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Help! My greyhound is scared to go outside!

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 Hi everyone. 

I've just joined, and I am in desperate need of some help. Here's the situation:

My family has been adopting retired greyhounds through a local adoption agency since I was in 4th grade (I'm now 35), so I've been around them for most of my life. I can state with absolute confidence they are my favorite breed to have as a pet. But it's only recently that I've taken the plunge and adopted a grey of my very own. After a few months on the wait list, I was paired with an absolute sweetheart of a girl; she is black all over with four white paws and a white-streaked nose, has a very gentle personality, and even gets along with my roommate's cat. On paper, it seemed like we should provide her with the perfect home for what she needed. 

Here's the problem though: she is terrified to leave my apartment. As soon as I get the leash out, or go near the door, she starts pulling away and shrinking in on herself. I've had her for five weeks now, and each time we've gone outside, I've had to physically carry her to the door. Even if she starts pacing during the day, or wakes us up at night, or gives any indication she needs to potty, as soon as I try to take her down, she runs back to her bed and begins trembling at the prospect. 

We've improved a bit though. She still has to be carried through the front door, but once I get her out in the hall, she generally will walk with me. Once we get to the elevator (she doesn't do stairs yet) she paces or stresses while we wait for it, and dives inside as the doors slide open. Once on the ground floor, it's a toss up whether or not I'll need to push her out into the corridor, as she prefers to shrink back in the smallest corner of the elevator car.

Outside, we have developed a good routine, but she doesn't like any deviation, which I understand is to be expected. But it feels like she knows the routine, and is simply trying to get through it as quickly as she can. Once we head back inside, she will likewise dive into the elevator, but has no problem jumping out and making a beeline for my front door (which she recognizes on sight -- I really do think she's very clever).

So. I've tried several things. I give her an anti anxiety treat in the morning, 30 minutes before we go out for the first time. It helps a bit, but her body language still says fear, and she will tremble and chatter her teeth whenever we aren't moving. I've tried lavender oil on a bandana around her neck, but that only really calms her after we come back in. I've moved her food bowls closer to the door; she has grown less hesitant eating there, but she doesn't like drinking water when it's so close, and that worries me. So, I'm trying to teach her that the front door is a good thing by leaving a trail of small treats to the door so she can gain confidence walking over there. It's working, to a point, but she won't go for it if she knows we are watching her, or if I open the door (safely) to let her see the apartment inner hallway. She won't accept any treats (chicken, cheese cubes, small bacon pieces) anywhere outside, or inside if I'm trying to coax her towards the front door while her leash is on (she has accepted cheese with her leash on, once, by the door, but refused any more once the door was open). I'm going to try peanut butter next, as I've read that licking such treats is calming, but I'm not sure how that will help if she won't eat anything when going out is the task at hand. I've also recorded the ambient noises of the apartment hallway, elevator, and outdoor area, and have been giving her treats while l play said recordings, especially when a noise really grabs her attention, to try to re-associate the noises with food and love. And naturally, I tell her what a good girl she is whenever she does walk with me, and potty outside, etc.

Sorry for the long post, but I wanted to provide as much background as I could. I'm really scared that, despite my best efforts, my apartment might be the wrong home for her, but I'm not looking to give up just yet. Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated. And if anything needs clarification, please don't hesitate to ask.

TL;DR: my newly adopted greyhound is afraid to leave my apartment for walks, and seems to be scared of almost everything outside. 

A concerned new doggo dad


Edited by eldon_of_hyrule
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She's a lovely looking hound. But I would say that as she looks very similar to my Grace.

It appears there is a noise or a smell in the corridors that's upsetting her and until she realises that no harm is going to happen to her I think it's just a case of time and patience while she works that out. She'll also be taking her cue from you so act confidently and don't comfort/reward her nervousness either by your actions or verbally. Grace went through a phase of not wanting to go out in the evening but was OK once she was on the pavement so I used to have to carry her out of the house but she doesn't have that problem now..

She will get over it. It just might take longer than you'd like, but as is often said on here, time, patience and a sense of humour is needed. We've all been there one way or another.


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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Aww bless her! She looks a lot like my grey too! Even with the white on the nose being more on one side than the other! 

9 hours ago, HeyRunDog said:


She will get over it. It just might take longer than you'd like, but as is often said on here, time, patience and a sense of humour is needed. We've all been there one way or another.


We've all been there. It can take months of patience and encouragement to get a grey relaxed and used to anywhere that isn't their comfy, trusted home. Ours is an absolute food monster, food obsessed, but if he's nervous he won't eat at all so I do get how difficult it is trying to positively reward with tasty treats outdoors. 

There's no quick fix, sadly. But you'll find as time goes on she will gradually improve, with the odd small step back and then a few steps forward. 

We do have a harness with a handle which is useful for gently guiding forward (ours is too big to carry) occasionally. Aside from that - cheery voices, comfortable routine and letting her gradually get used to the surroundings are all you can do. You will hopefully find that as her nerves calm she may start to take treats, in which case something REALLY tasty and smelly will start to engage her and take her mind off anything scary around her. 

She'll get there :-)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Any updates on how your grey is doing? 

I don't know if this will help you since it sounds like your hound won't eat outside. We had a temporary problem with going outside, it turned out to be mostly environmental factors (noise). We can't control the noise so we started accepting really short walks, and walks that only happened late when the noise had stopped. We also used a lot of high value treats outside, even right outside the door. So as soon as he goes out the door, he gets a pretty high value treat (we're using weruva kibble topper) and there are some high value treats he only gets outside, never inside (chicken). And if he wants to pee and come right back in, we let him do that instead of trying to keep him out longer. 

I don't know if this would help either, but one strategy I read about when trying to figure out this problem was a dog buddy--is there another dog on your floor that you could coordinate (socially distant) walks with, so that your dog doesn't feel alone? 

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I am working through the same issue with a very young gh just off of a farm 10 days.  

Greyhound Gang In UT suggests these holistic drops.  "FEAR",  I have tried this. 


and I also am trying CBD oil, per other discussions in this group to assure myself that is safe for a gh. There's some positive posts in here re this treatment. Personally have not used it more than a couple of times. A person I know swears by this for his previously abused dog and uses it daily. He said it completely changed her. His dog begins her day with a little CBD, just like I begin mine with coffee !  Two brands that my specialty dog store recommends is Treatibles, and Zen-Pen by Earth Animal. I have used the Treatibles hemp oil a few times.

I am also using these. from Botanical Animal.  https://botanicalanimal.com/shop-all/

1. Mellow Out; Panic Attack, and Life Changes.

The Panic Attack seemed to work almost immediately in a situation with another young dog (Lab) that i just got. 

The Life Changes helped both this new gh and my other 5 y/o gh who was in a deep grief over the recent (second in a year) loss of her other gh sister. Both the new and older gh seem pretty good with with this flower essence,

In your case I would suggest the Panic Attack and the Life Changes to start with.   I seem to be use Mellow Out to just keep a calm demeanor at times so have only used it a few times.. 

So you can see, I am trying everything, and have not, to date, had any negative results,  and will use what appears to be applicable for each situation/hurdle. And use it only when it seems best for my dogs. My newest girl is pretty spooky so I may begin the Mellow Out on a daily basis to see if it helps.




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