Wednesday, March 15, 2017


I met a greyhound friend in the park on our evening walkies, who complimented Sherlock on how much he's calmed down since we last met. I haven't been so aware of it myself because his penetrating barking is so debilitating even in what are apparently smaller doses than before...

Like this evening when I had to dash to the loo just before supper, when the food bowls were filled with their mix of lamb & brown rice/ salmon kibble with veggie soup (cabbage, broccoli, carrots, pumpkin, daikon radish/ kelp). As I dashed off...Sherlock's escalating vocal hysteria was quite stupendous.

 I think even after nearly a year of a very loving, routine-filled, calm environment he has a lack of plasticity, difficulty learning, gets overtaken regularly by some deep-programmed anxiety in his system, which is so hard to heal. He bangs and bashes his body in doors and furniture as he jumps and twists wildly with overly high tension. Incredible really, when you look at these photos, like a different dog...
I've been reading an article about similar difficulties adapting while rehoming rescued greyhounds .
Behaviour problems seen in greyhounds are generally based around fear and anxiety.
These include
  • -          Freezing on walks
  • -          Separation related problems
  • -          Sleep startle
  • -          Resource guarding
  • -          Excessive fear
  • -          Difficulty in toilet training
  • -          Growling and lunging at people within the home
  • -          Inter-dog aggression (familiar and unfamiliar dogs)

Another problem behaviour is predatory behaviour, which is exacerbated by the illegal practice of live-baiting.
 I think this really applies to rehoming setters too, often kept locked in kennels separate from family and other stimuli. Sherlock was the picture of excessive fear when he came, and still has moments of cringeing in unwarranted fear at sudden movements of the hand or body. He has definitely had great difficulty in toilet training, although now he's pretty much perfect, I'm happy to say. Still has some sleep startle and barking in the night, even though it's improving now that we all sleep in the living room in a big heap and put on the light when whoever goes for a peewees. But it's important to notice how things are indeed looking up over time.

I think over time we've worked toward low key with regular routines, fewer outings, shorter owner absences, safe family presence in fewer rooms in the house, naturally gravitating to the kitchen and sitting room as the centre of existence. Kind of matches the recommendations in the article
The advice behaviour vets are giving dogs with fear and anxiety is now make the dogs world smaller, not bigger. Reduce exposure to those triggers. For some dogs, being kept in a protected and predictable environment is the best thing for their welfare.
 Nightey-nite, says Claire. It's safe for us to enjoy life now!
Photos by Lelantos. Thanks to Companion Animal Psychology for sharing another great article.

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