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Newly Adopted, Developing Separation Anxiety


Guest ashanne86
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Guest ashanne86

Hi everyone,

 

I just want to say what a pleasure it has been to have a place to come to specifically dedicated to all things greyhound. My mother just a month ago adopted a 2 year old newly retired racing greyhound (Emma). Emma has been wonderful, and has been learning certain things very well - there were a few issues in the beginning with Emma being in her crate at night, however my mother was able to work with her and now they have a great over night routine where Emma sleeps well in her crate. The one pressuing issue that is developing is that of separation anxiety when my mother leaves the house. She initially took a week off from work to help Emma acclimatize to her new environment. During this time they bonded, and Emma was not displaying seperation anxiety - and my mother was able to leave her alone for periods of time without her becoming anxious. (Also, Emma is not in her crate when my mom goes out - she tried this at one point, and her anxiety and behaviour was much worse - so she decided to let her roam free during the day). When my mom returned to her regular schedule of working (3 or 4 days a week, for around 4 hours at a time) Emma began to develop more anxiety when she was left alone, displaying barking, howling, and crying. Now I know that there is an adjustment period, and my mom has continued to work with Emma and has been doing alone triaining - the issue is that they live in an apartment, and people have started complaining. Needless to say, that adds a little bit of pressure to the whole situation.

 

My question is how can we do our best to set Emma up for success? My mother and I have done a lot of reading, and I have tried to choose a plan that is consistent and addresses the anxiety itself as well as the symptoms of the anxiety. There are some mixed messages in terms of what works best, but I have been trying to get my mom to stick with the alone training. There was a period of time that Emma was doing better, and was not running up to the door when my mom would leave - however a few days have gone by, and she seems to be a bit worse - now running up to the door and blocking my mom's exit, and then barking almost right away when she closes the door. I have suggested she go back to basics and just start to desensitize the jingling of her keys, and picking up her purse, and then sitting back down and waiting for Emma to relax.

 

What are people's opinions on providing treats to Emma once she does calm down/lay down? What it looks like now is that my mom goes in and out very quickly, and then sits down on the couch and 'ignores' Emma until she relaxes and lies down. I am thinking that this could be a good time to give her attention and treats? I know that this can be a slow process requiring effort and patience, I just worry that the behaviour is getting worse and not better. If anyone has any further suggestions, advice, or personal experience to share, it would be much appreciated!

 

Ashley

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Hi, first of all, congratulation for the newest addition of your mom, she will enjoy the ride!

Secondly, We had some separation anxiety with our Jack as well. He was crated at first for house training purposes and also he did not do very well when left loose and would rammed the front door and jump excitedly to bark on the couches, something he never attempted when we were home. Alone training worked for an extent but if we did too many repetition in a day he would start howling at the mere sight of us approaching the door, even though all we were doing was opening it and closing it. He seemed to be better when there was the morning routine attached to us leaving (my husband leaving, us walking, me fixing my hair and then kong + crate + leaving)

At first we also did something that seemed to help momentarily for the barking. We did ins and outs of the house and if ALL THE TIME he was quiet (minor whining didn't count) we would give him a cookie. So let's say he was in his crate without his kong, we would go out, right back in - if quiet - cookie. If he barked, we left. That taught him that barking made us leave. (You still have to address the anxiety however) We did about 10 repetitions and then stopped. We did some more again later. And gradually we extended the time. But as you probably know, we could not let him escalate into barking.

It took us about 2 months and a half to really come home to a happy hound. What helped a lot is a DAP diffuser (or collar, whichever you prefer). We were a bit skeptical at first but it really made a huge difference. You still need to train though. And I am guessing time and routine helped as well.

We ditched the crate about 2 months in. He escaped and it was getting dangerous to crate him. We were afraid that the ramming of the door would be an issue, but we were willing to take a leap of faith and come back home if we see anything going wrong. We closed off all bedrooms and the basements because otherwise he kept going from windows to windows to look for us. That way he only had one window to worry about. He stayed in the kitchen and part of the living room with the radio on and his kong. His crate was still set up and open but he could get in/out at will. We started with him having access to a smallish space to limit his roaming. In about 3-4 days he stopped pacing (he would pace for up to an hour when we left and then intermitally every 10-20 minutes or so until we would get home.) Then after that time, we openned the living room, but blocked off the couches since he used to get on them to howl. After a few days again he was fine with that new space. We have since then openned the basement to him, but all the rooms upstairs remain closed off for now (although I am sure he would be fine now).

To this day (5 months in) my husband and I can't leave at the same time. He leaves, I give Jack his Kong, turn on the radio and tell him bye bye. If we leave at the same time, there is a good chance that he will follow us to the door and him actually seeing us leave both creates some agitation. We like to leave him in a calm state.

Jack significantly got worse about a month in before getting better. It is like they are trying their best before giving up. I know how you feel. Even in a house the neighbors could hear him howling when they were outside. But don't give up, it will get better I promise :)

Edited by locket

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

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There is tons of info. on SA on the forum, so I won't re-write what has already been written, but I would suggest you write a lovely note and leave a copy of it under all of your neighbors' doors and tell them about the new dog, invite them to come meet her, leave a cell phone number they can call, and ask them to contact YOU and not the property manager if they are disturbed. Let them know it's a temporary adjustment thing, and that you very much appreciate their patience.

 

I did that, and it worked wonders. There wasn't a single complaint after I did--and in fact when my dog stop howling (after I ditched the crate) one of my neighbors came by nearly in tears assuming I had gotten rid of him because she complained about him. Imagine her surprise when he greeted her at the door!


Hamish-siggy1.jpg

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

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We heard just recently from a neighbour that someone who lived on the same street just adopted a wonderful greyhound called Emma. So just wondering if it is the same one. We are in Toronto we would be pleased to meet you and perhaps be helpful with the SA. My grey is very calm and would love to meet other greyhounds. Please let us know the best way to connect if this is the case.

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Guest ashanne86

Thanks for the advice so far! We're still working with her - I also just bought 'I'll be home soon' and we're giving it a read.

 

 

We heard just recently from a neighbour that someone who lived on the same street just adopted a wonderful greyhound called Emma. So just wondering if it is the same one. We are in Toronto we would be pleased to meet you and perhaps be helpful with the SA. My grey is very calm and would love to meet other greyhounds. Please let us know the best way to connect if this is the case.

 

That's too funny! We are also in Toronto (around the bayview/sheppard area - is that where you are?) - my mom's email address is sarahcarr50@gmail.com - feel free to send her an email, I have read her the above comments :)

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