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Another Sleep Aggression Question


Guest thedozer
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Guest thedozer

We adopted Dozer two months ago from the track. I've been lurking here almost daily and have learned so much. Since this is our first greyhound and we haven't had a lot of support from the track, this website has been a great resource!

Dozer has been a wonderful addition to our family. He's adjusting well, he was a little shy at first but seems to be opening up quickly. He’s happy and playful and loves to play chase through the house with my husband and kids. He will lean into us for head scratches and will follow us from room to room. He’s had minimal separation anxiety. In the short time he's been here, he has already learned to lay down on command and is learning to sit and speak. He will politely leave the kitchen when asked to when I’m cooking and will lay down on his bed. He quickly learned to use the restroom outside and has not destroyed anything in the house. When we come home, he greets us at the door with a smile and a wagging tail. He’s gets along great with our toy fox terrier and dachshund. All in all, in my opinion, he’s been the poster dog for greyhound adoption…the perfect dog.

Except…we’re having a few issues with space agression. From the beginning, we’ve followed the advice on this board and have not bothered him while he’s sleeping. However, we will, from time to time, sit down of the floor next to him to pet him when he is clearly wide awake and he will growl. He’s never snapped at us and we always respond with a firm “NO” and will walk away but it seems to be happening more frequently. Is that the appropriate response to this type of behavior? Also, yesterday when my son and I came home, Dozer cheerfully greeted us and began to play with my son. After a few minutes my son and I sat down on the floor to pet him and he laid down and plopped his head in my son’s lap so he could scratch his ears. Then my 15 year old toy fox terrier walked up for some attention too and Dozer jumped up and snapped at him. Thankfully my old toy fox terrier still has some spunk and he quickly jumped back and Dozer missed him. I firmly told Dozer “NO”, but was totally surprised because he has never done that before.

I’m just wondering, should we be handling this differently? I’ve read that some greyhounds have space aggression issues, but how common is this in the beginning? We’ve all fallen in love with Dozer and are totally committed to working through this with him while keeping everyone safe.

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Guest scfilby

I think you are handling this well so far.

 

IMHO greys off the track seem to go through certain stages in transitioning to home life. For the first while they are confused and bewildered and maybe a bit scared. Once they relax and get comfortable, they go through a stage where they begin to claim territory. Usually 1 to 3 months in the home they will start being bossy with high value items they now consider theirs. They may snark at people or other pets over space, toys, food, or treats.

 

The best and easiest advice is to always call the dog to you. Never approach on "his" bed (or any other safe place).

 

In our home, we do not allow this behavior. We immediately correct the hound and they are removed from the item or situation (couch, bed, dog bed, etc.). This works for us and has led to successful peaceful sharing hounds. Usually after only a couple of corrections the pup gets it and understands to share or loose the privilege. Both our hounds came to us with sleep startle and had space issues.

 

Now..

 

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Picture132.jpg

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Guest Sweetreba

When you sit by him is he on his pillow or bed? My female will still give me a warning growl if she is on her pillow and does not want to be bothered and that goes for just petting sometimes. It is very rare now after 2 years but occassionally she will do it. Now if she is just laying on the carpet she is ok and never growls. It seems that her pillow is her space and when she goes there she does not want to be bothered. I have always touched my dogs when they were laying down because I wanted them to get use to it. With this female grey though, she still will do this once in awhile. Her and I have gotten to the point we respect each others space now. My male has no aggression at all with anything. I have only heard him snarl once and it was at her for being so bossy and getting in his face. She never did it again once he told her off.

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Guest thedozer

I think you are handling this well so far.

 

IMHO greys off the track seem to go through certain stages in transitioning to home life. For the first while they are confused and bewildered and maybe a bit scared. Once they relax and get comfortable, they go through a stage where they begin to claim territory. Usually 1 to 3 months in the home they will start being bossy with high value items they now consider theirs. They may snark at people or other pets over space, toys, food, or treats.

 

The best and easiest advice is to always call the dog to you. Never approach on "his" bed (or any other safe place).

 

In our home, we do not allow this behavior. We immediately correct the hound and they are removed from the item or situation (couch, bed, dog bed, etc.). This works for us and has led to successful peaceful sharing hounds. Usually after only a couple of corrections the pup gets it and understands to share or loose the privilege. Both our hounds came to us with sleep startle and had space issues.

 

Now..

 

Picture128.jpg

 

Picture132.jpg

 

I think you are handling this well so far.

 

IMHO greys off the track seem to go through certain stages in transitioning to home life. For the first while they are confused and bewildered and maybe a bit scared. Once they relax and get comfortable, they go through a stage where they begin to claim territory. Usually 1 to 3 months in the home they will start being bossy with high value items they now consider theirs. They may snark at people or other pets over space, toys, food, or treats.

 

The best and easiest advice is to always call the dog to you. Never approach on "his" bed (or any other safe place).

 

In our home, we do not allow this behavior. We immediately correct the hound and they are removed from the item or situation (couch, bed, dog bed, etc.). This works for us and has led to successful peaceful sharing hounds. Usually after only a couple of corrections the pup gets it and understands to share or loose the privilege. Both our hounds came to us with sleep startle and had space issues.

 

Now..

 

Picture128.jpg

 

Picture132.jpg

 

 

Cute pics! Thanks for the response. (I think I messed up my first attempt at replying...sorry!)

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Guest thedozer

When you sit by him is he on his pillow or bed? My female will still give me a warning growl if she is on her pillow and does not want to be bothered and that goes for just petting sometimes. It is very rare now after 2 years but occassionally she will do it. Now if she is just laying on the carpet she is ok and never growls. It seems that her pillow is her space and when she goes there she does not want to be bothered. I have always touched my dogs when they were laying down because I wanted them to get use to it. With this female grey though, she still will do this once in awhile. Her and I have gotten to the point we respect each others space now. My male has no aggression at all with anything. I have only heard him snarl once and it was at her for being so bossy and getting in his face. She never did it again once he told her off.

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It doesn't seem to matter if he's on his bed or the floor, he'll growl from either spot. We're just going to try to give him his space and let him come to us for a while and hope he gets over this. It's been fun watching his personality emerge and I'm that will continue for a long time.

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I suggest you do exactly what you said above--leave him be when he's laying down. There's plenty of time to love on him as he adjusts. And PLEASE, make sure you do NOT leave your child and the dog unattended together.


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

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I would only add that in certain places - NOT his bed, places like the couch or floor - you claim the space as yours. You do this quietly by simply standing/sitting there and not moving away when he growls. Don't teach your son to do this yet, just you first as the "master" of the house. This is how we taught Capri not to growl when we got close to her. (Different story when he's in his bed. As everybody else pointed out, his bed is his castle and it's better for you to respect that and let that be his space.)

 

We've had Capri for over a year now, and she's usually really super good about not growling at us when we get near her, even if she's in one of her beds. However, she's trying to claim the couch as her space so we have to correct her occasionally on that. The couch is a privilege she has to earn. Just last night we had an interesting situation. I was sitting on the edge of the couch waiting for DH to finish brushing Ajax's teeth. He'd done Capri first, so she wanted to get on the couch to relax and I was sitting on her preferred end. I told her she could jump in behind me. (Isn't it odd how you SWEAR they understand you?) She did and was, as usual cute as a button tucked behind me with her head on the arm of the sofa. I was stroking her head with no problem. Then I got up and as I did she growled and snapped at me. (She does this rapid air-snap thing with teeth bared as a STRONG warning, she's never actually bitten me.) I turned around and said "OFF!" and hauled her off the couch. What blew me away was that she immediately grovelled at my feet as if to say "I'm sorry, mommy!". So I petted her for a "it's okay, you're forgiven". I have a feeling that was kind of a breakthrough because she's never done that before after being corrected.

Sharon, Loki, Freyja, Capri (bridge angel and most beloved heart dog), Ajax (bridge angel) and Sweetie Pie (cat)

Visit Hound-Safe.com by Something Special Pet Supplies for muzzles and other dog safety products

:gh_bow

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Guest LindsaySF
IMHO greys off the track seem to go through certain stages in transitioning to home life. For the first while they are confused and bewildered and maybe a bit scared. Once they relax and get comfortable, they go through a stage where they begin to claim territory. Usually 1 to 3 months in the home they will start being bossy with high value items they now consider theirs. They may snark at people or other pets over space, toys, food, or treats.

 

The best and easiest advice is to always call the dog to you. Never approach on "his" bed (or any other safe place).

Agreed with this. :nod

 

Also, I would muzzle your hound while you work on this, just in case. It's safer for all involved, especially with kids and small dogs in the house. Did your hound come with a plastic kennel muzzle?

 

 

In our home, we do not allow this behavior. We immediately correct the hound and they are removed from the item or situation (couch, bed, dog bed, etc.). This works for us and has led to successful peaceful sharing hounds. Usually after only a couple of corrections the pup gets it and understands to share or loose the privilege. Both our hounds came to us with sleep startle and had space issues.

While you don't want to reinforce growling, you also don't want to scold too much for it either. That can lead to a dog that stops growling as a warning, and just bites instead.

 

Teagan has space and sleep aggression. I don't allow him to growl over the floor or carpet, that's not his. I make him get up if he does that and he goes to his bed in the corner. 99% of the time he's in his corner bed anyway, he feels safe there. I do allow him to growl over that bed if the other dogs pester him there, that's his safe place. It's communication, and the other dogs have learned not to bother him. It's hard, there is a fine line between letting dogs communicate, and letting them growl willy nilly at everyone/everything.

 

 

Then I got up and as I did she growled and snapped at me. (She does this rapid air-snap thing with teeth bared as a STRONG warning, she's never actually bitten me.) I turned around and said "OFF!" and hauled her off the couch.

How did you get her off the couch? Be VERY careful about grabbing the collar of a dog that is agitated or already growling, that can provoke a bite. With Teagan I call him to me (he knows the "off" command). If that doesn't work I loop a leash around his neck and pull him that way. He usually listens as soon as I start to grab for the leash....

 

 

 

 

~Lindsay~

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Then I got up and as I did she growled and snapped at me. (She does this rapid air-snap thing with teeth bared as a STRONG warning, she's never actually bitten me.) I turned around and said "OFF!" and hauled her off the couch.

How did you get her off the couch? Be VERY careful about grabbing the collar of a dog that is agitated or already growling, that can provoke a bite. With Teagan I call him to me (he knows the "off" command). If that doesn't work I loop a leash around his neck and pull him that way. He usually listens as soon as I start to grab for the leash....

 

~Lindsay~

 

I did pull on her collar, but not too hard. Just enough to start her up and then let her jump down under her own power. Capri knows that I always treat her with respect, and I RARELY grab her by the collar. So I think that plus my tone told her that I was very displeased, which probably is why she immediately grovelled.

 

But since the OP is new to greyhounds, thank you for pointing this out. I agree with your point about not grabbing the collar. I would also add to be very careful about any physical manipulation or manhandling of a greyhound. Some tolerate it. Some will for a while and then decide to let you know they really don't like it. We used to physically (but gently) flip Capri over to brush the other side of her teeth (she's a side-layer lazy girl - LOL) until she put a stop to it, then we taught her to roll over on command.

Sharon, Loki, Freyja, Capri (bridge angel and most beloved heart dog), Ajax (bridge angel) and Sweetie Pie (cat)

Visit Hound-Safe.com by Something Special Pet Supplies for muzzles and other dog safety products

:gh_bow

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