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Personality Change @ 1.5 Years With Family

Guest KingstonTheGrey

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Guest KingstonTheGrey

Hi everyone,


We've had Kingston, a male greyhound (3 years old) for about a year and half. Though he showed some signs of separation anxiety a few months into bringing him home (after he got attached to us) we worked with greyhound contacts and our vet to figure out what worked best with him. We worked out our routine to make him comfortable through trial and error- he gets two long walks in the morning before we leave him for work (he's alone 7:30 AM-3:00 PM), he gets a kong with frozen peanut butter in his crate, we leave the TV on for him, and he gets an anti-anxiety pill- this was to stop the urinating in the crate. Though he shows no signs of stress going into his crate when we're getting ready to leave (he runs right in)- for a while he peed everyday. We ruled out any medical problems after bringing him to our vet and we decided as a group an anti anxiety pill was best for him. Worked like a charm- he was completely himself just without the accidents. This has been our life for the past year. Recently, however- he is back up to disruptive behavior. He's been uncharacteristically naughty lately- when dad leaves in the morning (and he usually snuggles with mom for an hour before she has to get up), he's rummaging around the apartment, trying to get into the garbage etc. He broke out of his crate somehow this week and destroyed our apartment and peed and pooped everywhere (he's never pooped ever in our apartment), he's acting anxious and scared of everything suddenly- even our heat coming on (he's usually afraid of nothing- we live downtown Chicago so he's seen it all) and he's back to peeing in his crate almost daily. We're just so bewildered with the sudden change. We haven't changed anything about our routine- only thing worth mentioning is that over the past two months we did foster 2 different greyhounds for a week- neither of which he seemed at all attached to or to dislike at all. Could this have anything to do it? Any advice is appreciated!



Courtney, Cory & our Kingston

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Short answer is yes, longer answer is maybe.


Yes, the fostering could have shown him how much better it is to have a friend hanging around with you during the day. And then, that friend goes away, and being by yourself isn't that OK anymore. Even though he didn't show any particular attachment to the fosters, just having them around disrupts the house from what it was before. This is particularly true if the new behavior started *after* the fostering.


But *maybe* not. Three years old is a pivotal year for greyhound development. They are often achieving their final growth and adult personality - greyhounds are really puppies behaviorwise until close to 4 years old - and that can mean they view things differently than they did before. His adult physical body also changes, and even though he was neutered a while ago, body chemistry will also change. He's been on an anti anxiety medication for a while now - they can and do build up a tolerance for their dosage, so it needs to be assessed and adjusted occassionally. He might even need a different medication.


Since he's broken out of his crate once, it's likely he will do it again, and it miight be time to think about putting it away. Unless there's a compelling reason to keep trying it, and only you can figure that out. But he is likely to try to get out again and it's possible he will seriously hurt himself doing so. The crate sounds counterproductive at this point. So dog proof an area of the house he's comfortable in, get some baby gates, and start your Alone Training routine over from the beginning in this new space. He might be one of those dogs that need a refresher course ever few months, or after a life change.


And it could be all or none of those things. There could be something going on in and around your house while you're gone that has freaked him out and started him panicking - new construction of remodelling near you, road work, new neighbors, a furnace that needs adjusting (dogs can sense gasses in the air, so you maybe should have someone look at your furnace if you haven't had it tuned in a while). If you haven't set up a camera to monitor him you should - it could be very enlightening.


Medically, talk with your vet about having a full thyroid panel run by Michigan State University. Part of his physical changes could be throwing his endocrine system out of whack, and low thyroid can cause some anxiety-like symptoms.


Good luck.

Chris - Mom to: Felicity (DeLand), and Andi (Braska Pandora)

52592535884_69debcd9b4.jpgsiggy by Chris Harper, on Flickr

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, Lilly

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Guest nicky604

I don't think that daily benzodiazepines are safe for dogs and I don't think they address problems in the long term.


Benzodiazepines may be useful to sedate a dog for a very stressful event like travelling by air in a kennel but they are addictive


and they "poop out" leaving the dog to deal with whatever was causing him anxiety to begin with but now with a benzo addiction on top of it.


Withdrawing a dog from benzos is as complicated as withrawing a human from them.


Rebound anxiety when the dog goes off of them can be very pronounced and they must be very very very slowly and carefully tapered off, never abruptly




It sounds like he has developed a tolerance to his daily prescription plus he's had 2 foster dogs come and go which disrupted his routine and the


pack order of things.


Without his greyhound friends, he may feel "at a loss" with what to do with himself so he "finds" things to do!


In the garbage can or wherever!


Did the vet have a plan when he put Kingston on a daily sedative?


Was his plan to keep Kingston on sedatives for the rest of his life, increasing the dosage each time there are signs of "poop out"?


This is why I am wary of vets.


None of them have a long term plan for sedative use because there isn't one to be had!


Long term effects are accumulative and the presenting problem remains unresolved unless someone assesses it and properly addresses it.


They are great for any kind of traumatic injury or illness but they are not behaviouralists and if their answer to a behavioural problem is a pill, well that


just doesn't fly with me.


Nor does yearly vaccination without titres and "preventative" de-worming..


But that's not the issue here.


I agree with everyone here that you need to go back to Square 1 with his alone training and read everything you can about separation anxiety in dogs


and what helps.


Good luck!



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Please just ignore the last post as the poster clearly has no idea what he/she is talking about. Xanax and Valium are benzodiazepines and are used situationally, or temporarily while the anti-anxiety med builds. While they can cause sedation, they usually don't or its mild at the dosages used for managing anxiety. SSRIs like Prozac are typically recommended for long term use administered daily for various types of anxiety and are safe to use as such. I'm guessing that's what your vet has your dog on.


I'm assuming her meds haven't changed around the time of the behavioral changes (you didn't stop and restart meds)?


Otherwise, is he getting less exercise/mental stimulation? My other thought is something scary may have happened during your abscence to set this off. Construction, storm, etc?


It is possible the change in routine with fosters coming and going contributed, but if I'm reading your post right they were there for a total of 2 weeks over a 2 month period, right? If so, especially if the start of this behavior didn't coincide with the foster leaving, I'm not convinced.


Regardless, you have what you have now so the question is what to do. You could bring in another foster to see if the behavior stops (if nothing else, its information, but especially useful if you are considering adopting a second). Or you can start alone training again and work out an alternative for your absences as you did that. If you don't have an alternative you may need to discuss tweaking his med dosage or possibly temporarily adding a second med to get him over the hump. A benzo *would* be appropriate in this instance, or Trazodone is also a good option.


You could also try DAP, L-Theanine, and/or Zylkene.

Edited by NeylasMom


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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