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New Greyhound Anxieties(12 Posts)
After many years dreaming of dog ownership and doing substantial research into the breed of dog that would be right for my lifestyle (I work full-time but I am only away from the house 2/3 days a week) I adopted a 6 year old greyhound girl 3 weeks ago.
So far, things have gone much better than I anticipated but I have found myself plagued with anxiety since she arrived in my life. It is most certainly my own worries rather than anything she has done as I am just so anxious to give her a happy life and don't like the thought of her being in distress.
Over the past few weeks I have been leaving her downstairs for short periods and trying to build on this so that she can cope ok when I am away from the house for the full day (on such days a dog walker has been arranged to spend an hour with her walking her an giving her some love around midday). She seems to manage around 30 minutes ok but after this point she cries off and on. She has never caused any damage or shown any other signs of distress. The rescue I got her from described her as "talkative" and I am wondering whether the noises she makes are true anxiety or whether she is just entertaining herself? I plan to continue trying to build on the length of time she spends alone but any tips on this subject would be greatly appreciated.
I have tried leaving a Kong for her (with treats or doggy peanut butter) but she isn't very food orientated and has shown no interest in this.
Is there anything else I could provide to help with mental stimulation while I am away?
Also I have been walking her 20 minutes, three times a day (morning, lunch and night) - does this seems about right? I'm trying to get the balance between her being tired but not overexercised.
I am determined to make the adoption work and I have already fallen completely in love with her. She has been so well behaved I'm just concerned for her emotional wellbeing while I am away from the house and didn't appreciate that I would be this anxious when I considered getting a dog
To be honest I think I am more anxious than she is about leaving her!
When I am back to working full days 2/3 times a week the longest she would be left for is 4 hours - is this ok?
As an aside, is it normal to be this anxious after adopting a rescue dog?!?
Thank you for all your advice I know without doubt it will be invaluable.
At six years old, you could probably up the exercise more (assuming she has no injuries/health issues which would preclude that) on the walk before you plan to practice leaving her on her own so that she's a bit more tired; I know they always say greyhounds only need twenty minutes twice a day but that is a generalisation and many will enjoy and/or need more than that.
You could leave a radio or the tv on, or ask Alexa to play soothing dog music.
Four hours should be fine but carry on building up her alone time until you get to that point if you possibly can. Experiment with different chews or treats while you're present at first and see if any float her boat; greyhounds are usually quite interested in food but she might need a little encouragement with things that might be strange to her. Did the rescue arrange a dental for her? If not it might be worth having her teeth checked in case it's that putting her off food and treats.
There's some excellent advice here from a lady who really knows her stuff:
And the follow up here if there are any issues:
Look for a good, balanced training school or club nearby so that you can learn together and help build your bond. There are a few around the country which hold classes specially for greyhounds/sighthounds.
You could check to see if there are enclosed fields near you so that she could run free safely; again there are some around the country which hold 'play dates' for greyhounds/sighthounds where she can meet other dogs and you can meet other owners; information from here:
It's perfectly normal to be anxious at first; once she has settled and you've bonded, it will ease somewhat. Greyhounds (most sighthounds in fact) are usually pretty calming to be around, especially indoors. No other type if dog knows how to relax quite as well as they do, the odd 'mad five minutes' aside.
You'll learn a whole new greyhound-related language. On the internet, look out for Blue the Grey, Doodad and The Salty Hound for - ahem - 'insights' into adopted greyhounds, and Rich Skipworth's Greyhound Glossary books are brilliant.
Are you leaving the house or just going upstairs?
The indoor security cameras are really useful to spy on the dog to see how their doing while your out and can be fairly cheap.
Might find this useful
I've had 'what have i taken on' anxiety with every dog I've added (been a few now) for about a month or so till we both seem to have adjusted, then one day it suddenly seems much easier & can't imagine them not being there.
I've only walked my greyhounds on average for about hour a day, they actually don't do lot of exercise even at race fitness but the 20 min walk is usually at a trot pace. If you want to increase would just add 5-10min to each of your current walks.
Have you acces to YouTube on a device op? Calming music for ddogs is useful!! Our dpuppy hasn't been alone due to Covid situ and is starting to be need left home for an hour or 2...
There is an array of options - calming for ddogs in general /anxiety prone ddog /dpuppy. Allsorts!! I have actually snuck home for a shower before announcing my arrival back and I can't hear dpuppy at all!
Thank you all for your lovely replies.
I got one of the cameras which arrived yesterday and had to go into work for 3 hours this morning between 9 - 12. I was checking in on her through the camera app and she seemed to be spending 10 minutes or so laying down or looking through the baby gate on the door and then crying and howling for a short period and going back to laying down. She did this off and on throughout and then the dog walker arrived at 12 (I’ve got a dog walker to come in at same time every day so that she has that as part of the routine whether or not I’m home).
I’ve been following the greyhound gap advice closely and doing my best to teach her to cope alone while I’m gone. When I’m home I go upstairs and come back after 30 minutes although I’m trying to extend that time.
I appreciate it has only been a week and she is also in season so I am hopeful that she will begin to relax while alone once she’s a bit more settled.
I have a smart tv so I will definitely try the dog music on YouTube.
I just hope with time we can overcome this as I can’t stand the thought of her being unhappy!
Hi op, I have a 6 year old greyhound girl too. We've had her for about 18 months, but I was also very anxious when she first arrived as I've never owned a dog before. DH has, so was less worried than me.
Ours isn't especially food oriented either, unless it's fish and then she is Right There!
You might find that she dislikes you being home but separate from her if you're trying to stay upstairs. Our dog is fine alone, or fine with us, but doesn't like a barrier between us when we are home. If we shut her into or out of a particular room for a couple of minutes to deal with something like a broken glass or a shopping delivery, she gets upset. She loves Classic FM and is fine being left for a few hours here and there when we are at work. I'm WFH still at the moment, though, so she has become my shadow!
Good luck, they are lovely gentle souls.
I realised a short while ago that she had peed on the rug so between that and the pacing and howling I saw on the camera I think she suffers more when I actually leave the house as opposed to when I’m in it.
I am going to do as much desensitisation training as possible this week and she will only be left for a couple of hours at a time when I’m at work and the following week I am off so will be going at it as hard as I can without causing her too much stress.
Will the fact she’s in season be making her more anxious?
I didn’t realise quite how stressed she got until today when I saw her on the camera she just wouldn’t settle at all.
I’m really worried she won’t be able to adapt to being alone.
Has she got a favourite blanket op? When we first got dpuppy she quickly got attached to a particular one - a very soft material... Seems to give her comfort snuggling right into it. I bought 2 so can keep them washed /replaced.
Have you room for another hound ? Only half joking.
Theoretically yes but I read that getting another doesn’t always solve separation anxiety. I’ve found she’s been a lot better since I started playing ‘calming music for dogs’ on YouTube before I leave! I’ve been watching her on the camera today and she still paces and whines but it seems to only be every 20 minutes and only for 2/3 minutes so I’m again wondering whether she is entertaining herself as opposed to expressing anxiety. She was left for 3 hours today and had 6/7 moments where she whined and paced around for a few minutes.
We have 4 ddogs and dpuppy still gets anxious...