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Takes A While To Settle Down After Owner Leaving House


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Hi. I have posted two topics here already (thanks for those who have replied btw!) but I thought I would make a new one instead of adding updates to the old ones.

 

About 8 weeks into adoption, our four-year-old girl seems to be more stressed than before during her alone time.She gets a frozen Kong and a treat (pig ear, frozen halved banana, greenie etc) when we leave. Usually my husband leaves first (she just stays on her bed or couch to see him off) at around 7am and then I give her treats right before leaving anywhere between 9am to 3pm depending on my schedule.

 

It used to take about 10 minutes for her to start sleeping or at least start relaxing after finishing her treats, but these days she looks more anxious and sometimes takes 30 minutes to settle down.

 

After she finishes her treats, she goes to the front door, whines for few seconds, goes to bed or couch usually looking at the door for about 10 minutes (and whines on and off some days), goes to the door again, whines for few sec, back to bed or couch, and whines on and off until she gives up and falls asleep.

 

Also, she seems to get very stressed when seeing us leaving together on weekends, mostly Sundays.She starts whining after 5 minutes of our departure until we come home.

 

I know 8 weeks is only a short time but I am worried that she may have severe separation anxiety. Is there anything I could do to help her cope better? She gets two 20 - 30 minute walks & two potty breaks at lunch and before bed.

 

She usually greets me calmly upon my return but sometimes she cant be bothered getting up to say hi and just stays on bed/couch looking at me.

 

Any advise would be appreciated.

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As she's not being destructive or eliminating or howling I would not call this severe separation anxiety. At the same time - she is eight weeks in, she has begun to get accustomed to her new way of life, and also to become fond of you. So she misses you when you go out, yes :) .

 

I worked through this with my previous dog Doc, who initially got very anxious initially when left on his own. I'm glad you're giving her nice time-consuming treats when you go out, this is clearly helpful - if she was really anxious she would leave them untouched.... And the calm greeting when you come home is also encouraging.

 

Try leaving a radio on for her, if you don't already. Here in the UK I used to leave mine tuned to Radio 4 (news/ talk) or Classic FM (soothing musical snippets).

 

Also, can you give her a longer walk and/ or feed her before you go out? A well-exercised greyhound with a full tummy is more likely to want just to sleep.

 

Make sure she has some alone time every day, even at weekends, while she is still getting used to the idea. I work from home, so Doc had to get used to me going out at irregular times - some days if I was busy I would still just go and walk round the block without him, to keep him accustomed to the idea that alone time was part of his new normal.

 

Oh and if you think she might disturb the neighbours it could be worth going and having a pre-emptive word, explaining that she is just settling in and offering biscuits/ bottle of wine maybe!

Clare with Tiger (Snapper Gar, b. 18/05/2015), and remembering Ken (Boomtown Ken, 01/05/2011-21/02/2020) and Doc (Barefoot Doctor, 20/08/2001-15/04/2015).

"It is also to be noted of every species, that the handsomest of each move best ... and beasts of the most elegant form, always excel in speed; of this, the horse and greyhound are beautiful examples."----Wiliam Hogarth, The Analysis of Beauty, 1753.

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I agree with Clare - what you're dog is exhibiting is not severe separation anxiety. Your dog is fine. She just misses you mildly. ;) As she settles into home life even those small signs should disappear.

 

Severe SA involves howling for hours, destroying furniture and household items, peeing and pooping all over, bouts of loud barking, destroying door and window moulding. We've even seen dogs jump through plate glass windows! Your girl is fine!

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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Phew. I've been wondering about this exact same thing myself. Dakar was exhibiting some SA behaviors (destroying and hoarding items), but we've been working on alone time and he's no longer pacing/whining/collecting to the extent he was, but is now laying on the carpet watching the door, wanders around the house a bit and lays back by the door. I wasn't sure if this was "ok" or not. I'm hoping eventually he'll settle in and sleep, but we've only had him two months and he's typically alone for 1-3 hours a day.

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As she's not being destructive or eliminating or howling I would not call this severe separation anxiety. At the same time - she is eight weeks in, she has begun to get accustomed to her new way of life, and also to become fond of you. So she misses you when you go out, yes :) .

Thank you for your reply! The odd thing is that she never pee inside during weekdays when left alone. However, she did pee inside during her alone time on Sunday just gone. Her anxiety is worse when my husband and I leave together. She also gets very excited when my husband comes home. This makes me think that maybe she is more attached to my husband...? But she doesn’t react when he leaves in the morning although I am always at home when that happens, so that is why she doesn’t get anxicious? I am so confused...!

 

She has never been destructive but she does howl on some bad days. Bad days are normally Sundays and Mondays. Then she gets more relaxed during weekdays. Severe SA only on weekends is something that some people who adopted greyhound go through...?

 

We haven’t given our neighbors biscuits or anything nice (!) but posted a letter explaining that she whines when left alone and about alone training when we adopted her. We are very lucky that they are understanding. We own our apartment so it is nice to know no one can kick us out but I really don’t want to annoy our neighbours... :(

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I agree with Clare - what you're dog is exhibiting is not severe separation anxiety. Your dog is fine. She just misses you mildly. ;) As she settles into home life even those small signs should disappear.

 

Severe SA involves howling for hours, destroying furniture and household items, peeing and pooping all over, bouts of loud barking, destroying door and window moulding. We've even seen dogs jump through plate glass windows! Your girl is fine!

Thanks for your reply! She does howl a bit on some bad days and did pee inside last Sunday :( She yelps sometimes (maybe just two times a week?) but never destroy anything. She does okay during weekdays but weekends especially Sundays are different story. Maybe she is more attached to my husband or she thinks she is missing out on some fun activities? She does try join us when my husband and I are hugging standing in a room, so she doesn’t like to be left out. Very confused...!

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Phew. I've been wondering about this exact same thing myself. Dakar was exhibiting some SA behaviors (destroying and hoarding items), but we've been working on alone time and he's no longer pacing/whining/collecting to the extent he was, but is now laying on the carpet watching the door, wanders around the house a bit and lays back by the door. I wasn't sure if this was "ok" or not. I'm hoping eventually he'll settle in and sleep, but we've only had him two months and he's typically alone for 1-3 hours a day.

Thanks for your reply! My girl does something similar too. She occasionally lays by the bedroom door at night time (she sleeps in a separate room) and eventually goes back to her bed / couch. She doesnt whine at nighttime, it is more like she is listening to us....!

 

How did you stop your boy from pacing and whining? How long did it take?

Edited by Rijnbeek
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Rijnbeek, in addition to the other measures I suggested I'd now try letting her sleep on her bed in your room at nights. This is something that really will help the dog bond with you both, and reduce her anxiety. It doesn't have to be forever, either - here it is something I did just for the first few weeks, because my bedroom is not that large. Then the dogbed got moved into the back bedroom - here the doors can stay open so Ken and before him Doc can hear me, and come running in when the alarm clock goes off - always a lovely start to the day!

 

If she seems to prefer your husband right now, that may be because in the past she was more used to male caregivers. Make sure you do your fair share of feeding, grooming and walking her to help change that perception. Think of doing those things with her as sharing a language you both understand:

 

Feeding - a basic need, and pleasure

 

Grooming - feels good, and will be the form of individual attention she is most used to as an ex-racer - much more so than petting, which can easily begin to feel threatening. Start grooming her gently every day, even if she doesn't seem to need it.

 

Walking - builds trust that you will look after her, introduces her to a wider world of sights and sounds and sniffs, leaves her pleasantly tired and ready to nap when you go out

 

Playing with toys - not all greyhounds are into these, but do a search on here for "lure poles" to heighten the stakes

 

Hope that helps. I quite understand about not wanting her joining in on hugs (!) but the more you can all find things you can do together, the easier she will find it to fit in. By the sound of it she is a little anxious but also wanting to please, bless her.

Clare with Tiger (Snapper Gar, b. 18/05/2015), and remembering Ken (Boomtown Ken, 01/05/2011-21/02/2020) and Doc (Barefoot Doctor, 20/08/2001-15/04/2015).

"It is also to be noted of every species, that the handsomest of each move best ... and beasts of the most elegant form, always excel in speed; of this, the horse and greyhound are beautiful examples."----Wiliam Hogarth, The Analysis of Beauty, 1753.

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Thanks for your reply! My girl does something similar too. She occasionally lays by the bedroom door at night time (she sleeps in a separate room) and eventually goes back to her bed / couch. She doesnt whine at nighttime, it is more like she is listening to us....!

 

How did you stop your boy from pacing and whining? How long did it take?

The pacing has been reducing on it's own, I think he's finally figuring out that we'll always come back. By no means is he "fine" but we try and practice alone time every day and vary the time we're gone (we work from home so that makes it significantly easier). I would let her sleep in your bedroom. Dakar started out shadowing us in every room-to the point where you couldn't take a shower without him becoming anxious and destructive, but now he'll typically sleep for a couple hours on the couch, and will then spend the rest of the night on bedroom- He's becoming more independent but on his own terms.

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We are still not really sure about letting her sleep in the same room....will she be more dependent on us?

 

She did well on Tuesday afternoon (I am in Australia so hours ahead of you guys). Just a bit of whining and started sleeping in about 10 minutes after finishing her treats.

 

Today I decided to leave her in the morning. Since she’s more used to spending afternoon all by herself, I thought I should give it a go. It was our fifth time leaving her in the morning. She had her breakfast on snuffle mat, had treat then went to the front door and whined only for a second. However, she did smallest pee inside and made her bed rather aggressively. Then started sleeping after 10 minutes after finishing breakfast & treat. I would like to think that once she gets used to us leaving her in the morning, she would not soil inside...but I honestly don’t know if this will be the case :(

 

So many ups and downs!

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We are still not really sure about letting her sleep in the same room....will she be more dependent on us?

 

 

No; it will help her gain confidence, and see herself as an integral part of your household. At present, as you indicated yourself, she is anxious at nights, coming and listening outside your closed door. So please, it's time to give this a try. Like I said, it doesn't have to be forever. Just while she settles in and learns to be your dog.

Clare with Tiger (Snapper Gar, b. 18/05/2015), and remembering Ken (Boomtown Ken, 01/05/2011-21/02/2020) and Doc (Barefoot Doctor, 20/08/2001-15/04/2015).

"It is also to be noted of every species, that the handsomest of each move best ... and beasts of the most elegant form, always excel in speed; of this, the horse and greyhound are beautiful examples."----Wiliam Hogarth, The Analysis of Beauty, 1753.

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^^^^^

Agree...

Let her sleep in your room.

Or at least put a comfy bed in there and leave your door open so she has the option.

 

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 DocsDoctor and BatterseaBrindl!

 

Our bedroom is also a study so there is not much space left, so we decided to move her bed to the entrance of our bedroom. We left the bedroom door open and she slept on her bed whole night. She normally moves back and forth between bed and couch, so it was a surprise. We will see how she goes in the next few weeks. We also noticed that she “talks” quite a bit in her sleep!

 

Not sure if it has anything to do with the new sleeping arrangement but she seems to be hyper active this morning and bolted out the front door into the enclosed communal corridor for the first time...lucky she can’t get outside unless she knows how to use the elevator.

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I wouldn't be surprised if she did know how to use the elevator. According to one of the delivery firms mine knows how to sign for parcels because when checking on their website to track a delivery it had been signed for by the householder and Grace was the only one at home at the time. :hehe

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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I wouldn't be surprised if she did know how to use the elevator. According to one of the delivery firms mine knows how to sign for parcels because when checking on their website to track a delivery it had been signed for by the householder and Grace was the only one at home at the time. :hehe

Hahahaha! I just had a good laugh imagining Grace signing and receiving parcels!

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