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Desperately Wants To Cuddle In Bed


Guest Fasave
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Guest Fasave

I have had Thunder for six months now. He came to me with some big issues with non-breed aggression but is doing better with time, training and completion of an all grey obedience class. Aside from this issue, he had some initial space issues with both myself and my other grey. Of course, my senior grey had no issue putting him in his place and they have been fine together since early on. In fact, he's been fine with all other greys who have visited or stayed in my home. His space issue now appears to be with me.

 

I noticed early on he did not like being touched when lying down and would growl, no teeth or snap. It was such a low growl that I thought it might actually be a groan but to be safe, I assumed the worse. If he was on his own bed, I would back away and give him space. If he was on the couch or on my bed, I would deliver a strong "no" and remove him from the furniture. This approach has always worked quickly for me, but this guy isn't getting it. What's funny is that he LOVES to be hugged and held if he's standing. He seeks out hugs, puts his head in my hand and lap but the minute he lays down, different dog. I am able to stand over him when he is on his bed, hold his head, kiss his face basically do whatever but if I lay down next to him, he gets clearly uncomfortable and the growl starts. It feels more like a confidence issue with him as he looks away and won't make eye contact.

 

Lately, he's been getting in my bed and ending up leaning against me. I'm not sure it's intentional or where he just lands. I've been giving little pats and he's been fine but if I accidentally stop and leave my arm resting on him for a few minutes, he growls. Of course, as soon as he growls, he's off the bed. Another interesting incident happened on our recent trip to GIG. He was great in the van for the whole 7 hour ride with my senior grey and a friends female grey. No growls or space issues. Once in Gettysburg, I crawled into the back of the van with the three of them to get something. He was laying down and sure enough, he started to growl. I just told him to stop and he did but why me and not the other greys?

 

I do think he's slowly getting better. There is part of me that feels like I've figured out his triggers so I should just work around the issue. He clearly does not NEED to be in my bed or on the couch. That would solve that problem. Also, if he's not comfortable with me laying near him in his bed, I need to not do it. What I worry about is that I live alone and I don't know if this is an issue with me or people. I do worry about other people who come to visit and aren't afraid to snuggle up with one of my greys. I do warn my friends but things still can happen and many of them are greyhound people and not afraid to push the envelope. I also worry about him if I travel and he stays with someone and they forget or don't understand the potential seriousness of the issue. I think I would rather try to find the trigger and resolve the issue than ignore it.

 

So, I wonder if early on I did reprimand him for a growl that really was a groan and now he's confused. Part of me thinks with time and patience, it will get better and he just needs to settle in more. Thoughts on how I should move forward at this time would be greatly appreciated.

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Really depends. If you feel he's workable, praising and treats for calm behavior while you're lying next to him might help. That said, he could get plenty comfortable with you doing that and still not be comfortable with strangers leaning over him, sitting with him on his bed, etc. I usually make sure any visitors know to leave the dogs alone while they're lying down. I figure, if I get bitten, my own stupid fault. If a visitor or caretaker gets bitten ... my own stupid fault once again :lol .

Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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Guest MonsterMomma

It sounds like Thunder is making tremendous progress on his own! :yay

 

The fact that he will lay on the bed, lean against you, and accept pats from you is encouraging considering he clearly dislikes having people laying down with him. He's taking baby-steps all on his own to try to overcome his issues. Praise him when he's successful, and tell him to leave if he gets growly (and then let him return when he's ready to try again).

 

As for visitors, I wouldn't let anyone approach him...let Thunder decide what level of interaction with visitors he's comfortable with.

Edited by MonsterMomma
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Guest happygrey

I've been doing some reading on dominant behaviors in males in an attempt to answer some of my questions with what's going on between Tatam and Bentley. From what I've read, and seen with my very early interactions with Bentley, what you are describing sounds like a dominance play to me. Especially the bed stuff and the leaning/bumping you (supposedly pushing another out of the way is a very dominant thing).

 

I let Bentley on to my bed when he hopped up himself (he's quite a jumper) all of about 3 times before I saw it was definitely NOT the way to go with him. He then carried this over to my daughter's bed where he tried to mount her. Shortly after that, he marked in my bedroom (so much for letting him have a break from the belly band!) That's where & when I realized this guy could not be allowed up on the human stuff. He's definitely challenging us (and Tatam) -- not in an overpowering way, but he's testing the limits like any kid would. Challenging Tatam is one thing (and Tatam is doing a good job with his excellent lion growl at shutting B. down when he's being annoying) but challenging us -- especially my 8 yr. old daughter -- is not going to fly. I had to physically drag him off the bed about 3 times while calmly saying no, and he's now learned to obey my "no!" when I see him thinking about jumping up. He's also no longer counter surfing in my presence.

 

It's funny how they are so different because if I had done this with Tatam he probably would have had a stroke. :lol With Tatam less is more and with Bentley it seems that more is more. :lol

 

JMHO, but I would take a change of position and no longer allow Thunder up on the bed and maybe work to desensitize him regarding the proximity growling. Does your other grey come up on the bed? Maybe you could call your trainer and ask her what she thinks? Also, GHF works with a grey trainer -- perhaps that might be a resource.

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Guest Fasave

Thanks for the advise and encouragement. I don't see this as dominance from him but maybe he's afraid of me as a dominate force and just trying to protect his turf. I would think if it was dominance he wouldn't go so far out of his way to not make eye contact. I also think he would have an issue with me standing over him.

 

I grew up with dogs in my bed and I'm fine with it as long as everyone gets along. This includes my own guys as well as visitors. I'm glad I invested in a king sized bed because it is not unusual to find me with three greys sharing my bed. :lol Of course, I don't force it and only those who want to share the bed do. Thunder sleeps on his bed on the floor and Ave sleeps with me like he has since the day he came home. Thunder pushed a few of Ave's buttons initially but Ave is good at holding onto his alpha status. In addition, I assist Ave by greeting him first when I come home, he gets the first treat and he gets his food first but really Ave doesn't need to the help. Ave is the self appointed fun police and sets the rules.

 

My concern at this point is not that either Thunder or I need to snuggle in bed but he is safe with other people. I don't want anyone hurt so the journey continues.....

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Guest happygrey

Has he actually ever growled at anyone else? How was he with Christine in class?

 

I totally understand your concern about him with other people. I'm sure I'd feel the same way.

 

It's funny, as a bystander who's seen Thunder a few times on GA walks, I'd have never guessed that he was potentially snappy with other people.

 

These guys and their issues can be tough to figure out. :blink: It's so great that he's got you for his owner. B) You have worked so hard and well with him. Hang in there!

Edited by happygrey
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Guest 2greygirls

He sounds just like Stretch..Stretchie had some sleep aggression issues, but he is such a cuddler, it was hard for a while... he still does the occasional growl, which i read a grumbles as opposed to a true growl..he doesn't like me to drape an arm over him, unless that arm is petting him, although sometimes he really likes to " spoon" :lol - he does like the arm drape if we are " awake cuddling" like at a friends house, or watching a movie-- he snuggles in close, but will grumble if I move around to much.. I tell him to shut up and he does. Bonnie is similar, but only when it involves her front feet while she is sleeping..you could do anything else to her.. I respect his space, and what he is comfortable with, He doesn't really do it in other situations, occasionally on the couch.. but it is more grumble than warning. You just have to keep working and noticing when he does things, is the tone different. Some hounds are very vocal, Stretch whines and groans and grumbles constantly..it is pretty funny actually, but the growl/grumble took me a whie to understand. I don't think Stretch would snap..he stopped doing the wild sleep aggression wake up swinging like he's suffering from PTSD thing about 3 or four months in the house..

It doesn't sound dominant to me, sounds more sleep/space related. good luck and hugs to the hounds

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Guest Fasave

I wonder if the mixed signals you feel you are getting from him are the result of you giving him mixed signals? Just a suggestion to check yourself on. My Greta is appallingly alert to body language. I have to check myself all the time :rolleyes: .

 

Great point. After the first couple of incidents, I've been cautious and nervous and try to hide it from him but these guys are pretty intuitive. I try to talk to him but I can be pretty high strung myself :lol so he might be picking up on my energy. To answer Happy Grey's question, he has only growled at me. No snapping and to my knowledge, he hasn't growled at anyone else but I've been super careful to warn people and watch his behavior when other people are near him. He was fine with Christine but Mercedes (the standard poodle) was a challenge.

 

Forgot to add.... Jane W, I love the fabric. Both my boys have the collars. Thunder's is blue and Ave's is the yellow. Nice work.

Edited by Fasave
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I think you may be onto something with mixed signals.

Please read the short article in the link and try to impliment 2-way communication so that he knows that you know what he's saying via body language, and vice versa. You need to be watching for him giving you a Calming Signal. If you send one to him does it get reciprocated etc.

http://www.canis.no/rugaas/onearticle.php?artid=1

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Guest Fasave

Great article! Thanks for sharing. Also, I've attached a photo from this weekend at an event we attended. Thunder was cool with me crawling in the x-pen and came up behind me resting his head on my shoulder. This is illustrative of why I'm so confused. You see something like this and you would assume he'd be a great cuddler. Baby steps.....

 

 

hop.jpg?t=1274097583

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