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Housebroken? Not Any More!


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Guest Brewsterfamily

Our boy was born in 2008 and raced for a few years before we adopted him in 2011. We have had nothing but an awesome experience with him, he is our baby and we love him dearly!

As of lately, he has started pooping in the house - he has never gone to the bathroom in the house prior to this. We have not had any changes at all in our household, or with his diet. It just doesn't make sense - it seems like he holds it until we leave and then goes in the house.

I can't find specific information on Greyhounds and what to expect when they get older. I'm not sure if I should be worried, or if he is just being naughty. I wonder if he just doesn't like the place where he goes to the bathroom anymore, and it's much more comfortable in the house. He has always been kenneled with our 2 other dogs, in a large room that has a gate to keep them in. He did recently jump the kennel gate, and split his back toes. They have since healed, and we no longer put him in the kennel, he has free reign of the house......he jumps (or moves) any gate we put up!

I do notice that in the mornings he will not go potty outside, and starts to shake. He shakes so violently that I bring him back in the house. He does wait until we leave to find his favorite or new poop spot.

 

We are very gentle with him, because he is so sensitive with sound - he never gets yelled at. I have not seen him shake unless it's in the morning and it's potty time.

Any help is appreciated.
Thanks!

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How long has the shaking been going on and does it coincide with the timing of the accidents in the house?

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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 Brewsterfamily

The shaking happens when he has to go outside to potty - I don't know if he is cold or not. But....when I let him back in, usually it's right before I leave for work. I get him settled on his bed, and try to calm his shaking, then I have to leave. I have never seen him poop in the house, so I don't know how long it is before he stops shaking and has the accident. He doesn't shake any other time though. He doesn't have any other problems or issues.

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Sorry, what I meant was how long ago did the shaking start. Weeks, months, years, etc. And when did the pooping start? You said as of lately, how long ago specifically? Trying to determine how long each has been going on and whether one preceeded the other.

Edited by NeylasMom

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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 Brewsterfamily

Oh! Okay :-) It's been about a month, and from what we can remember - the shaking and pooping started shortly (a few days)after the gate jumping/toe splitting incident.

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Any new neighbors or noises outside that could have scared him?

 

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Were you home when he jumped the gate and hurt himself or was he alone (with other dogs)? You said you no longer kennel or contain him because he will jump any gate, is that also the same timing as the shaking and pooping? Do you always take him out through the same door? If there's another door out of the house, have you tried taking him that way to a different place to poop and if so, how did he act?

 

I don't believe he's being "naughty" - something is clearly going on and I imagine the timing with the injury is no coincidence. My guess - either something is still physically wrong with him that's causing pain, or something scared the crap out of him, causing him to jump the gate and injure himself and now he's too scared outside to be able to focus on popping. Or the pooping is a symptom of a newly formed separation or isolation distress, again as a result of the injury or something related to it. Need a bit more info, but that's where I'm going with this.

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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 Brewsterfamily

Ya, nothing at all has changed for him. We were not home when he jumped the gate - we just kept coming home to his sweet face meeting us at the door. After a few times, and then the injury, we don't put him in there anymore. We also go out each time we let all/any of our dogs out. They are quite spoiled and do not want to be out alone. We also have a pool and worry about our Grey falling in, so we go out every time with them.

 

I think you are on to something with the injury. I don't think he is naughty either, he is such a good boy and it's why I'm a little worried. He doesn't limp or chew his foot and still loves walks. Appetite is fine and teeth look fine - poop is solid too.

 

I'm thinking of putting his sweater on when he goes out tomorrow to see if it makes him feel better. Maybe with the change in weather he is just too cold.....I will try a few things this week, and then it will be off to the vet if it doesn't change!

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I agree. Something happened. Either it caused him to become scared and he jumped the gate; or jumping the gate scared him and now he's anxious generally; or something happened outside, something changed, a noisy neighbor during the day, construction or remodelling (could be several houses away) - it could have been anything! The shaking is usually a sign of anxiety, like a panic attack, so he's seems to be having a reaction to something.

 

Now he's anxious and doesn't poop when left outside unsupervised. Have you actually watched him when he's outside? Does he act normally in the yard or is he just standing there shaking?? No dog will go potty under those circumstances.

 

Try taking him out a different door to a different place with him on the leash. Maybe the front yard. Especially in the morning. You can also try using a DAP collar and/or diffuser in the house during the day to help calm him. I would also do some alone training with him in case he's having some separation anxiety, but it sounds like he just goes because he can't hold it anymore during the day. If the behavior doesn't get better (or gets worse) he might need a short course of a mild anti anxiety medication while you re-do his alone training.

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Sounds to me like something scared the crap out of him in the yard-or that he associates with going out to his yard- in the morning. Could be anything or 'nothing' and probably is associated in his mind with the time of the injury. If I was having to deal with it I would start him on Rescue Remedy several times a day(4 drops and also put in his water) and mimulus. This helps in dealing with irrational fears among other things. I would also set about trying to change his association of his yard from negative to positive. I would probably begin feeding him in his yard; trying everything I knew to give him positive associations with it-treats. fav toys, playing, being loved on. You need to make him begin to associate it with something positive instead of something negative. If he has decent ball/prey drive gin him up and toss his ball into the yard so he can play with it there. In my experience this may work or it may not. All you can do is try. I had one dog one time that suddenly and without explanation was so afraid to eat out of his regular stainless steel dog bowls that he had eaten out of for around 7-8 years! that he quit eating all together. Never again would he eat out of the same dog bowls he had eaten out of for the last several years. One other option I would explore would be actually talking to him and asking him what was he afraid of, what was going on. If you don't feel comfortable then there are some good animal communicators out there. In MY experience they have sometimes resolved amazing issues with my animals. Good luck! Hugs to the boy. Its not his fault; he's just too scared to go out in the morning like he used to there imo.

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Ya, nothing at all has changed for him. We were not home when he jumped the gate - we just kept coming home to his sweet face meeting us at the door. After a few times, and then the injury, we don't put him in there anymore. We also go out each time we let all/any of our dogs out. They are quite spoiled and do not want to be out alone. We also have a pool and worry about our Grey falling in, so we go out every time with them.

 

I think you are on to something with the injury. I don't think he is naughty either, he is such a good boy and it's why I'm a little worried. He doesn't limp or chew his foot and still loves walks. Appetite is fine and teeth look fine - poop is solid too.

 

I'm thinking of putting his sweater on when he goes out tomorrow to see if it makes him feel better. Maybe with the change in weather he is just too cold.....I will try a few things this week, and then it will be off to the vet if it doesn't change!

So he had been gated somewhere (in a particular room or part if the house?) for years and only recently, shortly before the injury started jumping the gate? The more detailed and specific you can be the easier it will be for us to help you.

 

I do not think he's cold. I think most likely something scared the crap out of him, possibly something he can hear from where he was when gated in the house as well as outside. You didn't answer my questions about where you take him out and whether you can try a different exit and/or area for him to walk go potty. It sounds like you're taking him in the yard. I would leash him up and walk him out the front door away from the backyard and see if he responds better to that.

 

The other possibility that comes to mind is that something is going on medically, unrelated to the toe that is causing behavioral issues. This is lower on my list, but some dogs do develop separation distress or anxiety in response to medical changes when they're older. If that has happened, that could have been what caused the gate jumping and could be causing the shaking (some association with you leaving with going out in the yard got potty). Again, seems much less likely, but wouldn't rule it out.

 

A live video feed while you're gone to see if he's relaxed and sleeping versus anxious or agitated would be helpful. Or if you can even peek in through a window without him hearing you before you go inside when you get home, but video would be great. If you have a webcam you can set up a live feed using Ustream.

 

If you can't identify a solution quickly I would put him on l-theanine. Its a neutraceutical with calming, relaxing properties and may help him get over what caused or is causing his fear. You can buy human capsules 100 mg, give twice daily. Try to find a brand that contains Suntheanine and make sure it doesn't contain Xylitol. The supplement is safe, no side effects that I'm aware of and I've seen it be very effective with quite a few dogs. I actually take it myself and am starting to recommend it more and more over other calming aids because I think it's more frequently effective, and it's cheap!

Edited by NeylasMom

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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 Brewsterfamily

Yes, he was in a kennel-like space with our other 2 dogs. It is a large area that they are confined to, with a gate that keeps them in. When they go outside, it is through the back door, and to the side yard. There is only 1 way out, and he will not potty at all on a leash. He is frightened of the side gate, so trying to get him through that would not be good. He does love to go for walks, and does just fine - not scared of anything while with us. He will mark places, but not poop.

 

This morning I put his sweater on him before taking him out and made sure to use soft voices - he pooped on the side yard! I was very excited to find a solution......not so fast though :-( The minute I opened the garage, he started to shake and pant. We tried to settle him and get him in his bed before we left. We returned to a pile of poo.

 

I do think something scared him and I don't know what it could have been. We live by an airpark where military jets come in and out daily, but that is not new - he has always looked at when one passes. It has never scared him into shaking though.

 

We are going to try leaving through the front door and see if that helps. I will look at where to find the calming capsules you suggested as well.

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I would video him. If he's pooping in the house after going outside he may be getting upset when you leave. And if he's having isolation distress now that requires different or additional steps to resolve.

 

You may never know what caused this. Maybe a plane flying much lower/closer than before. Some sort of explosion, gunfire, etc if they were practicing something. Or someone set off fireworks, a particularly bad storm rolled through, someone tried to break in, who knows. Especially if the fear with the garage happened when you opened the door (the noise specifically rather than being in the garage).

 

It's important to avoid the things that are scaring him as much as humanly possible and get him on something to help him deal until he adjusts. If the neutraceutical doesn't work and you can't eliminate the triggers, I would talk with your vet about medication. If he's forced to live in the presence of things that make him that scared, he's essentially being flooded and that is bad news.

 

Poor guy, whatever it was seems to have done a number on him. Hope you can find a solution quickly. In the meantime, maybe you can put down pee pads in an area where he tends to go to give him a space to relieve himself inside. Might minimize his stress a tiny bit and will at least make clean up easier for you.

 

Please keep us posted.

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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 Brewsterfamily

I really appreciate the responses! We left twice today and used the front door both times - did not open garage and he did not have an accident. He is just the sweetest boy and I'm so sad he his having difficulty. We will get to the bottom of this - Thank you again <3

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Aside from a likely potential new fear and/or too cold morning temperatures (don't know your region/climate), another consideration is how long he is being left alone during the days he's had/having bowel accidents. If he's being left alone for a full work day without any access to eliminate outside, medically, he may not be able to physically hold it.

 

His immediate panic when hearing the garage door could be an anxiety trigger as he realizes he is being left without his "door control people" for an extended period of time. If humans are gone all day, perhaps a friend or pet sitter could stop in to provide the dogs a mid-day potty outing. A call to your local airport might explain recent scary test flights happening during your absence.

Some dogs can develop general separation anxiety later in life; however, it seems your boy's situation started suddenly combined with the gate jumping injury. Could be a new environmental fear or a medical/physical needs issue. As you mentioned, a vet visit may be helpful in the coming weeks.

 

Our Greyhounds currently range from middle age to nearly 14 years old. They are not left alone without outside elimination relief for more than 4 or 5 hours max. (Same timing when they were younger.) We also watch each hound to ensure they fully eliminate before human departures. Two hounds become anxious when triggered by watching humans' departure signals, so they're offered an additional outing after their breakfast (while they're still feeling calm enough to fully eliminate) but before humans' morning dressing routine begins. Their 3rd morning outing occurs within 10 minutes of actual departure.

 

Good luck this week.

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Makes me wonder if someone tried to break into your house or peeked in thru windows or loud truck or car accident infront/near your house.

Something through the door he goes through to the side yard that causes him to shake. I too think thats why he suddenly started jumping the gate.. Anyone having any work done on their house?

I'd get cameras to watch him AND the house exterior. I'd ask neighbors if anything has gone on in the street.

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Guest Brewsterfamily

Took our boy to the vet last night, as our morning was just horrible! Bones is escalating with his fears and anxiety rapidly. When we were getting ready to leave, he started pacing, shaking so bad he was falling over and panting. When we opened the door to leave, he pushed us out of the way, and ran down the street!! He did stop when he got to one of our neighbors who was trying to leave for work. He came back home with me, without a struggle - I'm sure my neighbor thinks Bones is abused :-(

 

The vet did a fecal, blood test and detailed exam. She gave me a strong medicine to give Bones in hopes it will calm him enough for now. Once she rules out sickness, we will move forward with the retraining for separation anxiety. We will never know what scared him in the beginning and now can only help him get over it.

 

I have been doing a lot of research on separation anxiety and how to help Bones (and us)get through this. How we leave in the morning is a huge part of his issue - I have young kids, and it's usually mass chaos and quite loud when we exit for school and work. Today is day of a new exit for us, and as I sit here typing at the computer, I see that Bones is relaxed and not shaking :-) When I took him out to go potty, he went! I'm sure this process will take quite some time, and we will have a lot of accidents.....lucky for me I have a carpet cleaner!

 

When doing research, I also found out that Ohio State University has a Vet program where they are known for Greyhound research. Your vet can call and they have a free consult with their behaviorist. If you live in the area of Ohio State (we are in Arizona) you can bring your Grey to them for vet care.

 

Thank you Neylasmom and everyone else who responded.

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Glad you are getting the help you need. If things stall don't hesitate to hire a behaviorist to help you through this. This kind of anxiety can be tough to deal with. If you need referrals PM me your city and state and I can ask on my force free trainers listserv.

 

Also, just out of curiosity, what medication did your vet prescribe?

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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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Have you tried a computer monitor where he can see you or the person he is most attached to in the house? Perhaps if he could see you on screen and hear your voice during the time you are not at home, he may improve. Hope all of his test come out good that you had done at the vets today. I love the idea that exengab made.

 

I had one greyhound- Heart Suit-that would not walk from the outside to inside the house, no matter how bad the weather. Had to put a leash on her to bring her in. As long as I was with her when she came in, she was fine. She had been hurt at the track and ran into the railing and had a very large gash on her neck and therefore did not like tight spaces. For some reason, she associated coming into the house with that accident. Who knows what goes on in their heads. But we love them with all of our heart regardless.

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Guest Brewsterfamily

We had a pretty good day today - we have totally changed our "leaving" routine in the mornings. This quiet, calm approach to leaving seems to be much better for him. Quite hard for me though - getting multiple kiddos out of the house on time, while being as quiet as possible just might drive me to drink!

We started the medication this morning as well. He is taking Zylkene once every 24 hours. I was going to get the pheromone spray also, but thought I would try one thing at a time. He did have one accident in the house today, but at this point one is totally acceptable! lol The shaking was a lot less this morning as well. I did get up almost an hour earlier so I could sit with him and calmly get my morning stuff done.

We should get results back thursday - hopeful that the medication is all that my boy needs. I wish I could figure out how to load a picture of him! A little computer challenged I am :-)

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Guest Brewsterfamily

Please--fingers crossed ace wasn't prescribed. Wanted to add that the gh program is longer at Ohio State but, the behaviorist should still be.

How strange - I spoke to them and they didn't say anything about it not being there. I have heard and read some really great things about their program, shame it is no longer around.

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