Jump to content

Sleep terrors (Grey's not ours)

Recommended Posts

Morning all.

My partner and I are fostering our third greyhound and he is proving to be something of a handful and I am more looking for reassurance, but any advice is welcome.  Heavily caveated with the 'its still early days' headline!

The dog arrived last week from a charity after being surrendered by his last owner who was having issues controlling him and feeling safe with him.  He was great for the first few days, but by day 4, he decided howling all night was the way to go.  We took advice from the charity and as he had slept in a crate in his last home we collected one.  We let him wander in and out, and we didn't lock him in on night one with the crate.  Cue howling from 2am straight through until 6am when we got up.  Night 2, I checked if he had slept in the crate with the door closed before and he had so we did that last night.  Howling from 11pm until 1.30am - BREAK! - then back howling from 5am.  He sleeps in the living room but has slept in beds in the past so I imagine this is why.  We have been told to ignore him but as you can imagine... its tough and I am cringing for the neighbours!

His routine is morning walk and breakfast, walk at lunchtime and another walk after tea in the evening.  All told he is getting about 1.5 - 2hr walks a day in smaller portions.  Kongs with food from his daily allowance and he has a bunch of toys.

We are transitioning him from fully raw diet to half and half kibble.

He has shown me aggression but that was my own fault for trying to get a stolen pair of trousers from him in exchange for one of his toys and he lunged and snapped.  I can't say that didn't make me nervous but I know I just need to change how I interact with him and not show him fear or back down, in a positive encouraging way!  

So, I know we are very early in the process... we were in love with him the first few days and were giving serious thoughts to adopting as he is lovely with other people and dogs - our first two fosters were dog-reactive - but this dominance issue he is displaying is causing me concern as I am at home all day.  He loves the my boyfriend, but me, the woman, he could take or leave.  Seems to be a reoccurring theme!

Anyway, thanks for the ramble opportunity.  Will we sleep again or will it take months and months?  Right now he is in his crate with his breakfast kong (we are using these to feed him his kibble to engage his brain!) passed out from his morning walks (one with me, one with the fella).

Link to post
Share on other sites

Remember your teenage years, we all knew or were the kid who just had to see what we could get away with?  You foster is that version of a greyhound and what he wants most is to know exactly where his boundaries are.  Howling at night is his protest or fit to get his way.  Stay strong!  He will learn or train you in his ways.  
He should have to work for everything that he gets.  Since he is a bouncer and has gotten his way by in your words shown aggression and it worked he is going to keep it up to get his way until it no longer proves to work or someone gets hurts.  

It will get better if the ones with the thumbs and car keys who control the resources are the ones in charge become the leader to him.  Right now the four foot thinks he needs to be the leader.  If he was a racer you could try to go back to that kind of schedule.  For mine it looks like turn out, breakfast, time to be out with me, three hours, crate time while I do stuff at home or errands. Turn out, more time with me, crate while dinner is made and eaten.  Turn out and time with me until bedtime back in the crate.  This will go on for months the more settled they become after the first three months the longer they have time with me during the day.  

Hope this help and it will get better,  it just takes longer to undo unwanted behavior.  The more structure and stronger the boundaries are drawn the faster the change will happen.  Any break or weakness he finds in the boundaries will only make it take longer “from his point of view it worked last week, it will work again I must not be howling loud enough or long enough” 

Link to post
Share on other sites



He sleeps in the living room but has slept in beds in the past so I imagine this is why.  We have been told to ignore him but as you can imagine... its tough and I am cringing for the neighbours!

It might not be what he's sleeping in (bed vs crate) as much as where (living room vs bedroom).  It might be that after four days, he has decided he likes you and wants to be with his new pack at night.  Is it a possibility for him to sleep in the same room as you?  Or at least where he can see you?  I sleep better when the dogs are with me (I find the sound of greyhounds' long, slow, deep breaths very restful!).  If that's not something you want, then a note to the neighbors apologizing and letting them know you're working on the problem can go a long way toward defusing the situation.  Cookies help, too.  :)  

A toy for trousers was evidently not a high value trade for him.  Try food.  Then work on the "drop it" command. starting with with a high value reward in exchange for a not-so-engaging item.  Learning this command has worked well for most of my dogs with the exception of Milo when he has found something delicious in the grass.  Then I'm afraid I just give up.    




Ellen, Milo, and Jeter

remembering Eve, Baz, Scout, Romie, and Nutmeg

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks folks.. today has been better, I did pitch the idea of letting him sleep in the room in his crate (he has had a couple of zoomie episodes which were fun to see at first but he gets a bit overboard when he barks in our faces!)  with us to my boyfriend, so we might try it if he continues, but obviously we also have the two steps forward-two steps back feeling.. we would like him to sleep downstairs eventually so what happens if he never leaves the bedroom?! Suffer now for a better outcome down the road perhaps but yes, if we get howled out of it again tonight, we might have to consider it.

He is currently passed out on the day bed in my home office/spare room so maybe he could sleep here too.... its gonna be a work in progress for sure, and I think I know now how to avoid disagreements with him.  I found him on the couch a couple of times today but I just got him off with distraction - all it takes is a rustle of a packet or tap of a dish and he comes running!  Then kong in crate and away he goes!

We really like him and think he could be great, just need the long term vision that he will come good eventually or at least, I won't make the mistake of causing bother with him!

Link to post
Share on other sites

After a few nights of howling from Grace when I first had her I tried the technique my father used to use. I went to bed as normal then crept silently back downstairs and waited by the door of the room Grace was in. As soon as she started to howl I burst in through the door and said "QUIET" in a loud firm voice, shut the door and waited again. I only had to do it twice and she is now quiet all through the night.

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 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well we re-jigged things a bit - baby gate across our bedroom door, and doggo can now sleep wherever he likes, which last night was in the hallway for awhile, and then he sloped off to the back room, and then downstairs.  Only one initial moan, and then this morning he mad a bit of noise at his normal 0530 time, but we shushed him and he went quiet again and SUCCESS!!! Thankfully he is not destructive so we can trust him not to wreck the place.  He is one step closer to be being adopted to us now!  

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...