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About GreyMatter

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    Still wet behind the ears
  • Birthday 05/16/1969

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    Wirral, UK

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  1. Dear All First of all, my apologies. It's been 6 whole months since I came to you for help. My goodness, having a greyhound (or any dog) really is a full-time job - along with being a parent and running a household plus the other stuff I do during the day that I actually get paid for - but it is one of the most rewarding! Anyway, I digress. I promised myself I would come back with an update for you because I know it can be frustrating when you come to a forum and find lots of great advice given to someone but then no follow up as to whether it worked or not. So here I am. We've had Sable 7 months now and she's really come on in leaps and bounds from the right-in-your-face foodie that came to us in April. We concentrated on training her to "wait" and "leave it" using the "it's your choice" method recommended by so many of you and the difference has been remarkable. The children especially can walk around the house with plates of food, bags of crisps, popcorn or whatever and we can sit at the dining table to eat or even at Sable's level on the sofa and she will just come and check it out and then go and lie down. She never jumps up any more. In fact I can't remember when she last did. I think it's important to say it was as much of a learning journey for us as it was for her. Looking back, I know that we were nervous around her with food. Reading over my original post, it all comes back to me. If she came to me nosing my hand for the treat I was holding, I gave it up straight away! Not surprising she thought she was on to a good thing. I toughened up when I researched the training videos and realised that our Sable doesn't have a mean or aggressive bone in her body and that she would never actually harm me (which I think is what I was afraid of from a previous fostering experience). My younger daughter, who was also very nervous, really took to training with her and now the two of them are the greatest of buddies - two gentle souls together. Sable learnt very quickly that she wouldn't get whatever treat I was holding until she backed off and left me alone. She can "lie down", "wait" and "Leave it" to order and her impulse control is truly impressive. Once we had that level of training down, the next step was eating meals with her in the room and I think here is another area where we unwittingly perpetuated (or at least prolonged) her behaviour. For a long time, we chose avoidance as the line of least resistance. The girls would eat in the front room with Sable outside and I would be standing up in the kitchen!! At the time it seemed like the only way to eat in peace but ultimately, it just made everyone miserable and didn't actually solve anything. My advice, for what it's worth, is that this kind of thing really needs to be tackled head on and it doesn't take long when you do that. So we resolved to sit at the table or on the sofa to eat and if she got too close, we would turn our back, standing up if necessary, and use body-blocking (thank you, Victoria Stilwell on YouTube) until she got the message. Now, like I said, she comes over for a sniff and then goes and lies down. I honestly don't know how long it would have taken us to get here, or if we ever would have got here, if it hadn't been for the support and advice I got from all of you so "Thank You" and I hope this update will give hope and inspiration to anyone else in a similar situation.
  2. Well hellooooo ozgirl in Maryland! Here’s our baby ❤️ (Never let it be said that we don’t play by the rulez 😁)
  3. Hi all! Oh my goodness, thank you all! This is so much to work with! I will certainly draft the children in to help, they are just as keen as I am for us all to live in full-bellied harmony I will report back with progress! Thanks again and I hope you all enjoy your weekend with your lovely dogs!
  4. Thanks both of you for these tips. We have a long weekend ahead and some serious time to devote to training. Whenever I'm in the kitchen (behind the pet gate), she lies dow in the hallway where she can see me. We have a galley kitchen so not really enough room for more than one person at a time, let alone a greyhound but we can "practise" eating in the dining room and keep taking her back to her bed. I've so far found that if I want to get her to, for example, settle on her bed and then reward her with a treat, she knows that I have a treat in my hand and immediately just stuffs her nose in my hand. I go to her bed and say "On your bed, Sable" but she just follows her nose - which is attached to my hand - over to her bed and she gets the treat. If I moved my hand in circles, she'd go round in circles too! Then when I walk away, she just follows me waiting to do the whole thing again. She doesn't go to her bed by herself, knowing she will get a treat, she just goes wherever my hand with the treat in it goes so it doesn't really feel like she's learning anything. Another example is using treats to get her to come to me or respond to her name. She doesn't exactly come *to* me because as soon as I have that treat in my hand, she's already there - before I can even turn around or say her name. I'm guessing this is where the "wait/stay" command comes in but I'm not sure how to even start when she seems to be permanently attached to me, especially if I have treats of any kind. Am I expecting too much too soon? Thanks again for all your help!
  5. The Dog's Trust couldn't really tell us anything about her history so I guess it's possible. They just said she had come from another centre, they didn't mention if she'd been fostered previously or returned to them. Mind you, for those dogs who were with foster families or for whom previous adoptions hadn't worked out, they were quite open about their behaviours e.g. "loves sleeping and counter surfing". Come to think of it, Sable's doggy CV did say "Will work for food" Maybe I should have taken more notice of that In any case, nothing would have changed our minds about adopting her! She's too adorable and she's one of us now. If anyone's interested, I've just poured my heart out on the Training and Behaviour forum so I'm keeping my fingers crossed for some words of wisdom... PS HeyRunDog, I'm loving the Happy Face. Beauuuuuutiful!
  6. Hi all, I recently introduced myself and our recently adopted greyhound Sable in the Intros and Bios forum but after nearly three weeks, I’m in the market for some help. Sable is a gorgeous dog and she’s been fabulous settling in with us in so many ways BUT she is an absolute demon when it comes to food. She eats her meals (complete dry dog food – Wainwrights, the same as she had at the Dog’s Trust) twice a day and she gets treats as part of her training, which is still in the very early stages of teaching her to pay attention to us and respond to her name etc. She gets no scraps or leftovers from the kitchen and we never feed her from the table or let her lick plates but if one of us is carrying a plate of (our own) food, she’s there in an instant, nosing the dish and trying to jump up. I realise that food orientation can be useful for training but it's actually quite difficult trying to reward her for something with treats because she's got her nose in my hand the second I pick up the treat and just follows it round so there's no real opportunity to even get her to do something to earn the reward, if you can picture the scene. It's even harder when we want to eat. I have no door to the kitchen so I put up a tall pet gate so she can still see me (I can’t imagine trying to prepare food with her in there with me!) but as soon as I bring dinner out she's all over it. My daughters dash into the front room and shut the door while I distract her then I eat at the table in the back room (which is where her bed is) to try and teach her she can't have my food so I'm usually eating half turned away from her, trying to get her off the table with one hand and shovelling my dinner down with the other. She usually gives up after a while and goes and lies down (at my feet...) and when I finish, I give her a treat on her bed as a "Thanks" for finally letting me eat. If the girls try and eat in the back room, she's straight up, paws on the table trying to snarf their food, which they find a bit too intimidating - she's gentle but big, and very driven where food is concerned. If we all eat in the front room and shut her out, she just whines and barks which we try to ignore but it is difficult and it doesn’t make for a peaceful meal. If anyone has any good tips on how I can teach her that her food is hers and our food is ours and to leave us alone when we're eating, I'd be immensely grateful. I know it's really early days and we've all got a lot to learn but I want to make sure I'm doing things right from the start. I understand greyhounds are renowned for being counter surfers and food swipers but I just don't know how to deal with it. I know it's my problem not hers and I’m sure we can work through it as she is the most adorable dog in every other way and we love her to bits. I don't want to be reinforcing the wrong messages to her if I'm doing things wrong already (and what newbie doesn't worry about doing things wrong?) but it's starting to stress me out and that’s something I definitely don't want her picking up on. I really hope help is out there…
  7. Thanks for the advice Tbh I’ve never been one for feeding dogs from the table but honestly, Sable thinks all food is hers no matter whose plate it’s on. I’m lucky if a plate makes it as far as the table without her face in it. Even if I wanted to, I wouldn’t get a chance to feed anything to her before she took it anyway Definitely going to head over to the Behavior section for some food-related training (for both of us!)
  8. Oh wow! This is the knowledge I seek! Oh please, EllenEveBaz, I beg you teach me the way of the One Who Eats In Peace!! 🙏 😂
  9. Hi Lolo, how are things by now? I'm new to all this too having only adopted our Sable two weeks ago. I keep wondering what I'm doing wrong when she won't let me eat in peace and barks when I try. Barking makes me anxious too. Luckily, there seems to be a lot of friendly folks willing to share their experience and expertise on this forum and I think just having that support from people who have been there and done that will be a tremendous help. I hope it's all going well for you both with your young lad
  10. Hellooooo everybody!! Thank you for such a lovely warm welcome from all you folks near and far! We've had a couple of good long walks today so Sable is getting to know the neighbourhood. She's had some seriously wild moments hurtling around the garden (which isn't very big but she can turn on a sixpence, this one) and regular bathroom breaks (thank you for the advice EllenEveBaz ) and now it's that winding down time of the evening, the lights are dimmed and Sable's bed is in the corner but she is on the floor by my feet. Maybe she likes the clicking of my keyboard. She will take herself off to bed when she's ready, she's started doing that the last week or so. I notice tiny little changes in her every day as she slowly settles in. I hope she's happy with us. She seems to be so far. She even let my youngest eat a sandwich in front of her today! That was a truly momentous occasion although I suspect it may have been a one-off because she was tired. I think I'll be posting for tips about managing rampant food orientation on the Training and Behaviour forum... but for now, all is quiet, everyone in the house has been fed and watered and the weekend is drawing to a close. Goodnight to those of you across the UK and to those of you across the pond, enjoy the rest of your weekend. It's really greyt to be part of this pack
  11. Hi! We're based in Wirral so last weekend was gorgeous, balmy dog-walking weather and this weekend has been utterly vile. Luckily I found my wind & waterproofs (I was starting to panic the I'd given them to a charity shop in a moment of aberration...) and Sable and I braved the weather together and felt tons better for it. Rotten weather gives me cabin fever. Thanks for introducing Richard Skipworth! I spent all morning googling him and laughing out loud. His work is spot on and I have recognised so many of Sable's characteristics in a relatively short space of time
  12. Hi everybody, time for a quick introduction while our beautiful Sable is crashed out on her bed She joined our family from the Dog's Trust two weeks ago so we're all still in very new territory. I've read a lot about retired greyhounds on various websites (and this forum) and I've got Carol Baby's book but really, there's no such thing as a textbook dog. So far, she seems pretty relaxed, apart from a little whining on the first two nights, she sleeps well, she's not possessive over toys, she seems to love cuddles and she's great with my daughters (although they are 12 and 16 so they know how to behave with dogs). She walks on the lead nicely, only pulling a bit to sniff the grass (every blade tells a story, apparently) or check her "peemail messages", she doesn't appear to have much prey drive, which probably explains why she never raced, she can be left alone if we have to go out and she's only had two little accidents indoors - when we were home, our fault for not reading the signs quick enough. So on the whole, it's been a pretty good transition so far but I'm just waiting for that to change before I get complacent - and OMG her food orientation is a force to be reckoned with!! Anyway I'm so glad I found this forum! Hoping I can pick up a few tips and then I can pass a few on when I get a bit more experience!
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