The Lonely Hound: Coping with Separation Anxiety
Jul 22, 2022
Nothing breaks your heart more than hearing your greyhound crying as you pull out of the driveway. They miss you already, and now the whole neighbourhood knows about it. So, what do you do from here?
Retired greyhounds have often never lived as pets before, and now that they have all your love and attention, they can sometimes get a little too attached to that affection. Common signs of separation anxiety in dogs include crying, damaging property, and attempting to escape when alone. Separation anxiety can be an incredibly overwhelming and heartbreaking thing to face for even the most experienced dog owners. However, there is a wide range of ways to help tackle this hurdle with your hound.
My first tip, as a greyhound owner and a dog trainer, is to build up your time apart slowly. Start by spending just a few minutes away from your greyhound, and as they start to learn that you always come back, build this time up gradually. Make sure to be chill about coming and going – say a calm ‘hello’ and reward with a quiet greeting, and don’t make a big deal when you leave. Move your keys and put your shoes on at times when you are not going out so that your pet doesn’t learn to associate these actions with being left alone.
My next tip – and perhaps the most fun one – is enrichment! There are endless ways to enrich your greyhound and keep them distracted and entertained while you are out. The best of these are treat puzzles – be they store-bought or homemade. One of my favourite homemade enrichment toys is simply a few little treats squished inside a toilet roll with the ends folded in. You can also fill and freeze toys with pet-safe peanut butter or create a ‘snuffle mat’ for that long nose to nuzzle around and find treats. These types of enrichments make being alone fun and easy, and are the best way to help tackle separation anxiety.
In some cases, you may need the support of a qualified dog trainer and/or your veterinarian to overcome more severe cases of separation anxiety. But at the end of the day, it is a hurdle that can be overcome, and the team at Greyhounds as Pets is always happy to chat about tactics for improving your pet’s wellbeing.
Author: Charlie Jayde
Greyhound Owner for 4 years / GAP Volunteer
Experienced Dog Trainer