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Nighttime Howling


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Hello! Sleep-deprived new greyhound owner here.

 

We've had our gorgeous girl Lily for 12 weeks now, and though we love her, and are incredibly proud of all the adjustments she's made, we're desperate for a good night's sleep!

 

We've got a good bedtime routine going, and she'll settle in her bed quite happily and go to sleep. She's gated in the kitchen, her safe space with her bed, water etc, and we go upstairs to our room where she can hear us.

 

She'll usually settle for about 2 hours and then need to go to the toilet. This seems to happen even if we take her for a late night walk just before bed and 'empty' her! One of us goes down and takes her into the garden with no fuss or chat, and then she goes straight back to bed.

 

Now it gets a bit complicated - sometimes she'll sleep through till about 5.45ish and then need to go out again. She's always a bit whiney after that and I think it must be that her kennel used to get going around 6am. We started out leaving her to whine, but as we got desperate for sleep after several weeks, we let her come upstairs to our room at about 6am for a lie in for a little while. That's when it all went really wrong, as she clearly can't understand why she can't just come upstairs straight away! She started whining and howling earlier and earlier... We didn't give in, but we all got less and less sleep as she didn't give in either!

 

We've had the added complication that we both went away for work last week for 8 days and left her at home with my husband's son to sit for her. She really likes him, so it seemed like a good plan, but she was really anxious all week and wee'd and poo'd all over the house, and howled for a lot of the nights... And now that we're home she's still doing the odd stray wee and howling all night again. Last night she woke up at midnight for a wee and a poo, then at 2am for a wee, and then howled fairly continuously from 2.30am till 6.45am when I got up.

 

I've gone "back to basics" and am not letting her upstairs at all while we're in bed. We're doing isolation training again and keeping everything very chilled to try and help her through the anxiety, but my concern is that even if we do all that okay, we weren't getting nights right for her in the first place. Is it a case of just sticking with a routine and waiting her out? Do I need a better plan so that anxiety doesn't really get out of control? And when might I sleep again?!! What with jetlag from the work trip and Lily's howling, I'm feeling decidedly strange!! Thanks in advance for any advice, but please be kind - first time dog-human in a vulnerable, sleep-deprived state!!

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She wants to be with her people!

What can't she be in your room all night?

 

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.

 

 

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Thanks guys... We've been advised not to let her sleep in our room just yet - she has to be okay with doing occasional long days on her own with a sitter/walker every 3 hours for an hour or so. So we need her to know she's okay when she's on her own, and it's a big worry if she's having a huge wobble on that front. I'm concerned that more constant companionship at night will make her more anxious when we absolutely have to leave her.

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I think banning her from your room at night is bad advice from whoever gave it to you. And I don't think allowing her in your room at night even translates to effecting her being alone downstairs during the day.

 

Hada the podenco maneta, Georgie Girl (UMR Cordella), Lulu the podenco andaluz, Rita the podenco maneta
Angels: Charlie the iggy,  Mazy (CBR Crazy Girl), Potato, my mystery ibizan girl, Allen (M's Pretty Boy), Percy (Fast But True), Mikey (Doray's Patuti), Pudge le mutt, Tessa the iggy, Possum (Apostle), Gracie (Dusty Lady), Harold (Slatex Harold), "Cousin" Simon our step-iggy, Little Dude the iggy ,Bandit (Bb Blue Jay), Niña the galgo, Wally (Allen Hogg), Thane (Pog Mo Thoine), Oliver (JJ Special Agent), Comet, & Rosie our original mutt.

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Exactly!!

All alone during the day in an empty house is not at all the same as being kept away from your people when they are home.

 

She will not learn how to be all alone downstairs when you are upstairs in the house.

These dogs ( well... all dogs ;) ) are not stupid. They know when you are in the house and when you're not!

 

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.

 

 

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Ditto the previous 3 posts. Let her sleep in your room. It will NOT make daytime alone periods any worse and may even help her be less anxious during the day. Some houndies have HIGH pack drive. It is genetic. You cannot train it out of them. They just want to be with their 'pack' when it is possible. They cannot change that even if they'd want to. The wining etc is frustration at not being able to satisfy that 'drive' and as you have seen it tends to get worse not better. Why not give it a try? The worse that can happen is that nothing will change.

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Dogs need to bond with their people, and sleeping all together in the same "den" is a vital part of that bonding. As said above, sleeping with her people during the night and being alone during the day are two completely separate things for a dog. Plus, if you are gone all day for work, then don't even want her in the room with you when you sleep, how much time are you actually spending with her? A couple hours during the evenings?

 

I know dog owners in the UK have a different sensibility about sleeping with their dogs, and you totally can decide what you want in that regard, but she *wants* to be with you! She's trying so hard to bond with you and learn all the new things she needs to learn to be a house dog, and she needs some reassurance and companionship.

 

If you decide to keep her in the kitchen (or even if you bring her to your bedroom) make sure she's warm enough. She may be getting chilled, which wakes her up, and when she wakes up she has to go potty. A blanket or a light flannel housecoat or pjs could help keep her warm and asleep. If she can go for several hours during the day then she should be able to go all night.

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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Let her sleep in your room with you, its the kindest option.

 

Also, if I'm understanding correctly, you are planning to leave her alone for long days or potentially overnight with only periodic visits? If so, I would reconsider for a dog that has a tendency toward SA like it sounds like she does. Consider having a friend or adopter watch her, or kennel her. FYI, the stuff you are describing since you went away sounds like separation anxiety. That isn't house training, that's her literally panicking at your absence. Continuing to isolate her is not an effective solution as it's an emotional/fear response. She doesn't have control over it just as you wouldn't have control over a fear of heights or claustrophobia for example.

Edited by NeylasMom

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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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Thanks guys... We've been advised not to let her sleep in our room just yet - she has to be okay with doing occasional long days on her own with a sitter/walker every 3 hours for an hour or so. So we need her to know she's okay when she's on her own, and it's a big worry if she's having a huge wobble on that front. I'm concerned that more constant companionship at night will make her more anxious when we absolutely have to leave her.

 

 

Who is advising you?

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I'm going to be controversial here but I'm one of those from the UK who doesn't let my greyhound into my bedroom, she doesn't even go upstairs and no she doesn't whine etc. and no SA problems.

 

I wonder if the whining at night to go to the toilet is a way to get attention and not necessarily because she has to go. My Grace used to whine a couple of hours after putting her to bed downstairs and after a few sleep deprived nights letting her out into the back garden (or yard) something had to be done. After one late night visit to the back garden for her nocturnal toilet break I put her to bed, closed the door and pretended to go upstairs. I then sat very quietly by the door waiting for her to start whining again, at that moment I opened the door, said NO! in a loud firm voice, shut the door and went to bed. I might have been lucky but not a peep at night from her since.

Grace (Ardera Coleen) b. 18 June 2014 - Gotcha Day 10 June 2018 - Going grey gracefully
Guinness (Antigua Rum) b. 3 September 2017 - Gotcha Day 18 March 2022 - A gentleman most of the time

 

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Thanks everyone. This is all great advice. We were advised by our rescue centre on the nighttime thing. We've since had a rethink and she's slept with us the last couple of nights and we're all so much happier! She's spending a couple of hours alone this afternoon while we both have to be out, so we'll see how well she does on the anxiety front. Fingers crossed!

 

Re. long days alone - please don't think we're never with her. We're home most of the time. It's only when my husband and I are both working at the same time (fairly rare) that alone days happen, and she has 2 sitters that she absolutely loves coming in every 2-3 hours to give her company, walk her, play etc. And we make sure, however early in the morning we're leaving, that we get up an hour early so we spend time with her, maybe for walking or playing or grooming, general bonding. She's very loved, and very much "with" her humans most of the time.

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And a further update - you were all absolutely right that sleeping upstairs wouldn't mean she couldn't be on her own at all any more. Lily survived all alone with her treats for 2 sets of 2 hours and an hour with her sitter on Wednesday with no signs of anxiety when we got home. So, sleeping upstairs seems to be doing her a world of good! I think we're moving into a different stage of settledness now! Fingers crossed we keep moving forward... Thanks again for the encouragement to sleep as a pack! It's made the world of difference to us all.

 

Lily's new confidence has also translated into a renewed love of counter surfing. So far this week, she's successfully surfed for a bowl of salad (ate the whole thing before I heard a munching sound!!), a tube of Pringles (she ate as many as she could while I swept them up as fast as I could!) and a flower from an arrangement in a vase (I had to take it from her jaws in case it didn't agree with her...! Vase now definitely out of reach!!). And I wouldn't change her for the world!!

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Very good update! You'll be amazed at what gets within their reach.

 

I did a pre-adoption home visit for some folks who ended up being wonderful adopters. They did their homework, read all the Greyhounds for Dummies book and the like. They were grinning from ear to hear proud that they knew I would not find anything of concern. Oopsey! They were so used to seeing their collection of cacti on various coffee table around the house that they had become "invisible" to them. We had a good chuckle over that.

 

Hada the podenco maneta, Georgie Girl (UMR Cordella), Lulu the podenco andaluz, Rita the podenco maneta
Angels: Charlie the iggy,  Mazy (CBR Crazy Girl), Potato, my mystery ibizan girl, Allen (M's Pretty Boy), Percy (Fast But True), Mikey (Doray's Patuti), Pudge le mutt, Tessa the iggy, Possum (Apostle), Gracie (Dusty Lady), Harold (Slatex Harold), "Cousin" Simon our step-iggy, Little Dude the iggy ,Bandit (Bb Blue Jay), Niña the galgo, Wally (Allen Hogg), Thane (Pog Mo Thoine), Oliver (JJ Special Agent), Comet, & Rosie our original mutt.

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@macoduck oh goodness... Prickly nose! I can't imagine the utter devastation that would ensue if a hound came into contact with a cactus!!

 

Lil had lulled us into a false sense of security, having given up surfing for a few weeks! After this week, our kitchen has never been so tidy!

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Sorry about the counter surfing, but I am glad the howling issue has resolved.

And :yay for lessened SA

 

:thumbs-up for caring so much about your girlie.

 

And now we need pictures...

 

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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Counter surfing makes me thing of an accountant on holiday in Hawaii catching a few waves.... :rofl

Grace (Ardera Coleen) b. 18 June 2014 - Gotcha Day 10 June 2018 - Going grey gracefully
Guinness (Antigua Rum) b. 3 September 2017 - Gotcha Day 18 March 2022 - A gentleman most of the time

 

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