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Lonely dog

(9 Posts)
Mitzi50 Thu 20-Mar-14 21:40:54

I recently had to have my elderly terrier put to sleep. She lived with my rescue greyhound and they appeared to politely ignore each other's existence. However since she has gone he has started to show signs of distress when we are out - today he removed everything from the airing cupboard which had been left ajar - previously he just slept and was a model citizen. I have never just owned one dog as I felt it was kinder to own 2, but had no plans to replace my terrier. Should I rethink?

ADishBestEatenCold Thu 20-Mar-14 22:04:30

I'm sorry, you must miss your terrier, Mitzi50.

Was this recently? I firmly believe that animals suffer their own bereavement, grief, whatever. To me, it's not inconceivable that your greyhound isn't so much lonely, as sad, grieving in his own way, for his pal.

Not to say that means he isn't also lonely, or may become lonely in the future, simply that I wouldn't rush out to get another dog because of your greyhounds reaction.
This'll maybe sound silly, but give him time. Lots of reassurance. Maybe a few new or extra activities, to raise his spirits and take his mind of things. Just like you, he's got to adjust to the loss, find a new level, maybe a new routine.

Mitzi50 Thu 20-Mar-14 22:38:22

Thanks - yes very recent (10 days). I'm just surprised as she was quite horrible to him - about a quarter of his size but wouldn't let him eat in the same room, share a bed etc. She was very feisty right to the end. Up til now I have always had 2 or more dogs (My elderly lab was put to sleep in the summer).

Slapntickleothewenches Thu 20-Mar-14 23:32:28

GingerDog was inconsolable when BlackDog was PTS. He became a shadow of himself, went off his food, moped around the house and generally only seemed to enjoy himself on walks. This went on for so long that we bought forward getting a second dog. Once he got over the pearl clutching stage, aghast we had bought a puppy into his midst, he cheered up no end and today they are good friends smile

moosemama Fri 21-Mar-14 11:45:04

First of all, I'm so sorry for your loss. flowers

My Lurcher grieved terribly for our Oldgirl when we lost her last spring. He's always been a very laid back (almost horizontal) dog that nothing ever bothered, but he started howling (really badly) when left. Even when I was just popping out for just 15 minute school runs he would start howling the second the front door shut. He was thoroughly depressed at home and only ever happy when out walking, so I reached a point where we were walking for 3-4 hours a day while the ds were at school and I was getting nothing else done.

I did a lot of research and a lot of work with him and discovered it wasn't separation anxiety, but something called isolation distress. He wasn't over attached to us - or Oldgirl - he had simply never had to be totally alone before and couldn't handle it. (Although, realistically, there was probably also a certain degree of anxiety because Oldgirl was very much the matriarch of the household, dogwise at least and he was now left as the only dog in the house with noone to lead the way and tell him what to do - she was a confident bossy girl.)

I was advised to get another dog by a couple of behaviourists, but didn't want to do so without helping him learn to cope better first, so spent three months working on gradually getting him used to being alone. Started with just a few minutes, worked on desensitising him to signals that I was about to leave and worked up to him eventually being able to be left for and hour and a half. At that point we were approached about taking on a rescue Lurcher pup and felt he had improved sufficiently enough for us to do so.

Ironically, the Lurcher pup we took on had had a very bad start and developed Separation Anxiety as a result. hmm He's 9 months old now and I was able to leave him for an hour and a half without him yelling for the first time yesterday! Older Lurcher grudgingly accepts loves him now, but was actually mightily unimpressed that we brought another dog into the house at first - very similar Slapntickle's boy's reaction really.

I'm glad, despite what hard/stressful work it was, that we did the training with our older Lurcher first, as it meant when the pup needed to go to the vets (which he did a lot at first) or puppy classes etc, he was able to cope with being home alone and I didn't have to worry about him.

Bearing in mind that Greyhounds are usually raised in kennels, it's very likely that your boy has never been on his own and simply doesn't have the skills to cope with it. I would recommend trying to teach him those skills first, before you leap into getting another dog, as it should be fairly obvious quite quickly whether or not he's going to be able to learn to cope.

Scuttlebutter Fri 21-Mar-14 12:09:42

Another one here to say that as a greyhound, he is probably really struggling with being alone, as it's not what he's used to.

One of ours went through a terrible grieving process when we lost two in quick succession that he had lived with for a number of years - he became very withdrawn and miserable. It took him a good four or five months to re-emerge and get used to his new housemates.

Personally, I would seriously consider getting him some company as quickly as possible. Have you considered fostering, if you don't want the tie of another dog full time? Also, most greyhound charities/rescues offer a very full social programme for the hounds - do you take advantage of these? For instance in our local area, we have a sighthound playgroup, and two monthly greyhound walks plus various one off shows, events, picnics etc. - we could (and frequently do!) have something on hound related nearly every weekend. I know for a lot of people with single hounds, they really appreciate the chance for them to socialise. The other benefit is that you get to know other hound owners, and can often organise hound sleepovers/playdates which is great if you need to go away for a night.

InpraiseofPolly Fri 21-Mar-14 13:45:33

Sadly we are in a similar situation . Condolences to everyone that have list their lovely dogs.
We lost our beloved Indie 4 weeks ago, sudden diagnosis of an incur able cancer .. 5 days from first symptom to having him euthanized sad. We are still all reeling from the shock. Noah our younger dog( indies half brother) seems utterly bereft. As other posters have said, only happy when out for a walk, and quite aloof in the house, which is totally not his nature.
They had a fantastic relationship, but indie was definitely the boss, in as much ad he took the lead in everything and showed Noah what to do IYSWIM. He is not a confident dog, so we are working on trying to build up his confidence. Thinking of going back to training classes or some dog activity. He seems quite unsure of himself when we are out and he meets other dogs. Do not want him to become nervous aggressive in any way. We will probably get another dog, but I want to try and instill some self confidence in Noah first. None of us feel remotely like a new dog yet( if ever) but I would like him to have the companionship of another dog.
Sorry this is so long! If anyone had any tips I would really appreciate them.

Mitzi50 Fri 21-Mar-14 19:58:55

Thanks for the advice and support - I really can't face getting another dog at present but will try to keep an open mind. He is still behaving oddly and is not eating well. He is a very nervous, gentle dog - he was found starving before we had him and is wary of people. This evening he stood outside in the rain and had to be persuaded to come in - something he used to do when we first got him but hasn't done for ages.

Rowgtfc72 Sat 22-Mar-14 09:23:11

Thoughts to those who have lost their dogs.
In the same boat I'm afraid and was going to post myself. Old jack was pts in Dec, he was sixteen. Fat jack is twelve, was always the boss and has taken to howling and basically being a right sod. Both jacks were outside dogs,out in the morning ,in at night, not a peep from them. I know she's missing her friend but I need the howling to stop. Getting another dog is not happening, we are doing lots of walks and she's in during the day now but as soon as I shut the door she's howling.

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