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Space/sleep Aggression In New Hound


phall
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This past Friday, we brought home Yogi! Things are going well. Yogi is a different personality than what I'm used to, so it's a learning experience for me as well! He's very outgoing and wants to be included in everything that's going on. He's a very affectionate dog and just wants to be near you all the time. This morning is the first morning since he arrived Friday afternoon that he isn't glued to my hip. He's beginning to settle in and find his place here. (We have two other greyhounds). He is very food intense so we're careful at feeding time. He LOVES stuffies - every day he empties the toy box and plays with everything. The best toys (in his opinion) end up in his crate. Housebreaking is going extremely well - no accidents whatsoever in the house and no marking. Of course, I take him out every two or so hours, but he seems to have made the connection that pee & poop = outside. He's the easiest one I've had in that area. He's very interested in the upstairs of our house, but hasn't yet quite figured out the stairs. We'll work with him on that after a few more days.

 

The big issue he has is sleep/space aggression. If he's laying down and you walk closely by him (even if he's not sleeping but just laying down), he'll jump up and snap at you. Once he's up, he's absolutely fine with us - affectionate, happy, etc. - it's the laying down position. He seems a bit more reactive to my husband than with me so we're being sure to have him feed him, let him out of his crate etc. I really think this is because he's never slept openly in a room before - always in a crate or kennel - and is part of his transition to home. But it's an issue I haven't had any experience with yet. Our plan for now is to make him get up any time he's laying down (he does that readily) and we need to walk by him (of course, he always picks the high traffic areas to lay down in…)

 

I'd love to hear any tips/suggestions to help our new guy with this. In every other way, he's a real sweetheart.

 

Pat

Edited by phall
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We had a foster with sleep aggression (and nightmares that would make her wake up snapping even if no one was close to her). Mainly, we just managed things so no one touched her when she was sleeping. She was crate trained, which helped at night and when we were out, and I'd move our pup if he settled next to her during the day. We got into the habit of always calling her name and making sure she was 100% awake before touching her or getting too close. She was fine being touched when lying down but only when fully awake.

 

Something we tried and had some success with was gently throwing really yummy treats near her when she was sleeping. She'd wake up to find that it was raining food and happily chow down. This definitely seemed to help with her initial startle response when sleeping but because of the nightmares she'd still occasionally wake up snapping.

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Something we tried and had some success with was gently throwing really yummy treats near her when she was sleeping. She'd wake up to find that it was raining food and happily chow down. This definitely seemed to help with her initial startle response when sleeping but because of the nightmares she'd still occasionally wake up snapping.

 

I LOVE this idea!!

 

Sounds like you are doing all the right things and Yogi needs a little bit more time to get used to sleeping in an open space. He's just transitioning and I bet he'll settle over the coming days/weeks. Making sure he is awake or up before walking by is a great solution, as is giving him a bit of extra space or making sure he isn't sleeping in the middle of the hallway or other high traffic area.

 

When we fostered Bumper, he would growl from his crate when Brucie walked by. That lasted about 3-4 days. He sleeps with 6 yo DD all the time now, with obviously no space or aggression or sleep issues. The only problem he causes is that he likes to sleep half ON DD!!

 

Have fun with Yogi - he sounds like a great pupper!

Doe's Bruciebaby Doe's Bumper

Derek

Follow my Ironman journeys and life with dogs, cats and busy kids: A long road

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Thanks for the help with this - especially the idea of tossing treats! We'll definitely try that.

 

On a good note, Yogi had a very good day today. Three times when he was laying down in the living room (after a very long walk this morning), he did not react when Howard or I walked past him. We called to him first so we knew was awake, and he was aware of where we were, and he handled it well. We'll continue working hard with him on this and we'll be careful as we're going through it, but he's doing well.

 

Pat

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Guest gretzky

No advice for you but I just wanted to send my congratulations to you and Howard on your new addition. I bet Yogi will figure out quickly that he's landed in the best spot!

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Well it sounds like you're doing great already! You recognized a potential issue, asked for advice, and are willing to work through it...that's awesome! :colgate I've had people return a dog for less than this, without even trying!

 

Our first grey, Sobe, came to us with aweful sleep aggression, space aggression, and nightmares that would curl your hair. I can only imagine what he was dreaming - it must've been aweful - so it was no surprise that he was snappy when awakened!

 

I'd of course, suggest time and patience. And all the things you're doing. If small children are around - be 10 times more cautious, little ones don't think about these things. Even older kids get caught up in what they're doing and forget, especially if they're visiting.

 

I'd also suggest that every time you wake him up to tell him you're going to walk by (a VERY good idea) you give him a treat immediately. I've heard of people throwing socks at sleeping dogs to desensitize them, but with such a new dog - I wouldn't do that. He's JUST getting settled in - and heck - I'd get MORE jumpy if stuff started bouncing off me while I was sleeping! :blink:

 

I'd also suggest NOT letting Yogi on furniture or beds until you're SURE this is totally resolved. You probably already know that. Sobe wasn't allowed on furniture for nearly 2 years. He just couldn't be totally trusted, but he took a VERY VERY long time to make ANY progress. He had the biggest issues of any grey I've personally met. Sounds like Yogi is already starting to chill out. After only a few days - that's a REALLY good sign that this is a "transition" issue - not a deep-seated issue with him.

 

I think the most important thing to remember is that Yogi isn't being mean. He's just adapting to a strange new world, and it's a bit overwhelming - so he's protecting himself. You know that, though.

 

Keep us posted, I'll look forward to hearing his progress - and he will make progress! :)

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Thank you, Sobesmom! Your advice is great. It's so helpful to hear from others who have dealt with this. Thankfully in this case, we don't have small children around (it's only me and Howard at home) and only have older kids occasionally visiting (grand kids) - we'll be very careful with them around Yogi and if Yogi wants to rest he'll go to his crate.

 

I do really like the idea of the treat when we call to him to wake him up. I think that will work well with him - he loves his food.

 

The reminder that Yogi isn't being mean, just overwhelmed and confused a bit is such a good reminder. Sometimes that's easy to forget that in a bad moment, but it's exactly the truth.

 

It's back to work this morning and we'll be getting into our work week routine. Yogi is so improved even this morning from yesterday - he's really calmed down and seems to be relaxing a bit. He's such a good boy.

 

Pat

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we have sleep agression w/ felix who has been with us since he was 7 weeks old. it seems as if it is just in some dogs. the food/treat wake-up w/ a loud clap of your hands and say their name in a positive=happy way helps. at night felix can not sleep next to another dog, even crated. he growls like a mad-dog and doesn't even wake up. 2 nights ago our foster was quiet, sleeping in her crate, felix on his bed and we heard utter chaos in the wee hours of the morning. dh went out and dragged felix's bed, with felix sleeping on it, to the other side of the room. he growled but never woke up. w/ our dog sleep agression seems to vary according to how exhausted your pup may be.

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I dealt with space aggression in Quiet Man for over 7 years. While he was never completely "cured" of it, it did get better with time and trust, but I did eventually accept it was part of who he was, and was never a cuddly dog.

I managed to deal with it, not so much by training (yes, I admit I am a bit of a slacker in that department, as well as a sucker as far as spoiling), but I did use a lot of supervision, and management as far as informing others of his behavior (both with dogs and people), separation from other dogs & children if not able to be supervised, and a lot of patience, understanding and bonding.

I know many people who advised me to not tolerate aggression, and I tried not to, but part of me also knew that was who he is, he was never going to let another dog or human lay on top of him and cuddle with him, but that was okay. That was my boy. Sigh.... :rolleyes:

I just had to make sure I took responsibility for alerting people to his possible space aggression and when my mom insisted on hugging him cause she was his grammy and she got growled at anyway, I had to give her the ole "I told you so!"

Jen 
Forever in my heart: my girl Raspberry & my boys Quiet Man, Murphy, Ducky & Wylie
www.greyhoundadventures.org & www.greyhoundamberalert.org & www.duckypaws.com

 

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Guest Adoptastar

I've had several with pretty severe sleep aggression... we had success using a nylon muzzle and letting him fall asleep...then waking him. When he would act out, he would receive a stern NO...and get pushed off the couch. So we turned the aggression into an association with losing his favorite spot on the sofa... it took about a month, but since have not had an issue. Part of the process was exerting dominance over him, there are several techniques that help - but that's a different post...so email if you have questions.

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Thanks, Jen. I knew you had had some issues with Quiet Man but had forgotten about it as in his latter years he seemed very good. It's good to hear from you on what worked for you and Quiet Man over the years. I think, too, with Yogi it will be something we manage for a long time.

 

Last night we did have another occurrence. This time Yogi was not asleep, but was laying down on the floor with his head down too. Howard walked by him a couple of times and that was fine. Then Howard needed to go all the way around him, so he made kind of a half circle around Yogi. Yogi picked his head up, watched him and was okay until Howard was around the other side of him (behind him). Yogi jumped up growing and with a little bit of snap (not as bad as before). We both yelled "No" at him and he stopped.

 

In this instance, Yogi definitely was not asleep. But in thinking about this it seems that Yogi was okay until Howard was behind him and out of his sight, then he reacted with the growl and snap. But this instance showed improvement to us - the growl and snap wasn't as intense and he stopped when we spoke sternly to him. Do others agree?

 

Pat

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murray had terrible sleep/space aggression when we adopted him. he was 5 when we brought him home. he was returned to our adoption group twice for biting while asleep. we were told that one of those times he was sleeping in a hallway at night and someone in the family tried to step over him and was bitten. we were both were bitten by murray in the first few weeks we had him. both times we did exactly what were knew we should not do....petting him on his bed as he was falling asleep. we knew that it would be important to define a place for him to sleep in the house. as his third home we felt a lot of self imposed pressure to make this work for murray. who would want to adopt a dog that bit in three homes in a row? we did not want to return him. we committed ourselves to working with him. here's what worked for us.

 

we tried crating murray in the first few days that we had him. (not sure why we felt we had to crate him when we were gone....it just seemed like this is what people did when they newly adopted a greyhound.)he broke out on the first day. he tried to bite burke on the second day as burke tried to get him in there. clearly this dog wanted nothing to do with a crate. he was not at all destructive when we went to work so there was no reason to crate him during the day. we abandoned that plan. we still needed to set some sleeping boundaries with him. we felt that he needed to go to his crate when sleeping/falling asleep. we really wanted him out in the living room with us in the evening but murray continued to growl at us as we walked around him in our home.

 

our main challenge was getting murray to use his crate for sleeping. we set the crate up in our bedroom, covered it with a sheet to make it denlike, and took the door off. that one thing, removing the door, made all the difference for us. the crate was not a place where he would be locked in. he could come and go. early on, as murray would fall alseep in the living room we sent him to his bed. we would wake him up by calling his name and send him to the crate. sometimes, after a power nap, he would reemerge with us in the living room. some nights he stayed in his safe place for most of the night. anytime he growled we gave him a stern BAH sound. this would wake him. then he was sent to bed. gradually he learned to trust us. he spent more and more time with us in the living room. sometimes he would put himself to bed when he was tired. it was funny to watch him get up, say goodnight, and go into the crate (something we never thought he would do!).

 

we have had murray for almost two years. we continue to be aware of his tendency for sleep aggression but having that safe defined space for sleeping in our house seems to have worked for us and for murray. in the living room we can sit on murray's bed with him and pet him. bee wiseman (who came home seven months after murray) can lay near murray on the dogs beds. (bee has her own crate in the bedroom so that both dogs have a safe, designated sleeping area in the house.) in the living room murray does not react at all as she walks near him or if she moves on the bed next to him. he does not seem to care if she is near him.

 

inside our house the world feels safe to murray. now he spends most of his time out in the living room with us when we are home. we are able to step over or step on his bed when he is on it. we haven't had any growling in over a year. murray is, and will always be, a fearful dog. i'm sure with time your problem with yogi will ease as he settles in to the routine in your home. it's amazing how far murray has come in his time with us.

Edited by 45MPHK9

4894718087_9910a46faa_d.jpg

Tricia with Hopper the terrier mix and Kaia the wolfhound-schnauzer mix
Always missing Murray MaldivesBee Wiseman, River, and Holly
 Oaks Holly 
“You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.“ -Bob Dylan

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45MPHK - thanks so much for taking the time to tell me about Murray. Hearing what you went through, what worked for you, and how Murray has done over time is exactly what I need to hear. It reinforces to me what I truly believe - that Yogi will get better in time - it's only been 5 days since he's been with us - and you've given me some additional things to try with Yogi. I've printed out your response to me (and the others in this discussion) to re-read and to share with my husband.

 

Thanks again - I really appreciate it.

 

Pat

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Hang in there Pat. You're doing all the right things and it's good you know it just might take some time. As you know, Thunder has had some similar issues with his "bed" but only little growls and no snapping. Thunder has been with me for four months now and only in the last month have I allowed him on the furniture and my bed. He's still learning. I can't tell you how many times I've had to drag him off my bed or the couch with a stern "no" and sometimes I feel like he'll never learn. He is super happy and cuddly when he's up, standing or moving around but the minute he curls up some where, he needs his space and even if you're not touching him, he sometimes feels you are too close. Of course Ave likes to stir the pot and occasionally rests his head on Thunder's butt but interestingly they have worked it out and Thunder will now get up and walk away if he's not comfortable. One morning he was laying in bed next to me and he started growling, so I growled a "no" back and he jumped off the bed with a little growl, almost like saying "I know!". I had to laugh. But last night he chose to get on the couch and lay with his head in my lap and we stayed that way for some time with no incident but I'm a long way from trusting him. I'm careful when I have visitors to let people know to be careful around him when he is laying down either on a bed, the floor or the couch. It sounds like Yogi is just loving his new life and doesn't want anyone to change it. I'm hopeful in time, this behavior will be a distant memory.

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Guest AGirlNamedMe

 

Something we tried and had some success with was gently throwing really yummy treats near her when she was sleeping. She'd wake up to find that it was raining food and happily chow down. This definitely seemed to help with her initial startle response when sleeping but because of the nightmares she'd still occasionally wake up snapping.

 

 

 

This morning...for the first time ever.....we were awake before Bella and I happened to have a small baggie of kibble nearby. I tossed one piece in her general direction - her ears perked up. I tossed another, she munched. I tossed another and she was on her feet sniffing all around. I tossed one last piece...and...oops...I was busted! She was up on our bed in a flash trying to get her face in that bag.

 

So funny.

:lol

 

And, we learned that our Bella is not sleep aggressive - at least not when kibbles are flying in her direction!

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