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  1. We adopted a 3 year old male retired racer (Otis) in August 2018. He had just retired from racing that June and was fresh from the track. We dealt with hookworms for several months that just cleared up in October. We also dealt with separation anxiety that included accidents in the house and destruction of furniture, but all issues have been resolved for the most part (he still has accidents occasionally when we leave the house, especially when it is dark outside). As far as his behavior, he has always been very friendly toward humans and strangers. He pretty much ignored other dogs, sniffing them briefly but otherwise not interacting. Cats mean nothing to him. Recently, however, he has begun to develop some troubling behaviors involving aggression. A few months ago, a friend of my partner's was alone with Otis in the living room. He handed Otis a bone to chew on and then attempted to pet him on the head, and Otis lunged from a lying position and nipped him in the face. He had never done this before. He did not growl. Obviously the friend should not have attempted to get so close while Otis chewed on his bone, but the incident still shocked us and raised a bit of alarm, but we figured it was a one-off. Since then, he has shown some aggression towards other dogs on walks. When dogs and their owners are approaching us on the street, his ears and tail will stiffen and he gets eerily quiet before lunging and growling. It is clearly not playful in intention. We took him to my mother's for Thanksgiving (he had been many times before and never had any issues) but this time he lunged at a neighbor who entered the home and growled at my sister when she walked past his dog bed. He also growled at a small child who had been petting him for more than ten minutes without any issues. At the dog park he wears a basket muzzle and this seems to help. He plays with other dogs and does not growl or show aggression. He approaches other dog owners and asks for attention and rubs. He seems in a good mood and has a good time. We assumed his behavior was improving and that socialization was helping. However, last night my partner's mother arrived from out of town to stay with us. Last year when she stayed Otis was a perfect angel and allowed her to pet him and behave normally around the house. This year, he was excited to see her when she entered the home but attempted to bite her (bit her scarf instead, thankfully) when she approached the couch on which he was sitting. I should note that he has exhibited sleep startle in the past, but each of these scenarios occurred while he was completely awake and alert. This behavior is very troubling to us and especially to my partner, as this is his first dog. Does anyone have any experience with this bizarre new behavior pattern and have any advice? We have yet to reach out to our adoption group but are considering asking for recommendations for a trainer or behaviorist. Is there hope for this situation, or are we destined to have a dog who can't be around friends and family without a muzzle? AFTER NOTE: He has previously been allowed on our bed and the couches, but since the aggressive behavior began we have restricted him to only his dog beds and his crate. While my partner's mother is visiting with us, he will wear his muzzle in the house. We take the muzzle off when he is confined to our bedroom to sleep at night (at the foot of the bed in his own dog bed).
  2. We have had our rescue greyhound Paddy for a week. This evening he got over excited and jumped on the sofa and went to nip at my youngest son (not aggressive, seems more playful) and nipped at my top. Later when my two sons were messing about on the sofa Paddy ran over and put his mouth on my youngest sons head, again it did not seem aggressive in any way just like he was trying to join in the play. I got in the between him and the boys and firmly said NO and he sheepishly backed off and lay down by the back door. Whilst there was no aggression on Paddy's part, it gave us all a bit of a fright. Does anyone have any experience of this? How should I address this behaviour?
  3. Hello-- I hope someone could help with our issue: My husband and I got a greyhound 2 months ago. He is a very tall boy, has a super high-prey drive, loves people (no cats, no small dogs -- really no dogs in general (he lunges at them after growling). He is not allowed on furniture. He gets 1.5 hours of exercise (leashed walks) a day. He has seemed to "claim" me; He doesn't even like it when I close the door when using the restroom. He whines for pets often. He used to growl when we pet him and this has drastically shifted the last 3 weeks. He wants to be the BOSS -- very vocally demanding, always herding us, always stopping abruptly during walks and fighting us when we pull him. Now... to my issue... My husband and I are newlyweds and very playfully physical with each other: we tickle, wrestle, he likes to pick me up... yadda yadda.. also, we have our more "intimate moments". Whenever we are playful with each other, Brock (our greyhound), will immediately begin rooing VERY loudly--it's really more of a yell than a roo-- even if he is in the other room. Rooing with a wagging tail, Brock will run to wherever we are, yell right in my face then start biting my arm, hand, head, wherever. I know about nitting, and sometimes he does that to me when I get his leash out, and this is not it. He BITES me and shakes me. It hurts and leaves marks and bruises. I've tried to "yelp" in a high pitched voice, and this doesn't deter him. We have to push him off and yell and even grab his muzzle because he will still be trying to get at me. It's like he is treating my arm as he would a toy when he bites it and throws it around. I'm 100lb and he is 80lb. My arm honestly hurts typing this. He doesn't do this to my husband. He likes my husband but he clearly likes me more which is strange that he hurts me. What is the deal with this? We are TERRIFIED to introduce him to our 2 year old nephew -- he gets overly excited around small children and jumps at them.
  4. I am writing in tears and deep sorrow. I have 3 greys at this time. My first girl, Penny, I have had for over 7 years, my second is Mia who I have had for three (gosh, maybe four!) years and I just adopted Nora 3 months ago. All three are 9 years old. Nora was a re-surrender to the group I got her from. I have the understanding that her owners had financial problems as to why they could not keep her. It was said that she does well with other dogs and prefers to be with them. We cat tested her, as I have 3 cats, and her prey drive is basically zero. She is very sweet and very loving and has demonstrated much comfort being with my other two, and is especially fond of Mia. From what I have seen in her, I would consider her obedient and submissive. Here's where the problem comes in: Although she is does not have a prey drive and just ignores the cats, one of my cats thinks she's one of the dogs and really likes to be a part of their group. She loves to rub on them and my Mia (who is so sweet and gentle) even lets her lick her ears and face. Nora does not take well to her rubbing on her. Her general approach is totally ignoring the cats, but when the one tries to rub on her she gets very tense and has snapped at her twice. Once she was standing and the other time she was lying on the floor. There were two occasions where she snapped at my husband and I when she was on the floor and we kind put our heads over her head. We have since stopped approaching her that way and just do tummy rubs and such without kissing on her. She has snapped at Mia twice on walks. She did so when Mia was barking at a passing dog and a cat. They walk side by side. Then she snapped at my neighbors dog through the fence. They were running the fence together, the neighbors dog stopped, they sniffed each others noses and then "snap". Now to the REALLY bad parts....about 6 weeks ago, my Penny was eating. Penny always eats after the other two are done. When she eats she drops kibble on the floor. None of the three show any signs of food aggression, but they do get interested when that kibble falls. We always stay with Penny until she is done. Well, I got busy one evening and left the room (oh to turn back time...). The next thing I hear is a dog fight. I come out and Nora bit Penny in the face. She tore a huge portion of her scalp open and an area by her eye. It required major stitches. We went through two absolutely awful weeks as she had major infection in both wounds. It was traumatic. I didn't want to give up on Nora because she is literally an angel despite of these moments. Then...it happened again. Last night, Mia and Nora ate their dinner and I let them out as usual and then began to feed Penny. This time, I heard a fight outside. I ran out and both trotted up to me like nothing happened but, looking down at Mia, the entire top length of her nose was tore open with flesh hanging from it. Many stitches later, we are praying that she doesn't get an infection like Penny did. My only thought on what conspired between the two is that Nora went on a run (unusual for that time of day) and Mia did her normal "dart" at her playfulness and Nora didn't like it. I know what some of you are thinking.....why didn't you have her muzzled? Good question. It is so hard to have a dog who shows NO signs of aggression and then out the blue has decided to bite. It feels like it escalated from the initial adoption. Started with some snaps, down to a severe bite, add in a few more snaps, and then another bite. I thought I was doing a good thing by adopting an elderly dog who needed a forever home. Her disposition seemed so fitting. What happened? And how can she be so gentle 99% of the time, but have these trigger moments? I have had several opinions: surrender her back, euthanize, muzzle, separate. Thank you for taking time to read my long story....and thank you in advance for any thoughts on this.
  5. Our longtime sitter was just attacked by our greyhound over the weekend. We took her to the hospital to get stitches, fortunately the bite missed her eye by a few inches or there would have been more serious damage. We are all shaken up by this and dont know what to do. He was not laying in his bed, but was laying on the carpet, and she was picking up the kids toys/tidying up the house a bit, and he was awake... she picked up a toy near him and he lunged forward and bit her in the face. HE has shown his teeth if you pet him when he is awake on his bed, but I understand that's his space and more about territory. But to attach an adult when he is awake on the carpet makes me not trust him at all anymore. My husband wants to get rid of the dog immediately and does not want to risk anyone else getting bitten. Im at a loss right now, the dog has been great with our kids and is usually so affectionate. And our babysitter has known him a long time and feeds him sometimes, and loves dogs.
  6. Hello Greytalk community! Have elected to post under a pseudonym for a number of reasons. I'm looking for advice about our dog, Connor, who we've had for 3 years. Apologies in advance for the long post, but I want to give all the information I can to see if anyone has advice or a similar experience. We have another greyhound and have fostered numerous greyhounds over the years, but do not purport to be experts. We have two cats, and therefore have worked hard on training fosters to be cat safe, or at least began their 'cat workable' training before they go to homes. We've relied heavily on this site for advice on how to do that with much success. When Connor came to us, he came with the understanding from the racing kennel that he was very timid and fearful around other greyhounds, and continues to exhibit this behavior regardless of how many meet and greets and greyhound-only playdates he attends in which we try and help him make positive associations. With that said, he does not approach or try to bite other greyhounds... he just hangs out and quivers, typically. We recognize that Connor has a prey drive and exhibits those signs at cats, squirrels, and small dogs: visually fixates, stiffened body, ears engaged, and whines. We cat trained him to a 'reliable' point with our cats for several weeks with his muzzle on, and after that time, allowed him to greet one of the cats. He bit the cat, who shrieked and ran, and he got the extreme voice of god and didn't attempt to chase. The cat had no broken skin, nor a misplaced hair after this incident. We started again from square one, and Connor has now lived freely with these cats for 3 years with no further incident, so we know he is indeed 'trainable'. Back to when we first got Connor, after several weeks we met a medium sized, smooth coated dog who our other greyhound is friends with on a walk, and Connor didn't display any of his usual 'prey-drive' warning signs... he was ears attentive and wanted to go to the dog, which I allowed. He then bit the dog, who yelped and moved away. The owner of the other dog and I inspected for injury, and again, no signs of injury and Connor didn't seem particularly interested in him past the initial bite. Of course, I offered for the other owner to take the dog to the vet at our cost, but she declined since he had no injury and she has been friendly with us ever since. We began restricting Connor from greeting other dogs on walks. My husband was walking the greyhounds several months later, and met a man with his dog who looks to be a large black lab cross. He wanted his dog to meet ours, mentioning he was told his dog was part greyhound, and my husband warned him that Connor isn't necessarily friendly with other dogs. He insisted, and again, Connor bit the dog who expressed a yelp, but no injuries. Connor again, exhibited no prey drive signals and this dog was MUCH larger than he is. Finally, a neighbor's bulldog was running off leash and approached while we were on a walk and while my husband kept Connor behind his legs, he did manage to again take a chomp at the dog. My questions are: a) Connor exhibits clear prey-drive signals with small fluffies of any species, which we've been able to train for in our home with our cats, but outside our home we steer clear of his triggers. When he "test chomps" (like a shark) non-greyhound large dogs, with which he has not giving any prey-drive signals, tension, reactivity, or other warning sign prior to the chomp... is this prey-drive? Is he confused? Does he not realize it's a dog until he takes a bite and sees the reaction? Why does he do this? Connor is very trainable and does well with 'look at me' training on his walks to desensitize him to small fluffies from afar. Can we ever truly trust him to greet other large dogs? We'd love to enroll him in training or agility classes but don't feel we can trust him around any breed of dog that isn't a greyhound, and yet he does poorly around other greyhounds. He gives no warning signs around larger dogs but does his non-injury bites anyways. How will we ever know we can trust him? Why does he bite non-greyhounds but then is scared of other greyhounds? Any insights, advice, or anything would be appreciated.
  7. This is my first post on this website. I hope I can get some good advice and thank you in advanced. My boyfriend lives at home with his parents. They have owned dogs for years. Last year one of the two dogs they had pasted away. They decided to adopt a greyhound, as a playmate for the surviving dog, also a breed they have never owned before. They found a local dog to adopt and adopted Summer, the dog, quickly. Being a rescue dog she is jumpy. The first week she paced the house but eventually got used to her surroundings. My boyfriend and I were at the house the day she was adopted. I am at his house 5 days out of the week so I am practically a member of the family. I used to take care of their previous dogs sometimes, let them out to do their business, feed them, sometimes play with them. Their other dog, Chet, is a flat-coated retriever. He is a very friendly dog with little behavioral problems, and very playful. I get along with Chet very well. He will come and cuddle with my boyfriend and I and he gets along with everyone. Summer quickly saw my boyfriend's parents as her owners but was very jumpy around my boyfriend and I. we have tried to get her used to us with treats, letting her come to us instead of approaching her. She is wary of being pet on the head so we were told to pet under her neck but approaching her is difficult. When we enter the room she is in she runs to her crate and doesn't come out. If we try to give her a treat she will either take it from us and run off or not come to us at all. We have tried to be in the same room as her crate to get her acclimated to us but it has not worked. Her crate is on the first floor and my boyfriend's room is upstairs. If we are upstairs and his parents are out she whines loudly for attention. If we come downstairs to give it to her she runs off. She is not even comfortable with us in the presence of boyfriend's parents. She will run away or turn away from us. Summer also has this fear of being uncomfortable walking through doorways. If she is near a doorway and there is a person or animal also near that doorway she gets anxious and sprints through the doorway to a less populated area. Once my boyfriend opened the pet door to let her in when their other dog Chet was coming towards her to go out. She became anxious and smacked her hip on the doorway and ran off limping and whining while almost knocking Chet over. Summer is a very different dog with the boyfriend's parents. When they enter the house she is playful and dogs their feet. His parents take her to dogs parks and pet store meet and greets where she gets along with strangers and their pets. My boyfriend was able to get Summer to be slightly comfortable with him when he was home with his parents when I was not around. She would greet him at the door but would still run away from him most of the time. We tried for many weeks for her to get used to us but nothing worked. At one point we gave up because there was no change in her behavior towards us. His parents have had her for 4 months. About 2 months ago my boyfriend and I sleep startled her. She woke and barked at us and we promptly left the room. Since that time she has been less comfortable with my boyfriend and any progress he had made with her has been wiped from her memory. Last week his mom went to a family get together with both dogs. Summer was not comfortable with the new enviorment and nipped at two family members, banning her from coming to the get together again. Since this time she seems to bark and growl at my boyfriend and I when we enter the house. His parents assure me that Greyhounds take a lot of time to get used to people and that we should give her time. I feel that we are not staying even the same with her but getting worse. Boyfriend's parents want me to try giving her treats whenever we enter the house but I'm skeptical about this working. What can I do to get her more accustomed to me and my boyfriend?
  8. Hello, Long time lurker, but after our issues with our newly adopted Greyhound I figured it would be a good time to reach out. We recently adopted a retired racing greyhound (about 2 months ago) and it has been fairly good so far. Our dog has been adapting pretty well, but he does have what seems to be sleep and/or space aggression issues as well as possessiveness. After a few weeks of perfect behavior he will have a relapse where he snaps/growls/nips (i hesitate to use the word bite, but he has broken skin, just not a full out chomp, if that makes sense). After each "incident" my wife and I lose trust in the dog and feel like we can no longer be close, pet, or interact with him as the outbursts are so sudden (there is very minimal growling before he snaps). He also seems to be disobedient at times and has growled/snapped at me once during a walk when he did not want to go my way. I have already researched and read the various posts here and have found them both helpful and insightful, but I have heard other information from my own adoption group that sometimes is inconsistent with what I read here. For those who have had aggression issues like these, I would like to pose the question: 1) Can sleep/space aggression be overcome? Is time to warm up/get accustomed to his environment still something we can expect to help? 2) If not, is this just something we are going to have to live with...we do expect to have kids and I do not know what the long term prospects are of us keeping him if he continues to have unpredictable behavior. I know giving the dog back is a last resort and is not something I take likely, however, I do not know how prepared we are to deal with the type of scary behavior that we are seeing and I would not be able to forgive myself if something more serious were to happen. Are there people out there who have dealt with these issues and what outcomes can I realistically expect. I do not want to be naive, but at the same time I do not want to give up without a true attempt to include him with the proper training, behavior, and graciousness that he deserves...
  9. Hello.... My name is Marc and we are on our second Grey. Our first was 14 years ago; we got her when she was 6 when she had been turned back in due to a divorce. She was great, but sadly, we lost her to cancer when she was 10. Now, our 2 kids are older and were great with our other dog (8 year old 30# cattle mix - also a rescue) that we have had for 6 years now. We had always wanted another greyhound, so figured this was a good time with the kids being older and able to help out. We ended up with Bogey, a 3 year old male back in April of last year. He has been great but had a devil of a time at the start with 'toddler' type behavior; no listening, counter surfing, standoffish at times - but an incredible love 99% of the time. Any aggression/not listening seemed to dissipate as the months passed - attributed to him just being fixed prior to him coming to our home - lots of remnant testosterone? One trait has remained and is becoming a major scare/issue. We know he has a HUGE prey drive and are ok with that - very cognizant of it and cautious. However, he has repeatedly shown a biting issue. When the kids are playing (play wrestling like kids do), and/or doing that with me, he will come from where ever he is/was and go to bite the head/face of the weakest member. He does not attack the largest, but usually the smallest. It almost seems like he is trying to play but doesn't know how. All very minor scratches - no gashes or anything and he sort of backs off when rebuffed by an adult--but not a full retreat. He has gotten away from my wife twice when he went to attack a small dog (2 times, 2 different dogs). Grabbed them by the neck, but was immediately pulled away with only minimal damage. He has 'played' aggressively with our other dog as well to the point that our other dog keeps his distance at times; at others, will walk under him and co-habitate well - but zero real bonding has occurred. It is almost like a switch goes off in his head. We have altered behavior to try to teach him. We tried 'doggy daycare' where he played fairly well with the other dogs and was only aggressive a bit. However, most recently, he was on the couch and the kids and I were playing. We were ever watchful of him and he was relaxed. As we continued to play, we were thinking he had grown and understood what was going on. Suddenly, he came off the couch, made a bee-line for my son (10 yrs old); we immediately stopped, stopped his approach, firmly redirected him, and he then turned and made a bee-line for my daughter, 5 feet away, who was not wrestling any more, by herself and just on her back on the floor. He 'bit' her forehead. I put 'bit' in quotes as again, not full bite as only a scratch, but his mouth was open and most of her forehead was in his mouth. We are at wits end. We love Bogey, but are scared at his 'switch' behavior. He gets walked 2 times a day at minimal. He has been given runs before all this major snow in the North east. And we have tired him out with doggy daycare - but none of this has stopped this switch behavior. My daughter, as well as the rest of us, will be crushed if we have to turn him in. Just wondering if he has to be an only dog with adults in the household? Or we are missing something. Please, please, please - let me know what else we can try as we are at the end of our rope and quite frankly scared. He is such a sweet love 99% of the time, but we can't keep this up as is. Thank you in advance. -Marc
  10. We got Baxter in September and he's been the sweetest dog. I swear most of the time that he wouldn't hurt a fly. A while ago, I was relaxing on the couch and invited him on the couch with me. After a couple minutes I stretched my legs out. I thought I heard a growl but I wasn't sure. I stretched out my legs again and he started full on snarling at me. I told him no and made him get off the couch. I was really confuse because I had only nudged his belly(which he enjoys to have scratched) and wasn't even close to his private area. I let it go and didn't think much of it until it happened again. Last friday Baxter stepped on a beer bottle. The cut went right to the bone, cut three arteries and almost took his pad off. He was in surgery for and your and a half and got 10 stitches. The vet taught us to rebandage his foot. And that was what I was doing when he snapped the second time. I positioned myself on his bed and made sure I wasn't sitting on a leg or his tail. I was pretty high up on his leg when he yelped, tried to bite me twice and then stood up and growled. His one attempt scratched my arm. I was no where near his foot. I told him no, let him cool off for a minute, then rebandaged his foot without a hitch. If someone could maybe give me a couple pointers as to why this it happening that would be great. By the way I frequently sit on his bed with him and he doesn't seem to mind. Thanks in advance! I'd really like to resolve this before it turns into a problem.
  11. Yurtie has been with me for 15 months and is about to turn six. When I adopted him in March 2013, there was another grey in the house (a 13-year-old shy female, who was, despite her spookiness, a matriarch). She died in August. During the five months that they were together, he was a lovely dog. Goofy, silly; not a single problem. After her passing, he started showing aggression with our dog walker (he knew her well, and had always loved her.) She had to stop coming. It escalated to other people who came to the house. Over time, he started nipping my friends, particularly men, on the butt. He then graduated to flat-out trying to attack. It was only when someone came to the house, it is very gradually becoming a bit more general. This past week, he bit one of my coworker's butt and left a red mark. Then he bit the butt of the electrician who my landlords brought in (they were with him.) It left an abrasion significant enough that they assured the electrician that Yurtie was up on his shots. Now the landlords, who love him, have offered to bring Yurtie to their apartment if someone needs access to mine. I am having frank discussions with them. They do not want me to have to surrender him. He is the neighborhood's favorite dog (never shown this behaviour out in the world), but today he tried to attack someone who was walking past the house as we left. (Distance of about 20 feet; Yurtie barked big&loud and tried to fly at him; guy just on his way to work.) I gripped the leash and nothing happened, but I am still shaking. Yurtie adores me. That may be part of the problem. I am small in stature, and non-dominant (I am working on this but I'll always be who I am). I have a gate in the kitchen (if I use it, he panics and tries to chew his way through it), a soft muzzle, his racing muzzle, treats treats treats for good behavior (guests toss him these upon arrival so that he can associate friends visiting with something good.) We are working with a trainer, and Yurtie has started Prozac (too soon to know if it will help.) The adoption kennel is aware of all of this and we are keeping in touch. I should also add that Yurtie is my seventh adopted grey over 21 years. I've never seen this. Please treat this post gently. I am absolutely beside myself.
  12. Hi everyone, After 5 months, Sam finally started playing with toys, and has unfortunately taken an interest in biting other things... We have a pine wooden bookshelf and he took two good bites out of it! He seems like he wants to use his teeth more and more... Our worry now is that he does not know what he can and cannot bite, so what's next? Does anyone have any tips or how to train Sam on what to NOT eat? Also, any preventive measures we can take (for example, we only give him his bone twice a week for about 15 minutes at a time, how often do you let him have it)? Any tips are appreciated! Thanks in advance
  13. As some on here may know my fuzzy Izzy is a very shy, unsocialized dog who was abused. She is making baby steps progressing and I hate to discourage any social interaction that she shows. She has recently started biting at me when she gets excited, I believe they call this "nitting" it's always when she is feeling happy and trying to play which is why I am not sure whether to discourage this or not (just in the past 2 weeks has she shown any interest of playing in the house and when she does it only lasts a few minutes) I know that she is not trying to hurt me and that she is showing affection but truth is sometimes it SMARTS! At this point I am pretty sure she would not show this behavior to anyone but me as she is still terrified of most people, I just don't want her to develop bad habits. Does anyone have a similar situation ? Advice appreciated.
  14. My little greyhound Lily who is nearly 16 years old has been snapping at me and my husband. She's been doing this for maybe a year? something like that. She has never actually bitten either of us but has tried. Biting seems to now be the way she copes with everything. She doesn't want to be picked up (like to get in and out of the car) so she snaps. She has lost her coordination and sometimes is falling off her bed, well, she doesn't want her rear lifted and put back on the bed. Even during walks, if its time to go back to the house, a gentle nudge back in the direction of the house is met with a snap. My husband gets snapped at more than me, but I get snapped at plenty. Most of the time the snapping seems half hearted, as if she is really not trying to bite rather just letting us know her displeasure..I can lift her, but I have to do it slowly and l reassure her, and she will accept me lifting her. Sometimes she really does try to bite. We had an incident where Lily stepped too close to our other dog Trixie in the middle of the night and Trixie jumped up and bit her. We needed to put compresses on the wound and at first she really did try to bit us. Now she is ok with us putting a compress on. We just wait until she is nice and calm and do it very gently. We are now keeping Lily away from the other dogs at night time to make sure that never happens again. Anyhow, I assume its age/pain related, but is there anything I can do to correct this behavior and let her know this is not ok with us? we have some pain pills but she hates taking them they're bitter.
  15. Sorry for the length of this. This is the progression. Last month while visiting my sister-in-law, Sheba nipped my 3-1/2-year-old great-niece above her eyebrow and across her nose. More like a deep scratch above the eyebrow and minor scratches on the nose, but it broke the skin nonetheless and of course scared the little girl. Yes, we were watching Sheba and my niece all the time, but this one slipped by us. We didn't see it happen, but I think my niece either tried to take a chew bone away from Sheba that she had given her earlier or she went up to Sheba when she was dozing on the dog bed and startled her. After that, Sheba was muzzled when in the house or put outside in the large dog pen. Fortunately, no stitches were required and my niece is fine. I've had Sheba for almost 3 years now, and she will be five next January. She's always been a real spitfire; dislikes cats, squirrels, scateboards, and bicycles; and chases most running dogs at the offleash dog park, which can be a problem since she's been nipped twice requring costly vet visits. Since she's an aggressive chaser, I go to the dog park when most other dogs aren't there. She enjoys chasing after a ball and simply enjoys racing around the park all on her own and then lounging in the wading pool. If there are other dogs there that could create a potential incident (some do, some don't), I leave. The one thing Sheba's always enjoyed is being around other greyhounds, with no issues whatsoever. My friend has three greys, and we meet almost weekly at the offleash dog park. We love it when we're the only ones there! Her youngest grey (Causey, 7 years old) loves to chase Sheba when Sheba chases the ball, and this has gone on for 3 years with no incident, until now. Yesterday, Sheba bit Causey in the muzzle. We didn't see it happen but figure they bumped into each other while running and a startled Sheba went on the offensive. Before my friend arrived, there had been two dogs there that kept stealing Sheba's ball. Although there were no altercations and the dogs left, perhaps Sheba thought Causey was going to steal her ball? Causey is healing (no stitches required), and my friend says she seems unchanged by the incident, but her vet said now that Sheba thinks she's the Queen A Dog, the two shouldn't be at the park together or at the least Sheba should be muzzled when together. We want to continue our weekly visits if at all possible. What do you advise? Since Sheba nipped my great-niece last month and now bit Causey yesterday, is this a sign that she is getting more aggressive and if so, what should I do about it? Sheba is very friendly and typically good with people as well as young children, but now I'm worried.
  16. I apologize for the length of this post, but it is a long story. In March 2008, my DH and I adopted our first retired greyhound, who was 2.5 years old at the time. We picked him because he was soooo happy to see us when he was brought into the adoption agency's office that he smacked his tail into the walls and started bleeding all over the place. We took him home (with his happy tail all bandaged up) and began our adventure. We also adopted a sweet and playful girl 6 months later, directly from the racetrack. Before I get to the bad stuff, let me tell you what we love about our boy. He is always at the door happy to see us when we get home. He loves booty-rubs. He loves belly rubs. He loves treats and due to his great food motivation, he was easy to train. He is very obedient, and will lay down on the rug and "stay" while we prepare his food, and won't get up until we say "okay." He always is happy to greet our friends and family (and the exterminator, and the pizza delivery guy, and the plumber), well anybody really…maybe a little too enthusiastically, but he never puts his paws on anybody (he is a really big boy and could easily knock a person down). He sleeps all night long and keeps a very regular schedule. He has never attempted to get on the couch or our bed (we don't allow that, but he's never even tried). He loves walks and car rides, even to the vet. He always reminds me when it's dinnertime (and then I tell him how much time he has to wait because he usually thinks it's dinnertime and hour or more before it really is). Anyway, 99.9% of the time he's an absolute angel, and a perfect model greyhound. The other 0.1% of the time it's like he is possessed by demons. Since we first brought him home he's shown aggression in certain situations, which we attributed to space aggression or annoyance (he snapped at my DH in the adoption office when he came too close to him when he was laying in the bed, went for our vet's head when she was examining him the week we brought him home, he snapped at my uncle when he came too near his crate, bit our 5 year old nephew on the ear when he was telling him to "lay down", snapped at our niece when she was trying to pet him lying down, the list goes on). We always warn guests to leave the dogs (especially him) alone, and we keep a very close eye on visiting young children. So you are probably thinking, no big deal--that is a totally normal reaction for a greyhound. The problem is he gives no warning signs, no growling, no getting up and away from the situation, no warning bark -- he skips all that and goes straight for blood. The first really scary episode was when I was putting a coat on him to go outside when it was cold. Everything was fine, then suddenly he lunged for my face and hit me with his nose so hard on my cheekbone that he broke the skin and drew blood. So I attributed it to being my fault, he must not have wanted to wear the coat. (It's not like it was a new experience that I was throwing him into). Two and a half years ago the first really serious attack happened. I had just given the dogs their Frontline and he went into the bedroom, laid on his bed and roached. I found him and told him to "roll over" so that the Frontline wouldn't soak into the bed. So he did, and I said "good puppy" and reached down to pet him and he suddenly bit my hand. I said "NO" and he got up and lunged for me, biting me in three more places (my armpit, my chest, my abdomen). He doesn't just snap, he lunges at you lightning-fast, snarling like a demon and bites down HARD and shakes his head like he's trying to kill prey. After that, we took him to the vet. He had bloodwork done, and the vet attributed his aggression to low thyroid levels. So he got on L-Thyroxine and we went on with life. Again--99.9% of the time he has no issues with space--that was only when we first adopted him. He can (usually) be pet laying down, while eating, even while chewing a rawhide. Not that we generally do those things, but every once in a while we do to keep him accustomed to it. We always leave them alone when sleeping, but he was wide awake in this instance and obeying a command. He has also attacked our girl greyhound, at least once. We didn't witness what happened but heard his demonic snarl and her screaming. They usually get along just fine. Once I came home to find a 4X3" chunk of skin hanging from her side like a big flap--we don't know what happened but our boy is still a suspect. That incident required about 10 stitches. He went through a really good year or so after getting on medication (apart from lunging after my grandfather when he was teasing him by pulling his feet--understandable, but still without warning). Then this past March, my DH gave him a hug in the morning (which he normally doesn't do, but it was dark and he thought it was our other dog). When he turned on the light and saw who it was, he said "good boy" and pet him, and our dog suddenly turned and attacked him, grabbed him by the throat, then grabbed his abdomen and shook. His belly is seriously scarred. We then took our dog back to the vet, found his medication needed to be slightly increased, so we put him on the next higher dosage. Just an aside--he gets lots of physical affection, I hug him all the time and he acts happy about it, he usually is on his best behavior before breakfast time so I don't have any idea why he flipped out other than maybe morning grumpiness. But again -- there was no warning. Which brings us to the present day (well, this past week). A couple of weeks ago I diagnosed our dogs with having corns. They have both been limping for months, the vet couldn't find anything (we even had x-rays done). Oddly enough, our boy tolerates having his feet handled much better than our girl, who fidgets, pulls away and gets up and leave (which seems like pretty appropriate behavior). I decided to go back to doing their nails myself so I could get them shortened gradually, and treating their corns. I ordered a Dremel, which is what the vet assistants use on them, but I set about getting them acclimated to it anyway in case they may associate bad things with it. Our boy has always been an angel when he gets his nails done at the vet's office, but I don't trust him anyway (obviously) so I went slowly. He was perfect, I ended up Dremelling all of his nails three separate times last week with him laying down on the rug (Dremel on low, just to get him used to it more than to make a big dent in his nail length). He just laid there, and got a treat after I was finished with each paw. I gave him lots of praise, everything was all wonderful and I was really happy with him. Then I got some callus cream to rub into the pads of their feet. Again, he was a perfect angel and just lay there while I carefully rubbed in the cream. Which brings us to Saturday. I intended to give him the callus cream again, but first I wanted to feel his pads with my fingers like I'd been doing to get him used to the touch. I didn't get very far, before I knew it his teeth were heading toward my face and I turned, put my arms over my face and he went for the back of my head three times but couldn't get a grip so he grabbed me by the shoulder and shook until my DH yelled "NO!", threw a shoe at him and chased him out of the room. I don't know why he flipped out that time and not the very first time I messed with his feet -- the only difference was that my DH was home. And I didn't make him aware of the presence of treats, though they were there on the coffee table. Anyway, I have a very sore shoulder with lots of scabbed-over teeth marks, but my shirt offered some protection from his teeth going too deep so there wasn't too much blood. But I am having trouble writing this one off on his thyroid condition. Which brings us to our dilemma. What to do? We absolutely cannot trust him, he is dangerous and unpredictable. We love him, but we cannot live with him, and I don't know if there is anybody out there who *would* want a dog like him. We see our options as A) Return him to the greyhound adoption agency (if they even will take him--he'd have to be very very very carefully rehomed to the right person, with plenty of warnings), or option B: Put him down. My DH will be calling our adoption agency when they open tomorrow to see what they recommend, but I wanted to get the opinion of other greyhound owners. I don't want option B, but I have to accept it as a possibility. I know there will be people who do not agree with putting down a mostly-wonderful dog, but how long do we go on being mauled and putting our friends and family at risk? I know there have been dogs who have been put down after the very first attack, and he's had 3 serious ones and countless minor ones. My question is: Is there anybody who would take a dog like this? Would any adoption agency in their right mind take him back? He can be sooo good most of the time, but when he's bad he's a seriously dangerous liability. What we are doing in the meantime: My DH called the vet this morning, who recommended more bloodwork. So I'll be bringing him in tomorrow. P.S. I anticipate replies asking how we discipline him after these attacks. First we banish him from the pack for at least 3 days. He doesn't eat in the house, he doesn't sleep in the bedroom ("den") with us. We don't speak to him. We don't look at him. We give him no attention whatsoever. He is the invisible dog. When we accept him back in, he is always on his very best behavior. Our general routine is the "Nothing in Life is Free" approach--the dogs have to lay down and stay while food is being prepared, until they are released to eat. They have to wait at the door while I open it, and cannot go outside until I say "okay." We usually fail at the "no petting on demand" though. It's hard when a cute dog lays their head on your lap and looks at you with sad eyes. In general though, they are both well-trained, and they are not spoiled brats.
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