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  1. Hello. My wife and I recently adopted a 2 year old male greyhound about 6 weeks ago. Overall he has been settling in really great and seems comfortable and at ease most of the time. However, I am seeking advice whether there's anything we can be doing to help him not be so fearful or timid when meeting new people, particularly while in our home. Overall he is inherently shy and typically won't let strangers pet him. Even if he's met someone before it doesn't seem to matter. However, I wouldn't describe him as excessively fearful either - just guarded. He'll approach and sniff, but from a distance and on his own terms. Sometimes (not always) we can entice him to accept treats from a stranger, but that show of goodwill never parlays into him allowing them to pet him. My wife is a singing teacher who works from home and she teaches anywhere from 2 to 10 students in our living room per day. Part of the reason we became interested in greyhounds as a breed in the first place is because they aren't known as incessant barkers and they're typically used to being handled by strangers due to the kennel environment - both traits that are essential given my wife's line of work. Luckily, the singing and loud sounds don't seem to phase him at all. The first two weeks in our home he hardly payed any attention to the students, I think because at that point in his adjusting to our home there was very little differentiation to him between his relationship to them versus to us. The following two weeks we were essentially snowed in together, so no students came to the house and during that period is when he truly became acquainted with us and began to bond to us. However, since my wife began teaching again about a week ago he has growled, barked, and sometimes lunged at her students on several occasions. Again, he didn't pay any attention to them at all for two weeks at first so we had thought that he was comfortable with guests at the house. But now that he is comfortable with the house and with us he seems to perceive visitors as a threat. Now we are wondering what to do, especially if we can't get it under control soon. We can't afford to sacrifice my wife's livelihood for the dog. Ever since he began acting out I have tried to carefully oversee and observe all of his introductions/interactions with the students. All of the students have been very gentle, non-threatening, and respectful in how they approach him. In fact, he never starts out the gate barking or posturing aggressively. Typically, he'll come over in an innocuously curious fashion at first just to see who has arrived, and then after 10-30 seconds he'll suddenly bark aggressively and assume a defensive (and aggressive, from the student's perspective) posture without warning. Clearly, for some reason or another he is fearful of them in that moment even though they haven't done anything to warrant that response. After we intervene he calms down and pretty much doesn't pay them any mind for the remainder of their lesson. Overall it's a pretty minor interaction, and if you have prior experience with dogs it's pretty easy to recognize that he's not acting purely out of aggression and that there's no need to be fearful. However, my wife has no prior dog experience, and it's clearly a rattling experience for her students as well. Plus, he's a big boy, which in itself can be intimidating. Also, although I discourage it, lately he's started following them around afterward out of curiosity to the point of being uncomfortably close in some cases. I'm sure this is very intimidating for the students, and if it led to another outburst that would be very bad. My primary question is are there any exercises or training we can be doing to accelerate the process of him becoming comfortable with strangers in our home (and in general)? I'm sure that in a few more weeks/months he'll naturally acclimate to the parade of strangers in our home, but I don't think we can afford to keep up the "I'm really sorry, I don't know why he did that" response for much longer. Also, I have been working from home as well during the entire time since we adopted him. So not only have I been around to oversee his interactions with students, but I've been primarily responsible for his needs throughout the day and he spends most of the day following me around. However, I go back to work exactly a week from today, and if there's anything we can be doing between now and then to make him less fearful of strangers it would really help give me peace of mind. Given my wife's overall inexperience with dogs I worry about something happening while I am gone. Clearly the obvious solution is to crate him up whenever company is here, but I really don't see that being a long term solution given the large number of people we have over during any given week. However, perhaps in the short term that would possibly help to get him accustomed to the frequent visitations and perhaps reduce any associated stress he may be feeling? Any advice is much appreciated. Thanks! - Derrick -
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