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New Greyhound - Refusing To Leave Apartment


Guest Gem_george
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Guest Gem_george

I've recently adopted George, a 3 year old from the racing industry. While he was never professionally raced himself, he was raised in the environment.

 

We've had George a week so far, and the first 3 days he was absolutely fine to leave our apartment and go on a walk.

 

Once he started to settle in to our apartment though he began to refuse to go outside. Currently we will physically have to lift him out of bed, from there he will happily exit out apartment, walk down the hallway and enter the elevator, getting to the ground floor is where he will entirely freeze up. This starts in the elevator, where I need to lift him out (Unfortunately as there is only one elevator I'm unable to hold it to coax him out), in the lobby he will freeze up completely. We have tried everything from kneeling on his level 2 foot in front of him and offering pats (this will get him 2 steps forward each time, but immediately freeze up again, and won't come if you're any further away), he have tried cheese, bacon, treats (unfortunately he's not awfully food motivated), we have tried walking confidently down the hall way and letting him follow, and standing still within the hallway and letting him figure out his surrounds, we have also pushing him gently from behind, and my partner has also carried him out. Each time this is upward of a 30 minute ordeal to get him out the door, though it still met with lots of pats and positive reinforcement when he makes it.

 

Once we are outside of the front doors and down the ramp at the front, he is happy to go for a short walk to toilet, and immediately tries to rush back inside.

 

I know he is very much still getting used to his new environment and it is very early days, but unfortunately we're in a position where he needs to go outside in order to toilet, and I'm scared of traumatising him and making walking a negative.

 

I'm wanting to try and set up a routine for him so he can get used to the pet life.

 

Any suggestions would be great!!

 

Thank you!

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Elevator, hallway, stairs, the outside. Everything new to him.

 

Slippery Underground (Are there tiles in your hallway?), reflections of light, sound of the elevator, ... All of this might be overwhelming.

 

Also reminds me of young puppies, entering their new homes, away from their mother they often have a phase where everythimg outsside scares them or is a little too much.

 

Had a Galgolady once, that walked the stairs and on slippery ground when she first entered my flat. It took a while for her, to, let's say realize, what is new to her and what frightens her. It helped a lot that she had my other dogs around her. But if she was alone with me, she as example lay down flat on the floor whenever there where tiles etc. Was not used to walk on it. Had to carry her out of a mall once.

 

What helped? Mostly time. 1 week is nothing.

 

What I would try. Not walk him around outside till he has gotten adjusted to things better. Well, surely take him out to do what he has too, but not more that that. I'd try to get him familiar with elevator, halway etc first.

 

How I would do it? Hm...I do not know where and how you live. If it is safe for the dog, I would mine let roam freely trough the hallway or sit down with him somewhere near the elevator, reading a book, not paying him too much attention, just be with him, while he might find out, that everything is okay. I would try to turn the lights on and off. Carry the trash with me. Talk to the neighbour next door.Let him watch people entering and leaving the elevator and their apartements. Everydaybusiness and everydaynoises - But to him this all is a completely new world.

 

So after he has done his business, I would not walk straight back to the apartement. I would spend time with him outside in the hallway. I would recommend to give ot a try after he was outside, when his bladder is ready to let his mind focus on other things.

 

It is not necessary to talk him out for longer walks right now. He would do fine without sports for a while. Let him spend his energy on getting familiar with what seems to scare him.

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Guest Gem_george

Thanks for the reply Rakete!

I dont believe its the tiles, as our entire apartment is tiled, and he is fine inside.

It could be glass and reflections, as there is a fair bit of this in the lobby. Though every time he has caught a glimpse of himself thus far he has approached and investigated without too much fuss.

 

He does definitely remind me of am afraid puppy at times, though without the curiosity factor. I think he may have been bought up quite sheltered.

 

Ill definitely continue to try the patience approach, and sit down in the lobby with him for more time. Hopefully he will become a little more accustomed to the noises and sights down in the lobby. Im always quite happy to bring him back in after he goes pee, but usually always waits a little while longer for a spot for number 2. Hes unfortunately had a couple of accidents in the apartment while weve not been home to catch him.

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I just experienced sort of this behaviour in one of my foster dogs, that has never been in a household before as well. I could only give it a guess, what it really was, but to me it seemed as it had something to do with certain angles of light and open spaces and flat surface. She could cross a hall with slippery ground without trouble from the one side, but lay down and refused to move, when we crossed in from the other side. It mostly happend when a room was very bright, with artificial light or it was a sunny day or late at night, when light poles lit the ground. Or if it was coming from a small room, entering a broad and wide room. Distances and dimension of spaces, light, something like that seemd to cause her refusal.

 

I literally dragged her through, as I did not know what else to do. The behaviour vanished after some time. That I forced her out did not cause trauma to her. But she was no fearful or shy dog from within, she just was not used to human arcitecture. I do not know what kind of dog your George is. So sometimes forcing a dog is not the right way, sometimes it works pretty quick. We had to go this direction, so we went this direction, allthough she definitely did not want to. Never made much of a drama about it, but draged her (on her harness, not a collar!) trough, if necessary.

 

Sorry, as I am no native speaker, I do not always get it in the first time - you mean, pooping takes him much longer and he did it in the apartement as well? Dogs that have not been a pet or never lived in an urban area before, might have difficulties in releasing themselves. Some dogs do not like to poop when on the lead or of there is just concrete. And in the beginning of housetraining, many might do better, if you just let them pee and poop on one certain spot (even if this takes time, my personal record with one dog, that was too nervous to let go, was standing in one spot for an hour) and not wander around. Using the same place every time might help them to adjust to the fact, that there are noises and smells and people and cars and animals they have never seen, heard or smelled before.

 

Good luck with your boy. Guess, he just needs a little more time and then he will be fine.

Edited by Rakete
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If you know someone else nearby with a dog, have them visit and introduce their dog and then try walking both dogs out together. Very soon your George will need to go out in order to check and 'top-up' the pee marking places. It just takes time. Do your best to prevent signs of stress entering your voices and particularly body movements which tend to become 'jerky'.

If he's licking his lips and yawning and looking away (so-called Calming Signals - which you can look up). You could send the same signal back, meaning: "OK I get it, but don't worry..."

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Even at three years old he's still pretty much a puppy in an adult suit. Plus, he's had *everything* change in his life all at once, and that's scary no matter how well-meaning and loving his adopted family is. You can call his life sheltered, but it's really all about what he's known for three years vs what he has now. Going from living on a farm, then to a training track, and now getting yanked out of there to live in a big scary city is going to require some adjustment. Country mouse and city mouse.

 

As mentioned above, one week is no time at all for him. Time and patience is what he needs. For now, get him out however you can with as little fuss as you can, and just let him take his time adjusting. Don't worry about exercise or exposing him to a bunch of different things right now.

 

And yes, if the lobby is where he's having issues, see if you can spend some time there when it's relatively quiet, just sitting or exploring quietly. If you have friends in the building you can recruit, ask them to come in and out and give him some quiet attention (if he likes that) and hand him a really YUMMY treat (roasted chicken or cheese, something he really likes). And don't be shy about using yummy treats to lure him forward for walking. Once he gets more comfortable you can randomize and then extinguish the treats for walking.

 

Greyhounds live in cities successfully quite well, it just may take him a while to adjust to the change. Congrats and welcome!

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

35764734494_93de5b5963_b.jpg

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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Guest Gem_george

Thank you so much for the helpful advice and reassurance! I spent an hour last night sitting in the lobby with him, letting him relax entirely then gently coaxing him forward with pats a step at a time.

This morning he was so so much better!!! I took some cheese with me today and made sure that he knew not only the lobby was not going to kill him, but he also gets cheese while hes there! He came through much easier with only one or two hesitations that where easily pushed through with cheese! And the lucky boy even got to see the other grey in our building on his way back in to the lobby!

Ill keep up the very calm, very rewarding ways until such time as hes absolutely comfortable with walking.

 

Thank you all so much for your encouragement!

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:thumbs-up

 

His whole world has been turned upside down.

Baby steps.

Time and patience. Then more time.

 

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

 

 

SKMwinter.jpg

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Maybe you and the other greyhound owner can get together and go for a walk, they recognise and like their own kind and a companion should give him confidence. Maybe even just walking in and out of the building together for a few times will help him.

Miss "England" Carol with Chancey - (Goosetree Chance) and whippet lurcher Nutmeg

R.I.P. Bluegrass Banjoman. 25.1.2004 - 25.5.2015 and Ch. Sleepyhollow Aida. 30.9.2000 - 10.1.2014.

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Glad to hear he had a better day!!! Patience does wonders with these guys.

gallery_22387_3315_35426.jpg

Robin, EZ (Tribal Track), JJ (What a Story), Dustin (E's Full House) and our beautiful Jack (Mana Black Jack) and Lily (Chip's Little Miss Lily) both at the Bridge
The WFUBCC honors our beautiful friends at the bridge. Godspeed sweet angels.

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One thing I'd like to add - many new greys will often fool you by being FINE with everything for the first few days. They're perfect, they'll do anything, no issues!. And at that lulls you into thinking that everything you're doing they're cool with. And you beat the odds and adopted a grey that has NO adjustment issues!!!

 

But... downside of this - they're kinda in shock at that point - zombies. So they'll go along with anything. Some people call it "the honeymoon period". Then - they get adjusted, confident, wake up and go "holy crap"?!? What?: And they start thinking. And thinking "um - what - what's going on? I was on autopilot, following that person that was nice to me because I was lost and clueless, but now, I know I'm safe, and gonna get fed - so what the heck is going on???"

 

So - Back up. Re-introduce everything slowly. Go to one step at a time. Start over like it's day 1. Keep every new step short, and reward. Don't expect too much. It sounds like you're on that track - good for you. You're recovering nicely.

 

This happens ALL THE TIME. Many new greys, in my experience, are much harder week 2 than week 1 (or day 5 than day 2). But that's NOT a bad thing. It's just the way it goes. I've adopted out multiple fosters, to have their new adopter call me on day 2 and say "This dog is just perfect" and I said - call me back in a few days when the issues start and she acts like a new dog and you have questions and concerns - and they ALWAYS do.

 

No dog "adapts" on day 1. If they seem to - they're in zombie mode - or "honeymoon phase". When that passes, now you do the work you signed up for. But - you got spoofed, and that is a let-down. But - move on! Start again where you planned to start.

 

You'll be just fine. You care. That's what matters.

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  • 1 month later...

Sobesmom, thats a great post all first time owners should see. Im on day 5 of greyhound ownership and hes starting to come out of that zombie phase. I have a similar issue to work out that Ill post separately, but it feels like the real work begins now.

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