Anxiety or Frustration?

SaddlePsych'D

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Our lovely Ivy greyhound is still doing well settling in after just about 2 months with us. We've obviously got various training bits to work on with her and we're all learning as we go but there's one 'puzzle' we can't work out - she whines/cries when we come upstairs during the day.

The reason we're finding it a bit confusing is that right since day 1 she has always settled down at night (in the kitchen, initially just on her bed but now in her crate which is left open) without issue, and she has been left up to 4 hours home alone. We started with just leaving the house for a few minutes, building up to 15, 30, 45, 60 then 90 120 etc once we could see (via Zoom call!) that she was settling quickly and not getting wound up, and that when we came home she was either flat out asleep on the sofa or dozing in her crate. No accidents, destruction etc. Previously she's coped with me doing my work from home upstairs, it's more recently she started 'protesting' when OH was getting ready in the mornings - our shower is downstairs and it was when he was coming back upstairs to change she'd start crying . The mornings are much better now and we did a check in video call to make sure she is still settling when left home alone and again no sign of a problem there.

Any ideas? Does she sound anxious or more registering her frustration? It's not causing massive issues we just don't want to inadvertently create a bigger problem. I'm due to start working from home again within the next couple of weeks (again she was fine with this previously, I could do my video meetings and pop downstairs in between). She'll get a good walk before work and we have lick mats, kongs, chews etc. I think what's puzzling is that she seems less bothered if we're completely out of the house!
 

CorvusCorax

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It's probably frustration because she can **see** him departing/going away.
When you're not there, you're not there. She can't see so there's nothing to worry about.
All three of mine go ballistic when they see one of the others going out/getting out of the car without them so I shut doors in house or feed one while the other gets out of car, etc etc.

You could create a positive association or distraction by dropping some kibble in before you go up or impede her view of stairs.
 
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SaddlePsych'D

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That's reminded me of when we stayed with family who have a half glass paned back door to the garden/driveway and Ivy was quite vocal with us popping out to the car and jumping up to see better. Even with OH's dad who she hasn't fully decided whether she is frightened of or loves to bits (we're hoping she'll settle on love!) she would cry while he was out there. Will definitely try the kibble distraction and could play around with stair gate location. It's at the bottom of the stairs at the moment and we don't have a kitchen door so she can see up the stairs - maybe the difference at night has been that she doesn't move from her crate once she's settled down for bed so she never actually watches us go up?
 

Kat_Bath

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Probably not experienced enough to comment but I'd say frustration. Is there a particular reason she isn't allowed or doesn't go upstairs? I might have missed that from your other thread - sorry!

I'd be a bit sad if I was in the house but couldn't see who I wanted to. I also thought that you could block her view of the stairs, but she'll still hear you, smell you and sense you. It makes total sense to me that she is fine when you're not there - because there's nothing to block her from, if that makes sense?!

It might be a bit backwards and I might make absolutely no sense, but you could train her to stay downstairs, instead of block her access to upstairs with a stair gate. It would take patience and repetition but would mean she might be less anxious knowing she could get to you if needed. One of my friend's dogs was like this - she knew she shouldn't go upstairs but every now and then (i.e. Once every year max gvery infrequent) it was a very big treat and that worked really well. She was also a rescue who joined them later on in life so not something they did with her from a pup.
 

SaddlePsych'D

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Probably not experienced enough to comment but I'd say frustration. Is there a particular reason she isn't allowed or doesn't go upstairs? I might have missed that from your other thread - sorry!

I'd be a bit sad if I was in the house but couldn't see who I wanted to. I also thought that you could block her view of the stairs, but she'll still hear you, smell you and sense you. It makes total sense to me that she is fine when you're not there - because there's nothing to block her from, if that makes sense?!

It might be a bit backwards and I might make absolutely no sense, but you could train her to stay downstairs, instead of block her access to upstairs with a stair gate. It would take patience and repetition but would mean she might be less anxious knowing she could get to you if needed. One of my friend's dogs was like this - she knew she shouldn't go upstairs but every now and then (i.e. Once every year max gvery infrequent) it was a very big treat and that worked really well. She was also a rescue who joined them later on in life so not something they did with her from a pup.
Yes sorry it probably would have helped if I included that bit of info - it's really not safe for her to be on the stairs as they aren't carpeted and are narrow. We didn't have the gate initially as she didn't attempt to come up. As she settled a bit more she tried a couple of times to start coming up and on one occasion slipped. Thankfully she was only just near the bottom of the stairs but it could have ended up with her injuring herself so the gate was a quick fix for her safety primarily. She's too heavy for me to carry up and down safely and even I've slipped on the stairs just walking down so that's not an option either.

I've just tried CC's treat throwing distraction a couple of times, and legged it up before Ivy could see me which seems to have worked (granted may have been a fluke) and for more extended time upstairs we'll get the kong or lick mat set up for her and see how those help. She usually gets at least one or both of these each day so we can just time when she gets them for when we need to be upstairs for a while.
 

Kat_Bath

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Ah, that makes sense. That's a shame, but it sounds like it's something you can train as well as use distraction for. She'll learn as well, that it is what it is.

For kongs and lickmats, you can put in the freezer beforehand, to make it last a bit longer. Hopefully she'll continue to settle 🤞🏻
 

SaddlePsych'D

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Ah, that makes sense. That's a shame, but it sounds like it's something you can train as well as use distraction for. She'll learn as well, that it is what it is.

For kongs and lickmats, you can put in the freezer beforehand, to make it last a bit longer. Hopefully she'll continue to settle 🤞🏻
Yes I think just making the best of things as they are. Hopefully the ideas here will help, plus I'm getting better at kong fillings to make them more challenging - I know I've done a good job when she scuttles off to her crate with it to gnaw on it instead of just nudging it around on the floor! She got some doggie peanut butter from my SIL for Christmas and that does a great job on the lick mat.

ETA - if we weren't renting I'd get carpet on the stairs, for the dog but also for us because I really don't like coming down them since I slipped down them!
 
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paisley

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I'd go with 'frustration ', if she settles well if you're not there. I have the slightly awkward scenario where once I've told the whippet to stay as I'm off to work, if the neighbours say hello, I have to mutely wave/smile as hearing my voice would unsettle him as he would expect to come with me on the jolly outing I'm clearly going on!
 

meleeka

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My dog has separation anxiety. She’s better when nobody is home than she is when son it upstairs (It’s only me she clings to). The fact you are still in the house means it might be worth a whine because you might just come back down. I think she’s just saying “don’t go” but it doesn’t sound like she’s particularly anxious about it.

My dogs just get a handful of kibble thrown across the floor. It’s even better if it goes under something as one of them will search out every little bit. It keeps her busy for ages.
 
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