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Just Need To Vent A Little


Guest jenznaz
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Guest jenznaz

We had an incredibly scary event yesterday with Xilo whereupon he growled, hackles raised, and lunged at DH repeatedly for about 5-6 minutes. DH had brought him back in from a walk, and had knelt down to wipe the mud off of his paws with a baby wipe (which we have done before)when it happened.

 

Ugh.

 

Then on his walk this morning a woman across the street shook out a towel and it made that "snap" noise. One minute I was on my feet and the next I was lying in the mud, just.that.quick. Thank goodness I utilize that "greyhound grip" on the leash.

 

Phew.

 

We're trying so hard to work on these fear/trust issues with new guy, and it's just so discouraging when we experience these set-backs in the adjustment period. I just wish I could speak his language and say, "we're not bad people! no one wants to hurt you!" ya know? It just breaks my heart to see him so frightened of us and the outside world.

We have a vet appt. this friday to see if maybe somethings hurting him, but I get the feeling he's just reeaally touchy about his feet and his teeth (but he'll roach and wag his tail every time you walk near his bed for a belly rub!).

 

Our first grey wasn't a spook, so this is all new to us. :blink:

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Guest gecko_foot

We had an incredibly scary event yesterday with Xilo whereupon he growled, hackles raised, and lunged at DH repeatedly for about 5-6 minutes. DH had brought him back in from a walk, and had knelt down to wipe the mud off of his paws with a baby wipe (which we have done before)when it happened.

 

Ugh.

 

Then on his walk this morning a woman across the street shook out a towel and it made that "snap" noise. One minute I was on my feet and the next I was lying in the mud, just.that.quick. Thank goodness I utilize that "greyhound grip" on the leash.

 

Phew.

 

We're trying so hard to work on these fear/trust issues with new guy, and it's just so discouraging when we experience these set-backs in the adjustment period. I just wish I could speak his language and say, "we're not bad people! no one wants to hurt you!" ya know? It just breaks my heart to see him so frightened of us and the outside world.

We have a vet appt. this friday to see if maybe somethings hurting him, but I get the feeling he's just reeaally touchy about his feet and his teeth (but he'll roach and wag his tail every time you walk near his bed for a belly rub!).

 

Our first grey wasn't a spook, so this is all new to us. :blink:

 

Based on what you're saying about his behavior - raised hackles, lunging, etc. - it doesn't sound like fear-based aggression (unless you have him backed into a corner). I would have to see the situation to be sure, but it sounds like possible dominance to me. Does he make contact with you or just make a lot of noise and lunge?

 

IMO, it is important that you address a negative behavior immediately but in such a way that your dog doesn't feel threatened (not saying that you acted that way). Whatever you do, don't back down from addressing a negative behavior. Go back to doing whatever it was that made your dog uncomfortable, but reward him immediately for standing still and acting calmly.

 

I know I rambled quite a bit, and I hope this helped. Major kudos to you for trying to rule out medical issues first. It sounds like you're on the right track. Good luck with Xilo!

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Guest bluefawn

Wow, that sounds scary! I would for sure have a muzzle on him, just in case. I hope your vet can find out what the issue is, and give you a solution. Congrats on your new boy, and welcome to GT!

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Guest PiagetsMom

We had snapping incidents with Mirage, and growling incidents with Piaget during their first months - I understand how you feel. Maybe during this adjustment period, the muzzle would be a good idea. I used it for Mirage after an incident, and while it didn't fix the problem, it made me feel more comfortable and less likely to telegraph my discomfort to him. I know that's not a help with the teeth, but wiping feet, clipping nails, etc, it might not be a bad idea.

 

As for being frightened of the outside world, some pups are bomb proof, but many just take time - and some more than others. If they've not been in a home, there's just so much they've never been exposed to. I've had Piaget for almost 4 yrs and she's come such a long way, especially with her friendliness with other people. We were on a walk yesterday and a gentleman with a cane was walking up his driveway. She wanted to visit with him so badly, and he was agreeable, so we stopped for her to say hello. He was petting her and he dropped his cane on the walk - you would've thought she'd been shot! eek.gif I felt badly for her, but I tried very hard to make light of it and praise her for stopping to say hello, and we moved on. She stopped to visit someone else later, so thankfully it didn't stay with her.

 

It's all a process......some things you conquer, some things may always be an issue.......you just learn to deal with it. smile.gif

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Some good advice above so I'll just say 'hang in there'. I know it is hard with setbacks, but once you are able to overcome these challenges, and you will more than likely, you'll have forged a great relationship with Xilo. Make sure everyone is comfortable around him (muzzle) and carry on about your business. Try not to let this behavior phase you and be ready for some positive reinforcement when he is acting appropriately. Good luck :)

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Make sure you ask your vet to do a free T4 thyroid test. A deficiency can also cause some of the issues you're dealing with. Take a look at the Ohio State Greyhound site for more info. Hopefully someone has the web address.

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IMO, it is important that you address a negative behavior immediately but in such a way that your dog doesn't feel threatened (not saying that you acted that way). Whatever you do, don't back down from addressing a negative behavior. Go back to doing whatever it was that made your dog uncomfortable, but reward him immediately for standing still and acting calmly.

 

Please don't do this. Your dog is telling you he doesn't like what you're doing. If you continue to do it, his next step will be to bite. Instead, you need to work on desensitizing him slowly with things he's not comfortable with. When he's in the middle of being aggressive is not the time to do it.

 

Anyway, you weren't asking for advice, you were wanting to vent so I thought I'd suggest this. Keep a log of the training you are doing with him, and record your progress. This is a common suggestion for people who are working on dog reactivity issues. There will always be setbacks, but when there are, you can review your notes and see how far he's come, rather than getting caught up in the emotion of one outburst. It may help you to be less discouraged. Of course, to do this you need an actual training plan. If you don't already have one (I can't tell from this post what sort of training you've been doing if any) then I'd suggest finding a behaviorist who can come up wtih one for you once you get the all clear from the vet. I think having him checked out first is a great idea though.

 

Good luck and :grouphug

 

Make sure you ask your vet to do a free T4 thyroid test. A deficiency can also cause some of the issues you're dealing with. Take a look at the Ohio State Greyhound site for more info. Hopefully someone has the web address.

Oh, checking the thyroid is also a great idea. I would suggest a full thyroid panel with MSU since you need a TSH level in addition to free T4 to truly diagnose a thyroid problem. The test will run you about $150 w/shipping to MSU (My vet charged around $60 for the shipping and the panel was around $90).

Edited by NeylasMom

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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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I wouldn't rush to do a thyroid test etc. unless -1- he has serious growling issues about something besides his feet, and -2- until he's been in your home for 6 months.

 

Lots of dogs are touchy about their feet. Always a toss up as to which is the quickest way to get bitten -- bend over a frightened dog, or grab a foot.

 

Give it some time.

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Guest gecko_foot

 

IMO, it is important that you address a negative behavior immediately but in such a way that your dog doesn't feel threatened (not saying that you acted that way). Whatever you do, don't back down from addressing a negative behavior. Go back to doing whatever it was that made your dog uncomfortable, but reward him immediately for standing still and acting calmly.

 

Please don't do this. Your dog is telling you he doesn't like what you're doing. If you continue to do it, his next step will be to bite. Instead, you need to work on desensitizing him slowly with things he's not comfortable with. When he's in the middle of being aggressive is not the time to do it.

 

 

I can see how what I said might be misinterpreted. A big thank you to NeylasMom for clarifying that for me.

 

I was trying not to put up a mile-long post, but I guess I need to from now on. Otherwise I'll leave off the meat of the message. Oh well, this is what I get for being lazy. Here's what I should have said: :lol

 

Backing down from any dog that acts aggressively teaches them that when they growl or bite the human will leave them alone. Sure if you back down, you might not get bitten, but your dog has just learned how to keep you away and will continue with that behavior any time he doesn't want you to do something. As others have suggested, a muzzle would be very helpful for this type of training. That being said, new dogs must be given time to learn to trust people. If you had a big stranger looming over you, it would seem very frightening.

 

I would have a high-value treat ready (peanut butter works for me), and gently stroke your dog in a neutral area (i.e. the shoulder) while standing sideways (facing the same direction your dog is facing). Every time the dog stands still and remains calm, give him peanut butter. Stay in that area until the dog has allowed you to handle this area for several days. Move onto another area, and repeat the process. Slowly move to other more sensitive areas (while rewarding your dog for any positive behavior), but leave very touchy areas (i.e. feet, teeth, etc.) until your dog is calm with the other handling. A big thing here is to keep sessions short so that your dog doesn't get overwhelmed.

 

I hope this clarifies my earlier message. Good luck!

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Backing down from any dog that acts aggressively teaches them that when they growl or bite the human will leave them alone. Sure if you back down, you might not get bitten, but your dog has just learned how to keep you away and will continue with that behavior any time he doesn't want you to do something.

Agree with you on the method of desensitizing, but still don't agree with you on this point after clarification. Growling is your dog's way of communicating with you. What options do you have except to (1) move away (your dog has successfully communicated to you that he doesn't like what you're doing and in the future as an owner who wants your dog to trust you, you try not to put the dog in that situation where he has to growl at you again or (2) not move away, which means your dog has to tell you more forcefully, risking a bite? I used to think you shoudln't let your dog "win" or "get away with" growling, but now I understand that it's the only way your dog has to communicate with you so you'd best respect that your dog is telling you nicely. But again, I agree wholeheartedly with using the techniques you described to desensitize him to touch, starting with a place he doesn't mind and very slowly working up to the feet.

 

My own clarification, I agree with Batmom on the thyroid. I assumed from the OP that this was an issue that had been going on for some time since you said you had been "working on his fear issues". If he's a new dog, I wouldn't jump right to the thyroid test. I would do the vet visit though if he hasn't had one. Always good to have baseline blood work anyway.

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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 gecko_foot

 

Backing down from any dog that acts aggressively teaches them that when they growl or bite the human will leave them alone. Sure if you back down, you might not get bitten, but your dog has just learned how to keep you away and will continue with that behavior any time he doesn't want you to do something.

 

Agree with you on the method of desensitizing, but still don't agree with you on this point after clarification. Growling is your dog's way of communicating with you. What options do you have except to (1) move away (your dog has successfully communicated to you that he doesn't like what you're doing and in the future as an owner who wants your dog to trust you, you try not to put the dog in that situation where he has to growl at you again or (2) not move away, which means your dog has to tell you more forcefully, risking a bite? I used to think you shoudln't let your dog "win" or "get away with" growling, but now I understand that it's the only way your dog has to communicate with you so you'd best respect that your dog is telling you nicely. But again, I agree wholeheartedly with using the techniques you described to desensitize him to touch, starting with a place he doesn't mind and very slowly working up to the feet.

 

 

It's nice to have a good debate without any hard feelings. On some forums people will absolutely bite your head off for saying the sky is blue. I'm happy to see it's not that way here.

 

My critters know I don't tolerate back-talk of any kind. :lol

 

All joking aside, I think there are some problems that can't be fixed simply by ignoring them. Tumnus took a good snap at me the first time I tried to clean his teeth. I had taken everything slow, and he was very comfortable with me handling every part of him - he just didn't want me in his mouth. He got a nice verbal reprimand for the snap, and I went back to working on his teeth armed with a finger-brush smothered in peanut butter. I almost OD-ed him on peanut butter that day, and I've not had a single aggression issue since. Everything that could possibly be traumatic has a big reward - whether it's attention or food - and Tumnus knows that he only has to tolerate the treatment for a short period of time to receive that reward.

 

The big pay off for all of the time I've spent working with him was his behavior when I took him to the vet. They did everything in the world to him (temperature, physical, etc.), and it didn't phase him a bit. He also had a growth on his foot they had to aspirate, and he was a real trooper. There was no growling or anxious behavior - he just stood there, ate his squeeze cheese, and let them work.

 

I'm honestly afraid that if I had let that first snap go, it could have escalated into something worse. It's much easier to treat a dog that is relaxed than one that knows how to manipulate a human. I'd rather be bitten myself and address the issue than allow another person (i.e. my veterinarian) to be injured.

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That's certainly quite scary. What I did with my present dog who used to be a spook was call in a dog behaviourist rather than work in the dark. She told me about Calming Signals and how they can really help a dog like that - and to be sure they did. It took about 6 months.

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I'm honestly afraid that if I had let that first snap go, it could have escalated into something worse.

I doubt it. Honestly, I think with all of the desensitization and all of the rewarding you've done, it wouldn't matter how you handled that one single incident because it was just one in the midst of all of those other positive ones (think needle in a haystack). It's what happens when you have repeated incidents of growling and how you handle them that may lead a dog to escalate. Which is why I was careful to make the point that you walk away from that specific growl, but then you avoid putting the dog in that position where he feels to need to growl a second time.

 

Anyway, you won't get too much of a debate from me as I agree wholeheartedly with your methods for getting a dog comfortable with all of those things and with the fact that it's important to do so. It sounds like you've really done a lot more work in that area than many owners would, which is great. We just disagree on one particular point. :)

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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 gecko_foot

 

I doubt it. Honestly, I think with all of the desensitization and all of the rewarding you've done, it wouldn't matter how you handled that one single incident because it was just one in the midst of all of those other positive ones (think needle in a haystack). It's what happens when you have repeated incidents of growling and how you handle them that may lead a dog to escalate. Which is why I was careful to make the point that you walk away from that specific growl, but then you avoid putting the dog in that position where he feels to need to growl a second time.

 

 

That was a very early incident, and my philosophy is that I will let something like that will happen exactly once. I agree with you completely (can you believe it? :lol) in that the way you handle situations of repeated growling can make the reaction worse. I just have a hard time walking away from a growl...Oh well, in that we can agree to disagree. :P

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Oh well, in that we can agree to disagree. :P

Agreed. ;)

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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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I wouldn't rush to do a thyroid test etc. unless -1- he has serious growling issues about something besides his feet, and -2- until he's been in your home for 6 months.

 

Lots of dogs are touchy about their feet. Always a toss up as to which is the quickest way to get bitten -- bend over a frightened dog, or grab a foot.

 

Give it some time.

 

Amen!!

 

It's actually relatively rare for personality issues to be the ONLY symptom of a thyroid problem. If you read the symptoms of thyroid problems on a reputable veterinary medicine resource, personality issues are RARE sign of thyroid issue. And of course you have one school of greyhound "experts" suggesting thyroid problems are UNDERDIAGNOSED in hounds, and Dr. Couto suggesting they're WAY over diagnosed!

 

We've had two dogs in my family with hypothyroidism, and the symptoms are actually pretty much limited to skin and coat issues, as well as weight. My mother had cancer of the thyroid, and as much as I'd like to blame her strict discipline on a bad thyroid...that's just her personality! colgate.gif


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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest jenznaz

Went to see the vet (no thyroid test) other than loose joints in the rear ankle, Xilo has a clean bill of health!

 

So it seems the issues we were having were really just the learning to trust process - that Xilo needed to learn to trust us, and we needed to learn more about his personality.

 

I confess, then, to being impatient and comparing him to our bridge boy, Naz <-guilty!

 

But the advice about jotting down his progress was very helpful - no more spookiness outside! Less tail between legs!

 

I love this boy :blush that makes everything much easier.

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Glad he's healthy, making progress, and that you're feeling better about things! :yay Including doing better outside and less tail b/w the legs! :banana

 

You can always come here for support too if you have a setback or a particularly rough day. Or to celebrate those slight improvements, the ones that you think will seem so small as to be silly in the eyes of others, but which are so monumental to us. You will always find people on here who get those things and will be happy to get excited with you. :)

Edited by NeylasMom

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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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