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Growling And Play


Guest Bonansa
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Guest Bonansa

We've had our new grey, Gold, for about 3 months. (This is our second. Our first, Cindy, went to the bridge last July.) Cindy was friendly and outgoing with people and non-greys, so this is a new situation for us. Gold came to us extremely shy with dogs and people. He is starting to come out of his shell a bit now and will initiate play with the dogs we meet in the neighborhood. However, I've noticed recently that when he does a play bow, he growls and then sometimes barks. At other times, he *seems* friendly and lets the other dog sniff him, but he growls without the bow. I get kind of nervous when that happens, but I keep a tighter leash on him and let him continue to play. I correct him with a tug when I am not sure if he is playing. Is there such thing as a friendly growl, and if so, how can I tell?

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I've only been able to figure it out by watching my boy's body language, and going on five years together I still don't get it right all the time.

 

Basically if he's in a posture I recognize as playful and comfortable I let it go. If he tenses then he's uncomfortable.

 

In my very very humble opinion the growling on lead as you describe it sounds like a more uncomfortable/warning growl than play. The play bow growl and bark sounds like an invitation to play to me.

 

Good luck.

Colleen with Covey (Admirals Cove) and Rally (greyhound puppy)
Missing my beloved boy INU (CJ Whistlindixie) my sweetest princess SALEM (CJ Little Dixie) and my baby girl ZOE (LR's Tara)

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Guest krystolla

Check out Calming Signals it lists body language dogs use when tense or stressed in order to indicate that they think the situation needs to be calmed down. One signal dogs use is a play bow, less to initiate play than to signal that they are puppy-like and non threatening. Turid Rugaas' book lists more signals than the website, but I don't have the name handy.

 

If the other dog doesn't respond with a similar calming signal your dog may feel threatened and respond with growling or barking -- sort of a "if you won't play nice neither will I". :POed

 

Personally, I think greyhounds are used to other dogs that are dog-socialized and recognize the signals. Racing greys grow up with other greyhounds who have grown up with other greyhounds . . . they all speak the same language. In the outside world many people own under socialized dogs who don't realize that bouncing up to a stranger isn't appropriate. Think about complete stranger who runs up on the street and hugs you. :eek That's what your dog is seeing -- even if the stranger isn't overtly threatening it still feels that way.

 

I think your best bet is to make sure that you enforce any calming signals -- break eye contact between the dogs by turning him sideways, or walk beside the other dog to meet rather than face-to-face. If the other dog is really rambunctious just say that your dog is such a gentleman he's not sure how to react to the "puppy".

 

Good luck. Oh, and try not to tense up too much -- you don't want your dog to feel he needs to be using all those calming signals on YOU. :lol

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I've only been able to figure it out by watching my boy's body language, and going on five years together I still don't get it right all the time.

 

Basically if he's in a posture I recognize as playful and comfortable I let it go. If he tenses then he's uncomfortable.

 

In my very very humble opinion the growling on lead as you describe it sounds like a more uncomfortable/warning growl than play. The play bow growl and bark sounds like an invitation to play to me.

 

Good luck.

 

Ditto

Claudia-noo-siggie.jpg

Missing my little Misty who took a huge piece of my heart with her on 5/2/09, and Ekko, on 6/28/12

 

 

:candle For the sick, the lost, and the homeless

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Guest scfilby

Bowing, high tail wagging and growly barking would be play posture. This could be accompanied with snapping at the air or mouthing and non-direct barking (looking to the side).

 

Growling with tail down, between the legs, or straight out with a stiff or tense stance would be a warning posture.

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George is VERY verbal and mouthy when he tries to engage another dog. I'm not always sure either! My old dog--I knew. If he was serious, he put his hackles up. But with George? Not a clue, and I've had him almost three years!

Edited by GeorgeofNE


Hamish-siggy1.jpg

Susan,  Hamish,  Mister Bigglesworth and Nikita Stanislav. Missing Ming, George, and Buck

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My indicator has always been the when hackles go up. I never really have to worry about the girls getting feisty but with the boys, it's always a challenge. Hitchie, is just a brat and makes a lot of noise but doesn't mean anything. House is okay unless it's a small, yippy dog (or Kevin but he's much better about that now!!!) and then he can get kind of pushy. Kevin...it's too early to tell.

siggie50_1.jpg

Blair, Stella (DND Heather), Lizzie (M's Deadra), Hitch (Hallo Dominant) and House (Mac's Dr. House)

Missing my handsome men Lewis (Vs Lowrider) - 11/11/01 - 3/11/09, Kevin (Dakota's Hi Five) - 1/1/06 - 4/18/11 and my cat, Sparkle Baby - ??/??/96 - 4/23/11

"The gift which I am sending you is called a dog, and is, in fact, the most precious and valuable possession of mankind." (Theodorus Gaza)

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I can't tell you unless I see it. I'm a dog walker/pet sitter and my hound (Bu) goes to work with me. I never correct him if he growls at another dog, unless it's a resource thing. He is very appropriate and gives small warnings to annoying dogs and if that doesn't work his warnings escalate, until he gets to the loud, scary sounding warning. Again, he's very appropriate, even his scary sounding warning is all talk. He is a very patient dog, but he has his limits, which are higher than mine. If some of the dogs acted towards me the way they acted towards them, I'd probably bite them in earnest, where he just startles them. Not all hounds are going to be as good as Bu, but you have to watch your hound and learn how he deals with things. When I first got Bu, I stopped the situation when he gave the smallest warning, but as I got to know him, I gave him more leeway and realized he was better at stopping annoying puppies than i am. I've had clients see Bu do the scary sounding warnings to their dogs while they were watching and they are always impressed how Bu tells the dog to back off, then goes and lies down like nothing happened.

 

Just a tip though, try not to tense up because the dogs can sense that and can make them nervous. It is easier said than done. Not that I condone all of what Ceasar Milan does, but he has some good points about your energy and confidence rubbing off on your dog.

 

Good luck.

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Body language, as others have said. Err on the side of caution until you get to know your dog. I can tell you after four years that Doc has three kinds of growl that I know of:

 

- 'play growl' - for games with me or other dogs - quite deep

- 'happy growl' - when being caressed - breathier than the play growl

- 'scary growl' - to warn off other dogs - higher tone than the play growl

Clare with Tiger (Snapper Gar, b. 18/05/2015), and remembering Ken (Boomtown Ken, 01/05/2011-21/02/2020) and Doc (Barefoot Doctor, 20/08/2001-15/04/2015).

"It is also to be noted of every species, that the handsomest of each move best ... and beasts of the most elegant form, always excel in speed; of this, the horse and greyhound are beautiful examples."----Wiliam Hogarth, The Analysis of Beauty, 1753.

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Guest Greyt_dog_lover

Check out Calming Signals it lists body language dogs use when tense or stressed in order to indicate that they think the situation needs to be calmed down. One signal dogs use is a play bow, less to initiate play than to signal that they are puppy-like and non threatening. Turid Rugaas' book lists more signals than the website, but I don't have the name handy.

 

If the other dog doesn't respond with a similar calming signal your dog may feel threatened and respond with growling or barking -- sort of a "if you won't play nice neither will I". :POed

 

Personally, I think greyhounds are used to other dogs that are dog-socialized and recognize the signals. Racing greys grow up with other greyhounds who have grown up with other greyhounds . . . they all speak the same language. In the outside world many people own under socialized dogs who don't realize that bouncing up to a stranger isn't appropriate. Think about complete stranger who runs up on the street and hugs you. :eek That's what your dog is seeing -- even if the stranger isn't overtly threatening it still feels that way.

 

I think your best bet is to make sure that you enforce any calming signals -- break eye contact between the dogs by turning him sideways, or walk beside the other dog to meet rather than face-to-face. If the other dog is really rambunctious just say that your dog is such a gentleman he's not sure how to react to the "puppy".

 

Good luck. Oh, and try not to tense up too much -- you don't want your dog to feel he needs to be using all those calming signals on YOU. :lol

 

 

OUTSTANDING article. Thank you so very much for posting this. I will definitely use some of these techniques as I am a foster and have new hounds in the house on a regular basis.

 

Chad

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Guest Bonansa

Thanks, everyone. Great suggestions. I think it will take a little more time to read him better, and I will remind myself to stay calm. Cesar says that dogs live in the moment, so I will just try to take each greeting without the baggage of what happened before. LOVED the article! :)

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Guest Frankendog

Thanks for posting this.I had a surprise yesterday at the dog park with Frankie, who I've had for 4 months. He has been such a sweet laid back guy.

 

There were quite a few other dogs there and he grabbed a canvas frisbee type toy that an owner was throwing for her aussie. I've never seen him actually pick up any ball or toy at the park, he just chases the other dogs around or tries to get chased. I found him at the far corner of the dog park trying to shred the toy. I walked up to him and said I wanted the toy back...well he growled at me!! He's never growled at me, I was shocked! I firmly took him by the collar and told him NO, BAD DOG! and pulled him away from the toy, then took it back to the owner.

Any thoughts on this?

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Thanks for posting this.I had a surprise yesterday at the dog park with Frankie, who I've had for 4 months. He has been such a sweet laid back guy.

 

There were quite a few other dogs there and he grabbed a canvas frisbee type toy that an owner was throwing for her aussie. I've never seen him actually pick up any ball or toy at the park, he just chases the other dogs around or tries to get chased. I found him at the far corner of the dog park trying to shred the toy. I walked up to him and said I wanted the toy back...well he growled at me!! He's never growled at me, I was shocked! I firmly took him by the collar and told him NO, BAD DOG! and pulled him away from the toy, then took it back to the owner.

Any thoughts on this?

 

Don't be shocked. That's about the time when they are getting very comfortable in your home & may begin to test the boundaries. I've had Trolley about the same amount of time & she has tested me twice so far....Guess who won the discussion?? :lol You might consider reading about NILIF. It has brought us much closer & Trolley very clearly knows what is expected of her. It changes your relationship...for the better. :)

Carol-Glendale, AZ

Trolley (Figsiza Trollyn)

Nevada 1992-2008...always in my heart

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Guest Frankendog

Thank you! I have a few pages bookmarked and I will sit down and read later today when I get a moment. See this is exactly why I joined this board. I have learned so much today!

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Guest Greyt_dog_lover

Thanks for posting this.I had a surprise yesterday at the dog park with Frankie, who I've had for 4 months. He has been such a sweet laid back guy.

 

There were quite a few other dogs there and he grabbed a canvas frisbee type toy that an owner was throwing for her aussie. I've never seen him actually pick up any ball or toy at the park, he just chases the other dogs around or tries to get chased. I found him at the far corner of the dog park trying to shred the toy. I walked up to him and said I wanted the toy back...well he growled at me!! He's never growled at me, I was shocked! I firmly took him by the collar and told him NO, BAD DOG! and pulled him away from the toy, then took it back to the owner.

Any thoughts on this?

 

First thought, you need to work on "drop it" or "leave it". You can do that or "trade". Any of these will correct the problem you had. As far as taking your hound to the dog park and letting it run with the other hounds when you have only had the hound for 4 months, and not having basic commands established is a bit on the irresponsible side. With greyhound speed and independent behavior, you should probably have a better rapport with your hound before you take said hound to a dog park where the unexpected is only a minute away. Please do not take my comments as judging you, or insulting. I am actually pro-dog parks, but believe strongly that you need to have a decent recall, as well as basic commands established before you brave the dog park where there can be dangerous situations (poor owners, untrained dogs, aggressive animals). Just my opinion, as I said, I am in no way trying to insult you, just trying to get you to look at the situation a bit differently.

 

Chad

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