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Guest milkymoon

Hello all! I have just hit the two week mark with my new greyhound, and since she's moved in she's shown some signs of slight sleep aggression. She's been sleeping in bed with my boyfriend and I, and if either of us moves suddenly in the night, she might wake with a start and growl a bit. This evening, though, I've been home alone working on the computer, and she has been making sure to cuddle up next to me wherever I sit. Well, about a half hour ago we were on the couch and I got up slowly and she woke with a start and barked, snapped and growled at me. I know that punishment can make aggression of any kind worse, so I decided to let it slide since she was asleep. I just got up and moved into the other room and sat in bed to do my work. She followed me to bed, and then about fifteen minutes later, she barked, snapped, and growled seemingly out of nowhere, and didn't stop until I got out of bed. I left the room and am now sitting in the living room. She hasn't followed me. Now, like people, I know dogs have some off nights, too, but what could I do differently to avoid this? Have any of you had similar a similar issue, and, if so, what worked for you?

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First, don't allow her on furniture, period, until this is under control. Definitely don't allow her to sleep with you. Between the sleep aggression and the resource guarding, that's just asking for a bite.

 

While it sounds like she does have sleep aggression, it also sounds like she thinks she owns your bed. Make her get off and stay off for now. Couches and chairs, too. If she won't respond to the command "off," hook a leash to her collar and gently pull her off.

 

I'm sure others can chime in who have experience in desensitizing a hound with sleep aggression. Sometimes it works, sometimes not.

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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Bobby is our first greyhound and a male and pretty easy going. All the female dogs I have had in the past have had to be alpha over the male dogs we have had BUT never alpha over us, if they misbehaved inside I put them straight outside. Obviously the climate makes a difference if you can do that or not but you will have to let her know you are the boss not her. Just a thought has she been desexed yet, maybe that will make a difference, not sure.

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Bobby is our first greyhound and a male and pretty easy going. All the female dogs I have had in the past have had to be alpha over the male dogs we have had BUT never alpha over us, if they misbehaved inside I put them straight outside. Obviously the climate makes a difference if you can do that or not but you will have to let her know you are the boss not her. Just a thought has she been desexed yet, maybe that will make a difference, not sure.

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:nod >>While it sounds like she does have sleep aggression, it also sounds like she thinks she owns your bed. Make her get off and stay off for now. Couches and chairs, too. If she won't respond to the command "off," hook a leash to her collar and gently pull her off. >>

 

Some of them are just not cut out to be 'cuddle-up' dogs so take it steady and stop potential bites from happening. Training has to be consistent - they respect that.

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Guest milkymoon

Yeah, that's what I'll have to do. It's just frustrating because I don't understand why she'd make an effort to follow me around and be near me when she's just going to do that. I hope we can work through it.

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Forget the Alpha role...it's an old myth. Greys need guidance, they need to know what you want them to do. All dogs need positive reinforcement so reward her for good behaviour. In this case you rewarded her for bad behaviour by getting up and letting her have her own space. Reward her for getting off the bed instead. It's way too early for the furniture and bed if she's growling so foolow the advise for getting her down and make her earn the privledge. did you lean over her at all. Many dogs do not like this, not just greyhounds so she may not be allowed on furniture again if she does have space aggression which has a whole other set of guidelines. Also, have they start to get comfortable they may test the boundaries a little, and I suspect that's what is going on.

 

Kathleen Gilley wrote this and you may find it helpful.

 

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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Retired racers are used to having their own kennel, which acts as a "safe zone" where they can be alone and feel secure. If she's a little bit unsure and fearful, she may equating your bed with her safe zone. Her aggression with the bed sounds like a form of resource guarding. Because she's brand new and may still be a little bit fearful of her new environment, I would not allow her on the bed at this point. If you're not using a crate, set up some type of area where she can retreat. Maybe after some time passes, and she has gained more confidence and learned the rules of the house, then you can allow her access to the bed. I do allow my two greys on my bed but they trust me fully, and we have done formal obedience training. They understand the bed is MINE, not theirs, and they promptly leave when I give them the command. If she continues to have issues with sleep startle, she may never be a dog that is safe to be on the bed... and that's okay too.

Edited by a_daerr
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Guest milkymoon

@greytpups Today has been going well, I've been rewarding her for using her bed, I do definitely think she's been using our bed as her 'safe spot' and once she learns she can use her bed or her crate, I think she will be just fine. I really do think she is becoming more comfortable and testing her boundaries (I was so surprised by what happened because I felt like she was really settling in and becoming more comfortable, playful, and affectionate with me, so the snapping was such a shock!).

@a_daerr How did formal obedience training work for you? I would really like to enroll my girl in training but she's a bit nervous around other dogs that aren't greys, so I'm not sure if enrolling in a group setting would be advantageous or not. Did you complete the sessions one on one with a trainer or did you do obedience training in a group setting?

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My guy is new also, his crate is open when we are around and that is where he loves to be, it's his safe zone.

It will remain like this until he know his boundaries, at night, that is where he sleeps. The first person up in the morning has to wait 15 minutes before opening the crate. He has to work for everything this is to teach him to wait, come and more. The majority of his meal is fed in his crate where he still has to wait for my command to eat. They need leadership to feel safe and they look forward to pleasing you when given rewards for the good things they do.

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Murray is our sleep aggressive hound. We've had him for 4.5 years and the behavior has, for the most part, disappeared. At this point, your dog shoud not be sleeping on the bed with you or be up on the couch with you. Murray gradually earned the couch privledge. He does hop up on the bed in the mornings but he is still not allowed to sleep on the bed in the night. He seems to know this somehow. Things do ease and get better as your hound becomes more comfortable in the house with you. I wrote this post two years ago. FWIW, crates are long gone in this house. The crate was an absolute necessity in Murray's early months with us.

 

murray had terrible sleep/space aggression when we adopted him. he was 5 when we brought him home. he was returned to our adoption group twice for biting people while asleep. we were told that one of those times he was sleeping in a hallway at night and someone in the family tried to step over him and was bitten. we were both were bitten by murray in the first few weeks we had him. one of those bites was right over my eye. both times we did exactly what were knew we should not do....petting him on his bed as he was falling asleep. we knew that it would be important to define a place for him to sleep in the house. as his third home, we felt a lot of self imposed pressure to make this work for murray. who would want to adopt a dog that bit in three homes in a row? we feared that he would never be adopted out again. we did not want to return him. we committed ourselves to working with him. here's what worked for us.

 

we tried crating murray in the first few days that we had him. (not sure why we felt we had to crate him when we were gone....it just seemed like this is what people did when they newly adopted a greyhound.)he broke out on the first day. he tried to bite burke on the second day as burke tried to get him in there. clearly this dog wanted nothing to do with a crate. he was not at all destructive when we went to work, so there was no reason to crate him during the day. we abandoned that plan. we still needed to set some sleeping boundaries with him. we felt that he needed to go to his crate when sleeping/falling asleep. we really wanted him out in the living room with us in the evening, but murray continued to growl at us as we walked around him in our home.

 

our main challenge was getting murray to use his crate for sleeping. we set the crate up in our bedroom, covered it with a sheet to make it denlike, and took the door off. that one thing, removing the door, made all the difference for us. the crate was not a place where he would be locked in. he could come and go. early on, as murray would fall alseep in the living room we sent him to his bed. we would wake him up by calling his name and send him to the crate. sometimes, after a power nap, he would reemerge with us in the living room. some nights he stayed in his safe place for most of the night. anytime he growled we gave him a stern BAH sound. this would wake him. then he was sent to bed. gradually he learned to trust us. he spent more and more time with us in the living room. sometimes he would put himself to bed when he was tired. it was funny to watch him get up, say goodnight, and go into the crate (something we never thought he would do!).

 

we have had murray for almost two years. we continue to be aware of his tendency for sleep aggression, but having that safe defined space for sleeping in our house seems to have worked for us and for murray. in the living room we can sit on murray's bed with him and pet him. bee wiseman (who came home seven months after murray) can lay near murray on the dog beds. (bee has her own crate in the bedroom so that both dogs have a safe, designated sleeping area in the house.) in the living room murray does not react at all as she walks near him or if she moves on the bed next to him. he does not seem to care if she is near him.

 

inside our house the world feels safe to murray. now he spends most of his time out in the living room with us when we are home. we are able to step over or step on his bed when he is on it. we haven't had any growling in over a year. murray is, and will always be, a fearful dog. i'm sure with time your dog's sleep aggression problem will ease as he settles in to the routine in your home. it's amazing how far murray has come in his time with us. don't give up.

Edited by 45MPHK9

4894718087_9910a46faa_d.jpg

Tricia with Kaia and Kyle
Always missing Murray MaldivesBee Wiseman, River, Hopper, and 
Holly Oaks Holly
“You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.“          -Bob Dylan

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@a_daerr How did formal obedience training work for you? I would really like to enroll my girl in training but she's a bit nervous around other dogs that aren't greys, so I'm not sure if enrolling in a group setting would be advantageous or not. Did you complete the sessions one on one with a trainer or did you do obedience training in a group setting?

 

We were super fortunate because the Humane Society in Pittsburgh offers greyhound-only classes. So we started with Greyhound Basic, then because all the dogs did so well, they offered two more advanced classes (Advanced Greyhound and Greyhound CGC/TDI). Henry even became certified in Canine Good Citizenship and Therapy Dogs International. I would ask your adoption group if they have any classes that are specific to greyhounds. I found that for Henry, it was beneficial to have other greys there because it was something familiar, and he seemed less threatened by them. If that's not an option, then a standard mixed breed obedience class would probably be just as good. Private sessions are usually reserved for dogs with more serious problems, so she would probably do fine in a class without doing anything prior. Is she small-dog safe? If not, you may need to check to see if there is a large-breed class available to avoid any safety issues.

 

Also, I would recommend an actual certified trainer as opposed to a place like PetSmart. You want to make sure the trainer works with positive reinforcement strategies and has some type of certification with AABP (Association of Animal Behavior Professionals), APDT (Association of Pet Dog Trainers), and/or CPDT (Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers).

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Guest greyhound515

My dog Diva is almost 6 and has been with me for nearly five years. She's afraid of her own shadow and recently began to show sleep aggression. Once she realizes what she's done, she quickly responds to the "OFF" command. Has not bitten but tends to growl a lot at both me and our small cat MewZette (who is Diva's best buddiy in the house). Have not been letting her on bed and if she heads into her crate when commanded to "go to bed," she is allowed to sleep there. If not, there is a smaller "travel" crate in my bedroom with blankets and a nice comfy bed and some squeaky toys. I have made it a point for her to have someplace to curl up every place in the house where we hang out, as well as places for my cats to snooze and relax.

 

If she is growling, she gets time out-no furniture, no bed. I don't get in the kennel and growl at you, don't get in my bed and growl at me! My house, my rules. Love them all, but will not tolerate misbehavior. Just my two cents.

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