Can Italian Greyhounds Be Left Alone? Separation Anxiety Guide

Before bringing an Italian Greyhound into your life, it’s important to understand their needs and behavior. One common concern among potential owners is whether Italian Greyhounds can be left alone. This comprehensive guide will explore this and separation anxiety, providing valuable insights and practical advice for those considering adopting an Italian Greyhound as a pet.

Can Italian Greyhounds Be Left Alone?

Italian Greyhounds are known for their attachment to their owners. They thrive on human companionship and form strong bonds with their families. Consequently, leaving them alone for long periods can lead to separation anxiety and other behavioral issues. Italian Greyhounds are social animals that crave interaction and stimulation. They require mental and physical engagement to stay happy and content.

How About for Short Periods?

While Iggies thrive on companionship, they can handle being alone for short periods. They can learn to tolerate being alone for a few hours each day with proper training and gradual desensitization. It’s essential to start training them from a young age, gradually increasing the duration of alone time. This process helps them build confidence and independence, making adapting to being left alone easier.

Separation Anxiety in Italian Greyhounds

Italian Greyhound separation anxiety is when the dog experiences extreme distress and anxiety when left alone. This can manifest in various behavioral problems and signs of emotional distress. It is important to note that separation anxiety is not a reflection of the dog’s personality or obedience but rather a response to the fear of being separated from its owner or left alone.

Understanding the Causes

Change in Routine

Italian Greyhounds thrive on routine and familiarity. A sudden change in their daily routine, such as a new work schedule or a move to a new home, can trigger separation anxiety. Dogs are creatures of habit, and disruptions to their routine can cause stress and anxiety.

Previous Traumatic Experiences

If an Italian Greyhound has experienced traumatic events, such as abandonment or neglect, it may develop separation anxiety. These experiences can create a lasting fear of being left alone, leading to anxious behavior when the owner is away.

Lack of Socialization

Proper socialization plays a crucial role in a dog’s emotional development. If an Iggy has not been adequately socialized during their early months, they may have difficulty coping with separation from their owner. Lack of exposure to various environments, people, and other animals can contribute to separation anxiety.

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Overattachment to the Owner

Iggies are known for forming strong bonds with their owners. While this is desirable, excessive attachment can become problematic when the dog becomes overly reliant on their owner’s presence. When the owner leaves, the dog may experience intense anxiety and distress.

Genetic Predisposition

Certain breeds, including Italian Greyhounds, may have a genetic predisposition to anxiety-related disorders. While not all Italian Greyhounds will develop separation anxiety, some individuals may be more susceptible due to their genetic makeup.

Symptoms of Separation Anxiety

Excessive Barking and Whining

One of the most common signs of separation anxiety in Italian Greyhounds is excessive barking and whining when left alone. This vocalization manifests their distress and an attempt to seek attention and comfort.

Destructive Behavior

Italian Greyhounds with separation anxiety may engage in destructive behavior, such as chewing furniture, scratching doors, or digging carpets. This behavior serves as a coping mechanism to release pent-up anxiety.

Inappropriate Elimination

When experiencing separation anxiety, Italian Greyhounds may have accidents indoors, even if fully housetrained. This behavior stems from their heightened stress levels and can be seen as a protest or an attempt to mark their territory.

Restlessness and Pacing

Restlessness and pacing are common behavioral indicators of separation anxiety. The dog may constantly move around the house, shake unnecessarily, unable to settle down, as they anxiously await their owner’s return.

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Escape Attempts

In some cases, Iggies with severe separation anxiety may attempt to escape from their confinement or the house itself. This behavior can be dangerous and puts the dog at risk of injury.

Strategies Addressing Separation Anxiety

Gradual Desensitization and Counterconditioning

Gradual desensitization involves exposing the Italian Greyhound to short periods of separation and gradually increasing the duration over time. Counterconditioning focuses on changing the dog’s emotional response to being alone by associating it with positive experiences, such as special toys or treats.

Mental Stimulation

Iggies are intelligent dogs that enjoy mental challenges. They can become bored and restless when left alone, leading to destructive behaviors such as excessive barking or chewing. To prevent these issues, providing them with ample mental stimulation is crucial. Puzzle toys, treat-dispensing toys, and interactive games can keep their minds engaged and prevent boredom.

Physical Exercise and Enrichment

Apart from mental stimulation, Italian Greyhounds also need regular physical exercise. Despite their small size, they have a surprising amount of energy. Daily walks, play sessions, and opportunities to run and explore in a safe, enclosed area are essential for their well-being. Engaging in physical activities keeps them physically fit but also helps to alleviate any pent-up energy that could lead to destructive behaviors when left alone.

Safe and Comfortable Environment

Ensure your Italian Greyhound has a designated safe space where they feel secure when alone. This can be a crate or a specific room with their bed, toys, and comforting items with your scent.

Establishing a Consistent Routine

Italian Greyhounds thrive on routine, so establishing a consistent daily schedule can help alleviate their anxiety. Stick to regular feeding times, exercise routines, and consistent departure and arrival rituals to provide security and predictability.

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Seeking Professional Help

If your Iggy’s separation anxiety persists despite your efforts, it may be beneficial to consult a professional dog behaviorist or trainer. They can provide expert guidance and develop a customized plan to address your dog’s needs.


Italian Greyhound separation anxiety is a challenging issue requiring patience, understanding, and consistent attention to address effectively. Recognizing the causes, understanding the symptoms, and implementing appropriate strategies can help your Italian Greyhound overcome their anxiety and lead a happier, more balanced life.

Remember, seeking professional guidance when needed is essential for the well-being of both you and your beloved Italian Greyhound.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long can Italian Greyhounds be left alone?

Italian Greyhounds can be left alone for a few hours each day once they have been gradually trained and accustomed to alone time. However, they should be supported for extended periods, such as a full workday. How long does it take to overcome separation anxiety?

The duration to overcome separation anxiety varies from dog to dog. It depends on various factors, including the severity of the anxiety, the dog’s temperament, and the consistency of the training and management strategies. It can take weeks to months of dedicated effort to see improvements.

Should I get another dog to help with separation anxiety?

Getting another dog should not be the primary solution for addressing separation anxiety. While some dogs may find comfort in the presence of another canine companion, it is essential to address the underlying anxiety through training and behavior modification techniques.

Are there any medications that can help with separation anxiety?

In severe cases of separation anxiety, medications prescribed by a veterinarian may be considered. These medications can help alleviate anxiety symptoms and aid in the behavior modification process. However, medication should always be used under professional guidance.

Can crate training help with separation anxiety?

Crate training can be beneficial for managing separation anxiety in Italian Greyhounds. When introduced correctly and associated with positive experiences, a crate can become a safe and secure den-like space for the dog, reducing their anxiety when left alone.

Is separation anxiety more common in Italian Greyhounds compared to other breeds?

While separation anxiety can affect any breed, Iggies may be more prone to this condition due to their sensitive and affectionate nature. However, individual temperament and experiences play a significant role, and not all Italian Greyhounds will develop separation anxiety.

Evan S. Conaway

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