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Jakemedic

New girl isn't adjusting well.

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Good Morning!

We are reasonably experienced greyhound parents.  Over nearly 20 years, we have had three females, all retired racers.  We lost our Angel Laci in March of this year and after our grieving period, decided the best way to cherish our Angel was by getting another one.  

We obtained Bella fresh off the track the end of September.  At the kennel, she appeared friendly, reasonably confident and generally a friendly greyhound.  Once we got her home, we figured that this has to be quite an ordeal for the little girl, who just turned 4 years old.  Never been in a house, never had toys and surely never had the love and affection we want to give her.  

She is "nervous" (or possibly anxious) all the time.  She simply lays in her bed and refuses to go outside unless forced to.  When called, she comes towards us with tail wagging, but never quite makes it to us before running away again.  This morning she has refused to go out.  She keeps running away.  I attempted to put her lead on her and she "froze".  I knew it was a loosing battle and left her to lay in her bed.  

We never had an anti social dog before.  Our grey's have always wanted attention, to be with "their people" and LOVED to go outside or on a walk.  This little girl doesn't seem to enjoy much of anything.  She has not gone potty in the house, and seems to understand that going outside is to relieve herself.  She is terribly afraid of any toys, but does seem our granddaughter and when she comes over, seems to enjoy running with her in the fenced back yard.

My bride seems to think that we need to get another grey.  Apparently, there are a few more to choose from and possibly we could find an alpha to take Bella and show her the ropes.  I would much rather get a handle on this one's behavior issues and love her.  She has been to the vet, and has gotten a clean bill of health.  She is a beautiful little girl, that we want nothing but the best for.  

Any suggestions?

 


Be Safe Out There!

 

Jake

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I think you need to change your perspective here, you know how a lot of people compare greyhounds to cats? Sounds like you have one of those.

Probably your previous have been more dog like; we've had one of each now and it is a dramatic difference, but it's not a behavioral issue, it may just be her personality. Our "cat-dog" liked to be in the room with us, but wasn't an attention hound or snuggler and once we moved to a house with a yard, we could just f' right off with going for walks as far as he was concerned. He literally just laid around all. the. time. New one, he's a lab in a greyhound suit, you never know what you're gonna get :)

Now, all this with the caveat that it is still early days, and she could come out of her shell, especially if she seemed more confident when you met her, but being more aloof/not liking toys/being a bit of a spook isn't something you necessarily can or should try to fix.

It's been a couple months, have you done any training classes with her? Some of what you're noticing - like not really coming when she's called and overall lack of confidence - can be helped greatly with formal training.

Give her some time, and try to rethink what behavior issues really are - 'cause it doesn't sound like she has any. And unless she came from outside the US, you may also want to rethink the life you think these dogs lived while they raced. Many had loving handlers in their coaches and kennel keepers and were very comfortable and confident in that life, your life (while I'm sure very loving and wonderful) is very different and scary from that right now.

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Do you know other greyhound owners?  Maybe have a play date & see how she responds.  My Patches was scared of everything.  She would drink water looking over her shoulder when

I first got her but I had a 2nd female at the time to show her the ropes.  She blossomed into the best dog I could have asked for.    Be patient which I know you have been. 

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Sounds like my Grace. As Bizeebee puts it she's a "cat-dog". Not one for a fuss but likes to be in the room with me. She'll happily go for walks in the morning but evening walks are often a different matter. I throw a treat a few feet away from her so she has to get up to reach it, I then put her collar and lead on and often need another treat to get her moving. Once she's moving she'll walk quite happily.

The best thing I found to build her confidence was to go for walks with other greys. The local greyhound rescue centres organise monthly walks and we often go on the one in Lichfield (UK) where last time over 60 greyhounds turned up.


Grace (Ardera Coleen) born 18 June 2014
Raced at Monmore Green, Wolverhampton UK - 68 Races, 9 wins, 5 second places
Gotcha Day 10 June 2018 

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Thank you for all your suggestions!  Our first girl was around alone until we got her sister.  They fought for a little while until the hierarchy was established then did just fine.  Our last girl (before Bella) came in after loosing our one girl to bone cancer.  So she had someone to show her the ropes.  Once our first crossed the rainbow bridge, Laci became the rare "our dog", loving both my bride and I and did well until she died.  We were without a grey for too long until we got Bella.  She is a good girl, just not social and appears to be scared of her shadow.  Maybe my bride is right, another one would be best...... Oh I do agree, she had loving handlers.  The kennel we got her from was very passionate about grey's and cared for them well.  

We are in a rural area without many grey's floating around.  Oh how much fun it would be to go on a walk with 60 of them!!!  Possibly, we could take her to a meet and greet about 60 miles away and see how she does.  She didn't appear to mind car rides all that much, which is a good thing.  

I will keep you posted on her progress.  Honestly, I never thought of obedience training for her.  Maybe a good thing.  Had never done that with any of our other girls, but Bella might benefit from it.  She is a lovely girl, kind, gentle, but quite different from our previous experiences.  


Be Safe Out There!

 

Jake

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I have had 10 greyhounds so I am familiar with them. It sounds to me that she just hasn't settled in and needs TIME.  You are correct in the massive change that has been thrust upon her. It would be like somebody taking you to a different planet!

I had a male name Goldie that was far worse than your girl.  He was so scared and terrified of everything. I had to feed him in a back bedroom generally in the dark because he was too scared to eat near other people or dogs in another part of the house. He would hide back there until I went and got him and made him leave with me.  He would cower in his kennel when approached. It was plain sad. I would go back to the bedroom and harness him up and TAKE him with me on walks and even to MAKE him sit with me on the sofa or the living room etc around family loving on him and heavily rewarding him constantly. I also gave him Bach's Rescue Remedy 4 drops once or twice a day. After a few weeks there was noticeable improvement. He did much better as time went on and wasn't so scared all the time anymore.

Then I adopted an extremely dominant and even aggressive-to people and dogs- greyhound. Slim had been starved nearly to death and was found in a pen with other starving dogs including at least one rottweiler-which he frankly had to fight in order to get any food at all to survive.  Anyway Slim didn't really care one way or the other about Goldie and was NOT aggressive to him.  However Goldie could not help but notice Slim's outward shows of confidence and aggression to other dogs and people on walks or that would come to the house or even the squirrels outside.  Gradually Goldie began to take an interest in the squirrels etc and stopped behaving fearfully pretty much all together. He seen Slim confidently go to people and get treats and figured he would try it! Things like that.  Then the next thing you know Goldie became markedly confident and outgoing! Even his bark changed. When I first got him and he was so fearful he would basically have a little squeak of a bark. After being with Slim a while he barked a big deep man dog bark.  It was amazing.

  So said all that to say this. IMO she probably just needs more time. I would insist she walk with me etc but I would reward heavily with prized high value rewards(cheapie rewards don't work) when she did. I would not get a new dog just yet as she has had enough changes in a short period of time. But after she starts to improve in a year or so a very confident and outgoing dog may very well help her.  NEVER CODDLE, SOOTHE, OR REWARD HER WHEN SHE IS EXHIBITING FEARFUL BEHAVIOR OR YOU WILL INCREASE IT. Only reward and praise her when she does something positive to push through it. For e.g. if you make her sit beside you for a few minutes.  Don't reward her if she tries to leave etc. MAKE her sit there for a short time at first then increase longer time. After she does it then praise and reward. Don't use the food to lure her outside for a walk etc. TAKE her outside on the leash and then when she complies then reward her. She will learn that going out is a good thing and eventually will want to.  Be very careful you do not reward fearful behavior. Do not correct it either. That would only make it worse. Just IGNORE any behavior you don't want and it will eventually extinguish itself. Now I'm not saying she can make the amazing leap that Goldie did and I'm not saying she won't either. But she hasn't even had a chance yet. Honestly it took probably 2 or 3 years before Goldie went from basically a spook to being a confident, outgoing happy dog. However he improved all along the way and it created such a loving bond between us! The whole experience was a blessing. It's all good. Just give your girl a lot of time with few demands. BTW after 2 years I was able to quit giving him the daily Rescue Remedy because he didn't need it anymore. Normally that is not given for such a long period of time but I figured it was an extreme case and required extreme measures hehe so I did give it to him everyday and I do believe it helped.

Also my first greyhound Ivy required nearly a whole year before she came out of her shell and blossomed into the angel that she was. It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen- to watch her go through that.  It was like watching a rose blossom.  She was never fearful etc and was friendly but she was always reserved-would trance etc- and then one day, after around a year, it was like a rose opening up and she just blossomed into the most beautiful loving confident hound! You wouldn't want to miss that journey if that is where your girl is ultimately headed.  I would encourage you to give her a lot more time. Something tells me that you have not caught even a glimpse yet of her true beauty! Please keep in touch and let us know how she is doing.

 

Edited by racindog

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4 hours ago, Jakemedic said:

Honestly, I never thought of obedience training for her.  Maybe a good thing.  Had never done that with any of our other girls, but Bella might benefit from it. 

Most greys don't need it, but I think a lot of that settling in anxiety is related to no longer knowing what they are supposed to do, or be, now that they don't have their job or normal routine. With training you reintroduce what they are supposed to be doing - even if it's just relaxing, in a way that is clearer to them then "you're home free! do what you want!" which seems awesome to us, but is pretty vague from their perspective.

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Personally, I would wait a little longer until you have established a baseline level of trust with her to do anything like a class.  If you have access/knowledge of basic obedience yourself, try some of the exercises at home and see how she responds - positive reinforcement only, and really yummy treats!  Things like "come" and "watch me" are easy and help build her confidence.

In fact, more yummy treats could help you out a lot.  She sounds like one of those greys that need a lot of time and patience to setlle into a home life - everything is strange and she doesn't trust you yet.  Carry some treats with you around the house or set a bowl up out of her reach near where she usually lays.  Toss her little yummy tidbits whenever you pass by and speak to her softly and kindly.  Reward her every time you call her to you.  Reward her when she does anything positive at all - particularly for interacting with you.

And keep repeating to youself - Time and patience!  She's just one of those dogs that need more of both.  Perhaps months, but it could take a long, long time.  I will also say, if you and your wife don't feel able to handling a dog who might need that extra time and intervention, then yes, return her and see if another dog fits your lifestyle and expectations a little better.   What you're seeing with this dog is completely normal behavior for a newly adopted retired racer - it's a spectrum rather than a specific set of traits - and one of the drawbacks in adopting a dog directly from a track kennel without the benefit of a group to evaluate and place dogs in suitable situations.  If the kennel will work with you, then you'd be doing yourselves and the dog a favor in that situation.


Chris - Mom to: Whiskey (KT's Phys Ed), Lilly, and Felicity ( DeLand )

35764734494_93de5b5963_b.jpg

Angels: Libby (Everlast), Dorie (Dog Gone Holly), and Dude (TNJ VooDoo), Copper (Kid's Copper), Cash (GSI Payncash), Toni (LPH Cry Baby),

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Good Morning!

a quick update!  I ordered some “Rescue Remedy ” which should be here later this week.  My bride and I are going this morning to get a foster girl, as the one grey that lived in our area died of bone cancer in September.  (We felt terrible for the family after loosing one of our angels to that as well),  We will see how that goes.  Bella seems to have found her “nummy treat” and I have been giving her one whenever she does anything at all positive.  We took her on a walk yesterday and the neighbor’s lawnmower backfired.  She jumped really high, so glad my bride had good hold of her leash. 
 

Going to try one fix at a time.  Bring the foster girl home and see how the behavior goes.  Without improvements I will try the rescue Remedy.  
 

She is a good girl, who we love lots.  Just need her to come out and enjoy life.  She so deserves it!


Be Safe Out There!

 

Jake

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Glad to hear such good news!  The Rescue Remedy won't hurt even if she doesn't need it. That is one of the great things about flower essence therapy. If they don't need a particular remedy it won't hurt anything.  Just the opposite of homeopathy where it could cause the individual to "prove" the remedy. So rest assured it won't hurt her and sounds like it will really help her. 

One thing I wanted to comment regarding the lawnmower backfire.  When they react like that it causes a great deal of those fear chemicals like cortisol to be dumped into their blood stream.  It takes at least a day or so to clear out and in bad cases can take weeks.  They will be fine but are likely to be more nervous than normal for a while right after the incident. So don't worry if sometimes it looks like she has regressed-just give her time and opportunity to let those fear chemicals work out of her system.

Giving her the yummy treats whenever she does something positive and even for no reason other than looking at you and engaging with you is one of, if not the, best thing you can do to help her! Clearly you have already established a 'connection' with her and you know what she needs better than anybody.  Always try to communicate to her that you will protect her and that she doesn't have to worry as long as you are around. It will make a tremendous difference. For e.g. if she is afraid of an approaching dog or human don't coddle her, but do let her retreat behind you if she is more comfortable doing that etc.The result will be that ultimately she is fearless about going for walks or of approaching scarey people or dogs because she has learned that you will protect her if necessary-and over time she will learn that. And when she begins to exhibit this confident behavior reward and you will increase it even more.   If you try and force her to be social with them you will just increase her fear and make ie an even more negative experience.  Always set your dog up for success. Arrange activities etc. so they always associate them with something positive and good.

I think all is well and this will ultimately turn out to be a match made in heaven Enjoy your new princess and keep in touch :beatheart Thanks for sharing!

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The foster pup is named Winnie. She is a 6 year old brood momma that is an amazing brindle in color. Our adoption lady talked to the kennel and advised them of our issues with Bella.  The breeder showed us two mommas that they thought would be a good match for us. We picked Winnie, and for now are fostering her.  We let them meet each other out in the yard and of course “shook paws” by sniffing each other. They ran a little bit and then came inside so Bella could show Winnie the house. Winnie was of course quite excited and so was Bella!  Bella was a bit protective of her bed, but did come and get attention (and of course a special treat). After the initial looking around, Bella went to her bed and Winnie is laying in the living room on a new bed that Bella was too scared to lay in.  I am cautiously optimistic that bringing in another girl was a good idea.  Time will tell for sure, but for now it is very good. Thanks to everyone who took time out of their lives to post here.  Your caring and love is greatly appreciated!  


Be Safe Out There!

 

Jake

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More good news! greyt!  A broodie is the perfect companion for Bella!!!! The broodie will show her confidence and believe me Bella will notice.  Winnie is already doing that by laying on the 'scary' bed.  Let me know how long it is before Bella decides it's not scary after all hehe.:beatheart

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I have found having a group member leave a confident hound for a sleep over. Could be a weekender.  Or just tough it out. I have done many with Time and a bottle! 

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another update......

I am SO proud of Bella.  She seems to have come out of her shell, just after one day. The issue now is "the good dog bed". We purchased it for our Angel Laci in 2017.  It is big, comfortable and the girls are "battling" (well not really) over it.  A few times today I walked into the bedroom to find Winnie laying in the bed and Bella simply watching over her...... What was really funny is when I would call Winnie out of the bed, Bella would join her, not wanting to miss anything.  The new girl would run down the hall and take the bed before poor Bella had the opportunity to beat her to it.  How funny!  When going outside, Bella would be the first to the door and out confidently.  What an incredible change from just a few days ago!  I have seen Bella more in the last day than I did in the past week.  Her tail is up, and not between her legs, and she seems to be happy.  Of course, she still gets some "nummy treats" whenever she comes up to me or does something really good.  I am sure that helps!

We ordered another jumbo bed and it should be here within a week or so.  Until then, the musical chairs of the comfy bed will continue.

Stay warm and safe!!

Jake


Be Safe Out There!

 

Jake

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:)

I'm so glad Bella is doing better with Winnie around!

And  yes...there will be 'discussions' over beds. 

You should probably have a minimum of 3 beds so they always have a choice. 

My guys all have their favourite ones ... and they do change that every once in a while......so we have more beds than dogs in most rooms.

There are four in the kitchen  :wow  and four in the bedroom  :omg  and a futon and 2 beds in the mud room.  Right now I have Nigel & Sid here in the kitchen and Kibo is out on the futon.

Theres only one dog bed in the living room because...well... you know...the couch and love seat are more comfy ;)

 


 

Nancy...Mom to Nigel (Nigel) , Sid (Peteles Tiger) and Kibo (112 Carlota Galgos)

Missing Casey, Gomer, Mona, Penelope, BillieJean, Bandit, Nixon (Starz Sammie) and especially Ruby (Watch Me Dash) waiting at the Bridge.

NSK-Nov.jpg

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5 hours ago, BatterseaBrindl said:

the couch and love seat are more comfy

We haven’t got that far yet, but am sure we will eventually. Bella would simply freeze when my bride would lift her onto the couch. We enjoy cuddly hounds for sure!  Today seem to be another good day for the girls. In laws came to see the new addition and Bella came out too!  She didn’t want to miss out on any attention!  They both deserve to be happy and confident greyhounds. So far, so good!


Be Safe Out There!

 

Jake

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