Excessive separation anxiety in greyhound

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Excessive separation anxiety in greyhound

Post: #232840 Lilyfae
Sun May 22, 2011 6:06 pm

Ok so Blake is 2 1/2 years old and was adopted by us aged 10months from Dogs Trust.

He was rescued from an abusive situation in Ireland along with 50 other dogs, has never been raced or trained because he has no chase instinct (really it's true) and according to his microchip was neutered young ( about 6 weeks old) and we were told this might have an impact on his personality from never having an adolescence.

Anyway despite my efforts to not spoil him with attention and trying to build up the time leaving him he still freaks out when left on his own, we got it to a point when we could leave him for 2.5 hours without him being too panicked but last week he flipped out and anger-pooed up the bookcase after we popped to the shops (gone 40mins) and now screams whenever I even step out the door to water the front garden and has taken to weeing on all bags left on the floor.

I know this might be that he has got too used to me being at home as I've been off recovering from pneumonia and he's had me all the time (when I'm at work my hubby drops him off with my brother at my parents house as hes at home before going on shift) but I've tried to still not get him over used to being available by sitting in another room etc But he screams, I try to ignore it but next door made a nasty comment after he howled constantly.

I'm at my wits end, he's not as bad when he's with my parents dogs and can be left for much longer with them so i wonder if he needs company but I've been banned from discussing another dog until Blake is sorted out.
What can I do??? I go back to work in 2 weeks!

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Re: Excessive separation anxiety in greyhound

Post: #232855 battybird
Sun May 22, 2011 7:48 pm

I expect you have tried leaving the radio/tv on so there is a noise? Sometimes that helps! We have a rescue dog who was really anxious when we first had her (although actually it was my sons dog...then he came back to live with us!!) We left her on her own for short periods and extended it gradually. Also had a meaty bone from the butcher which I only gave to her when we went out and took it away when we came home. We put her bed in the hallway and shut all the other doors as she seemed to sit on the stairs all the time anyway and it limited any damage that she could do. Luckily this all worked and she is ok when we go out now, she used to pee everywhere as soon as we returned and follow us round like a shadow. It may be that she also got used to having one person at home all the time when she was with my son. I read somewhere about a device that stops dogs barking and whining but have no idea whether it would work...or even where I saw it...brain not functioning very well. :oops: Hope you get a solution soon, cannot be easy to live with, especially if the neighbours are not understanding! :hugish:
The cockerel makes the noise, the hen produces the goods!! anon

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Re: Excessive separation anxiety in greyhound

Post: #232927 prison break fan
Mon May 23, 2011 12:55 pm

Hi, I have always had rescue dogs without too much trouble, until this last one! We have had her two years now and finally feel we have beaten most of her problems! The anxiety thing was a big issue. Have you read the Dog Listener by Jan Fennell? I can thoroughly recommend it. It trains the owners! We were doing everything wrong! Anyway, worth a try. pbf.

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Re: Excessive separation anxiety in greyhound

Post: #232931 chickenchargrill
Mon May 23, 2011 1:13 pm

What reward system are you using? And what does Blake have as entertainment while you are out? Bones are good, as are treat dispenser balls. TBH it sounds like you need to restart the gradual increase of time you're away. I wouldn't spend too much time just in the other room as this can cause confusion in dogs. Even mine will whine if I'm only in the other room, they don't understand why they can't be in a room they're normally allowed in. She's fine if I go upstairs though as she's never been allowed up there.

Ignore any attention seeking behaviour as you're getting ready to leave. Do not scold Blake for it. Just carry on without looking at Blake.
Let Blake into the garden and wait a few moments before following (hopefully you'll catch him before his behaviour starts) reward when you go out, gradually increase the time. Try the opposite way round too, you leave the house, shut the door, then go back in. But that way give him a reward just before you leave, something that'll last him a while like those I mentioned, a hide or similar.

If he's playing up before you go out, work out the triggers (eg putting on coat) and do them without leaving to decrease pre-separation anxiety.

I'd recommend the dog listener too :)

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Re: Excessive separation anxiety in greyhound

Post: #232935 Lilyfae
Mon May 23, 2011 1:34 pm

Thanks for the responses.

Blake has several cuddly toys which he cuddles or raggles, a squeaky Lara Croft he uses when he is angry and is always given a rawhide 'cigar' or similar (the cigar sized ones take him aaages to eat) we either leave a tv or stereo playing and we tried him with a treat dispenser toy but he just pushed in the corner and ignored it. Much unlike the dogs I grew up with, although maddy who lives with my parents (12years old, part greyhound part jack Russell) got like that after she turned 6.
I have tried hiding treats but he doesn't bother looking for them.

I agree that I have to start again,but he is just like a toddler! He's currently having a tantrum because I've been reading a book and ignoring him (I promise I don't pander to him/spoil him but I wonder if he got spooked by something when I was out and it's made him regress- two weeks ago if I was reading he would just go and sprawl on the settee or his bed and sleep) I'm totally ignoring him but it's hard when he tries to bite the sofa to get my attention! He has never behaved like this before as through growing up with dogs and making mistakes with them (& learning to correct them) we trained him well and hes always been well-behaved but nevertheless clingy with me (blake is hubbys first dog) and i now feel at a loss as to what to do next!

He used to anger-poo and run it all through the hallways when we first got him and I thought we were past all that! What gets me is he is fine when at my parents with maddy and freyja but can't cope here on his own!

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Re: Excessive separation anxiety in greyhound

Post: #232937 pelmetman
Mon May 23, 2011 1:57 pm

We're on our second rescue dog and know there can be problems although on the whole we have been really lucky with Troy.

However, a couple of years ago he started looking up at the ceiling all the time and barking and generally getting really agitated. In the end (now I know you'll all think I am totally mad) but I got out a pair of step ladders and stroked the ceiling and spoke daft softie talk that one does with animals - guess what he soon realised that the beastly ceiling wasn't that bad after all and soon grew out of it.

As to your problem with separation anxiety I would also suggest leaving him for short periods and gradually building up the time you are away. Don't go into another room in the house but really go out, they are not daft and know you are still around.

We have always made a point of saying "See you later" when we go out. YES I know they don't understand words but if you say it in the same tone each time they soon cotton on what you mean. On returning home always make a fuss and show you are pleased to see him again and maybe then give him a small treat to let him know how good he's been. Also have you tried having a game with him outside on returning home, this may help him to realise that although he is sad when you go out he is in for a treat and a game on your homecoming.

Good luck.

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Re: Excessive separation anxiety in greyhound

Post: #232950 chickenchargrill
Mon May 23, 2011 4:57 pm

A friend probably would do him good. Trouble is if you get a rescue dog you're running the risk of having two with behavioural problems you're having to deal with at once or one which Blake doesn't like. Or just having to settle in new dog if it isn't the magic fix would be problematic.

It does sound like something has spooked him, if he's quite a nervous dog it could have been something as simple as a noise he didn't like on the TV.

Are there any of the 'alpha dog' day courses near you? It could also be that, although he's very clingy towards you, he's not really seeing you as the boss if he's biting the sofa you're on.

I agree with having some Blake time when you get in.

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Re: Excessive separation anxiety in greyhound

Post: #232957 Lilyfae
Mon May 23, 2011 5:33 pm

chickenchargrill wrote:It does sound like something has spooked him, if he's quite a nervous dog it could have been something as simple as a noise he didn't like on the tv


You know you could be right there, Blake loves the telly & will happily sit and watch it ( sometimes headbutting it and squealing when he sees another dog!) and he can tell the 'mood' of the programme (I probably sound mad or he's reacting to me or hubby but he gives soft moans when something sad happens or someone on the telly cries) maybe there was something on Gilmore Girls that upset him and weren't there to say it's alright.

We do make a massive fuss when we come home (usually one hugs while the other checks for damage then we both make 'good boy!!' fuss, I like the idea of play in the garden but hubby will have to be 'encouraged' (he loves Blake but sometimes doesn't realise how much work I've put in to get him from the shaky little pup whose tail didn't uncurl from his belly to the pretty well-behaved dog- apart from the anxiety( but that's not his fault) & recent tantrums- we have today.
But then is that my problem? Blake sees me as his safety? I don't know, as for the sofa biting he quit that after a sharp 'no' but he has realised that it gets my attention as he has done that previously in a tantrum.

He's currently curled up quiet as a mouse sleeping with his eyes open at the other end of the sofa, you would never guess I'm concerned about his behaviour!

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Re: Excessive separation anxiety in greyhound

Post: #232961 chickenchargrill
Mon May 23, 2011 5:44 pm

It is tricky and it sounds like you've put in loads of work.

Just don't forget that dogs behave in a certain way because they are rewarded in some way, keep a close eye on how you or the OH are reacting and what he's getting out of behaving like that, make sure there is lots of praise and treats for good behaviour. The acting up when you're reading a book could possibly be boredom, so hard to know through a forum though.

I'm sure it's just a blip and you'll soon have Blake settled back down xxx

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Re: Excessive separation anxiety in greyhound

Post: #232963 Lilyfae
Mon May 23, 2011 5:59 pm

chickenchargrill wrote:The acting up when you're reading a book could possibly be boredom, so hard to know through a forum


Most likely boredom as the telly wasn't on or knowing greyhounds it was that he interpreted boredom as ' must eat now' even though he had had some biscuits 10mins before!

Thanks for all the advice, he has been work but so worth it ( when he's not screaming, angerpooing or biting the sofa!) I agree that he will get past it, just need to start over again!
Pelmetlady- maddy used to do that all the time- what's with the ceiling!!!
Xxx

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Re: Excessive separation anxiety in greyhound

Post: #233044 greenishfingers
Tue May 24, 2011 7:58 pm

Hi,I totally sympathise with you,I've had a few rescue dogs with various problems,you seem to be doing everything possible to get your dog on the right path,but I wonder,if he was rescued with so many other dogs,is his pack instinct so strong that he just goes to pieces when left on his own? I read somewhere that if a dog is the only one in a family,they see the humans as other members of the pack x

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Re: Excessive separation anxiety in greyhound

Post: #233089 Lilyfae
Wed May 25, 2011 9:00 am

Of course I would love another dog and know how much it benefits them (I think it's similar with children, my hubs is an only child and boy don't we know it!!!) but ethically I would have to get a rescue dog and I know that it takes time, effort and understanding to get a rescue dog in a good place and thats after finding the right dog for Blake to live with.

My hubby would like another dog 'but well in time' he says (as it's his first dog and he didn't know what to expect he often acts as if we had a baby not a dog!!!) whereas I would just be concerned about getting the 'right dog', as I know how to deal with things (especially after helping an emotionally-sensitive one like Blake who was so badly treated he came to us practically bald, a scar where his ear was nearly ripped off and sore feet- that's just the physical damage) I guess it's my fault in that regards, I knew he was meant to be my dog and had him when I could have had a 'surrendered' labrador or stb who already knew all his training.

Anyway, we left Blake for just under an hour yesterday (meant to be 30mins but traffic was horrific) with treats and calm words, he screamed as we left but when we returned he had been a good boy no wees or poos, whimpery but not panicked!! He got lots of praise and we played in the garden til he got lazy and wandered off to lie down (greyhounds!) so I hope we can get back to coping for short periods.
The thing I noticed though is all his toys and the treats I left for him were exactly where I left them, untouched so he must have just sat there not moving and watched the door until we came home, that's a bit upsetting.

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Re: Excessive separation anxiety in greyhound

Post: #233092 pelmetman
Wed May 25, 2011 9:10 am

So glad that things are slowly improving with Blake.

I would'nt be too worried about the fact that his toys/treats were untouched while you were out. Troy will never play with his toys etc whilst we are out but when we get back he always racing round looking for something to bring us as a welcome home present, usually a shoe.

Sue :flower:
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Re: Excessive separation anxiety in greyhound

Post: #245058 madhatter
Thu Sep 22, 2011 11:50 pm

Hi.. Can totally relate as I had the same problem with my rescue greyhound.. It drives you mad!
Mine isn't food or toy motivated at all- so nothing there works. I used to leave him so many treats and distractions (bone flavored iceblocks in summer!) and at one point even tried a pheromone diffuser of a lactating dog to make him feel less stressed (didn't work) in the end, he has gotten a little better. In tge last few days he has even been going outside in the garden by himself to lay in the sun for a while!
When you leave the house, don't make a fuss of him and when you arrive, walk in and behave like you never left. Fussing over him
When you get home reassures him that you being away was a bad thing. I also dont want another dog (I have a tiny house and can't physically fit two hounds) but we have just inherited a guinea pig and they seem to really like each other. I still havent solved the peeing issue.. It's def attention seeking not a weak bladder!


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