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Depressed?


Guest Lenic
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Guest Lenic

Ok so this is a long question but previous responses have been hopeful. I also want to post a photo but cannot work out how to do this?

 

I adopted my 5 year old from a non-greyhound specific charity, he was found stray and then rehomed to me. He's an ex-racer and I have traced him from his tattoos, his last race was May and I got him in September. He was really, really scared of most things, cars, the kitchen, footballs, children, buggies etc. and backed away if you lured him with treats. He also cringed if you went to stroke him too quickly and backed off like you were going to hit him.

 

When I got him I was off work for 2 weeks to settle him and then working just 3 days a week for the first month. I was originally only going to work 3 days a week in town and then 2 days from home but my job changed and I am now 5 days a week at work 9-5. From day 1 he was great at being left and just went to bed, but in hindsight we hadn't bonded so me leaving was not significant for him as he never really greeted me when I got back. He ate well and I haven't changed his food. Since then we have really bonded, he comes to me when I call and is really interested in training, he greets me when I get home with a big tail wag and leans on me when I stroke him. He is walked for 45-60 mins in the morning and has a good run in a secure field with some doggy friends. He's fed then I go to work (8.30am), my dog walker comes in around midday for a half hour walk and then I get back around 5.30pm and pop him out for a quick wander around the block (we live in a flat). We sometimes do a bit of training in the flat or otherwise cuddle on the sofa.

 

I am worried he is now quite depressed - he loves his walk in the morning but goes straight to bed when we get back and is not interested in his food or in me. He eats a bit of his food as I have called him but leaves most of it. He started to whine when I left the house so now I give him a Kong with cheese in it before I go but now he is no longer interested in the kong and just lies in his bed. He's happy to see me when i get back but then goes straight back to bed and doesn't finish his dinner. He used to follow me around the flat and try to steal my dinner but not anymore (although that might be that he's learned that begging won't get him anywhere). The vet would like him to put weight on but

 

He won't come into my bedroom (as in won't cross the threshold) so sleeps alone in the living room. He used to sleep on my bed for around 2 weeks but kept growling at me in the night so I had to barricade the bed to keep him off and he chose the living room bed rather than the bed in my room. Is this withdrawnness a phase and part of settling in? I have 2 flatmates that he pays no attention to, they are out a lot but sometimes sit with him - they only walk him or feed him if I have to work late (rarely). I am worried that I am not the right home for him and that he is sad. When he's happy it is so sweet, tail up running around and really pleased with himself when he comes when called, but I only see that when we walk. Is he lonely? I cannot afford another dog, I already have a dog walker and he's walked way more than the dogs home said he needed. We spend weekends training, or walking with friends or lounging around (I think there's a bit of the sofa loving grey in me!)

 

He has made so much progress with training and the like he's better with cars and buggies and will now come in the kitchen (still hates footballs). What can I do? Is this normal?

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It could be a phase and could be part of settling in. What you're describing isn't that uncommon. First thing to do is get him in for a vet check up to rule out anything medical.

 

My first thoughts are a) he might just be really tired out! He *is* getting quite a bit of exercise. Does he need to go out at midday for toileting? Are your flatmates home during the day to see if he gets restless or needs to go out? I would probably first try cutting that out and letting him sleep. Give him his kong and leave a radio/tv on for him. See what happens. You can set up a Skype connection or watch him using a laptop and phone.

 

Second issue is his bed growling. It's a form of resource guarding and an automatic response - growling when he gets jostled in bed. Your response was correct. No bed priviledges. It's much safer for you. He may be able to sleep with you again at a future date. It could be that he's feeling a bit disconnected from you though by sleeping in the living room away from you. If possible, put a bed in your bedroom - a nice comfy one! - where he can see you if he's lying down on it, then baby gate him in the room with you (or shut the door, whichever you choose). He may be restless for several nights so maybe try this on a weekend. Most dogs prefer to sleep with their family, and having him in the bedroom with you might help that.

 

Third thing - something may have happened at home while you were away at work, which has caused him to regress a bit in his behavior and comfort. Things like noisy construction in the neighborhood, a package being delivered, some disturbance with your flatmates, new neighbors making new noises, and other strange things could be making him anxious.

 

In the absence of being able to figure out if there was/is a cause of this behavior, and not knowing how long it's been going on, I would probably wait him out and see if he gets through this on his own (after determining if there's a medical reason for it). He had a pretty rough go of it before coming to you and advances and regressions are all part of the learning process for both of you.

 

Sighthounds are very self-contained. They're not overly demonstrative, and greyhounds in particular can be pretty sedentary if left to their own devices. I don't think you're doing anything "wrong" or treating him badly, and he's probably not sad about living with you. The best thing you can give him is your time and your patience and your love!

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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I would get him checked out as Greysmom said, just to rule anything medical out. I've had my Charlie 3 yrs come March 22nd. He too was a stray and afraid of the world. Not so anymore.

Does your dog enjoy the long walk in the morning? Do you think you can shorten it?

Greyhounds sleep soundly and when Charlie is in bed and i have moved he has growled too but i ignore it, not saying you should. I just know after all this time it is a response and he won't do anything, sometimes he just gets up and goes into another room. I would try a dog bed also, as greysmom said, in your room. One night not long ago Charlie came running so fast into the kitchen to eat that he slid and had to put his brakes on so to speak. After that he didn't want to come into the kitchen! I bought some rugs and he is back being comfortable. Some of them are so sensitive. I am concerned he doesn't want to eat. Could it be his food? Can you try adding in some no salt broth in it? Also have his teeth checked, wondering if a tooth is bothering him. Keep us posted and i hope you don't give up as you've been such a loving owner. Hopefully this can be worked out soon.

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Guest Lenic

Thanks Greysmom - Greytalk comes through again, I got in tonight and he's keen on his food again so this was obviously a blip - he was at the vet last week for a check up as I wanted to ask about his teeth - which were fine! You are right there are lift refurbish works happening during the day which will finish in a few weeks so perhaps that is it. I hadn't thought about that.

 

I have put a bed in my bedroom but he won't cross the threshold, stands outside looking awkward in the morning when it's walk-time, I have tried putting treats in his bedroom bed but he's mistrustful of being lured by food.

 

With regards to his morning walk we used to just go 30 minutes but when we got back to the flat he would pull away like he wanted to keep going so I extended it but I will try shortening it again. I will keep the dog walker as it's only really a toilet break for him and if I am delayed at work it takes the pressure off.

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I love that you're walking him for that long in the morning. I firmly believe that mine do much better if they get that much exercise, in part because they do all then sleep when I'm out. Looking forward to hearing more....

I totally agree with this too assuming the dog doesn't seem to be struggling with the distance. I love to see my dog tired out when I leave for the day (again, if there are no health problems). I never let mine on the bed either because he used to get sleep startle. He usually chooses to sleep alone in the living room, which is fine.

 

This could definitely be him just settling in and feeling more secure in his environment. I used to think my greyhound was depressed at first too because he just kind of lay there and didn't show a lot of interaction with people and other activities. Completely normal with many new hounds. The lack of interest in food could also just be a sign that he is settling in and doesn't need to gobble his food down all at once (plus they often get bored after a while with a food so may not eat as fast as when it was new to them).

 

Is he still showing enjoyment and energy with walks and with playgroups? Does he eventually eat all of his food? Sometimes a happy and content greyhound can be confused with a "depressed" one as they can sometimes be more aloof and lazy compared to other dogs.

 

It can take 6 months-a few years for a greyhound's personality to come out. It sounds like your guy has made a lot of progress and is doing well so don't feel too bad yet!!

Edited by RedHead
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Guest Lenic

He is still running about chasing the other dogs or pottering from smell to smell at the end of 40 minutes, and then not dragging on the lead when we walk home so I think 45mins is ok? Could he really be tired. I am home and he briefly greeted me but is now in his bed and not really paying me any attention - he left half his breakfast. I really hope this is a stage and he hasn't been put in the wrong home for him.


Also CharlieRhea it is good to hear that a scaredy dog can become a confident one - in lots of ways he's super curious but then just so panicked by anything that's not the sofa or one of our regular walks. Do people think it's really worth trying to make him come into my bedroom at night, he really will need help to get through the door?

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No. I wouldn't *force* him into your room, but it will be worthwhile for him to get over his fear and whatever caused it. Get some really YUMMY treats that you only use for this sort of desensitization - braunschwiger, liverwurst, hot dogs, roasted chicken from the store, cheese - whatever is his favorite thing of all time. Toss a few pieces around to get him used to following the treat. Then toss them closer and closer to the door, and eventually through it. Praise, praise, praise and more treats for going into your room at all.

 

One other thought I had - are you free-feeding him or does his uneaten food get picked up after a certain time?

 

It sounds like he is just taking a bit longer to settle in. Patience and gentle encouragement!

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

35764734494_93de5b5963_b.jpg

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 Lenic

Until a week ago he ate all his food and licked the bowl clean - now he leaves half of it and I leave it there when I get home it's still there so I chuck it out and give him a fresh bowl (also half eaten).

 

he was weighed at the vet and had lost 1kg since I got him but as he was finishing his food the vet just said he's probably more active than he was in the dogs home and to give him a little more but now he's eating less than before.

 

He is on tripe and iams as he had some squidgy poos - I haven't changed this and he used to love it

 

I hope you're right and it's just a settling problem

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I think most of us would agree if we had a nickle for every time a new hound owner thought their dog was "depressed" we'd all go out for a nice lunch! To me it sounds as if he's comfortable in your home now, and what he wants to do is what a huge number of greyhounds do--sleep! They are, for the most part, extremely lazy dogs. This is not a Labrador you adopted, who wants to be part of everything going on.

 

As to his food, do NOT just leave it down. Give him 10-15 minutes to eat it, then take it away. Don't give him more food until his next scheduled meal. Catering to a healthy dog who starts turning his nose up at things is a really great way of creating a picky dog.

 

As long as his eyes are bright and clear, he seems to enjoy his walks, and his output is normal, I think you should just let him be. He may start interacting more, or he might not. Some Greyhounds truly love nothing more than doing nothing at all! I think my boy (and he's only 3) sleeps about 20 hours out of 24! He's happy, he's healthy, and he's all mine!


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Guest Lenic

Hi all,

 

I am not sure if this is linked. I have rearranged my bedroom to make more space and got the dog to come in a bit with treats and praise. I will spend next weekend training him to sleep in there with me. Last night he growled at my housemate, they'd been sitting away from each other in the living room for around 2 hours when he suddenly started growling at her. Is this stuff all linked? Is he likely to get better once he's more used to living in a home? We group live and have a lot of visitors, I am worried about the growling, I am really starting to wonder if I have bitten off more than I can chew, I really love my dog but I cannot have my flatmates frightened to sit in the living room.

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It sounds like he may just be a little overwhelmed at this point, especially if you have a living situation with a lot of coming and going, and boisterous interactions. He needs a quiet place to retreat to when he's feeling anxious. His growling is his way of saying that he's had enough.

 

If you have the room, he might like a crate (see if you can borrow one rather than buying, in case he doesn't). If you don't have the room, make sure his bed(s) is in an out-of-the-way place, not in the middle of the activity. He may like to see what's going on, or he may not.

 

I know you said you got him from a all-breed rescue, so you may want to search out a greyhound adoption group near you, just for some help and support. It sounds like you may be in the UK, and there are many very helpful people in the Greyhound Trust. They'll be a good resource for helping you both through this transition. And, in the event that this isn't the best thing for both of you, they should be there to help re-home your dog into a quieter environment and find you a greyhound with a more party attitude!

 

It takes a lot longer for a shy or spooky greyhound to settle into home life. It also takes a lot of patience on your part. Also, throwing a bunch of training at him when he's already feeling anxious may work against you - he will learn things, but it might not help his overall anxiety level. A D.A.P. (Dog Appeasing Pheromone) diffuser or collar might also help calm him down. If he loses weight dramatically, or becomes more anxious, you should talk with your vet about a short course of anti-anxiety medication for him. His thyroid levels should also be checked.

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

35764734494_93de5b5963_b.jpg

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 Lenic

Thank you! I do understand that this will take time but it feels a bit like we are going backwards, in lots of ways he is really making progress and is super happy on our walks, friendly with other dogs, learning to come back etc. I think he thinks that the living room is his kennel and that my bedroom is mine and the other bedrooms the flatmates etc. So I guess in his head I am occupying his space when we are in the living room. Do you think this will pass? He has a bed that no one touches that is in the quietest corner of the room. It's basically a bit like a crate as the it's a square space in a corner with the sofa arm making it a kind of den. He goes there a lot and seems comfy there. He was in that bed when he growled and my housemate was 2 meters away sitting down watching the TV. He is still not eating amazingly well, I take the uneaten food away after half an hour.

 

I guess my main question is how do I help him learn to share the space. I used a DAP for bonfire night as with Diwali that was basically a fortnight of fireworks - it didn't seem to make much difference - but I am happy to try again.

 

He still will not go near my bedroom, I put a line of cheese on the floor and he basically went as far as 2m away from the doorway and then backed off, he got lots of praise for that and we will keep trying. I am hopeful that if I can gradually get him comfortable in my room he can go in there if he doesn't want to spend time with people if we have visitors, until then I will limit the people coming over. Like I say in some ways he is doing so well but then I find the growling so intimidating and I know it's warning so want to do the right thing.

 

I can look at getting a crate and I have had contact with the retired greyhound trust so will find the local branch and see what advice they can offer. Thanks again Greysmom and you're right I am UK based.

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Do you have babesia where you live? My first greyhound had it, and I had him tested because he seemed depressed. It can lay dormant for a long time But can have a sudden onset after a stressful situation, such as adoption. Maybe it wouldn't hurt to have him tested' especially since it can be treated. It can be very serious if he has it and it's left untreated.

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Xavi the galgo and Allen the cat. Missing Iker the galgo ?-Feb.9/19, Treasure (USS Treasure) April 12/01-May 6/13, Phoenix (Hallo Top Son) Dec.14/99-June 4/11 and Loca (Reko Swahili) Oct.9/95 - June 1/09.

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Growling is supposed to be intimidating! ;) That's why it works!

 

I'm not going to say "ignore the growling" because you don't want to ignore it, but he's hyper-sensitive right now and will likely growl at very minor things - you may not even be able to figure out what the trigger is - but there is one, in his mind. If he's quiet, relatively calm, and no one is doing anything particularly, and he's not looking overly stressed, I would probably not think as much about it as, say, if he was standing and his body language was telling me he was anxious (head, tail and ears low, crouching, in a "stalking" position).

 

DAP diffusers are more for generalized anxiety not for specific fear-incidents like fireworks. If he does have a problem with loud noises like that, you should look into a stronger, quick-acting anti-anxiety drug like Trazadone, alprazolam (Xanax), or Valium.

 

With a shy dog there will definitely be advances and retreats in terms of his behavior. A two-steps-forward-one-step-back sort of a thing. Completely normal. Patience and time are your best bets with them. It took my shy girl/spook more than a year to come up to me of her own accord and ask for attention.

 

You might also benefit from reading a book like "Greyhounds for Dummies" since you're not familiar with the breed. And "The Other End of the Leash" is great for general understanding of dogs and communicating.

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

35764734494_93de5b5963_b.jpg

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 Amber

Not sure, but could something (unintentional ) have happened with your flatmates to scare him or make him nervous around them, when you weren't there?

 

Or maybe he is just a bit more 'confident ' now, so feels he can, as you say, make a claim on what he views as his space.

 

The set up with flatmates (as opposed to a family home) is a bit unusual. It's hard for some greys to adjust to being in a home and maybe with him being so shy, a one on one situation would be easier.

 

if you are worried i would get a good, up to date rewards based behaviourist to assist sooner rather than later. They will be able to assess what's going on and make a plan on how he can settle better and be more at ease in your home. Most likely you would need all the people who live in your home on board to follow the advice. I do agree that he needs a safe space out of the way (crate in kitchen)? Especially if there are a lot of strangers coming over a lot.

 

He sounds a bit insecure and anxious in the home, happy and sociable out on walks; some are like that and it's great he is so good outdoors but think he does need his own quiet space away from the hubbub at home.

Edited by Amber
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Guest Amber

Great, to get a professional insight is so useful. Just be sure to check the behaviourist is qualified, well versed in dog body language and communication and uses scientifically based modern methods ie no alpha or dominance cesar millan type rubbish. A heavy handed approach would definitely make things worse.

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And preferably has dealt with greyhounds!! They are different in many ways!

 

Good luck!

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