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Extreme Neediness - When Does It End?


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Hi all.

 

We just adopted big, gorgeous guy this past Saturday - our 5th greyhound in 11 years. So, we aren't new to this, but we've never experienced this level of neediness in one of our new adoptees. He cannot be apart from me at all and I'm starting to worry that he's going to develop SA. It's not just following me from room to room, he cries when I close the door on him - I've been trying to gently show him that I'll come back by closing bathroom doors, laundry room door, etc. - but he gets super agitated and cries - I have just ignored it and when I open the door, I do nothing because I do not want to reinforce the agitation. A few minutes ago, my husband was in the front yard so I went to sit on the front porch and left the door open (with the storm door closed) so he could see us. He was pacing, crying and pawing at the door and I was sitting about 3 feet away.

 

We've done a little "alone" training - just leaving the house for a few minutes. We set up Facetime sessions so we could watch him and all 3 times, he paced non-stop, pawed at the door and cried. The longest we have done this is maybe 4 minutes and he just never calms down.

 

I absolutely understand this is only day 5 - we are being super gentle with the "rules" - just trying to teach him his name, to stay "out" of the kitchen (which he is learning really well!) and the basics of walking properly (just keeping him on a short leash so he learns to stay beside us and not pull). We are using treats and positive reinforcement - and today is day 2 of no marking in the house (YAY!) - but I'm concerned about this level of attachment. We're keeping him to a schedule, as we always have, and he's learning the routine. None of the other 4 greys we've had have ever been this attached - we've had lots of shadows, but he seems to mildly panic just at being on the other side of the door.

 

Should I just relax? Are there other things we can do for him? We are making sure to make our departures and arrivals no big thing - we don't even acknowledge comings and goings. We are trying to show him that we'll come back for him. We'd like him to not be crated when we leave, and even if he has to be crated, we don't want him to panic. Our first alone session was maybe 1 minute. Is it too soon for all of this, or should we do it more?

 

Many thanks.

 

 

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Congratulations on your new boy! First of all, let me say I have never had a hound with SA so I can't really say much about that. However, with our last 3 (we are on #5 and #6 in twenty years) I used the crate quite a bit for about the first 3 days or so even when I was home which is most of the time. Each time we already had another hound at home. After a walk together as soon as we got home, we would let them check out the back yard. Upon entering the house we would let the new hound get a drink, take a quick walk around the house and then into the crate. By this time they are usually starting to pant a bit and you can see the anxiety level going up a bit. They have always just stood there for a minute and then settle down. We always have a crate set up in the family room and the master bedroom. We start them out in the family as that is where the center of activity is. I pretty much ignore them and go about my business...start the washer..and other sounds they will be getting used to. I am coming and going frequently...like every few minutes...so they can see that I disappear and come back. Then I will come in and sit on the sofa and just let them observe. The first couple of meals I feed in the crate. I gradually let them out more and a couple of times they will become anxious and a trip back to the crate solves that. It's just their safe place for a few days. I think they sleep much better knowing they have a safe spot. Crating usually only lasts a couple of weeks in the bedroom and then the new hound is only crated in the family room when I am away...usually just a couple of hours at a time. After a couple of months the family room crate is removed.

 

If they don't like the crate, that will be apparent fairly soon. My new girls have always found it to be a safe spot but some hounds just don't like them. I hope some of this helps. He likely is just adapting a little differently but the settling in period can sometimes be an anxious time...for everyone.

 

 

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Thanks, greymom! We actually have a crate and we dutifully set it up for all 4 of our hounds and were met with resounding resistance from all of them! We had it set up in the family room where we watch tv and hang out at night, lots of pillows and super comfortable - we would try and feed in there and none of them ever went in. None of them ever entered, even when they seemed stressed out or we tried to cajole with treats. Our bedroom and offices upstairs aren't big enough for the crate.

 

The only time we ever really used it was with our 2nd grey, as he would get bored during the day and find things to chew and destroy. Even then, it was only temporary.

 

With this big guy, we are sectioning off the house. For the first couple of nights, he slept downstairs with my husband in the guest room (door closed) and he settled down right away. Then he slept upstairs with me in our bedroom (door closed) and he was fine. We just wanted him be without our girl, not have free range and to learn the various rooms of the house were his new "crate" and this seems to help. We are now all sleeping upstairs together, but we have the stairs baby-gated, so both dogs only have access to our bedroom and our offices (lots of beds). He settles down quickly, but no way he'd ever venture to another room! In fact, I had to get up to use the restroom around 3:30 and he jumped up to follow me, just a couple feet away.

 

He is a super sweet guy - I just want to make sure we set him up for success and I have no experience dealing with this level of attachment! We just purchased a wireless camera that'll be here tomorrow that we can control and watch from our phones, so we will observe him when we leave! He isn't destructive and doesn't pee/poop when we leave - just endless pacing and crying. I actually let a girlfriend borrow our crate, as she has a very destructive dog that has to be crated anytime she isn't home. I will get it back this weekend and see if likes/tolerates it!

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It sounds like you're being very attentive and monitoring how his behavior changes, which seems like a great approach. Your patience is commendable! My only advice is like you said, it's only day 5... if you keep him on the path to success, he will probably acclimate to something like your other hounds' behavior.

 

I'm not sure if you mentioned this, but do you currently have any other hounds? Or are the previous four no longer around? If it's the latter, he could easily be one of those dogs who just can't help freaking out at his perception of being left alone, even when you're three feet away on the other side of a screen door. That was Brooks's biggest problem--even though the agency felt he would be a good independent dog because he was usually doing his own thing while living with five other foster dogs and wasn't that social, independent in our case didn't mean he was adjusted to complete alone time and quiet. Lots of alone training, ditching the crate and setting up a routine didn't help. The only thing that put him right was fostering and eventually adopting a second hound. YMMV but I can't imagine ever trying to have a single greyhound again. It was like night and day.

Drew and occasionally DW Melody, with Rosie (AMF Ready Made) and Marvin (Bella Riddick) in Louisville. Forever missing Brooks (KC Bastone) and Kali (Swish).

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Hi there, Quarrystepper - yep, we have another houndie - she's super sweet, very tolerant and almost 8 years old. We actually chose this guy because when we met him, he was really calm and we thought that would be good for her.

 

Today, he actually let me go to the laundry room (downstairs) and didn't follow me! He was sitting up in his bed, but he stayed there 2-3 minutes while I got laundry out, I was really happy. He also let me go into the kitchen alone - it's all one big room, but he stayed on his bed and couldn't see me, so I was pretty happy about that.

 

Probably going to pick up our crate tomorrow, too, and set it up to see if that would make him less anxious. :)

Edited by Sundrop
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Guest Billysmom

I'll be watching this thread as well, because MY new (3 week) big boy is doing much the same. Whining plus BARKING if we don't let him ON the bed at night. Stays there 10 minutes or so, like OP says, but then gets up, comes to my side, whines, then barks. Scares the bejeezus out of me every time!

 

Oh, but I can't put my guy in a crate. Seizures.

Edited by Billysmom
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This behaviour indicates the making of a tremendous companion. Unfortunately the investment is front end loaded. Hang in there, he will eventually learn that he will not die if you leave him for a while. Sounds identical to what I went through and in fact still go through - my Hester will never accept not being by my side if I am in the same building. What he did learn and what yours will learn is that when you do leave, its better just to give up and go have a nap. To tip the odds in my favour (his favour) I exercised the crap out of him before I ever left him alone and I still do.

 

I have not been to the washroom alone in almost 4 years. Good luck.

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Thanks, KickReturn - we have noticed some very small advances with him. He will let me walk into the kitchen alone now while he is in the living room. It's all one big room, basically, but he can't see me. Also, he has let me go downstairs alone once or twice. Yesterday, my husband was working in the yard and I had to run to the grocery store. So he saw me leave, he was watching from the window as I drove off - we just got our wireless camera, so as soon as I was stopped at a light, I turned it on to watch him. Our girl was on the rug in front of the door, just relaxing. He was pacing. I checked again while at the grocery store and he was still pacing. But, I checked again before leaving (about 15 minutes after leaving the house) and he wasn't pacing anymore. Not sure where he was, but still no accidents, destruction or issues with our girl.

 

We are going to do more short sessions this week, and then we are getting our crate back next weekend. We will use it when we are gone for longer periods of time and put the camera on him to observe.

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I'm also following this thread. I adopted my girl, Joy, last Sunday and she follows me around all the time. When I go into the bathroom, she sometimes will whine a little and then go into my room and lay on the bed. My big issue is when I go to work, church, etc.


Carol, missing Magic (1/5/01 - 4/15/15) but welcoming Fuzzy's Joy Behar (Joy) into my life on 5/31/15.

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2 months is about what it took Sobe to stop being under my feet constantly. I got used to him following me everywhere, and always keeping a line of sight on me. I gave up trying to have privacy in the bathroom. Then he started chilling out. The stalking wore off over time. 6 months in he'd not follow me room to room.

 

His SA when we left was another matter. That was bad. I don't know that the super-clingyness and SA are 100% related, but Sobe had both. The clingy-ness wore off, the SA... took a LOT more work. Sobe was my 1st grey, so I probably messed up a LOT of stuff on that. You at least have the experience of having had other greys, and that's a plus for you. You know how to do the separation training.

 

I don't know the right answer. I'd probably let him follow me all the time in the house, but go outside, sit on the porch, and let him deal with it. Keep doing what you're doing - casual departures and arrivals. Hopefully he'll "get" that it's ok. Work on alone training.

 

Maybe it's just a "new dog" thing and won't be a big deal. I know you've had 4 others, but this one just might have a very different personality. Of my 14 fosters, I had like this. Most weren't that way. Those 2 fosters got over their clingyness, never developed SA at all, and were just FINE. It just took a couple weeks of staying in their sight when I was home. And we went to work every day from day 2 and left them alone for 4-6 hours.

 

They're all different .... some just more different than others. Don't freak out yet. It could just be "greyhound quirkiness".

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George NEVER stopped following me every time I moved, but with enough time, exercise, alone training, etc. he did manage to handle being left while I went to work. Once I was home, he had to have me in sight at all times until the day he died.

 

As long as he was OK being left while I worked, I just let him. Was it a little annoying? Yes, I'm not going to lie!

 

It's so refreshing that Buck doesn't even get up when I, for example, leave the condo to take out the trash. And some nights he prefers to sleep on the couch for a few hours before joining me.


Hamish-siggy1.jpg

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

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Hi all - I don't actually mind the clinginess at all. Our girl is pretty independent, so having at least one dog with me all the time is kinda nice - I was really just worried about it developing (or being related to) separation anxiety.

 

We have our wireless camera set up so we can watch him while we're out, and we've tried to vary things by leaving him alone while we are just outside (doing yard work) and also leaving by car. He paces nonstop, but still no destruction or accidents, and no problems with our girl. She just lays there and watches, lol. We were outside the other night doing yard work for about an hour & a half, I was able to pull him up on camera after about 30 minutes and he was still pacing; however, when we finally came inside, he was laying down in the corner (not sure at what point between 30 and 90 minutes that he got tired). We're still coming and going without paying any attention or making a big deal of it.

 

We were gone to the grocery store a couple days ago for about 30 minutes, and he paced nonstop. Going to Costco after work today and will likely be gone for 45'ish minutes, so that'll be a good test for him. We're turning the radio on, too. Also getting our crate back this weekend to see how he is with it.

 

He's also getting a tiny bit better about his independence during the day. Couple days ago, my husband was mowing the yard and I was downstairs reading, and he came upstairs to the bedroom to lay by himself for about 30 minutes! He's going out the yard without me standing on the deck watching, which is great - and a couple of times he has opted to lay in the hallway upstairs instead of my husband, or my, office during the day.

 

So far, at week 2, I've totally fallen in love with him. He's picking up training really quickly - already walking like a gentleman on leash, staying out of the kitchen, knows his name and is learning "down" pretty easily. We'll be working more on "down" and "wait" this weekend. He seems to enjoy training sessions and is very food motivated. He's also a VERY sweet guy, though he's much more alpha than our girl and we've had to let them work out the pecking order. It's tough when the new dog is more dominant - as a human, we feel bad for her, but we understand that they have to both feel comfortable with their place in our pack. He is definitely accepting us as top dogs, we are very pleased with how far he's come! Just crossing our fingers that he learns we always come back, whether it is 30 minutes away or 5 hours. :)

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I think if he's quiet, you're going to do just fine! Specially with another canine in the house. My George was filmed howling at the top of his lungs for two hours (that's how long the video tape was) after I got complaints from my neighbors and didn't believe them! Ditching the crate stopped all the noise, but he was NEVER really OK with being alone. Had I been able to get a second, I would have.


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

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Pleas note, dominance/alpha theory is a myth. If you're interested, there's an interesting article that explains social relationships in dogs.

 

In her paper, The Social Organization of the Domestic Dog: A Longitudinal Study of Domestic Canine
Behavior and the Ontogeny of Domestic Canine Social Systems, animal behaviourist Alexandra
Semyonova presents a
new and accurate model of what the dog is all about. She explains how
dogs construct their social systems -- and that dominance has nothing to do with it. Dogs follow three
simple rules as they interact. These three simple rules enable them to form groups of almost
unlimited size, absorbing both strangers and other species into the groups they form. These groups
are complex self-organising systems, without a central authority. They are much more stable and
elegant -- and at the same time more flexible -- than anything so clumsy as 'dominance' could
produce. The paper is a compact journey into the life of dogs, how they become what they are, and
what really moves them as they construct social relationships.

Jan with precious pups Emmy (Stormin J Flag) and Simon (Nitro Si). Missing my angels: Bailey Buffetbobleclair 11/11/98-17/12/09; Ben Task Rapid Wave 5/5/02-2/11/15; Brooke Glo's Destroyer 7/09/06-21/06/16 and Katie Crazykatiebug 12/11/06 -21/08/21. My blog about grief The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not get over the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same, nor would you want to. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

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