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Overcoming Aggression/trust Issues


Guest lasharp1209
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Guest lasharp1209

We had Blade for 2 months as a foster, and then signed adoption papers and have had him for 5 more, so we have had him 7 months total. We are expecting a baby in December (we did not know we were pregnant when we adopted) so are thinking more and more about the dynamics of the house.

 

He had some trust issues from the beginning - space aggression and resource guarding with rawhides and such. Since then, he has really come a long way. I can sit on his bed with him at any time, touch him anywhere, no problem whatsoever. He is a happy boy who wants to please and has relaxed a lot. We have done some basic obedience training (sit, down, wait) and he does very well with that.

 

This past week, it became clear to me that he responds differently to my husband than he does to me. He was lying in front of a dresser drawer that my husband needed to get into (after I had left for work), so he proceeded to try to get him to move. First he growled at him and then when he reached for his collar (I know this is a no-no) he lunged at him. He had his muzzle on and didn't get close enough to have bitten him anyway, so everyone was fine, but it unnerved me.

 

Last night my husband went to go sit on his bed which he does every now and then, and after cuddling with him a while he growled at him.

 

Obviously we need to work on overcoming that lack of trust (I assume that is what it is?) with my husband. I did not realize he still had some of that in him with us. I am thinking to suggest that he feed him his dinner and take him on some walks, and generally just be more "involved" with him. Is there anything else we could do to improve the relationship? He's very careful around him now, but he is willing to work on things.

 

[He growled at the cat last week too for the first time, as I mentioned in a different post, but I think that stemmed more from the fact she was stealing his food... we have been separating them during mealtimes and have not had a repeat of that since then.]

 

I have also thought that he may not be a good fit for our family, given the circumstances. I thought about returning him after discovering I was pregnant (exactly one week after signing the adoption papers, of course) and was convinced to just take it a step at a time and see how he does. For those of you who have kids... do you think it is crazy to consider keeping him?

 

Just feeling very insecure about this whole thing right now :(

Edited by lasharp1209
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Guest buttonwillow

You are going to get all kinds of opinions here. Have you consulted the adoption group? They're really in a better position to assist. I'm sure you will do what's right for your family and for Blade.

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Guest lasharp1209

Thank you, yes I have spoken with them along the way. I kind of went on a little bit, but I guess what I am looking for specifically is suggestions of some things my husband might be able to do that I may not have thought of.

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I have had some issues in the past with newly adopted adult dogs and food guarding. I am a very dominant personality and am the natural alpha, so a firm "no" was always sufficient. I expect them to behave a certain way and that is the only way I will tolerate. I must be able to insert my hand into their bowl at ANY time, should I choose (for instance). Your DH should correct any growling which occurs immediately when it happens. I would suggest, if you want them to bond, that he become the source of all things good.

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Lisa B.

My beautiful Summer - to her forever home May 1, 2010 Summer

Certified therapy dog team with St. John Ambulance

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Guest PhillyPups

First, let me say, I am not one to quickly suggest rehoming any animal.

 

With that said, I had a fear aggressive boy that I would never let around any child. Not every greyhound is "childproof" and given what you wrote here, I am wondering if he would be a good hound to have with a small child. It is possible a small child could stress him out too much.

 

If he has only been with you for 7 months, many hounds are in foster homes longer and adjust to their new homes.

 

I would have to ask myself what would be best for him and safest for the family.

 

This is not meant to be offenive or hurtful in any way, it is just my objective opinion.

 

(I did not post on the growling at the cat thread cause I thought he was right and the cat was wrong ;) )

Edited by PhillyPups
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I have several thoughts, in no particular order.

 

Sometimes a growl is just a growl. A "OK I'm done now" or "OK I didn't like that" - it's the only way he has to communicate what pushes his boundaries. A simple growl is not the end of the world and people oftentimes take them too personally. You need to consider the circumstances for every growl reaction, and discipline or not accordingly. You know he has space issues - which he has come a long way with - but his bed should be off limits until he is even better. Call him to you for pets and attention (DH should definitely). Make sure his bed is not directly in the flow of traffic. Use treats to tell him it's OK for people to be near him - throw them from the couch and gradually move closer.

 

You already know that grabbing his collar is a no-no. DH got what he deserved for that. Use treats again to lure him to a different place. Teach him commands like "Off" and "Down" so that you can control his movements without touching him.

 

Many dogs react differently to men vs women. Your DH should try, again, to not take this personally. While seven months seems like a long time to you, he seems to still be settling in and learning the ropes. His personality is changing, very natural for greyhounds who often will take a year or more for their personalities to emerge. DH needs to become the Bearer-Of-All-Good-Things guy. He needs to feed him, take him for walks, play appropriately in the yard - basically everything that your hound find good and fun your DH needs to beinvolved in.

 

As far as having *this* particular greyhound when you have your baby, only you can tell how much time and energy you feel able to devote to keeping both your dog and your child safe and happy. It can be done, but it takes extreme diligence on your part. It means teaching your dog good manners around children. It means teaching your child to respect your dog's space and enforcing the rules about when and where they can interact. There are many people here who have children and greyhounds, and I hope they will chime in here for you.

 

Good luck and please keep us posted.

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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Guest mom2hounds

We have 3 dogs and a 7 year old. Our son has grown up with our oldest dog, a 11 yo lab/ausssie mix. She has always been wonderful with him. Eventhough we never left them alone, things do happen like a poke in the eye, pulling fur, falling on the dog. She took everything without a single growl. She has a submissive personality and completed 2 obedience classes before our son was born.

My advice to you would be to try obedience lessions with a good trainer. It will help you dog become more confident and learn his place in the pack. You and DH should both participate. Blade may not be able to tolerate small children, but at least you will know that you tried.

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Guest Greyt_dog_lover

I am also not one for re-homing a pet once you take on the responsibility of said animal. In your situation though I may see things differently because it seems that you and your hubby are having trouble with establishing a trusting relationship with your hound after 7 months (not all that uncommon for first time greyhound owners). When the baby comes, you are going to have almost no time to dedicate to your hound as you will be new parents and a whole new world will open up for you. This is just something that I see as an outside observer, please do not take this as being judgemental of your family in any way. I am simply an outsider looking at the small snapshot you have given me.

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Guest PiagetsMom

I am also not one for re-homing a pet once you take on the responsibility of said animal. In your situation though I may see things differently because it seems that you and your hubby are having trouble with establishing a trusting relationship with your hound after 7 months (not all that uncommon for first time greyhound owners). When the baby comes, you are going to have almost no time to dedicate to your hound as you will be new parents and a whole new world will open up for you. This is just something that I see as an outside observer, please do not take this as being judgemental of your family in any way. I am simply an outsider looking at the small snapshot you have given me.

 

I may be wrong, but I don't believe that the OP is a first time grey owner. Even if that were the case, pups and babies alike, some are easier than others. Some parents and pups welcome a new baby with ease and a minimum of challenges, while others find a new addition challenging and overwhelming......just depends on the parents and the child.

 

 

As greysmom said, "only you can tell how much time and energy you feel able to devote to keeping both your dog and your child safe and happy. It can be done, but it takes extreme diligence on your part. It means teaching your dog good manners around children. It means teaching your child to respect your dog's space and enforcing the rules about when and where they can interact.

 

You'll hear success stories with greys and children, and I know there have been situations where it just did not work out - only you can know whether you and your DH are prepared to dedicate the time and effort it will take to supervise and teach both Blade and your new little one to respect the boundaries that are necessary for them.

 

Wishing you much luck :grouphug

Edited by PiagetsMom
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Guest lasharp1209

Thanks everyone :)

 

Actually I am a first-time grey owner although I have wanted one since I was 12 so I had done lots of research and volunteered a while before jumping in. Blade was our second foster. Also this happens to be the first dog either of us have owned so that really makes it a new experience for us (although again, I have worked in shelters and done animal rescue for years so dog behavior in general was not new to me). DH on the other hand had never had a pet before we got married so he is still learning the ropes about dogs in general and that especially is where some of the learning curve comes in and time and patience on everyone's part is required.

 

We are still evaluating and continuing to discuss along the way with various members of our adoption group. I appreciate everyone's support on both sides. I am absolutely not offended by suggestions or opinions either way, my own opinion has swung 100% both directions at different times. Ultimately I suppose it will just be a joint decision between me and DH, based on our knowledge of Blade and of our family dynamics. Again, I appreciate everyone's help!

Edited by lasharp1209
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