Learning to be alone

Oct 29, 2020 | Enrichment, Greyhound care, Training

Learning to be alone is a skill just like any other, and it is something that your new rescued greyhound will need to be taught. Take it step by step and give your hound the opportunity to learn and succeed. Most greyhounds have never had time to themselves, and as such it can be a little bit of a shock to the system. While many will be able to take it in their stride and quickly learn, others may take a bit more time and effort. As always, it is best to set your hound up for success from the start by following some simple tips.

Desensitise your hound to your coming and going.
Your hound will quickly learn your leaving routine, but you can desensitise them to the leaving routine. Think of things you do before you leave e.g. Put my shoes on, pack my bag, make a coffee to go, grab my keys. This signals to your hound that you are leaving. In order to desensitise them, do those four things but then go back to your normal task, remain calm, and ignore the dog’s excitement. The dog will learn that there’s nothing exciting happening so they will be more calm to the situation. You can do these steps 2-3 times and give the dog an hour or two break to relax, then repeat. Now build on this by adding walking to the front door, touching the door handle without opening it and then go back to what you were doing. Same again, but crack open the front door, shut it, and go back to what you were doing. continue to build on it by adding the next steps; walk out the front door, walk away from the front door for 30 seconds and return to the front door and walk in extremely neutral whilst ignoring the dog, if you live in an apartment consider pressing the elevator so they can hear the sounds of the elevator as well. Build up the time that you are away slowly so that your hound sees your coming and going and no big deal.

Give them something to do!
Enrichment can be a valuable tool in teaching your dog to be alone. Be aware that your dog may not automatically understand how to play with any toy and may need to be taught. It is important to introduce your dog to enrichment and build the reward value of it. You want them to think of their enrichment as more exciting than you coming or going. Always get the dog started on enrichment while you’re at home so they know how to win and you can instruct them how to win if they’re unsure.

Be patient with your greyhound. They have likely never been in a house before, this is all very new to them and learning to be alone does take time. Visit your neighbours to let them know that you have a new greyhound and that you’re working on building up their alone time, as neighbours are likely to be more forgiving when they know why they may hear a dog.

Want to find out some more about enrichment? Read our blog post! After some cool enrichment options for your hound? Visit our store!

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