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Help! Aggressive Behavior


Guest kkaiser104
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Guest kkaiser104

Teddi and i have been visiting my parents this past week and have mostly had a good visit. However, these past few nights he's been getting aggressive with my mom. He hasn't drawn blood yet ,but that's only because I've been there to intervene. All of the incidents seem unrelated and i can't figure out what is provoking them.

 

Incident 1: i thought this was a classic sleep startle situation. My mom swears he was awake, but i was sleeping. He was laying on his bed in my room and the temperature had dropped very low and it was very cold. She leaned over him and he growled/snapped/reared up, leaving her with a concussion. We assumed it was sleep startle and didn't worry about it.

 

Incident 2: we were laying in bed and my mom came in. He jumped up for pets and she was rubbing his head when he snapped/growled. I yelled at him and made him get down.

 

Incident 3: my mom and i were standing in the kitchen and he came in and laid down. he rolled over for a belly rub and she gave him one. Again he snapped at her, i yelled and made him leave the kitchen.

 

I'm at a loss. I've never had a dog act like this, and i just don't see the connection. Please help us!

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Rocket is unpredictable in the same ways. He does not get on furniture though, and that is his choice because we would normally allow it. Due to the unpreficatable space guarding (including when he has asked for a belly rub) we have a rule that he is only petted if he is standing up. I can give him a brief belly rub, but would never allow anyone else to do that. For whatever reason, i don't think it's something that can be trained out of him.

 

In your case, the hound is still very new and will also be testing boundaries as he settles in. Settling in can often take a year or more until he has an established routine and "pack order." He may be trying to establish a higher position in the pack over your Mom, but that's out of my area of understanding as far as training goes.

 

We simply correct the growling / guarding with Rocket if it happens, and move on. The standing up rule has been the thing that has worked for us. He comes around about a hundred times a day for pets and is still a very friendly velcro boy who is attached at my hip - but likes to protect his space if he's laying down, or on a bed or someplace he considers a "safe spot."

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Camp Broodie. The current home of Mark Kay Mark Jack and LaVida I've Got Life.  Always missing my boy Rocket Hi Noon Rocket,  Allie  Phoenix Dynamite, Kate Miss Kate, Starz Under Da Starz, Petunia MW Neptunia and Diva Astar Dashindiva 

 

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Sorry for what has happened...I wont' give too much advice on the snapping as others with more experience may chime in. It seems as though it is only directed at your mom now, perhaps he is doing it because he is nervous of a person he doesn't know reaching down? What is often interpreted as "aggression" is really a fear based reaction in greyhounds. Look for warning signs in the way he is holding his head, his eyes, etc. right before he lunges.

 

Anyways, the only thing I can suggest is he seems to be the one demanding the attention and then he gets rewarded for it. For many dogs, this is fine, but personally if I had a dog showing these behaviours then I would not allow them on any beds or furniture, especially without invitation. I also would not give him any attention right now when he demands it, I would be the one to initiate it and make him really want to work for it. Perhaps your mom should lay off on the petting until he feels more comfortable. She can help to feed him, walk him etc. and build his trust and respect that way without reaching over to pet right now which can be threatening. These things CAN be stopped, often with new greys they go through strange periods of adjustment, figuring out the rules, etc.

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Guest PiagetsMom

Are you sure it wasn't just an "air snap"? Fiona did those when she was excited. In a dog you are not familiar with it can seem like aggression. The third incident you cited in particular sounds more like an air snap then an aggressive snap.

 

This was one of my first thoughts as well. Maya is an air snapper, and does sometimes do this when you stop petting her and she wants more. However, it's never accompanied by a growl, and I believe the OP mentioned that there was growling as well.

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Are you sure it wasn't just an "air snap"? Fiona did those when she was excited. In a dog you are not familiar with it can seem like aggression. The third incident you cited in particular sounds more like an air snap then an aggressive snap.

 

This was one of my first thoughts as well. Maya is an air snapper, and does sometimes do this when you stop petting her and she wants more. However, it's never accompanied by a growl, and I believe the OP mentioned that there was growling as well.

 

I just wonder if it was really a growl or just some vocalizing due to excitement. The third incident really sound like an air snap so I wonder if the first two incidents should be reconsidered in that light.

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Can you get a video --

 

the third one sounds like an air snap while the first sounds like a sleep startle and the second sounds like your greyhound does not like having his head petted. Was your mom rubbing his head or petting it, was it around his ears. Some greyhounds have very sensitive ears and if you pull them while rubbing them you might get a growl and snap. Also, greyhounds have very thin skin - you cannot rough house or rub them hard like you can with a German Shephard because it will hurt a greyhound.

 

When a dog is new you need to identify what types of actions that you do to the dog can cause them to get alarmed. For example, some people want to hug a dog - NEVER do that to a greyhound until you know that it is OK, most of them have never had "affection" from people and just don't know what it is - they think they are going to get hurt. Brushing a greyhound can also get some "different reactions". One of my greys lets me brush her for about 5 minutes and then decides that it is enough by doing a growl but, I now can pick up the signals and know when she "has enough" and stop before she gets to the growl stage.

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I'd start with NILF training (nothing in life is free) and a quick search on here will provide tons of info. Under the current circumstances I would only pet him, if I was your mom, when he was standing up, not when he came over to her, rather only when she called him to her. I would also pet him under his chin and not on the top of his head initailly. Ben loves to be petted, but only for a certain amount of time, then he's had enough...perhaps this is part of it too but there isn't enough details. A video would be helpful if you could record it without risk of a bite, and another option may be to contact a behaviourist who uses positive reinforcement.

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 kkaiser104

Are you sure it wasn't just an "air snap"? Fiona did those when she was excited. In a dog you are not familiar with it can seem like aggression. The third incident you cited in particular sounds more like an air snap then an aggressive snap.

 

I'm positive it wasn't an air snap. He exposed his teeth, growled, and then lunged.

 

Can you get a video --

 

the third one sounds like an air snap while the first sounds like a sleep startle and the second sounds like your greyhound does not like having his head petted. Was your mom rubbing his head or petting it, was it around his ears. Some greyhounds have very sensitive ears and if you pull them while rubbing them you might get a growl and snap. Also, greyhounds have very thin skin - you cannot rough house or rub them hard like you can with a German Shephard because it will hurt a greyhound.

 

When a dog is new you need to identify what types of actions that you do to the dog can cause them to get alarmed. For example, some people want to hug a dog - NEVER do that to a greyhound until you know that it is OK, most of them have never had "affection" from people and just don't know what it is - they think they are going to get hurt. Brushing a greyhound can also get some "different reactions". One of my greys lets me brush her for about 5 minutes and then decides that it is enough by doing a growl but, I now can pick up the signals and know when she "has enough" and stop before she gets to the growl stage.

 

Thanks for the advice! The issue here is that we're leaving tonight and I just don't want to leave on bad grounds, but I don't know if there is another option. He only does this with her--not my dad or I. She's never done anything mean or frightening to him, and he hasn't started this weird behavior until the past few days and we've been here for a week. Just very strange. As much as I'd like to get a video, it's very random.

 

I'd start with NILF training (nothing in life is free) and a quick search on here will provide tons of info. Under the current circumstances I would only pet him, if I was your mom, when he was standing up, not when he came over to her, rather only when she called him to her. I would also pet him under his chin and not on the top of his head initailly. Ben loves to be petted, but only for a certain amount of time, then he's had enough...perhaps this is part of it too but there isn't enough details. A video would be helpful if you could record it without risk of a bite, and another option may be to contact a behaviourist who uses positive reinforcement.

 

Thanks!

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I was also going to suggest that it might be an "air snap." When Cash is VERY happy, he groans and air snaps in a way that could very easily be mistaken for a growl and aggressive lunge if you didn't know him well (really, there's not an aggressive bone in his enormous body - unless you're a kitty, squirrel or small dog).

 

If he's a smiler, that looks a lot like baring teeth, so the combination of the three could look really scary.

Valerie w/ Cash (CashforClunkers) & Lucy (Racing School Dropout)
Missing our gorgeous Miss
Diamond (Shorty's Diamond), sweet boy Gabe (Zared) and Holly (ByGollyItsHolly), who never made it home.

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this may sound harsh, but until things are undercontrol don't let either of them get into a situation where that type of agression might occur. keep him with you, crated or on leash so you are fully aware of what's going on, how he's interacting and your mom is in a safe situation. if you can't crate, then get a cheap baby gate, maybe at goodwill, and use it. by under no circumstances should your mom unfasten the gate and go into "his space". but along w/ NILF training, he should be teathered to you, no freedom at this point, so everyone is safe. this will change, but some corrective/modifying work is needed. be safe, be poisitve, be firm and loving.

 

i never let people pet my dogs when they are on "their beds". it's theirs...

my daughter was on the dog bed w/ annie when she was pretty new, she was lying their quietly being pet by dd. then annie startled, she wasn't sleeping, she was looking at dd w/ her head up and freaked. it's now the policy- dogs only in their beds, a far cry from our other canine companions. i think it's the track thing, they have their own space and nothing ever intrudes.

 

a good friend's male became unpredictably agressive. for no reason what so ever he snapped and bit 2 people- IN THE FACE! this is a dog who has been at their home since 6 months of age, the family consisits of 2 children, 2 adults and lots of friends visiting. he has a HUGE crate- that's his safe spot there won't be an incident w/ a visitor. w/ family-he's fine & the other 2 greys- fine and even mine when they come to run...it's visitors and even people who he knows really well who he can't be trusted anymore. this started out of the blue 2 years ago, the dog is now 8. initially they tried muzzleing him, but he was far more comfortable in his great dane size crate.

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Guest kkaiser104

Strange update--my mom came home for lunch today and it was like nothing had ever happened with Teddi. I think he was overwhelmed these past few days--new place, more action, and new people. This morning he had this awful look on his face and that is gone now. He greeted her at the door and she ignored him until she called him over. She made him work for a treat as suggested and he was very receptive. My mom and I are wondering if he's thinking that she's taking over for me--in my house I'm the boss and here it is her house so she sets the rules. Maybe just some confusion and upset? Or, maybe it's because he's tired and gets grouchy? All of these incidents have occurred in the evening or late at night.

 

Regardless, we will have some new rules the next time we visit and hopefully his issue can be resolved. I'd like him to like my parents--and I don't want anyone to be afraid of him. This is definitely something we can work on and my mom is very receptive to helping us figure this out (she's a dog lover too!) We're both thankful for all of the suggestions and any other ideas would be appreciated.

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Guest grandmagrey

Hi everyone and thank you all for your comments and suggestions to our problem. i am the mom and grandma mentioned in the topic. having had many dogs,albeit no greys.

i have never had an experience with any animal like this one. What have i learned? Many factors may have contributed to the problems. Teddi is a wonderful, unique dog who comes to my daughters life and to our family with a very different background than we are used to. I think we are up to the challenge of figuring him out. We have to remember not to overwhelm him and watch for the signs of that plus fatigue. we are used to a higher energy dog and must respect that life with us is a very new experience for Teddi while also respecting his need for his own space. we will be making a "Teddi place" for his next visit. Our dogs (cocker/golden and siberian husky) sleep anywhere and have never needed that. If Teddi does, then he will have it. I was very pleased when i did some of the suggested things on this forum and saw positive results before Teddi left tonight. Thank you everyone for your ideas and suggestions! training teddi will be a challenge, but a welcome one for us!

 

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I think he was overwhelmed these past few days--new place, more action, and new people. .... Maybe just some confusion and upset? Or, maybe it's because he's tired and gets grouchy? All of these incidents have occurred in the evening or late at night.

 

I think you're on the right track here. I believe that the majority of the time dogs show aggressive behavior, they are reacting defensively, there is usually some component of stress. Especially with a dog who is fairly new to the household, it takes time to build trust. Even though they may want attention and interaction, they may not be completely comfortable with close contact. And often, certain body language and actions that humans naturally use can seem threatening from the dog's perspective. A dog that has had time to build a relationship and learn to fully trust their family will be more tolerant of things we do that aren't completely polite from a canine point of view.

 

I honestly don't believe that pack order, or who's boss and sets the rules, has anything to do with reactions like this. It's usually a matter of the dog being stressed and overwhelmed, and not yet having developed a fully trusting relationship.

 

Teddi is a wonderful, unique dog who comes to my daughters life and to our family with a very different background than we are used to. I think we are up to the challenge of figuring him out. We have to remember not to overwhelm him and watch for the signs of that plus fatigue.

 

Welcome to the group! I think it's wonderful that you're so understanding and willing to help figure things out with Teddi. I'm sure he'll do well with your family given this outlook and level of support.

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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