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Greyhound Guarding The Wife?

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Need suggestions on training approach for a foster dog. He is in a foster home and when he first came home he was growly with humans and other greyhound. This usually occured on his dog bed so they realized he need his space when on his bed. He settled in well and has learned the rules (no-you can't have food from the counter if I turn my back for a second). Twice in the last week he has lunged at the husband. Both times the wife was on the couch with the dog on the floor. Husband came up to the wife and the dog lunged at him with a snap. Once husband was on same side of the couch as the dog and once he was on backside of the couch. The husband feeds the dogs and gives him treats and he comes to the husband for attention so he is okay one on one with the husband or if they are both in the same room and the dog comes into the room. It is only when he has walked up to the wife from another room. Also it does not happen all the time but can't pinpoint what is different about these two times. This has not occured with other people. She can have him out for a walk and people approach and the dog is all wags.


I suggested they use high value treats and have the husband toss him a treat followed by the wife tossing him one as the husband approaches the wife. Do this several times as he approaches so the dog associates good things with the two of them together.


Other suggestions?

Mom to Bella, Trinity, Cricket, DB, Dabber and Sidewinder
As well as Gizmo, Miles, Pumba, Leo, Toby, Sugar, Smokey, Molly, Jasmine, Axel, Billy, Maggie-Mae, Duncan, Sam (MH King 2019), Bambi, Stella, Bay and "Gerty the cat" at the Bridge

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My bridge boy, Jack guarded me like he was a doberman in the house. He did accept my husband, but no other man....yet, on the street, he was pleasant - if not a bit shy. Interestingly, he actually had a sleep disorder that went beyond sleep-space aggression...not sure if there is some weird connection there.


Not many suggestions, except the positive treats. The only way men could even remotely come into my house was if they sat across the room from Jack and me and he was allowed to approach them on his terms. (with stranger - like workmen, I actually muzzled him).


Jack had a tough life - and he bonded to me in a different way from my other hounds....they are "Mama's boys" but he was different. DH always said that Jack would give his life for me in a second without another thought. He saw me as his protector - and as such, felt the need to protect me in turn....it may be that he sees the wife as his security - despite the husband's feeding, etc.


Is the husband doing a lot of the walking? Some positive activities might help.


Good luck to this hound!




Robin, EZ (Tribal Track), JJ (What a Story), Dustin (E's Full House) and our beautiful Jack (Mana Black Jack) and Lily (Chip's Little Miss Lily) both at the Bridge
The WFUBCC honors our beautiful friends at the bridge. Godspeed sweet angels.

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I would make sure the wife is correcting this behavior since he it's guarding her. In our home that behavior would immediately get the serious VOG and eviction from the entire room for a bit. I also force the dog out with body blocking instead of leading with the collar. If you lead with the collar there is a chance of them snapping at your arm, but the really aren't making that walk out on their own free will.


A friends dog was over last week and he growled and tried to guard his water bowl. He got the same treatment as my dogs would have. Lol even though he is an only child and probably had never been corrected in his life, he understood!


If they have children or are nervous maybe a muzzle for a few weeks wouldn't be a bad idea to keep everyone safe.




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Was the dog standing or lying down both times? I have one with space aggression and she will decide where her space is and act accordingly. She gets corrected. The other dogs just ignore her, but she has never snapped at a person for that. Interesting comment about whether it is the wife or the couch.


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Dante (Dg's Boyd), Zoe (In a While), Brady (Devilish Effect), Goose (BG Shotgun), Maverick (BG ShoMe), Maggie (All Trades Jax), Sherman (LNB Herman Bad) and Indy (BYB whippet) forever in my heart
The flame that burns the brightest, burns the fastest and leaves the biggest shadow

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Thanks for the replys. The dog was not on the couch, he was laying down both times on the floor. The wife does correct him and has used the VOG and a spray bottle. That is why I was thinking maybe if good things happened when DH came in the room instead of bad things that might work better than a negative. There are no children in the house or visiting the house so no worries there while he is working through this.


I will also ask her if he has done it with other males in the house. He is fine on walks but I didn't think to ask about known or unknown males who come in the house. Will have to send my DH over for a test. This dog hasn't met Rick. (But I have yet to meet a dog that doesn't like Rick :blush so he may not be a good test.) Will also make sure her DH is doing some of the walking with him. I know he is the one that lets him out of the crate and goes into the back yard with him, treats him and feeds him. So he knows the DH means good things.

Mom to Bella, Trinity, Cricket, DB, Dabber and Sidewinder
As well as Gizmo, Miles, Pumba, Leo, Toby, Sugar, Smokey, Molly, Jasmine, Axel, Billy, Maggie-Mae, Duncan, Sam (MH King 2019), Bambi, Stella, Bay and "Gerty the cat" at the Bridge

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Is the dog particularly attached to his foster mom? Possibly spends most of his time with her, or moreso than with the husband?


I think the treat-tossing will definitely help, but may not be totally effective on its own (we have the same problem with our dog and found this to be the case). The fact that he doesn't do it all the time, and that he gets along fine with the foster dad when the foster mom isn't around suggests that he doesn't actually feel a need to distrust the foster dad, but he may be erroneously picking up cues from foster mom (if he's particularly attached to her and therefore hyper-focused on her body language) that she may not want him to come any nearer and is therefore going to ask him to back off.


Chips has had an ongoing issue where he will growl at my boyfriend when he comes home from work late at night and gets into our bed. Chips doesn't sleep on the bed, so it's definitely not an issue of him guarding his own space, I don't think. He gets along great with the boyfriend the rest of the time, and doesn't care if he gets in the bed in the morning or at other times throughout the day when I'm on it, doesn't care if he gets on the bed at any time when I'm not home.


I think what's been happening is that he's constantly aware of people coming into my space and he's looking at me and trying to determine if I want them there or not. At night when I'm asleep, or half-asleep, I'm probably not going to be especially excited to see my boyfriend or interacting with him the same way I would at other times. In addition to the treat tossing, we've had luck with something that behaviorists call "The Jolly Routine." This is not always a lot of fun, but it means that when my boyfriend comes home very late, I get up and go to the door and act extremely excited and happy to see him and give him a hug. Usually Chips will follow suit, greeting him, wagging his tail, etc. We are working towards me getting up and greeting him closer and closer to the room, until finally I don't have to get up at all and can just give him an enthusiastic hello when he comes in. Since Chips follows me out of the bedroom, this gives my boyfriend an opportunity to get in there before us and we can avoid the thing that sets him off for the time being.


Maybe it would help to try a similar thing here, where before the foster dad comes into the room with the couch, the foster mom enthusiastically gets up to greet him outside of that room, both give the dog treats, and then husband proceeds into the room first. Once the dog seems ok with that, they could slowly work on decreasing their proximity to the couch before doing the enthusiastic greeting/treat-tossing. Hopefully that will help the protective hound appreciate that nothing is wrong, and that the foster mom wants the foster dad to be there. Here's a website that outlines "The Jolly Routine" in greater detail. It seems a little over-the-top when you're doing it, but we've definitely had some results that way, and wish we had figured it out sooner. Also, in our case, correcting him has only made things worse, as it's really my behavior (or his interpretation of my behavior) that's influencing him to act this way in the first place.

Edited by mariah
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