would never make it. But we worked with him and it is MUCH MUCH better. At the moment I am watching Jack via webcam and he is snoozing away on his bed, nothing to worry about :)

Okay, thanks for the advice. This seems reassuring. I spent the better part of the morning crying, thinking we may have to return him.

I think he may need more exercise as well.. that might help him out. Right now, he's been in his crate for 15 minutes completely quiet, so that's a start. I covered as much of his crate as I was able to with a blanket, turned on the tv, gave him a frozen kong and am sitting outside doing work. So far, not a sound.

I really appreciate everyone's feedback and opinions! It is comforting to know other people experience similar issues.

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If you're that miserable and frustrated after a week, I'm going to be the voice of descent and tell you to return him now, before HE gets attached to you.

 

Now, if you REALLY want to work this out, you can! Trust me, I went through it, and I know it's a nightmare. Fortunately, I was chairman of my condo board at the time, so really--there wasn't jack squat anyone could do except complain--but complain they did!

 

I wrote a lovely note to everyone who lived next to, beneath, across from, and above me. I explained I had just adopted a retired racer, that he was new and scared, and missing his friends, and that I was committed to working on his noise making. I gave them my phone number, and asked that they call ME to complain, and not our Super. I also invited them to come by and meet a greyhound live and in person. With one exception, everyone was THRILLED to learn about my new dog, and they all told me they were willing to wait--for a while.

 

Next, I ditched the crate.

 

Then I got DAP diffusers for every room!

 

I also got a variety of things to keep him busy. One of which is really neat--it's called a Kong Time. You load four small Kongs, put them in the things, and about every 20 minutes it shoots one of them across the room!

 

Finally, I started calling him up and talking to him through the answering machine (this was a while ago).

 

Oh, and I found the mid day walk actually made him worse because he had to be "abandoned" twice instead of just once.

 

Within a week, he was as silent as could be. One of my neighbors actually came over nearly in tears thinking I had gotten rid of the dog because she complained. She was stunned when he greeted her at the door!

 

It CAN be done. But I've had dogs my whole life--and if I was freaking out--and I was--I can't even imagine how it must be if you're totally unprepared!

 

Do what you have to do. Don't feel guilty or horrible if you can't handle it. But seriously--it's better for the dog if you just get it over with if you're thinking about returning it.


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Susan,  Hamish,  Mister Bigglesworth and Nikita Stanislav. Missing Ming, George, and Buck

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Guest FloridaGirl

I had a DAP diffuser going in our room before I even brought Claymore home. This, plus the fact he's an older (4, almost 5) gentleman, has surely helped in his ability to be alone and adjust to change. The only time he seems heeny is 1) when he can't think of anything to do or 2) I am in the apartment and he can't see me. He has never done "zoomies" and no one ever told me about them, so I can imagine how terrifying it must have been. I probably would have been just as freaked out - probably more so, seeing as I'm all alone with him. DON'T EAT ME, DOG.

 

Your boy may just be sweet and wacky. And he's just a wee lad, and maybe he may not be a good alone dog as he's had very little life experience. I can definitely say, though, there is no shame in returning him you guys aren't the right fit. I once went through a very hard time (many, many moons ago) deciding to return a racer who I couldn't distract from my rabbits - he had been cat-tested rather weakly, and it was not enough to determine his prey drive. It was either torture the poor dog by locking him away or the rabbits die of fright, and I couldn't see myself being ok with either situation. I cried and cried, because he was the kindest quietest dog...but sometimes your lives just don't match up. It's just like human relationships - not everyone is for everyone, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to be happy.

 

Again, this was a great number of years ago, and now I am simply blessed that my new love Claymore is more worried by the rabbits' existence than he is interested in eating them. I think of it as a long-term trade out, that bringing that other dog back allowed me to find Claymore now. If you think about it that way, it helps. :)

 

Best of luck. I know I, along with the fantastic folks on this board, will support you in whatever you choose. Claymore sends his calming vibes your way. <3

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I have no advice as my one and only hound has never had SA. I just want to extend some warmth because you sound so sad and scared and overwhelmed, as I would be. The one thing I will say is I lean toward the opinion of GeorgeofNE in that he may not be the Greyhound for you. It's something to consider.

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Guest concerned

GeorgeofNE - While I agree that it's better to act quickly and return him before he gets too attached, I also don't want to jump the gun and just return him. I do really adore having him and I WANT to work through it. I am prepared to give him some time- perhaps a month to see if any progress have been made. If at that point NOTHING has gotten better then I will have to go back to the drawing board. I like the idea of Kong Time, thanks! He isn't anywhere near ready to be out of the crate unsupervised but it's a good thought for the future.

 

FloridaGirl- Thank you thank you! I think he may just have a unique personality but that he does require a bit more rigorous exercise. I think that could really help his situation out. Have you used a D.A.P collar at all? Or do you prefer the diffuser?

 

UPDATE: I have turned on the TV, put a blanket over the crate, let him sniff a treat from my hand and then threw it in the crate, placed a frozen Kong in and left him. I have been sitting in the hallway for about 45 minutes and so far I have only heard one very short whimper!!!!! I don't know if this is just a flux but I want to jump for joy right now!!!

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Don't push it, go back inside before he starts vocalizing!

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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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Guest FloridaGirl

I couldn't find the DAP collar when searching for doog supplies, but I've seen it used effectively in combination with the diffuser (combo is recommended too). I've heard of folks going collar only, but with your situation, if you can, I'd say get both! However, if just one I'd say the diffuser - the collar may get damaged and no longer be usable (if he manages to get it off/chews on it, it gets too weathered, etc).

 

And YAAAAY for things working out!!! I TOTALLY understand the jump for joy feeling.

 

As for exercise, I think that is one thing that is keeping the already calm Claymore in a mostly comatose state - we go for pretty hardy walks. We keep a brisk pace and I also throw in a little jog just to get all the jimbles out. Never more than 30 minutes (as we're just going into our second week), but we're up and down hills and steps in a variety of areas - his little noggin is getting as much exercise as his feets. Lots of sniffs to sniff.

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When I got my first dog in a condo I did much like George of NE and left notes (attached to a small bag of candy) for all adjacent neighbors saying Axel was new and to please give a little acclimation time. No one complained and it was a very strict complex.

As far as DAP - one of my friends had little luck with just the collar but the collar and diffuser combo worked great.
As far as blankets - I'd totally try one covering half the crate if it is wire. Dogs (including greys) vary. Some want a clear view and some want more of a den. Some prefer wire crates and some prefer varikennels.

Best of Luck.

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