We have had a 7 year old greyhound with us for 4 days now and he’s mostly doing really well. He’s settling in the house, starting to follow us around less and even beginning to take himself off to his crate when he wants alone time. No accidents in the house and no growling/barking.
Our issue comes when we take him out for walks. We live in a busy city area and he’s very reactive to all the noises and distractions around us. He is becoming increasingly anxious on walks, pulling on the lead, looking behind him, trying to turn into any side path or road.
I think we’ve basically made a lot of mistakes that are stressing him out, but want to check whether you’d agree and any other advice you might have. We’ve been taking him for long walks (2 x 60mins/day) wanting to tire him out so he’s relaxed at home. We’ve also varied the walks a lot so he gets to see his wider area. Because my wife and I will have to walk him alone in the future we’ve been taking him on walks separately and he often seems to be looking around for the one of us that isn’t there.
I think this has been too much of an overload for him and he’s starting to get more and more anxious about walks.
Our thoughts are: 1. Both be on walks for now for extra security, patience and ideas 2. Start taking him for very short walks and slowly build up 3. Choose the quietest route we can and do this route every walk to start with 4. Take treats and give lots with encouragement to make him have positive associations with walks
Any thoughts and any other ideas would be really appreciated!
Hi - and welcome to Gapland. Don't whether I have any good advice but some thoughts. Is he recently retired?If so,it's a completely alien world he has to adjust to.They aren't used to busy areas and long walks usually.It takes a while to build up the muscles and stamina for longer walks,think cheetah - incredible burst of speed for a short period,then out of energy.They love routine,but do also often like a different walk with all the different,exciting smells. Sounds like you're thinking of solutions already.Unfortunately at the moment it's difficult for all of us.Our 2 are really missing their long walks and meeting their hound friends and socialising. If you haven't already,do read Lisa's posts on settling a new hound,etc.They're further up this section.She does know what she's saying - after all,Gap is her charity with umpteen successful rehomings.And lots, like us, go back to her for another rescue dog. Good luck - above all ENJOY.It's a learning experience for all of you - Cath.
It sounds as though you've put a lot of thought into how best to help him make the transition to becoming a pet. I think it's important to remember, like Cath says, that they have no experience of anything other than the kennels where they were born & trips to and from the track. They have to be treated like a puppy and introduced to things in the same way. You are right to think that it's too much.
I would not walk him at all for at least a week, just letting him mooch in the garden. Greyhounds are not high energy and he won't be climbing the walls. Take the pressure off him and yourselves and let his anxiety calm.
After that, you can start to build it up, going the quietest route and so on.
I also recommend reading Lisa's posts on settling your new hound.
I think your suggestions are sound and what I would do (although not too many treats otherwise you could make a rod for your own back, lol). Also agree with the suggestion about not walking him for a week to de-stress. Just being in a home will be stressful enough for now. Stress stacks...it takes a long time for the stress to go from the body (think days rather than hours), so each walk is adding to the stress of the walk before if that makes sense, which is why he's getting worse.
(Google 'stress stacking in dogs' and you'll find more about it, and I think it would be useful to also research about recognising stress signals to look for as they can be very subtle).
Can you get him get used to the sounds by leaving windows open, and spending time in the garden with him? You can do training or brain games to tire him mentally.
Then I'd do as you suggested. A short and quietest walk you can, stick to that until he settles and then you can try a different route. Most greys are said to be generally happy with 2 x 20 min walks - you can build up to more depending on the age and health of your dog, but I wouldn't think a 7 y/o grey will EVER need 2 x 60 min walks a day (he might end up with sore feet too).
Good luck, and do keep in touch to ask more questions or give us an update.
Last Edit: Mar 28, 2020 3:29:51 GMT -5 by alfiemoon
Well done on giving a home to a lovely hound and he sounds as if he is adapting well to life inside your house. It is very early days for him and everything like the sounds in the house, his bedding and his feeding bowls etc he will be processing as different to before. At age 7, I’m wondering if he has been in kennels for a long time or had a home before you? Did the Rescue give any information?
Your ideas sound good and taking it slowly is helpful so that he builds trust. It might encourage you to know that our bridge girl was very scared on walks when we first got her and she once ran away from a King Charles Cavalier! She actually turned out to be a supremely confident dog. We made mistakes with her but the beautiful thing about greyhounds is their willingness to forgive. The other thing I’ve learned is that they like different things, some love a ball, some love swimming, others not at all. In the long term, when the country is back to normal, sighthound group social walks really helped ours.
There are some helpful threads in the search area on here with advice about anxiety specifically on walks. Good luck.
Hi all, and thanks so much for all your thoughtful responses, it’s really appreciated.
I thought I’d give you a quick update. Things since my lost post have gone well, we implemented the changes I’d mentioned and he’s been a lot happier on the short quiet walks we’ve been taking him on. He’s still been sleeping and relaxing in between walks and sleeping well at night so he’s obviously still getting enough exercise.
We had one interesting moment where a squirrel ran out in front of him yesterday and he certainly has a high prey drive! But he raced 50 times and won 14 so that’s to be expected. He had a face off with a cat today but was more easy to re-focus on us and move away from the situation. We also started to practice leaving him alone in our flat for very short periods today and there wasn’t any sign of separation anxiety.
In terms of his history, it’s patchy but we do know he was with a trainer for 5 years, then got sold straight to an older guy from the track who had him for a year before the owner had to go into hospital with long term health issues. So Max ended up back with his original trainer as interim and then the rescue, so he’s had a lot of upheaval in his life recently.
I was going to attach a photo but it says the forum has exceeded his storage limit so it wouldn’t let me! I’ll give another update soon!
Thanks for the update about Max, that’s brilliant news, really pleased the short, quiet walks have helped him. It certainly sounds as if he’s had a few changes in his life recently, poor lad but hopefully he’s starting to settle. It took our lad a while to trust that the bed, the coat etc were actually his, so many times had he moved home.
High prey drive is something a lot of us help our hounds with. Again, patience and guidance are the thing and there are many helpful threads on here about that, should you need them. Good luck. Max looks adorable.
Wonderful to hear this news,and Max looks to be another gorgeous black boy.High prey drive can lead to "interesting" moments - our little black witch had the preference of bringing her catch into the house to eat at leisure on her bed -YUCK!
Max's back story reminds me of Perry's (our much missed bridge boy).He was 8 when we adopted him,"retired" at 2 cos he wasn't very good,then off the radar for 6 years.Thought to have been on the flapper tracks.Then he came to Gap and found his paws in a wonderful foster home.Thanks to his foster mum he knew a home was a wonderful place to be and we were lucky to share our lives with him for 7 1/2 years.Cath.
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