Helping a Greyhound When Relocating Their Safe Space

September 13, 2023 11:10
Why might a Greyhound become attached to a specific room or area, making it their safe space?

When adopting a Greyhound with GAPNSW, we strongly recommend creating a dedicated room or area where the dog can feel secure and comfortable. This is highly beneficial for helping the dog adjust to its new environment.

Having a designated space provides the dog with a retreat where they can feel at ease. It also plays a crucial role in fostering the dog's emotional resilience, especially if the dog is quite sensitive at the time of adoption, which is a common occurrence.

There are times, however, when we wish to relocate a greyhound’s safe space, such as from the bedroom to a different room, after renovations, and so forth. Let’s learn how!

What are common signs that indicate a Greyhound has developed a strong attachment to a particular room?

The most obvious sign is when your dog spends a significant amount of time in that room. If they consistently choose to relax or sleep in that specific area, that suggests that this is their safe space!

How can I determine if relocating the Greyhound from their current safe space is necessary or beneficial for their wellbeing?

In general, if your dog has found a particular area where they feel safe and secure, and this choice doesn't create any issues for your or their daily life, there's usually no need to change it.

If, however, their chosen spot makes them uncomfortable or disrupts your lifestyle, like if they become anxious when people pass by in a high-traffic area, that's a signal that you might want to consider relocating their bed or adjusting their safe space to better suit their comfort and your convenience.

What steps should I take to introduce the Greyhound to a new room or area as a potential safe space?

To introduce your Greyhound to a new room or area as a potential safe space, follow these steps:

  1. Prepare a Comfortable Space: Start by placing your dog's bed or some cozy bedding in the area you want to designate as their safe space. This creates a comfortable and inviting spot for them. 
  2. Choose the Right Location: Select an appropriate location for the safe space. Ensure it allows your dog to retreat from interactions when needed. This could be a different room, a quiet corner, or behind a piece of furniture. The key is to provide a place where your dog feels secure and can have some privacy.
  3. Respect Their Choice: Once your Greyhound starts using this space, it's essential to respect their choice. If they decide to retreat there, do not follow them or force them to interact. This area should be a sanctuary where they can unwind and feel safe without any pressure.
  4. Reinforce Their Safe Space: Once you've chosen a low-traffic area, help your dog establish it as a safe space. Ensure positive experiences occur there - such as meals, treats and respite. Some dogs may prefer a separate room, while others may want to see their owner nearby. 

By following these steps, you can effectively introduce your Greyhound to a new safe space, providing them with a comforting space whenever they need it.

What should I remember as a reflective dog-owner?

It is best to remember to implement changes gradually. For changing safe spaces, this might mean:

  • Leaving access to the old room
  • Use positive reinforcement when they choose the new spot
  • Relocate their favourite toys gradually

The reason for this is it helps the dog to desensitise and habituate to the change so it's not confronting. They have opportunities to engage in positive behavior and they aren't put in a situation where they're feeling moderate distress, and that will help in the long run to them settling in quicker to their spot.

How can I ensure the Greyhound feels secure and comfortable in their new safe space, especially during the initial transition period? 

The key is to ensure that their safe space is associated with positive experiences, not negative or uncomfortable ones.

For instance, avoid doing things like nail clipping, as it can undermine the effort you've put into making this area a happy and positive place for them.

The best approach is positive reinforcement. When your dog is in their safe space, give them treats or engage in enjoyable activities with them. This helps create a positive emotional association with the area.