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LoveMyGrey

Is My Dog Depressed Or Is This Normal?

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Hi! I have had Coco a little over 6 months. She came to us with hookworms which we hope we have eradicated now! Ever since she has been with us and our 2 smaller pups, she is minimally active (which I know is a trait of the retired racers). Any deviation to her routine upsets her to where she will not eat and/or go outside. Ex: she was ready to go out last night, but my husband knelt down just outside the door for a second and that scared her and she wouldn't move off her bed for 2 hours even though I know she had to use the bathroom. I used to think she was getting too hungry overnight which caused some of this, but I have started feeding her 1/2 a cup of food about 9PM and that stopped the grumbly tummy issue. She will have days where she seldom gets off her bed. Then she may have a day or several where she will play for 5 minutes then lay back down for the rest of the day.

 

I have taken her for walks and runs but that seems to make it worse the next day - she seems to like and enjoy the walks but even in our yard any odd noise, person talking, dog barking, anything scares her and she pulls to go back inside where she may not want to leave again, ever! Also, I took her for a meet and greet about a month ago and I'm not sure if it was sensory overload with the dogs and people, but if another grey got near her she would snap and growl - none of the others were acting this way. She hates to ride in the car so I try not to subject her to it anymore than I have to, which is sad as she can go with me to work everyday if she wants.

 

She used to go outside by herself but in the last month will only go with my 8lb rat terrier (which I call her security dog) and now it is taking me about 5 minutes the majority of the time to get her off the deck. Her poop seems to have firmed up for the most part so that is a plus, but I just don't know how to help her. I see other greys online running, playing, roaching, and stuff and mine does none of that. I'm wondering if it is depression or an adrenal fatigue issue. Does anyone have any thoughts?

 

We have our first trip coming in about a month for a long weekend and I have someone coming in to take care of her, but I worry that she will not eat or move while we are gone. I am truly at a loss as to what to do! I give her lots and lots of praise and love and she is not food motivated at all which makes getting her to do anything difficult at best! Thanks for any thoughts or suggestions as I am completely out of them!

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Try sending her the universal calming signal. An exaggerated yawn, one lick of your lips and look away.

 

It basically shows you can 'speak dog'. Spooky ones can't stand being stared at, loomed over or patted on the head. They hate being 'trapped' somewhere by a human blocking the escape route.

 

See this old thread

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I would have her Thyroid levels checked.


 

Mom to Melly and Dani

Greyhound Bridge Angels - Jessie, Brittne, Buddy,

Red, Chica, Ford and Dodge.

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Thank you both for your replies! I can't say for sure what spooked her last night, but even 3 hours after breakfast this morning she still will not go outside - won't get off her bed actually. I hate that this is happening and don't quite understand it either since I have had her for 6 months and even as a new pup she didn't do this. I have read the thread Greyaholic posted and tried the calming signal (my rendition must not have been very good as she didn't move)! I will have her Thyroid and probably the adrenal function tested the next time we visit the vet, unless she doesn't get better soon! Thanks again!

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Thyroid and have your vet physically manipulate her limbs and do a full physical. Arthritis??? She might be in pain. An anti inflammatory might be in order.

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It is very discouraging to see posts of happy, interactive dogs enjoying life but keep in mind that those are the videos people LIKE to post...they don't post videos of depressed dogs! We had a very shy dog who we sometimes had to tip off her bed to get her up and out. If we took her in the car to the park she wouldn't get out of the car if we were parked next to noisy people or even quiet crowds. If anyone came to the house, even people she knew, we would have to gate the staircase off to prevent her from disappearing upstairs. She lived with us while we had two other dogs over the course of her life (one at a time, but she always had a roommate.) It was just her personality and she was the only one out of 5 that was so shy. We learned to live with it and had her for 8 years.

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Thank you both for your replies! I can't say for sure what spooked her last night, but even 3 hours after breakfast this morning she still will not go outside - won't get off her bed actually. I hate that this is happening and don't quite understand it either since I have had her for 6 months and even as a new pup she didn't do this. I have read the thread Greyaholic posted and tried the calming signal (my rendition must not have been very good as she didn't move)! I will have her Thyroid and probably the adrenal function tested the next time we visit the vet, unless she doesn't get better soon! Thanks again!

 

With the dog body language you're trying to let her know that she can relax. She may currently be resolving the conficting tensions she sees with the displacement activity of staying in her bed. Is her eye soft or scary starey? What I was trying to offer you by sending that calming signal was to help you tell your dog something like: I'm feeling tense about something but I'm dealing with it, so don't worry, you're not in trouble really".

 

The points the others are making about thyroid and arthritis are all valid.

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Yes, it could definitely be thyroid, or some other medical issue. So have her thoroughly evaluated by your vet first and foremost.

 

Idiopathic Fear and Withdrawal in Greyhounds

http://www.greyhoundinfo.org/?page_id=930

 

The author of this article is a renowned greyhound trainer. About halfway through the he begins to talk about greyhounds "spooks." It's not a greyhound-only phenomenon, but we do it quite frequently in newly adopted dogs. Once they are removed from the environment where they have spent their entire lives, they seem unable to function like a normal dog.

 

Spooks are a lot like autistic kids. They thrive on routine and a strict daily schedule. They do not like doing anything new or novel or having "adventures." The smallest upset or outlier in their routine can knock them off their game for days. They often don't respond to their name, even though you know they know it. They will often have repetitive routines to calm themselves like licking or pacing (or in your case, isolating herself on her bed). They are not food motivated at all. Once they become anxious they cannot calm themselves down. They often won't appear to have bonded with other dogs OR with their humans. They don't respond to normal comunication cues or commands (like calming signals).

 

There's no magic cure for a spook, and they can be difficult to have as a pet, as you've seen. As the former Mom of a spook I can tell you absolutely that our girl was the most frustrating and the most rewarding dog we've ever had. There were days I literally cried over her inability to deal with life, then there were days I cried because she actually did something "normal." The first time she came up to me on her own for petting was a huge accomplishment (and I cried!). So I hear your concerns about your girl.

 

Some things that can help:

>Routine routine routine - don't change it, don't vary it. Do the same thing at the same time every single day.

 

>When she's having her spells, let her alone. Set up a safe space for her to retreat to that's near the rest of the family, but out of the direct hubbub of the house. Let her stay there. Sometimes it can help to push her out into the home, but your girl isn't there yet.

 

>Try feeding smaller, more numerous meals of something really yummy. My girl LOVED Beneful Prepared Meals. Not the best nutrition, but when your dog hasn't eaten in two days you'll take whatever she will eat. And she would only eat about three spoonfuls at a time. Then in two hours another three spoonfuls, dropped in her bowl. Early on I tried the "tough love" thing of not feeding her until she was hungry enough to eat - I stopped that after 4 days of her not eating a thing - spooks are not like normal dogs!

 

> Talk with your vet about anti anxiety medication. You can try some non-rx things like DAP, L-Theanine, calming chews, and Rescue Remedy. Sometimes they do help, mostly they do not. We tried 4 or 5 different anti anxiety meds (off label uses of human medications like paxil, xanax, prozac, etc) before finding a pill and a dosage that worked for our girl to give her some normality (Trazadone was what we finaly settled on).

 

>Lower your expectations for what she will be able to accomplish and when she will be ready to accomplish them.

 

>Use her leash, or have her wear a support harness so you can have a handle to grab her and help her up. Especially for potty trips. Though I have to say, of all the dogs we've had, our spook never once had an accident in the house. We also had to keep her on leash outside in our yard because she couldn't go inside. I leash walked her for 8 years since I couldn't trust her either to come to me, or go along with the other dogs.

 

Having a spook can be very rewarding but it's not for everyone. If you don't feel up to the challenge, and you don't feel your home is conducive to her best interests, she will be better served by returning her to her group sooner rather than later. We knew exactly what we were getting into before our girl came to us, but most spook parents don't. Hipefully you have been in contact with your adoption gorup about your girl's issues already, so they are aware of what's going on.

 

Good luck!


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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Wow, thank you everyone for all the advice!! Coco did hold "it" until I came home (9 hours after eating and 6 hours after I left). She has never had an accident in the house. She seemed perfectly normal, came to greet me when I walked in wagging tail (she can't be crated). She and the "security" dog went outside - no hesitation and she did all her business and even sniffed around! We came in and I fed her and she ate it all perfectly and now she is chewing on her antler and seems fine.

 

Greyaholic - thank you so much for all your info. I have never heard of a spook before but most of what you are saying sounds just like Coco. Do you have any suggestions for when we go out of town? I will write down in detail her routine for her care giver (this time my dad - God help him), but I didn't know if you had any suggestions of things to make that weekend easier on her.

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Write down her schedule in detail and ask him to adhere to it as closely as possible. Then tell him not to panic if she completely ignores him, stops eating, and/or wont go potty! ;)

 

Then again, she might be just fine!


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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Might have your dad take her outside on leash (even within your fenced yard) as you don't want her to go out and then refuse to come in because "omg, he's in there!" :lol - but been there, done that, with our spooky Coco! Could also coach him a bit in not looking directly at the dog -- keep his shoulder / ear toward her rather than facing her straight on. Best luck!


Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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