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Confusing Behavior


Guest jenznaz
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Guest jenznaz

Another question about new guy Xilo (got'em last Saturday). So he's adjusting well, we're giving him space, routine and boundaries. Sometimes we think he's getting more comfortable (roaching non stop, eating better, tail wagging) then other times we're totally bewildered. Like when he comes up to you and kind of nudges you to pet him, but when you do, his tail goes waay between his legs every time. (His tail is frequently between his legs, even when nothing frightening is going on.)

 

Are we misreading his body language? We've been hesitant to do a lot of hands-on touching with Xilo because we sense a bit of potential bitey-ness.

 

We're giving him as much adjustment time as he needs, but when do you know what's newbie anxiety and what's permanent behavior quirks?

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Guest mcsheltie

When he is 12 and still doing it.

 

 

 

 

Sorry, couldn't resist B) They all adjust to things in their own time frame. Just go easy for a while. We've had'em take 6 months to a year to fully come out of their shell. What seems like nothing frightening to you may be terribly frightening for him. Think of how you would feel if you were beamed up to a different planet. The natives would be saying, she's been here for four days now and nothing weird is going on, why is that human so afraid? You'd still be pretty freaked out.

 

It sounds like your instincts are good. If you get the feeling he could be snappy, then you are wise to just give small amounts of attention, even when he asks for it. Give him his space. Move slowly when you reach to pet him. Pet him under his chin when you start, not over the top of his head.

 

The best thing to do is be relaxed. Enjoy the learning process together with him. Keep an 'it's no big thing' attitude when you're around him. He'll take that in and it will help him to relax.

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I second - third? - the don't-pet-the-top-of-his-head advice. It's very scary for some dogs and he just hasn't settled enough to trust you that far yet. Rub his chest, his neck and chin, and even up around his ears from below, rather than grab his head from the top. And do exactly what you're doing - give him time to adjust!

Chris - Mom to: Lilly, Felicity (DeLand), and Andi (Braska Pandora)

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Angels: Libby (Everlast), Dorie (Dog Gone Holly), Dude (TNJ VooDoo), Copper (Kid's Copper), Cash (GSI Payncash), Toni (LPH Cry Baby), Whiskey (KT's Phys Ed), Atom

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It would be a good idea to get a decent book on dog social signals and body language, and then you'll be better able to gauge what he's telling you. I'd recommend Stanley Coren's 'How to Speak Dog' or Patricia McConnell's 'The Other End of the Leash' as good all-round primers - they're both very readable, and even after working with dogs and owning dogs for years, I learned a lot from them! :thumbs-up

 

Having said that, yes, greyhounds can take a long while to settle, and yes, petting over the top of the head can be threatening to a dog, as can hugging and staring into their eyes, or close face-to-face contact.

 

But ... my beloved Renie, therapy dog extraordinaire, the one who LIVED to be petted and would come running from anywhere in the house when she heard her therapy dog necklace jingling and would stand in the hall by the front door on a Thursday morning when I was sick (or the place we visited was closed that week) looking bewildered because I wasn't getting her ready to go - Renie always had her tail hanging like a dead thing behind her when she wasn't playing or being excited about something, and it ALWAYS hung like that when she was being petted. It was as if she was so happy she was spaced out and couldn't concentrate on two things at once. :wub:

 

I'd pet her, and her tail would be motionless, hanging straight down, while she lapped up the attention, then if I stopped, she'd push at me with her head and give a little wag to get me to continue. These dogs can have some very strange quirks! :lol

 

My Mum was talking about her the other day and reminded me that when she visited, Renie would walk by her chair and push herself under her hand and walk until Mum's hand was at her tail, then turn and do it again. Trust me, there was no confusion, Renie loooooved being touched and stroked, and yet, that tail would be hanging motionless the whole time. I had to explain to people at new therapy places because they thought she wasn't happy - but she was! Blissfully so.

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The plural of anecdote is not data

Brambleberry Greyhounds My Etsy Shop

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Guest PhillyPups

He is still very new. There are 4 major stages in their evolution from athletes to pets. The hound you first meet; the hound you first bring home; the hound six months into retirement; and the hound you have at a year, which is the hound you live with. :lol

 

My Moe is so full of love I can feel it oozing out of her, but she does not trust enough yet to let it all out. By giving her time, she is making progress in her own way. Some hounds bounce into the home like they have always lived there, some take more time.

 

At least he is coming up to you in less than a week. That is a good start.

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Guest kydie

All of the above, is right on the money, the only thing I would add is to speek to him, happily when reaching to pet him, as I'm sure you already do, I work at home, and am here with my pack all day, so I have them to talk to, and I do, I question them a lot, as their response is always right :lol

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Guest gecko_foot

All of the above, is right on the money, the only thing I would add is to speek to him, happily when reaching to pet him, as I'm sure you already do, I work at home, and am here with my pack all day, so I have them to talk to, and I do, I question them a lot, as their response is always right :lol

 

How are you standing when you pet him? If possible, try not to face him. Stand beside of him and stroke his side or chest if you can. It would probably be even better if you could kneel beside of him to do this.

 

Good luck!

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Guest cogito

Yes, I second (ninth, tenth?) the advise to be patient. My Gretel was a really timid girl when I first brought her home...and clearly torn, as your pup seems to be: she'd do 'drive-bys'...come into the room and past me and then out...and then back into the room and past me and out....sometimes 20+ times. She was clearly interested in interacting, but terrified once she'd taken the risk of engaging. Not 3 months later she'd become a veritable bossy girl, stuck to my side and demanding scritches w/o the edge of fear. Give your boy time; it's a greyt sign, that he's coming up for scritches!

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Guest bordermutts

Huh... that sounds a lot like my mom's dog, Chopper; he's a rather nervous boy, and he's always coming up to me and nudging me to pet him, but when I do, he will pin his ears back, look very nervous and sometimes whimper... but then when I stop, he nudges me again... I've pretty much given up trying to understand him :huh Funny thing is, he's a BC who was raised with people, and we've had him for over a year. With a new greyhound, I would assume this would be a temporary thing that would go away as the dog settles in.

 

The other weird thing about Chopper is, the ONLY place he wants me to pet him is on top of his head - I tried petting him on the chin a few times, and he acted like I was trying to strangle him... like I said, I give up... I've just accepted that he's a bit "quirky" :rolleyes:

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Guest jenznaz

Huh... that sounds a lot like my mom's dog, Chopper; he's a rather nervous boy, and he's always coming up to me and nudging me to pet him, but when I do, he will pin his ears back, look very nervous and sometimes whimper... but then when I stop, he nudges me again... I've pretty much given up trying to understand him :huh Funny thing is, he's a BC who was raised with people, and we've had him for over a year. With a new greyhound, I would assume this would be a temporary thing that would go away as the dog settles in.

 

The other weird thing about Chopper is, the ONLY place he wants me to pet him is on top of his head - I tried petting him on the chin a few times, and he acted like I was trying to strangle him... like I said, I give up... I've just accepted that he's a bit "quirky" :rolleyes:

 

 

I know! Now I noticed he'll come up to me and stick his head in my lap, if I scritch his cheeks, he's okay, but if I stroke his sides or back, he turns his head to look at my hand. I thought I read this was a sign that the dog does not like where you are touching him. Tried gently brushing him yesterday, and even that made him nervous. I know, patience patience.

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Huh... that sounds a lot like my mom's dog, Chopper; he's a rather nervous boy, and he's always coming up to me and nudging me to pet him, but when I do, he will pin his ears back, look very nervous and sometimes whimper... but then when I stop, he nudges me again... I've pretty much given up trying to understand him :huh Funny thing is, he's a BC who was raised with people, and we've had him for over a year. With a new greyhound, I would assume this would be a temporary thing that would go away as the dog settles in.

 

The other weird thing about Chopper is, the ONLY place he wants me to pet him is on top of his head - I tried petting him on the chin a few times, and he acted like I was trying to strangle him... like I said, I give up... I've just accepted that he's a bit "quirky" :rolleyes:

 

 

I know! Now I noticed he'll come up to me and stick his head in my lap, if I scritch his cheeks, he's okay, but if I stroke his sides or back, he turns his head to look at my hand. I thought I read this was a sign that the dog does not like where you are touching him. Tried gently brushing him yesterday, and even that made him nervous. I know, patience patience.

Why not work on making him more comfortable with touch? Get some really yummy treats out that he never gets at any other time (think human food). Touch him somewhere he is comfortable being touched, like under his chin, immediately feed, stop touching him. Do this repeatedly for 3-5 minutes, then stop for that session. In the next session, do the same thing. Don't do more than 2-3 sessions per day spread out over the day. When he seems comfortable with that, then gradually start working where you touch him back or lengthening the time you touch before you feed (don't do both at once). Go SLOWLY. If at any point he seems nervous with where you are touching him, go back a step or two for a while. The books on dog signals recommend above will help you figure out when he's enjoying it and when he's not, but it sounds like you already have a good sense. BTW, do this when he's standing up only. You might eventually do it when he's laying down to get him comfortable with people approaching him in his bed, but you would start first just by walking closer and tossing treats and I wouldn't do that until he's much more settled in anyway.

 

Anyway, especially if you think he's a dog that may be reactive when he's scared, I would do more than just wait - I would work on making touch enjoyable to him using the technique I described.

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Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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Guest Bang_o_rama

I managed to spook Bang this morning on our walk. She and Gina were going to go one way when I split off the other for the Kimball CTA station. I was carrying some 3' steel rods for a project in work. I made a "moses parting the sea" gesture of farewell and Bang started and cowered as if we are in the habit of beating her with steel rods! Of course that earned her pets and a doggie treat.

 

You really never know.

 

~D~

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Guest SusanP

You mentioned that you sense "bite-yness", and I'm curious about this. Has he growled or snapped? Our sweet old girl Simon nipped DD several times in early days, even when DD was a couple of feet away and talking to her sweetly (I was right there with them). She was just scared--really. Within a couple of months, they were the best of friends, but Simon always growled and air snapped at faces a little too close or over her (even my face, and she was a total momma's girl).

 

I agree with the above. Keep things low-key, gentle, soothing voices, happy talk, all that. Give him treats, but don't pet or hug him from above, don't lean over his head or put your face close to his face. He will learn to trust you in time. Most of them are nervous at first.

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Guest jenznaz

You mentioned that you sense "bite-yness", and I'm curious about this. Has he growled or snapped? Our sweet old girl Simon nipped DD several times in early days, even when DD was a couple of feet away and talking to her sweetly (I was right there with them). She was just scared--really. Within a couple of months, they were the best of friends, but Simon always growled and air snapped at faces a little too close or over her (even my face, and she was a total momma's girl).

 

I agree with the above. Keep things low-key, gentle, soothing voices, happy talk, all that. Give him treats, but don't pet or hug him from above, don't lean over his head or put your face close to his face. He will learn to trust you in time. Most of them are nervous at first.

 

He first growled when I tried to introduce the tooth brush (another thread). Other than that, no growling at us, just his reflection in mirrors and another dog in someone's back yard on a walk. No snapping, just the uncomfortableness.

 

My first grey, Naz, did snap at my son out of fear - but he was also an extremely confident and alpha male, so we knew what route to take with that behavior. It's Xilo's behavior we're unsure about, because I haven't dealt with such a fearful grey before.

 

Last night was a good night. My good friend (has a greyhound, a cat, and toddlers) let us come over for dinner to "test" Xilo out. We kept his muzzle on and watched him well and he did awesome!! He even got relaxed enough to roach!

 

So now we're just working on "trying out" other breeds of dogs (he hasn't met one face to face yet) and this fear/submission thing.

 

I love Greytalk! You all are so supportive, it makes these things much less scary!

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