Maureen L. United Kingdom (Verified User) Posts 968 Dogs 0 / Races 0 27 Dec 2006 12:31
Hi everyone, I am hoping for suggestions to help me get an unbroken night's sleep! I am a new greyhound owner.
I adopted my 3 year old neutered male Bowen in May this year. He settled in well with just me and the three cats. He sleeps downstairs, the Victorian stairs are too steep for him and I prefer him downstairs anyway. He was clean from the word Go, I was so pleased as the kennels had noted he might need help with housetraining, there was absolutely no problem. To begin with I would get up at 5 to let him out for a pee, he would perform and allow me back to bed to sleep till about 8.30. He was then getting right through the night till morning, which was great as I really need my sleep. I was even allowed an evening out now and then and there was no mess or signs of distress on my return.
Then a few weeks ago in the night he had an attack of liquid diahorrea spread right throughout the house, he had also urinated on the carpet. I had heard him tramping about and whingeing in the early hours but not wanting to encourage him, had called down to him to go back to bed.
It took HOURS to clear up the mess, and for days after this I would find a patch of pee on the carpet which I tackled with Vapet "Wash and Get Off" He even stood and peed in front of me, without appearing to know he was doing anything out of the ordinary. I grabbed him and shoved him outside.
Also Bowen has started waking me up by tramping around at the foot of the stairs and whining at around 3 in the morning every night and because I am traumatised about the previous mess I get up and let him into the garden, sometimes it is three times in the night. I am getting totally tired out.
The dog sleeps all day as I believe most greyhounds do, he doesn't suffer from sleep deprivation as I am. On Christmas Eve he had me up at 2.30 am, 5 am and 7.30 am. I'm afraid I shouted at him and he was very subdued all day. I felt terribly guilty but I was at the end of my tether, he has forgiven me now though.
I take him for a run off the lead every day, I think he gets enough exercise. I feed him a main meal in the morning and a smaller one at about 4 pm, with a few biscuits in between. He's a big dog. I take up his water bowl at around 8pm. He has a nightlight and the radio on softly, and a fleece of mine in his bed.
I fear he is in a pattern now which I can't see a way of breaking so he will sleep all through the night. I am not an early sleeper, I generally turn in around midnight and get up - if I was allowed to - at about 9.
I'm retired now so he has me all to himself all day 24/7.
One other thing - the cats sleep with me upstairs, sometimes one will jump down to the floor. As Bowen sleeps in the room below he hears this and thinks it's me getting up and starts whingeing as he expects me to appear.
He is sleeping innocently as I write this! I am washed out.
I'd welcome any suggestions, thank you.
Wayne Larson USA (Verified User) Posts 2655 Dogs 0 / Races 0 27 Dec 2006 13:53
Moz, greyhounds seldom have these kinds of behaviorial changes unless they're experiencing some kind of stress, physical or psychological (like a new dog coming into the household).
Since your home environment probably hasn't changed, then a vet may be able to help with a physical checkup. Something Bowen ate (greasy foods), food allergies, a change in diet or even a case of worms could account for the diarrhea, and all sorts of causes from bacterial infection to thyroid imbalance could account for the urination. The vet will probably want to check a stool sample, do a urinalysis and take a blood sample.
The tests may still come up normal, but so much is happening here that a visit to the vet at this point is certainly worthwhile.
Maureen L. United Kingdom (Verified User) Posts 968 Dogs 0 / Races 0 27 Dec 2006 14:43
He did have a nasty tummy upset about 3 weeks ago, fortunately none of it in the house. Diahorrea and no vomiting. It went on a few days and I did take him to the vet, with a sample of stool. I had to starve him 24 hours and then FIVE days of chicken and rice (which I thought too long for an already slender dog), he was put on Lectade, Pro-Kolin and Panacur wormer. No antibiotics in case they made the problem worse. The stool sample was analysed for salmonella, parasites and other things, and was declared normal. The vet said he had had a gastro enteritis, possibly picked up from eating something such as contaminated grass, and would now be all right. He didn't offer to see him again.
I'm not too happy with this vet - Bowen wouldn't get on the scales, which had a platform too small for a large long dog, so I estimated his weight as 33kg (as in his data records when he was called Lanky); also the vet didn't take his temperature, and when he tried to listen to his heart, gave up, saying, "There's too much muscular activity going on in there, I can't hear it". Bowen was afraid of him, he is a breezy young Ozzie, and my dog is very sensitive and shy. I was charged £122 for this one visit, of which £50 was for the lab analysis.
Actually, now I think of it, this waking up problem is very recent ... I wonder if it is connected to that upset.
He is back on his normal diet of Gusto working dog food, with a little Butcher's Tripe for flavour, his stools are solid and normal-looking.
I don't think he is ill, he is happy enough when we are out and loves an indoor game of fetch with one of his soft toys.
Wayne Larson USA (Verified User) Posts 2655 Dogs 0 / Races 0 27 Dec 2006 15:38
Moz, I'm not in the UK but the vet charge sounds fairly reasonable if it included the medications. Not being able to hear Bowen's heartbeat?! In a greyhound, which has twice as large a heart as a percentage of body weight compared to other breeds?! C'mon! You can check with your local adoption group for a knowledgeable greyhound vet in your area, and if you post where you live, lots of UK people on this forum can offer recommendations as well.
Rereading your original post, Moz, I need to ask if he's still having pee accidents in the house. If not, then he may be training you! In other words, he whines in the middle of the night and you reward him by getting up, going downstairs and giving him some personal attention by letting him outside. As we've talked about in other threads, greys are social animals and they like to sleep in the same room with their masters.
Since that appears to be impractical in your house, you might consider putting him in a crate at night. A crate is a secure den to a greyhound and the dog won't foul himself (unless, of course, he has some lingering physical problem). Then you can safely ignore his noisemaking and he'll give it up when it doesn't produce results.
(There is one other solution - get another dog to keep Bowen company at night!)
Marion Wright United Kingdom (Verified User) Posts 2893 Dogs 10 / Races 4 27 Dec 2006 16:04
Moz, Where do you live? As this is indicater of what is charged from the vets, also have you got a insurance for your dog then you pay the excess. If your dog is not insured then may I suggest that you do so. As Wayne said greyhounds love company, I have 2 small terriers as the male wasn't happy being left alone for a period of time. Marion
Janice Koy United Kingdom
Posts 752 Dogs 0 / Races 0 27 Dec 2006 16:15
hi moz your vet doesn't sound like his practice is suited to Bowen - find a good vet you can trust before Bowen is in need of one and you will save yourself a lot of grief and stress, and perhaps even Bowen's life.
re bowen whining in the night, my advice is to let him sleep in the same room as you. i know some people don't like that, but that's the only surefire and immediate solution i know to keeping a grey sleeping contentedly through the night. i guess the question simply is: how much do you really want your undisturbed sleep? my 2 share our room and they will generally wait for us to get up before even playing with their squeky toys. even after my alarm goes off, and they thinkm we are about to get up, if i decide to snooze for a while, they will settle back down and wait quietly. my boy sometimes gets me up in the middle of the night but i know when he does get me up he REALLY needs to do something i don't want in the house - no false alarms from him ever.
assuming you are willing, bowen should be able to learn the stairs without too much trouble. just slow him down on the descent until he masters it so he does not crash down - my boy is like a thunderball when he goes down stairs, he is currently 34.5 kg and needs to lose a bit of weight.
i can relate to the sleep deprivation though - during firework season, my boy wouldn't go out at night, so for 2 weeks or so i was getting awakened between 3 and 5 am by the silly thing as he couldn't hold it till the morning. and i work, so not as if i could nap during the day. the only consolation was that he was at least waking me and doing it outside, i would rather that than wake up to a "surprise". ;P
Maureen L. United Kingdom (Verified User) Posts 968 Dogs 0 / Races 0 27 Dec 2006 19:05
I am in the Medway Towns area of Kent and would be glad of any recommendations of vets knowledgeable of greyhounds not too far away.
I have insured Bowen, thank goodness. I am with MoreThan, hoping they will be a good company, although their excess is not cheap at £75.
This evening I decided to try him with the stairs. I don't have an objection really, except they are so very steep and I have visions of him breaking all his legs tumbling to the bottom.
So I coaxed/pushed him to that mysterious place I disappear to each night, using many treats, my shoulder and a firm hold on the banister. Sheer trauma for both of us.
Worse coming down. I practically had to carry him, but at least he didn't scream, so I don't think I hurt him. Although both his back legs were shaking. We are both exhausted. I think I have pulled a muscle in my thigh and another in my back. He is sleeping innocently again, with his tail wagging in his dream.
Once he was upstairs he did have a lovely look and sniff round with tail wagging.
We will get there.
Marion Wright United Kingdom (Verified User) Posts 2893 Dogs 10 / Races 4 27 Dec 2006 19:59
Moz, that is why your bill is high because your in a high risk area my insurance in West Wales the excess is £65 and I am with Direct Line, but not had to use it as of yet. Is this your first dog? I have worked with greyhounds and with 2 of my own terriers they go every where they even sleep on the bed with me. Dogs need love and for it to be shown. Use A lead to take him down the stairs and I think he might get the idea. As I don't know anyone in Kent I can't recommend a vet. Marion
Wayne Larson USA (Verified User) Posts 2655 Dogs 0 / Races 0 27 Dec 2006 20:01
Moz, I'm in a top floor condo of an elevator building, but Star had to learn to negotiate three flights of concrete exit stairs consisting of 15 steps each. We've had to use them in the rare cases of elevator malfunction and as a precaution in event of fire.
This method may help you getting up and down stairs. In both cases, use his lead and collar.
Going up. You mount the first step while keeping your hand holding the leash fairly high over your head, no slack in the leash but not pulling. This is just to gently induce him to put a foot on the stairs. As Bowen tentatively starts climbing, he'll pick up speed wanting to get it over with. Keep your hand high so he doesn't trip on the lead. Let the lead slide through your hand and let it go as he gets up near the top.
Give him lots of praise and take off his lead. He's a brave boy!
Going down. You take the side with the handrail. Bowen takes the side next to the wall. Give him about two feet of lead but keep the lead vertical to his neck with continuous firm tension. Your hand position should be slightly above the level of your waist. That way you can take it nice and slow and even stop on the stairs if necessary. The continuous tension on Bowen's collar will reassure him that he won't be allowed to slip and fall down the stairs, even if he makes a misstep. Your other hand should always be on the handrail for your own security. Never try to carry anything else in your hands while helping Bowen.
After a few days, you may actually see him gain the skills and confidence to attempt climbing and descending on his own. Don't force him to do it himself, however, and always speak to him in a clam and reassuring command voice. He depends on you for his courage. If he slips and it scares him, just resume the lead and collar method.
Aside from all that, how did he do when he was in your room last night?
Dick Ciampa USA (Team Member) Posts 640 Dogs 13255 / Races 2760 27 Dec 2006 20:17
Do your stairs have carpet? If not, Bowen would feel more secure if they were, no slipping.
Janice Koy United Kingdom
Posts 752 Dogs 0 / Races 0 27 Dec 2006 20:19
hi moz glad to hear you are giving him a chance to sleep with you.
the way i "taught" my 2 to do stairs was by starting them on really shallow steps - i don't live in a house so they had plenty of time to learn. there is a flight of very broad and shallow steps where they used to walk in the afternoons and we would take them up and down them - no probs there at all as the steps were so easy. then we took them up and down slightly steeper flights in our regular park and since then they've always tackled stairs in houses we visit and cottages we stay at without even batting an eyelid between them. up and down they will thunder as they please. don't worry moz, bowen will get there, especially as he has an incentive to learn them!
you are right to be concerned about a grey falling down the stairs though. my worry is not so much legs breaking but my boy crashing his head against a wall when he thunderballs down if there is not much of a landing at the bottom. i think that a stairgate might be in order. that way stair climbing will always be supervised.
i'll try to see what i can find in terms of vets in medway kent. i am not local but sometimes you can find recommended vets on the net.
Maureen L. United Kingdom (Verified User) Posts 968 Dogs 0 / Races 0 28 Dec 2006 11:41
Thanks Janice, and everyone for your suggestions.
I have taken him up and down concrete steps out of doors with no bother, apart from him wanting to leap some of them. When there's plenty of room I can control him reasonably safely.
It's hard to explain but my stairs are really narrow (only 2'5" wide), very steep and with tiny treads. They are carpeted. There is a stout rail down one side, making the space even narrower. Typical Victorian stairs. Many elderly people lie in nursing homes with broken necks from falling down such stairs! Manoevring a large dog up and down them when I'm only 5'4" and not very athletic is quite daunting.
Anyway, last night wasn't too bad. He did wake me at 3am, but after that he settled down and I had the luxury of sleeping till 9. Today I am much more rested and cheerful and like him a lot better! I could cope with this pattern, although it isn't ideal.
Perhaps his being able to see where I disappear to at night has reassured him.
I will have another go when my muscle pains and bruises have eased.
Jo Smith United Kingdom
Posts 46 Dogs 0 / Races 0 28 Dec 2006 11:52
Moz I think you might have hit the nail on the head with "Perhaps his being able to see where I disappear to at night has reassured him." Our girl mastered stairs very quickly and in the early days used to follow us upstairs when we went to bed (in fact everytime we went upstairs!) and she would sleep on the landing outside our bedroom door - but she soon cottoned on that her comfy sofa was a much nicer place to sleep than a hard floor! They do learn that there isn't a mysterious exit you might suddenly leave by and that if you go up, you've got to come back down again! Good Luck
Maureen L. United Kingdom (Verified User) Posts 968 Dogs 0 / Races 0 29 Dec 2006 10:06
Spoke too soon - groan! It was 2.30 this am, then again at 6.10. I decided to let him cry and pace, hoping to break the cycle. He went on for nearly an hour and I did come down - to a large soft pile of smelly poo on the carpet and a very happy dog to see me. Thank god he had managed not to walk in it.
I really don't know what to do.
Janice Koy United Kingdom
Posts 752 Dogs 0 / Races 0 29 Dec 2006 11:22
moz, sounds like you are still leaving him downstairs at night? try letting him sleep with you upstairs at night. unless he is having an upset stomache, he should not need to toilet in the middle of the night so i wouldn't worry about him messing your upstairs if you let him sleep with you. as for manouvering him upstairs, i don;t know how you are doing it, but you might want to try encouraging him up from behind him, i.e. rather than pulling him up, try pushing his bum. coming down might be trickier, i guess if it was me, i would let him find his own way down - maybe go down first, then call him from the bottom of the stairs. he'll prob still be hesistant, but just let him come down in his own time, i'm sure he will eventually, especially if it's time for breakfast! hope you find time for an afternoon nap today!
Wayne Larson USA (Verified User) Posts 2655 Dogs 0 / Races 0 29 Dec 2006 13:19
The poo came following a period of moderate physical movement where Bowen was able to whine and move around, enough to stimulate his bowels. Again, you may want to give some thought to a crate at night. It was suggested before but I don't know if you've given much thought to it.
Maureen L. United Kingdom (Verified User) Posts 968 Dogs 0 / Races 0 29 Dec 2006 15:44
Thank you all so much. There are some creative ideas here.
I have just been out for nearly four hours and he has been perfect. I am just going to take him for an unscheduled walk, to try to empty him for the night.
I might be able to borrow a crate, Wayne. I could not afford to buy one.
As for getting him up the stairs, I have decided to do more practising with him out of doors on concrete steps so he gets the feel of it better. I am still aching too much to attempt to manhandle him upstairs here for a few days.
He is a brilliant dog, I won't give up.
Charlotte Jones United Kingdom
Posts 40 Dogs 0 / Races 0 29 Dec 2006 17:16
hi moz walk him where theres steps a few at a time lots of kind words and he will get there i done this with my grey billy and with in a week he was up on my bed before me
Janice Koy United Kingdom
Posts 752 Dogs 0 / Races 0 29 Dec 2006 17:27
good to hear you are not giving up MOz. out of curiousity, what time do you give bowen his last opportunity to empty for the night? they should not be expected to hold it for more than 10 hours - I started off with 8 hours max and built it up to 10 hours over a fortnight or so. now they can actually hold for more than 10 hours, but I personally don't like making them do that as i know how uncomfortable it can be not being to go when you need to! : P
the other desperate thing you could do for a peaceful night is to sleep on the couch downstairs with him for a couple of nights. or maybe leave the cats with him, but i guess how do you stop the cats going upstairs with you?
Clare Graham United Kingdom (Verified User) Posts 330 Dogs 0 / Races 0 30 Dec 2006 15:54
Just to throw another idea in the pot,I wonder if it might help if you tried altering the time of Bowen's meals? Four's quite early for him to have his dinner and if it was two or three hours later it might help him settle down for the night, and be able to hold back on the poop until the morning. Or could you try giving him his big meal in the morning and a smaller one in the evening, as I believe they do in greyhound kennels?
That said if your existing schedule suited his digestion until he had that attack of diarrhoea, it sounds to me as if since then he has been feeling a bit insecure and has worked out that wanting to go out is a great way to get some attention during the middle of the night. I had a similar thing here when I had the builders in and my dog Doc was put out by all the dustsheets, closed doors, strange men etc. He came up into my bedroom a couple of nights running to pee in a corner - then after that because he knew I would spring up as soon as I heard him and take him out into the garden! Fortunately the problem cured itself as soon as the building work was finished.
I'm sure Bowen *could* manage your stairs if he *really* wanted to. They sound very like the ones here which Doc (also a large long dog - 39 kilos) found initially challenging, especially to go down, but nevertheless mastered pretty quickly. He's a bit of a big lummox who thunders up and down at alarming speed but has never fallen yet. Try tempting Bowen with a treat/his favourite toy, or if you would rather he stayed downstairs at night maybe it would be enough to keep your bedroom door open? That way he could hear you breathing and turning over etc which could well provide sufficient reassurance. Again, this works for Doc who started off upstairs with me but eventually decided it was comfier to stay downstairs on his bed in the living room. He now sleeps through until the alarm clock goes, at which point he races upstairs to give me a good morning kiss! If that fails Wayne's suggestion of a crate (which you could maybe borrow from your local greyhound rescue) or Janice's idea of sleeping downstairs for a couple of nights both sound worth a go.