Fact Sheet 2: Your First Night

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We recommend not letting your dog in the bedroom unless you are prepared for them to be there for life! Sleeping outside the room may also help them learn that there are times when you cannot be with them, and they must settle on their own. But do expect that you will have an interrupted night. It may pay to explain to your neighbours and ask them to bear with you this first night.

Before you go to bed, take him out for his last toilet visit.

Although your dog may have a soft, warm bed, be aware that greyhounds have thin coats and their backs soon get cold.  If it is winter and the heating goes off at night, he will be cold. Covering him with a blanket will not work as dogs turn around in the night just like we do, but they don’t have hands to catch hold of the bedding and take it with them as we do. Your dog will need a warm fleece coat on cold nights.

Don’t make a fuss when you leave him for the night. You could leave him with something to chew if he is not sharing with another dog. It is usually best to keep dogs that are new to each other in separate rooms for the first few nights (or use an indoor kennel or crate for one of them) until you know they will live in harmony.

If he cries, try to ignore him. If you go down when he cries or scratches the door, he will know that that is the best way to make you come to him, and he may take longer to settle. If you have a dog that really won’t settle after an hour or two, you may feel the need to come down and sleep with him or take him up with you for a few nights, but that often makes it even harder to go back to leaving him downstairs. How well you manage on the first night sets the pattern for the future. After all, he slept on his own in kennels so he is used to being alone at night. But please don’t get cross with him. He is crying because he is distressed and bewildered; you will only make him feel worse.

Dogs that frequently cannot get through the night

Greyhounds have small digestive systems and often find it difficult to go through the night without a toilet visit.  Here are some tips to help you with dogs that wake you up in the night:

  • Is he cold?  Put a fleece coat on him.
  • Is he scared?  Leave him a night light and a quiet radio and close the curtains.
  • Does he need the loo?  Water down his last night’s food, and he will drink less before bedtime.
  • Did he really spend his last evening let-out wisely? Go out with him. If you put him out, he may just stand by the back door until you let him in again. Wait with him until you have seen him actually go to the toilet.

If you take him out 2 or 3 times during the evening, getting up and going out often makes him more likely to ‘off load’ before bedtime.