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Two Training Questions


Guest newgreymama
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Guest newgreymama

I have been reading threads, going over possible training/behavior issues we might encounter after we bring our Grey home (whenever that might be--we are going to visit one at his foster home this weekend to see if he wants to pick us ;) ) and I have two questions (that might have been asked before, so feel free to link me to a thread if that is easier)

 

1.) Has anyone successfully trained a Grey to chew and destroy its own stuffies? This guy that we are looking at this weekend has an affinity for stuffies and doesn't discriminate. While not a deal breaker, my daughter loves stuffed/soft things as well, and would like to avoid having them destroyed if possible. Now I realize it is a risk we take if he comes home with us and ultimately, everything is replaceable, so I am not panicking or anything, but was just wondering if with their apparent love of stuffies, can a Grey be trained to leave one alone and not another? I have trained other dogs to "leave it" but just wasn't sure if their drive to get the toy was too strong (sort of like telling a retriever to not retrieve, kwim?)

 

2.) Has anyone successfully conditioned sleep startling out of a Grey? Or maybe not out, but conditioned them in a way that they didn't necessarily snap or accidentally bite when startled? Not that I expect too--my children have had the rules about the new dog drilled into them and no one will be left alone with the dog for quite some time, but just wondering if there was a way to condition a dog out of it?

 

thanks! :)

Edited by newgreymama
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On the stuffy thing, Brees and Joe think anything fluffy should be theirs. It's easier just to put things away.

 

Neither of mine has sleep startle. Right now, Joe is roaching on the sofa, "chasing rabbits", and I just leaned over and kissed his chin. Wouldn't do it with a new dog, and wouldn't let a kid do it, but there's a very good chance you'll be ok on that end. They don't all have sleep aggression. Now, I did step on Joe's foot once in the middle of night. That got a big, barking, bared teeth reaction out of him. Teeth came no where near me, though, and he was asleep when it happened. I apologized and petted him till he felt better. Now I make sure he's not there when I get out of bed.

 

Watch the kids are the dog when the dog has something it regards as "his". When they first came home, my two were both inclined to growl at us if they had something good and thought we might take it. When your new dog does steal your kid's stuffies, make sure the kid knows that that getting it away from the dog is your job, not theirs. And lure the dog away, don't just take it.

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I don't think a dog can discriminate between his/ child's stuffed toys when they are within his reach. I have to keep Mickey on a very short leash when kids with toys are nearby. Not all dogs play with toys. I have had five greys, and he is the only one even interested in them. My other two currently in the home don't go near the stuffies that are all over the house. Some dogs do play with them, but don't rip them up! Since you are looking at fosters, you will know which dog is a stuffie killer.

 

I got Mickey when he was two ( he is nine now). He was very protective of his sleeping space at first, and would growl if approached. He snapped ( but did not bite) two times when startled from sleep. He will still growl if the other dogs approach him when he is on the couch or my bed, but not at people. I call to him to wake him up, but can also touch him. Why chance it? If he is in a real deep sleep or having a bad dream he still could snap. Just set down the rules early on. Again, a foster parent can let you know what to expect.

 

Have fun meeting dogs. Don't over think it! Keep us posted.

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You need to train your CHILDREN to keep their things in their rooms with the door shut, if it's an issue (my dog doesn't have any interest in toys of any kind--not all dogs do) and STAY AWAY FROM THE DOG when it's laying down.

 

My former dog, a mutt, knew perfectly well things that were his vs. things that were mine (I had a small collection of bears at one point). That really depends on the dog, but it's a perfectly wonderful time to teach your kids to clean up their stuff unless they want to risk the dog getting it.

 

Yes, you can work on the sleep startle, but not with "live bait"! Not all Greyhounds have that problem. Hopefully you are working with a group that will only recommend to you a relatively "bomb proof" dog since it sounds like you have young children and not a lot of dog experience.


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

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Guest newgreymama

I am working with a group--this dog was recommended for us to meet because of his ease around kiddos, just the stuffed toy eating thing was something that the foster pointed out. I asked about his sleeping habits and the foster mom didn't specifically say he had a strong sleep startle and he lives with a toddler in her home so I assume that he is pretty good with kiddos in most situations.

 

I actually have a lot of dog experience (obedience training several, worked in a veterinary office and worked with a behaviorist for a while), just not Greyhound experience specifically with them living in our home (saw quite a few as patients in the vets office though) and they seem to be in a class all by themselves when it comes to certain behaviors (not bad or good, just different, kwim?). :) And I agree that my children need to be trained as well, not just the dog. We have been going over what potential new procedures and rules there might be with a new addition to our home. Trust me when I say, my kids aren't allowed to be all "do what you want" with our pets. As for our things, while worked for and loved, aren't the end all, be all of life. Stuff gets wrecked, you buy new stuff. We're pretty laid back about stuff like that--but wanted to know if there was a way to alleviate any of those behaviors as time goes on. :)

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Just to add to above: Not all Greys are into stuffies. My Annie Bella very seldom looks at her stuffies, let alone play with them. My 6-year-old granddaughter, who visits often, can leave her stuffed animals out and Annie never bothers them. (Annie Bella does steal socks, t-shirts, hand towels, slippers and other small articles of clothing, but she uses them to pad her already well-padded bed. She never chews on them.)

 

Sleep Startle: My girl is bomb proof with most things, and this is one of them. I can go to her while she's sleeping and scratch her belly, gently run my hands up her soft ears and even start dremeling her nails if I wanted, but my granddaughter knows not to touch her unless she's obviously awake, meaning her head isn't on the floor and she's paying attention to the activity around her. Having said this, though, the room in which we spend most of our leisure time isn't all that big and Annie Bella's (big) bed is right in the middle of it. Most of the time, nobody can pass by Annie without coming within a foot or two of her, especially because Annie has serious bed fail with her head and shoulders hanging off. Annie still doesn't twitch an ear tip. She just doesn't care what's happening around and to her.

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I keep all the dog stuffies in a big toy chest in the living room - as each new dog comes in they seem to learn from the others that they can dig in and take things from here. The floor is also considered their territory for stuffies. They don't take things from the bed although sometimes a foster will and then it just takes a gentle reprimand and taking the "thing" back and putting it in it's place. It should be too difficult to take it one step further and get them to understand that items on a bed or in a "child's toy box" in "a particular room" are not to be touched.

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Bootsy had pretty bad sleep startle when we adopted him. He sounds ferocious but has never allowed his teeth to connect. As he has adjusted to living here (almost 4 years now) he has gotten used to the commotion. We still have rules and we never relax them, but I worry less. I have a 4 year old son and a newborn.

 

There are things you can do to condition them - wake them up for treats, for example. Or toss stuffies at him while he is asleep and give him a treat when he wakes up calm. I am far too lazy to do anything but I have heard both work. :)

 

As for stuffies , our rule is anything on the floor is fair game for the dog, so pick up your crap. :lol

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Christie and Bootsy (Turt McGurt and Gil too)
Loving and missing Argos & Likky, forever and ever.
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Maybe I have exceptionally well behaved dogs, but both of mine know the difference between their stuffies and my daughter stuffed animals. Maybe it's her scent on them or something because I never did any training on the issue but both have never chewed a single animal up. Corinna is a stuffie killer, and Wally quite enjoys them as he always brings his to the door on our arrival home and tosses them around the house often so it's not like they dont like them. On the same note I never let my daughter (22 months) touch their toys either. No exception! Wally has grabbed my daughters animals from time to time but all I did was grab give him one of his and take hers away. No damage was ever done. Watch there be a stuffed animal massacre here now that I wrote this, lol.

 

As for sleep startle neither of mine have it either (nor did my first greyhound). Of course I make sure my daughter never touches them when they are asleep anyways but it's not something I'm overly worried about. Reading forums like this give lop sided view of behaviors as people only post about problems they are encountering. Most greyhounds actually dont have sleep aggression or sleep startle.

Hobbes-Ricard Hatch09/23/99-12/21/09 Always loved, never forgotten. Wally TNJ Boy Howdy, GLS Genuinerisk Corinna

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Guest team_tonio

As for stuffies , our rule is anything on the floor is fair game for the dog, so pick up your crap. :lol

 

This is the rule in our house too! And I was also going to say it was more about training my son to shut his bedroom door if he didn't want one of his 'pals' to go missing! Even when Antonio does get his paws on a 'pal' he doesn't usually destroy it - they don't squeak happily like his stuffies do. :)

 

Congrats on your new houndie! Hope your meeting goes well!

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I have a friend who used the "toss the stuffie" at her dog while the dog was sleeping. She had pretty serious sleep startle and now is pretty much bomb proof. Reinforced with treats might even move things along faster. I'm blessed, none of mine have sleep issues.

june

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Capri came to us with bed aggression and sleep startle. I trained her out of it very gradually. We'd only ever pet her if she was VERY obviously awake and laying on the floor - we always respected her bed and left her alone there. When she was granted couch privileges, we made it very clear that it was a privilege and not HER couch. It was mine (or hubbys) and we shared it with her. And when she was on the couch with us, we'd pet her gently, even if she was falling asleep - gently stroking her. I have to tell you that this method took a little over a year. She's now a good sharer of sleeping spaces, and in fact surprised me a few months ago when we were on vacation. We stayed at a rental house with my in-laws. I walked into the living room one day and discovered the 12-year old niece cuddled under a blanket, resting her head and arms on Capri's butt, watching tv together. Not the slightest look of annoyance on Capri's face.

 

We still do respect her night-time bed. That's hers.

Sharon, Loki, Freyja, Capri (bridge angel and most beloved heart dog), Ajax (bridge angel) and Sweetie Pie (cat)

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I don't have a stuffy killer, but a stuffy-sloberer. He "borrowed" one of my own stuffed animals (a cute bunny that was holding my crochet hooks on the loveseat) when he was still newly here, so I gave it to him. It is now his "bunny-butt" and he still likes to play with it 4 years later. He'd view any stuffy as something to play with, though, so I keep the precious ones out of his way. I agree that a dedicated stuffy-killer is probably going to cause a few child's stuffed animal deaths until you can train the child to make sure the bedroom door is closed and/or all stuffed animals are put out of reach. They're just so tempting and fun to him, he's probably going to try his teeth on them. Maybe the squeeky-less-ness will make it less fun, but maybe the mere act of destroying and getting the stuffing out and strewing it all over the livingroom is the fun part.

 

I can't say much about the sleep startle, because Monty has absolutely none of that. I can curl up with him on the floor, in his dog bed (if I'm there first he comes in with me, if he's there first he shifts over), and even the cats can lie on him when he's sleeping in his bed. We were very careful with him at first, and were very happy when it turned out he wasn't space aggressive/defensive at all.

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  • 1 month later...
Guest cloveralexis

I have had my hound for almost 2 weeks. He just growled at me for the first time when I went to take his bone from him -- not surprising. Otherwise he has been 100% sweet and gentle, no kibble or toy possessiveness, etc. I'm wondering how long, on average, it took for other people's dogs to display less-than-desirable behaviors like bed/food/toy aggression? There's probably a huge range -- but curious.

 

I realize we have probably been in a honeymoon adjustment period and am feeling a bit anxious that maybe as he starts to feel more at-home (which I know will probably take months) he'll start to assert dominance in a less gentle way!

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Guest 2dogs4cats

I have had my hound for almost 2 weeks. He just growled at me for the first time when I went to take his bone from him -- not surprising. Otherwise he has been 100% sweet and gentle, no kibble or toy possessiveness, etc. I'm wondering how long, on average, it took for other people's dogs to display less-than-desirable behaviors like bed/food/toy aggression? There's probably a huge range -- but curious.

 

I realize we have probably been in a honeymoon adjustment period and am feeling a bit anxious that maybe as he starts to feel more at-home (which I know will probably take months) he'll start to assert dominance in a less gentle way!

 

I have had 4 GHs and the honeymoon never ended with any of them. They got more comfortable and showed more affection towards me over time, but never had any behavior issues. One had a mild case of SA and whined when I was gone, but he did that from day one. They are all different. Good luck. Sounds like yours is settling in.

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I don't have kids, Teague will grab any toy, but I have heard of people using scents (e.g. lavender oil, mint or milder essentail oils) to mark what toys belong to a dog. This obviously takes some training and isn't fool proof, but I do know of some people who have done this successfully, just not with greys.

 

Teague had a bit of bed growlies, taking his bone growls, and a few times he had sleep startle. This sort of thing personally doesn't fly with me so we worked hard on the bone and bed issues (actually, not that hard, it was pretty easy with him). The sleep startle just sort of faded on its own...I think he just got settled in and used to the fact there was more going on around him. Now he is fantastic, I trust him in any situation. He is perfectly happy and comfortable to let anyone on his bed or to drop food items. Of course I don't have kids though, so I still wouldn't allow them the same things I do which I am sure you know.

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Guest ellenanneeddy

I did have a dog who went toxic dominant on me. It started about 2 weeks in and went dreadfully wrong at three months. I think it was that I hadn't set down leadership rolls strongly enough at first. It did end in tears after he attacked not only me but his sitter (Who kept aggressive great danes). I do believe he was a case of bad breeding.

 

I have a new dog who is testing everything. We just make sure the tests don't buy him anything he wants. No punishment. Just no wins. He seems after a week here, to be settling better. I can now take a toy out of his mouth and he's learned there's no dinner if you don't sit. He's out of a prison program, so he does that easily and well.

I think it's different each dog. But they do start to push the envelope when they know that this is "Home". What I've learned is that I'm the one who decides on the size and shape of the envelope.

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Guest jenniferk

Here's an article on addressing sleep aggression by desensitizing and counter-conditioning. http://www.goinghomegreyhounds.org/sites/default/files/SLEEP%20AGRESSION.html

 

I followed this when I first got my boy, and he improved. Then I stopped it to focus on working on more important issues to us (like integrating him and my cats). Occassionally he still startles awake with a roar without us touching him (like when the cats knocked something over and made a loud noise), so I'll be going back to this method too. But honestly, this doesn't seem as huge an issue now that we've had him for five months as it did when we first got him. We just don't touch him when he's deeply sleeping or wake him up when we want to pet him. The main reason I want to work on it is because I don't want anything to happen to my cats if they should sniff him when he's sleeping.

 

I hope the grey you're looking at works out and you bring him or her home soon!

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