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I posted a few weeks ago about disciplining Sailor my new boy that reads me to well. I ran into another problem with him a couple weeks ago. I was running a booth for CGA at an event and I was there for 30 hours over 3 days (Fri, Sat, sun). On Sunday I didn't bring Sailor because I thought 3 days was just too much for him esp since on Saturday I had seen some minor signs of stress. I came home after 11 and walked the pups. When we came in I went into the bathroom and Sailor followed me and I noticed a fresh hole quarter to half dollar sized in his side. I called to see if my friends had seen it when they walked everyone for me. They hadn't. After the long weekend, I was tired, cranky and a bit grumpy. Sailor who is usually always by my side would not come near me. He would back away if I came near him and seemed scared of me. I know that it was because I was grumpy and he could read me. I was devasted. Here he was in pain and because I was grumpy he was afraid of me. I took a few minutes to try and level myself. Once I did what I could I loaded him in the car and brought him to the evet where he was more skittish than normal. I know he must have been in some pain, but not enough to be terrified of me. The other dogs didn't seem to notice I was in bad mood. (I was a little short, but I am never physical towards him besides gently grabbing his collar and moving him, so he shouldn't be fearing physical discipline even when I am cranky.) As much I would like to say I can avoid having grumpy moods, it's not reality. What do I do about Sailor? Is there anything to do? I love him so much and he is an awesome dog, but I feel horrible that my crankiness scares him.

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If a similar situation comes up again, try taking a deep breath and using some calming signals, and see if that helps Sailor relax around you. If you're not familiar with calming signals, here's a site with more info.

Jennifer &

Willow (Wilma Waggle), Wiki (Wiki Hard Ten), Carter (Let's Get It On),

Ollie (whippet), Gracie (whippet x), & Terra (whippet) + Just Saying + Just Alice

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That's what I meant by stepping back and leveling myself. I do know know calming techniques, I'm a pet sitter and use them all the time. The real problem is that he reads me so well it's unlike any dog I've ever met. Is there any way to desensitize him to my emotions a bit? Especially my negative emotions?

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Is there any way to desensitize him to my emotions a bit? Especially my negative emotions?

 

Honestly? It might be easier to learn to control your emotions around him. Have you read Patricia McConnell's book "For the love of a dog - understanding emotion in you and your best friend"? She has some very wise words on the subject.

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Don't look at him.

 

No, really.

 

Also smile, and slow your movements down a bit.

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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 HHHounds

Start by talking the talk - happy words and try to make your voice match. Soon you will feel better too! I am the mom of teens and hounds and I often find this effective...

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Is there any way to desensitize him to my emotions a bit? Especially my negative emotions?

I honestly can't think of any way this could be done effectively. Desensitization involves slowly exposing to gradually increasing levels of the 'trigger' in a controlled situation. But since your emotions are not under voluntary control, I'm not sure how you could do this.

 

Unless you can identify specific postures, gestures, or other body language you display when you're in a bad mood that Sailor reacts to. Then you might be able to desensitize to those signs. But if Sailor is reacting to your actual emotional state, that's probably not something you can fake well enough to fool him during training sessions.

 

As others have said, probably easier to just try to find ways to control your emotions when you're around him.

Jennifer &

Willow (Wilma Waggle), Wiki (Wiki Hard Ten), Carter (Let's Get It On),

Ollie (whippet), Gracie (whippet x), & Terra (whippet) + Just Saying + Just Alice

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It's funny, I really am not an overly emotional person. He just reads me so well it's scary. As for the calming techniques, I am known by a few other pet sitters in the area as being awesome with really timid dogs and dogs that have issues such as resource guarding and being territorial, so I really do know and use them regularly. I also love to take in fosters that are shy and or skittish. In fact Sailor didn't want me to touch him for days after he came here and would have a mild panic attack every time I put a collar or coat on him for months. And Bu my other guy didn't leave his crate for 2 months when I got him and I now call him a slut because he loves people so much. I just have never met a dog that reads me so well.

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Guest Cris_M

I'm guessing you haven't had Sailor for long.

 

I've been blessed with two hounds who read me incredibly well. It is really, really weird. One was super calm; the other (Duncan) a bit shy/skittish. Duncan is probably sort of like Sailor.

 

I have learned the value of keeping everything really low key. I rarely use verbal commands since small movements are enough. I also have learned that ignoring them can work to both our benefits. Perhaps big expressions/movements seem like shouting to a super tuned in dog.

 

Now to your immediate problem.... Your other (normally responsive) dogs and your interactions with them are probably a bit overwhelming to Sailor. Add an injury and he was probably waaaaay overwhelmed. Rather than moving Sailor, could you remove the other dogs? Then, Sailor could concentrate on only you rather than you and the other dogs. If you are like me, you'd have an easier time calming down yourself, and he'd be able to read your calming techniques in a much clearer way.

 

However you end up working things out with Sailor, you will learn at least one thing from him. He will absolutely teach you when things aren't emotionally okay in your life - possibly long before you realize something is out of whack. I find that a great wake-up call to regain balance in my life.

 

Give Sailor a gentle, non-noisy smooch for me!

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I don't know, but what I am thinking is .... He was hurt and stressed by the incident that caused the injury, add that to the stress most dogs feel going to the vet and for me that totally explains his behavior. I don't see it having anything to do with you being "grumpy" if you were not yelling at him or acting out in any other way. JMO

 

 

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Some dogs are just naturally skittish.

 

Try and relax about the entire issue! The more you stress about what you may or may not have done, could have done, should have done, the higher your anxiety level is going to go.

 

He's still new to you. My dog took an entire YEAR to turn into who he really is now.

 

As to "gently grabbing his collar," perhaps next time calmly clip his leash on instead? I've noticed that's one of the very few things that seems to upset George a little bit. I've never thought anything of it--you need your dog to move, etc., you take him by the collar...but it bothers George for some reason, and one of my GT pals with lots more Greyhound experience suggested using the leash instead, so I try to remember that!


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Guest Gemma

He sounds very sensitive, which makes me suspect that this will be less of an issue once he has had time to adjust. Bonded dogs often get sucked into our moods and that can be more extreme if the dog is already quite nervous or going through an upheaval (like adoption). I would just give him time. He'll figure you out and realise that mum being in a bad mood is nothing to be scared about. :) Since you have so much dog experience, I think this will happen relatively quickly!

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Guest AmazinGreyz

Some dogs are just naturally skittish.

 

Try and relax about the entire issue! The more you stress about what you may or may not have done, could have done, should have done, the higher your anxiety level is going to go.

 

He's still new to you. My dog took an entire YEAR to turn into who he really is now.

 

As to "gently grabbing his collar," perhaps next time calmly clip his leash on instead? I've noticed that's one of the very few things that seems to upset George a little bit. I've never thought anything of it--you need your dog to move, etc., you take him by the collar...but it bothers George for some reason, and one of my GT pals with lots more Greyhound experience suggested using the leash instead, so I try to remember that!

 

 

Well said. Both Kyle and Jude react much more calmly when I use the leash to move them. I know carry one in a pocket almost all the time. Well, to tell the truth, if it doesn't have pockets, I probably won't wear it.

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He is no longer skittish with me really. I officially adopted him in July, but he was my foster since January. I can usually grab his collar with no problems. He really does let me do whatever I want to him. He is totally back to himself and happy go lucky (as long as there are no strangers around :rolleyes: ). Bu, my other grey, I've had for almost 3 years and he is still changing, so I understand that. I was just getting worried about what I would do in an emergency since he reacts so strongly to me. As for every other day, I can't get him away from me, not that I want to, but still.

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Guest firegypsy

I take that as a reminder to check myself. Dogs read people well-it's a survival instinct. They are conditioned to hear the modulation in the voice as well as to read body language. A dog needn't be skittish to respond to our non-verbal cues.

 

If I'm acting in a way that makes other beings around me be on edge then it's generally a good time for me to take a deep breath. People and animals, when angry or threatened react in unpredictable ways. That's what he's picking up on. I can't claim to be in control of my emotions all the time, but if I'm making kids or dogs nervous then I can take a second and evaluate what's going on. Sometimes I stomp around not realize how apparent my irritation is. My puppers more than anyone help me identify this and change my tune.

 

I fully agree with walking the walk. It's amazing how a bit of intention can change your perspective.

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