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My greyhound only behaves for me

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Hi there, 

We've had our boy Batman for just over 3 years now. He's just turned 5 and is a rescue but never raced. He's not the typical 'couch potato' stereotype but, when I'm home, he will happily sleep all evening and is generally pretty well behaved. However, whenever I go out and someone else is alone with him (my kids in late teens) he sleeps for a while but then wakes up and won't settle and does stuff he'd never do if I was at home (gets books from shelves, jumps up at the table etc.) Is this because he doesn't recognise their authority? Or is anxious without me?  Is there anything we can do to solve this? I don't go out often, but it's making me feel completely tied to the house. Many thanks

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Yes, it sounds as if he has bonded with  you, rather than anyone else in the family, and so becomes anxious when you are not there.

Are you his caregiver? I.e. is it you who feeds him, grooms him, walks him? Try getting the kids to share the load - maybe even start giving him attention in new ways, like teaching him some party tricks.

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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All of the above? :)  :( 

It's not good that you feel tied to the house.  Now that you're anxious about leaving, he may be picking up on that.  You may want to start from scratch on alone training (searching GT should get you a lot of information).  One of the standard techniques is that you start with very short absences of just a few minutes, and gradually build up the length of time.

What do the kids do when he starts jumping at the table and reshelving books?  



Ellen, with brindle Milo and the blonde ballerina, Gelsey

remembering Eve, Baz, Scout, Romie, Nutmeg, and Jeter

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He feels bonded to you, but not to the kids.  So...

1 - get the kids more involved with his care - feeding, walking, supervising, show them how to teach him commands (Youtube has ons of training videos, just make sure they're positive reinforcement only techniques).  Show them how you set boundaries for the dog, and what happens when the dog misbehaves when you're around.  Have them do more in this area as well.

But - we all know teens aren;t that into stuff.  So if they're not interested in the dog, just take them out of the equation all together.

2 - crate training in a quiet, secure location when you're gone.

Get the training book "I'll Be Home Soon" by Patricia McConnell (booklet or e-book available) for step-by-step instructions about how to train your dog to accept being alone when you leave the house.  Have the kids involved, or make a decision about how they will deal with the dog when you leave.  Don't leave them hanging with an out-of-control large breed dog in the house.

3 - when all else fails you can talk with your vet about some low dose anti anxiety medication for those times when you leave.

Chris - Mom to: Felicity (DeLand), and Andi (Braska Pandora)

52592535884_69debcd9b4.jpgsiggy by Chris Harper, on Flickr

Angels: Libby (Everlast), Dorie (Dog Gone Holly), Dude (TNJ VooDoo), Copper (Kid's Copper), Cash (GSI Payncash), Toni (LPH Cry Baby), Whiskey (KT's Phys Ed), Atom, Lilly

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