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New Greyhound, First Time Dog Owner, Developing New Fears


Guest HaliKim

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Guest HaliKim

Hi all,

We are first time dog adopters and have just adopted (month and a half ago) a sweet 2.5 year brindle named Stella. We had a rocky start as it took a while to sort out that she did not want to be crated during the day (bent the bars and would not stop soiling the crate) and then she had a tail laceration a week in that has resulted in some serious trust issues with us and a serious fear of her muzzle and vet.

 

I feel like we have come a long way, although she was likely not the best match for our busy family, we've invested a lot of emotional energy into trying to provide her with a secure home. We have her on anxiety meds, and are able to leave her during the day for work without too many issues. She shows signs of bonding with us - tail wags and excitement when we return home, acting like a velcro dog for pets BUT she is super smart and stubborn. We feel like once we get her through a new situation (walk in local park with other dogs around - which she did great), she develops a new phobia- now for some reason refuses to go out our back deck down to the yard to do her business. Then on recommendation from our adoption group, we tried her for half a day at a dog daycare, which she did fairly well, likely a little stressed but did settle and lie down and watch the other dogs for half a day. Now, the morning after, she is now being stubborn about putting on her collar, and going outside at all (at least with me). If I had to take a guess, I think she thinks I'm going to take her again today.

 

I know it is early days, but we have young children and a schedule that is not fixed. We love Stella, but she will need to be a dog that is adaptable to change and feel confident among other dogs and people. We don't intend to have in day care full time, but would like to be able to have her there from time to time to help with socialization. Are we rushing things? I know if up to her, she would be so happy living with a retired couple in the country. We have invested a lot of emotional energy with her and I do see improvements, but with every new thing/improvement, it feels like she takes a huge step back on another skill that she was previously good with. Now and then there is a glimmer of wanting to cuddle, but I feel like she is still looking at us with some distrust (or is that the way all of them look!).

 

Is this typically new adoption behaviour for greyhounds - any advice other than hang in there and patience?

 

I apologize for the long post - first time posting...appreciate any suggestions....

Thanks! Kim

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Maybe she is the wrong match for you, No shame in that. Dozens of "teenage beauty school dropouts" around that age coming through my home would make me hard pressed to adopt a 2.5 year old. No slap a teenage dogs intended.

 

All my fosters did learn "go potty" and last call at "go potty go to bed". I worked at a dog daycare for quite a while and greyhounds in general were among our least happy customers.

 

Clutching at straws here but as far as potty maybe get everyone out back an have a noisy party.and she may get the idea and want to join in...and with the yougers I couldn't just let them out,,,I had to go out with them and heap praise after the deed was done,

 

I am the biggest broken record on GT but in my experience teenage girls that never raced or had a very short career were the hardest keepers and BIG boys that raced for a while the easiest.

BTW - my maternal grandmothers name was Stella.

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Yes its not uncommon for greyhounds in my experience to take "a while" to adjust. To them coming into a home can be like it would be to you to move to a new planet! EVERYTHING is new and they don't understand the rules for any of it. No one can say with certainty exactly how your girl will adjust. I can tell you however that with some of them they are a COMPLETELY different dog in a year's time. Yes I said year. It takes longer than a month and half to bond with even puppies that grew up in homes and are not even stressed sometimes. I would suggest just taking it easy and letting her initiate most moves forward. My first greyhound Ivy- it was a year or more before she even made any kind of a noise even. After a year one day she picked up a towel with a playful look-questioning whether it was "OK". Of course I praised her and then it was game on for playing. But it took a year before she reached that point. It is worth the wait! It is like a rose that is unfolding-you just can't see its real magnificence until it opens up. Just concentrate on earning her trust and building a relationship with her. It will take time; there is no way to speed it up; and it is so worth the wait!

http://www.gpa-az.com/gilley.html

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Hi, and welcome to Greytalk.

 

Before you start thinking about wrong matches, please, please, see if you can learn to speak dog.

They will be sending you calming signals that you just don't get. Kind of like you being dumped in a repressive country whose language and rules of law you have no knowledge of.

 

https://www.thespruce.com/dog-communication-and-appeasement-gestures-1118237

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Guest HaliKim

Hi all,

Thanks for the suggestions so far. I don't think we are ready to throw in the towel yet..but I appreciate the insight on teenage dogs...had no idea. Funny, the organization here thought she was a good fit because of her young age and playfulness would be good with my children. We are respecting her boundaries and when she isn't interested in doing something she is good about going in her safe space, her crate, which we leave open and we don't disturb her when she is in there. We reward all bathroom functions with high value treats and she will go out for a walk to do her business, we just have to be firm and initially get her out the door. Once on the walk, she no longer freezes and is getting used to our neighbourhood. We do some training at home but will be doing a class in the fall.

 

She seems to have a sensitive snout on one side since the weekend so I'm guessing she got stung in the backyard and associates that space with pain. We will just need to be encouraging and reward backyard visits with lots of treats...

 

I think I just needed reassurance that we just need to be patient, that new quirks/challenges will come up but that with time she will learn to adapt and trust....Just as a family, we can't change our schedule to fit her, she will have to learn to adjust.

 

Kim

 

 

 

 

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How you go forward depends in part on how much commitment you are able to devote to her issues, mentally and physically.

 

Yes, you could be patient and give her time - which is what I recommend for new dogs always. She will continue to evolve and settle into your routine and become more bonded with you as you go along. From what you describe, you're not doing anything "wrong" and most of everything right to give her that time and patience. The dog you have right now will not be the one you have in 2 months or 6 months or a year.

 

Some thoughts:

>>>>I would not continue to take her to day care. Greyhounds in general do not do well in that sort of environment, particularly when she's the only greyhound there. They tend to get overwhelmed easily and just shut down, which negates the whole reason for having them there. If she's doing OK home alone, I would continue to let her get used to the routine she knows.

 

Caveat - as long as it IS a routine. Most greyhounds thrive on schedules and routine. They want and feel most comfortable being fed at the same time, going out for potties or a potty walk at the same time, getting left for the day with the same routine. They can tell time and they expect things to happen on time. Most everything else can change as long as they have those touchstones throughout a normal day. You may need to consider that your home isn't able to offer *this* greyhound what she needs.

 

>>>>Your assesment of what happened in the yard is probably correct. Some dogs react more to things that happen than others. I have one right now that if he got stung in the yard he would take MONTHS to go out on his own again. So, use yummy treats to lure her out in the yard - really really yummy since it has to overcome her anxiety. Be bright and encouraging always and praise and treat a LOT. She will get through/past this, it's just going to take *more* time.

 

>>>>You don't say how she is doing with your children. In my experience, an anxious dog doesn't do well in homes with young kids - they are too unpredictable, too loud, move too fast - in short they are just being kids. If you have a dog that is so anxious she needs to be on anti anxiety medication, she is maybe NOT a good fit for your household. Just because she's young doesn't mean she's automatically great with children. If you have *any* reservations about her interactions with your kids, I would lean towards returning her as not a good match.

 

And not just because of the kids. Children do mean that a home has a certain amount of chaos and change and daily upheaval. While there are dogs that will do just fine in that sort of environment, a dog with underlying anxiety is probably not going to be one.

 

>>>>Greyhounds under three years old are basically still puppies, and they will continue to go through puppy phases until they reach maturity. That means she will be fine one week with something, then be anxious about it, then go back to being fine. Their adult personality won't solidify until she's between three and four years old.

 

>>>>And all of this can only be assessed by you. You are the one there working with the dog, seeing how she is, how she reacts. If you feel you want to keep working with her, that's great. She will likely be fine given enough time. But there's no shame in returning a dog for not being a good match with your family dynamic. Sometimes, even with the best of intentions, it just doesn't work out. Consider that you have been a really great foster home for her for a few months, and now your adoption group has a much better idea of the kind of home where she will be happy and thrive. And you have a much better idea of the kind of personality you need in a greyhound to succeed in your home.

 

Good luck!

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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  • 2 weeks later...

I'll just add that 1.5 months with you is *nothing* (I know how exhausting and overwhelming it can feel when things have not gone smoothly 2 days in a row) but if your family has it is them... you need 6 months to a year.

 

"I know it is early days, but we have young children and a schedule that is not fixed. We love Stella, but she will need to be a dog that is adaptable to change and feel confident among other dogs and people. "

 

I will admit, when I first read this I thought, "a greyhound may not suit your family." We have had 3, over the past 12 years, and they have all been very different personalities, but all of them thrived on a schedule and predictability.

 

​Patience to you, and hope you continue to see progress!

Amy and Tim in Beverly, MA, with Chase and Always missing Kingsley (Drama King) and Ruby (KB's Bee Bopper).

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I'm sure you had this fantasy in your head about how wonderful it would be to add a dog to the family. The reality is adopting an adult dog whose entire life has been run on a rigid schedule the provided her with comfort and security and tossing her into a "busy family" seems to nearly always end up with posts like this one.

 

You've said it all, really. You expect the dog to just roll with whatever your routine happens to be that day. It will not be a fixed schedule, and if you're like most young families today, you actually have very little time at home to deal with ANY pet.

 

Since there is clearly no option of changing up the home life until the dog learns to trust and understand, it's probably best to return her now before she gets attached to you.

 

It's not a criticism of you or your life choices--but from the DOG'S perspective, this is not a place she will thive and she deserves a home where she is a part of the family, not a chore to be dealt with between soccer games and ballet lessons. I really don't say this to be mean or anything else, but I think some groups push so hard trying to convince people that a greyhound is an ideal choice for EVERYONE we see a lot of cases like this where expectation and reality as so far apart that unless you and your family are willing to at least temporarily focus on HER needs, she'll not be happy.


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

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I'm sure you had this fantasy in your head about how wonderful it would be to add a dog to the family. The reality is adopting an adult dog whose entire life has been run on a rigid schedule the provided her with comfort and security and tossing her into a "busy family" seems to nearly always end up with posts like this one.

 

You've said it all, really. You expect the dog to just roll with whatever your routine happens to be that day. It will not be a fixed schedule, and if you're like most young families today, you actually have very little time at home to deal with ANY pet.

 

Since there is clearly no option of changing up the home life until the dog learns to trust and understand, it's probably best to return her now before she gets attached to you.

 

It's not a criticism of you or your life choices--but from the DOG'S perspective, this is not a place she will thive and she deserves a home where she is a part of the family, not a chore to be dealt with between soccer games and ballet lessons. I really don't say this to be mean or anything else, but I think some groups push so hard trying to convince people that a greyhound is an ideal choice for EVERYONE we see a lot of cases like this where expectation and reality as so far apart that unless you and your family are willing to at least temporarily focus on HER needs, she'll not be happy.

 

 

:nod

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Nancy...Mom to Nigel (Nigel) , Sid (Peteles Tiger) and Kibo (112 Carlota Galgos)Missing Casey, Gomer, Mona, Penelope, BillieJean, Bandit, Nixon (Starz Sammie) and especially Ruby (Watch Me Dash) waiting at the Bridge.

 

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  • 4 weeks later...
Guest HaliKim

Hi all...just an update ...things have been going much better. I'm actually in a hotel with her now and my family and she is happy on her pet bed sleeping. She allowed many hotel guests and kids pet her...without trying yo leave and showed interest in greeting other dogs....so much better than a month ago! We have her in a small excellent dog day care 2 times a week which has done wonders for her confidence. She is so excited to go! He has adapted to our family trips...a cottage rental and weekends by the ocean...she loves playing in the water and digging in sand. She is good with the kids but still more attached to the adults and will have some separation anxiety even if the kids are home but adults out ( likes to chew window sills and table corners...suggestions? We leave marrow bones, kongs and antler chews...not a consistent problem, but a bit of a pain).

She is still least happy at home in the city...traffic and noise can make her nervous at times but she will go for walks. Still hates our backyard, and will only come out if we constantly feed her treats. We are not quite 3 months in, so I'm hoping she will still adjust. We are still keeping her on her anxiety melds although I'm not convinced they do much and will be looking to try weaning off them this fall with the vets blessing.

 

I know she will still take a while but I'm impressed with how well she has done...obedience school will start with back to school...I'm glad we waited and gave her time to adjust....thanks for the advice

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Glad things have improved and she is adjusting to your lifestyle.

Time, patience and more time will help her.

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Nancy...Mom to Nigel (Nigel) , Sid (Peteles Tiger) and Kibo (112 Carlota Galgos)Missing Casey, Gomer, Mona, Penelope, BillieJean, Bandit, Nixon (Starz Sammie) and especially Ruby (Watch Me Dash) waiting at the Bridge.

 

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Glad life is better for her and for you. On the chewing -- Tiring them out with exercise is usually the first suggestion. Is she still fearful of the muzzle? Try putting one of the chewing deterrents (for example, Bitter Apple brand) on the forbidden items. However, my chewing dog actually seems to enjoy the taste of Bitter Apple. Stick deodorant worked better, but I always worried about him chewing anyway and then getting sick. He now leaves furniture alone, but will still go medieval occasionally on paper products such as books. His go-to chew is a huge Nylabone.

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Ellen, Milo, and Jeter

remembering Eve, Baz, Scout, Romie, and Nutmeg

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