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First time owners and a nervous hound


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My husband and I adopted an ex-racer from a rescue kennel a few weeks ago. Shes really gentle, great on the lead, clean in the house and has no interest in the furniture or our belongings so we very rarely say 'no' to her but she is still very nervous. She won't go in the lounge, kitchen, spare room, my husband's office or the garden (after the neighbors had a party) and mostly sticks to the master bedroom even though I refuse to feed her in there. She has beds all over the house and might spend time with me in my office in the morning but if we get post then she dashes straight up the stairs and won't come back down for hours.

If my husband enters the room she runs away to her bed and sits on it with her head down. He's trying to win her over with treats which she didn't accept to start with but she will now take high value items from his hand. She loves snuffling around the local woods so we take her out for 2-3 hours per day split over two walks and we take turns holding the lead. We also take turns filling her food bowl but if I'm not in the room then she just picks at it and paces around.

Is there anything else we can do to raise her confidence in the house and get her to interact/bond with us more? It's really disheartening that she wants to hide away all the time and we worry that she's stressed. My husband is upset because he thinks she doesn't like him but TBH I'm not sure she 100% trusts either of us yet.

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Keep doing what you are doing.  Routine is everything with ex-racers.  They've had a routine since the day they were born, and now that's been disrupted. Your girl is still figuring out what's expected of her and learning the new routine. Sounds like you are already on your way with the walks, but it can can take months for some dogs to adjust.  The dog you see today will much, much different a year from now. 

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Always missing my boy Hi Noon Rocket and Kate Miss Kate. The home of Petunia, MW Neptunia

 

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Time and patience and as Time4ANap says the dog you see today will be much, much different a year from now.

Some sounds she'll get used to quickly and others will take time. Grace is frightened of the sound of a football being kicked and children shouting but after nearly 3 years she will walk quickly back inside as opposed to running back and  pacing around the room but she has never taken any notice of the vacuum or the washing machine.

You could try using a couple of Adaptil diffusers to help her nerves. They contain a dog calming pheromone which help Grace during the firework season and are available on Amazon

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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I agree with what has been said above. It sounds like you’re doing everything right, so don’t take it too personally, she’s just finding her feet in her new home. Try to ignore her if she runs away, don’t mollycoddle her at these times, and praise her when she comes to you by her own choice. She will soon learn that not only are you keeping her safe, warm and fed, but that she can get plenty of love from you too

Living with Buddy Molly b. 5 November 2010. Welcomed home 16/6/2018 ❤️

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You're doing great, just remember: your dog has only just gotten the chance to be a dog! It's all very new to her too. :) 

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One of my hounds was timid/shy/frightened by many things.  I think one of the keys with such dogs is to give them time.  Everything calm, non-demanding, at her pace. You're smart to find the things she loves and then share them with her!  There is so much change in a hound's life, moving from a kennel environment to a home.  New people, new routines, new sights and sounds, and experiences.  It's all particularly unnerving and exhausting for a dog who happens to be a bit timid by nature.  Even confident Greys can take months to settle in to their new homes and let their personalities emerge.  With the timid hounds, that gradual blossoming of personality and trust is particularly beautiful, touching, and precious. 

My Spirit was really scared of new people and booming men's voices.  The first night at home, he was very unnerved.  He hopped up on my bed--which shocked me, because I was still in the "stranger danger" category at that point--and curled up to sleep.  I think he was so terrified and unsettled that he was willing to settle for any warmth and contact. that night :lol  It was another 6 months before he ever hopped up on the bed to sleep with me again.  It took several years, but he now puts his paws on the fence to get pets from my neighbors large son-in-law.  The first time I saw him do that I was so touched that I cried.  I remember how thrilled I was the first time he played with a toy!   Improvement and growth does come, at the dog's pace, and is such a delight to see.  Spirit is over 14 right now and it's only been in the last year that he stopped fleeing the room when a mailing box was opened. He's grown so much and he's taught me so much about being patient and approaching each dog as an individual and letting that take us somewhere good for both of us.

My bet is that your husband will end up being your hound's favorite person in the whole world in the end. You will both be her safe place sooner than you think.

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Lucy with MoMo (FTH Chyna Moon), Spirit, and Miles the slinky kitty (OSH).
Missing Piper "The Perfect" (Oneco Chaplin) and Winston

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Thanks you have all made me feel much better and we will both give her more space from now on.

 

We are sticking to quite a rigid routine because getting her up and out of bed for pee breaks used to be really stressful for all involved and after 14+ hours indoors the poor girl must have been absolutely desperate. She will now happily get herself up 5 times a day for walks/food/pee breaks although she does sometimes beg for a lift down the stairs. I dont think she realises how tricky it is for an unfit 5 foot tall woman to carry a very long 30kg hound down a narrow staircase! She is learning new skills really quickly, her latest trick is to try and lure us back to her favourite park when we get towards the end of our walk and/or to whine in a really pitiful way when we leave the woods. I only wish she was as confident and communicative at home, although maybe this is a 'be careful what you wish for' situation?

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keep her on lead with you in the house. yup, tethered to you. when she isn't next to you in the crate. racers do feel comfortable in their secure crate. do keep the crate in the living room or den- where ever you retire to after dinner or there is a good amount of activity. she can watch from there. keep up with a regular routine. 

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Massive set back today :(

We were on our way out of the house for a walk and as usual my husband was inside the house setting the alarm while I was outside with our girl on the lead a few meters away. She suddenly spooked and ran behind me and since then she has been terrified of my husband. Neither of us have a clue what it was that scared her so badly or how to fix it as she doesnt want to be anywhere near him.

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2 hours ago, Onyfalk said:

Massive set back today :(

We were on our way out of the house for a walk and as usual my husband was inside the house setting the alarm while I was outside with our girl on the lead a few meters away. She suddenly spooked and ran behind me and since then she has been terrified of my husband. Neither of us have a clue what it was that scared her so badly or how to fix it as she doesnt want to be anywhere near him.

Oh that's a shame. I wonder if maybe something like a plug in pheromone thing might help? I've not tried them myself. Perhaps a vet trip to see if she could get some anxiety meds? I have a friend with a husky/malamute cross who takes anti anxiety meds with great success. She is still settling so it might be a bit early though. 

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We have a diffuser next to her bed in the master bedroom but Daisy has discovered the joys of underfloor heating and now prefers to lie on the bathroom tiles. We were actually on the way to the vet for a booster jab when she spooked and the vet said to give her some time and if she hasnt improved by our next visit then we should talk to their behaviorist. 

I persuaded my husband to join us for a long walk this morning, Daisy started to relax about 20 mins in and by the end of it she was pretty much back to normal. Phew!

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positive rewards(special food treats) for positive behavior! have a treat bag with you at all times and be it in the house or outside- reward what's good! when she had her physical did they check out her thyroid levels? if she is off that can result in spooky behavior- just a thought. 

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