Let me start by saying this…separation anxiety by far the #1 reason dogs are returned to rescue groups, your new adopted greyhound has never had anywhere near the kind of attention he will get in his new adoptive home. He is easily stressed out, and learns very quickly to depend on you to feel better, ah, but then when you have to leave, he falls apart. The key to preventing this is simple – let the bond develop slowly, especially during the first few weeks. If the dog is not over-attached, he will not be over-anxious.
When you must leave your dog, and we all must from time to time, he will be a little anxious. This is not unusual. But, if your dog is barking, whining, drooling, destroying his bedding, losing bladder control…your dog may have a severe case of separation anxiety . There are no real surefire way for a rescue organization like GPA Cape) or any other to know which dogs will and which won’t, but do know that it is easier to prevent in the first place than to try to cure it later. Greyhounds do not come to GPA with this problem, it is something we create by over stimulating them with too much attention when they are at their most vulnerable. The reality is, the prevention (or cure) is more about the discipline of the humans involved than it is with the hound!
You may be saying, how do I keep my dog from getting over attached? It’s very simple – during his most vulnerable period – the first two weeks, crate your dog at all times (other than walks, trips to the water bowl, potty, etc). This may mean the dog will be crated for as much as 20 hours a day. Don’t be concerned, this will only last a couple of weeks, and believe me, that is much nicer to what he was used to at the track. During this time the dog is getting used to you and your home from the comfort of the crate you have set up for him. This may not be necessary with all greyhounds, some you can probably do okay with just by not showering them with too much attention at first, although that is very hard to do!
The next step would be to slowly start increasing the dog’s time outside the crate. Dogs are creatures of habit, so keep each new routine in place for a few days and if all goes well, you will have a gentle, quiet, calm and relaxed greyhound. If you try to go too fast, you could have a dog that whines and barks when you crate him (when he is separated from you.)
A lot of people make the assumption “the dog does not like his crate” because he cries or whines in it. Well, it’s not because of the crate, it’s being away from you. If you give in to him and let him out of the crate , it will only make this worse. It may stop the barking at once, as the dog is now beside you, but the next time you have to leave, the dog will be even more anxious, so now instead of having the safety and protection of his crate, he is loose in the house, where he could hurt himself by trying to break out and follow you, or by chewing and destroying things in your home.
This information above does not necessarily pertain to all greyhounds, some may need this approach and others may not.