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How Long Before Your Grey Opened Up?


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Guest Fluffy

So I am a first-time dog owner. I adopted Badger, aka Red Badge, last Saturday (4/10), and he's starting to settle in a bit, but I'm still kind of...nervous. He's never been a spook - in fact, I picked him largely because he was outgoing - but he seems to shy away from me. He loves meeting people, in general, so I know he's not afraid of people, and with me he's now willing to come out of his crate without coaxing if he feels like it, and he'll sometimes play-bow me, but if he wanders out of my line of sight and I follow to make sure he's not getting into trouble (I don't know whether he's prone to counter-surfing or not, since he's gated off from the kitchen, and I'm a bit paranoid he might get into something I forgot to put away in another room), as soon as he sees me he'll turn and make tracks for his crate, as if he's afraid of me. (I can almost picture him saying, "See, I wasn't doing anything, I was right here the whole time, what do you mean you saw me snooping?!") If I approach him to pet, massage, scritch, etc, he will let me, but he doesn't come to me. In fact, he mostly seems to want to stay clear of me, unless I'm holding a filled bowl of food. And training, whether it involves treats or not? Forget it. He might take a treat from my hand, warily, but then he retreats again.

 

I know some of this will just...come, probably without me even realizing it, but I'm starting to get a bit neurotic that he doesn't like me, I must be doing something wrong, etc. So...how long did it take your grey to open up to you? How long until he/she started coming to you? How long before you could start teaching him "down," "drop it," and other commands that he needs to know for his own safety? I would hate to think I am failing my dog by not being able to get him to trust me enough to teach these things.

 

Why yes, I am known as a champion worrier, how could you tell?

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It does take some of them some time. Be patient. I have two that honestly took about a year to really feel comfortable with me and the house and the other dogs. They are not at all the same dogs that came home with me that first day. They are better, they are more confident and they are happy. :)

 

It is a very rewarding experience to go through with a dog that you honestly have to earn their trust. :)

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Guest Drumhellergrey

I have only owned one, and it is not an ex-racer, but with the breed, it does take some time to gain their trust. Don't fret, thinking he doesn't like you. That is not the way dogs think.

 

With mine, he came around to really trusting me after about 6 months or so. I've had him for 3 and a half years,(six months old when we got him)

 

Like kamsmom says. Be patient, and it is one of the greatest feelings, when bonding finally happens.

 

Keep giving him pets, massages and scritches. Try to keep sharp vocalization to a minimum in the household, as they will shy away from someone who yells, even if it is not at them.

 

Other then that, just enjoy being with your Greyhound. When he does come around, he will give you back all of the love, ten-fold. :)

 

 

I forgot, as to your other question. I'd hold off on really getting into teaching commands, other than "Come" and of course teaching him his name, until he really trusts you. "Come" should be first, followed by a command like "wait", or "No". That can wait however until he trusts you and the rest of the family.

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Give him time. Remember literally EVERYTHING is new for him and he just neds to get used to it. He doesn't hate you - dogs don't think that way - though he may still be a bit wary.

 

Be calm, be consistent, don't hover (if he won't take a treat he's not likely to take anything off the counters or get into stuff - that'll come later!). If his crate is not in the room where you are, go in there and just sit with him. Near but not too ear and on the floor at his level. Read a book, the newspaper, watch TV - but ignore him. Maybe throw him a really super dooper yummy smelly treat, but don't talk to him necessarily.

 

You can't teach him anything until he is in a space where he can learn - relaxed, focused and trusting you. He's not there yet.

 

Time and patience. Patience and time. The greyhound you have today won't be the one you have in 3 months. He will calm down and relax. Give him the ability to go at his own pace.

 

Congrats and good luck!

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

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Give him his space, be patient and try not to worry. He will gradually come to trust you, but it takes time. Ironically, it will happen faster if you relax and don't try to hurry him along.

 

Raven was very spooky when she came to us and it took a particularly long time to win her over. I found that ignoring her and going on about my day helped. I'd be in the kitchen, for example, and spot her looking at me out of the corner of my eye. I would pretend not to notice her and just keep working. Eventually I'd feel a little cold nose brush my hand, and then she'd retreat. After a while she didn't retreat anymore. But the key seemed to be allowing her to approach me rather than initiating contact myself. Bribery also helped a great deal. She quickly learned that treats, meals, toys and all good things came from the humans. ;)

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I remember DH saying to me, "I don't think Beau likes me". That was within a 3 week period of when we first got him. Do your reading about GHs. They need time to adjust. Some adjust within 3 months, some take a lot longer. It's all worth it, and before you know it, you will be adding #2!!!

 

 

ROBIN ~ Mom to: Beau Think It Aint, Chloe JC Allthewayhome, Teddy ICU Drunk Sailor, Elsie N Fracine , Ollie RG's Travertine, Ponch A's Jupiter~ Yoshi, Zoobie & Belle, the kitties.

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Guest gecko_foot

So I am a first-time dog owner. I adopted Badger, aka Red Badge, last Saturday (4/10), and he's starting to settle in a bit, but I'm still kind of...nervous. He's never been a spook - in fact, I picked him largely because he was outgoing - but he seems to shy away from me. He loves meeting people, in general, so I know he's not afraid of people, and with me he's now willing to come out of his crate without coaxing if he feels like it, and he'll sometimes play-bow me, but if he wanders out of my line of sight and I follow to make sure he's not getting into trouble (I don't know whether he's prone to counter-surfing or not, since he's gated off from the kitchen, and I'm a bit paranoid he might get into something I forgot to put away in another room), as soon as he sees me he'll turn and make tracks for his crate, as if he's afraid of me. (I can almost picture him saying, "See, I wasn't doing anything, I was right here the whole time, what do you mean you saw me snooping?!") If I approach him to pet, massage, scritch, etc, he will let me, but he doesn't come to me. In fact, he mostly seems to want to stay clear of me, unless I'm holding a filled bowl of food. And training, whether it involves treats or not? Forget it. He might take a treat from my hand, warily, but then he retreats again.

 

I know some of this will just...come, probably without me even realizing it, but I'm starting to get a bit neurotic that he doesn't like me, I must be doing something wrong, etc. So...how long did it take your grey to open up to you? How long until he/she started coming to you? How long before you could start teaching him "down," "drop it," and other commands that he needs to know for his own safety? I would hate to think I am failing my dog by not being able to get him to trust me enough to teach these things.

 

Why yes, I am known as a champion worrier, how could you tell?

 

It takes time to build trust with a new dog, and you can actually slow the process by watching them too much. Let him get comfortable with being around you first before you really attempt any sort of obedience training (i.e. sit, down, etc.). It may take a week, or it may take two months, but just try not to rush your dog.

 

Any sort of interaction between you and your new dog qualifies as "training". He's learning how you act and think and vice versa. Greyhounds are very smart, and how you respond to certain behaviors - positive or not - will affect his behavior towards you.

 

You could try tossing him treats when he comes into the room so that he has a positive association with you. Right now you're still a stranger to him, and he's not sure what you want.

 

I personally like to teach my dogs the "wait" and "move" commands first so that I'm not stepping on them. Some people might like this approach, some might not, but it's just my preference. Again, the big thing is to make sure that your dog is comfortable with you before you attempt any training. If the dog is scared of you, it's not going to work as well.

 

Once your dog is comfortable being around you, I would try getting your dog comfortable with being touched in neutral areas - avoid places like the head, feet, belly, etc. because dogs can be very sensitive about these areas. Keep sessions short (5 minutes or less), and reward positive behavior. You want to get your dog to the point that he is absolutely relaxed with you handling him. It may take a while, so be prepared, and don't get impatient.

 

I'm not trying to imply that you're impatient, but I know that I am. Hence all of the comments about patience in this post. :)

 

I hope this helps. Congratulations on your new grey!

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Guest Fluffy

Thank you so much, everyone. I have read the "for Dummies" book (twice!) and scoured these forums, and I knew theoretically that greys can be slow to warm up and acclimate, but nothing I read really gave a timetable, so I have been worrying that maybe everyone else had their dog working on training within days and I was just a clueless first-time owner who was spoiling Badger's future by not worrying. It's one of my hang-ups - no matter how well-prepared to do something I am, I just don't ever feel totally competent and always want to double-check with someone else that I'm not doing it wrong. :unsure So hearing that it truly is a good thing to give him decompression time before I get too het up about how bad a mom I am is really helpful!

 

Seeing the kind of success stories that can come from real, live people who have done this and come out the other side with a happy, stable dog is the best medicine for my worries, I think. That way whenever my thoughts start doing the "he deserves better than you're giving him, you slacker" dance, I can look back at this thread and be reassured. Or smack myself and say "Bad Karen!". Or maybe both.

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An excellent read for new hound owners. What his new life looks like from Badger's point of view. Author, Kathleen Gilley

 

Of all breeds of dogs, the ex-racing Greyhound has never had to be responsible for anything in his life. His whole existence has been a dog-centered one. This breed has never been asked to do anything for itself, make any decisions or answer any questions. It has been waited on, paw and tail. The only prohibition in a racing

Greyhound's life is not to get into a fight----------------or eat certain stuff in the turn out pen.

 

Let us review a little. From weaning until you go away for schooling, at probably a year and a half, you eat, grow and run around with your siblings. When you go away to begin your racing career, you get your own "apartment," in a large housing development. No one is allowed in your bed but you, and when you are in there, no one can touch you, without plenty of warning.

 

Someone hears a vehicle drive up, or the kennel door being unlocked. The light switches are flipped on. The loud mouths in residence, and there always are some, begin to bark or howl. You are wide awake by the time the human opens your door to turn you out. A Greyhound has never been touched while he was asleep.

 

You eat when you are fed, usually on a strict schedule. No one asks if you are hungry or what you want to eat. You are never told not to eat any food within your reach. No one ever touches your bowl while you are eating. You are not to be disturbed because it is important you clean your plate.

 

You are not asked if you have to "go outside." You are placed in a turn out pen and it isn't long before you get the idea of what you are supposed to do while you are out there. Unless you really get out of hand, you may chase, rough house and put your feet on everyone and every thing else. The only humans you know are the "waiters" who feed you, and the "restroom attendants" who turn you out to go to the bathroom. Respect people? Surely you jest.

 

No one comes into or goes out of your kennel without your knowledge. You are all seeing; all knowing. There are no surprises, day in and day out. The only thing it is ever hoped you will do is win, place or show, and that you don't have much control over. It is in your blood, it is in your heart, it is in your fate-- or it is not.

 

And when it is not, then suddenly you are expected to be a civilized person in a fur coat. But people don't realize you may not even speak English. Some of you don't even know your names, because you didn't need to. You were not asked or told to do anything as an individual; you were always part of the "condo association?; the sorority or fraternity and everyone did everything together, as a group or pack. The only time you did anything as an individual is when you schooled or raced, and even then, You Were Not Alone.

 

In my "mobile abode," the Greyhounds each have several unique names, but they also have a single common name: it is Everybody. We continue to do things as a group, pack or as we are affectionately known in-house, by Kathleen's Husbandit, "The Thundering Herd."

 

Back to those who have not been permanently homed. Suddenly, he is expected to behave himself in places he's never been taught how to act. He is expected to take responsibility for saying when he needs to go outside, to come when he is called, not to get on some or all of the furniture, and to not eat food off counters and tables. He is dropped in a world that is not his, and totally without warning, at that.

 

Almost everything he does is wrong. Suddenly he is a minority. Now he is just a pet. He is unemployed, in a place where people expect him to know the rules and the schedule, even when there aren't any. (How many times have you heard someone say, "He won't tell me when he has to go out." What kind of schedule is that?) Have you heard the joke about the dog who says, "My name is No-No Bad Dog. What's yours?" To me that is not even funny. All the protective barriers are gone. There is no more warning before something happens. There is no more strength in numbers. He wakes up with a monster human face two inches from his. (With some people's breath, this could scare Godzilla.) Why should he not, believe that this "someone," who has crept up on him, isn't going to eat him for lunch? (I really do have to ask you ladies to consider how you would react if someone you barely knew crawled up on you while you were asleep?) No, I will not ask for any male input.

 

Now he is left alone, for the first time in his life, in a strange place, with no idea of what will happen or how long it will be before someone comes to him again. If he is not crated, he may go though walls, windows or over fences, desperately seeking something familiar, something with which to reconnect his life. If he does get free, he will find the familiarity, within himself: the adrenaline high, the wind in his ears, the blood pulsing and racing though his heart once again--until he crashes into a car.

 

Often, the first contact with his new family is punishment, something he's never had before, something he doesn't understand now, especially in the middle of the rest of the chaos. And worst of all, what are the most common human reactions to misbehavior? We live in a violent society, where the answer to any irritation is a slap, punch, kick, whip, or rub your nose in it. Under these circumstances, sometimes I think any successful adoption is a miracle.

 

He is, in effect, expected to have all the manners of at least a six-year old child. But, how many of you would leave an unfamiliar six-year old human alone and loose in your home for hours at a time and not expect to find who knows what when you got back? Consider that if you did, you could be brought up on charges of child abuse, neglect and endangerment. Yet, people do this to Greyhounds and this is often the reason for so many returns.

 

How many dogs have been returned because they did not know how to tell the adoptor when they had to go out? How many for jumping on people, getting on furniture, counter surfing, separation anxiety, or defensive actions due to being startled or hurt (aka growling or biting)? So, let's understand: Sometimes it is the dog's "fault" he cannot fit in. He is not equipped with the social skills of a six-year old human. But with your love and help, you can make it happen.

 

 

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Hi Karen - I totally understand your fears! We've only had Molly about 10 days, and while she's the total opposite of Badger (she loves everything and everyone) --- we also worry we'll "mess up" our girl. I think that just means you want the best for your hound and are willing to work to ensure he gets it. Way better than the alternative of being clueless about what you need to do. So, it's a good thing you worry :)

 

 

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Guest NJgrey

Thank you so much, everyone. I have read the "for Dummies" book (twice!) and scoured these forums, and I knew theoretically that greys can be slow to warm up and acclimate, but nothing I read really gave a timetable, so I have been worrying that maybe everyone else had their dog working on training within days and I was just a clueless first-time owner who was spoiling Badger's future by not worrying. It's one of my hang-ups - no matter how well-prepared to do something I am, I just don't ever feel totally competent and always want to double-check with someone else that I'm not doing it wrong. :unsure So hearing that it truly is a good thing to give him decompression time before I get too het up about how bad a mom I am is really helpful!

 

Seeing the kind of success stories that can come from real, live people who have done this and come out the other side with a happy, stable dog is the best medicine for my worries, I think. That way whenever my thoughts start doing the "he deserves better than you're giving him, you slacker" dance, I can look back at this thread and be reassured. Or smack myself and say "Bad Karen!". Or maybe both.

 

Yeah, you've got to let go to a degree. I went through the same thing. She'd wander around the house and I'd follow every time - I was a nervous wreck. He's in a brand new situation and right now he's just watching you and the rest of the household to see how things work. When he wanders out of your sight, just ignore him. If the house is dog-proofed and you don't think he needs to potty, just ignore him when he walks around to sniff. Let him explore and just go about your business. The pets, the affection etc., all that will come eventually.

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Guest 4dogscrazy

I do love that Gilley article, and re-read it on occasion to remind myself of what they think. I have three types, a velcro dog-Tempe, a shy/spookish type-Piper, and a happy-go-lucky goofy boy-Jess. Tempe was very easy to bond with, and my first. She never left my side, and I took a week off from work to acclimate her. (worry much?) lol. She was easy to teach and train and now...has separation anxiety. Yikes! So along comes Piper a month later, didn't take me long to chip, eh? Piper...would not stand next to me at the pick up point, went to the very end of the leash and stood staring at me like I just got done beating her. We get her home, easy in the house, no accidents and no lunging for the cat, etc. Seems to really like my 12 year old girl, and it was her dog anyway so it was fine. She just sat on her pillow and stared at me. For weeks. She still does that! Prefers her crate to social interaction. She now comes up to me and wags her tail, looking for neck scritches. But it took for ever. I know she likes me, but darn she made it so hard to bond. She still nips me when I get home at lunch, we are working on that, but she can be a bugger. Jumps up on my back when I'm not looking in the yard, and even goosed my mom one day when she was letting them out. Need to add that these are attention nips, like pulling on clothes, to get my attention...NOT biting. And Jess, walked in wagging his tail and is still standing in front of me whining for me to pet him. Moral? They are all different, but I have a very respectful stand back policy when I first bring them home. I do not bug them for anything, never really try to engage, just sit and be calm and consisitant so they can relax. Kiddo knows not to try to pet them when they are laying down, wait until they come to you for love, and they will! Even Piper comes for love all the time now, she just didn't trust us or understand what was expected of her. Have fun and congratulations! It's quite all right to be a worrier, we all are!

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Guest lisa_grublesky

I totally agree with what everyone else has said.

We have had Sundae for almost a year now, and I continue to think that she is judging me :)

Around month 1, she started to come out of her shell a little. Around month 3 she was making us laugh with her silliness in the yard.

This past month, she has decided that she liked to put her head in between us on the couch and arches her back so we can scratch the back of her legs. Every day she does something silly, and we laugh. We look forward to watching her grow!

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Guest Stripeyfan

You are NOT failing him!! I think a lot of ex-racers, while they (usually) have their basic needs taken care of, don't know love in the way a dog that's been bred and brought up as a pet would. When we first got Kelly, 5 months ago, he was fairly stand-offish too. He'd wave his tail a bit and sometimes come for hugs and scritches, but he didn't feel like 'our' dog - we were all strangers, getting to know each other. Also, he wouldn't let us near his ears - if you tried to touch them he's SCREAM. Then, just 5 weeks after he came to us he got sick with serious GI problems that are still ongoing. He's our first dog as well as our first grey - talk about a steep learning curve. We have often, and still do, feel like terrible parents and that we don't have a clue what we're doing. You do all the reading, talk to everyone about everything and it's still nothing like you think it's going to be! But despite being so ill Kelly has truly bonded to us and now wags his tail like crazy when we come home from work or say the 'W' word. And he LOVES ear rubs! Like the others say, it's just time and letting them realise that greyt things come from their humans.

 

As for the training I agree with the others that there's no rush. Kelly already had some basics – leash walking etc. He also seems to have picked a lot of things up without us even realising we were teaching him to do them, like 'lie down', knowing his name etc. In fact we've not done much in the way of formal training yet at-all. If you have, say, a border collie then maybe intense training is the way to go, but I think with greys, not so much. Yeah, Kelly's naughty sometimes, but it's normal dog naughty, not anything we need to call Cesar Millan in for. We've found that a lot of times stopping bad behaviour can be achieved by not putting the dog in the position to BE naughty in the first place (Kelly's a terrible food thief, so NO access to the kitchen and NO food left unguarded). I've come round to thinking that if he's happy, and we're happy, and we're all getting along together, then that's good enough for us!

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I think greyhounds respond well to a calm, relaxed environment. If you, by nature, are a calm, laid back, relaxed person, your grey will not only respond to this, but mimick your demeanor, and he, too, will be calm, laid back, and relaxed. I never yell at my hounds. An occasional stern voice, sometimes repeated, is all that is needed to correct an undesirable trait. I have had Snowy for about ten months. She is a work in progress and is constantly evolving ... more assured of herself, more safe, and more trusting everyday. I suspect this will continue for some time, but after ten months, I think we have finally truly bonded. Daisy, whom I have had for two years, is one of the sweetest, best mannered greys I have met. It took time, and trust, for her to become the beautiful girl she is.

 

Take it slow and easy. Your dog will emerge, with kindness and patience. It will not happen overnight. :)

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First of all, NO!!! Your greyhound does not hate you. smile.gif

 

In addition to all the fabulous thoughts above, I'd add in a dose of silly. A funny song, a silly walk, a goofy face. I think they've all got some silly somewhere, some closer to the surface than others. If you can find his trigger, that can help him feel more comfortable. If for instance he wanders off & you go follow him, pretend to play hide & seek.

 

My old boy will roll around on his bed on his back, pretending to bite his own legs. rolleyes.gif I call him a silly puppy & it makes him crazier. I also tilt my head & look at them sideways while opening & closing my mouth. That makes them crazy too. Must be dog language. lol.gif Yawning is for sure.

 

Relax & have fun!

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Guest KennelMom

They all have their own time frame. Don't stress or freak out over it. He'll most definitely sense it. Let him be who he is and reveal himself in his own time. The most stressful part of most greyhound's life is learning to be a pet...esp an only pet/only greyhound.

 

eta: we have some that never really become social butterflies/snugglers/warm fuzzy hounds. Some never want to come to you for attention. That's just how they roll. It's nothing personal.

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When I do a home visit, I typically tell people that their new dog will arrive as a stranger to their home. Depending on the nature/personality of the dog - shy, cautious, confident or outgoing, the first months will be a getting to know you phase. Your new dog doesn't yet know he belongs to you and that this is his place. They can appear to be shell shocked, particularly the very shy dogs who don't interact much at all. The others may seem to be fairly "normal" but like polite guests in your home, at first not sure of the routine but appreciative of everything nonetheless. Sort of like "what a lovely home you have here!" Some just bound into your home like they own it but that's less usual.

 

After awhile, and it very much depends on the personality of the dog, they start to relax as they adjust to the rhythm of the home and it occurs to them that "hey! I think this maybe is MY home! and these are MY people!" That's when YOUR dog finally starts to make an appearance. The timing of this really depends but often for a lot of dog, it seems to be somewhere around about three months. Much longer for shy dogs and shorter for others.

 

In the meantime you need to just relax and get to know each other. You need to show him how your house functions and what your rules are. There is a lot of learning going on there so sometimes formal training can wait. Just use the words you'll want to use for the actions he already does. He'll pick up more than you know.

 

Good luck and have fun!

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Susan, Jessie and Jordy NORTHERN SKY GREYHOUND ADOPTION ASSOCIATION

Jack, in my heart forever March 1999-Nov 21, 2008 My Dancing Queen Jilly with me always and forever Aug 12, 2003-Oct 15, 2010

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Guest TBSFlame

It does take some of them some time. Be patient. I have two that honestly took about a year to really feel comfortable with me and the house and the other dogs. They are not at all the same dogs that came home with me that first day. They are better, they are more confident and they are happy. smile.gif

 

It is a very rewarding experience to go through with a dog that you honestly have to earn their trust. smile.gif

 

I agree. Just give your hound time. Time will take care of everything.

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Guest bansidhe

Wow it is great reading these responses! I just got Millie last week-end as a foster with intent.

And worry a little that she'll always be as she is now, kind of aloof, standoffish, reserved.

 

Reading things like this help build my confidence a lot and put things in perspective!

 

 

thanks

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Guest Whistle

My first hound barely came out of his crate for the first three weeks. When I look back now, I think constantly watching him, trying to love on him, and just generally being in his face didn't help things much. He eventually came around. Now when there is a new hound in the house, I pretty much ignore them and leave it up to them to come to me for affection or treats. Most come around when they are ready, which is different for every dog.

 

You've been given some great advice. Just be patient. He will come around when he is ready.

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Guest GreytfulJack

My first grey, Jack, took a few years before he seemed totally relaxed. I kept his crate available for him even after he really didn't need it, for those times when he needed to 'hide' or just be by himself. He continued to 'open up', his whole life...always surprising us with something new.

 

My Casey walked into our house like she owned the place. No crate, no issues...she was 'home'.

 

I think they're all different. Hang in there...your love and patience is the best medicine. :):heart :heart :heart

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