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Mental health, when is it enough?

October 19th, 2006, 07:27 AM
As many of you know, I have 2 Greyhounds. Sophie is a sweet, well adjusted 7 year old, Benny is 9 years old and a psychological mess. We got him when he was almost 5 and he has never fully adjusted to living with us. He has had separation anxiety right from the beginning. We adopted Sophie shortly thereafter and it seemed to help him to have another dog around. However, he has just never really seemed happy. We had alpha dog issues also from the beginning and we have been very careful to make sure he knows he's not the boss. I think he was the alpha dog in his kennel at the track because to this day he still tests us.

A few months ago Benny had pancreatitis and bloat. Since then he goes to the vet every month for a check up and he was just there 2 days ago and all was fine with his blood work. We have always had issues with him eliminating in the house, probably about once every 3 weeks he'll either pee or poop inside. However, since he was sick it seems to have become more of a habit for him to pee on the floor. The last 2 times he did it it seemed like he was trying to get my attention. The first time he walked up to me in the living room, all excited with his ears up, and peed on the carpet 2 feet in front of me. Last night I went upstairs to answer a phone call and he peed at the bottom of the stairs about 15 seconds after I went up. Does anyone have any idea how I can stop this? As soon as I came downstairs he was shaking and hanging his head as if he knew he was bad. He'd been out for a pee about 2 hours before so he should have been fine, and he's drinking normal amounts of water. I've also noticed that he seems a bit different in personality, grumpier than normal. I mentioned this to the vet but she found no physical problems with him. Last night he growled at DH for no reason. This personality change has come about since I've been pregnant, could this have anything to do with it? I am taking in another urine sample today just to see if he's contracted an infection in the last 2 days, but I doubt it. I'm just feeling sad and frustrated because he's so unhappy and I worry about what will happen when the baby comes. If he's unhappy now, won't a baby in the house make things worse?

October 19th, 2006, 08:28 AM
I know you mentioned bloodwork was done which is probably just a general blood profile, it does not show everything there are dozens of different types of blood test because of the behaviour change I would specifically ask for a thryoid panel.

If he has always been pooping and peeing in the house it is because he was never fully housetrained, that or you are not reading his cues on when he needs to go out. So you need to start at square one, clean all rugs with a enzyme cleaner thoughly to ensure there is no smell to attract him to potty. the other part is confining him until you are a 100% able to supervise closely, he should never have an opportuntity to eliminate in the house and not be caught in the act, any attempt to go must be promply corrected with a verbal firm no and he should be taken directly outside, because of the length of time he has been doing this, you need to continue closely supervising until he ahs went at 2 months accident free. How frequently are you taking him out and for how long, my girls need to run a bit to get their bowel stimulated in order to poop alot of the time, my boy needs to briskly walk. My dogs tend to be too excited when I first come home and only pee on the first outing 7:20 am, they then go back inside get fed and 10 to 15 minute later we go back outside and they are ready for their poop and onother pee 7:45 am around 10am they go out again and have a pee. then I go to bed at around 5:30 pm they go out for another pee and poop go in for their supper 6:15 go out for another pee around 9pm they go out again and then 10:20 pm another and they are good till morning again till I get home from work again, so they getat least 6 outings a day .

Whenever they eat they get 2 potty breaks right before and shortly after.

So you may need to up the frequency and possibly the lenght to help stimulate the bowels

October 19th, 2006, 08:58 AM
We did attach him to us when we first got him and had no problems for a few months. If he's not properly housetrained then why does he shake and hang his head when he goes in front of me? And why does he do it in front of me, never in front of DH? What is the point of attaching him to me again if he makes a point of doing it right in front of me anyway? The problem with Benny is that he gives no cues that he has to go out. I mean none whatsoever. He'll get up from his bed and pee or poop on the floor within 10 seconds. No whining, no restlessness, no looking around, nothing. They go out 4 times a day, 3 times in the yard and 1 walk and get praised every time for peeing and pooping. Sophie has no problem with this schedule and in fact often doesn't need to go every time I let them out. I watch Benny and make sure he goes every time. Maybe I'm wrong, but this seems to have something to do with me. As I said in my previous post, Benny has always had a hard time adjusting to not being the alpha in the house, could he be trying to assert his position? They do not have the run of the house and are confined to the kitchen when I am not home. Oddly, I never come home to a mess, even when I am gone a long time. This only happens when I'm home and when I'm not directly giving him attention. It's almost as if he's trying to get my attention and will do whatever it takes to get it. This is why I am worried that when the baby comes he won't be able to handle it. He no longer has access to the livingroom which is carpeted and he's not allowed upstairs, so he's always near me. I am baffled, as is the vet.

October 19th, 2006, 09:40 AM
They go out 4 times a day, 3 times in the yard and 1 walk

umm, do they ever get "real exercise"? greyhounds are born to run... well most dogs are, LOL! unless they have medical conditions such as HD, arthritis, etc... a good, long, unleashed run in the fresh air once or twice per day does wonders to the body and mind... tire them out physically and the mental mellow will follow. is there anywhere you can bring them, a large field, a patch of woods, etc that is safe? so they can run, roll in the grass, smell out critters, chase bugs, pee and poop and scratch to their heart's content?... :p

October 19th, 2006, 09:56 AM
That would require a totally fenced in safe area though wouldn't it? I thought greys should never be randomly let off leash for the most part since they could run pretty far pretty fast, and may not come back.

October 19th, 2006, 10:04 AM
that's why i asked if there was anywhere safe available... safe = fenced in, walled in, surrounded by river, etc... :o

October 19th, 2006, 10:07 AM
Sorry hun.. The word safe was so far down I somehow missed it when I read it. Oops.
I agree though that at least one nice run a day makes my life better.. No serious excercise and a walk never 'really' counts aroudn here my dog bounces off the walls and makes everyone cranky.. and she shows you she's cranky too..

October 19th, 2006, 11:41 AM
I am not that familiar with greyhounds but he is 9 years old and probably is just as happy to be curled up on the couch as he would be to go out for a run.
Have you had his thyroid checked? A simple blood test will tell you if it is off. One of my goldens had similar problems. I adopted her at 10 months and she had separation anxiety. We overcame that but she would still poop in the house if we were gone too long or would come home and leave again immediately. I knew it was her anxieties but when she became more and more aggressive I was really concerned. Someone told me that it could be her thyroid and I had her tested. With a combination of medication and obedience training she has made a full turn around and I don't remember the last time she pooped in the house, come to think about it.

October 19th, 2006, 11:47 AM
I am not that familiar with greyhounds but he is 9 years old and probably is just as happy to be curled up on the couch as he would be to go out for a run.

9 years is not old at all :eek: regular physical activity is the basis of any training, it's totally recommended for animals as well as for humans... gets the endorphins going, stimulates the body and mind, sets a good atmosphere for better living all around. sure maybe the dog would like to curl up on the couch but that doesn't mean it's what he *needs*. on top of testing for thyroid and other issues, please look into integrating some real physical activity into the dog's lives (maybe hire someone to take them out running a few times per week? do you know anyone who needs a jogging companion? or has a large track, garden, field, etc? is swimming an option? hiking?...) maybe not for a pregnant woman :o but others could take care of this portion of their lives... exercised dogs are happy dogs! :angel:

October 19th, 2006, 01:45 PM
Thanks for all the suggestions! Benny has an old race track injury in his front shoulder that bothers him a bit so he doesn't like to run much. Our fenced in yard is big enough for them to run in, but usually Sophie just rips around and Benny watches or sniffs around for cat poops.

please look into integrating some real physical activity into the dog's lives So a half hour walk every day isn't enough? My vet seems to think it's fine.

I spoke with the vet this morning and his urine came back normal. She re-checked his other tests and his liver, kidneys, heart, and pancreas all are functioning normally. As I said in my second post, his thyroid has been tested and it's fine. I guess I'm just concerned at this point that maybe Benny would be happier in another home with less pets. I have 5 cats and 2 dogs and maybe there is just too much going on in one household for him to handle. He's always been very sensitive and maybe going pee in the house is his way of getting attention? I don't want to give him away but if he's unhappy I'd rather him live elsewhere, maybe where he's the only dog. The other thing I've noticed is that he only does this in the evening when DH is home. Could he be trying to show DH he's higher in the pack by peeing in front of me? Could he be jealous of DH?

October 19th, 2006, 02:03 PM
hmm it could very well be... some dogs are just better suited as "only pet" for a variety of reasons... i really :fingerscr you find a solution that makes everyone happy. i personally don't see the point in keeping a dog only because he's there, if the "fit" is not there anymore and everyone would be happier with a different arrangment... specially with a new baby on the way, that will change alot of the household routine :pawprint:

ps: for exercise... perhaps smaller, less-active breeds would be ok with a leashed walk as exercise... but in my head, i always see greyhounds (and other lure-coursing dogs) as magestic cheetas, built to run, stretch, gallop like wild ballerinas... LOL! but if a shoulder injury is preventing that... what about swimming, with a life-vest for example? short jogging to accelerate the heart-rate? get adrenaline going, you know? just a thought... many trainers say the key to a well-behaved dog is Exercise, Discipline, Affection (in that order)... :shrug:

good luck to you, hun! :grouphug:

October 19th, 2006, 02:49 PM
Thanks techno! I am having a little giggle here at the thought of Benny swimming. I don't know of any pools around here that take dogs. You're right about the "fit", he never really has fit into the household very well and lately it just seems to be getting worse. I have been in tears half the day today thinking of giving him to someone else but he may just be better off. I do worry about Sophie (my other hound) though, she worships the ground he walks on and I'm concerned that in doing the best for him I may be doing the worst thing for her. I also have to consider the possibility that I may not be able to find him another home. According to my contract with Greyhound rescue I have to do it through them, but how many people are going to want a 9 year old dog who is extremely sensitive emotionally, prone to pancreatitis and bloat, has a previous injury, and has to have his teeth professionally cleaned every 6 months because they are so bad? Not to mention the fact that he suffers from separation anxiety. I worry that perhaps Benny is not a good fit for any household.

but in my head, i always see greyhounds (and other lure-coursing dogs) as magestic cheetas, built to run, stretch, gallop like wild ballerinas
LOL, you haven't seen Sophie run, she's hilarious and hardly the picture of grace! Her tail flails around, she trips often, and wipes out completely on occasion. Her race track record includes 2 races she did not finish because she ran right off the track! The other 4 races she placed dead last. Smart dog, it got her retired at the age of 2! :thumbs up

October 19th, 2006, 02:54 PM
Smart dog, it got her retired at the age of 2

he he smart indeed :D :evil: but you put another picture in my head and i am LMAO!! well... they can't all be winners eh? er, i mean graceful runners! :D

maybe OG has some input on how to best help benny? hope she reads this thread... or maybe you could start another one or PM her... :pray: good luck!!!

October 19th, 2006, 03:44 PM
From what I've seen companion dog breeds with no other 'purpose' like bred for job seem to be okay with the romp around the block..

Otherwise doesn't matter how small, they all have endurance. 24 pound cocker, from bad lines, and we still could swim an hour, hike for 2, do agility, play some fetch, and until we go inside she can go go go till the sun goes down.

Half an hour walk doesn't necessarily really do much mentally or physical for a dog bred to do so much more.

October 19th, 2006, 08:02 PM
Greyhounds are not a endurance runners, their track life consists of one race that lasts only 3o seconds every third day, then they are rested in crates to conserve their energy for the next race, a half hour walk is enough exercise for a greyhound, females tend to be more active then the males, and when adopted they to build up some extra endurance by getting into daily sprints around a yard, but still nothing compared to other breedsm males instead will quickly do their pottying and then will walk back to the door looking forward to going back indoors to curl up again. Some of the younger males will join the females for sprints around the yard but the majority would rather not. Right now if she took him to a dog park and he did decide to have an all out run chasing a squirrel or another dog, there is a danger of him getting Extertional Rhabodomyolysis because he is not in physical condition signs would be pain and discomfort from muscle cramps, rusty coloured urine which is a sign the kidneys have damage and if untreated dogs can die from. Some new race track owners have had this happen and have lost or destroyed dogs as well as some pet owners who decided to put their dogs into lurecoursing not realizing how important conditioning is, before ever doing so.

I am older, I picked greyhounds as my dog of choice I have always enjoyed having big dogs, but after a day in the factory no longer have the energy for giving a dog 2 or 3 hours of exercise, when I had learned that greyhound were lazy and did not require a lot of exercise preferred to sleep 18 to 20 hours a day I started looking into them and they proved to be the ideal choice for me. My past big dogs, where mostly hounds and owning a greyhound there is a huge difference between.

From what I've seen companion dog breeds with no other 'purpose' like bred for job seem to be okay with the romp around the block..

Otherwise doesn't matter how small, they all have endurance. 24 pound cocker, from bad lines, and we still could swim an hour, hike for 2, do agility, play some fetch, and until we go inside she can go go go till the sun goes down.

There is a lot of publc misconception. believing that because they are athletes they need a lot of exercise but the opposite, because they are sprinter they need to rest a lot of conserve energy the same is true with the cheetah they don't need endurance because their speed allows them to outrun game and catch them they will feed and bury the remains and it may be 3 or 4 days later before they need to hunt so inbetween the mostly sleep inorder to have the strength for another high speed chase.

Because they have a different function than other dogs their physiology is also very different than other dogs their blood chemistries are considerably different, greyhounds have a high RBC which is very oxygen rich, there RBC have be almost double of other breeds and a necessity to provide oxygen to muscles when running at high speed, the have less than half the WBC, platelets necessary for clotting is half of that of other breeds is displaced in with high levels of exercise which is a reason they must rest to recover what is lost, their TP, gobulin and creatine values are also different and relates to kidney, if overworked or exercise heavily without conditions these values will change due to dehydration and the kidney becomes damaged they have extremely little body fat, for endurance a dog needs body fat as that is water is stored to rehydrate themselves for prolonged activity is stored. There heart and lungs are large for their body size but other organ are mostly smaller than other dogs of comparable size. Their physiology is what what makes them very different from other breeds and does not allow them to have the endurance that other dogs have.

Dogs don't pee or poop for attention
why does he shake and hang his head when he goes in front of me?
That is submissive behaviour knowing you are upset or will be upset with him.

He is 9 years old and getting a little older as an SA dog he also can have more anxiety attacks , anxiety can cause dogs to lose control of their bladders and bowels, so it could be the times it is happening is when he senses you are getting ready to go away somewhere or sense something else is about to happen that worries him, Also could simply be he is not emptying out when he is out in the yard. He is getting a bit older now so possibly he simply needs a bit more exercise to stimulate his bodily functions, or due to aging gets preoccuppied noticing a bird or something else outside and forgets to go(mild senility) , Callie at 9 started doing this so I had to watch her out in the yard to see if she went if not would let her out again a bit later, if he enjoys pee marking on walks, then add in 2 - 10 minute walks one about an hour after the first outing of the morning and another in the evening a little while after his supper, the walks will help to have his empty out his bladder and the exercise will help to stimulate bowel function, if he normally does not poop on his walk then turn him out into the yard right after his walks as the exercise should have him ready to go then.

A lot of greyhounds never get the idea of how to let you know they have to go outside, because they never had to in their track life they simple knew they had to go at turnout times, which is why giving them a routine helps but as they age more outings may be needed

And the odd one simply has quirky behaviour, Callie who is now at the bridge used to pee with in a 1/2 hour of me going to bed, it took me a little while to figure out that she felt the need to go outside immediately before lights out, if I took her out even as little as a half hour before she would pee, once I clued in to her little quirk and started letting her outside immediately before I went to bed she never had an accident again.

October 19th, 2006, 09:14 PM
OG i'm glad you posted, that was very informational! thank you :)

October 19th, 2006, 11:08 PM
This post has given me the impression that you're looking to displace this dog (who was a rescue to begin with) and who has been in your household for 4 years because you're expecting. Why now, since his behaviour issues have been going on for 4 yrs. If a dog changes his behaviour and its not deemed from a medical condition then perhaps he's trying to communicate in the only way he knows how. Do you think he's picking-up on your feelings of prioritizing. Is your stressing affecting him? Poor Benny.

October 20th, 2006, 06:55 AM
This post has given me the impression that you're looking to displace this dog (who was a rescue to begin with) and who has been in your household for 4 years because you're expecting

I am not looking to displace this dog simply because I am pregnant. I happen to be a person who thinks that adoption is for life and this is why I am having such a hard time even considering finding him a new home. If I put myself first I would keep him because I love him, however sometimes it is necessary to put the animal first. Benny is very sensitive to his environment and I've always thought that perhaps he would have been better as an only dog or in a reduced pet household. I have another dog and 4 cats (we lost one last night :rip:) and I've always thought that the household was a bit too chaotic for him. I am concerned that a new baby might send Benny over the edge emotionally and that HE may be better off elsewhere. My pets have always been a priority in my life and will continue to be after the baby is born. I am looking at the best interest of my dog here; I'm not trying to pawn him off on someone else because I just can't be bothered anymore and I hope that's not what you were implying. Thank you everyone else for all the good advice.