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New Greyhound Hates His Crate And We Have Cats


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Hi everyone,

My husband and I adopted a retired greyhound just over 2 weeks ago. He's our first greyhound and first dog! Therefore we are new to the community. I've read through lots of the forum already and it's been extremely helpful, if only to make us feel incredibly lucky with our boy! He's doing remarkably well considering. But we do need help/advice with 1-2 things. Apologies in advance but this will likely be a long post as I want to give proper context for the issue(s) we're having. Thanks in advance!!

 

Lupin (Lu) is a very tall boy with 81lb racing weight. He turns 2 in a couple weeks. He retired very early due to a hock injury. It's pretty much healed now but he does limp at the ends of longer walks. We haven't seen/let him run or sprint yet.

We do not have a fenced in yard yet so we walk him every time to go potty. We haven't set a full routine yet as one of the issues we're having is that he pees in his crate, which I've come to understand is kind of odd. I thankfully have the luxury of working from home when needed, so we've either been here with him all day or left him crated for only a few hours. I think the max so far (besides overnight) has been 5 hours during the day. He has a routine in the sense that we let him out every time someone comes downstairs in the morning, every time he's about to go into the crate, every time he's let out of the crate, and right before we go upstairs for bed. The mornings and evenings are fairly routine.

As for the peeing in the crate, it started the subsequent morning after bringing him home. We stuck to his exact routine as per the shelter where we adopted him, which meant last potty was 9:30pm and first potty is just before 7am followed by breakfast. We were on our way downstairs to let him out at 6:45am when we heard him peeing in his crate. We did not scold him or anything since we figured this was just him getting used to the new place and to us and was maybe thinking he wouldn't be let out. After that though, he had 2 seemingly random accidents inside the house but outside the crate during the first week (none since) and then he seems to pee in his crate if we leave him in there during the day for longer than 3 hours, despite ensuring he empties his bladder beforehand by taking him out 3 separate times before crating.

Now for why he needs to be crated at all, because honestly we would LOVE if he could just have free reign (at least of downstairs). We have 2 cats who are still pretty afraid of him (they stay upstairs where Lu has not yet been), and 2 ferrets who have their own room downstairs (so they wouldn't really be at risk but may add to his behavior potentially). The cat introduction went remarkably well the first few days. Our bravest cat, the male, came to investigate the new creature the second day. Lu was leashed and muzzled. He was VERY excited to see the cat, and we believe he only wants to play. He was wagging his tail the whole time with ears pricked and he did some playful bounds towards the cat. He was certified cat-safe as well of course. After maybe 24-36 hours Lu calmed down a bit at the sight of the cat, so I let him get gradually closer (still muzzled), letting my cat tell me his boundaries. As soon as my cat growled, I pulled Lu back a couple feet. This seemed to be great progress because an hour later, they were both sleeping in the same room! But then a day or so later, the same cat came downstairs without us realizing and Lu chased him around the living room until he dashed upstairs, tail apoofed. Since then, Lu still has been rather calm when he sees a cat, but then a few days ago (at least a week after the first cat chase) both cats came downstairs and we were not quick enough to grab him before he chased both until they ran back upstairs. Now I do believe the chases were playful, and the second probably only occurred because it was the first time the second cat (female) came downstairs while he was outside the crate. New friend! The cats seem fine and untraumatized but they are still keeping their distance. I know these chases were completely our fault but we can't change the past.

As for the ferrets, he has had extremely limited interaction with them since they are very small and always running (chaseable). We did let him sniff them over the gate into their room twice, the second time got him way more excited than the first though. He now seems to realize that they are in that room, even when the door is shut. But doesn't show any kind of concerning behavior, just sniffs the door more than he used to.

A little more context before I get into the real reason for this post (again sorry for the length)! Lu was very shy at first but I would not say he was spooky. We haven't seen his tail go between his legs or his hair stand up yet. He warmed up to me after only 2 days and was afraid of my husband until only a couple days ago (which seems to be pretty common). If my husband was home during the day, he'd be fine with him. It was mainly every time he came home from work that Lu would act like he never met him before and run away/lean away when he came near. This still would only last for maybe an hour before he warmed back up to him. Lately, it's only lasted a few minutes! So we're very proud of him for that. We also took him to his first dog park yesterday, but we kept him muzzled and leashed the whole time for everyone's safety since we don't know him well enough yet. He did AWESOME! He met around 10 other dogs, all of whom he was taller than, and was pretty submissive to all. He wagged his tail at most and just let all of them smell him. He definitely wanted to run and play, especially with the few that seemed more his age and speed lol. He even went right up to some of the people, wagging his tail! All in all he was a very good, brave, amazing boy. He got lots of treats when the muzzle came off outside the off-leash area.

 

OK so here's what's happening now that we need some advice about. He went 4 days accident free and then only peed in his crate when he had to be left for 5 hours while we were both at work. He's been accident free since then (3 days ago). Over the past several days, we've been noticing spilled water in his crate though when we come back from wherever during the day. Last night while we were in the ferret room with them, and he was crated, he started whining and barking (this is normal and we just ignore him) but he started making these weird gnawing/growling noises and we got concerned, so I went to see what he was doing. He was gnawing on his crate water bowl (the metal kind that screws onto the bars). Aha now we have an explanation for the spilled water. I didn't say anything to him and just went back into the ferret room. He settled down after another few minutes (also normal).

HOWEVER when we went to bed, he was in rare form. Backtracking a little, his very first night, he cried and howled for 2 hours before giving up and going to sleep for the rest of the night. Since then he cries/howls/barks when we shut off all the lights upstairs but the time he does this has declined a lot. I think the night before last he only did so for 5 minutes. Every now and then he'll hear the cats or something in the middle of the night and cry for a few minutes but nothing concerning. Again showing how lucky we've been so far! But last night, he started his normal crying/barking routine but then started making the gnawing the water bowl noises again. He was making other weird banging noises on the crate but we didn't want to reward him by going downstairs. After 25-30 minutes he gave up and went to sleep for the rest of the night.

My husband has work today so he was on first potty duty. He told me later that the extra noises were Lu completely turning the water bowl upside down, spilling it all (not sure how he did this), and then ripping up his self-warming crate mat. One time when we left him during the day he ripped a small portion of a blanket we put in there with him, but that's the only kind of destructive behavior he's shown so far. He has 2 toys in there with him, one nylabone which he does enjoy chewing and one crinkly, squeaky soft toy that he also enjoys chewing.

 

Now that you've read all that (thank for reading all that), here are our questions.

He has never really liked his crate like they said he would, probably from day 2. He's always put up some resistance when putting him in, but nothing too dramatic. Do you think this new behavior last night is separation anxiety now that he's bonded with us or general spite/rebellion for being in the crate? Or something we're not thinking of?

Does he just really hate the crate and he'll quit this behavior if we leave him out? I'm about to try blocking him off in the living room where his bed(s), toys, and water are, while I go into the ferret room for about an hour. I predict he will cry at first but am hoping he will settle like he normally does in the crate and not try to barrel through the blockades. He is the velcro type so he will not be happy he cannot follow me out of the room.

Those of you with cats, what do you do to ensure everyone's safety? Are your greys crated? The cats have never been confined to one room, so they would not like being kept behind a closed door upstairs.

Are there baby/dog gates that you use that you would recommend to confine him to one room if my experiment works? He will have to continue being crated at least while we have the ferrets out in the living room to play each night, until we trust him and them enough down the line.

Any other general tips for his behavior and/or getting him on safer grounds with the other pets so we can put the crate away for good?

 

Thank you so much!! We really appreciate any advice or help.

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a two year old greyhound is just a big puppy- crazy adolescent. it sounds like this guy is both bored and needs exercise. more than mind games, real physical exercise. where are you located? can you get him out and do some road work on a bike? can you jog with him? any enclosed areas where he can run. my boy was crazy energetic at 2.

 

as to the cats, others will chime in. i am so allergic to cats i never go near them.

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Couple different things come to mind, in no particular order:

 

At 2 years old, as stated above, he's still basically a puppy in an adult body. He will be more active and need more exercise than an older adult. He also won't be entirely potty trained and many of the issues you've had with him peeing in his crate just sound like you've asked him to go too long - especially overnight. 9:30pm to 6:45 am is more than 9 hours and it just may be beyond his capabilities right now. Once he wakes up - which he will as soon as he hears moving around upstairs - he has to go NOW.

 

He also is probably really lonely down there. It's natural for dogs to want to sleep with their packmates at night. It's comforting and it helps with bonding. If you can work out a way for him to sleep in your bedroom it would be best. Borrow another crate for a while (or move yours upstairs), or use an xpen or baby gates to keep him a little confined. Muzzle him if needed.

 

It's just going to take a while for him and the cats to get accustomed to one another. It's also totally fine to leave him muzzled during the day if you leave him out of the crate. Dog proof a room where he's comfortable and use baby gates to keep him there. You can stack them in the doorways and leave them 3-4 inches off the ground so the cats can get in and out easily.

 

If he's destroying things inside his crate he will soon move on to trying to get out. It's time to see if he can be out of the crate on his own while you're gone. Same thing applies - dog proof his place and use baby gates. Again, if he's destructive you can leave his muzzle on.

 

He needs more exercise. Longer walks morning and night to try and tire him out. I say try because it's next to impossible to truly tire out a 2 year old puppy! Use caution at the dog park. Monitor him and his play buddies closely to make sure things don't get out of hand.

 

Congrats and good luck!

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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for a walk to be effective for a greyhound that young this means 2/ 4mile walks. 4 miles to town and back gave felix a 3 hr. nap. then it was fun and games all over again. jogging after he potties in the morning, but not after he eats(danger of bloat) will help with the exercise needs. but then it's let him cool down, feed and potty. you should have a content hound for a couple of hours. also check out some books or videos on potty training. yes, you can tire out a 2 year old puppy for a couple of hours. did your group know your life style prior to adoption? it's the older- 4+ year old hounds that have the low keyed personalities. a 2 year old is prime for obedience training and agility once you get the basics down. both used to exhaust felix- and he LOVED every second of training.

 

i'm not keen on x-pens unless you supervise the dog or they are firmly attached to a table or other heavy object and 5 ft tall. our fabric x-pen was eaten in less than a week. so, scratch that off your list. felix who is 12 still uses his crate! no ill effects observed in the long time use of a crate.

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Agree.... he needs to bond with you. Leave him loose when you are home.

And yes...Sleeping in your room if possible.

 

I'd also dog-proof a room - or two - and leave him loose (muzzled) when you're not home. Start with short periods of time and build up.

 

You can get gates that have small openings for cats to go through.

Beware... he may be able to jump a normal baby gate. Our Sid is only 70 pounds and can get over one easily.

 

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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I agree more exercise is probably needed but also look at the protein level of his food, it should be around 19% for a retired greyhound.

 

As for sleeping in your room, that is a personal choice. In the UK most greyhounds sleep downstairs but in America the preference seems to be with their owners.

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 think it's especially important for a newly adopted Greyhound to not be alone, particularly at night, so a crate or a bed upstairs can be very helpful.

One of you could also consider sleeping downstairs a few times just to provide company. At that young age, energetic walks are required and if those can be combined with zoomies in a safely fenced yard or other such place then it should work out OK. Slow mooches where they just stop and sniff at everything are not too helpful.

 

I adopted Peggy at 18 months (another drop out with a weak front wrist and wanting to jink around and look back at who was chasing her rather than run and catch the next one up) and her energy was just so incredible until she was 3 and a half. Taking to new places seems to make up for a lot of boredom. Give things they have to work at like stuffed Kongs and having to find hidden treats. Soon your dog will know the routine and even try to get you to adhere to it as the right time of day comes around.

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We adopted our girl Ivy when she had just turned 2- definitely a puppy! She needed lots of exercise and wanted to be with us. She ran and ran around the house, grabbing stuffies and playing with them. It was a really fun time!

 

I agree that he needs much more exercise with longer walks. He also needs sniffing time when he is outside- great mental stimulation to learn about the outside world. I would let him out of his crate more when you are home- he wants to be with you and bond with his pack! We also put a second crate upstairs in our bedroom and she slept upstairs without a peep.

 

I also noticed you have a water bowl in his crate. I don't know what others do, but I wonder if that is also why he is peeing in his crate- drinking more than he would otherwise since he seems bored. We did not use crate water bowls and she would go for a drink when we let her out.

 

Be patient with him- he needs your attention and your guidance. He will return your efforts with an incredible amount of love and joy!

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Humans Kathy and Jim with our girls, Ivy (Carolina Spoon) and Cherry (Fly Cherry Pie)

Missing our beautiful angel Breeze (Dighton Breeze) and angel Beka (BM Beko) - you are forever in our hearts.

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Thank you, everyone! I am very happy to hear none of you think it is separation anxiety. We put music on for him the past 2 nights for 2 hours and he did not cry once or destroy anything! I think we overreacted a bit. Regardless, we are getting baby gates to block him a room downstairs to see how that works. We would love for him to not be cramped in a crate for so long anyway. We just didn't know what else to do with the cats.

 

We will definitely work on exercising him more but we're in the northeast and it's been 20 degrees below freezing since Sunday! We've still been walking him and jogging a little with him but he doesn't even want to be outside lol. A fence for our yard is next on the agenda, but obviously we need to allocate funds for that first. Hoping to have one for springtime so he can zoom around once the weather is nicer!

 

As far as sleeping upstairs with us, of course we would love for him to, but he honestly just can't until he is on better terms with the cats. The cats live upstairs almost exclusively now and they've always slept on the bed with us, so we don't want to displace them with that as well. If his behavior spikes again, though, we will consider crating him in our room overnight.

 

He has not peed in his crate in a while now so I think we're in the clear with that issue! He has held it overnight every night since the first. We may end up removing the water bowl if he keeps spilling it (because then he's not drinking it anyway) but I've always heard a dog should always have access to water.

 

Thanks again!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Another thing, if you want to keep your pup close to you, to allow the cats to acclimate, I used to keep a leash on the new dog and attach the leash to me. This helps twofold...dog can't chase the cats AND you can learn your dog's potty signals.

 

Agree with others that he is in the crate too long at night. And I get where you are coming from with the cat sleeping on your bed. My cat sleeps on my bed and when I fostered, newbies got muzzles at night until I knew they'd leave cat alone. I also put a gate across my bedroom door so the cat could hide under the bed or escape the room and the hound couldn't. New hounds, especially only hounds, don't like to be alone/separated from their new pack.

 

Squirt bottles work greyt too. Sounds like your pup wants to play, and as others have stated, that young of a pup will need to exercise. I do put water in the dog crates for my pups, as I had a vet told me once not to withhold liquids or it could potentially cause UTIs. However, if a dog is having issues with peeing, I just put a little bit of water in the crate. Also, you could put a belly band on your pup when he's in the crate.

 

My oldest wears diapers, and she will still go in her crate if I am not home...she seems to only really hold it for 5 hours or so at a time now. So I am guaranteed to wake up during the night to let her out...but at age 13.5 years I don't mind.

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Be very careful. I have reservations about any new dog being "certified cat safe" and frankly the behavior you describe with the cats is PREY behavior- NOT play behavior. If you allow him access to the cats or ferrets you are, at least at this point, sitting him up for failure because he has already shown you he will go after them. He is over 80# with big teeth-the prey animals don't stand a chance if he gets them. Further if he hurts one you will have the catastrophe and sadness and then he will be labeled a "bad" dog which will make it harder for him to find a good home. And there is nothing bad about him. He clearly is a very nice dog! You cannot change him. Prey drive is genetic. He can be trained to control it TO A POINT but he will ALWAYS default to what his genes are telling him to do. And if you think about it in addition he has actually already been trained to chase prey-at least to a point. I know you would really like to believe that it is just play and once they get to know each other all will be well but in reality Lupin is clearly showing you he has a strong prey drive and is more than willing to act on it. Now it is up to you to do what ever you need to do in order to keep everyone safe. Most likely you will always need to keep him separated from small prey animals like cats and ferrets. And don't think the muzzle affords protection either because the hounds are quite experienced with muzzles and usually just go immediately to mashing and squashing the prey with the muzzle once they catch it. I don't expect you to believe me so please do check with a KNOWLEDEGABLE, EXPERIENCED dog trainer. BTW the Pet Smart, Petco, and other such are not either. I am referring to REAL trainers certified by REPUTABLE national organizations-preferably working dog trainers that are quite familiar with a dogs' drives etc.

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Be very careful. I have reservations about any new dog being "certified cat safe" and frankly the behavior you describe with the cats is PREY behavior- NOT play behavior.

 

Totally agree with you. Peggy was erroneously said to be cat and even 'ferret' safe, but over the years I've learned that 'cat safe' doesn't reliably apply to to cats that don't behave like rocks. The slightest movement and that prey drive kicks in.

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