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FuzzyHounds

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  1. Good point, Greysmom! DH comes the door to greet me when I come home (he works from home). It is cute, I must say--my whole family waiting for me when i come in the door but he's not skilled at doggie interventions nor really interested in "having to do something" with the dogs when I come home. So I guess for now, it's just "enjoy the little nutballs"--they really are doing well, and you're right, it's fun to see them excited (plus that "garage door obsession" of Potter's does come in handy--after a thunderstormy night last night I couldn't get her to go out for morning potty...until I opened the garage door and then she just couldn't resist running to the door and I was able to get her out. So maybe I don't want to counter-condition that behavior after all...
  2. Thanks for the thoughts! BatterseaBrindl, good point! I do need to keep things in perspective; our last 2 dogs (and DH's only 2 dogs) were very mellow "only" dogs, so we had 20 years of "oh hi you're home, let me open one eye in greeting" to compare our current two to. Our girls really aren't that rambunctious, but DH is convinced they're going to kill themselves/each other (and Potter's bloody knee didn't help). In reality, though, they do stop quickly and to some extent I need to relax (and convince DH to relax). Kightfam, good thoughts! I think that's a good approach if things get more out of hand (I think that's what I'm also worried about--that they're going to egg each other on to more and more crazy behavior). And thanks for the kind thoughts--they're such sweeties, and for the most part are doing so well...I just want to do everything I can to help them be happy dogs!
  3. A question about my pups (sort of SA but maybe not really?): I have 3 year old staghound littermates. They were together their whole lives except for 4 months after they each got adopted; then Potter bounced and we got her. They get along great--a little sisterly snark when someone gets too rough playing, but in general they share furniture, don't resource guard food, etc. Kaja had very mild SA at first (mostly whining when DH, who works at home, went downstairs and she was too afraid to follow.) I'm a teacher; we got Kaja in March and by the end of the school year she was totally fine with my leaving routine, was fine with the 2 of us leaving together, and no longer followed DH around the house. Enter Potter in July. Her first house was too noisy for her and she was scared all the time. At our house, she's had some difficulty getting off her bed to go outside, but we've worked around it and she's doing great. We have made a great effort to never force or her to go out (never put the leash on her and made her come out, or carried her out like her former owners had to). She is so passive and submissive that I think forcing her would have really set her back. So we used tricks--take her sister out, rustle a cheese wrapper, etc, all of which were successful at various times; the one sure-fire method to get her off her couch, though, was to open the overhead garage door. This always brings her flying to the door to the garage, at which point she happily goes out if we attach her leash. We haven't had to use the garage door trick in a month or so, but her garage door enthusiasm--probably combined with a little SA--has taken on a life of it's own. I went back to school two weeks ago. I did a little alone training with the girls but didn't think they needed much; Kaja was already good and Potter seemed pretty calm. They usually do OK with my leaving routine in the mornings (DH is home but in bed at this time). But, any other time we open the garage door (coming home or leaving, even if one of us is home), the little nutballs go crazy--for a minute or so. Thundering up and down the stairs, flinging stuffies, sometime snarking at each other when they jump on the same couch. It truly only lasts a minute or less--when I come home (when DH is home with them) I can hear them yodeling as I get out of my car--by the time I get inside the frenzy is over and they trot upstairs and jump on the couch. I think Potter's garage door excitement combines with anxiety about leaving/excitement about arriving and they wind each other up. And even though it's short, it's dangerous--Potter already whacked her knee on something and got a small cut. So, I need to chill the nutballs out. I don't want to crate Potter when we leave, even though she was crated at her former owner--I'm afraid that if we have to insist she go in, we will hugely set back her progress on trusting us about going outside. So...counter condition the garage door? How? Block them from racing up and down the stairs (if we got an x-pen we could do this)? Separate them into different adjoining rooms (x-pen again) when we leave? If we get a 4-foot x-pen (they're 50 lbs, small girls) are they likely to try to jump it and, if successful, might they then try to jump our 4 foot fence (though they are always supervised outside)? (Oh, and Potter has had a couple potty accidents when left alone, so maybe another vote for confinement)? Should we do alone training in general? Other thoughts? Sorry--I'm a special ed teacher/behavior analyst and over-thinking is my game! Here's the nutballs, chilled out and sharing someone else's bed... Thanks for any ideas!
  4. Love how he's figured out how to do zoomies in the tiny puddle!
  5. Good questions--the hike was only a mile to a mile and a half, and it was about 55 degrees, so I don't think she was overheated/overtired.... She was completely fine until she crawled in and got stuck...but it sounds like she's not the only one who reacts to stress like this!
  6. Update: The kitty didn't end up coming to the cabin (little brat ran and hid when my sister got out the cat carrier so she stayed home with the older cats), so no worries about the bedroom. Potter has done fabulously (it's her second cabin trip)--and every time I put my shoes on to take the girls for a walk she runs to the door and bounces around until I put her leash on. Huge improvement over her reluctance to get out of bed at home!
  7. Kaja (3 year old staghound, we've had her for 6 months) had a weird behavior today. We're at the cabin with her and littermate Potter, and they're doing great, having fun on walks and adjusting well to a different house. Both are pretty timid/passive girls. So today DH and I took them in the car to a place to hike. After the hike, we went to put them in the car, a Subaru Outback with the back seat down, a "hammock" clipped to the front headrests, and a foam mattress pad and fabric couch cover for padding in the back. Instead of jumping in through the back seat door, as usual (we had a bike on a bike rack so couldn't open the hatch), Kaja crawled into the back seat floor, under the hammock. She crawled all the way in--and then got stuck. We had a bike pump and some jackets on the floor, and it was like she couldn't figure out how to get out. I got in the other side, unclipped the hammock and folded it back, and then flipped up the back seat back. Now I'm sitting on the back seat and Kaja is on the floor--but she still couldn't/wouldn't move. I ended up lifting her hind end and then front end onto the seat with me (she's very passive about being handled so I knew I could do this safely.) And then, she...well, I don't really know what word to use. It was like she just completely shut down. Legs limp, lying on the seat, put her head on my lap and closed her eyes. I could not get her to react/respond at all. We drove about 5 miles and stopped for food; I stepped out of the car for a minute and she did pick her head up, but when I got back in the car she put her head back on my lap. Even a piece of pepperoni held right under her nose got no reaction. It was really weird. No panting, shaking, etc., but she was definitely not acting normal. Since she had crawled in so slowly I knew she hadn't hurt herself, so it must have been just a stress reaction. When we got back to the cabin 15 minutes and i opened the door she stood up and jumped out and was completely normal. Actually, it reminds me of her first day at our house--on the couch, head on Dh's lap, calm but also "shut down" (wouldn't get off the couch, eat treats, etc.) I guess that's just how she deals with stress? Anyone else have a weird little houndie like this?
  8. dmdsmoxie, thanks! My girls definitely sound like omegas, not spooks! They're not racers but their upbringing (they were together with their brother until they were surrendered at age 3) is much more similar to a track greyhound's dog socialization than to that of a pet dog who is adopted at 8 weeks. Fascinating stuff!
  9. We used it for our previous staghound Keira for her whole life, and have been feeding it to our current two (6 months and one month). May try switching after this batch is done, but Keira always did well on it. How strongly is it tied to DCM? It's not grain free...
  10. Greysmom, thanks so much for your insight. I find your comparison of spooks to kids with autism fascinating (I've always wondered if something similar to autism ever shows up in animals). With that said (and I may just be in denial!), I really don't think my girls are spooks. I'll give you my assessment of them, and let me know what you think... Kaja: Kaja seems to me like a girl with a shy personality who was severely under-socialized.The girls were bred by a coyote hunter and grew up in an outdoor kennel in North Dakota; my guess is they didn't get out much! When she first got in our house, Kaja jumped up on our couch and made it her safe place. She really didn't leave, except for potty breaks, for a couple weeks. But...after I once put her leash on and gently tugged to get her going, she happily jumped off to go outside every time it was potty time, and even learned the verbal "let's go outside and go potty" within a few days and would jump down when she heard it. I fed and watered her on the couch at first because she wouldn't come off to eat--but she wasn't scared on the couch, no shaking or panting, and she was happy to have us sit with her. In fact (not knowing any better), my husband sat down on the other end of her couch the first night we had her--and she scooted closer to him and plopped her head on his lap. She's still hesitant with new people and situations, but we've taken her to some greyhound events with success...we use the "pat, step, pat, step" approach to get her in, then she plops on her bed and calmly observes the goings-on. She does not seems nervous and is not overly submissive...she's just cautious and under-experienced. With us, she's a happy tail-wagger who loves pets and likes to get silly playing with stuffies, and who definitely feels secure with us. Potter: Potter is actually much more outgoing than Kaja. If you were to ring our doorbell she'd be right there to greet you, tail wagging and asking for pets. She fully explored our house as soon as she came in, going into rooms that Kaja still doesn't go in. But she's sound sensitive (fireworks, thunderstorms, gunshots, etc.). I think she was just in the wrong place--a busy house with little kids near an airport and neighbors who mowed the grass, plowed snow, etc. I think she just got more and more stressed with not having extended time between sounds stresses, until she just shut down. Interestingly, her first mom was a vet tech and often took Potter to work; she said any time she dressed for work Potter would jump up and follow her to the door (as opposed to being frozen in her bed when it was time to go out to potty). At home now, Potter loves pets, dinner, and running at the dog park. At the dog park, she likes to stop and sniff, then run past us, stop, and check in with us to make sure of where we are. When she's not "stuck" she's highly food motivated. Truly, her only issues are the sound sensitivity (she finds a safe place to hide during storms and goes to sleep), and the getting stuck when it's time to go out. Since we do have ways to get her up that don't stress her, it's not a time-critical issue and so I think I'll just work verrrryyyy sloooowly on getting her off her bed to take a treat, no strings attached. I appreciate your thoughts on meds, and I'm certainly not opposed to them. Potter was actually on fluoxetine when we got her; her mom was going to take her off though because it hadn't made a difference. We talked to our vet and she told us to taper to a half dose for about 3 weeks and then if there was no negative change, to stop the med. We did that and saw no change. We're certainly open to a different med if we see a need , though! Anyway, I am certainly glad that my work experience has given me a problem-solving mindset and some behavioral analysis skills, because it's sure come in handy with my girls. And I"m so glad I found greytalk--I have learned soooo much from you guys!!! I hope I'm generally on the right track!
  11. Thanks for the ideas! I kind of like the crate idea--she was crated at her old house and often sleeps in her open crate here, although we've never shut her in it--but I doubt we'll have room for it in the car. I think (and I just told my hubby) that our focus this weekend needs to be on avoiding a situation where we stress Potter out by telling her to get off the bed--and if that means she sleeps with us, so be it. Won't be a problem when we get home since we baby gate them out of the bedroom, and the number one goal is to help Potter continue with her progress in feeling confident, even if we lose a little sleep. In fact, thinking about Potter in general, I almost think I need to do a sort of opposite of NILF with her--an "Everything in Life is Free." It seems like, when I do try to use treats--even, and perhaps especially, high-value treats--I feel like she shuts down, because maybe she's learned, in the past, that treats are associated with an attempt to get her to do something scary. It's funny, her sister feels this way about "coaxing voice"--it shuts her down. She responds great, when facing a scary new doorway or something, to a little quiet petting and then having us take a small step towards the scary thing. Then she follows, we tell her how brave she is, repeat, and eventually she's through the scary doorway. But try to coax her? No way! That signals to her that something scary is about to happen. We just haven't figured out a similar strategy that works with Potter...and I do think that the ptsd comment was on the mark. Kaja is just generally timid; Potter has some trauma around one particular thing, for whatever reason, and that plus her general submissive nature causes her to freeze when she feels pressured to do something. I think I need to break her association of "treats equals scary things"...maybe I need to start by just randomly giving her yummy treats, so she realizes they aren't always a signal that someone's trying to get her outside. Then maybe move to a super simple behavior like "watch me?" I think Potter needs to learn that fun stuff happens when treats are around, not scary stuff (which means I have to put on hold my plans to work on desensitizing her to thunder...I think she'd learn that treats equal bad scary noises rather than that scary noises bring good stuff. Her fear is stronger than the reinforcing value of the treats at this point). I should warn you--I'm a special ed teacher and behavior analyst, and I've had dogs all my life, but I haven't done any formal/at a class dog training since the early '90's and I think strategies have evolved a lot and in a good direction since then. So I probably know just enough to be dangerous! Let me know if I'm not on the right track here. (and greysmom, I appreciate the suggestion about the canine behaviorist--lord knows I'm a believer in behaviorism!--but the budget doesn't allow for that at the moment and I really do feel that Potter is doing well and making progress, so I'm trying to come up with a plan myself if I can). Thanks!
  12. I'm looking for suggestions. We have 2 sweet, timid 3-year-old staghound littermates. My question is about Potter. We've had her 6 weeks; she was a bounce after 4 months in a home. She was terrified to go outside (lived near a small airport in a busy suburban neighborhood) and also scared of the kids inside. I know she had many potty accidents because she wouldn't go out, and often had to be carried outside. Knowing we had her littermate, her people got in touch with us and we ended up adopting her. She's an absolute sweetheart, and actually less timid than her sister Kaja--she'll go right up to new people for pets, happily goes through new doors, etc. (Kaja needs coaxing for all of this). However, she has one thing that scares her: she has a lot of trouble getting up off her bed to come to the door to go out. Once she's up and at the door she's fine, and happily goes out. We've learned that, if we approach her directly (put her leash on, try to coax her, try to lure her with super tasty food), she melts into a vaguely staghound-shaped puddle of fuzz-covered goo and then freezes. She. Is. Stuck. She's super submissive and never growls, etc, but it's clear she's very uncomfortable. So we work around it: if I take the girls out into the backyard, I just ignore Potter, take Kaja out, leave the door open, and pretty soon Potter emerges. If we need to go out on the leash, I ignore Potter and either take Kaja out and watch the door and when Potter comes to it I go in and get her (she doesn't like being left behind), or I open the door to the garage or even the overhead garage door--she can't resist coming down for that! Once she's at the door she gets cheese, but trying to lure her with cheese shuts her down. So at any rate, she's improving and it's really not much of a problem; we've always gotten her out when we need to, and without scaring her/shutting her down. I really think she'll get over this in time, and she's definitely improving. But, we also see this behavior any time we need her to move/go someplace; a couple of times she's gotten on our bed and I know I can't tell her 'Off" or she'll freeze, so I grab some cheese and run out of the bedroom calling her cheerfully, which works. (And now we baby gate the bedroom) But...this weekend we'll be at our cabin with my sister and her cat. Kaja and the cat spent a weekend together and, although her prey drive isn't super high, it's clear that they need to be separated. We'll be with them during the day and the cat will be in the sleeping loft. The cat likes to come down at night and explore, though, and there's no way to keep her up there, so I've assured my sister that the girls will sleep in our bedroom at night (which they don't at home; I know everyone prefers dogs to sleep in the bedroom, but it just doesn't work in our situation and the girls are happy with each other and the two couches, four dog beds, and open kennel they have to choose from).I"m pretty sure they will try to join us on the bed, which just won't work with a small bed, me and hubby, and two dogs! Kaja I know I can just tell "off" and put her leash on and she'll hop right down. Potter...I don't know. Any time she senses that we're trying to lure/move/direct her, she just shuts down. Do I try to teach her "off" starting now? I really don't want to set her back because she's doing great, but I also don't want to spend the night cheerfully sprinting across the bedroom with a chunk of cheese and calling her. Thoughts? (And, in general, is this behavior something that training will likely help, or make worse? We work a little on recall in the house but she'll only come from very close (less than 10 feet), otherwise she gets stuck. I'd be happy to work on some training with her but have held off because I'm afraid her feeling like I'm trying to get her to do something might set her back). Thanks for any advice! Here's the lovable little weirdo...https://photos.app.goo.gl/jrNCWSgA4arhySb16
  13. Mike is beautiful! We're also in Minnesota, in a northwest suburb of Minneapolis. We got our staghound girls (fuzzies) from MN Greyhound Rescue. My husband has a friend who also has a GPA hound, so we've gone to a couple GPA events (including Greyfest). Maybe we'll see you at an event sometime--just look for the shaggy "greyhounds!"
  14. Thanks, everyone! They are such sweeties, we love our fuzzy girls! EllenEveBaz, Staghounds are an informal "breed" that has been bred for over a hundred years (Teddy Roosevelt reportedly hunted with staghounds). They are a mix of greyhound, Scottish Deerhound, Irish Wolfhound, or Borzoi. Mixing the heavier-coated breeds with the greyhound was supposed to produce a fast dog with more endurance and thicker skin. (There are also greyhounds crossed with non-sighthounds--coonhounds or other scent hounds--they are called lurchers and tend to be smooth like greyhounds.) I think most staghounds these days have parents who are both staghounds--although our girls reportedly have a retired racer for a dad and a wolfhound for a mom (which I just can't believe; they're pretty petite at 50 pounds each). Staghounds are commonly used for coyote hunting in the Dakotas, Iowa, etc. Our current girls were failed hunters from North Dakota; our previous girl Keira was a failed hunter from Iowa. They are very greyhound-like in their personalities, and although of course they don't share the usual upbringing that racing greyhounds have, they do tend to be kennel-raised and have unkown socialization with people (I don't know how the hunters typically treat/interact with their dogs). Our Keira, who was abandoned at an Iowa pound at age 1-2 because she had absolutely zero prey drive, was sweet, mellow, and bombproof. She wasn't super affectionate (and didn't even know how to wag her tail when we got her), but was calm and sweet and just wanted to hang out by us. She was sweet with little kids and little dogs and had zero resource issues (although she did sleep startle a couple times in her first year with us). When we had to put her to sleep at age 11-12, we were devastated but knew we wanted another staghound...and we ended up with two! Kaja and Potter are sweet, timid, affectionate, and have no resource issues or sleep startle issues. Potter loves everyone but Kaja is hesitant with new people. They are couch potatoes who feel that 30 seconds of yard zoomies needs a good 5-hour nap. Keira (who was almost 80 pounds and very shaggy) hated heat and loved winter; she needed booties below zero but otherwise loved her Minnesota winter walkies. Kaja is quite furry, Potter a bit less so, so we'll see how they feel about cold! (I know they lived in outdoor runs with an unheated dog house in their former life, poor girls). So, now you know a bit about staghounds! (and one more picture because they're so cute) https://photos.app.goo.gl/rYLW3RWQosukmM277
  15. Yes, they've cultivated very convincing "innocent faces"--along with what we call Kaja's "crossed paws of elegance," they certainly project the picture of goodness, don't they? Although the presence of the "Smurf poop" toy on the couch and the crinkly watermelon on the dog bed suggest that there may have been some shenanigans at some point
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