Does your greyhound show signs of separation anxiety?....

One of the primary reasons for separation anxiety is that greyhounds have been bred to live all their lives with other greyhounds, lots of greyhounds. There can be an average of forty at the track or with a handler at any time. So being alone in a house with no other pets can be very frightening.

They will look to you as their Alpha leader for reassurance and probably follow you where ever you go in the house. Consequently, when you go out of the house leaving them behind they can become overwhelmed.

The only world they knew was the kennel

Up until now the only world they knew was the kennel, turn out pen and the track. There were no stairs, sliding glass doors, televisions, ringing telephones or door bells. With so many new things to learn about, you can see why they may become anxious when they are left alone in this strange new world.

The best way to acclimate a new greyhound to home life is with baby steps. The crate is a familiar comfort zone. It should not be treated as a prison but a space of their own, just like a Man Cave. Until you know how they are going to be on their own it is a good idea to crate them if you are going out for long periods of time. Give them something to “do” like a Kong stuffed with treats or peanut butter. My guys were so busy with one of these they barely knew I was not home.

Signs of separation anxiety

See how they will do on their own by stepping out of the house. Maybe just a quick turn around the block, dogs don’t have watches and can’t tell time so for them five minutes is the same as five hours. If your greyhound shows signs of separation anxiety you will know right away. They may howl. Or run from window to window. The worst case scenario you may hear the crashing of furniture.

Friends of ours had a male greyhound with this ailment which was compounded by a fear of thunderstorms and fireworks. This poor boy was such a mess on holidays like Fourth of July my friends tried a prescription medication from their Vet. Even with all the precautions in place there were several times when this poor boy managed to harm himself and the house.

Positive reinforcement may be the key

If the problem is just separation anxiety lots of positive reinforcement may be the key. Come in and out of the house several times. Each time you reinforce that even though you leave you will come back. And of course the addition of another greyhound or some companion pet is always helpful.

When you leave the house tell them that you are going out and will be right back. It is reassuring to speak to them and not just disappear. I always tell my greyhounds that I am going to the Post Office. They know they can come to the bank with me and get a cookie.

Let them know what the Rules are and set Boundaries. Structure is a way of life for greyhounds, something they are used to and makes them comfortable. Boundaries and rules make for a confident and relaxed greyhound and less likely to become anxious.

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