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Trainer’S Advice On Sleep Aggression, Growling, Walking, Nipping &


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Guest jenniferk

This week we had an in-home consult with a trainer who uses the positive reinforcement training recommended in Retired Racing Greyhounds for Dummies. I thought I’d post my notes here for others who may have similar problems. (Our boy Django just turned 2, and we’ve had him for 2.5 months.)

 

Sleep Aggression

Start be petting gently while he’s on the floor and wide awake and give him treats when he responds positively (our boy has no problem with this, so this would likely not work if anyone is not at this stage yet.) When he’s comfortable with that, gently nudge him while he’s lying down and wide awake, giving him treats when you do. This will help acclimate him to responding positively when people are irritating him when he’s lying down. When he’s comfortable with that, wait for him to fall asleep. Get a long-handled feather duster and very gently nudge him awake, praise him, and treat him. Don’t use basic treats for this work—use something really special, like steak. You want all his associations to be very positive. Be sure that he’s comfortable with each step before moving to the next, and do it gradually. She said if you continue doing this, it will change the way he reacts to being startled awake. She said that because he’s only 2 and if we really work at this, there’s a good chance it can be resolved.

 

Nipping When Excited

Django gets really excited around me and playfully nips. She put us on a 15-day program where my husband has the dog doing down-stay, and I would do various things, starting with getting up and sitting down on the couch to kneeling on the edge of the rug where he was to getting on my hands and knees beside him, to desensitize him from going crazy around me. She said in the end I should be able to dance around the room and have him stay calmly in a down position. (It’s really a sit-stay program, but he still has trouble with sit, and down is easy for him.) The full program is the Protocol for Relaxation by Dr. Karen L. Overall in Clinical Behavioral Medicine for Small Animals, and the goal is to sit (or down) and stay while relaxing in a variety of circumstances. We’d never done the stay command before, but during that consult he stayed for 5 minutes while I was doing all sorts of things around him! I don’t have the link to the program, but you basically increase the complexity of the stay commands each day (day one starts with him staying for five seconds, or staying while owner walks one step away and one step back and then increases so he stays longer and you’re doing things like jumping up and down, jogging in place, leaving the room and talking to people, etc.) For each stay task he completes successfully (there are about 25 each day, but you can break them up into sessions), you praise and then treat. When he starts getting up from the stay position, take a step toward him (not in a threatening way), give the down command, and then repeat the stay command. When you’re done, say “free” to release him.

 

Refusing to Walk

I saw other posts about this—statuing or refusing to walk further. She said start with him on a leash in the house or your yard or somewhere where you don’t have to worry about how to get him home if he refuses to walk. Every time he moves, say, “Good dog!” or “Good walk!” and treat him. When he’s walking nicely, treat him. She said do not coax with treats. Instead, if he refuses to move, just wait him out. As soon as he moves, praise him and treat him in the direction you want him to go. She said to also pay attention to when he stops. She said he could be seeing, smelling, or hearing something he’s not comfortable with. I’ve read Temple Grandin’s books on animals, and she gives a checklist of things that can can scare most animals--things flapping in the wind like flags, the color yellow (a high-contrast color for them) like a yellow flag or raincoat hanging on a fence, anything moving fast and silently like bikes, and areas of high contrast between bright light and darkness. In other words, get in the head of your dog and try to see if there’s anything that could be scaring him if he’s stopping at the same place. If you can identify it, do classical conditioning (treat and praise him as soon as he sees whatever’s scaring him, then praise and treat him as he gets closer, etc.) Because our boy would balk about turning around and wanting to come home, she recommended giving him a really special treat after every walk, like a kong filled with treats and cheese, so that he would always look forward to coming back from his walks.

 

Growling when Having Something Taken Away

She said don’t reach down and take something from him. Instead, we need to work aggressively on the drop-it command. But instead of saying “drop it” and offering him a treat immediately, she said to say "drop it" then toss the treat at least a few steps away to give you time to get what he dropped so you don’t have to reach down to take it from him. She said she had a client whose dog would drop it but then attack them when they went to pick it up. They trained the dog to run to their bathroom when they said drop it so that they had a lot of time and space to pick it up. We were very skeptical of this and pointed out that any treat we have on walks will never equal chicken bones. She said to practice it like 100 times a day. She said eventually, he will associate the command with dropping whatever he has in his mouth and moving away from it. (We’ll see! Chicken bones on the street are now the bane of my existence.)

 

Mooching Food

We often eat at our coffee table in front of the TV. She said we can train him to put our plates on the floor and eat right beside him with him not getting our food. Again, this takes a lot of time and repetition. Start with putting some treats in your hand. When he goes for it, close your hand and say “off” or “away.” When he backs off, give him a treat and say “get it.” When he learns that, advance to putting the treats on a plate. Do the same thing—put your hands over the treats when he comes close, and when he backs off, treat him. Gradually work up to using real food, get him to do a down-stay, and then treat him after you’ve finished eating.

 

She emphasized that we need to really practice and stay committed in order for them to work. So we have our work cut out for us!

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Guest kirstenbergren

Wow! We just got our grey 2 months ago, but he's 3 1/2 years old. I'll have to try some of these things (except the sleep aggression stuff) with PJ. Thanks for all the good info!

 

I hope everything works out for you guys!

Edited by kirstenbergren
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Good luck keeping all of your fingers if you try the sleep startle techniques. There's a good chance you will get bitten depending on your hound's level of sleep startle. Hounds from the track have had their own private space since about 6 months of age. They are not used to being touched while sleeping which is a major reason they startle.

 

You will be better off respecting your hound's space when he/she is sleeping is they are at all sleep aggressive. Also - be aware that many sleep with their eyes open. Eyes being open when on their bed or stretched out on the floor or sofa does not mean they are necessarily awake and want to be petted or nudged.

 

Others here have overcome sleep startle by throwing stuffed animals to land near them and get them used to movement in their area. Regardless of how "safe" you think a hound may be, if you have children of any age, they have to be taught to respect the hound's space and bed as off limits to them. We have a rule in our house that petting only happens when a hound is standing. That way, there's mistaking their sleep status and risking a bite.

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Guest kirstenbergren

Good luck keeping all of your fingers if you try the sleep startle techniques. There's a good chance you will get bitten depending on your hound's level of sleep startle. Hounds from the track have had their own private space since about 6 months of age. They are not used to being touched while sleeping which is a major reason they startle.

 

You will be better off respecting your hound's space when he/she is sleeping is they are at all sleep aggressive. Also - be aware that many sleep with their eyes open. Eyes being open when on their bed or stretched out on the floor or sofa does not mean they are necessarily awake and want to be petted or nudged.

 

Others here have overcome sleep startle by throwing stuffed animals to land near them and get them used to movement in their area. Regardless of how "safe" you think a hound may be, if you have children of any age, they have to be taught to respect the hound's space and bed as off limits to them. We have a rule in our house that petting only happens when a hound is standing. That way, there's mistaking their sleep status and risking a bite.

 

I do agree about the sleep startle. We have 2 little kids (4 & 1) and they are never aloud near the dog when he is laying down, eyes open or closed. I keep my distance too and so does my husband, but I know that if he bites me it's my fault for getting too close. I just don't want the kids or PJ to get hurt so we use that rule of "laying down means STAY AWAY!". PJ also now understands that if he stands up and comes over to any of us that he gets attention and maybe even a little treat from one of the kids. :dogcookie:D

 

Good luck with everything!

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Guest jenniferk

Good luck keeping all of your fingers if you try the sleep startle techniques. There's a good chance you will get bitten depending on your hound's level of sleep startle. Hounds from the track have had their own private space since about 6 months of age. They are not used to being touched while sleeping which is a major reason they startle.

 

You will be better off respecting your hound's space when he/she is sleeping is they are at all sleep aggressive. Also - be aware that many sleep with their eyes open. Eyes being open when on their bed or stretched out on the floor or sofa does not mean they are necessarily awake and want to be petted or nudged.

 

Others here have overcome sleep startle by throwing stuffed animals to land near them and get them used to movement in their area. Regardless of how "safe" you think a hound may be, if you have children of any age, they have to be taught to respect the hound's space and bed as off limits to them. We have a rule in our house that petting only happens when a hound is standing. That way, there's mistaking their sleep status and risking a bite.

Thanks for reminding me to clarify! Sheri, the trainer, gave this advice after an in-home consult, so the advice is specific to us and our dog. She told us that with some of the greys she works with (especially the older ones), she would never recommend what she did to us for sleep aggression. Her suggestions were partly due to his age (she thinks he's young enough (turned 2 in June) that his brain can be re-trained to respond positively to being startled awake) and partly our history of it, which is: 2nd night we got him he startled awake and bit my husband before we'd even heard of sleep aggression or knew what it was. A week later, he growled when petted while sleeping with his eyes open. A week later, he grumbled softly when petted while sleeping with his eyes open (the eye-open sleep was also new to us). I'd been reading articles about sleep aggression, and using that advice I'd been tossing treats gently beside him while sleeping so that when he startled awake, there would be a treat. (He's highly food motivated.) We'd also been petting him while lying down a lot, so I'd pretty much been doing step one of what she told us for over two months. He's now so comfortable with being petted while laying down that he rolls over on his back so we give him belly rubs. Most recently, he fell asleep with his paws sprawled all over me while I was petting him on the floor. Without thinking, I moved him to get up--I should have woken him first. But he didn't do a thing. When I told the trainer that, she scolded me and said I should have never let him fall asleep on me without a lot more work on it. She's very cautious about it, so that's why she had us start a step back from where we already are. So, this approach is already working for us...what she told us really just builds on what we were already doing. Oh, and I don't have kids. :-)

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I kind of disagree with people who suggest doing nothing about the sleep startle. You never know when an accident might happen. A child forgets the rules while your back is turned (few children follow rules 100%), or a child trips over a sleeping dog while playing.

 

You have to desensitize carefully and under supervision of a trainer in some cases, but it's doable and I think the responsible thing to do.

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Good luck keeping all of your fingers if you try the sleep startle techniques. There's a good chance you will get bitten depending on your hound's level of sleep startle. Hounds from the track have had their own private space since about 6 months of age. They are not used to being touched while sleeping which is a major reason they startle.

 

You will be better off respecting your hound's space when he/she is sleeping is they are at all sleep aggressive. Also - be aware that many sleep with their eyes open. Eyes being open when on their bed or stretched out on the floor or sofa does not mean they are necessarily awake and want to be petted or nudged.

 

Others here have overcome sleep startle by throwing stuffed animals to land near them and get them used to movement in their area. Regardless of how "safe" you think a hound may be, if you have children of any age, they have to be taught to respect the hound's space and bed as off limits to them. We have a rule in our house that petting only happens when a hound is standing. That way, there's mistaking their sleep status and risking a bite.

Thanks for reminding me to clarify! Sheri, the trainer, gave this advice after an in-home consult, so the advice is specific to us and our dog. She told us that with some of the greys she works with (especially the older ones), she would never recommend what she did to us for sleep aggression. Her suggestions were partly due to his age (she thinks he's young enough (turned 2 in June) that his brain can be re-trained to respond positively to being startled awake) and partly our history of it, which is: 2nd night we got him he startled awake and bit my husband before we'd even heard of sleep aggression or knew what it was. A week later, he growled when petted while sleeping with his eyes open. A week later, he grumbled softly when petted while sleeping with his eyes open (the eye-open sleep was also new to us). I'd been reading articles about sleep aggression, and using that advice I'd been tossing treats gently beside him while sleeping so that when he startled awake, there would be a treat. (He's highly food motivated.) We'd also been petting him while lying down a lot, so I'd pretty much been doing step one of what she told us for over two months. He's now so comfortable with being petted while laying down that he rolls over on his back so we give him belly rubs. Most recently, he fell asleep with his paws sprawled all over me while I was petting him on the floor. Without thinking, I moved him to get up--I should have woken him first. But he didn't do a thing. When I told the trainer that, she scolded me and said I should have never let him fall asleep on me without a lot more work on it. She's very cautious about it, so that's why she had us start a step back from where we already are. So, this approach is already working for us...what she told us really just builds on what we were already doing. Oh, and I don't have kids. :-)

 

Sounds like you learned the hard way like we did! We stick with the standing up rule even though Rocket will be motioning for belly rubs while on his back. I have had him snap at me while rubbing his belly because he relaxed so much that I think he momntarily fell asleep and then went into a startle. He bit me once when he was asking for belly rubs, so i'm not risking that again.

 

He does get some abbreviated belly rubs, but nothing extended that risks him going to sleep.

 

I think it's a good clarification that there is no "one size fits all" training for sleep startle. Some hounds never get better with it, while others can get used to the activity around them. We find that visitors are quick to get down in the floor with him because he looks cute and cuddly. We now warn everyone when they come in the door that there is no petting if he is laying down. He has no trouble coming around and demanding pets while he is awake and standing.

 

Good luck with your new hound!

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Always missing my boy Hi Noon Rocket. The home of Petunia, MW Neptunia and Kate, Miss Kate.

Don't believe everything you read on the internet. - Abraham Lincoln

 

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Sounds like good advise!

 

I wasn't sure from your explanation, but are you giving him the same treats you're commanding him to leave alone? That's not usually recommended... It's better if you have very different treats hidden behind your back or something, and after you say "Leave it!" or whatever about the treats he's trying to get (and after he backs off of course), give him one of the special treats and say "Get it!" A trainer once told me that if you give them the same treat you're telling him to leave, he'll always assume that when you say "leave it", he'll be allowed to take it in a couple minutes because that's what he's always done.

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Guest jenniferk

Sounds like good advise!

 

I wasn't sure from your explanation, but are you giving him the same treats you're commanding him to leave alone? That's not usually recommended... It's better if you have very different treats hidden behind your back or something, and after you say "Leave it!" or whatever about the treats he's trying to get (and after he backs off of course), give him one of the special treats and say "Get it!" A trainer once told me that if you give them the same treat you're telling him to leave, he'll always assume that when you say "leave it", he'll be allowed to take it in a couple minutes because that's what he's always done.

That's good to know! I haven't worked up to getting him to drop food yet. I'm starting with his treat-release toy, which he likes but doesn't love. It's no problem for him to drop that. The only toys he's really into are brand new toys, so I just went last night and bought some cheap toys that I can give him to practice drop-it. The treat I'm using for this is turkey breast, which he only had for the first time this week and goes bonkers over. Still...at this point it's hard to imagine him leaving any food for a treat even as good as turkey breast. So that's why I need to practice with non-food things first. I really have my work cut out for me on this, but thanks for the tip about not using the same treat.

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good concrete advise. basically she gave you the foundation of a good introductory obedience course, one that's not focused on molding, shaping and capturing behaviors, one that's instructional- that's what i go for and like the best. do remember to practice a couple of times a day. sounds like a lot of work, but 60 seconds here and there really reinforces what YOU WANT! it works, it becomes part of life. do communicate w/ your trainer if you run into any problems along the way.

 

as to the food, i worked w/ an increadibly food agressive dog. after the session my husband and i were out in our pickup truck w/ our dogs going for a long walk in the woods. we first stopped at a deli and picked up a sandwich. dogs in the jumpseat of the truck right behind us, we're munching in the front seat...never did they think of going near our food! a far cry from what i was working w/ 15 minutes earlier. it's essential that you be able to eat what ever, where ever and the dogs know their place.i generally work leaving food alone by telling the dogs to go to their "place". place be it crate or bed. basically they are doing a long down which is also effective, but i like to put them somewhere comfotable. at the end of my meal i then walk over, give them a treat and release them ....do get a good consitistant release word or phrase. during classes you can hear my excited."excellent". some other release words can be good, perfect, yes!!! (with a capitol Y). what ever rolls off your tounge to let your dog know it's done and then eventually----- it's praise w/ a release word instead of food.do ask your trainer about a release word when your dog succeeds! hot dogs, steak, yummie cheese all make great treats. becareful w/ the treats, i washed a bag of cheese....made a mess in the washer....left some meat in my treat bag...stank up the closet. only i will do such brainless things, not the dogs!

Edited by cleptogrey
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Good luck keeping all of your fingers if you try the sleep startle techniques. There's a good chance you will get bitten depending on your hound's level of sleep startle. Hounds from the track have had their own private space since about 6 months of age. They are not used to being touched while sleeping which is a major reason they startle.

 

You will be better off respecting your hound's space when he/she is sleeping is they are at all sleep aggressive. Also - be aware that many sleep with their eyes open. Eyes being open when on their bed or stretched out on the floor or sofa does not mean they are necessarily awake and want to be petted or nudged.

 

Others here have overcome sleep startle by throwing stuffed animals to land near them and get them used to movement in their area. Regardless of how "safe" you think a hound may be, if you have children of any age, they have to be taught to respect the hound's space and bed as off limits to them. We have a rule in our house that petting only happens when a hound is standing. That way, there's mistaking their sleep status and risking a bite.

Totally untrue, first about all of them having sleep aggression and second about getting bitten. That's why the trainer has smartly told them to start with the exercises when the dog is awake, then move to when he's not sleeping deeply, etc.

 

To the OP, excellent advice all around. The Karen Overall protocol is amazing for a lot of issues. If you're following it completely, there's actually a site where you can download audio files of a person "narrating" the protocol so rather than having to memorize it or reference the paper, you just put in headphones and do what comes next as she tells you. You can find the files here.

 

I've actually done the sleep aggression training that she recommended with my male Zuri and it's been incredibly successful. It's basic classical conditioning (like Pavlov's dog who drooled when the bell was rung). You're associating touching him when he's laying down/sleeping with something positive - getting really yummy treats in this instance. Eventually, his response instead of growling will be popping his head up and looking around for his treat. Zuri used to grumble quite frequently when startled awake, he unfortunately even broke skin when he snapped at a friend's 1 yo who crawled up to him when he was sound asleep (tiny little puncture, he clearly hadn't meant to make contact but not fun regardless). Now sometimes I look over to see Violet stretching out and kicking him in the face with her paws. He just pops his head up the slightest bit and looks around. I keep a box of treats near the sofa so I can reward on these occasions, but if I don't, he just lays his head back down and goes back to sleep. One thing that did recently cause a little growl was when Violet clipped his paws, which were hanging over the edge of the sofa. I hadn't practiced specifically touching him there, so that's next on our list. Will always be something I'll need to reinforce periodically, and I will always remain vigilant, but I no longer really worry about what the other dogs are doing around him. Now we just have to start doing the same type of training when the girls are playing and bump into him. He's pretty tolerant of that as well, but every once in a while it ticks him off (and rightly so, but I'd of course prefer for everyone's safety that he just think that's another opportunity to get a treat :lol).

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the advice is specific to us and our dog.

Definitely the key phrase for all of this (and any advice, really). Excellent advice, and tailored to your family and your dog.

 

I startle awake if I fall asleep alone in the room. I occasionally have night terrors-like nightmares. My son suffers the same. So he has grown up thinking everyone and everything startles awake and to never lean over anyone, or suddenly touch them, to wake it/them up. He was about to turn 5 when we adopted Sammi, so for our household, he was very easy to teach how to wake & approach Sammi. Either call her name, or make "the sound" to get her to lift her head and look at you to ensure she is awake before approaching. ("The sound" is akin to a kissy-sound, only it's higher pitched -suck the air in faster)

 

Would it be that simple for other households? Nope. I had to "train" my roommate's children when we moved here last year and they were 8 & 11 at the time.They took more training than DS did, but that was simply because they were not familiar with the sleep quirks my little family -DS, Sammi and I- share.

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I kind of disagree with people who suggest doing nothing about the sleep startle. You never know when an accident might happen. A child forgets the rules while your back is turned (few children follow rules 100%), or a child trips over a sleeping dog while playing.

 

You have to desensitize carefully and under supervision of a trainer in some cases, but it's doable and I think the responsible thing to do.

I agree it is in the dog's and your best interest to help your dog overcome this behavior. I've used tossing a soft, small pillow and it works great.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest jenniferk

Just wanted to post a follow-up. Our training had been going great with Django. He's been great at the down-stay program and has been much calmer and hasn't been nipping. He's been walking better, readily drops toys on command (still no food...though once he dropped a chicken bone, but it was by accident because he clearly regretted it), and has been better about lying calmly away from us when we're eating. As for the sleep aggression, that had also been going great. (Again, I've pretty much been following this: http://www.goinghomegreyhounds.org/sites/default/files/SLEEP%20AGRESSION.html). I'd progressed to gently touching him with a long-handled feather duster and throwing soft toys near him just as he was falling asleep and then tossing him a treat, and he hasn't so much as growled.

 

So everything had been going great...and then he bit my husband again this past weekend (first incident was sleep aggression on the second night we had him). I'd taken him to a greyhound meet & greet so he could see other greyhounds. You know how they are--tons of people (and many kids, who he's not used to) running up to him and petting him while he stood there for nearly two hours. When we got home, I knew he was tired, and was just telling my husband maybe we shouldn't take him to the park because he was tired. Django was laying down on his blanket, and my husband walked into the room, loudly calling his name and talking to him, and reached down to pet him. Django lunged up with a roar and bit him on the face (no blood this time, just marks). My husband swears Django was awake and saw him. But Django can fall back asleep in less than a second after we call his name, and he also sleeps with his eyes open. So we're not sure if this was another case of sleep aggression or a separate issue (space aggression).

 

We were both extremely upset and distraught, and I cried all weekend thinking that my husband might make us return him. We'd both been thinking that things were going so well, and neither of us expected this. It was a complete shock. But my husband, luckily, is willing to work with Django on this. I contacted my trainer again, and we have an appointment next week when she returns from vacation. In the meantime, she asked us to not pet him when he's lying down at all, even if he begs us to. She said we need to call him and make him get up if we want to pet him. I also contacted my rescue group, and they do think it was sleep aggression and said they think he just needs more time to adjust. They are also coming to our house next week to offer advice and suggestions.

 

I had thought about getting a dog for 8 years and did, seriously, years of research before deciding to adopt and then deciding to adopt a greyhound. Having volunteered and fostered for a local shelter, I knew this was a very serious commitment. But, like someone else on this forum said (who recently did decide to return her greyhound for different reasons) no research could have prepared me for this. I keep meeting people who say their greys have never had any issues, and I just laugh because our Django has so many. (In addition to the above, he's just not like other greyhounds I read about and meet...he's still pretty spazzy, and he doesn't particularly like affection or petting. If he didn't have ear tattoos, I would swear he's not a greyhound. Oh, and plus, he tested cat-safe but still shows a lot of intense interest in my cats after three months, so I need to keep them separated and maybe always will.) What's ironic is that I specifically stated in my adoption application that I did not want a dog who had special needs or behavioral issues. For the past 13 years, I've adopted and worked with special needs cats (my own have feline leukemia, I rescue strays, I socialize feral kittens, etc.) Because this was the first dog my husband and I have had together, we wanted one who wouldn't be crazy like all our cats are...and we pretty much got a crazy dog. Of course, I love him to pieces. He has a good soul, and I look into his eyes and just melt. I can't imagine my life without him. Still, if I had to do things all over again, I would definitely look to adopt a greyhound who was in a foster home so I knew more about the personality and issues before we adopted (ours came from the track then to a boarding kennel before he came to us). I think an experienced greyhound owner would maybe not think these are big issues, but because he's our first dog, it's been an emotional and overwhelming experience. But, I think that my background of working patiently with feral cats and cats with behaviorial issues has helped me better deal with Django. And, luckily my husband is used to my having crazy pets (though he'd really like a normal pet someday too!). We just hope that with time, patience, and love, everything will work out with Django.

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Hounds from the track have had their own private space since about 6 months of age.

:blink: Every farm I've been to the 6 month old pups were in the runs with their littermates and a communal dog house and would be there another 6 months or more.

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My girl came straight from the farm. She was in a run with her littermate until they were brought up to our rescue to be adopted out and she will be three next month. Maybe it depends on the farm, but i think generally they are with another greyhound in a run up until they are brought to the track. My girl is also not the norm because she has no sleep aggression whatsoever and loves to snuggle right up with her head next to mine when we go to bed! Even though she does this though, I am still careful with her when she is laying down because you just never know!

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Guest Snazzy_Chloe

I would always call the dogs name or talk to him/her and make sure you see movement before getting close to their bed when they are asleep. You can do all the training that you want which will work when the dog is awake - but if the dog is asleep all you will get is the dogs natural fear and instinct when they react to your intrusion on their area.

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Guest LindsaySF

Your trainer sounds pretty knowledgable. That's some good advice overall. :)

 

 

But instead of saying “drop it” and offering him a treat immediately, she said to say "drop it" then toss the treat at least a few steps away to give you time to get what he dropped so you don’t have to reach down to take it from him. She said she had a client whose dog would drop it but then attack them when they went to pick it up. They trained the dog to run to their bathroom when they said drop it so that they had a lot of time and space to pick it up. We were very skeptical of this and pointed out that any treat we have on walks will never equal chicken bones. She said to practice it like 100 times a day. She said eventually, he will associate the command with dropping whatever he has in his mouth and moving away from it. (We’ll see! Chicken bones on the street are now the bane of my existence.)

I have a dog like that (Cody in my sig). I trained him to go fetch a different treat and leave whatever he's chewing behind. By the time he comes back, I have already picked up the item and have it hidden behind my back, and he gets a new treat to distract him. I do think it's important to get the dog out of the area where they've been chewing, as reaching into that area can provoke an aggressive response from some dogs, even if they have already dropped the item.

 

As for items on walks, you will have to be hypervigilant, scanning the ground, while walking. It's really the only way to prevent them from picking things up. The goal is to get them to follow the drop it command immediately upon hearing it, without realizing that they are giving up a high value item, but if you can prevent them from picking anything up in the first place that is ideal.

 

 

 

Django was laying down on his blanket, and my husband walked into the room, loudly calling his name and talking to him, and reached down to pet him. Django lunged up with a roar and bit him on the face (no blood this time, just marks). My husband swears Django was awake and saw him. But Django can fall back asleep in less than a second after we call his name, and he also sleeps with his eyes open. So we're not sure if this was another case of sleep aggression or a separate issue (space aggression).

If your husband is sure he was awake then it was likely space aggression. Honestly I often see so much emphasis put on sleep aggression, but I've actually seen more space aggression related bites from awake hounds than I've seen from sleep startled hounds. :dunno I've seen it directed at children and men more than women too, I think it's a response based in insecurity and fear.

 

I think desensitizing him to being awoken is a good idea, but from what you've described, I would be very cautious about petting him when he's laying down, awake or not, period. Especially while he is still so new, they seem more reactive when new to a home. I would encourage the dog to get up and come to you for petting. To this day I still don't pet Teagan when he's laying down, even if he rolls over and wants me to. It's just safer for all involved.

 

 

Maybe start a separate thread for the cat issues?

 

 

Because this was the first dog my husband and I have had together, we wanted one who wouldn't be crazy like all our cats are...and we pretty much got a crazy dog. Of course, I love him to pieces. He has a good soul, and I look into his eyes and just melt. I can't imagine my life without him. Still, if I had to do things all over again, I would definitely look to adopt a greyhound who was in a foster home so I knew more about the personality and issues before we adopted (ours came from the track then to a boarding kennel before he came to us).

I always recommend foster groups (or bounced dogs) to first-time dog owners and owners with kids, for this reason.

 

And I hear your frustration. I've never had an easy or normal dog. I'm still waiting. :) Best of luck going forward.

 

 

 

 

~Lindsay~

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Hounds from the track have had their own private space since about 6 months of age.

:blink: Every farm I've been to the 6 month old pups were in the runs with their littermates and a communal dog house and would be there another 6 months or more.

 

Yeah, from what I understand, they don't get their own "condo" until they move to training school at about a year old, and even then they spend most of their time in the communal runs.


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

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