We receive many messages requesting help with adopted hounds and the owners claim their dogs have severe and often destructive SA. Even so these Galgos and Podencos are not adopted from us, we still try to help because a dog with SA suffers and needs help.
First of all we have to make sure when a new Galgo or Podenco arrives that we don’t overload it with too much attention, cuddles, love and excitement because dogs get used fast to be the center of the family and will react frustrated when the normal routine life begins.
Separation anxiety does not exist in a pack of wolfs, it’s something we produce in our dogs by giving them the wrong type of attention and overprotecting them. To much love can create insecurity in our hounds and an insecure dog is more prone to suffer and freak out when we, his protectors, are gone.
So we suggest from the very beginning to follow the same routines including leaving TV or music on etc:
– From the very first day on, go many times in and out of your home, take your handbag, car keys, coat or what ever is your normal routine when you leave. Come and go, come and go… Our dog will learn to associate it with us coming back and not only with us leaving.
– Don’t interact with the dog at least half an hour before you leave and also no “Fiesta’ when you come back. Saying good bye and greeting our dogs confirms to them that it was something special that we were gone. Ignore the dog until it is calm and relaxed before you touch or greet your hound.
– Observe your dog when you are gone by using an old smartphone as the cam. Just download ALFRED the app, it’s free and you can watch and listen to your doggy in real time and even talk to your pets (but you shouldn’t)
– If we we are stressed and anxious when leaving, we transmit our emotions to our dogs and will leave a stressed wary dog behind unable to settle down because our dogs absorbe our emotions and reflect them.
– We should not play or let the dogs run short before we leave as our hound will be in excited mode and left alone he does not know how to unwind himself. The result could be a destruction not caused by anxiety but by the need to keep going in excitement mode.
– Try from day one to follow a strict routine to avoid that your dog starts to freak when you leave. It’s not fun for the dog to be insecure and anxious and we have to avoid to create these unpleasant emotions in our dogs. It’s up to us to help them to trust and relax.
-In general, try to not leave your dog for more than 6-7h alone and build the alone time slowly up.
– You might also want to record him to see if there is something that triggers barking or whining or door scratching. Sometimes it’s other dogs, loud neighbours etc
– Not every distruction made by our hounds was SA. It can be boredom, playing with whatever they find or just simply keeping themselves “entertained”.
– Galgos and Podencos are pack animals and usually stay better alone with a canine companion.
– Crating an anxious dog does not resolve the dog’s problem only the owners! A crated hound will continue when ever the dog is out. Crating is is not the solution for SA and anyway not pleasant for them to be locked away! The only way to good results is to educate our dogs to trust in us. We have to stop overprotecting and spoiling our dogs and let them be dogs. It can be done but we have to be consistent and stable with our hounds, show them that they don’t have to worry and their only job is to be happy hounds. We should never forget, they are animals and animals have other needs than we have.