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New Greyhound- Freezes And Refuses To Walk


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Guest Brindler

Hello- I have been checking out this forum every now and then for ideas and suggestions to help me with my new greyhound, Kaia- a beautiful 2 year old brindle girl. I was always just reading the comments but now I feel like things have changed and I need to actually become an active part of this.

We adopted her 2 months ago and she had been so great at the beginning- I remember all we wanted was for her to be a little more playful and even mischievous, because she was almost too good, and wasn't doing enough "dog things":) She is making great progress: going up and down the stairs like a champ (we live on the 3rd floor and she was terrified of stairs when we first got her), she plays more, she is silly with us, and very loving. She is great with people and all dogs, perfect in the house.

 

However- a few weeks ago she started freezing during walks (in the same area, where we always walk, or just in random places), at first every now and then, and for reasons we could understand (a motorcycle, kids screaming etc) then it became more and more common and it doesn't look like it's fear motivated- almost like she just decides she doesn't want to walk that way or she wants to just go back home. We've tried all the tricks- pushing her from the back, luring her with treats, pulled her- they worked for a bit and then they just didn't. Today we got to a terrifying point where we were trying another trick- which had worked nicely yesterday- to pull her by her martingale collar "like a suitcase"- long story short, this morning she got out of her collar while attempting that and she took off!!!! One of the most terrifying and hopeless feelings ever- to see your dog just run away and know she might get hurt right in front of your eyes, or just run away and never find her again:(((((((((( We ran after her and kept screaming her name- she was looking back at us, but did not stop. By some miracle from God, our street that's usually packed with cars and activitiy was completely empty at that time (5 minutes before it wasn't!!) and she just went home and waited for us in front of our apartment building- sitting, which she never does, and shaking. We comforted her and took her home- but needless to say we are shaken beyond belief and don't know where to go from here... We took her out one more time after this and she wanted to go back home again...

 

From your experience, do these things get better with time, or will we always have to worry when we go for a walk that she will choose the path and duration- and if not, worry about losing her if we try to force her walk?

 

Any advice, suggestions to try?

 

Thank you so much!

 

Irina

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Planting: When Kaia plants herself when you're walking, don't pull on the leash or collar. You could hurt her neck or she could back out of the leash, as you experienced. The trick is to get her feet moving. Try holding her firmly against your thigh, by keeping the leash short, and walk in a circle, pushing gently on her neck/shoulder area so she has to walk with you. When you come out of the circle, keep on walking straight ahead. It may take a couple of times. Also, try to be confident. Dogs can pick up on human insecurities, and if you feel anxious and worried about her stopping on walks and not getting her going again, she'll sense it.

 

Another way is to give a gentle but firm push on her shoulder area with your thigh to get her to jump her feet. Once her feet are moving, start walking. Sometimes turning around for a few feet works and then you can turn around again.

 

We need to see a picture of your sweet girl.

Edited by Feisty49
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Get a halter -- it will be dangerous to walk her without it now that she has backed out of it once. You don't want it to happen again - you were lucky once.

 

Hopefully others here will suggest the type of halter to use.

 

As to freezing - check her feet for corns (you might need to muzzle). My dog has corns and refuses to go further than a few blocks. If the activity is too much for her, then take her out to a quiet part of the street and just stand there for 10 minutes. Then try walking for a minute or two and then stand again for 10 minutes. A few dogs that I fostered had this problem and I had to stand at the end of my driveway for days until I could go down the street - so it might take awhile. Key is not to push it and to take small steps.

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We use the WWW harness here, available from 2Hounds, along with a martingale collar and attach one end of the leash to the collar and the other to the martingale on the harness.

And, when you want Kaia to move, remember to not look directly down at her. When that happens, everything about your body language tells her the exact opposite of what you are trying to accomplish and the hound shuts down. "Where you look is where you go!" so keep your eyes up and forward in the direction you want to go. Use a nice happy voice, and be patient with her.

 

She may also simply be bored if she's regularly walking the same route, that has happened with mine. Can you change it up a bit?

Old Dogs are the Best Dogs. :heartThank you, campers. Current enrollees: Aiden. Punkin. Annie. Miss M.

Angels: Pal :heart. Segugio. Sorella (TPGIT). LadyBug. Zeke-aroni. MiMi Sizzle Pants. Gracie. Seamie :heart:brokenheart. (Foster)Sweet. Andy. PaddyALVIN!Mayhem. Bosco. Bruno. Dottie B. Trevor Double-Heart. Bea. Cletus, Knot Like The Others.

 

:paw Upon reflection, our lives are often referenced in parts defined by the all-too-short lives of our dogs.

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Guest Brindler

Thank you all! I feel encouraged now to try these new approaches. I really needed this, especially after the horrible scare today. Can't wait to go and cuddle with her now:)

 

And, I am trying to post pictures, but can't figure out how to create a gallery :ph34r

 

I was just about to post this when I got a call from my husband that she won't go out at all now...which is pretty severe, and it obviously has a direct connection with what happened this morning...this is bad:(((((

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Can you reach out to your adoption group to ask if someone can come by to help you?

Old Dogs are the Best Dogs. :heartThank you, campers. Current enrollees: Aiden. Punkin. Annie. Miss M.

Angels: Pal :heart. Segugio. Sorella (TPGIT). LadyBug. Zeke-aroni. MiMi Sizzle Pants. Gracie. Seamie :heart:brokenheart. (Foster)Sweet. Andy. PaddyALVIN!Mayhem. Bosco. Bruno. Dottie B. Trevor Double-Heart. Bea. Cletus, Knot Like The Others.

 

:paw Upon reflection, our lives are often referenced in parts defined by the all-too-short lives of our dogs.

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If she got out of the martingale, it's not properly adjusted. If you ever have to use that again, make sure you are holding onto the control loop, not the rest of the collar. It should be adjusted so that no more than two fingers fit underneath it. And it's meant to fit up near her chin, not down near her chest. Just in case you didn't know.

 

I find that some of the martingales are so well made for durability, sometimes when they're new the adjustment loop doesn't work as well as it should.

 

Get yourself a Wiggles, Wags, and Whiskers harness at www.2houndsdesign.com and this will never happen again!


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

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Guest Brindler

Hi everyone. Happy to report we got Kaia a harness (regular one from PetGoods, just for the interim until we get one from WWW) and she walked fine last night and again this morning. She's happy again, chewing her bones and playing peekaboo with us:)

 

We did all the things required with the martingale- we think, at least. We are having our trainer come this Saturday (she is experienced with greyhounds) and we'll go through everything, to make sure we're not missing something.

 

But as of right now, this baby's not going anywhere! and we feel way safer walking her. We also attached her GPS tracker to her collar.

 

Thank you all for the advice and encouragement. This is a great website!

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Yeah!!!

 

I almost lost George once when he got out of his collar. I had to grab his ear (there was really nothing else to grab) as he was backing up into a very busy street!

 

I bought a harness the next day for situations that might be scary.

 

Keep up the good work. And I agree. This is a great site!


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

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Guest Brindler

GeorgeofNE- that was funny! Scary- I will never forget that feeling when Kaia slipped through our fingers, just horrible, so don't get me wrong- but at least you grabbed on to a body part- that was lucky! :)

So....turns out I spoke too soon... :( Kaia refused to walk at lunch. She went for a pee, but barely stepped outside our building then she froze again...Also, she barked at my neighbor's dog, and another neighbor- which she NEVER does..sounds to me like she is gripped by fear again. Fear of what- I have no idea:(
Since we now have the safety of the harness I will try nudging her on with my thigh on her shoulder area, like Annie's mom recommended.

This is so stressful... :(

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Certainly all sounds fear based to me and all of your attempts to force her to continue are probably distressing her more. I would stick to brief walks close to home so she can potty and get her physical exercise and mental stimulation in other ways while seeking out a force-free reward-based trainer who can help you develop a plan to counter-condition & desensitize to the things she find scary. She may also benefit from a natural calming aid or if those fail, even medication. Things you can try that might help and certainly can't hurt - a DAP collar, l-theanine supplements, and Composure Chews. Also, you could try a thundershirt for walks. Take her to a local pet store that sells them so she can be properly fitted - it it helps you'd only want to put it on for walks and then take it off once home (dog doesn't wear it all of the time).

 

A lot of dogs like often do MUCH better with another dog for confidence so you might consider finding a neighbor or two with dogs she likes and walk together, or you could consider fostering for your group to see if that helps her (although if you are already overwhelmed with getting a new dog adjusted that may not be the best option). If you have a way to test whether she's happier with another dog and it turns out she is, then I would weigh whether you're up for 2 dogs or whether she might not be the best fit for you. But that may be getting a bit ahead. Try some of the other suggestions first.

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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 Brindler

Hi Neylasmom- the thing is now she won't even do those walks close to home. She wants to do 0 walking:( just freezes in front of our building...

 

I am torn between the approaches people suggest: nudge her gently to get the feet walking, or just not attempt any of that and go right back home, as she wants. My concern is that I would reward and feed into her fear by allowing her to get right back home. On the other hand I don't want to scare her. I wish there was a more clear cut answer to this.

 

would she eventually snap out of this, or could we face a lifetime of this behavior?

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You can't reinforce fear. When a dog is afraid, they're having an emotional response and learning can't happen. But if you force her to continue to remain in a situation where she is afraid, or you add more stress to the situation (but physically pushing her for instance), you can see the behavior worsen, which I think you are in her case.

 

Dogs aren't stubborn. They can be "otherwise-motivated" :lol but typically when a dog is freezing up on walks, the things most likely to be causing the problem are physical discomfort or fear. That's not to say that in some cases where perhaps it's mild fear encouraging the dog to just move along can't help, but you've already tried that and obviously things have gotten worse, which tells you that approach isn't working and it's time for a new one.

 

Do I think she's going to snap out of it? No. Do I think that with encouragement, not forcing her into situations where she's uncomfortable and a training plan to CC&D to things she's fearful of she can improve, absolutely.

gallery_12662_3351_862.jpg

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 Brindler

Hi greyhound friends!

A lot has happened last week since Kaia pulled a Houdini on us:) She's still freezing- particularly at lunch time- yes, it's usually hot, but today it wasn't, she still didn't want to do a walk- she only pees, then she immediately wants to go back in- which is fine. We managed to have a really good weekend- went for a nice long walk on Saturday morning, and a shorter one at night, then the next day we went to the greyhound walk, where she freaked out big time by pulling on the leash like crazy- but did walk. Before the walk she played off leash (in a massively fenced in yard:) with another greyhound she knows- and I don't think I've even seen her so happy!

 

We had our trainer practice the "here" command which should make her more aware of us outside and hopefully get her to come to us instead of getting distracted. Working on this command indoors and outdoors as well. She tried to show us some tricks on how to get her to move- which worked- sort of. Kaia was moving but not really walking. SO- we are taking it nice and easy, not forcing her, but rather trying to encourage her and make her feel more confident. I'm working on changing my perspective on this- from frustration to patience and positive thoughts, so she can feel this and feed off of it.

 

I'll keep you posted:)

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I have one of these hounds too. We have had Fanny for over a year the freezing has much improved with a 2nd grey however, this time of yr with the thunderstorms, fireworks and I live in a neighborhood where there is always noise. For Fanny night time is the absolute worst. She is a mamas girl so... I circle her back around to get her to walk. I also have my husband walk her while I walk our other dogs which seems to also help. Continue repeation and working with gaining her confidence is what you need to do.

Kristen mom to-

Sp FancyPants (Fanny)- 4.20.12 Adopted 3.8.14

Rico's Maggie (Maggie)- 12.3.12 Adopted 1.21.15

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Guest Brindler

Hi Kristen,

 

Good to hear we are not the only ones dealing with these issues...Unfortunately, getting a second greyhound is not an option for us- we live in a small apartment and it would be a logistical nightmare- so we have to find other solutions to this.

 

Kaia has been very uneven and unpredictable in her behavior: she can walk just fine for miles, in very busy areas with lots of noise (important detail: it has to be both of us walking her- separately we haven't had good results in making her walk since the escaping incident, which I guess left a very bad scar for her psychologically:(((. This morning however she refused to go the way she lately had preferred, and we were both walking her. She is choosing "paths" she likes and stays with that for a little while, then we'd go the same way and she'd have a nervous breakdown. We're running out of directions to go:) We tried to make her move, keeping a cheerful, positive tone and attitude- to no avail. So we went the other way- then she motioned going home, in a big panic. My husband nudged her gently then magically she just started to walk and she was fine for a while- she stopped a couple of other times and we applied the same method- it worked. So happy 3 mile walk this morning. She does LOVE her walks, once she decides to "embark" upon them:) She's so curious, inquisitive, smells the air in a playful way- it's a joy when she's like that. This PM however- total freeze. It is very stressful for all involved, and I feel really bad for her, because I know that she's mostly scared- and maybe a tiny bit stubborn as well. She's very smart, so I think she's getting that we will pretty much walk on her terms, and, as much as I don't like the idea, trying to force her to walk makes her freezing worse, so I feel like we can't really use that. Even the nudging, or trying to walk her in circles sometimes leave her in a state of panic. ANd other times it works...:( You're right though- the night is the absolute worst! I guess because they're sighthounds and not being able to see properly makes them feel even more insecure? I'm dreading winter time when we will have no choice but to go out in the dark..

I'm not sure if Fanny's case is this bad, but did she get better in time as she got used to her surroundings more? Or was it solely because the other greyhound coming into the picture?

 

Thank you so much!

Irina

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fyi, Sighthounds can see very well. Do you have any trails or anywhere you can walk her without triggering her fears? You may need to take baby steps with her starting out in areas where she feels safe then slowly desensitizing her and gradually introducing some of the things that stress her or cause her to freeze by using training techniques that don't allow the fear to escalate first. clear as mud??

Jan with precious pups Katie Crazykatiebug, 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; and Brooke Glo's Destroyer 7/09/06-21/06/16. 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 heal and 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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Guest Brindler

HA! Clear as mud indeed:) The issue is that a place we thought she felt safe in today at 8:00 AM will not be safe by 5:00 Pm....she did that today. And then she walked merrily in a relatively unfamiliar area. In fact, I think she does better in unfamiliar territory because she has to follow us and she doesn't know which was home is, so she can't pull that way:) Also, we tried to go back home on a street that we had just come from- only this time we were going back on it- and she absolutely did not want to go. We think it looks awfully familiar (from the other end of it) to the street where she had her traumatic escape- and this crazy pup remembers everything!

 

Soooo....tonight it's doggie run time. She likes it there. We usually go when it's not too crowded and when we know most of the dogs and the owners- we don't need any surprises. Saturday it's walking by this beautiful lake we discovered, where she had great fun once, and Sunday it's the greyhound walk. We're leaving this little miss no time to think about her stress:)

 

I'll keep you posted. Would love to post some pictures too, but apparently one must post 50 times to get that privilege...

 

Thank you so much for all your posts- it really helps me a lot to know you guys are out there:)

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest lorikr4

Hi everyone,

We just adopted our Greyhound a week ago and we have the same problem. He freezes whenever we are trying to go back home after walks, he will also freeze up whenever we try to get him to come back inside when he is out in the yard. He has improved greatly on the stairs and will go up them fine if he wants to go in the house, but whenever we want him to come in he just stands there with his tail between his legs looking scared. He is not treat motivated so that is not an option, we have been walking him with our other dog, an English Setter, but he has not gotten any clues from her that the walk is over or it is time to come inside. We are now using a harness which makes it easier to guide him to the house or up the stairs but it is still a struggle. Today on his walk he refused to turn around and go back the way we came because he wanted to keep going in that direction, and this was 2 blocks away from the house. We had to lead him all that way home and it was exhausting for me and him. We have tried the nudging on the back end and that doesnt work, he actually looks pretty scared most of the time. He really enjoys the walks, its just the going back home that he does not want to do.

As I have read everyone comments, it seems that Greyhounds behavior can change from day to day. Some days he is better than others, but the freezing is a constant, it just varies from day to day.

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Guest Brindler

Hi Lori,

Greyhound behavior changes from one day to another- amen to that! Kaia has been SO GOOD for the past week or so, we were just saying how proud we are of her that she is getting over some of her issues and thought she was " on the mend". But yesterday she heard a noise outside (in her defense, it has been pretty crazy in our neighborhood lately- construction, landscaping, idiots driving loud cars- you name it!:) and she FREAKED OUT for the rest of the day. Including refusing to go and eat or drink from the kitchen- which was shocking and a first. She was stressed out the whole day, paced around the apartment, leaned on us, got startled by every single noise-real or imagined... I was really stressed out from this myself and worried about this new trend- but this morning we did a great 3 mile walk again, and she ate and drank normally from her dishes in the kitchen. My take on this whole thing is do your best to try to help, really understand what makes them react- but at the same time, they have to figure this out and sometimes dotting on them too much might do more harm than good. It's super hard for me, because it breaks my heart, but I really believe that she feels my stress and I'm not doing her any favors by being that way. We are taking every day as it comes, and deal with the many weird greyhounds fobias:) Good thing we love this girl so much!

I'm definitely going to get her some of those calming natural chewing treats for 4th of July though. if we add fireworks to all the noise she's already enduring, she might just completely flip out!:)

I'm always thinking of that moment a year from now (I'm giving myself some time here:) when we will all be thinking of these crazy adjustment times and laugh about it. Hang in there!!

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Guest vbiggs63

HI All... I adopted Flash last Friday. I have had the whole weekend to work with him, of course the Fireworks were a real treat for both of us. I'm finding several things I thought I would inquire about. Flash was not a racing hound, but rather was abandoned by its owner in a country field.. by the time the rescue found him he had every parasite known and some not even seen before. I am his 3rd adopted family. I'm sure this still makes him nervous and a bit depressed with all the changes that have happened to him. He is about 5 years old is their guess.

 

1) The cat and him get along ok... she gained 50 pounds of fluff fur the 1st 2 days but after that, they are now smelling and walk around each other.

 

2) He sleeps SOO MUCH is this common?

 

3) He freezes.. he is house trained but I have to really push him to get him to go out the door. Its like he is a fraid an freezes up. How long will this last? I have been trying the treats and such and he is not falling for it..

 

4) He does whine a lot when he is walking around, I'm sure its all new, I keep reassuring him.

 

5) I do have a crate for him and he goes to it most of the time especially when he hears any really strange noises. I have a radio on top of the crate to keep music playing.. Last night was the first night he slept next to my bed, so I feel there is some progress.

 

Any tips on training I would appreciate.. I dont want to have to tug and pull on the leash to get him to go outside but when he is outside he is wonderful to walk with on the leash. I have a fenced in yard and a few times he has ran around, sounds like a galloping horse.

 

Thanks so much

 

Von

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Guest Brindler

Hi Von,

 

From my limited experience (we've had Kaia for less than 4 months, although it seems like an eternity already- in mostly good ways:) all i can say is that some greys tend to be very strange and there is no "manual" or instructions that come with them...Kaia is such an unpredictable little girl- not even from one day to another, but from morning to evening....What has helped me so far was to get used to the idea. To not expect anything and not get disappointed when a new problem or troubling behavior appears, but rather to get excited when she does something right.

I know it sounds crazy, but what seems to work with her now when she freezes is that we literally get down to her eye level and make her establish eye contact with us (because when she freezes she will tend to look away) and sort of "reason" with her. We have these short conversations with her explaining there is no reason for this and she's being silly to be afraid. And she will walk! Almost like she's like ok, maybe I am being silly, I'll do it:) I hope I won't jinx this, but it's what's working right now. The worst thing was to try to force her to walk or get angry/ frustrated. I did that once and I got the worst outcome: she got even more stubborn. So what works with her is positive reinforcement, speaking in a soft, cheerful voice. It's not always easy, and it's still frustrating at times. But we love her so much, and she can also be so sweet, loving and funny that we just have to take her with the good and the bad. We noticed it's much better when we both walk her- or when it's at least 2 people walking with her. My mom is visiting and staying with us for a month, so when my husband is not around, my mom will do to complete the pack:) She still freezes on occasion but it's easier to get her to walk again. We are pretty terrified of walking her alone though..:( 2 nights ago she had a bad fit of diarrhea (we are still on alert:) and my husband had to take her out at 4:30 AM. They were taking a while so I was almost ready to go look for them- they finally came back, but my husband was pretty shaken because now she didn't want to walk back home- before it was the opposite. So you never know what to expect! :(

We are also continuing to expose her to things, and persevere so that we don't let anxiety dictate our routine. I think repetition, calm and most importantly, TIME, are the answers. Once they trust us and get used to their surroundings enough, it will be better. Although I have no illusions that she may never be 100% anxiety free. Wish I could give you some clearer guidelines, but I just don't know:) At least not yet...

 

Hope this helps, at least a little bit. Good luck with Flash- he sounds adorable, and so deserving of happiness!

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Guest SkyeDakota

Hello everyone - I am reading this forum and I am glad to learn I am not alone with the freezing issue. I have a 2 year old male greyhound for about 2 1/2 months now. The first month the walks went fine, with the occasional stops and freezes. But now it has come to a point that he simply refuses to walk a foot more than my building (I am in an apartment). I walk him with a harness. However, when he refused to walk, he pulls backwards, goes up like a pony, squeezes his shoulders and at one point he was able to slide out, thank goodness it was inside the building and he couldn't go anywhere. I have to mention that he is developing a corn in one of his paws that cannot be removed yet. When I walk him with booties the freezing is the same, it seem not to matter if he wears them or not, he refuses to walk. He does wear a DPA collar. I tried the desensitizing with noises, positive reinforcement with treats. I scheduled a session with a professional behaviorist early August and would like to try anything possible to get him to walk again. At this point he has not many chances to run, hence I would like to walk enough so that he gets his exercise. Can he be depressed and miss running? Long shot but who knows. I was advised by the rescue organization not to take him to dog parks as he may go after little dogs and think they are a lure. I am running out options [no pun intended]. Appreciate any advise and suggestion.

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Guest Scouts_mom

vbiggs63 and Flash,

Don't worry about how much Flash sleeps. Greyhounds sleep a lot, maybe 23 hours a day at times. And new experiences will tire a dog out and make him want to sleep even more!

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Guest Brindler

Hi SkyeDakota,

 

It's funny how our Kaia was walking just fine during the first month as well- then the fun began...It is truly very scary when they try to escape, that's why we have the martingale collar on her, plus a harness and both are connected through an extra strap that ties them together- that way if she gets out of one we have the other as backup. Additionally, we have her tracked via a GPS on her collar!!!:) yep, people think it's crazy when they see us walking, but we don't care, we feel so much safer that way- and that gives us more confidence.

From my personal experience- the doggie run has done wonders for Kaia. We were told the same thing by our organization we adopted her from: no doggie run, she's not good with small animals etc etc. We avoided it like hell at the beginning; we would go early in the morning before everyone. One morning there was another dog there- happened to be a neighbor and his dog, a 6 month old Boxer- super energetic and mega annoying to Kaia:) we noticed that she handled it just fine and she actually had fun tiring him out- because he could never actually catch her:) Now we go to the doggie run a lot- we usually meet mostly the same people and their dogs, and we know almost all of them; every now and then a new one would come and we just kind of evaluate things- if there is any sign of trouble, we just leave. We only had to leave once, when Kaia got "attacked" (it's a strong word- more like "bullied") by a German shepheard that we actually had never seen before. Kaia wasn't very intimidated, she totally held her own, but of course we left in order to avoid any accidents... I think you should try it- take every precaution, and if it doesn't work, at least you tried it...Good luck!

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