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My Grey Is Scared And Refuses To Do Anything


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Guest kb0792

So I adopted my greyhound Wyatt about 5 months ago. He's a very shy and reserved dog, but he was able to bond with me very quickly. I live in a small house with hardwood floors, and at first he was very curious about new things. The past month or so, he has been extremely on edge and just terrified of everything. If there is anything out of place or new, he is scared to death of it. He used to be more curious than scared. For instance, if we are going for our walk around the neighborhood, and trashcans are out for trash day, he is terrified of the trash cans. Or if a car is just slightly on the sidewalk, he's scared of it. He used to not be like this when I first got him which just seems odd to me.

 

The worst thing though is his fear of the floor. He is so scared of the floor that he won't leave his safe spot at all. He won't go into the living room to eat or even go outside to go to the bathroom. After weeks he will start to gain a little confidence, then he might have a small slip trying to rush himself and then we are back at square one for another month where he won't leave his spot. I literally have to carry him to the door and then hold on to him so he doesn't dart back to his safe spot just for him to go to the bathroom outside. If I try to train him by walking him around on a leash with treats throughout the house, he just refuses. He isn't food or toy motivated. He has a very defeatist attitude where if I ask him if he wants to go potty he just lays down refusing to get up.

 

He used to not be like this when I got him. If he slipped before, it would take a couple hours of being scared and then he would be back to normal walking around throughout the house with me. I seriously don't know what to do. I've never had or seen or heard of a dog with this behavior of not having any motivation whatsoever. I have a feeling that he needs a friend with more energy to give him assurance that things are okay and that he doesn't need to be so scared. It's very apparent that he needs assurance, but I don't know if I can get a second dog because the house is pretty small. I really feel bad for him and it is frustrating that he won't even eat or go to the bathroom. I know a lot of people are going to say "be patient" and whatnot, but this has gotten progressively worse with patience and not better. I just don't know what to do to help him be happier..

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Put down rugs and/or runners so that he's able to move around. Once he's moving through the house, you can start working on training him that the hardwoods aren't something to be afraid of. Take up one runner that's in a heavily traveled area, but leave the surrounding runners down. Offer hotdog. It's important that he's able to move about the house without freaking out on the hardwoods - that'll go a long way to helping him feel more confident in the house. Have you tried super high-value treats? Something like cheese or hot dog? It might be worth a try if you haven't. A lot of dogs who don't seem food motivated suddenly become food motivated when you offer them things like hotdog or cheese or meat. The things you say he's afraid of are all fairly normal things for new pups to look at and go "Whoa, no way". I had one who was terrified of me opening the mailbox :lol I just stood next to the mailbox and opened, and closed, and opened, and closed, and eventually he realized that it was totally harmless. You might try this with the trashcans. On trash day, pick a trashcan (yours, probably, because it would look less strange to camp out next to your own can than it would a neighbor's!) and just stand there, or pace back and forth, passing it. When he loses interest (or seems not as afraid) take a few steps closer. Try giving him the super special treat. Repeat this until you can walk by the trashcan without him reacting. If you're using a collar, you might consider a harness.

 

It's also important to not baby him too much when he's nervous. When he panics, just ignore it, or give a gentle scritch behind an ear and say "You're fine, let's go" in a normal voice. Just go about whatever you're doing (getting him to the back door for a walk, passing a car or trashcan, etc) - don't make a big deal out of it, and try to just act like he's a "normal" dog who isn't freaked by stuff. Be gentle, but try not to baby too much (it's tempting, I know!). I'm working on this with my terrier - she's afraid of the world. When she panics, I just keep walking and murmuring "It's not gonna get you, you'll be fine. Let's go!" She's coming around. Slowly, but she's getting there.

 

As for a friend, it's not a bad idea (it almost never is! They're like chips :P) but it won't solve every problem, or won't solve them all completely. Still, it would be worth a try... If you're concerned about fitting two greys in your little house, can you ask about fostering? Or maybe there's another grey-parent in your area who needs a petsitter for a week (summer and vacation time is coming up, after all) and you can offer - that way you'll get an idea about how two greys will fit in your house and about if a confident buddy would help Wyatt.

 

Others will probably have better advice. Just remember it's all new to him. He came from a track surrounded by 50 of his buddies and is now the only grey in a little house with a strange (but nice and food-providing) human. It'll take time for him to adjust. They all adjust differently - it just sounds like your pup is a little more nervous than others. Time and patience, and some positive reinforcement, and he'll come around :)

Mom of bridge babies Regis and Dusty.

Wrote a book about shelter dogs!

I sell things on Etsy!

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In addition to lots of rugs, as a short-term fix you can try applying SortKwik (the office supply stuff) to his pads while he's lying down. It's non-toxic and dries within a few minutes. It will give him a little added traction, which may just be the confidence boost he needs.

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Rachel with Sweep and kitties Olive and Momo.
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Guest IrskasMom

First of all ....WELCOME. Thank you for adopting a Greyhound. Greys need Time and time again for adjusting to their New Life (and everything is New to them) . Patience is so needed. With the Hard wood Floor , buy some cheap Runners (WalMart ) and see if it gets any easier . The Rest might change quiet often or go a different way , where he is not confronted with Trashcans .He will come around in time and lots of Patience .My Friend had a Grey for 1 Year before he was totally " Her Dog " .

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Guest kb0792

Thank you everyone! I will try some of these ideas. I personally would prefer to not have mats and runners everywhere in the house, but maybe if I can make it temporary I'll give it a try. I'll see if he will act differently with another grey in the house as well.

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So I adopted my greyhound Wyatt about 5 months ago. He's a very shy and reserved dog, but he was able to bond with me very quickly. I live in a small house with hardwood floors, and at first he was very curious about new things. The past month or so, he has been extremely on edge and just terrified of everything. If there is anything out of place or new, he is scared to death of it. He used to be more curious than scared. For instance, if we are going for our walk around the neighborhood, and trashcans are out for trash day, he is terrified of the trash cans. Or if a car is just slightly on the sidewalk, he's scared of it. He used to not be like this when I first got him which just seems odd to me.

 

The worst thing though is his fear of the floor. He is so scared of the floor that he won't leave his safe spot at all. He won't go into the living room to eat or even go outside to go to the bathroom. After weeks he will start to gain a little confidence, then he might have a small slip trying to rush himself and then we are back at square one for another month where he won't leave his spot. I literally have to carry him to the door and then hold on to him so he doesn't dart back to his safe spot just for him to go to the bathroom outside. If I try to train him by walking him around on a leash with treats throughout the house, he just refuses. He isn't food or toy motivated. He has a very defeatist attitude where if I ask him if he wants to go potty he just lays down refusing to get up.

 

He used to not be like this when I got him. If he slipped before, it would take a couple hours of being scared and then he would be back to normal walking around throughout the house with me. I seriously don't know what to do. I've never had or seen or heard of a dog with this behavior of not having any motivation whatsoever. I have a feeling that he needs a friend with more energy to give him assurance that things are okay and that he doesn't need to be so scared. It's very apparent that he needs assurance, but I don't know if I can get a second dog because the house is pretty small. I really feel bad for him and it is frustrating that he won't even eat or go to the bathroom. I know a lot of people are going to say "be patient" and whatnot, but this has gotten progressively worse with patience and not better. I just don't know what to do to help him be happier..

I would have his Thyroid checked if he was not skittish when you first got him.

 

Mom to Melly and Dani

Greyhound Bridge Angels - Jessie, Brittne, Buddy,

Red, Chica, Ford and Dodge.

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In addition to lots of rugs, as a short-term fix you can try applying SortKwik (the office supply stuff) to his pads while he's lying down. It's non-toxic and dries within a few minutes. It will give him a little added traction, which may just be the confidence boost he needs.

 

I was wondering about boots but this seems like it would be easier on Wyatt.

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Missing my heart dog Liberty, the world's best blackngreylabhound

 

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Are you sure he doesn't have corns? Check his toes. My Jack appeared to dislike the tile floors but I really think it was his corns (which I didn't know he had at the time). It hurt him to walk on the tile; he wasn't really afraid of the floor. Once I discovered the corns, it all made sense. And throw rugs became a way of life.

Phoebe (Belle's Sweetpea) adopted 9/2/13.

Jack (BTR Captain Jack) 9/28/05--11/2/12
Always missing Buddy, Ruby, and Rascal.

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Guest kb0792

I would have his Thyroid checked if he was not skittish when you first got him.

I might have to have his thyroid checked. His skittish and shyness seem to be at an extreme level. He just seems lethargic and like he is depressed and it's been getting worse. Supplements could give him the boost he needs.

 

Are you sure he doesn't have corns? Check his toes. My Jack appeared to dislike the tile floors but I really think it was his corns (which I didn't know he had at the time). It hurt him to walk on the tile; he wasn't really afraid of the floor. Once I discovered the corns, it all made sense. And throw rugs became a way of life.

I don't believe he has corns. His pads seem soft, but I will have to check each of them today.

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We've had Finn for almost a year and he hates our hardwood floors. We have a large area rug in our main living room, but as soon as he would hit an area without a rug, he would tense up his feet and try to run as fast as he could - which, of course, caused more slipping.

 

We didn't want a lot of runners and small rugs everywhere, either - but we did find a rubber-backed runner to put in the area where he eats (which also leads to the door outside) so he wasn't stressed while eating. He was also refusing to go outside and adding that runner helped with that, too, as I think he was scared of slipping. When our girl developed osteo this past winter, we also put a runner on our tiled floor downstairs that leads outside because we were terrified she would slip. I thought it would only be temporary, but it has given Finn increased confidence on that floor, too - so we kept it. He still will not come to my side of the bed because we have hardwoods in our bedroom and no dog beds on my side - he tries to walk & stand on the beds when he gets up in the morning. :lol:

 

He has shown some random fearfulness, as well, especially since we lost our 2nd hound this past February. We always intended on adopting again, and I imagine some of those issues will dissipate - but in the meantime, we are just very gentle with him and never punish. We use A LOT of treats to entice him to do things, which works most of the time. Your pup may very well be better and more confident with another dog in the house. Not sure how much you get out and exercise/socialize - but that might help, as well.

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My boy slipped on the floor (he might have done the splits) when I first got him and before having a chance to put rugs down. He did hurt himself and suffered for it later in life. They can seriously hurt themselves falling like that (on ice in winter as well). He was very careful afterwards visiting other places with slippery floors.

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If you're going to share your home with an animal, it needs to be comfortable for both of you. You may prefer not to have rugs and mats around, but if you want your dog to be happy, rugs and mats it is.

 

I had my George for 7 years. He was terrified of shiny floors the entire time.

 

You need to compromise sometimes, when you have a pet!

 

Can you have someone from the group you got him from come over and take a walk with you? They might have some insights into his behavior.


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

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Thank you everyone! I will try some of these ideas. I personally would prefer to not have mats and runners everywhere in the house, but maybe if I can make it temporary I'll give it a try. I'll see if he will act differently with another grey in the house as well.

 

He may have slipped and fallen while you weren't there, causing him to be afraid. They have really long legs and can really hurt themselves falling or doing the splits. I don't feel it's babying them to put rugs out, just to keep them safe. Think of it as childproofing. :)

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Michelle...forever missing her girls, Holly 5/22/99-9/13/10 and Bailey 8/1/93-7/11/05

Religion is the smile on a dog...Edie Brickell

Wag more, bark less :-)

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I will second the suggestion of having his thyroid evaluated--remember that Greyhound lab values are not necessarily like other dogs' so be sure you and your vet take that into account. My Spirit is a bit of a spook, but discovering that his thyroid level was low and getting him on correct thyroid supplementation medication made a noticeable difference in his fear, his general mood, and his playfulness.

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Lucy with MoMo (FTH Chyna Moon), Spirit, and Miles the slinky kitty (OSH).
Missing Piper "The Perfect" (Oneco Chaplin) and Winston

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Guest kb0792

 

He may have slipped and fallen while you weren't there, causing him to be afraid. They have really long legs and can really hurt themselves falling or doing the splits. I don't feel it's babying them to put rugs out, just to keep them safe. Think of it as childproofing. :)

I don't think he fell while I was gone. He literally stays on his bed the whole time.

 

I will second the suggestion of having his thyroid evaluated--remember that Greyhound lab values are not necessarily like other dogs' so be sure you and your vet take that into account. My Spirit is a bit of a spook, but discovering that his thyroid level was low and getting him on correct thyroid supplementation medication made a noticeable difference in his fear, his general mood, and his playfulness.

I just set up a visit with the vet for tomorrow to get some blood work and see if something else could be physically wrong with him. Hopefully he can have success like your Spirit!

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Hoping you can find a reason for this. But we found at 5 months our new grey was getting used to things but if we changed routine, then he'd whine a bit more.

 

Plus it doesnt take just a fall for the dog to spook, it can just be a single paw slipping an inch or two for him to feel afraid of falling.

 

You say he isnt treat motivated, what have you tried?? We thought ours wasnt into treats either until we gave him some roast chicken.. Then he went NUTS for it. Cheese also became a big hit too and recently rabbit treats (freeze dried). So I'd see if you can try different kinds of dog treats as well as people food (in small amounts of course) hot dogs were a big hit for most greys (not mine>>LOL) steak in tiny bits. bacon. Doesnt have to be large pieces either just enough to get the taste and attention. If you have friends with dogs, maybe they could give you a few pieces of what treats they use so you dont need to buy a whole bag.

 

What has me curious is his sudden fear of everything it seems. I'd think a slip on the floor would just give floor issues.

 

Best of luck hope the vet visit went well and things can be worked out.

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We have rugs and mats on the floor to create a safe walking zone for Colin who is afraid of slippery floors. I saw him slip one time and his screams shocked the living daylight out of me. He didn't hurt himself but he was clearly in shock.

Paddy used the rugs to sail across the floor. He ran into the house, hopped on one of the rugs and sailed into the living room where he stopped and got off his mode of transportation. He loved this - my hair turned grey just watching him. I put rubber mats under the rugs. No more slipping and no more sliding.

 

Result: Happy Col, annoyed Paddy.... and happy me.

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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Guest kb0792

Hoping you can find a reason for this. But we found at 5 months our new grey was getting used to things but if we changed routine, then he'd whine a bit more.

 

Plus it doesnt take just a fall for the dog to spook, it can just be a single paw slipping an inch or two for him to feel afraid of falling.

 

You say he isnt treat motivated, what have you tried?? We thought ours wasnt into treats either until we gave him some roast chicken.. Then he went NUTS for it. Cheese also became a big hit too and recently rabbit treats (freeze dried). So I'd see if you can try different kinds of dog treats as well as people food (in small amounts of course) hot dogs were a big hit for most greys (not mine>>LOL) steak in tiny bits. bacon. Doesnt have to be large pieces either just enough to get the taste and attention. If you have friends with dogs, maybe they could give you a few pieces of what treats they use so you dont need to buy a whole bag.

 

What has me curious is his sudden fear of everything it seems. I'd think a slip on the floor would just give floor issues.

 

Best of luck hope the vet visit went well and things can be worked out.

I was able to get him to get close to his food bowl yesterday, even though it's right next to his bed, using treats. He eventually started eating out of it without looking terrified so that was good. He seems to fluctuate in his behavior. Some days he seems to have a little more energy thus being more curious about some things, and other days he wants nothing of anything. I'm going to the vet today, and hopefully they will be able to help him out if something is wrong.

 

We have rugs and mats on the floor to create a safe walking zone for Colin who is afraid of slippery floors. I saw him slip one time and his screams shocked the living daylight out of me. He didn't hurt himself but he was clearly in shock.

Paddy used the rugs to sail across the floor. He ran into the house, hopped on one of the rugs and sailed into the living room where he stopped and got off his mode of transportation. He loved this - my hair turned grey just watching him. I put rubber mats under the rugs. No more slipping and no more sliding.

 

Result: Happy Col, annoyed Paddy.... and happy me.

Haha surfing greyhound

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How certain are you that he's terrified at all times because of the rug? I ask because I had one who would act positively terrified on any shiny floors - hardwoods, tile, etc. He'd go into full-on Bambi-on-ice the second his paw touched it, no matter how much positive reinforcement with hotdogs I did with him. And then one day I was in the kitchen and I heard the tapping of toenails and a nose snuffling in his food bin. The only way for him to get to the food bin was across hardwood floors that didn't have rugs (I made a noise and he turned and trotted away from the food bin and across the shiny floors, totally fearless, back to his bed). Turns out his fear wasn't the floor - his fear was the floor if I was with him :rolleyes: I can only assume that I was with him the first time he slipped, and from then on he thought that I'd pushed him and therefore wouldn't walk on shiny floors around me in case I "pushed him" again. Will Wyatt do floors if you're not there? Easy way to check - put a hotdog in the middle of your kitchen floor (or living room floor if that's easier) and leave the room. Wait and listen for scarfing sounds.

Mom of bridge babies Regis and Dusty.

Wrote a book about shelter dogs!

I sell things on Etsy!

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Guest kb0792

How certain are you that he's terrified at all times because of the rug? I ask because I had one who would act positively terrified on any shiny floors - hardwoods, tile, etc. He'd go into full-on Bambi-on-ice the second his paw touched it, no matter how much positive reinforcement with hotdogs I did with him. And then one day I was in the kitchen and I heard the tapping of toenails and a nose snuffling in his food bin. The only way for him to get to the food bin was across hardwood floors that didn't have rugs (I made a noise and he turned and trotted away from the food bin and across the shiny floors, totally fearless, back to his bed). Turns out his fear wasn't the floor - his fear was the floor if I was with him :rolleyes: I can only assume that I was with him the first time he slipped, and from then on he thought that I'd pushed him and therefore wouldn't walk on shiny floors around me in case I "pushed him" again. Will Wyatt do floors if you're not there? Easy way to check - put a hotdog in the middle of your kitchen floor (or living room floor if that's easier) and leave the room. Wait and listen for scarfing sounds.

I'll have to try that. About a week ago he was much more comfortable with me next to him like he is on a leash. He would refuse to go if I was in front or behind him, but he would walk if I was right next to him. Of course now he won't regardless. How were you able to fix that behavior with walking with you?

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I never did, actually - the pup in question needed a second dog (for a variety of reasons :() so he went to a new home with another grey and is totally content now. But before that, we were working on it, mostly just by standing on the hardwood with me next to him, feeding him chunks of hotdog, until he relaxed a little. Were I you, I'd start one paw at a time. If he voluntarily steps off the carpet with one tootsie, reward him. If he lets you lead him to the point where one paw if off the rug, reward him. Baby steps! If you can get the traction aid recommended above, that'll help a lot. That way, when you lead him gently off his safe place and his paw doesn't slip out from under him AND he gets a treat, it'll all be good. :)

Mom of bridge babies Regis and Dusty.

Wrote a book about shelter dogs!

I sell things on Etsy!

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I've always lived in houses with hard floors, and appreciate a very modern aesthetic. We have only a couple of small area rugs, which some of our greys have enjoyed, but they don't rely on them for mobility. In fact, when my dogs got much older and had mobility problems, the carpet/rugs I put down caused some issues for them (they would trip on the edges). Keep their nails trimmed (of course).

 

I do think our greys can get into a negative "feedback loop". So, let's say they skid on the floors, then you go for a walk past a parked car and a trashcan that is unfamiliar. Then they encounter an off leash dog, or a leashed dog that barks at them... they are now overwhelmed. They're not listening to you anymore, and they become hyper-sensitive to anything in the environment. This has happened to me with my current grey. I keep taking him out on the same predictable routine, make sure he is good and tired out, and try to act like I'm cool and calm (even when I don't necessarily feel like it). He has really done very well, over the last few months.

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I've always lived in houses with hard floors, and appreciate a very modern aesthetic. We have only a couple of small area rugs, which some of our greys have enjoyed, but they don't rely on them for mobility. In fact, when my dogs got much older and had mobility problems, the carpet/rugs I put down caused some issues for them (they would trip on the edges). Keep their nails trimmed (of course).

 

I do think our greys can get into a negative "feedback loop". So, let's say they skid on the floors, then you go for a walk past a parked car and a trashcan that is unfamiliar. Then they encounter an off leash dog, or a leashed dog that barks at them... they are now overwhelmed. They're not listening to you anymore, and they become hyper-sensitive to anything in the environment. This has happened to me with my current grey. I keep taking him out on the same predictable routine, make sure he is good and tired out, and try to act like I'm cool and calm (even when I don't necessarily feel like it). He has really done very well, over the last few months.

I think you are right about them getting overwhelmed. He has done that before. We walk every day as well and he usually is a little better after walking because he's so tired

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This could have been a story about my grey. When Grace came for her first visit to the house, she freely walked around and explored. Within two days of adopting her, she only wanted to be in her crate. That lasted for several months. She slipped on my hardwood floors and would not walk on them again. I bought 5 non-slip throw rugs and made paths for her to get to her food and the door. She would not come into the bedroom to sleep until I bought a rug for the room. When I took the crate away, she parked herself on the bed in the same place. To this day, 1.5 years later, she will still only lie down on that bed or the one in the bedroom. Grace also hated trashcans, shook so hard at meet-and-greets that I stopped taking her, and balked if anyone but me tried to get to walk on a leash.

 

BUT....I got another grey, Whiskey, almost a year ago. He is a huge, narcissistic, goofy BMOC who flunked out of racing school and is not afraid of anything or anyone. Slowly, Grace became more courageous. She will now walk on all of the floors although we haven't managed to get her up the inside stairs, and there really is no reason to do so. At the dog park, where she always stayed right by my side, she now takes off like a rocket to chase Whiskey or some other dog that is running fast. She even leaves my side to trot off and get a drink from one of the many water buckets. My husband can walk her and she no longer balks. A loud noise or one of our many noisy Texas thunderstorms still startle her and sets off shaking and panting. But she recovers more quickly now. And while I can tell that she doesn't like walking by the trashcans, she now does it without a pause.

 

She jumps and plays in the yard with me and with Whiskey, but that didn't happen until after her first year anniversary with us. But she still won't take a treat from my hand or play with toys inside-only outside. Whiskey is always playing with toys and if she has one, or if she has anything, for that matter, he often takes it. That includes running ahead and throwing himself on her bed. But a couple of nights ago, she got her revenge. While Whiskey was passed out asleep, she quietly got up, went to the toy box, and one-by-one removed all of the toys and put them in her bed. Then she climbed in, positioning herself so that she was surrounded by the toys, and waited. Finally, she gave a quick bark and Whiskey woke. He got up walked slowly over to her bed, looked at all of the toys, hung his head and slunk into the bedroom. It was the best passive-aggressive performance I have ever seen.

 

So basically I'm saying that my experience - these are my first greys - mirrors what I read so many times on this forum. They keep changing and the dog you see today may well not be the dog that you observe after a year or so. Grace is so much more courageous now than she was for her first 6-8 months and that keeps increasing slowly. She will never have the assertive, "me-first" boldness that Whiskey wears like the high school football captain, but it is glorious to watch her deepen her trust and be less fearful.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi kb0792,

 

I am dealing with a foster, Marie, that is cycling through different fears as well. She is currently roaching and relaxed as a greyhound should be. But she is not wanting to go outside to go potty with the other dogs, then she won't come in once she is outside. I have no idea what her current issue is, we had some super windy days a few weeks ago, and that started her looking at the trees like she had never seen them before. She came to us with a broken hock (ankle) in early March. I had to put down the runner rugs again due to her fear of the tile floors to begin with. she will still try to avoid stepping on the tile.

 

I have one option that has worked with our spook Remy, he wears a collar from Adaptil, it has pheremones in it. my sister (GreyWrangler) suggested it and my husband and I believe it has helped him become less fearful. Marie's collar is on order from Amazon, along with the plug in diffuser. fingers crossed.

 

Peggy

Peggy - Pete (Wild Pan Thief), Remy (Exotic Ziricote) Buddy the Golden 11-26-04 to 9-18-15, the KATZ - Ozzy, Freckles, Jake and Elwood Hubba, Desert Tortoises Tortilita, and Athena. and when I figure out how to make a PET collage they will all be included in this signature. I included my 2 most recent fosters. Marie a sweet darling of a girl. And Willie, a dog I want to keep. He is a loveable mushy boy.

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