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Maintaining Alpha


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Guest Travelover

I'm still a newbie. I adopted our girl 9 months ago and she just passed her 4th birthday. A few behavior changes have me somewhat concerned and I'd like a reading from the larger group.

 

In general she has been a perfect dog, almost too good to be true, so maybe I'm overly cautious.

 

Recent changes:

 

On a walk in the park she picked up a crushed beer can and when I told her "no" and went to take it away, she tried to elude me and actually growled when I took it from her mouth. I grabbed her collar and gave her a sharp rebuke. In the past I have been able to take anything from her mouth with no resistance. I brush her teeth every day and clip her nails with no reluctance at all- so I think she trusts me.

 

On walks recently she will just lay down and is hesitant to continue. I thought it was the heat initially, but she will do this now on a short walk when it is not even very hot out. It seems like a struggle for dominance.

 

She has been acting territorial in the corner of our yard that has another dog on the other side of the fence. She barks, growls and rips branches off shrubs and shakes her head in a menacing way.

 

So my question is whether these are serious signs that I should address or within the normal range of behavior that others have experienced. I will add that although she is spayed, she has a sliver of ovary remaining.

 

Thanks in advance.

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Guest ChasesMum

you could try teaching 'drop it' or 'dont touch' rather than 'no'

 

the beer can could have been a game of keepaway, maybe try allowing it with a stuffie and trading up for a treat when its dropped? often rewarding the right behavior works better than punishing a wrong one.

 

they do go thru levels of personality over the first year especially, and do act out and push buttons like kids do. I'm sure you will get lots of advice...

 

you could try teaching 'drop it' or 'dont touch' rather than 'no'

 

the beer can could have been a game of keepaway, maybe try allowing it with a stuffie and trading up for a treat when its dropped? often rewarding the right behavior works better than punishing a wrong one.

 

they do go thru levels of personality over the first year especially, and do act out and push buttons like kids do. I'm sure you will get lots of advice...

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Guest gecko_foot

On a walk in the park she picked up a crushed beer can and when I told her "no" and went to take it away, she tried to elude me and actually growled when I took it from her mouth. I grabbed her collar and gave her a sharp rebuke. In the past I have been able to take anything from her mouth with no resistance. I brush her teeth every day and clip her nails with no reluctance at all- so I think she trusts me.

 

On walks recently she will just lay down and is hesitant to continue. I thought it was the heat initially, but she will do this now on a short walk when it is not even very hot out. It seems like a struggle for dominance.

 

She has been acting territorial in the corner of our yard that has another dog on the other side of the fence. She barks, growls and rips branches off shrubs and shakes her head in a menacing way.

 

So my question is whether these are serious signs that I should address or within the normal range of behavior that others have experienced. I will add that although she is spayed, she has a sliver of ovary remaining.

 

 

I do not tolerate any human or dog aggression from any of my dogs and treat every episode as serious. That being said, Tumnus is a very mellow boy, and I rarely need to correct him - provided the other dogs we're meeting aren't too obnoxious. When I first got him, Tumnus would hesitate on walks - similar to what you are describing with your grey. I would give a happy "Let's go!" and tug firmly on the leash until he moved. Any movement was immediately followed with lots of praise. Once he got the gist of it, I started being more picky - he had to keep moving instead of just taking one step. Now he knows that when mom says "move" it really means "move NOW", but it has taken a lot of patience and persistence on my part to get him to that point.

 

As far as the possessiveness, I agree with the other poster that trading up and teaching the "leave/drop it" command would be beneficial. As ChasesMum stated, praise for the right behavior works better in training.

 

With regard to the territorial behavior, how much exercise is your grey getting? I know additional exercise isn't always the solution, but for me, Tumnus' obnoxious behavior increases ten-fold at the beginning of a walk when compared with the end of the walk.

 

Again, I believe that any challenge as you are describing should be taken seriously as these situations can escalate. Taking the time to prevent a problem can save you a lot of grief in the long run. For all of us newbies it's easy to fall into the trap of feeling sorry for the dogs (I know I've been guilty of it), but it's also important to gently but firmly mair ntain your position as pack leader. Obedience training can be your best friend as it forces the dog to pay attention to you while reinforcing your bond.

 

Good luck!

 

P.S. Can we see pictures of your girl?

Edited by gecko_foot
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Sounds like she's ettling in fine and now beginning to push her boundaries a little. All completely normal behaviors, and all should be addressed.

 

LOTS of greys don't like to walk in even a little heat. If she's showing reluctance, you might cut them down a bit in the summer. If you need her to walsk either for bathroom or exercise then begin by trying to lure her forward with a yummy treat when she stalls. You can also turn her in a circle to keep her going and then begin forward again. Don't try and pull her straight forward - she's much stronger than you are! - try and jiggle the leash, go off at an angle, try the circling route. And treats!

 

As someone said - reward good behavior, ignore bad behavior.

 

I might be inclined to say she thought you were playing when you took the can from her. Either way, teach her a "drop it" or "leave it" command so she has a positive command to do instead of trying to keep the can. Trading up - a yummier treat for whatever you want to take away - is also a good strategy. If she's prone to doing this on walks you might consider muzzling her so she can't get to things on the ground.

 

In the yard, call her away when she begins getting uppity with the neighbor dog. She could, again, be playing, but if you don't like it, don't allow it. If necessary, hook her leash on to lead her back in the house. It might also be worthwhile to try and arrange a meeting with this dog and his owner away from both yards on neutral territory, so she gets to know and sniff the neighbor. Only allow polite interactions - it might take a few meetings for this to occur. Again, reward her when she's acting apporpriately, and don't when she isn't.

 

Good luck!

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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Sounds like she's ettling in fine and now beginning to push her boundaries a little. All completely normal behaviors, and all should be addressed.

 

LOTS of greys don't like to walk in even a little heat. If she's showing reluctance, you might cut them down a bit in the summer. If you need her to walsk either for bathroom or exercise then begin by trying to lure her forward with a yummy treat when she stalls. You can also turn her in a circle to keep her going and then begin forward again. Don't try and pull her straight forward - she's much stronger than you are! - try and jiggle the leash, go off at an angle, try the circling route. And treats!

 

As someone said - reward good behavior, ignore bad behavior.

 

I might be inclined to say she thought you were playing when you took the can from her. Either way, teach her a "drop it" or "leave it" command so she has a positive command to do instead of trying to keep the can. Trading up - a yummier treat for whatever you want to take away - is also a good strategy. If she's prone to doing this on walks you might consider muzzling her so she can't get to things on the ground.

 

In the yard, call her away when she begins getting uppity with the neighbor dog. She could, again, be playing, but if you don't like it, don't allow it. If necessary, hook her leash on to lead her back in the house. It might also be worthwhile to try and arrange a meeting with this dog and his owner away from both yards on neutral territory, so she gets to know and sniff the neighbor. Only allow polite interactions - it might take a few meetings for this to occur. Again, reward her when she's acting apporpriately, and don't when she isn't.

 

Good luck!

 

Good advice.

Judy, mom to Darth Vader, Bandita, And Angel

Forever in our hearts, DeeYoGee, Dani, Emmy, Andy, Heart, Saint, Valentino, Arrow, Gee, Bebe, Jilly Bean, Bullitt, Pistol, Junior, Sammie, Joey, Gizmo, Do Bee

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Guest Travelover

OP here. Thanks for all the replies. I will definitely work on the leave it / drop it command. My biggest concern was the growling. Help me with the doggie logic here - if I offer her treats in exchange for dropping something after her growling, it almost seems like I'm saying, "OK, you are the boss - how can I make you happy?" In other cases where she has not shown aggression, it makes perfect sense.

 

On the topic of maintaining my alpha position, I've read the following recommendations and I wonder if these are truly necessary:

 

1) Dog never leads on leash or is allowed to sniff their way along, but rather stays at side or behind owner. Currently we walk 2 to 3 miles every day and she loves to sniff her way through the woods.

 

2) Dog's toys are only out when I put them out and then are taken away by me when I choose. Currently she has a pile of toys at her disposal all the time.

 

3)Dog is not allowed to sleep in master's bedroom. Currently she sleeps on a dog bed at the foot of our bed. She never gets on our bed or furniture.

 

Thanks for your patience and advice.

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Guest Jubilee251

OP here. Thanks for all the replies. I will definitely work on the leave it / drop it command. My biggest concern was the growling. Help me with the doggie logic here - if I offer her treats in exchange for dropping something after her growling, it almost seems like I'm saying, "OK, you are the boss - how can I make you happy?" In other cases where she has not shown aggression, it makes perfect sense.

 

On the topic of maintaining my alpha position, I've read the following recommendations and I wonder if these are truly necessary:

 

1) Dog never leads on leash or is allowed to sniff their way along, but rather stays at side or behind owner. Currently we walk 2 to 3 miles every day and she loves to sniff her way through the woods.

 

2) Dog's toys are only out when I put them out and then are taken away by me when I choose. Currently she has a pile of toys at her disposal all the time.

 

3)Dog is not allowed to sleep in master's bedroom. Currently she sleeps on a dog bed at the foot of our bed. She never gets on our bed or furniture.

 

Thanks for your patience and advice.

 

I'm no training expert, but I think all of these are silly and unnecessary. I've also read you should always eat before your dog. My dogs break all these rules, but they never question my "authority."

 

Next time, don't wait until she growls. Say she has a toy or treat - walk up to her without trying to grab it away, and present something high-value to her and say "drop" or "trade" or whatever. Then you take the first thing away, while she is busy with the trade-up. I've been able to take turkey necks and bones (VERY high-value) from Molly doing this.

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OP here. Thanks for all the replies. I will definitely work on the leave it / drop it command. My biggest concern was the growling. Help me with the doggie logic here - if I offer her treats in exchange for dropping something after her growling, it almost seems like I'm saying, "OK, you are the boss - how can I make you happy?" In other cases where she has not shown aggression, it makes perfect sense.

The key is to teach the leave it/drop it separately so that you can apply this before the growl occurs. A dog growls because it's communicating to you that it's not happy with what's going on. This is the only means for a dog to *tell* you this. Since a dog can't speak in human language, and we can't read a dog's mind, this is a good thing because if the dog didn't growl, it would bite. Now, nobody wants a dog that growls a lot, but you should look at it not as a symbol that you have a dog that is vicious or disobedient or mean, but that you have a dog that is too many times, in a situation making it uncomfortable. The key is to understand the situations making the dog uncomfortable and addressing that.

 

In the case of the beer can, it's likely that the dog is thinking something along the lines of, "I found a beer can, it's mine. Now you're stealing it from me, I don't like it." Remember, growing up and living with other dogs her entire life, that's how things work with other dogs. The logic behind teaching the leave it/drop it command is that you're teaching the dog that when you take something away from the dog, you're not just stealing it, but that there's a better reward for giving it up. In the bigger picture, you're teaching the dog that by obeying you, it gets something good. And in the bigger bigger picture, you're teaching the dog to trust you.

Lima Bean (formerly Cold B Hi Fi) and her enabler, Rally. ☜We're moving West!

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"Trading up" is a technique for teaching the dog to happily drop something when you ask. I start by placing something the dog doesn't much want (say, an old washcloth) in front of the dog, "Drop it!" + "Good dog!" + treat, then progressing through things the dog kinda wants, wants, really wants .... If the dog is lying down on a walk, the dog is tired or hurting or too hot! .... Most of the dominance/alpha stuff has been long discredited. I would forget about all that. For fence-fighting, which is lots of fun for dogs, I'd work on "leave it" or "shhhhhhhhhhh" there or simply bring the dog straight inside.

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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OP here. Thanks for all the replies. I will definitely work on the leave it / drop it command. My biggest concern was the growling. Help me with the doggie logic here - if I offer her treats in exchange for dropping something after her growling, it almost seems like I'm saying, "OK, you are the boss - how can I make you happy?" In other cases where she has not shown aggression, it makes perfect sense.

 

I don't think that would be what you are teaching her. In stead, if you use the treat before she growls, you are teaching her "If I listen to the humans, and give up my prize, I get something even better!"

 

The key is, though, to phase out the treats gradually, over time, or she will start to pick things up, in hopes of receiving a treat.

 

On the topic of maintaining my alpha position, I've read the following recommendations and I wonder if these are truly necessary:

 

1) Dog never leads on leash or is allowed to sniff their way along, but rather stays at side or behind owner. Currently we walk 2 to 3 miles every day and she loves to sniff her way through the woods.

 

2) Dog's toys are only out when I put them out and then are taken away by me when I choose. Currently she has a pile of toys at her disposal all the time.

 

3)Dog is not allowed to sleep in master's bedroom. Currently she sleeps on a dog bed at the foot of our bed. She never gets on our bed or furniture.

 

Thanks for your patience and advice.

 

I'm no training expert, but I think all of these are silly and unnecessary. I've also read you should always eat before your dog. My dogs break all these rules, but they never question my "authority."

 

Next time, don't wait until she growls. Say she has a toy or treat - walk up to her without trying to grab it away, and present something high-value to her and say "drop" or "trade" or whatever. Then you take the first thing away, while she is busy with the trade-up. I've been able to take turkey necks and bones (VERY high-value) from Molly doing this.

 

These kind of things have their place. But generally, for most Greyhounds, this is not necessary. Unless there is a problem, like a dog who REALLY pushes the boundaries, these things are overkill. They just don't need it.

 

That said, I have banned dogs from our bedroom, if I deemed it necessary. Manero and Naples sleep in our bedroom at night. Manero can push his limits at times...One time he growled at me just before be d(I don't remember the issue - it was a while ago!), so he was not allowed in the bedroom for a couple nights. He learned, and has not done it again!

Sarah, the human, Henley, and Armani the Borzoi boys, and Brubeck the Deerhound.
Always in our hearts, Gunnar, Naples the Greyhounds, Cooper and Manero, the Borzoi, and King-kitty, at the Rainbow Bridge.

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For fence-fighting, which is lots of fun for dogs, I'd work on "leave it" or "shhhhhhhhhhh" there or simply bring the dog straight inside.

 

I completely agree with this one. I have one that likes to bark, and has some fence-fighting tendencies. The barking is a family thing: she has a brother and sister still with the breeder that bark a lot too. (This is not a Greyhound, so we know her family well). The breeder has actually used bark collars on them!

 

I think the fence-fighting came from poor socialization. She had gone to a different home when she was 6 months old, and I suspect she was not well-socialized there. When we got her as a foster after she came back to the breeder (she was 5), we had some issues to work out, including this one.

 

We were going to borrow one of the collars for Indigo, but then i started to notice progress with an unintentional technique I used.

 

She LOVES being outside, especially if the weather is cool/cold. I would put all the Borzoi out in that kind of weather, as long as possible, so they could have exercise. She would bark, and I'd shush her a couple times. After a couple times, I'd bring her in the house: she was driving me crazy, and I'm sure the neighbors didn't like it!

 

What ended up happening was that she learned that her outside fun would stop if she didn't keep quiet! I had unintentionally trained her to silence herself!

 

She gets a little mouthy still, but when she does, I remind her to quiet, and she usually does. If not, I bring her in.

Edited by Sighthounds4me

Sarah, the human, Henley, and Armani the Borzoi boys, and Brubeck the Deerhound.
Always in our hearts, Gunnar, Naples the Greyhounds, Cooper and Manero, the Borzoi, and King-kitty, at the Rainbow Bridge.

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What specific book are you reading?

 

I have 16 training books; some of them date back quite a while. A lot of thinking has changed since, for example, since my father was training our hunting English Setter back in the 50s. Each trainer has his or her own methods; none are "right" and none are "wrong." Different things work for different dogs. Getting married to one technique in one book is perhaps not a good idea. And you need to consider your subject.

 

You're talking about a HOUND. Notorioiusly stubborn creatures, in general. I have found that with George, my first greyhound, but certainly not my first dog, much of what I believe has to be set aside. He was five years old when I got him. His entire life has been 100% different from the typical puppy pet you bring home at 8 weeks of age and get to shape from day 1. He's a full cooked adult, with his own ideas. As a working animal whose sole job was to run around an oval a couple of times a week, then get into and out of his kennel when told, I don't expect him NOW to be the model of obedience like my last dog was. I "settle" for good behavior.

 

When I called a new vet (I've moved recently) to make an initial appointment, they said, "Is George a cat or a dog?" and I laughed and said, "Neither. He's a Greyhound." To me he is much more like a cat in his responses to my attempt to train him. I imagine in his mind that he asks himself, "What's in it for me?" when I tell him to sit or stay or lie down. It doesn't bother him if he ticks me off; I can tell. My last dog lived to please me. George does NOT.

 

What's most important to me is excellent leash manners. The other thing that's really important to me is that he be housebroken!

 

Leash manners to ME do happen to include walking on my left and only on my left. Hey, that's the way I was taught as a little girl, and I see no reason that can't work for George. I insist he not pull. Nor lag behind. We have times where he's allowed to sniff, and times he is not. I do believe it's perfectly acceptable for me to determine at what speed and in what direction we walk. He has gotten really good on the leash, but it wasn't easy!

 

The first time I tried to take a bone from him, he nearly took my arm off. I was stunned--I was used to Kramer, who would have gift wrapped it for me if I asked for it. Then I remembered that this guy has possibly never HAD anything so delcious, and it's only natural that he wants to keep it. Rather than have a battle of wills and fight over who is "alpha," I held out a Milk Bone, and he dropped the bone, and I took it. It's just not worth it to me to make it about who is in charge.

 

I taught him to sit the same way I'd teach any dog to sit--the tried and true "tuck and fold." While some will suggest Greyhounds "can't" sit, that's simply not true. Does he sit the same way my old dog did? No, but he does it. In fact he's gotten to the point now (after 2.5 years) that he knows if he REALLY wants something, he'll sit and look hopefully at me!

 

I have to admit I have failed utterly at "stay." I'm sure he COULD learn it, but he has sort of made this a game. He'll lay down and stay, but as soon as I turn my back, he's up and staring at me again. Is he challenging me? Maybe. Or maybe it's that he simply thinks it's more fun to be close to what he wants than to please me, the one with the thumbs. Again, not worth it to make it a huge battle.

 

I adopted a retired racer because I read they were great companions who would be happy in a condo. He's that, and more. But he's not candidate for strict obedience, and he never will be!

 

So rather than try to stick to your book, consider your dog, and adapt a bit. Some of the folks on GT have had hounds for a LONG time, and many of them have MANY hounds! I'm sure you'll get some good tips and advice, and I hope you will find them useful.


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Susan,  Hamish,  Mister Bigglesworth and Nikita Stanislav. Missing Ming, George, and Buck

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Guest FastDogsOwnMe

Dominance theory is really outdated and mostly bunk. Things like not letting the dog sniff on walks, not letting the dog on furniture, and not letting the dog go through doors first are really rather ridiculous notions. Dogs don't have a life goal to take over the world. They really just do what works in their world to get what they want. They are not spiteful. They don't have an agenda other than their moment to moment pleasure.

 

Dog steals garbage on a walk

Owner calls dog over to take the garbage away

Dog remembers this from the past and so moves away

Owner grab dog and tries to remove garbage

Dog tries something new- a growl- but it doesn't work, so he is unlikely to try it many more times before discarding it- it doesn't work.

 

Alternatively, if the dog growls and the owner backs away, the dog eats the garbage and learns that growling WORKS and is very rewarding.

 

The owner could call the dog over offer a delicious, high value treat n exchange for the garbage. We have the power over everything dogs want.

 

Think of things on those simple terms. It really works.

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Guest PhillyPups

:wave Hi welcome to GT.

I am one that has had greyhounds for a fairly long time and have many hounds, who, like children all have their own personality. I guess you could say I am their alpha, but I feel that theory is way over-rated. They know I control their favorite things - food. I love and enjoy my hounds, they are just that, not trained robots. They make me smile with their antics, which is why I have them. All 5 sleep with/near me, it is comforting to all of us. Stuffies are at their pleasure and get picked up when I vacuum, only to be played with again when one has a whim for joyful abandon.

 

 

You have gotten excellent advice on the trade up, so I will not touch on that.

 

 

I ask my hounds to do two things - not fight with each other, which they learn quickly, and potty outside, which they also learn quickly. Having the majority of older hounds there is an occasional accident, no big deal, (thank GoD for tile floors) as I think of how many times I went during the day.

 

I live in a row home, my neighbor has an older dog, if mine are out when she let's Lady our, I bring mine in - dogs will bark at other dogs, it is what they do, how hey communicate.

 

You will find a lot of dog training books in every bookstore, they make $$ for the authors.

 

Relax, enjoy, and don't try to analyze every move your companion makes.

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Guest ChasesMum

Dogs don't have a life goal to take over the world.

 

aah fastdogs, I needed that giggle this morning! :)

 

 

1) Dog never leads on leash or is allowed to sniff their way along, but rather stays at side or behind owner. Currently we walk 2 to 3 miles every day and she loves to sniff her way through the woods.

 

2) Dog's toys are only out when I put them out and then are taken away by me when I choose. Currently she has a pile of toys at her disposal all the time.

 

3)Dog is not allowed to sleep in master's bedroom. Currently she sleeps on a dog bed at the foot of our bed. She never gets on our bed or furniture.

 

 

1.For us, we walk at at the pace of our smallest walking child - currently 2.75 yrs) so Chase often lead the way, but did NOT pull. More in a 'come ON guys, lets pick it up a little!" and she was allowed to sniff around because it gave her something to do. reading the pee mail and leaving a reply...she marked as well as any boy.

 

2.her toys belonged in her crate and she would go get one and bring it downstairs. every night I returned at least a half dozen toys to her crate. usually the same fav's. one of which she took to the bridge with her. she would randomly grab a toy as bring it to my 5yoDD and ask to play tug or keep-away. I cherish those memories

 

3.She slept on a bed in our room. she would come up on the bed for snuggles in the evening and in the early morning once DH got up. It was our special time, and we ejnoyed it. but she was on her own bed, or our couch (a lot). she always moved when asked and THAT was more important to me. she deserved a soft spot to be. We did live with friends for 10 weeks inbetween houses and she was not allowed on theuir leather couches and she did obey that rule after a few requests, and happily took over 'her' couch literally as soon as it came off the moving truck. :wub:

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Guest gecko_foot

On the topic of maintaining my alpha position, I've read the following recommendations and I wonder if these are truly necessary:

 

1) Dog never leads on leash or is allowed to sniff their way along, but rather stays at side or behind owner. Currently we walk 2 to 3 miles every day and she loves to sniff her way through the woods.

 

2) Dog's toys are only out when I put them out and then are taken away by me when I choose. Currently she has a pile of toys at her disposal all the time.

 

3)Dog is not allowed to sleep in master's bedroom. Currently she sleeps on a dog bed at the foot of our bed. She never gets on our bed or furniture.

 

#1 - I am personally a fan of this only because (1) it's easier to stop the dog if he/she bolts, (2) I can give corrections quickly, and (3) it's easier to keep the dog out of trouble. However, I also believe leash rules are a personal preference. Some people favor tight leashes, while others favor loose leads. The same is true for how much lead the dog has. For me, as long as the dog is paying attention to my cues, I'm happy.

 

#2 - Not sure if I agree 100% with this. My critters have free access to their toys at all times. If I want to take a toy or treat away, I will, and it's not a big deal for anybody.

 

#3 - If my dog were smaller and had perfect bed manners (i.e. no sleep aggression, etc.), I have no problem letting him on the bed. Just like any other privilege, there are strict rules, and violation of those rules means getting kicked off the bed. Tumnus doesn't have sleep aggression...he just doesn't fit on the bed... :lol Even so, both my cat and dog sleep in the same room with me. Sometimes I leave the cat loose, and there isn't a problem. Tumnus never tries to get on the bed, and he doesn't get jealous when the cat is on the bed.

 

I like the alpha idea, but I think it's important to know why you are choosing to allow/not allow certain behaviors. There has to be a truckload of good reasons, or you're just going through the motions, and it's not going to help you or your dog.

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Guest Travelover

OP again. Thanks for all the additional comments. I particularly appreciate the accounts of your own dogs' issues and foibles, as it makes me realize that I'm probably being an overanxious doggie daddy. I guess it is like having a kid - you want so badly to do the right thing that sometimes you spook yourself. My girl has been so well behaved and given me so little grief that I truly feel grateful when I read of others' concerns.

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Guest jupiterooos

When we got Jupiter, I really wanted him to hang out with us on the bed and couch. I quickly learned that was not going to work, as he has sleep aggression, and no concept of sharing - he'd get up on the couch, occupy the whole thing, and then snarl at us if we got too close. No couch for you!

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Guest KennelMom

I hate the word "alpha"...it's been so used and abused over the years it has virtually no meaning, other than an archaic one (do it because I'm the human and I said so)

 

On a walk in the park she picked up a crushed beer can and when I told her "no" and went to take it away, she tried to elude me and actually growled when I took it from her mouth. I grabbed her collar and gave her a sharp rebuke. In the past I have been able to take anything from her mouth with no resistance. I brush her teeth every day and clip her nails with no reluctance at all- so I think she trusts me.

 

Growling when you try to take something away is quite a normal dog reaction. Practice leave it. Trade up/trade out is a good way to start.

 

On walks recently she will just lay down and is hesitant to continue. I thought it was the heat initially, but she will do this now on a short walk when it is not even very hot out. It seems like a struggle for dominance.

 

Not all dogs like to go for walks. I'd also want to rule out anything physical, like corns, pads, etc. Is it possible she's afraid of something and doesn't want to go further. I doubt it's related to dominance...it may be as simple as she just doesn't want to go for a walk.

 

She has been acting territorial in the corner of our yard that has another dog on the other side of the fence. She barks, growls and rips branches off shrubs and shakes her head in a menacing way.

 

"Fence fighting" is pretty common. Especially with greyhounds that grow up on farms and learn to race the fenceline with neighboring litters. Our neighbors have a little yappy thing that looooooooves to run the fence and goad our dogs. We discourage it b/c it ultimately leads to a lot of excitement with no real "outlet" for the dogs. We have an all purpose 'leave it' command that works fine...the key is to become involved *as soon as* the behavior starts and not wait until the dog is already worked up and in a frenzy. This is actually a great bonding/teaching opportunity. Being able to capture the dogs attention and keep it focused on you in the presence of a super-de-duper exciting stimulus, like a barking dog at the fence, is a very useful skill. It's one of the reasons I can easily walk 4-5 greyhounds calmly past fields of bunnies and not be pulled over.

Edited by KennelMom
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Guest KennelMom

Greyhounds, for the most part, are very easy keepers. While there are some very dominant breeds that need continual work, greyhounds are not one of them. They, like most sighthounds, do best in a live and let live kinda relationship. I consider myself a benevolent dictator of sorts. Dogs are much more enjoyable and easier to live with if they *want* to work for you. To do that, you have to be a consistent, fair and predictable leader. They keep me honest. I don't recommend it for everyone, but one of the best things I ever did was to take collars off of my dogs. With no convenient "handles" on them to move them from point A to B or catch them as the dart by, I've had to really focus on getting them to want to listen to me. Not because I said so, but because I'm communicating what I want clearly and because they want to do what I ask.

 

 

1) Dog never leads on leash or is allowed to sniff their way along, but rather stays at side or behind owner. Currently we walk 2 to 3 miles every day and she loves to sniff her way through the woods.

 

I don't really like absolutes when it comes to dogs. There is a time and place to have a dog walk at a heel position (crowded streets, approaching a questionable dog or situation) and a time and place for a dog to have the freedom to sniff around the area the leash allows them access to (strolling through the woods). The only hard and fast rule we have on walks is that they can't pull. Sometimes they have the full four or six feet of the leash, sometimes they don't...however much slack I give them is what they have to work with. They just can't pull.

 

2) Dog's toys are only out when I put them out and then are taken away by me when I choose. Currently she has a pile of toys at her disposal all the time.

 

I don't really get the need for this with respect to maintaining an 'alpha' position. If she has a pile of toys at her disposal at all times, you aren't really controlling the resources. If you randomly or arbitrarily just take them away, that's not going to make sense to the dog on any level. You just kinda look like a meanie. I have play sessions with our dogs often and as part of play, we practice "Can I have it" or "leave it" and they are rewarded with a treat for giving up the toy....then we just play some more and have fun. So, while I understand the "reason" behind this "rule" (control of resources), in practice I think there are much better and more effective ways to accomplish even more. I think about it like this: everything I do should be strengthening the bond and trust my dog has with me.

 

3)Dog is not allowed to sleep in master's bedroom. Currently she sleeps on a dog bed at the foot of our bed. She never gets on our bed or furniture.

 

Dogs wouldn't be worth having if I couldn't cuddle up with them for a nice nap! For practicality, dogs don't usually sleep with us at night...they all get off when DH comes to bed. This is an area where you can actually practice controlling the resource. Rather than banning the dog from something, being able to get the resource when you want it is really a much more powerful tool. All of our dogs know "off" and when we tell them "off" it means "until we invite you back up." They have no problems with this and it takes new dogs only a short while to learn it. I can promise you if we have a dog that is starting to have some behavioral issues, one of the first places you'll see it is becoming non-responsive to the "off" command. I definitely don't agree with banning the dog from the "master's bedroom." A pack generally chooses to be together, and that includes sleeping.

 

One of the best sites I've found that has a ton of great articles about relationship based training is Suzanne Clothier's http://flyingdogpress.com/

Edited by KennelMom
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Guest lasharp1209

2-3 miles per day could be too much for her in the summer. I don't know where you live but she may just be too hot. Activity level in our house goes WAY down in the summer, just because heat zaps energy. Even "not very hot" days can take their toll, especially if there is humidity. You might try cutting back and seeing if that helps.

 

Since these are all recent changes, is there anything else in the environment or house that has changed recently? Even small things - is the dog on the other side of the fence a new addition? You might want to consider if something new around her is making her a little uneasy and anxious.

Edited by lasharp1209
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