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Need Advice/reassurance For Shy Greyhound (First Time Dog Owner)


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Fair bit of warning, this is quite a long post.

 

We adopted our boy Jimmy five days ago. He is our first greyhound and first dog ever.

 

We were told he initially presented as a fearful dog and was shy with humans. He's had two weeks at a foster home where he gained confidence to interact with people and play ball and rope games. He's definitely a shy boy - he spends the entire time in his crate - even though the door is open all the time - which we don't mind as we know hope he'll come out eventually when he's comfortable.

 

I've taken the week off work because from the research we did prior to adopting Jimmy we were expecting to deal with separation anxiety - which isn't the case. He seems fine when we leave him - he doesn't whine and he doesn't bark and we haven't heard anything from our neighbours. Prior to adopting Jimmy I thought I had done a lot of research, I read books, articles, browsed this form and watched extensive youtube videos on other people's experience in adopting greyhounds etc and to be honest while we were expecting the hound to be shy and wary for the adjustment period I didn't come across anything about greyhounds not leaving their crate etc and dealing with a greyhound that is so easily scared by everything.

 

Jimmy is very sensitive to noises and there are a lot of noises around our house especially during the day. We live in a series of terraced houses in a new housing development so there are new houses still being built around us - which means there's a lot of construction noises during the day. We also live near an airbase so there's the sound of small planes from time to time - not to mention the sounds of the neighbor's comings and goings, children playing with there ball (every afternoon) etc. When Jimmy is at home by himself for a few hours, I'll put relaxing music videos on from youtube to mask some of the sounds- although I'm not sure if this works. If I'm at home I turn the music off and I pass by his crate and there his ears are up because of noises and he's panting, I'll toss in a treat and say something reassuring.

 

He's much more relaxed in the early mornings when there is very minimal/no noise and needs less coaxing to come out of the crate to do his business. In fact this morning he just needed a 'come on Jimmy' and a few words of reassurance before he followed me out of the house with no edible treats required.

 

Will he eventually get used to these sounds? Obviously the construction work is not going to go on forever, but it will be a few months and It eats me up that he's in a constant state of anxiousness because of the environment we brought him into. Am I doing right in turning on the relaxing dog music when he's at home by himself to mask those noises - or will this mean he will never get used to those sounds? Yesterday in the evening my husband and I were cooking dinner so there were a lot of noises which were louder than what he was used to and (we think) he sort of shut down and refused to leave his crate to go out at 9 pm for his evening potty break. It made me quite upset as when we think he's made some progress he's actually regressed and has gone the other way. It's like one step forward, two steps back.

 

Potty breaks were a source of stress for me the past few days as Jimmy was holding his pee in for up to 15 hours at a time and he kept on licking his privates which I notice he does when he starts to hold on for a long time and it really upsets me knowing he needs to go but his fear is preventing him from going outside (I don't think he has a UTI as there seems to be no hesitancy is peeing when he does finally get outside, nor does he seem in pain when he does pee and he doesn't go in the house). I understand that greyhounds can have bladders of steel and can hold it for ages, but I'm scared that health-wise something might happen if Jimmy keeps on holding it in (he's a very tidy boy as per his foster and he hasn't he won't go in the house). As I write this down, I realise that I'm probably being overly anxious, and maybe I'm wrong in thinking that the licking is NOT due to the fact that he needs to go.

 

But when in the moment, all logic goes out the window and I make decisions that I wish I hadn't done in hindsight.

 

When we first got Jimmy, he initially would wag his tail and come out easily of his crate when we put his leash on. When we explored the house initially (with his leash on) he walked up the stairs and down the stairs no problem. He managed a short walk the following morning when we got him again, no problem. We managed to get him outside 3 times easily with the leash. But then because we had read that we needed to toilet Jimmy every two to three hours for the first day or so, I got Jimmy out one time despite the fact that he had shown some resistance (really stupid I know, and I regret this a hundred percent) - possibly because of some noise outside - and since then he has refused to come out of the crate when we clip him with the leash . That evening he had held his bladder for more than 12 hours and out of desperation we tried to get him out of his crate but he dug his heels in (mistake number two). We regretted this straight afterwards. Since the first two days we're a little wiser - we use a lot of treats and no physical persuasion to get him out of the crate to encourage to go outside to pee for the evening (this process takes approximately an hour which stresses me out although I try not to show it when I'm with Jimmy and use lots of encouragement etc). We have made the mistake of taking him out on walks before he was ready in an attempt for him to go outside to pee - Jimmy was coming out of the crate but refusing to go the backyard and it had been 15 hours at that point, he agreed to be leashed and followed us out through the front door where he peed, walked a little but then got spooked by something and he dragged his leash back to the house with his tail between his legs (big mistake again).

 

I just feel that we keep on making these mistakes which seem like a good idea/out of desperation to get Jimmy to pee and that an experienced owner would not have made these mistakes and we are inadvertently traumatising our dog and making him an even more fearful and shy. When Jimmy makes little steps forward (like yesterday he spent a little longer outside his crate and followed me to the foot of the stairs) I think - 'we just need time and patience' - however when we make silly mistakes like the above I think 'an experienced owner would not have made that mistake and Jimmy would probably do so much better with somebody else'.

 

My husband is much more relaxed about this whereas this whole situation is stressing me out - and is probably just more because of my personality more than anything.

 

Anyway with that rant outside, my questions are:

 

Should we not be encouraging Jimmy to come out to pee and wait for him to tell us? (But at the same time we also want to establish a routine, we have been trying to take him out at 9 pm). We take him out at 5 30 am, he's only come out to pee once midday in the five days we've had him and we try to take him out at 9 pm - but it takes an hour to coax him out. Or do we wait for him to tell us, then associate the action with the phrase 'let's go potty' and then after a while try to establish a routine for those times?

 

My main concern is when I go to work next week - I only work 3 days a week so the plan was for my mum who lives near by to let Jimmy out once in the afternoon, but at this stage I don't see this happening. I can't get him out myself, and I don't think he'd come out for my mum at this stage (I brought her over yesterday and got her to give him treats so he'd get used to her...). Do I get her to come in when I go to work just to give him treats and then leave again?

 

 

Jimmy is not used to men as per the foster and is wary for a few times and then okay. Apparently Jimmy is a lady's man. My husband has been working during the week while I've been at home with him. Jimmy will take treats from my husband's hand while in his crate, but is a little nervous of him. I've encouraged my husband to come out in the garden with me in the mornings when Jimmy feels a little more confident and yesterday Jimmy went up to my husband as he threw the ball for him. I've also asked my husband to give Jimmy his meals (although Jimmy won't come out of his crate to eat unless I'm there as well). Should I be staying away completely and let Jimmy spend time with my husband e.g. don't come down until Jimmy feels comfortable eating his dinner in my husband's presence - obviously with my husband doing something else and not standing over the food? I'm getting my husband to give Jimmy all the good treats and I've stopped giving him as many and have chosen to pet him when I pass the crate.

 

Once Jimmy is a little more comfortable with us (hopefully) is there a chance that he may exhibit signs of separation anxiety? Late last night Jimmy seemed a little more confident and followed me around the house a bit more and explored the living room. When I turned off the lights and did the normal night routine, when I went upstairs for bed he whined. I thought he might need to be let out to go to the toilet so I came back downstairs to let him out but he wasn't interested in going out and instead just came up to me and wagged his tail a bit and he sort of seemed like he wanted to explore the house more. I didn't comply, I gave him a pat and went upstairs and he whined again but I ignored him in case he thought that whining meant I'd be coming down each time and he eventually settled after 10 to 15 minutes or so. Is this going to intensify as he gets over his shyness?

 

 

Also as per the books etc I know we're supposed to ignore Jimmy until he feels comfortable coming out to us, and we did (sort of) the first few days except to maybe pet him and give him a treat to show that everything was okay. To be honest, it's definitely hard to fight the urge to ignore him when we want to comfort and pet him (despite knowing tin our head hat this doesn't do anything to alleviate his anxiety). Jimmy seems a little more comfortable now and doesn't pant or breathe heavily. My husband will go up to the crate, call out Jimmy's name give him a treat and a pat or so and then leave him. I'll come by and pat him - he makes eye contact and sometimes he rearranges himself into a more comfortable position and he'll even rest his head against my hand. I've taken it to think that he doesn't mind me coming up to his crate and petting him? Or am I wrong and totally reading him wrong and I should leave him until he comes out to me? When he pants, looks away or avoids eye contact we give him space and maybe throw in a treat with a reassuring voice and leave him be - but is this okay? Or are we affirming the fact that it's okay to be fearful/anxious of whatever he's anxious about by giving him treats and should we just leave him alone?

 

I've been reading up on "spooky" greyhounds. From the above, does Jimmy seem to be one? Or is this just part of the normal greyhound adjustment period and he's just a little on the shy side and I'm reading too much into things?

 

Sorry for the long post. I just want to know if we are on the right track.

 

From,

 

A very anxious and inexperienced owner first time owner.

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Oh dear, where to begin! Yes, long post but I'm certain we can help!

 

I will be brief as I think you need some relief!

 

You won't break him, you are doing good, it's only been 5 days. Breathe, breathe again, breathe!

 

Thank you for taking the time to research and read and all that good stuff. Us gh owners have seen a lot.

 

Ryder is highly sound sensitive, and sadly it gets worse for him with time (this might not be the case for you, he could get used to it, but just want to let you know.) I have left the radio on (I wish they wouldn't put smoke alarm commercials on!), noise machine, etc. Seems that refuge in the basement is preferred, or an interior room to get "away" from sound. Multiple options of beds in the home can help.

 

They do tend to have bladders of steel, but they do not really come built in with a signal to tell you they have to go. Sometimes you do just have to get them out.

 

I know all about the afraid of men thing. Ry is much like that. He will come to adore your husband I am sure. High value teats that happen to fall on the floor when he walks by can do amazing things!

 

His whole life has changed and I know it's hard to be patient but it's been a bit difficult for your new pup. Time will be on your side!

Proudly owned by:
10 year old "Ryder" CR Redman Gotcha May 2010
12.5 year old Angel "Kasey" Goodbye Kasey Gotcha July 2005-Aug 1, 2015

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It took my very open minded new dog 28! hours to pee for the first time. During the first week he held it for about 16 hours a day.

 

He did not pee outside on the streets. But luky me: we live in an apartement house with a yard where our housekeeper plants his flowers. Took him there. He peed. Right onto one plant. Only when unleashed.

 

As it was not possible for him to leave the yard (3m brickwall and houses around) I unleashed him every time.

 

As that concetrated pee is pretty smelly, I took lots of water with me to rinse it away.

 

This was quite a procedure every time but...I even collected pee to pour it out on the street so that it smells like him there and he might go outside.

 

Well, it took 1 1/2 weeks before he peed outside for the very first time. Only few spots where he could let go. So I took him out to these certain spots only.

 

After he used these spots on a regular basis he started to pee elswhere as well.

 

6 weeks after adoption he is fine with peeing nearly everywhere except that he only pees on concrete so far. Without raising a leg, just doing it horse style.

Edited by Rakete
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Oh dear, where to begin! Yes, long post but I'm certain we can help!

 

I will be brief as I think you need some relief!

 

You won't break him, you are doing good, it's only been 5 days. Breathe, breathe again, breathe!

 

Thank you for taking the time to research and read and all that good stuff. Us gh owners have seen a lot.

 

Ryder is highly sound sensitive, and sadly it gets worse for him with time (this might not be the case for you, he could get used to it, but just want to let you know.) I have left the radio on (I wish they wouldn't put smoke alarm commercials on!), noise machine, etc. Seems that refuge in the basement is preferred, or an interior room to get "away" from sound. Multiple options of beds in the home can help.

 

They do tend to have bladders of steel, but they do not really come built in with a signal to tell you they have to go. Sometimes you do just have to get them out.

 

I know all about the afraid of men thing. Ry is much like that. He will come to adore your husband I am sure. High value teats that happen to fall on the floor when he walks by can do amazing things!

 

His whole life has changed and I know it's hard to be patient but it's been a bit difficult for your new pup. Time will be on your side!

Thank you! Yes I re-read what I wrote and I do think I need to just breathe. I think it helped just typing all the things that were worrying me and putting it out on the interwebs!

We'll make sure my husband continues to give him those high value treats!

 

How does Ryder do when he's on walks outside? Does he statue a lot when he hears something that startles him?

 

It took my very open minded new dog 28! hours to pee for the first time. During the first week he held it for about 16 hours a day.

 

He did not pee outside on the streets. But luky me: we live in an apartement house with a yard where our housekeeper plants his flowers. Took him there. He peed. Right onto one plant. Only when unleashed.

 

As it was not possible for him to leave the yard (3m brickwall and houses around) I unleashed him every time.

 

As that concetrated pee is pretty smelly, I took lots of water with me to rinse it away.

 

This was quite a procedure every time but...I even collected pee to pour it out on the street so that it smells like him there and he might go outside.

 

Well, it took 1 1/2 weeks before he peed outside for the very first time. Only few spots where he could let go. So I took him out to these certain spots only.

 

After he used these spots on a regular basis he started to pee elswhere as well.

 

6 weeks after adoption he is fine with peeing nearly everywhere except that he only pees on concrete so far. Without raising a leg, just doing it horse style.

 

That's so reassuring to know. At the moment Jimmy is averaging 16 hours as well.

Jimmy's problem is actually getting him physically outside to do his business. Once he decides that it's safe outside he has no problem going. A few sniffs and he's done. My husband and I joke that the times he feels a little more confident, he actually lifts a leg to go but most of the time he does it without raising a leg as well. He seems pretty spooked by whatever is out in the backyard during the day - likely the construction noises - he'll make it half way to the door, stare outside for ages and then go back to his crate. He has little or no trouble getting out in the mornings now, in fact this morning he didn't need much convincing at all and just trotted out!

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Ryder is scared of high pressure/compression noises, so buses are his biggest fear. He starts to tremble and will PULL PULL PULL to run home where it's safe. He wears a harness (recommended for you btw for safety reasons) but also its a lot of pressure on his neck to pull. With a harness it might give him more "power" but imo I'm able to control him better and he's less likely to injure his neck. He alerts to seeing the bus immediately and what I do now is get up to him really close, hold him by the harness handle with just my legs touching him and we simply stand there. It provides comfort for him but I am not coddling him if that makes sense. When the bus passes, I reward him with praise and pets because he held his ground when the big bad bus passed by. Then we go on our merry way. Second to buses are trucks (they let out their air brakes! - but even rumbling small box style ones or dump truck- garbage trucks are his nemesis!), then roofers with nail guns. We cope, and some days are worse than others. Construction noises are really terrible!

 

Kasey was a statuer in his early life (but he was never sound reactive), but later he really just wanted to walk walk walk. The world can be overwhelming sometimes!

 

Re: going outside. To encourage him to go out of the crate to pee and to establish a schedule (usually immediately after waking, half hour to an hour after eating/drinking immediately when you get home, before you go out for errands/leave for work etc. and before bed) hook a leash to a collar when he's in the crate, back up a bit and give a small gentle tug and release. You have to reward immediately when he does something you want (like getting up and out of the crate) either with a treat or praise. This will help you avoid being bit, but if he likes to walk, will encourage him. He will associate the leash with having to go. Because he gets spooked in the yard i wonder if it would help you leash walk him in your yard so he'll go. Having his humans there might make it less scary. Both my boys have peed stretching out, both rarely lifts their leg.

Edited by XTRAWLD

Proudly owned by:
10 year old "Ryder" CR Redman Gotcha May 2010
12.5 year old Angel "Kasey" Goodbye Kasey Gotcha July 2005-Aug 1, 2015

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Time and patience and then some more time and patience, I speak from experience, lol.

 

When I adopted my first greyhound 12 years ago I wrote almost the exact same post as you. Hobbes was at the adoption group for quite some time before I adopted him. He was shy and quite fearful, especially of noise.

I lived in a condo in the city and the area had tons of construction as there were many new buildings being put up the entire time I lived there. Thinking back he was a terrible choice for my situation but in the end we made it work.

For the first couple weeks I could barely get him out of the crate for walks or anything else for that matter.

 

I discovered a few things that helped out along the way. Like you I also walked him early in the day (4am actually) and late at night. He gave me a lot less resistance when he knew it was going to be quieter outside. I also found out he LOVED car rides, I used this to my advantage and started driving him to quieter areas for short midday walks. I also happened to meet a lady in the condo next to mine that also owned a greyhound, we would try to walk them together as often as possible as Hobbes was a lot more relaxed with a buddy with him. Unless he was sick I also kept potty breaks to maximum 3-4 daily, the less times I had to stress him out the better.

I won't say he ever got over his noise phobia or his shyness but it did get a lot better with time. He had some good times and then some regressions too, but with time he learned to trust me and I learned not to push him to far. He taught me so much and honestly it was the most rewarding experience I've ever had. He went from a dog who was completely shut down when I first got him and transformed into a happy, loving and playful dog. He passed away 2.5 years after I adopted him and I still miss him like crazy all these years later.

Hobbes-Ricard Hatch09/23/99-12/21/09 Always loved, never forgotten. Wally TNJ Boy Howdy, GLS Genuinerisk Corinna

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Ryder is scared of high pressure/compression noises, so buses are his biggest fear. He starts to tremble and will PULL PULL PULL to run home where it's safe. He wears a harness (recommended for you btw for safety reasons) but also its a lot of pressure on his neck to pull. With a harness it might give him more "power" but imo I'm able to control him better and he's less likely to injure his neck. He alerts to seeing the bus immediately and what I do now is get up to him really close, hold him by the harness handle with just my legs touching him and we simply stand there. It provides comfort for him but I am not coddling him if that makes sense. When the bus passes, I reward him with praise and pets because he held his ground when the big bad bus passed by. Then we go on our merry way. Second to buses are trucks (they let out their air brakes! - but even rumbling small box style ones or dump truck- garbage trucks are his nemesis!), then roofers with nail guns. We cope, and some days are worse than others. Construction noises are really terrible!

 

Kasey was a statuer in his early life (but he was never sound reactive), but later he really just wanted to walk walk walk. The world can be overwhelming sometimes!

 

Re: going outside. To encourage him to go out of the crate to pee and to establish a schedule (usually immediately after waking, half hour to an hour after eating/drinking immediately when you get home, before you go out for errands/leave for work etc. and before bed) hook a leash to a collar when he's in the crate, back up a bit and give a small gentle tug and release. You have to reward immediately when he does something you want (like getting up and out of the crate) either with a treat or praise. This will help you avoid being bit, but if he likes to walk, will encourage him. He will associate the leash with having to go. Because he gets spooked in the yard i wonder if it would help you leash walk him in your yard so he'll go. Having his humans there might make it less scary. Both my boys have peed stretching out, both rarely lifts their leg.

Thank you I'll try the leash again. Whenever I clip the leash on he'll just look at me and just lie in his crate. I've tried tugging a little which doesn't do anything. If anything he's more determined to stay in his crate. I suppose I'll be a bit more patient and wait until he does eventually get out of his crate and then praise praise praise. He'll go out no problem first thing in the morning now, but maybe I should clip him on the leash so he gets the idea.

 

I will definitely try the harness once Jimmy is a little bit more confident to try walking again!

 

 

Time and patience and then some more time and patience, I speak from experience, lol.

 

When I adopted my first greyhound 12 years ago I wrote almost the exact same post as you. Hobbes was at the adoption group for quite some time before I adopted him. He was shy and quite fearful, especially of noise.

I lived in a condo in the city and the area had tons of construction as there were many new buildings being put up the entire time I lived there. Thinking back he was a terrible choice for my situation but in the end we made it work.

For the first couple weeks I could barely get him out of the crate for walks or anything else for that matter.

 

I discovered a few things that helped out along the way. Like you I also walked him early in the day (4am actually) and late at night. He gave me a lot less resistance when he knew it was going to be quieter outside. I also found out he LOVED car rides, I used this to my advantage and started driving him to quieter areas for short midday walks. I also happened to meet a lady in the condo next to mine that also owned a greyhound, we would try to walk them together as often as possible as Hobbes was a lot more relaxed with a buddy with him. Unless he was sick I also kept potty breaks to maximum 3-4 daily, the less times I had to stress him out the better.

I won't say he ever got over his noise phobia or his shyness but it did get a lot better with time. He had some good times and then some regressions too, but with time he learned to trust me and I learned not to push him to far. He taught me so much and honestly it was the most rewarding experience I've ever had. He went from a dog who was completely shut down when I first got him and transformed into a happy, loving and playful dog. He passed away 2.5 years after I adopted him and I still miss him like crazy all these years later.

 

Thank you for sharing your experience. Your post has really given me a lot of reassurance and I do hope that I see the same for Jimmy as well.

 

Jimmy supposedly loves car rides as well! We'll definitely try to drive him to quieter areas (we also live near a busy road which doesn't help!) to walk once we can convince Jimmy to get into our car.

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Associate a word with the tug too. And when he does get up praise him like you never have before in a very happy tone! But you are on to something, do it in the morning when he's willing to leave the crate. He'll get it. Just time :)

Proudly owned by:
10 year old "Ryder" CR Redman Gotcha May 2010
12.5 year old Angel "Kasey" Goodbye Kasey Gotcha July 2005-Aug 1, 2015

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