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First Noise Complaint! Time To Transition Out Of Crate?

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Guest Lenslen

Per my adoption groups advice, I've always crated my greyhound when nobody is home. However, I am thinking about transitioning him out of the crate, and would like some advice!

 

He's always been crated because we also have a cat. At first, he really seemed to like his crate, but now he's not. Lately I've had to lure him to get in his crate, so I think it may be a sign he's more comfortable in the apartment rather than his once safe-haven crate. In addition, I just received a noise complaint about him crying/barking during the day when he's alone. I'm wondering if I transition him out of the crate, the barking/crying will stop. Anybody have experience with this?

 

He is completely uninterested in the cat, so I'm not worried there. I'm more worried about what trouble he could get into when alone. I know it's not completely the same, but there are times when I'll leave and my sister will be home with my dog, and she'll stay in her room and leave him by himself for hours and all he does is sleep on the couch. This is a good sign of what he'll do when the apartment is actually empty, right?

 

I'm really hoping that the crying and barking is just his desire to be left outside of the crate. Does this sound like it could be the solution to the barking/crying? Any advice for making this transition?

 

Thanks!

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Not crating is certainly a solution, but that also requires a transition, i.e. taking plants away from the area he might reach until he stops showing interest in eating them (that was my experience anyway). Your pup may do many interesting things when you are not home, so you might consider baby gating off a space, etc., until he's gotten used to having space without you there.

 

There is lots of good info here if you can search some threads for idea, many of us have been there, done that. Good luck!


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Often leaving him out will take care of it. In our previous house we always left the crate up because we had room, but Rocket had the run of the house. He primarily used the crate when the sun was beating through those windows and he wanted to lay in the sunbeams.

 

Initially I would leave the crate up and the door open in case he feels that he needs to go to his safe space.

 

The other issue is that being in an apartment, I would want to have a tracking collar on him since you always have the risk of a maintenance worker coming in when there's an emergency in your apartment or an adjacent one. Other owners will tell you from experience that no one is as diligent about closing the door as you are, and this is how greys escape.

 

Do you currently leave a radio or TV on for him to block some of the noise from outside or the hallway? That can really help as well.


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You can also try a muzzle for the first few days to make sure he isn't getting into too much trouble. They can get to things through the muzzle, but it makes it more difficult. Also, when Jake was home after his surgery my husband set up his ipad as a webcam with a free app called Presence. It worked pretty well for being free!

 

Also, as far as maintenance is concerned you could try putting a sign on the door and it might help.

Edited by NeedlenoseJake

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IMO crating is overrated, especially if the dog doesn't like it. Baby gates (kitchen maybe?) and muzzles are better IMO. I only crate for medical reasons and have had more than my share of fosters after I quit running the 501 c 3 chapter pretty much based on that...some that had injured themselves trying to escape crates. You can leave the crate with the door open in the gated off place with the door open for a woobie place.


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No crates here.

 

IMO crating is overrated, especially if the dog doesn't like it.

 

Amen. Edited by 45MPHK9

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I think the flip side of this scenario is that this dog could be exhibiting separation anxiety as opposed to crate anxiety. Transitioning out of the crate is a fine idea, however be open to the possibility that your dog may actually be more anxious about your absence than the crate, in which case noise may continue and destructive behaviour may begin.

 

I'd start with muzzling and baby gating, and if the anxiety seems resolved then I'd start to transition away from the muzzle as well. If the noise continues or there is other evidence of continued anxiety then separation training is in order.

 

I personally like crates if the dog is crate trained. It keeps the dog out of trouble (eating or destroying things), prevents accidents or fights with other pets (dog fights, chasing the cat, etc), and keeps the dog confined and safe in case of an emergency (if someone breaks into your house they will not be threatened by the dog and are likely to leave it alone, dog also can't wander out of the house through the open door). My biggest fear is fire, but even in that scenario I think the dog may still fare better in a crate. Scared dogs hide, and the last thing I want is my dog hiding or running away from firefighters trying to rescue them. The flip side, of course, is that they can't get away from smoke/fire on their own, but I don't have a dog door so regardless they'd be trapped in the house. Fire is my biggest fear, but you can drive yourself crazy thinking about all the possibilities.

 

Regardless of whether a dog is crated regularly at home, I think it's important to exercise occasional crating on a regular basis to maintain their confinement training. There are so many scenarios where dogs have to be crated - injury, surgery, hospitalization, etc - and it's really important that it's not a big deal. Summit is not routinely crated at home, but I do it sometimes just to maintain his tolerance for it.


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Guest Lenslen

Thanks for all of the responses. Yes, I'm not sure if it's separation anxiety or crate anxiety. Like I said, sometimes when I leave, my sister is home, yet she stays in her room where Ziggy is not allowed. I'm not even sure he realizes she is home. During these times, all he ever does is sleep on the couch. So I'm not sure if he's anxious about me being gone, as he is fine being away from me when my sister is in her room, or if it is that he is anxious about the crate.

 

He used to go in the crate much easier. Now he doesn't go in it on his own. And when he knows I'm about to leave (like when he sees me grab my keys) he will run to the couch and lie down before I can get to him and walk him into the crate.

 

Today, I did leave him out of the crate, and then I walked outside of the apartment. I waited outside for about 5 minutes and he didn't cry or bark. When I came back in he was still lounging. I did this once more with the same result. So this gives me hope.

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I can't even process the idea of your dog in the apartment with your sister "staying in her room."

 

Does she not like dogs?

 

In my experience, if the dog knows someone is there, but is being ignored, he's going to be unhappy.

 

My dog George hated his crate from day 1, but I followed my group's advice to crate him. Eventually it got so bad there were three complaints in one day at my condo. Fortunately, I was chairman of the condo board, so PFFFFTTTTTTTTTTT to the complaints (not really--I went and visited everyone who lived around me and explained, and all but one of them were really awesome about it). A day or so after I finally did what I knew I should have done all alone (ditch the crate) one of my neighbors came by frantic thinking I had gotten rid of the dog because of her complaint. She was thrilled to see my now silent George wagging his tail at her!

 

George never touched anything in my condo that wasn't his, and my current boy, Buck, never has either. The two dogs are as different as night and day, but unless your dog has already shown himself to be destructive, he'll probably just jump on the couch and sleep all day if you get rid of the crate.

 

Leave the crate up and open for a week or so. My first dog was a mutt, and he totally flipped out when I put his crate away. I had to put it back up and put him in it (but I stopped locking the door) and it took him two months to be transitioned out one step at a time, but he was a bit of a freak! It probably won't take your dog that long.


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Guest Lenslen

I can't even process the idea of your dog in the apartment with your sister "staying in her room."

 

Does she not like dogs?

 

In my experience, if the dog knows someone is there, but is being ignored, he's going to be unhappy.

 

I don't appreciate the judgment placed on my sister, so let me clarify. The dog is not allowed in her hallway, room, or bathroom. This is where her cat's litter box and food is. Ziggy knows he doesn't go in those areas. Just like how our kitchen is off limits to him, so are her areas. He does really well with this.

 

When I leave the house at 5 am to go work, Zig is unsupervised while my sister sleeps and then gets ready for work. Additionally, on the weekends, when I wake up to go to the gym at 6, the same scenario applies. It's not like my sister locks Zig out of her room and ignores him... I was simply saying that there are times when she is in there and he is in the rest of the apartment unsupervised. During these times, he has never shown destructive behavior.

 

He is not being ignored and thus unhappy. I believe he is unhappy about the crate. I know I could take it down tomorrow and he would be unaffected. He never goes in it on his own anymore, and doesn't want to go in it when I tell him to. My questions were more related to:

  1. Is it possible that the crate is why he's barking/crying?
  2. Should I use his behavior when he's "alone" but my sister is in her room, as indicative to how he'll behave when we're both gone?

Thanks!

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Guest Jordan33

I've only had my dog since Saturday, but she hated the crate right away. I tried to get her to go in it the first night and she wouldn't. I did the same thing you did, I left her for five minutes alone in my apartment and stood outside nearby. She cried for about one minute, then settled. Eventually I put the radio on and left for a half an hour to run an errand. All she did was go to bed. She's also great in that she hasn't destroyed anything. In fact, she doesn't touch anything she isn't supposed to outside of sniffing things from curiosity. I've been gone up to 3 hours so far, giving her free reign and she's been fine.

 

Try leaving your dog for a little longer on his own each time you go out, if you think you need to. Otherwise, from your description, I'd say your dog should be fine on his own. I couldn't say for sure that he's crying because he's crate bound, but it's a good possibility. You likely won't know for sure though unless you try letting him out for extended periods. If he doesn't cry out of the crate then clearly it was because of the crate.

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When I leave the house at 5 am to go work, Zig is unsupervised while my sister sleeps and then gets ready for work. Additionally, on the weekends, when I wake up to go to the gym at 6, the same scenario applies. It's not like my sister locks Zig out of her room and ignores him... I was simply saying that there are times when she is in there and he is in the rest of the apartment unsupervised. During these times, he has never shown destructive behavior.

 

He is not being ignored and thus unhappy. I believe he is unhappy about the crate. I know I could take it down tomorrow and he would be unaffected. He never goes in it on his own anymore, and doesn't want to go in it when I tell him to. My questions were more related to:

  1. Is it possible that the crate is why he's barking/crying?
  2. Should I use his behavior when he's "alone" but my sister is in her room, as indicative to how he'll behave when we're both gone?

Thanks!

 

The only way you'll know if the crate has been your boy's issue is to never put him in it, but if you like, leave it up with the door open for a few days. The only way you'll know if his behavior is good when he's totally alone, is to try it. We just can't answer these specific questions because each Greyhound is different. IMO, I think he'll be fine, based on you saying he was lounging on the couch when you did a 5-minute test run.

 

My girl, adopted almost 5 years ago, *hated* her crate from day one. I stopped putting her in it on day two, and by the end of the week, it was stored in the spare room. Annie also does not roo, roach, cruise counter tops or get on furniture and hardly plays with her stuffies, things that many Greyhounds do. My friend with three Greyhounds (down from five when she lost two in two weeks last month to cancer) will tell you that each of her houndies is different. One digs -- big, deep holes. Another does nothing more than go in the backyard to P&P and come back in. The third one sleeps on the bed with her, while the other two prefer their own beds on the floor.

 

So ya just never know until you try it. Good luck!

 

ETA: Trust your judgment.

Edited by Feisty49

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Just curious about your hound's age, and how long you've had him?

 

I think the flip side of this scenario is that this dog could be exhibiting separation anxiety as opposed to crate anxiety. Transitioning out of the crate is a fine idea, however be open to the possibility that your dog may actually be more anxious about your absence than the crate, in which case noise may continue and destructive behaviour may begin.

 

I'd start with muzzling and baby gating...

 

Regardless of whether a dog is crated regularly at home, I think it's important to exercise occasional crating on a regular basis to maintain their confinement training. There are so many scenarios where dogs have to be crated - injury, surgery, hospitalization, etc - and it's really important that it's not a big deal. Summit is not routinely crated at home, but I do it sometimes just to maintain his tolerance for it.

Agree.

 

Dogs being used to crates as happy and safe places is important (helpful if crate's door is left open for them to enter to retrieve treats or eat meals and rest inside at their leisure). In addition to encouraging periodic crate comfort for future surgery and hospitalization purposes, it's important if you ever want to take your dog to multi-day events, or on dog-friendly vacations, or to visit friends/family, if you need to board your dog in an emergency, etc.

 

Most importantly, please be especially cautious regarding your hound's access to your sister's cat. Just because your hound has not displayed a prey drive to date doesn't mean he will never show a prey drive. Greyhounds (sighthounds) are hunting dogs and their deeply ingrained instinct might surface when least expected.

Ensure the cat has multiple escape routes: e.g., install a baby-gate about 6" above floor level so the cat has a better chance to escape; pull large furniture/sofa away from the wall just enough for the cat to run behind and turn around, without the dog being able to squeeze through. Remember that a muzzled hound can still capture and seriously harm a cat either by mouth or pouncing on a cat -- whether play or prey intent.

 

(All of our Greyhounds are cat tolerant; however, all have attempted to chase our indoor cats at times, including our now 14 year old hound. I would not leave hounds and cats free and alone together unsupervised, especially not a new hound or fosters.)

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Guest xengab

You asked if the hounds knows your sister is home. YES! Of course he knows. They are super observant with routines of the house. So no, dont think how he acts with her there is how he will be on his own.

Baby gates are great, kitty can get over (or one with a cat door in it) and away fr0m the dog and dog cannot go litter box diving.

 

Mine has access to the indoors but not the whole house. He can also go outside to potty on his own. He's been doing this since we had him two months. No issues of crying/barking reported. (he did roo one day due to a neighbor playing opera music really loudly he had HAD to sing along..LOL music stopped,. he stopped).

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Guest Lenslen

You asked if the hounds knows your sister is home. YES! Of course he knows. They are super observant with routines of the house. So no, dont think how he acts with her there is how he will be on his own.

Baby gates are great, kitty can get over (or one with a cat door in it) and away fr0m the dog and dog cannot go litter box diving.

 

Mine has access to the indoors but not the whole house. He can also go outside to potty on his own. He's been doing this since we had him two months. No issues of crying/barking reported. (he did roo one day due to a neighbor playing opera music really loudly he had HAD to sing along..LOL music stopped,. he stopped).

 

Thanks! I thought I said that I don't think he knows she's home, and asked whether his behavior would be indicative of how he'd behave when she is actually gone. We have baby gates blocking off areas, which is why I honestly don't think he knows what's going on down there or if she's home or not.

 

Regardless, I've spent the past week leaving him out of the crate, unmuzzled, and recording him. I made a judgement call, I know everyone said to muzzle him, but he is much rowdier when muzzled, and I know that would have made him entirely more anxious. I increased the length each day. Every day he's made me so proud!

 

He usually has a really strong bladder. Yet, despite his strong bladder, he has always been prone to having accidents in his crate. Which has always been so confusing to me. While supervised, and through the night, he makes it over 8 hours; while crated, he has an accident around 3 hours... When I had him uncrated this week, there has been no accidents, when I know if he were crated there would have been one.

 

The recordings show him sleeping on the couch, then switching to his bed, then back to the couch. Looks like he barked for a minute or so, and then went to sleep. I think he is much happier, and much more comfortable not being crated. I don't know why it took me so long to get him out of the crate! I'd love to take it down, but I know it's good to maintain their tolerance for the crate so it will remain up for now!

 

Thanks everyone!

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Thanks! I thought I said that I don't think he knows she's home, and asked whether his behavior would be indicative of how he'd behave when she is actually gone. We have baby gates blocking off areas, which is why I honestly don't think he knows what's going on down there or if she's home or not.

 

Regardless, I've spent the past week leaving him out of the crate, unmuzzled, and recording him. I made a judgement call, I know everyone said to muzzle him, but he is much rowdier when muzzled, and I know that would have made him entirely more anxious. I increased the length each day. Every day he's made me so proud!

 

He usually has a really strong bladder. Yet, despite his strong bladder, he has always been prone to having accidents in his crate. Which has always been so confusing to me. While supervised, and through the night, he makes it over 8 hours; while crated, he has an accident around 3 hours... When I had him uncrated this week, there has been no accidents, when I know if he were crated there would have been one.

 

The recordings show him sleeping on the couch, then switching to his bed, then back to the couch. Looks like he barked for a minute or so, and then went to sleep. I think he is much happier, and much more comfortable not being crated. I don't know why it took me so long to get him out of the crate! I'd love to take it down, but I know it's good to maintain their tolerance for the crate so it will remain up for now!

 

Thanks everyone!

That's great! I think most greyhounds do well with the run of the house. If I were you, I would take down the crate unless he uses it still. If he is like my boy and never uses it on his own, but it away but keep it for medical emergencies. In that case, he'll probably be too out of it to complain much.


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When we first got our girl, we crated, then baby gated. We had fewer problems with her having the run of the apartment then when we did both of those. :)


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Hope all is continuing to go well.

 

If you haven't already done it, you might consider following up with the person (directly or indirectly through apt management) who complained and let them know you've made changes and hope that they've heard the same good results you have. Good public relations for you and your pup, especially if there are ever episodes in the future.


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