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Issues With Our New Greyhound


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Guest TracyJimBo

Hi,

 

My name is Tracy and I’m new here. Me and my boyfriend Jim adopted a greyhound named Bo 2 months ago. This might get kind of long…

 

Bo is sweet and was very shy and withdrawn at first. The first month he was like a zombie. It was nearly impossible to even get him out of his crate to go to the bathroom. He mostly just slept a lot. He had zero interest in play or toys, but we knew this might happen so we were very patient. Then, after about a month, he really started opening up. Playing a lot with toys, being super goofy and energetic in the morning and when we came home, and loving walks. He also started to trust me and Jim more, and would come over to us.

 

Bo then started to experience mild separation anxiety. (We are at work during the day, but he did fine on his own for quite a while). We got him the Thundershirt and he was better. He only seemed to howl when we left him and he just didn’t want us to. During the morning/early afternoon he didn’t seem to mind because he’d snooze all day.

 

So anyway, things were going good. We had a good routine (3 walks a day/play time/pets/napping). We slowly started socializing him. Other dogs tend to bark, lunge and growl at him, but he has never showed a hint of himself being aggresive to them. he just backs off. He's okay with people petting him once he sniffs them out. He loves car rides and did okay meeting new people. He seemed to get pretty attached to us. When I brought him with me overnight to my parents, he was glued to me and freaked out if I was out of his sight. He also peed in their house, which he has never done.

 

Well, fast forward. I think Jim is definitely the “alpha” and Bo sees him that way. Me, who knows? I try and be assertive and give him fair discipline, but this is what happened:

 

2 months into it, Bo scratched up his paws with Jim on the sidewalk. We take him to the vet and he gets antibiotics. He also has ear infections, so we get medicine for that. Right around this time, Jim was locked outside and he threw pebbles at our 3rd story window to get my attention. Bo FREAKED out at that motion of Jim throwing his arm back and up. Like, pulling on his leash, shaking his head, etc. Seems like he’s been abused.

 

Then, a fews days later, Jim had to leave for 2 days for business. One day in, my parents come over for dinner. They knocked at the door (this has never happened) and Bo started barking really aggressively at them. This was also new. Well, he has met my parents before, and in our home. Then Bo growled at my dad as he walked by him. I told him firmly no each incident. I had my dad feed him treats and pet him when I was with him (standing up away from his bed) and Bo seems totally cool with my dad. But before they leave Bo was on his bed, not in his crate, but his bed in our room and my dad walked by, said hi Bo, and went to pet him. Bo jumped up, barked, growled and barred his teeth. I see now this was a space aggression thing, but he nearly bit my dad!

 

Now we are very clear about no petting Bo when he’s lying down, especially in his bed. Here’s the biggest issue though:

The next night Jim comes home, and walks through the front door like always. Bo hops up and starts again aggressively barking. At Jim! His owner/master. Jim was shell-shocked. I kept firmly saying no to Bo, and after 15 seconds he stopped barking, but then he growled for a little bit. After a few minutes Bo was fine. And we go to take him for a walk and he was totally fine.

 

After that, no more hints of aggression toward Jim. But now, and ever since really the pebble-throwing/ear infection incident, Bo kind of sulks around a lot, and seems to walk away from us, esp. Jim.

 

Jim was so upset that he would react that way toward him, we were thinking of returning him, but we want to give him another chance. Sorry for the ramble, but this has really been a stressful time for us (and I’m sure Bo.)

 

Is this “normal” behavior? I’ve never heard of a dog barking like that at their owner. It was like, after 2 months of care from us, Bo totally forgot who Jim was. I think now it was because when Jim left Bo went mega Alpha and was being very space aggressive/overprotective. But Jim leaves a lot for work. How do we deal with this? How can I show Bo I’m boss, too? We don't want to worry that Bo might be aggresive with strangers and perhaps hurt someone.

 

Sidenote: We haven’t done obedience training, but we’re planning on it soon. Any help or guidance about the issues above would be much, much appreciated. This is all new to us, and we did tons of research, but we’re kind of clueless here.

 

Thanks so much for reading my novel.

Tracy

Edited by TracyJimBo
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You will soom receive good advice from those more expert then me but from a simple perspective it seems that your dog has developed some confidence before he has learned to trust. Two months is still a short time for an animal that has no history of knowing that no harm will come from every contact with a human. Time will be one ingredient to solving this problem. I do recommend that you walk him on leash as much as you can - really helps the bonding. I will let others chime in with what else you can do to help.

 

I know this can be heart breaking but don't take it personally - it's a dog thing. Just continue to show patience, confident leadership, and positive reinforcement.

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From what I'm reading, it sounds like too much too soon for this guy. He sounds quite sensitive and has been exposed to a lot in a short period of time. Go back to basics. Stick to a routine. Try and keep the exposure to new situations at a minimum until he learns to trust both you and your bf. Don't necessarily jump to the conclusion that he's been abused. Greyhounds are exposed to very little outside their normal routine until they are adopted and then you've basically taken a dog from a kennel situation and put him on mars. He has no idea who to trust, how to react properly to new situations so he goes with what he knows, protecting himself. Try and keep the trips to a minimum for a while. Get into a routine of scheduled dinners, walks, bedtime, playtime and such. Once you see that he's responding correctly to all of these and you see a confident, happy dog, start adding new experiences so he can get used to new situations. Right now he see's your home as hi "den" and he needs to protect it because he doesn't trust any one. Definitely leave him alone while he is on his bed. Put his bed in an out of the way spot so that you don't have to walk passed it because he will go on alert every time you do. A corner out of the way is a good spot. You both should be feeding, treating and walking him so he learns to trust you both. Time and patience will help quite a bit. If you have company over, baby gate him somewhere so he will feel safe. Never put him in a room and close the door though. Make sure all guest ignore him until he initiates contact. You will all get there. You can also contact your adoption group and ask for suggestions.

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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Kathleen Gilly's article may help.

 

This breed has never been asked to do anything for itself, make any decisions or answer any questions. It has been waited on, paw and tail. The only prohibition in a racing Greyhound's life is not to get into a fight----------------or eat certain stuff in the turn out pen.

Let us review a little. From weaning until you go away for schooling, at probably a year and a half, you eat, grow and run around with your siblings. When you go away to begin your racing career, you get your own "apartment," in a large housing development. No one is allowed in your bed but you, and when you are in there, no one can touch you, without plenty of warning.

Someone hears a vehicle drive up, or the kennel door being unlocked. The light switches are flipped on. The loud mouths in residence, and there always are some, begin to bark or howl. You are wide awake by the time the human opens your door to turn you out. A Greyhound has never been touched while he was asleep. You eat when you are fed, usually on a strict schedule. No one asks if you are hungry or what you want to eat. You are never told not to eat any food within your reach. No one ever touches your bowl while you are eating. You are not to be disturbed because it is important you clean your plate.

You are not asked if you have to "go outside." You are placed in turn out pen and it isn't long before you get the idea of what you are supposed to do while you are out there. Unless you really get out of hand, you may chase, rough house and put your feet on everyone and everything else. The only humans you know are the "waiters" who feed you, and the "restroom attendants" who turn you out to go to the bathroom. Respect people? Surely you jest.

No one comes into or goes out of your kennel without your knowledge. You are all seeing; all knowing. There are no surprises, day in and day out. The only thing it is ever hoped you will do is win, place or show, and that you don't have much control over. It is in your blood, it is in your heart, it is in your fate-- or it is not.

And when it is not, then suddenly you are expected to be a civilized person in a fur coat. But people don't realize you may not even speak English. Some of you don't even know your names, because you didn't need to. You were not asked or told to do anything as an individual; you were always part of the "condo association?; the sorority or fraternity and everyone did everything together, as a group or pack. The only time you did anything as an individual is when you schooled or raced, and even then, You Were Not Alone.

Suddenly, he is expected to behave himself in places he's never been taught how to act. He is expected to take responsibility for saying when he needs to go outside, to come when he is called, not to get on some or all of the furniture, and to not eat food off counters and tables. He is dropped in a world that is not his, and totally without warning, at that.

Almost everything he does is wrong. Suddenly he is a minority. Now he is just a pet. He is unemployed, in a place where people expect him to know the rules and the schedule, even when there aren't any. (How many times have you heard someone say, He won't tell "me when he has to go out. What kind of schedule is that?) Have you heard the joke about the dog who says "My name is No-No Bad " Dog. What's yours? To me that is not even funny. All the "protective barriers are gone. There is no more warning before something happens. There is no more strength in numbers. He wakes up with a monster human face two inches from his. (With some people's breath, this could scare Godzilla.) Why should he not, believe that this someone for lunch? (I really do have to ask you ladies to consider how you would react if someone you barely knew crawled up on you while you were asleep?) No, I will not ask for any male input.

Now he is left alone, for the first time in his life, in a strange place, with no idea of what will happen or how long it will be before someone comes to him again. If he is not crated, he may go through walls, windows or over fences, desperately seeking something familiar, something with which to reconnect his life. If he does get free, he will find the familiarity, within himself: the adrenaline high, the wind in his ears, the blood pulsing and racing though his heart once again--until he crashes into a car.

Often, the first contact with his new family is punishment, something he's never had before, something he doesn't understand now, especially in the middle of the rest of the chaos. And worst of all, what are the most common human reactions to misbehavior? We live in a violent society, where the answer to any irritation is a slap, punch, kick, whip, or rub your nose in it. Under these circumstances, sometimes I think any successful adoption is a miracle.

He is, in effect, expected to have all the manners of at least a six-year old child. But, how many of you would leave an unfamiliar six-year old human alone and loose in your home for hours at a time and not expect to find who knows what when you got back? Consider that if you did, you could be brought up on charges of child abuse, neglect and endangerment. Yet, people do this to Greyhounds and this is often the reason for so many returns.

How many dogs have been returned because they did not know how to tell the adopter when they had to go out? How many for jumping on people, getting on furniture, counter surfing, separation anxiety, or defensive actions due to being startled or hurt (aka growling or biting)? So, let's understand: Sometimes it is the dog's fault" he cannot fit in. He is not equipped "with the social skills of a six-year old human. But you can help him.

 

Jan with precious pups Emmy (Stormin J Flag) and Simon (Nitro Si). Missing my angels: Bailey Buffetbobleclair 11/11/98-17/12/09; Ben Task Rapid Wave 5/5/02-2/11/15; Brooke Glo's Destroyer 7/09/06-21/06/16 and Katie Crazykatiebug 12/11/06 -21/08/21. My blog about grief The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not get over the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same, nor would you want to. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

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Guest mariah

It seems like you're able to pinpoint when this behavior began, and it was after his infection and ear issues? I think that is an excellent starting point. Have you taken him into the vet to have his full bloodwork done yet? If so I would recommend doing so ASAP. Let them know about the behavior changes you described here. Sometimes ear infections, in particular, can be a symptom of a different, underlying illness. Changes in behavior are to be expected as a new dog settles in to his home, but it sounds to me like Bo isn't feeling well. Even if this does turn out to be a strictly behavioral issue, you'll have wanted to rule out medical causes before you try any kind of behavior modification.

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Often times, aggressive behavior can be triggered by low thyroid levels. I would definitely have that checked out. Other than that, I feel that interpreting any aggressive behavior as the dog acting "alpha" is not doing dogs a favor. It sounds to me a lot more like insecurity and lack of confidence. That's what I, at least, would be assuming first, until proven otherwise.

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From what I'm reading, it sounds like too much too soon for this guy. He sounds quite sensitive and has been exposed to a lot in a short period of time. Go back to basics. Stick to a routine. Try and keep the exposure to new situations at a minimum until he learns to trust both you and your bf. Don't necessarily jump to the conclusion that he's been abused. Greyhounds are exposed to very little outside their normal routine until they are adopted and then you've basically taken a dog from a kennel situation and put him on mars. He has no idea who to trust, how to react properly to new situations so he goes with what he knows, protecting himself. Try and keep the trips to a minimum for a while. Get into a routine of scheduled dinners, walks, bedtime, playtime and such. Once you see that he's responding correctly to all of these and you see a confident, happy dog, start adding new experiences so he can get used to new situations. Right now he see's your home as hi "den" and he needs to protect it because he doesn't trust any one. Definitely leave him alone while he is on his bed. Put his bed in an out of the way spot so that you don't have to walk passed it because he will go on alert every time you do. A corner out of the way is a good spot. You both should be feeding, treating and walking him so he learns to trust you both. Time and patience will help quite a bit. If you have company over, baby gate him somewhere so he will feel safe. Never put him in a room and close the door though. Make sure all guest ignore him until he initiates contact. You will all get there. You can also contact your adoption group and ask for suggestions.

 

This sums it up very nicely. You will get there, Do not despair. Just slow down. Give him time, space, lots of routine, and boundaries. You will have a great dog!

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Susan, Jessie and Jordy NORTHERN SKY GREYHOUND ADOPTION ASSOCIATION

Jack, in my heart forever March 1999-Nov 21, 2008 My Dancing Queen Jilly with me always and forever Aug 12, 2003-Oct 15, 2010

Joshy I will love you always Aug 1, 2004-Feb 22,2013 Jonah my sweetheart May 2000 - Jan 2015

" You will never need to be alone again. I promise this. As your dog, I will sing this promise to you, and whisper it to you at night, every night, with my breath." Stanley Coren

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Guest Alysmom

I remember this kind of thing when I first got Homer. He practically tore the house apart in grief when I left him. He didnt like to the petted when he was sleeping, sometimes he'd show his teeth (and scare me to death)..... ALL of it went away....every single bit!!!! Just love, love, love and give him the exact same routine day in, day out until he becomes familiar with it -- it will take awhile. Homer turned into the absolute best dog on earth. He passed away last Friday, and I am overcome with horrible grief. I know I will never have another dog like him in my life. He was a blessing. Be patient, be loving -- you will have the BEST dog of your entire life...... patience, love....that's it.

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Guest TracyJimBo

Hi,

 

Thanks all. I get that we need to be patient, and I really appreciate all the advice. It's just hard because t really seemed like he trusted the both of us, and now today when I cam e home he was thrilled/happy/playful but when Jim came home, he slinks away from the both of us, and it's hard for Jim to understand. But we're doing the best we can! We'll give him time and patience. Jim's worried though that Bo might be like this every time he leaves and comes home, so we're just taking it a day at a time.

 

As for bloodwork....no he hasn't had any just lately. But he's 3 and the vet gave him a clean bill. He hasn't shown any sign of aggression since last Thursday. We'll monitor it though, and move ahead as necessary.

 

Alysmom: SO sorry to hear of your loss. I lost a dog 7 years ago and I still miss him all the time. Your in my thoughts.

 

Thanks again, all.

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From what I'm reading, it sounds like too much too soon for this guy. He sounds quite sensitive and has been exposed to a lot in a short period of time. Go back to basics. Stick to a routine. Try and keep the exposure to new situations at a minimum until he learns to trust both you and your bf. Don't necessarily jump to the conclusion that he's been abused. Greyhounds are exposed to very little outside their normal routine until they are adopted and then you've basically taken a dog from a kennel situation and put him on mars. He has no idea who to trust, how to react properly to new situations so he goes with what he knows, protecting himself. Try and keep the trips to a minimum for a while. Get into a routine of scheduled dinners, walks, bedtime, playtime and such. Once you see that he's responding correctly to all of these and you see a confident, happy dog, start adding new experiences so he can get used to new situations. Right now he see's your home as hi "den" and he needs to protect it because he doesn't trust any one. Definitely leave him alone while he is on his bed. Put his bed in an out of the way spot so that you don't have to walk passed it because he will go on alert every time you do. A corner out of the way is a good spot. You both should be feeding, treating and walking him so he learns to trust you both. Time and patience will help quite a bit. If you have company over, baby gate him somewhere so he will feel safe. Never put him in a room and close the door though. Make sure all guest ignore him until he initiates contact. You will all get there. You can also contact your adoption group and ask for suggestions.

 

This sums it up very nicely. You will get there, Do not despair. Just slow down. Give him time, space, lots of routine, and boundaries. You will have a great dog!

 

:nod

 

Time and patience.

 

Nancy...Mom to Sid (Peteles Tiger), Kibo (112 Carlota Galgos) and Joshi.  Missing Casey, Gomer, Mona, Penelope, BillieJean, Bandit, Nixon (Starz Sammie),  Ruby (Watch Me Dash) Nigel (Nigel), and especially little Mario, waiting at the Bridge.

 

 

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Hi,

 

Thanks all. I get that we need to be patient, and I really appreciate all the advice. It's just hard because t really seemed like he trusted the both of us, and now today when I cam e home he was thrilled/happy/playful but when Jim came home, he slinks away from the both of us, and it's hard for Jim to understand. But we're doing the best we can! We'll give him time and patience. Jim's worried though that Bo might be like this every time he leaves and comes home, so we're just taking it a day at a time.

 

As for bloodwork....no he hasn't had any just lately. But he's 3 and the vet gave him a clean bill. He hasn't shown any sign of aggression since last Thursday. We'll monitor it though, and move ahead as necessary.

 

Alysmom: SO sorry to hear of your loss. I lost a dog 7 years ago and I still miss him all the time. Your in my thoughts.

 

Thanks again, all.

 

Many greyhounds take easily 6 months to settle in to a new house / routine / people. Some less and some much longer. Their behaviors may be all over the map during this time....when one thing is 'solved', another presents itself. While patience is key, supporting Bo through the changes will help, too. Keep an open mind and the big picture in sight and with the proper support and encouragement, he'll do great!

Doe's Bruciebaby Doe's Bumper

Derek

Follow my Ironman journeys and life with dogs, cats and busy kids: A long road

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It's just hard because t really seemed like he trusted the both of us,

 

More likely he was afraid.

 

At first our boy was very cooperative but as he gained confidence he did growl at us and even bark a few times when he wanted his space. He still is "careful" around us after 8 months as if he fears we will harm him if he should commit some transgression. This from a dog that has never heard a raised voice in our home. Remember also that Bo is likely very depressed and in this state some of the behaviour is unpredictable. Time will certainly change everything. Can Jim hand feed him some raw meat? Check with one of the experts here first but I do it almost every night with my boy. Now his favorite activity is to stare lovingly into my eyes. :)

Edited by KickReturn
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The first thing I'd suggest is to forget about the ideas of alpha and having to show him you're the boss. While many may disagree, I really don't believe dominance theory has much of a place in dog training. Dogs who show aggression are usually doing it out of fear, insecurity, stress, or self-defense, not dominance.

 

Especially with a dog new to your home, the most important thing is to develop a bond that is based in mutual trust and respect. Dogs become much more tolerant of what you do after you've earned their trust by showing them that you'll provide them with a stable routine and safe environment. Focusing on being alpha and showing the dog who's boss can create a confrontational relationship that is detrimental to developing a bond based in love and trust.

 

Think about how it makes you feel if you believe that your dog is trying to be alpha and you need to show him who's boss. Then think about the difference in how you feel toward your dog if you believe that he is insecure, and just needs time to learn to trust you. How we view our dogs is important because it affects our mood and body language, and dogs are so sensitive to these subtle signals that this simple difference in perspective can make a big difference in how they respond to us.

 

Another concept to keep in mind is that stress causes physical and hormonal changes within the body that take time to dissipate. When there are multiple stressors within a short period of time, the stress accumulates and results in an individual who is more jumpy, shorter tempered, more likely to lash out. This applies to both humans and dogs. For dogs, changes in routine and new experiences can be stressful.

 

It sounds like Bo experienced a number of stressful events within a short period of time - scratched up paws, ear infections, Jim throwing rocks at the window, Jim leaving for business, your parents visiting, Jim returning home....

 

For whatever reason, it seems like Jim throwing rocks at the window really freaked Bo out, and now he's lost the trust he had with him. Perhaps his absence shortly after this incident contributed as well. No need to dwell on why, or be upset that it happened. What will be more helpful is for Jim to accept it, and move on to start earning his trust again.

 

As others have mentioned, keeping his routine calm and consistent, interacting with him in a relaxed manner, allowing him space to warm up and initiate contact at his own pace, will go a long way toward earning his trust.

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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Yep, what JJNG said :)

 

I'll add: don't assume he was abused. Many dogs naturally fear movement above their heads. I had a totally bombproof dog who was a kennel pet and had probably never heard a harsh word in his life. He did not like stuff going on above his head for many years (he eventually got over it, but still had an abject hatred of balloons :lol ). At any rate, It's more likely a reaction to something he hadn't seen before (accompanied by the noise of the pebbles striking) and so he gave a fear response.

 

Regarding doing obedience training, when you're ready for it, find a trainer who uses positive reinforcement training or clicker training only. Any other method for a shy, fear prone dog could be very detrimental. Forget all about the alpha stuff :)

 

Good luck!


Meredith with Heyokha (HUS Me Teddy) and Crow (Mike Milbury). Missing Turbo (Sendahl Boss), Pancho, JoJo, and "Fat Stacks" Juana, the psycho kitty. Canku wakan kin manipi.

"Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

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Guest TracyJimBo

Thanks. We did and continue to do research ( as well as be patient with Bo, of course). Thing is, there is just so much conflicting advice, and I think that's why Jim and I thought it would be best that Bo does recognize us as "the bosses" not in a harsh way--we are not harsh ever with him. But in a way that he knows he can trust us and that we'll take care of him. We realize that takes lots of time but it did very much seem that when Jim left Bo all of the sudden became very territorial. Plus, now he's been to the vet twice. First time for his regular checkup I inquired more about cleaning his ears, because the greyhound book we read said that you need to keep up with it. Our vet, who treats other greyhounds and was recommended to us basically said "Pshaw! You don't even need to worry about ever cleaning his ears!" Like I was nuts to ask. Well, a month later he has an ear infection and the other vet there was like, oh, yes, clean his ears regulalry. So Jim and I are just trying to absorb everything and do best for Bo, it's just difficult when one experienced owner says one thing, and then we hear the opposite.

 

We are sticking to a routine for sure, and we're being patient now. Appreciate hearing from all of you; it does make me feel better. Though we will be gone for about 4 nights in 3 weeks, so we're figuring out now how to handle this. (Unavoidable, but we'll make it work.)

 

Thanks again all.

Tracy, Jim and Bo.

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I agree that it's highly frustrating to hear a gazillion conflicting opinions on issues. I never even look into Tracker's ears, and haven't in 2.5 years, other than in passing, and there's never been a problem (I'm not saying this to discourage you from checking your dog's ears!). One thing I learned over time is that what's true for one dog may not be true for another, so I figure the best thing to do would be to get to know my dog extremely well, and read up a lot, and then form my own opinion and approach. So far, so good.

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Listen to JJNg...she's an expert and always gives greyt advice :) I'm not sure if this was mentioned, but dogs live in the moment so if you think Bo is sulking away, he may be picking up on your feelings. If Jim was still upset, Bo would be reacting to Jim's feelings, not any particular incident.

 

He sounds like a wonderful loving greyhound but it takes time and patience. Dogs need to know what is expected of them, and you need to help him with that. Praise and treat for good behaviour, find a good behaviourist if necessary and remain calm and relaxed around him.

Jan with precious pups Emmy (Stormin J Flag) and Simon (Nitro Si). Missing my angels: Bailey Buffetbobleclair 11/11/98-17/12/09; Ben Task Rapid Wave 5/5/02-2/11/15; Brooke Glo's Destroyer 7/09/06-21/06/16 and Katie Crazykatiebug 12/11/06 -21/08/21. My blog about grief The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not get over the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same, nor would you want to. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

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Every dog is different. I have NEVER cleaned my Greyhounds ears, and they are spotless. My last dog had allergies and his ears were a MESS. I would leave the ear cleaning to a vet tech if you are new dog owners, cause you're just as likely to cause a problem as prevent one messing around in their ears!


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Guest karilynn

This sounds very similiar to how my boy was for a while when he was new to me. He came to me fearful and reserved, I questioned for a while whether or not he'd been abused. A month and a half after owning him, same thing happened, he got his paws scraped up and he had to have them bandaged and had antibiotics. He was different from that point on. He would snap at me a lot if I approached him and growled. He was afraid of anything related to his paws. I decided to give him some time and leave him alone - letting him approach me if he wanted attention. His paws healed and months went by and he slowly got better and better. He's practically a different dog now. I think he just experienced too much, too soon. A lot of these dogs need time and patience. I'm not talking a week, I'm talking months. He sounds insecure like my boy. Honestly, if you just give him space and keep things calm, he will come around.

 

I have nail trims and ear cleanings done at the vet once a month. I don't dare do it myself.

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Thing is, there is just so much conflicting advice, and I think that's why Jim and I thought it would be best that Bo does recognize us as "the bosses" not in a harsh way--we are not harsh ever with him. But in a way that he knows he can trust us and that we'll take care of him.

 

I understand that it's frustrating to hear conflicting advice. It's probably a bit cliche to say that there are few things in life that are black and white, and there will always be differing opinions and different ways of achieving the same goal. I can only offer advice based on my experience, sharing what I've learned through trial-and-error and painful mistakes and hope that I can help others not have to learn the hard way like I did. The most any of us can do is evaluate all the options you're presented with, go with what makes sense to you, and learn and adjust as you go.

 

Maybe you don't think of it that way, but when I think of the concept of having to "show someone who's boss" that puts me into a confrontational mindset of needing to get into a power struggle. It doesn't have to be harsh to be detrimental. With a sensitive dog, your entire attitude and demeanor is important. For me, showing someone you're the boss doesn't exactly bring to mind images of fostering trust and care.

 

We realize that takes lots of time but it did very much seem that when Jim left Bo all of the sudden became very territorial.

 

I wouldn't necessarily interpret his behavior as territorial. Dogs rely on routine and consistency in order to feel secure. Household changes that seem minor to us can be very stressful for dogs. When a dog is stressed and insecure, they will become more defensive of themselves as well as their space.

 

First time for his regular checkup I inquired more about cleaning his ears, because the greyhound book we read said that you need to keep up with it. Our vet, who treats other greyhounds and was recommended to us basically said "Pshaw! You don't even need to worry about ever cleaning his ears!" Like I was nuts to ask. Well, a month later he has an ear infection and the other vet there was like, oh, yes, clean his ears regulalry.

 

I don't recommend cleaning ears in dogs with no history of problems. I've owned a total of 6 dogs, as well as fostering a handful, over a period of 20 years and have never cleaned any of their ears - my first dog was even a cocker spaniel who, miraculously, did not have ear problems. LOL I feel that putting any kind of solution into a healthy ear canal can potentially throw things out of balance and actually cause problems. For dogs that have a tendency to have recurrent ear problems, usually caused by underlying allergies, I do recommend routine ear cleaning.

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

gtsig3.jpg

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Guest Giselle

Can I also make a comment about "conflicting" advice? In my opinion, there is no conflict. There is only personal bias.

 

If you look at applied animal behavior literature, studies indicate that confrontational techniques based on "positive punishment" and "negative reinforcement" (the two primary tools of virtually all "Alpha/dominance" techniques) are detrimental to animal learning. At best, +P/-R techniques are no better than positive reinforcement and negative punishment. At worst, these alpha/dominance techniques cause psychological stress and, thus, inhibit animal learning. This effect has been found in horses, in mice, dogs, etc. etc. Aversive techniques based on confrontation and discomfort necessarily cause animals stress and STOP animals from being able to learn.

 

So, if there are two ways to train a dog - one that results in a dog eager to learn and the other that causes the dog to be stressed - which one would you choose? :) See? There isn't much conflict in the science. The difference in opinions is simply that - people's opinions. The science is pretty cut and dry, though! "Alpha/dominance" techniques have no role to play in animal training.

 

Focus, instead, on explicitly rewarding for desired behavior and removing rewards for undesired behavior. It does not mean ignoring bad behavior. It means removing the reward for it. So, if your dog is afraid, it's pretty hard to remove the reward for growling because it's a self-reinforcing behavior. Instead, approach it differently. For example, you can redirect his attention and have him perform a calm behavior for which you CAN reward. Thus, whenever he's in a future scary environment, he'll have learned to focus on you and be calm, rather than be scared and growl. Now, isn't this a much more rewarding relationship?

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Guest kirstenbergren

We've had PJ now for almost 2 months and I know we still need more time to work out all the kinks. We've finally gotten a good routine down and he's starting to come around more and want attention from my whole family. We had a lot of the same issues and questions at first as you guys do. He even growled and bit at my 4 year old's face (but she was trying to pet him in his bed). It just took giving PJ his space and lots of patience. We never touch him when he is laying down, no matter where that is. My 4 year old does really well with it and my 1 year old, well, we just have to grab him and re-direct him to something else. But it's working and PJ is turning into a wonderful pet and companion. Bo will get there, just give him lots of love when he comes around to you, and lots of time and patience. Good luck! He'll be a great companion!

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Guest TracyJimBo

Thanks! Bo's been doing really well and we're being very patient with him. We even took him to my parent's house last weekend for a dinner visit. He was such a good boy! Jim and I were able to leave the house to run to the store. My mom brought Bo outside so he could see we were leaving. I guess he paced a bit, but he was okay. And he and my dad got along fine, though at one point my dad was staring at Bo and I could tell Bo became a little aggitated. I just told my dad you can't do that with Bo because it either scares him (my dad is tall, dark hair, mustache and a former cop, so he sends off that big tough guy vibe) or it makes him feel a bit threatened. But my dad knows that now and when Bo's over, they give him his space and then yummy treats. So Bo's going to stay at their house in 2 weeks for 4 days when we go on vacation. I think he'll do fine, and it will be nice that he's been there twice before.

 

And he and Jim are bonding more. It's funny: Jim will pick Bo up in a hug. Like, pick up his whole upper body and say "good boy!" At first I didn't think Bo really liked it...and it made me a bit nervous. But the other day Jim went to do it and Bo literally hopped up into the hug. it was too cute. His tail wags most of the time, which Jim loves because generally Bo's tail really only wags for me. Hehe. Mama's boy.

 

So, again, thanks for the good advice all. We're taking it slow with him, but he's doing much better. Now when we have guests they leave him totally alone when he's lying down, and either we bring him downstairs outside the condo to meet them and walk up together, or we bring Bo into a "neutral" space like the hallway.

 

He's totally made his way into our hearts (though we don't love when he wakes us up at 5 a.m. playing with his squeaky toy, the stinker!)

 

Tracy

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