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Guest onceyougogrey

Fighting Or Playing? Aggression In Greyhounds

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Guest onceyougogrey

Is your Greyhound aggressive in play? We've had out dog for about 7 months (she's almost 5 yrs.), but she is not really player. So, she's nowhere near aggressive. Our kids kind of feel jipped in the dog play department, but they do enjoy taking her for walks and letting her run. Greyhounds are certainly a different breed, but they're not all the same. What is your dog like? How do you get them to play?

 

Here's a neat article about the subject: Fighting or Playing? Aggression in Greyhounds

 

 

 

 

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The girls growl and body slam while running and playing. They aren't as vocally loud as my parents dogs (pointer, Shepard, and mountain dog)

 

But both dog interactions are obviously play. I do think when they play at that intensity there is a very fine line between play and fight since all that adrenaline is flowing. So far the girls have been good between themselves. We don't usually allow rough play with other non family members unless it's a muzzled greyhound run.

 

I wouldn't label any of that as an aggressive tendency, but a normal dog behavior.


------

 

Jessica

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The article seems to be simplistic in it's explanations and outcomes. Not all dogs play the same, whatever their breed. Some like to play together, some like to play by themselves, some like toys and some don't - it just depends on each dog's preferences.

 

The article's focus on racing training somehow affecting a dog's play preference doesn't seem right either. The two best racers I've had did not particularly like to play with the others and were not competitive when they not running. One likes toys and one didn't. My puppy, who has never raced, is a playing machine with her big brother and sister, both of who were good (though not great) racing dogs. One of mine must be muzzled because of inappropriately aggressive playing. One has good bite inhibition and I would trust him even in rough play with older kids. It all just depends on the dog.


Chris - Mom to: Lilly, Felicity (DeLand), and Andi (Braska Pandora)

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Angels: Libby (Everlast), Dorie (Dog Gone Holly), Dude (TNJ VooDoo), Copper (Kid's Copper), Cash (GSI Payncash), Toni (LPH Cry Baby), Whiskey (KT's Phys Ed), Atom

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My grey didn't know how to play when I got him either.If you have a fenced area to let her loose you can get a lunge line used for horses,I got mine at tractor supply, tie a light colored fluffy toy with a squeaker to it and make it jump and run along the ground.I bet she'll "chase it"; it's what they know best and love to do. Mine loves it.Now he even throws his toys around by himself and likes when I chase him when he has a toy.

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Guest psdirector

Our two boys like to race in the yard. Tibbs is by far the more active of the two and he only raced half as much as his littermate, Hutch. Hutch has a sore right hip at times (he really yelped at his first vet checkup when she palpated that area) and doesn't like to run as much or quite as hard as Tibbs. Once or twice when they've been running hard we've seen Hutch lift that right leg for a second or two as if it's bothering him, but he doesn't limp or seem to be in pain normally. They will play fight sometimes and sometimes Tibbs will "encourage" Hutch to run with him some more by pushing at him or teasing him by play bowing, then running away. Even though they "bite" at each other's necks at times (not easy with a muzzle on and one of the reasons they always wear them outside), I would not label either as aggressive. In the house, Tibbs loves toys and especially loves squeaking and shaking them and Hutch seemed to have no idea what they were for when we first got him. Now he will occasionally carry one around, although he never can seem to find the squeaker, and he looks puzzled as if to ask, "Is this what I'm supposed to do and why is it such a big deal?"

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Guest Greyt_dog_lover

Did you do any research on the breed before you adopted? I ask because one of the first things that I tell people about the breed that have kids is this: If you want a dog that will play with your kids, such as fetch and frisbee and such, do not get a greyhound. Greyhounds are sighthounds, not retreivers. Greyhounds dont play like other dogs. A greyhounds idea of fun is "chase". Throw a ball and watch the hound chase it, as soon as it stops, so does the hounds interest. Not all greyhounds are like this, but it is the majority.

 

Lots of hounds like to play with stuffed animals, and this can be something that your kids can do with your hound. Have them throw a stuffy in the yard and see if the hound will chase and play with the toy. Realize that the hound will probably not interact with you or your kids, but rather play with the stuffie while you watch. As soon as the hound puts the stuffy down, THEN go grab the toy and throw again. DO NOT have your child try to take the toy from the hound. Realize that a greyhound has never had a toy to play with and may become protective of the toy. This is just one idea, but realize that it is a rare greyhound that likes to play fetch or other "regular" dog games with people. Its the breed.

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I've seen tons of dogs, all different breeds, play and the majority of them bite at each other when running and playing. They flip each other over and jump on to of each other. They growl, snarl and bark. That's dog behavior. Greyhounds competing and nipping each other when running is the same thing. They just have thin skin and rip easily so it seems worse.

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Guest Eyeblaura

Enzo does like to play and run. He likes to chase a ball and will bring it back a couple of times for you to throw it again and then he is done. He does nip and air snap when he is playing and he has pinched me before nipping with his teeth in excitement. He also likes for us to lunge and growl at him while he is running and he will growl back. We dare not run in the yard while he is doing a zoomie or we are liable to get tackled by his chase!

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My dogs play by themselves, and a couple play with each other. While I enjoy watching them play, I don't often get involved other than tossing the occasional toy. I honestly think the concept of play is a bit over-rated by humans, and people often encourage their dogs to play more than they would naturally. Some dogs handle this well, but with some dogs, too much excited, fast-paced play may actually contribute to hyperactive and reactive behavior.

Dogs obviously enjoy play sessions, but they are often just as content to just hang out and enjoy our company. And this is true of all dogs - not something unique to greyhounds because "this is something to which they've only had limited exposure while at the track" as stated in the article. Contrary to this popular myth, racing greyhounds get quite a lot of human exposure and handling - probably more than many pets get. They are thoroughly checked to make sure they are sound and injury free before and after every race, get their nails done regularly, have to walk nicely to and from the track with handlers for races, and many trainers even take the time to play with and give individual attention to the dogs in their care.

Generally speaking, I really don't think greyhound play is all that different from other dogs. While intense play can sometimes turn into aggression or trigger prey drive - play, aggression, and prey drive are all different entities. The article seems to lump them all together, or at least not clearly differentiate them. The article does make some important points, such as the sections about not allowing dogs with aggressive tendencies to play roughly, and to keep them away when other dogs or kids are engaging in excited play. However, the author doesn't seem to have a very accurate understanding of how greyhounds are trained to race.

Greyhounds are not "taught to compete" - the competitive nature is bred into them. Just watch a litter of puppies playing and racing each other. But I don't think this competitive nature really has much to do with play, at least not in the sense of increasing the risk of aggression. That has more to do with prey drive toward other animals, which differs between individual greyhounds and often isn't related to how well they raced.

Racing greyhounds are trained to chase a moving object, and run on an oval track. Some have the instinct to try to catch what they chase; others just chase and lose interest if the target stops moving. They don't typically "challenge another dog they may perceive as a competitor" - greyhounds that fight and interfere with other dogs in a race are disqualified so that's not a trait that is selected for.

And rough play isn't necessarily aggressive in nature, although it can be more likely to result in aggression. Part of it depends on the temperaments of the dogs playing and how well they know each other. If they know each other well, respect each others signals, and have well-matched play styles, they may not have any problems with rough play. Rough, intense play can lead to aggression through over-arousal and one dog accidentally hurting the other - similar to how kids playing and getting over-excited can lead to a disagreement or fight. This is true for all breeds of dogs and is not specific to ex-racing greyhounds.

Here's a video of how my greyhound Willow plays with my mixed breed Corey. They've been playing like this since I adopted Willow 6 years ago, and it's never escalated to aggression. They have also never even accidentally hurt each other playing this way.


My other greyhound just plays by himself. Here's an example of how Wiki plays.

 

 


Jennifer &

Willow (Wilma Waggle), Wiki (Wiki Hard Ten), Carter (Let's Get It On),

Ollie (whippet), Gracie (whippet x), & Terra (whippet) + Just Saying + Just Alice

gtsig3.jpg

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Neither of my dogs play or wrestle with humans. They play with each other and with other dogs. The most I get involved is when I toss a toy for them to chase. I'm pretty grateful for this because I HATE when dogs get up in your face and want to rough house. I find it annoying. IMHO, greyhounds have more manners and respect when it comes to interactions with people.

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It's sort of Greytalk blasphemy, but I would never suggest a Greyhound for a family with kids. There are SO many other choices more suited to the lifestyle of rough and tumble play, fetching, frisbee, etc.

 

Of course your kids are disappointed. It's a normal Greyhound, and I expect they're normal kids!



Hamish-siggy1.jpg

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

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I have greyhounds and I have kids. We also have a lab for them to play with. :lol

 

They adore the greys but they are more for comfort and loving. When we go for hikes and bike rides we take the lab.


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~Beth, with a crazy mixed crew of misfits.
~ Forever and Always missing and loving Steak, Carmen, Ivy, Isis, and Madi.
Don't cry because it's ended, Smile because it happened.
Before you judge me, try to keep an open mind, not everyone likes your taste.

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Guest Scarter55

JJNg, wonderful assessment. I likely have a slightly different perspective on this than many of the members here as I have a puppy and have spent quite a bit of time at the dog park. That experience has taught me that all dogs play differently, and different types of dogs seem to have different styles of play. I don't mean breeds though, I mean retrievers, herders, small dogs, etc. I don't get very many sighthounds at the dog park for Lady to play with. As others have mentioned, her idea of play is to run. Her natural instinct is to chase, and it took her a little while to learn to BE chased, after she realized that most of the dogs at the park would rather chase her than be chased. Usually this works just fine, though sometimes they can get rough. When she plays 1:1 with a dog, she likes to "dance", sort of rear up and flail with her paws. Sometimes she finds another dog that likes this and it is a lot of fun to watch them "dance" with each other.

 

There is a big big difference between rough and aggressive. Lady has been hurt a little at the park by a dog who was playing a little too roughly, but clearly wasn't trying to hurt her. We try to avoid that dog now. In general (emphasis on "general", every dog/situation is different), I believe that dogs, especially older dogs, will take care of themselves. Lady (who is now 11 months) has learned to stay away when the play gets to rough. The dogs that like that are always right in the mix. The typically works, the dogs who want to play rough leave her alone when they realize she doesn't.

 

I haven't quite gotten the hang of identifying this perfectly yet, but I've been told by experts that the difference between playing and fighting is all in the body, whether it is stiff or loose. It's not so much in the tail or the vocalizations as is stereotypical. Also, a really good telling sign is if one dog doesn't go back in for more.

 

Of course, Greyhounds are a bit more "fragile" than some other dogs, so we are always conscious of that. A very friendly golden retriever could easily break skin on a Grey without even trying.

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Guest Greyt_dog_lover

Greyhounds are not fragile. They have thin skin, but really are very tough. Case in point: I was at opening day for DuBuque track, second race a hound went end over end in a nasty wipe out. Got up, finished the race at a full run. They did check him out after the race and he was fine. We were there as a matter of fact to take home any hound that happen to get injured during the races, so we were in touch with the vet who did the examination. So, a dog that can wipe out end over end at 45mph, get up and keep going without major injury, thats not a fragile dog. Now that same dog can rub up against a chain link fence and rip its side open, so they do have thin skin.

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Guest Scarter55

I guess I meant thin skinned, not fragile. Wasn't trying to put down the lovely breed that we love so much! :) Lady got hurt by falling and scraping herself up on the sandy surface of the dog park. I always am cautious of the fact that another dog can hurt her by causing her to fall or nipping at her in a way that may not hurt other dogs.

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Guest Wasserbuffel

I play fight and wrestle with my grey, but I would not recommend it for a kid.

 

She growls, snarls, snaps, body slams, paws, and bites at me when we're playing. She's got a good bite inhibition, but I've ended up with a few bumps and bruises from her teeth. Just a few days ago we were cheek to cheek on the bed, her with jaws agape and her teeth pressing into my cheek as she let out a vicious growl, and I growled back at her.

 

I enjoy roughhousing with my dog, and I'm glad she enjoys it too. I would, however, enjoy her just as much if she didn't.

Edited by Jayne

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Some greys play - some don't. My DH wrestles with my grey - and my previous one. They growl, play - fake-bite - jump at each other - DH and dog. DH grabs the dog's head - dog jumps on DH - all the time making terrible noises. They have a BLAST! My dogs would NEVER do that with me, or anyone else. I've tried. They only get rough-housing with DH. They won't play that way with mamma.

 

I can throw toys with my greys. Or get them to jump around and run with me in the yard. Nothing rough though.

 

My greys have never played with DD. Even when she's tried. They seem to match their play to the person - Dad is roughhouse, mamma is toy throwing and petting - and we don't mess with the kid.

 

I really don't mind that. They're conscientious of what is appropriate for each of their humans. Even if it's more conservative than I would go with.

 

To the OP - I'm not surprised that your grey doesn't "play" with your kids. Some greys might - but most are more conservative with their play - and more careful of young people if they're good with young people. The greys I've been with - that are "kid-safe" are very CAREFUL around kids. That's a GOOD thing - but not necessarily a "fun" thing, as far as play goes.

 

My DIana LOVES little children. She'll snuggle up against them, lick them if it makes them giggle, let them hug or paw at her, and wag her tail like a maniac around them. But NEVER - NEVER touch them, or "play" with them. She's too careful.

Edited by sobesmom

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Guest Firedancer

Dancer did not know how to play at all for about 4 months. One day my daughter was playing with her Zhu Zhu Pets (little mechanical hamsters that squeak and move around) and Dancer went nuts for them. She chased them all around the house and took them back to her bed. We couldn't let her chew them, so I started to replace the Zhu Zhu with squeaky dog stuffy toys. Now she will go up to her toys, grab them and shake until her head about flies off. She will also chase the toys after I throw them but always takes them back to her bed and chews on them. I cried when I saw her do this, since I realized she had never had the opportunity to play before. Try to play on her strengths- chasing!

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Dancer did not know how to play at all for about 4 months. One day my daughter was playing with her Zhu Zhu Pets (little mechanical hamsters that squeak and move around) and Dancer went nuts for them. She chased them all around the house and took them back to her bed. We couldn't let her chew them, so I started to replace the Zhu Zhu with squeaky dog stuffy toys. Now she will go up to her toys, grab them and shake until her head about flies off. She will also chase the toys after I throw them but always takes them back to her bed and chews on them. I cried when I saw her do this, since I realized she had never had the opportunity to play before. Try to play on her strengths- chasing!

 

I don't know where you got the idea she "never had the opportunity to play before." Greyhounds are allowed to be dogs, and play, with their siblings, for the entire first year of their lives. Compare that to your typical pet who is taken from his litter at 6-8 weeks old and expected to behave the way humans want it to for the rest of its life.

 

Suggest perhaps you look into some videos of life on a Greyhound farm. They have a MUCH more normal life for dogs than regular pets.



Hamish-siggy1.jpg

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

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Here's an album with photos of 8-wk-old racing greyhound puppies from when I visited an awesome trainer/breeder's farm in Florida a few months ago.

 

And another album of an older litter and some of the adult greyhounds at the same farm.


Jennifer &

Willow (Wilma Waggle), Wiki (Wiki Hard Ten), Carter (Let's Get It On),

Ollie (whippet), Gracie (whippet x), & Terra (whippet) + Just Saying + Just Alice

gtsig3.jpg

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People have already addressed the issues with that article so all I will say is man do I hate generalizations about dogs based on breed or anything else. :)

 

My greyhound girl Violet playing with our mixed breed Skye right around the time I decided I had to adopt her :P:

 

 

Long game of tug:

 

 

What I call their lazy play:

 

 

And Skye playing with Kerry. Kerry is 12 years old, has hind end issues, and has been an only dog since her retirement many years ago. I watch her occasionally for her owner - this was the first time I watched her and had Skye. She was a little awkward at first but it was obvious she wanted to play and Skye is great at tempering her play to the dog she's playing with so I let them figure it out. This is the second or maybe third time they engaged.

 

Huh, can't get this one to embed. You can

.

 

 

So yeah, greyhounds can play. :P

Edited by NeylasMom

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Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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