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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 24056
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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My 10 year old greyhound doesn't like to be left in houde whenever

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My 10 year old greyhound doesn't like to be left in houde whenever I go out (shopping, visiting etc) & although I let him into garden to relieve himself before I leave he still wees in the hall when left alone...separation anxiety? how can I cure him of this habit...he is a retired racer living with me for past 15 months.
Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I am sorry to hear that Joe is urinating in the hall when left alone.
I am very glad to hear that his urine sample tested normal, it is important to establish that there isn't a medical issue behind his "accidents".
I believe that your thought that this is related to separation anxiety is exactly correct. I understand your problem fully as the pup that is my profile picture is a retired racer that has separation anxiety, and he also urinated in the house when left alone.
Many rescues suffer from separation anxiety as they quickly become very attached to their new family. 
Most dogs would prefer to spend all their time with their very loved family to make sure that they don't disappear.
Another issue is that Greyhounds are used to having other dogs around all the time for company, and often people coming and going in the kennel throughout the day. Suddenly being alone can be terrifying for an already fairly high strung breed. That is why some rescue groups recommend adopting more than one dog.
If he does well in a crate then I would use it while you are gone. Many Greyhounds see a crate as a den. It's a secure place that they can be while the family is gone. They have learned that if they go in their crate you always come back. But if they are out in the big house alone they just don't know what to do with themselves, get anxious and get into trouble. If you had a camera on most normal dogs while owners are gone you would see they spend most of their time sleeping. They are pack animals and if their pack members are gone then they rest up waiting for their "pack" to come home and play. So don't feel guilty about giving him a place he can feel secure in and rest in. In time as he realizes you always come home then he may be able to be out in the house but for now if his crate gives him security then let him use it.
Some people are not comfortable putting their dog in a cage, although most Greyhounds truly find it comforting. In that case a small bathroom or bedroom with his bed where he cannot get in much trouble is fine too
Our solution was to put our fellow in our bedroom with his bed (where he sleeps at night) and close the door. He sees that as his den and a safe place and has never urinated there.
It is important to clean the areas where he has urinated thoroughly with an enzymatic cleaner like Nature's Miracle. If any scent is left behind he will be drawn to the area to urinate again.
If you would like to train him to be out in the house alone then you will need to do some training. Ideally while you are working on training him he should only be left for short periods at a time anyway. If you must leave him for longer periods you'll need a friend or dog sitter to come in and check on him, let him out to eliminate and make sure he's OK.
Whether you confine him or not work on leaving for short periods of time (initially minutes) and always try and make coming and going boring, don't make a huge deal of it as that increases anxiety. Change your routine so that he cannot ramp up his anxiety about your leaving before you've even left. Pick up your car keys and walk around the house. Put on your coat and shoes and walk around the house. Practice him going in and out of his crate and staying there for a few minutes even when you are home. Give him indestructible play things (like a king ball stuffed with a treat he has to work to get out) to do while you are gone. Leave a radio or TV on for company, initially both while you are home and away so that the noise level is the same, home or not.
Make sure that you ignore him for the first several minutes when you get home. Busy yourself with mail, or putting things away so that coming and going is never a big deal. Once you've been home for a bit then sit down and give him attention.
Some of the OTC products for separation anxiety are safe and effective, but they must be used in conjunction with training. Medication alone almost always fails. Here are some links that may help you:
As far as over the counter medications I do like DAP products (dog appeasement pheromones) which are synthetic analogs of a calming pheromone a bitch produces while nursing. These come in sprays, collars and diffusors. See this link for information about these products:
See this link for some examples: hop&tbo=u&sa=X&ei=_yGDT5KCBIiqiAL7jPn5Ag&sqi=2&ved=0CIgBEK0E&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.,cf.osb&fp=83ec0cc01db0c140&biw=1249&bih=569
I also like products made by Bach's Rescue Remedy:
These homeopathic remedies simply calm him down enough so that he is able to learn. If he is terrified and extremely anxious then he won't learn to comfortably be alone.
If these aren't enough I would discuss medications, such as clonicalm or amitriptyline, with your veterinarian. These may not need to be given forever, just until he learns to trust that you are coming back and it is OK for him to be alone in the home and he is in a safe place.
Let me know if you have any further questions.
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Customer: replied 5 years ago.

As I have another retired greyhound..Sally also age 10 Joe isn't left entirely alone...i also always leave radio on in livimg room & he also has use of all the house so can.& does. often pop up stairs to bedroom where he sleeps on my bed. I shall try Bach's rescue remedy...
& will advise you if this works..



I am glad to hear that Joe has company. For some dogs though, even with another dog, having his "leader" gone is enough to make them panic. The more attached they are to their human family, and the less confidant dog they are in general, the worse the anxiety tends to be.
We did lots of confidence building with my fellow but in the end the only thing that worked reliably was putting him in our bedroom and closing the door when we are gone. Now if we say that we are leaving and ask him to "go to bed" he trots there and seems quite happy to be there until we come back. I do make it a point of leaving him there for a few minutes when we get back, and not making a big deal when I let him out. I will often pretend I need to do something in our bedroom and go in because I am doing something else, opening the door so he can come and go if he would like.