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Preventing Separation Anxiety


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Hi all. I'm Mike. I'm planning on adopting 2 hounds in the next couple months. I'm researching how to prevent separation anxiety. I came across this website:

 

 

http://www.greyhoundwelfare.org/resourceDet.php?resourceCategoryKey=27

 

 

It says it's easier to prevent separation anxiety than to cure it. The website suggests crating the dog, anytime the dog isn't eating, drinking, walking or training, for two weeks. After two weeks, one should gradually increase the dogs free time.

 

 

What do you all think about this type of acclimation to home life? Does it seem sound? Is it too much crating? I really want to set the dogs up for success. I don't want them to develop separation anxiety. I really couldn't deal with it.

 

Would this kind of thing work if I adopted two dogs at once? Should I walk them separately? Would that help prevent separation anxiety or would it increase the chances? On that note, is it advisable to adopt 2 dogs at the same time or should I adopt them a week or two apart? I'm planning on getting two because I think one would be lonely.

 

Just yesterday, it occurred to me that if I adopted two dogs that weren't comfortable with stairs, I'd have a very difficult time getting them in and out of the house. I've never taught one dog to traverse a staircase, two might be much more difficult. I suppose I could tie one's leash to a railing, while I got the other up or down the staircase.

 

I appreciate any advice pertaining to prevention separation anxiety. Thank you.

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Are you adopting greys for the first time? Will they be right off the track or have they been fostered? I personally like the idea of first timers adopting dogs that were fostered. This way you can get valued info from the foster parent.

When I adopted straight of the track I used a crate until there was a mutual trust that the dog could roam the house with no potty problems or destruction. I also managed to take at least a Thurs. and Fri. off from work so I had 4 full days with the dog. I started alone training immediately. There should be a a topic on the forum for alone training. Good luck, each dog is different.

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Not advice that I would follow. A dog doesn't learn to be in a home when a dog is crated that much. I do tend to keep a new dog in the same room I'm in or fairly close by while housetraining etc. are taking place, and I do use crates at times, but round-the-clock crating? No.

Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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Yeah. Don't follow that website's advice for a greyhound. There are good reasons to have a dog that is crate trained and comfortable being in one for periods of time. Greyhounds come to you already basically crate trained. The reason they develop SA is that it's likely the first time in their entire life that they will be left entirely alone. Do a search here on the forum for alone training and separation anxiety. You'll have more information than you need. And, likely, if you adopt two at once you won't have an issue with SA as they'll have each other to keep them company.

 

As for adopting two at once, it's going to depend on how much time you want to devote to your two new dogs. Also, consider that your adoption group might not adopt out two greyhounds to a first time greyhound adopter. You don't say if you even have *any* dog owning experience, let alone, two sighthounds at once. Greyhounds are dogs, yes, but they are also dogs that have been raised uniquely from other breeds, and they have their own quirks and requirements.

 

It also depends on if the dogs are straight from a track kennel or adoption kennel or from a group that uses foster homes. A dog coming straight from the track will have different needs than a dog who has spent time in a home already.

 

Straight from the track dogs will be fully adult dogs that will need to be taught ev-er-y-thing: potty training, how to walk on leash, what windows are, how to do stairs, where to eat, not to chew on things, and everything else a dog needs to learn. A fostered dog should have already been introduced to these things.

 

Some greyhounds are completely fine being home alone, right from the beginning. Some take some additional work. Some need a lot of work, along with some medication help. But you won't know what kind you have until you get your dog home. You can make all the plans you want; your dog(s) will have their own ideas.

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 have posted before and I'll post it again. Crating a dog that much is pure and simple abuse in my book.

 

Well over 100 greyhounds have passed through my houses for varying degrees of time and overwhelmingly the ones that settled in the quickest were the ones straight off the track and from track kennels. Teenage (<2) "Beauty School dropouts" took the most work, followed by pound rescues. Ex-racers know to walk on a lead and a fostered dog is only as good as its foster home.

My suggestion would be to see if you could borrow a couple of crates and if your floor plan allows it baby gate them in the kitchen with the crates and doors to the crates open. I'd walk them together. Stairs are not the be all and end all. I live in the world of Ranch houses but one year at the Abilene Greyhound gathering we had to stay in a B&B which was a Victorian with huge steep stairs and Buck, out of necessity, got a crash course in steep stairs. Up was fairly easy but down was "full speed ahead" . I wouldn't tie to a railing...but what do I know?

Harley raced his last race at Bluffs two days before he got on a hauler to come to me and Buck spent more than a year at the track adoption kennel before I got him. Both walked into the house, cockroached and went to sleep. Never a peep of trouble out of either of them and they had never been fostered. Everyone know my mantra is to get the biggest boy you can find and you'll have the best luck at getting a laid back dog, but that is just me.

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If you *must* do more than a few stairs to get the dog in and out for potty, I'd start with one dog rather than two. Unless you have the opportunity to get two dogs who are already house-acclimated and good at stairs. It can take some human muscle and several days for an adult dog to learn, and two at once would be a recipe for frustration and housetraining accidents.

 

The main thing we do re separation anxiety is ... leave. We usually stay home for a day when a new dog first arrives, and then we start leaving for an hour here and two hours there over the course of the next few days. Even if we have nowhere to go :lol . That gives us some info on whether the dog needs things like a Kong etc. when we are gone. We generally do crate when we leave, in the beginning.

Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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I don't crate. I set it up with the door open but my current 3 never used it, although 2 of them came from foster homes where they spent lots of time in a crate and the foster families told me how much they loved their crates. Once they got here, the never went near the crate, much preferred pillows. We've also not had a problem with SA. When new pup comes into our home, we generally don't fuss with them too much during the first week, rather we let them follow our other greyhounds and stick to a routine 24/7.

 

I'm not sure if we're just lucky, but this has always worked for us.

 

Secondly, when we adopted our first greyhound, we waited 8 months to adopt our second and I always thought it would have been better if we adopted 2 together. However, I'm glad now that we waited because we wouldn't have adopted Ben. IMO, I find multiples easier in terms of training, you do it together and they know what's expected and it's all over with. The greyhounds have mates which they are used to and I know mine would not be happy as the "only" greyhound. Perhaps that's because they have never been the only greyhound in the house. Ben was for 10 days, and although he wasn't cuddly with our first greyhound, he missed her when she was pts.

 

All of us will have differing opinions based on our experiences. I did crate our first greyhound because she was extremely timid and her crate was the only space she felt safe for a few months. But once we started closing the door and forcing her to use a pillow, it wasn't long before she abandoned her crate for the pillow. Please note the door of her crate was always left open, so it wasn't really crating here, rather offering her a space where she felt comfortable, but still had free range of the house.

 

All of our greyhounds came to us house-trained so they had free run of our entire home right from day one. I may be in the minority here though, but I figure they are dogs, there's nothing dangerous they can get into in our home and I was willing to risk it and it's been fine for us.

Edited by greytpups

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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First of all, if you adopt 2 greys you are much less likely to have separation anxiety :) They are used to being around dogs all the time, not necessarily people.

 

I personally don't use a crate, but I think part of the point of the article is to allow times for your grey to be away from you in the house. Also, if you are planning on crating when you leave, then you will want to give them lots of practice in it while you are home as well. I just don't think it is necessary to crate for most of the day as the article suggests.

 

When I get a new dog, I take them for lots of little walks, but I basically almost "ignore" them for the first few weeks. I think a lot of dogs get overwhelmed in the beginning and we sometimes humanize them thinking they want all kinds of petting, talking to, etc. when many don't (sometimes it even inadvertently rewards anxious behaviours). I personally just do my thing around the house and don't encourage them to cling to me every second of the day. I only give them attention if THEY choose to come and seek it. They get used to me going in and out of the house and realize that they are safe and comfortable on their own. I gradually just increase the times that I am gone. That has always worked for me, but their are many techniques :)

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Guest GreyOrchard

You are getting a lot of advice here! No matter if you are taking in one or two dogs and no matter if you are taking them in from staight off the track or from a foster home, there are a few things to keep in mind:

 

- bring them home when you have several free days in front of you so you can help them settle

 

- bring them home when it is early in the day and you have time to establish a pattern; it is very difficult for a new dog or dogs to adjust if they are brough to their new home at feeding time, for example.

 

- it's important to establish a positive pattern from the first day, the first hour, as those first days and hours in their new home is the foundation upon which the rest of their lives with you are based....better to get it "right" in the first days then "not very right" and having to backtrack and start all over again

 

- the pattern throughout the first day is always good to consist of several short walks rather than one big long one...the point is that as you take them out and back, and then an hour or later, out and back again, is that you are "grounding" them, conditioning them, to their new home...they are learning that they go out, but always come back to the same place...and maybe a little treat. THis also takes the edge off them, nicely tires them, makes their first day a bit predictable, and readies them for their first night of sleeping.

 

- don't give them the run of the entire house on the first days - it's too much

 

- put something with YOUR scent on it in their beds - an old unwashed t-shirt or pillowcase, for example...we forget how importatn scent is to them

 

It's very easy to abuse the use of crates if you are a first time owner, and best to avoid them.

 

I give you this advice as someone who has owned and run a greyhound sanctuary in Ireland for more than 10 years (Orchard Greyhound Sanctuary). No kennels, lots of green space. A few hundred greyhounds adopted plus some sighthounds and lurchers. Dogs lived in small goups, each group had their own living space. It was advice I gave to my adopters and it worked a treat for them.

 

There is a lot more to say, but the above are basics. I recently finally finished a book on greyhounds as pets, and I made sure to include an entire chapter on the first days and weeks you have your new dog home, as most books overlook that. If you are curious to read a lot more about the first days you have a new dog or dogs, it's on Amazon as Understanding Greyhounds; Our Companions Through the Ages. There is a lot of other practical, hands-on advice in there too, based on having had so many greyhounds personally handled by me over the years.

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The crate is a good tool for housetraining and preventing destructive behavior, but I'm not sure it really helps with true separation anxiety. Having 2 hounds will greatly decrease the chances of separation anxiety. Whether it's a good idea to adopt 2 at the same time somewhat depends on your level of experience with dogs. The stairs may be difficult depending how how big of a flight it is and what type of stairs. Some greyhounds do stairs naturally without needing much training at all. The group you adopt from should help you decide whether to adopt 1 or 2 initially, and also help find the right match for your home.

 

If you're in North America, greyhounds here are used to being crated at the track, and it can be a secure, private space for them in a new environment. When I bring a new foster home, the first thing I do is take them out to potty and then put them in the crate to establish that as a baseline. All my dogs are fed all their meals in the crate, and new fosters are crated whenever I can't give them my full attention (when I'm in the bathroom, shower, preparing meals, etc). When I can supervise closely, they are loose with me and my dogs. I have 6 dogs of my own, and everyone is crated when I'm not home.

Jennifer &

Willow (Wilma Waggle), Wiki (Wiki Hard Ten), Carter (Let's Get It On),

Ollie (whippet), Gracie (whippet x), & Terra (whippet) + Just Saying + Just Alice

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Guest GreyOrchard

In Ireland and the UK, most racing greyhounds come from circumstances where they are kept in crates as well. My sanctuary has been a sort of halfway house for them, where they learn about volition, choices, and otherwise step out of the automaton world they have been living in and into a new way of being. This was all done with a good deal of monitoring. Crates certainly have their uses and are convenient, but I preferred that my dogs were ready to go into homes not needing crates.

 

Having two dogs depends on ages and temperaments of the dogs. Adopting two very young greyhounds at once is generally not going to be the easiest experience you will ever have. Adopting a quiet older bitch is often helpful, eespecially if she has had a litter or two of puppies, as she has a sense of "putting manners on" youngsters, and generally can be a good model for a younger greyhound to follow. Have had many double adoptions and never had any returned to me. It is not really about two dogs or one dog, but on the pairing. If, for example, someone wanted to adopt two greyhounds from me, I would ask them to give me about a week or two while I "paired" them. This meant walking them together and with no other dogs, feeding them together, etc. For people who already had a dog, I would have them visit me a few times and "pair up" their established dog with the selected greyhound when they were here. This made settling in for the new dog at the new home much easier.

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I do not use a crate either. The entire downstairs is open space without doors, except the kitchen. There are always more dogbeds than dogs so there is no need to fight over ressources.

All of my greys just entered the house and promptly fell asleep on a dogbed or a couch. I give them time to adjust, observe and learn while I move through the house and do the daily things. It is exhausting enough for their little brains to just settle in, small walks around the neighbourhood and getting to know the glass doors is all we do.

And of course much sleeping, sleeping, even more sleeping and eating...

Sorry for butchering the english language. I try to keep the mistakes to a minimum.

 

Nadine with Paddy (Zippy Mullane), Saoirse (Lizzie Be Nice), Abu (Cillowen Abu) and bridge angels Colin (Dessies Hero) and Andy (Riot Officer).

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Funny--as soon as I read your post, I hovered over the link, and yes, that's Greyhound Welfare's advice--that's the group I adopted from with my first dog. They believe in "heavy" crating at first. It made George and my first few weeks hellish.

 

I understand their theory--and I disagree with it.

 

For what it's worth, if you're adopting two dogs at the same time, there's very little chance there will BE separation anxiety!


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

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