Reading time: 7 minutes.
Greyhounds are known for having a somewhat calm demeanor, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are always calm. Understanding a particular breed’s temperament is important before making the decision to adopt them and adjust your life to them. When it comes to greyhounds, one of your biggest questions might be: do greyhounds have separation anxiety?
Greyhounds are prone to developing separation anxiety, especially at the beginning when they are adapting to their new home life. These pups are timider than they might seem, and their temperament can lead to anxious behaviors and tendencies. They need a lot of love and reassurance to understand that they are safe.
No matter how much we wish we could stay home all day with our pups, it’s not always feasible. Thus, it’s ideal to raise your greyhound in a way that they know that when you leave the home, you’re coming back.
Do Greyhounds Have Separation Anxiety?
Greyhounds can have separation anxiety, but there are ways to prevent it or remedy it when you notice the signs. When greyhounds get used to human contact, they end up wanting it as much as possible. This is especially true as you and your greyhound become closer. Therefore, when you’re gone, they miss you a lot.
As endearing as it can be to know your greyhound loves you so much they miss you when you’re gone, it’s not something you want to foster. Separation anxiety can lead to stress, which is just as detrimental to a dog’s health as it is to ours.
Why Greyhounds Get Anxious
Greyhounds that were raised in a family of greyhounds can have a hard time adapting to being the lone dog in the home. If you are able to adopt more than one, especially from the same family, that can help. However, it’s not wise to bring multiple pets home if you don’t have the time to care for them both.
Greyhounds also become very people-oriented when they are adopted, and once you bond, they enjoy your company. Even if they aren’t right beside you, they would prefer that you were in the room with them. When you’re not home, it can cause them to become anxious because they miss you.
It may seem counterintuitive, but you want to avoid smothering your greyhound with attention all of the time. This is because if you model this behavior, they are going to want your attention all the time. Letting them have their space occasionally is not only respectful, but it’ll help your greyhound realize that they are capable of being on their own for short spurts of time.
Frequent breaks in your routine or an inconsistent routine can also be difficult for your greyhound to adjust to, and this can exacerbate their anxiety. Greyhounds prefer homes with somewhat consistent routines, as this helps ease their mind that they can rely on you to come back at certain times.
Signs Of Separation Anxiety
Signs of separation anxiety in your greyhound will be pretty obvious, but it’s still good to know the nuances of their behavior to determine whether or not they are experiencing anxiety. For instance, greyhounds enjoy following their humans around the house. When they have anxiety, they will seem more frantic when they do this. They might drool, whine, or shake.
It’s also possible that your greyhound will become destructive because they don’t know how else to release their anxious feelings. They might end up scratching or chewing on furniture or other belongings. Giving them a chew toy can help mediate this a little bit.
You might also notice that your greyhound hasn’t touched their food or water for the duration of your time away from home. If you have to leave for a few hours at a time, this is obviously not a good thing. They also might not sleep, even if they are tired, which is very bad for their health.
Safe Spaces For Greyhounds Who Are Anxious
Having a safe space set up for your greyhound is paramount when you’re not home. This safe space should consist of a soft, comfortable bed that will keep them warm, as well as food and water. Having a comfort object available here, such as their favorite toy or a shirt that smells like you, will also help tremendously.
This safe space should also have nearby access to a bathroom, whether that be through a doggy door or a puppy pad that is put down. This safe space should also be encouraged to be used when your greyhound first comes home. You should be sure that people don’t bother them when they are relaxing in their safe space.
When you’re training your greyhound, encourage them to go to their safe space when it’s time to relax. When they cooperate, give them a treat and offer some words of kindness for doing a good job. If they follow you around when you move about, you can also occasionally encourage them to stay in their safe space in order to become better acclimated to it.
Whether or not you want their safe space to be in a crate, or you want to put up puppy gates to restrict their movement around the house is your choice. That being said, leaving your greyhound in a crate for hours is not recommended. Having a radio on or some type of noise when you’re gone can also help them feel less alone.
How To Handle Separation Anxiety
Spending dedicated time with your greyhound before you leave home and once you come home is very important to reduce separation anxiety. This type of anxiety causes your greyhound to worry about why you’re not around, and they become concerned about their survival when you’re gone. It is going to take them time to adjust to your schedule.
Before you leave home, take your greyhound for a walk to tire them out, or play with them for a few minutes. Bring them to their safe space, make sure they have adequate access to food and water, and give them a nice treat. Since greyhounds are low-energy pups, activity, before you leave, will encourage them to take a nap while you’re gone.
When you arrive home, you should show genuine excitement to see your greyhound. Go to them, give them pets and kisses, and speak to them in a gentle but happy voice. Once you give them some affection for a few minutes, you can continue the rest of your day like normal.
This will help your greyhound understand that there is a routine to be followed. They will eventually learn that you have to leave sometimes, but you are going to come back for them. They will also understand that they will be taken care of regardless of whether or not you’re home.
Issues That Seem Like Separation Anxiety
Sometimes, separation anxiety appears to be an issue with a greyhound, but their struggle is actually something completely different. For instance, there is such a thing as separation frustration, which is not as serious and is much easier to remedy.
This is typically caused by your greyhound being bored, or assuming you’re going on a walk or playing outside without them. In order to manage separation frustration, dedicating that time before and after you leave to playing and tiring them out will help tremendously.
Some greyhounds might also feel a little bit uneasy when they can’t hear you moving around, so they might just think you’re hiding. It could make them sad that they aren’t included in your “fun” or it may cause them to wander aimlessly in search of you. Having background noise playing, like a radio or TV, can help mitigate this.
Consider Companions To Help Reduce Anxiety
Having more than one dog at home could help your greyhound adapt to being without their human for some time. Of course, efforts will have to be made to introduce them to each other and socialize them properly before leaving them unsupervised at home.
If you have a schedule that is going to leave you out of the home for a while, or perhaps occasionally have to leave for extended periods of time, it might be worth having someone your greyhound trusts come to visit them occasionally. You could also look into a dedicated pet sitter to stay over a night or two, or spend a few hours with them.
Do greyhounds have separation anxiety? Not immediately, but it can develop and impact their wellbeing if it’s not properly addressed or avoided when possible. It can be tricky to determine whether or not your greyhound is anxious or bored, but there are signs that will help you differentiate these behaviors as you get to know them.
It’s a wonderful feeling to know that your greyhound loves your company as much as you love theirs, but you don’t want to take advantage of this tendency for them to want to be with you all the time. Helping them establish a level of independence and security within your home is important to keep your greyhound happy and healthy.