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Separation anxiety or just settling in? Also, thoughts on greyhounds outside during the day?


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Hello.

Apologies in advance for the long post! There are kind of two parts to this.

Firstly, my partner and I adopted a beautiful 1.5 yr old boy 2 weeks ago. He seemed fine being left for short periods for the first 3 days, but then at day 4 he became incredibly anxious whenever he thought either of us were leaving. He would pace and whine and follow us around. If either one of us left the house (even for a minute and even if someone else was still inside with him) he would cry and cry and work himself up into a bark. We live in an apartment unfortunately, so I anticipate noise complaints if this was to continue. I did a deep dive into online research (including Patricia McConnell's book) and decided to start alone training. For the past week we have been working on desensitisation, counter conditioning (up to about 5 minutes max, but with frequent relapses), calm greetings/leavings etc. He sleeps through the night fine on his own and he seems to enjoy spending time alone outdoors (he's been snoozing happily out there for the past 3 hours as I write this!). It is just indoors that is the problem. So, I'm not actually sure if I have just assumed that this is a separation anxiety/isolation distress issue, or if it is just him settling in a new environment? I haven't actually left for a long period to see if the whining/howling/barking continues, because if it is true separation anxiety then with alone training you are suppose to make sure you return before the dog becomes distressed (and I don't want to make the issue any worse for the poor boy!) 

Now the second part - I contacted the adoption group about this and they suggested leaving him alone outside for long periods. I originally had not done this because I thought that greyhounds could not cope too well with the temperatures outdoors. However they advised that he would be fine as long as he has good shelter and a coat if it is cold. He actually loves it outdoors too, he often wants to go and hang out there even when my parter and I are home so I think it is his preferred place to be! I live in Melbourne (Australia), so the temperatures here aren't too extreme, but I do think that on hot days he would have to be indoors. 

So now for the questions, thank you if you are still here after all of that!

1: Should I keep up alone training or should I just leave him for a longer period (while monitoring on video), and see how he goes?

2: What are your thoughts on greyhounds kept outdoors during the day? He has a huge kennel which is under shelter, warm bed/blankets, warm coats. For summer I was going to get a cooling bed, install a solar powered fan, have a paddle pool and lots of shade. I'm not too on what the max/min temp is that he should be left outside and couldn't find much about this online so any help would be greatly appreciated!. He sleeps inside in the living room.

Basically we want him to be comfortable being inside, alone, on days when it is too hot/too cold for him to be outdoors, and also if my partner and I wanted to leave in the evenings. However I'm also not sure if it will be more difficult to train him to be ok with being indoors alone when he is mostly outdoors during the day (he might be confused by the changes in routine?) We could do the alone training in the evenings and weekends, or also on random days during the week (I am working from home at the moment).

Any help/advise would be very much appreciated! Thank you!

 

 

 

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At two weeks your home is still very new to him, he is learning about his new life and what's expected of him; with mine I've found it takes a month or so for them to realise "I am home!" (and then, usually, feel confident enough try a bit of boundary testing - e.g. jumping on the furniture....). It could take longer than that if he is a shy boy, and even if he isn't you can expect to see new aspects of his character emerging as he settles in and develops a bond with you.

I would continue to work on the alone training, taking care to be as calm as you can yourself as you come and go because he will pick up on your stress otherwise.

It sounds good to me that you have outdoor space available as an alternative, if need be, and that he enjoys hanging out there. It's not usual to leave a greyhound out of doors in the UK or the USA, but your climate is different! And your adoption group suggested that solution, after all. As I understand it, many Australian racing greyhounds spend much of their time out of doors so it may be that he feels most comfortable right now sticking with what he is used to. Just make sure it is secure, as well as the precautions you mention - you wouldn't want  him jumping out, after a passing cat, or someone coming and letting him out by accident, or even stealing him.

That said - as he settles in he will probably become more comfortable with being inside, with or without you. So again, work on the alone training, and also on encouraging him to enjoy indoors when you are around - set him up a nice comfy bed where he is at no risk of being stepped on, but can observe what's going on, and reward him for staying there with kindly talk ('Are you liking that bed now? That's right! Good boy!') and the odd treat. I expect sooner rather than later he will realise what a much nicer and more interesting place indoors is to be!

 

Clare with Tiger (Snapper Gar, b. 18/05/2015), and remembering Ken (Boomtown Ken, 01/05/2011-21/02/2020) and Doc (Barefoot Doctor, 20/08/2001-15/04/2015).

"It is also to be noted of every species, that the handsomest of each move best ... and beasts of the most elegant form, always excel in speed; of this, the horse and greyhound are beautiful examples."----Wiliam Hogarth, The Analysis of Beauty, 1753.

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I can’t offer much advice on the alone training because it is not something I have had to deal with, fortunately! I do agree with Clare that he has been with you a very short time and everything is still very new. Also, at 1.5 years old he is still really a puppy. He won’t grow bigger physically but mentally, think of him as a teenager, not an adult :lol.

The reason general wisdom says to not leave greyhounds outside is that they have little body fat and usually thin coats, so they don’t adjust well to temperature extremes. Most greys seem to be more tolerant to cooler temps that hot, so be very, very careful about leaving him outside in the summer, even with shade and water. And by hot, many greys consider anything over the low 70’s (F) hot! That said, many of them like to go and lay out in the hot sun and bake, and greys we get from the farms have spent a lot of time outdoors and have heavier coats. I hope this helps clarify some of the “is it ok to leave him outside”.

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FWIW, I would annoy the crap out of Starry when he did this the first month of coming home by repeatedly getting up and out of the room as much as I can throughout the day and come back before he started to whine. The whole time I would completely ignore him, and eventually he either got the message I'd be coming back, or was tired of being interrupted. Even if he did whine, I would let him go until he was quiet for a minute, and once he quiet I would immediately come back.

It started out as like 30 seconds, then a minute, then slowly progressed over 3-4 months to the point where he couldnt care less about what I do around the house really besides when leaving for work and coming home.

 

As others said, it's still been only 2 weeks so your hound is still settling in, I can't speak about leaving the dog outside though since I have no clue whether or not that would be beneficial. Good luck!

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Your boy’s behaviour sounds a lot like Buddy when we first got him. We didn’t really know about separation anxiety at that time so we just ploughed on with getting him adjusted to our routine and after six months or so, he had stopped following me to the door when I left for work, or trying to block my way when I went upstairs (since he doesn’t go upstairs). So you may find that a establishing a routine helps, but I would continue with the alone training, as this certainly can’t hurt. A diverting and long lasting treat might also work, so he associates you leaving with good things. Now when we try to leave him outside our normal routine he is more concerned that he won’t get his rabbit’s ears than the fact that he is going to be left alone for a few hours.

I can’t comment on leaving him outside beyond it not being something I would do. I would be far too worried about him escaping if someone accidentally let him out, or theft as there are lots of horror stories about it in the UK at the moment. I suppose you have to make your own judgment.

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

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13 hours ago, DocsDoctor said:

At two weeks your home is still very new to him, he is learning about his new life and what's expected of him; with mine I've found it takes a month or so for them to realise "I am home!" (and then, usually, feel confident enough try a bit of boundary testing - e.g. jumping on the furniture....). It could take longer than that if he is a shy boy, and even if he isn't you can expect to see new aspects of his character emerging as he settles in and develops a bond with you.

I would continue to work on the alone training, taking care to be as calm as you can yourself as you come and go because he will pick up on your stress otherwise.

It sounds good to me that you have outdoor space available as an alternative, if need be, and that he enjoys hanging out there. It's not usual to leave a greyhound out of doors in the UK or the USA, but your climate is different! And your adoption group suggested that solution, after all. As I understand it, many Australian racing greyhounds spend much of their time out of doors so it may be that he feels most comfortable right now sticking with what he is used to. Just make sure it is secure, as well as the precautions you mention - you wouldn't want  him jumping out, after a passing cat, or someone coming and letting him out by accident, or even stealing him.

That said - as he settles in he will probably become more comfortable with being inside, with or without you. So again, work on the alone training, and also on encouraging him to enjoy indoors when you are around - set him up a nice comfy bed where he is at no risk of being stepped on, but can observe what's going on, and reward him for staying there with kindly talk ('Are you liking that bed now? That's right! Good boy!') and the odd treat. I expect sooner rather than later he will realise what a much nicer and more interesting place indoors is to be!

 

Thank you so much for all of the information! Today he actually came inside all on his own to lay on his bed when my partner and I were outside, so hopefully that is a good start! We are giving him lots of pats and attention when he is on his inside bed and he is very much enjoying it. Hopefully in a few weeks he will start to settle more and realise this is his home :) 

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13 hours ago, Remolacha said:

I can’t offer much advice on the alone training because it is not something I have had to deal with, fortunately! I do agree with Clare that he has been with you a very short time and everything is still very new. Also, at 1.5 years old he is still really a puppy. He won’t grow bigger physically but mentally, think of him as a teenager, not an adult :lol.

The reason general wisdom says to not leave greyhounds outside is that they have little body fat and usually thin coats, so they don’t adjust well to temperature extremes. Most greys seem to be more tolerant to cooler temps that hot, so be very, very careful about leaving him outside in the summer, even with shade and water. And by hot, many greys consider anything over the low 70’s (F) hot! That said, many of them like to go and lay out in the hot sun and bake, and greys we get from the farms have spent a lot of time outdoors and have heavier coats. I hope this helps clarify some of the “is it ok to leave him outside”.

Hah - he does act a bit like a teenager at times! Thanks, thats good to know about the temp. He was out there at about 75F the other day and did look a little hot so perhaps that is his limit, I'll make sure to keep an eye on it. 

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11 hours ago, Legendaryfrank said:

FWIW, I would annoy the crap out of Starry when he did this the first month of coming home by repeatedly getting up and out of the room as much as I can throughout the day and come back before he started to whine. The whole time I would completely ignore him, and eventually he either got the message I'd be coming back, or was tired of being interrupted. Even if he did whine, I would let him go until he was quiet for a minute, and once he quiet I would immediately come back.

It started out as like 30 seconds, then a minute, then slowly progressed over 3-4 months to the point where he couldnt care less about what I do around the house really besides when leaving for work and coming home.

 

As others said, it's still been only 2 weeks so your hound is still settling in, I can't speak about leaving the dog outside though since I have no clue whether or not that would be beneficial. Good luck!

Thats good to know, thanks! Do you remember how long it took you to go from 30 secs to a longer time (or how did you pace it?) Ours has gone back to being stuck on about 20 seconds before he comes over to the door to cry, so I'm not sure if we took it too fast at the beginning. I'm scaling it back to just small 5-10 second departures, but I am just hoping that he will be more comfortable with a little longer soon. 

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11 hours ago, MerseyGrey said:

Your boy’s behaviour sounds a lot like Buddy when we first got him. We didn’t really know about separation anxiety at that time so we just ploughed on with getting him adjusted to our routine and after six months or so, he had stopped following me to the door when I left for work, or trying to block my way when I went upstairs (since he doesn’t go upstairs). So you may find that a establishing a routine helps, but I would continue with the alone training, as this certainly can’t hurt. A diverting and long lasting treat might also work, so he associates you leaving with good things. Now when we try to leave him outside our normal routine he is more concerned that he won’t get his rabbit’s ears than the fact that he is going to be left alone for a few hours.

I can’t comment on leaving him outside beyond it not being something I would do. I would be far too worried about him escaping if someone accidentally let him out, or theft as there are lots of horror stories about it in the UK at the moment. I suppose you have to make your own judgment.

Thanks for the info, its very encouraging to know that with time things might work out! We have tried a kong with peanut butter, but he usually clicks about 1 minute in and then abandons the treat to howl at the door. Perhaps we just have to take things a little slower. 

Luckily for us our outdoor area has super high fences and there is no gate so no chance of escape! 

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8 hours ago, NewGreyMum said:

Thats good to know, thanks! Do you remember how long it took you to go from 30 secs to a longer time (or how did you pace it?) Ours has gone back to being stuck on about 20 seconds before he comes over to the door to cry, so I'm not sure if we took it too fast at the beginning. I'm scaling it back to just small 5-10 second departures, but I am just hoping that he will be more comfortable with a little longer soon. 

Each little jump if I recall correctly maybe took anywhere from 2-4 weeks. You can also exercise your dog before you start this practice so that they are really tired and don't even the energy to keep getting up to whine after settling down, if you haven't been doing that already.

Best of luck!! Also I froze peanut butter and cottage cheese stuffed kongs and gave those to him when I knew I had to be gone for a bit longer, that usually kept him busy for a good 30 minutes but he's considered quick, I've read that this can keep them busy for over an hour

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7 hours ago, Legendaryfrank said:

Each little jump if I recall correctly maybe took anywhere from 2-4 weeks. You can also exercise your dog before you start this practice so that they are really tired and don't even the energy to keep getting up to whine after settling down, if you haven't been doing that already.

Best of luck!! Also I froze peanut butter and cottage cheese stuffed kongs and gave those to him when I knew I had to be gone for a bit longer, that usually kept him busy for a good 30 minutes but he's considered quick, I've read that this can keep them busy for over an hour

Great, thanks! He pulled a muscle in his leg a little while ago so I haven't been able to exercise him much unfortunately. But hopefully we will be back to walks again soon, I'm sure that being tired would help a lot! 

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On 9/4/2021 at 5:43 PM, NewGreyMum said:

Great, thanks! He pulled a muscle in his leg a little while ago so I haven't been able to exercise him much unfortunately. But hopefully we will be back to walks again soon, I'm sure that being tired would help a lot! 

Keep us posted! :)

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A few things on SA I found useful - my boy only really had moderate SA which we have more or less overcome. Even still, I found it super tough but followed patricia mcconnels book very closely. 

What is worth pointing out for me is the training was not linear, it took a long time to get comfortable with 5 minutes alone but the step from 5 minutes to 20 minutes was much faster, as was 1 hour to 2 and so on and so forth. So while it feels like you aren't making any progress and can be demovitated - it can change very quickly. That was my experience at least. 

The second point is around routine. I found my boy got used to being left alone in the morning as thats when we did our training. Even when he was comfortable being left for hours in the morning he would get stressed if left in the evening. He adjusted to this quite quickly with splitting the training. I work from home but if I had to leave and return every day at similar times I think he would adjust to this quite quickly as once it becomes a set routine it becomes normal.

 

Good luck!

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you have a baby- he's young, going thru adolescence and needs lots and lots of exercise. is he getting that? our adolescent sight hounds rip around the yard like mad-dogs, play, run and still have the energy for a good long walk.

did your adoption group inform you about a young dog's physical needs?

structure & exercise will be your best friend. do you get him out for a good run and long walk early in the day to tire him out for a couple of hours? talk to your adoption group if you are unable to really exercise this pup. i hate to sound abrupt, but a young dog develops S.A. and other traits when not exhausted and they have a ton of energy cooped up inside. 

kennel dogs are out and running(with or next to another dog) for extended periods of time outside. do you have a dog door? but what goes out can come in- such as other critters~ but work with knowledgable trainers and your group for best results.

remember a good dog is a tired dog- tired after exercise(your best friend)

 

 

 

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On 9/11/2021 at 3:05 AM, longboyz100 said:

A few things on SA I found useful - my boy only really had moderate SA which we have more or less overcome. Even still, I found it super tough but followed patricia mcconnels book very closely. 

What is worth pointing out for me is the training was not linear, it took a long time to get comfortable with 5 minutes alone but the step from 5 minutes to 20 minutes was much faster, as was 1 hour to 2 and so on and so forth. So while it feels like you aren't making any progress and can be demovitated - it can change very quickly. That was my experience at least. 

The second point is around routine. I found my boy got used to being left alone in the morning as thats when we did our training. Even when he was comfortable being left for hours in the morning he would get stressed if left in the evening. He adjusted to this quite quickly with splitting the training. I work from home but if I had to leave and return every day at similar times I think he would adjust to this quite quickly as once it becomes a set routine it becomes normal.

 

Good luck!

Hi, thanks so much for the info. That is very encouraging to hear because I am currently going through those early stages and it is so slow! We get up to 1-2 minutes sometimes and he is fine, but then the next morning he might cry at 10 seconds again and I feel like we have gone back to square one. So its great to hear that the first stage is the hardest and that it is non linear, just got to be patient I guess! 

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9 hours ago, cleptogrey said:

you have a baby- he's young, going thru adolescence and needs lots and lots of exercise. is he getting that? our adolescent sight hounds rip around the yard like mad-dogs, play, run and still have the energy for a good long walk.

did your adoption group inform you about a young dog's physical needs?

structure & exercise will be your best friend. do you get him out for a good run and long walk early in the day to tire him out for a couple of hours? talk to your adoption group if you are unable to really exercise this pup. i hate to sound abrupt, but a young dog develops S.A. and other traits when not exhausted and they have a ton of energy cooped up inside. 

kennel dogs are out and running(with or next to another dog) for extended periods of time outside. do you have a dog door? but what goes out can come in- such as other critters~ but work with knowledgable trainers and your group for best results.

remember a good dog is a tired dog- tired after exercise(your best friend)

 

 

 

Unfortunately our boy had a bad leg/limp when we first got him so we were advised not to walk him - we instead tried to tire him out mentally with training sessions in the morning. However as he is getting better we are going on longer walks, hopefully runs eventually, though he does get super tired after about 30 minutes. I have plenty of time to exercise him, so as he gets better I hope we can go on longer walks to really tire him out! 

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the cut should be healed, did your vet prescribe anything for the pulled muscle? this sounds a tad strange. with his lack of exercise it should be healed, or healing. did he come this way?  maybe a second opinion and or revisit w/ your vet and ask for an activity schedule. something is off - 

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