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New Greyhound Loves The Wife, But Quickly Regressing With Me


Guest abbattoir
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Guest abbattoir

Longtime lurker, first time poster. I'm hoping you guys can provide some reassurance or tips to help integrate our greyhound into our lives better.

 

My wife and I recently adopted our first greyhound, a 5 year old male. He had been with another family for 2 years but was returned to the agency because they decided they no longer wanted a dog. After spending a month or so in a foster home looking for his new home, we adopted him. So he is not a "fresh off the track" greyhound, but has lived in a house with people for some time now.

 

In our house is my wife, myself, our 2 cats, and our new dog. His foster before us had a cat, that he ignored, which is one of the reasons we liked him so much. He ignores our cat, and but for the first few days of requisite hissing, they ignore him now, too.

 

The first day we got him he was crazy nervous and anxious, up and about all night pacing, panting, etc. By the second day he had settled down, and by the third was really starting to come around. By day 5, he seemed and acted a lot more comfortable, and would get up and run over to my wife, go crazy, doing all of the "I'm so glad you're home to see you" shenanigans dogs do. With me, he would look up from his bed, wag his tail, and go back to sleep. We looked at it as he just bonded with her a lot faster, and would come around to me in time, at least on some level.

 

At first we would take turns feeding him, and would both walk him 2x's a day. I work close to home so I come home at lunch time to let him out of his crate for 30 min or so, take him outside to go, and just let him walk around the house a bit. During this time, he's been great. No accidents, no bad manners, the only time we've had to scold him was when he started trying to get some food off of the counter top while we were preparing dinner. Which after a stern "no" 2 different times, hasn't been a problem since. And no other problems what so ever.

 

However, lately he has begun to regress with our relationship. Hard to describe, but he seemed to be getting more timid around me, not as ready to interact with me, and stuff like that. To try to build our relationship, I've started exclusively feeding him, and will walk him by myself a couple of times a week. My wife walks him by herself in the morning as I have to get to work. I get home before her in the afternoons, so let him out and we usually have a couple of hours where its just us.

 

During those hours together, he no longer lets me approach him. He will get up and leave, and for the most now part leaves the room if I walk into it (even if I'm not approaching him; ie going through our bedroom to the closet). He doesn't seem to be more attached to my wife than before so, so I don't think its an attachment thing, where he is getting overly attached to her, and gets anxious if she's gone.

 

I get that he might have a favorite (which seems that's obviously her), and that is perfectly fine with me. But I am worried that over the past several days he seems to be growing more distant and apprehensive with me after seemingly making a lot of progress over the first week.

 

I guess my concerns is if this can be a normal process, they become aloof/nervous/uneasy around their new family and that can ebb and flow over time? Is there something I can be doing to get our relationship back in the right direction? Something my wife and I can do together? Any advice? Not sure if there's any other information I can provide that may be of use.

 

Maybe all we need is time, which I fully expected, but again, its the regression of our relationship that has me concerned.

 

Thanks so much for the help and reading this, sorry for the long-winded story.

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Time yes. In addition to this, how about play and fun?

 

Sounds like he has a very structured household with feedings and walkings......but where is the grooming, the petting, the playfulness?

 

I'll tell you - Ryder plays with hubby likes nobody's business. I can play with him, but he doesn't get nearly as riled up and excited as when he plays with hubby. He LOVES hubby, and to be honest, hubby really didn't like him all that much at first. I find that most of the time, if you let them come to you on their terms, it really does work out. But I would recommend some play time and interaction with fun. If you want him to love up on you, be the good cop for a while. ;)

 

Get down on his level and roll a ball around, grab a stuffy....do some fun stuff and interact with him in a different manner. :) Do this on your own, and let him watch you if he doesn't want in on it right away. I find that if you are genuinely having a fun time, he'll feed off that and feel that you are happy and not a threat.

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One idea is carrying some treats in your pocket...nothing makes a dog not apprehensive around you like food.

 

Hopefully some time will make him more comfortable.

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First let me say :welcome2 to GT! I'm also a newbie owner who has gotten a lot of good advice here. I think it's great that you want to do everything you possibly can to make your grey feel comfortable. Giving yummy treats and lots of play will almost certainly win you points, but time and trust will take care of the anxieties your boy is understandably dealing with. I wouldn't be too concerned. Just be patient as your boy learns you're his new daddyman.

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Cheese! Some bribing is always good. If he won't come take it out of your hand just toss it in his direction and ignore him. Best thing to do with a nervous dog around a person is to ignore them.

Give him space and time. He's been through a lot and may be waiting to see where he goes to live next. Quietly read a book in the same room while sitting on the floor. Just lots of calm happy stuff. Embrace your baby talk to. guys aren't always good at that.

Both my dogs made the current BF work for months to be a part of our family. Sunshine was scared of him for a solid 6 months. Rainy refused to acknowledge his existence. He would ask her to move off the couch and she would look at me!

Be aware of your body language. A lot of times guys don't realize how they are squaring their shoulders, looking assertive, stomping around the house in a scary way, yelling at the TV during baseball games.... LOL Not that you have to stop these things. Just may take him little while to realize that it's not scary, just part of guy life.

Time, yummy treats, slow sniffing walks, some massaging, try some fun obedience stuff (make it a game with tons of cookies)
Oh and the best answer is that maybe he needs a more outgoing greyhound sibling... Two is always better than one! ;-)

 

ETA Even though Sunshine was nervous around the BF for the first 6 months, they are not thick as thieves. He is wrapped around her paw and she sees him as her personal play person! Last summer she jumped up and tried to take off with his fishing pole while it was in use! Def not scared of him anymore.

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Jessica

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Time and patience - which you already know. They do go through stages in adapting to new situations. If you want to help him along, become the "Giver Of All Good Things" in his life. Feeding and walks, treats and play time, treats, toys, treats. Lots of treats - high value, very yummy treats.

 

You can also try raising your speaking voice a bit and lowering the volume - NOT saying that your doing anything wrong with your normal tone of voice, but many greyhounds have an anxious reaction to deeper, louder men's voices. Walking together is a good bonding experience as well. Hand-feeding him his dinner can also help.

 

You don't mention where your boy sleeps, but having him in the room where you are sleeping is a good idea. He may ultimately choose to sleep elsewhere, but in the beginning, it helps them to feel like they are part of the pack.

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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Cheese! Some bribing is always good. If he won't come take it out of your hand just toss it in his direction and ignore him. Best thing to do with a nervous dog around a person is to ignore them.

 

Give him space and time. He's been through a lot and may be waiting to see where he goes to live next. Quietly read a book in the same room while sitting on the floor. Just lots of calm happy stuff. Embrace your baby talk to. guys aren't always good at that.

 

Both my dogs made the current BF work for months to be a part of our family. Sunshine was scared of him for a solid 6 months. Rainy refused to acknowledge his existence. He would ask her to move off the couch and she would look at me!

 

Be aware of your body language. A lot of times guys don't realize how they are squaring their shoulders, looking assertive, stomping around the house in a scary way, yelling at the TV during baseball games.... LOL Not that you have to stop these things. Just may take him little while to realize that it's not scary, just part of guy life.

 

Time, yummy treats, slow sniffing walks, some massaging, try some fun obedience stuff (make it a game with tons of cookies)

Oh and the best answer is that maybe he needs a more outgoing greyhound sibling... Two is always better than one! ;-)

 

ETA Even though Sunshine was nervous around the BF for the first 6 months, they are not thick as thieves. He is wrapped around her paw and she sees him as her personal play person! Last summer she jumped up and tried to take off with his fishing pole while it was in use! Def not scared of him anymore.

 

100% with this.... same with Remy.... he was scared to death of my BF.... he comes off very harsh.... when he opens a a door, he throws it open... when he walks, he walks fast and hard.... when he talks, he talks loud and deep.... talk to him in that high pitched, happy tone... always repeat his name in a happy tone.... treats, yummy special treats.... play.... and my BF's secret weapon is THE EAR RUB.... he sticks his thumbs in there and moves them around... he gets Remy to purr.... I can't do it cause I have nails, so my BF is his only source for that special scratch/massage.... he adores my BF now.... even though he is still timid and comes to me always if we're both in the same room....

 

from another room, call him out in a happy voice and let him come to you to get a special treat/play/massage...

 

and give it time.... it takes a good year for their true personality to come out.... to fully trust you.... but it's well worth the wait!!!!

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Actually, I'll offer something a little different. My husband ignores the dogs and it seems to make them *want* to get his attention :lol

 

I am the main provider and I am who plays with the dogs. With one in particular I was constantly trying to get her to come to me or let me hug her or love on her. My husband ignored her and he is who she goes to <_< . It was over time and was not an immediate response but it was something I began to notice. So, maybe not try so much. Give him time to get used to everyone. You and he both will develop your own relationship.

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I'm with kamsmom here. Time, time, time, and don't push it. Keep doing walks and feeding as you can, playtime if/when he's interested, and otherwise let him come to you (and realize that he might not come to you at all for a long time).

 

My greys of 5 years old and older have slept a LOT. I mean a LOT. Some have still been ready to interact with people whenever things are going on, others have really wanted their beauty sleep, even at that young age. So part of what you're seeing is likely, "My brain is full and this is my time to rest. I'll be up and about when everybody's home and not before."

Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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Walter was really stand-off-ish with my boyfriend when he first came home. It took a solid six months for them to bond and this is considering that my boyfriend & I don't live together, so he saw my boyfriend infrequently. It seemed like Walter was afraid of most tall men, not just my boyfriend, and it was difficult for him to realize that it wasn't a personal thing, it was a greyhound-adjusting-thing. It's hard when you first bring them home because you want to love them and shower them with affection and all that but I would give your new hound time and space and you will be surprised when you get nudged and asked for hugs/kisses. Something that I think helped bond Walter & I is that I fed him out of my hand for almost all of his meals the first three months I had him. It helped that it was over the summer, and I have the summers off. Secondly, I talked to him - A LOT. I still do, and I look crazy but I'm fine with it. It helps to femininize your voice, talk high & squeeky like your talking to a baby, it is less threatening and save the deep, rumbley man voice for when your hound is doing something you DON'T want it to do.

 

Good luck, post a lot on greytalk you'll learn so much. Walter & I celebrated his second gotcha day with a great deal of help & support from GT :) good luck & have fun!!

7218108076_e406044464_t.jpg 7004700518_27fa752995_t.jpg Walter (Windy Walker) and Ernie (PG Ernest) @WalterWallerson and IG: WalterandErnie 7150803233_d0700ccbdc_t.jpg 7004711314_ceba54665a_t.jpg

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I find Brooke, our female grey is much more timid around men in general so it took her a bit of time to warm up to my DH too...now she loves him dearly. What he did was let her come to him indoors when she felt more comfortable but he took her for a lot of walks. Of course we also have Ben(male grey) whom she often chooses over us.

 

I just find in general, she does better when she figures out people on her own, rather than when they are all over her.

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 abbattoir

Thanks for the replies everyone! Making me feel better about things.

 

So far we have tried to play with him, but absolutely nothing has piqued his interested. Though apparently he has never been one to play with any toys since entering his retirement (he never did at the several months he spent at his original and second foster, don't know about his 2 yr stint in a home). The extent of his playing so far is to grab one of his stuffed toys, bring it to his bed, and then use it as a pillow. We're not too sure what else to try to get him to play. But we will continue to try.

 

He does sleep in our room at night, and sleeps fine through the night. Other than the first night, where he was restless, he has been great at night.

 

I try not to come to him, but always let him come to me. I also have been trying to be aware of my body language and voice, to try to make it potentially less scary.

 

I guess I was just getting discouraged because the past several days he leaves even if I'm not coming to him. It feels like we took 2 steps forward, but then 2 steps back, and him and I are back to square one. Just when I thought he and I were making progress, it's like I'm a complete stranger all over again.

 

Oh well, I guess I will continue to wait and let time run her course. Thanks again for the replies! This forum has been invaluable in our lead up to getting him and no doubt will be going forward. Hopefully I'll be able to contribute soon enough.

 

PS - I know abattoir has a sinister meaning. Long story from forever ago as to using that screen name, but its just a name!

PPS - what is DH?

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It took Paige 4 months before she would approach my DH and sit on the couch beside him with her head resting on him. It took a further 14 months for her to greet him when he came home, approach him for cuddles and demand butt scratches. He's a blokey bloke and she's reserved anyhow, but to his credit he hung in there, and now things are much better. Part of it was me prompting him to notice when she was asking for attention. Brandi shoves her face into whatever your doing and body-slams you for attention. Paige stands close by you but without touching. Then, if you don't respond she will walk away. I notice and give her attention. I also prompt DH to see her a bit more often.

 

Patience.


DH = Dear Husband

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I found the first few days they seem to be a bit shell-shocked and were out of their element. For example, our first greyhound was extremely timid but I could take her for walks for a few days when we first adopted her. Then all of a sudden she reverted back to her extremely timid self and it took lots of love and patience over the years.

 

Maybe you are experiencing something similar. Be patient. Although he's been in a home before, everything in your home is new; new routine, new humans, new location, new pillow, new toys, new neighbourhood and he doesn't have the ability to rationalize or reason. Think how you would be feeling if you ended up on another planet overnight with a new family and "everything" was new to you.

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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My spooky angel (deceased) girl Zema was terrified of and/or appalled by my dad when she first met him. She would back away from him, barking; skirt around so there were always at least 10' between him and her; refuse to come out of her crate for him; etc. He modulated his strong, deep voice a bit, walked a bit more slowly around her -- in both cases really a bit, not a lot -- and otherwise ignored her shenanigans. After @ 6 months, she decided he was one of her favorite people in the whole world. And he never even fed her yummy treats! :lol

 

So, patience. I know how it feels -- you brought home a dog, and the dog acts like he doesn't give a hoot about you ... but he likely does. It sounds like he's still feeling his way, and there isn't space in his pointy little head to work out everything at once. He'll get there. :)

Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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I'll add my voice to the "benign neglect" side of the equation. I had to do that with Katie when I first got her. Granted, Katie is a spook, much worse than your guy, so you don't have to go as extreme as I did. But let him approach you, try not to force yourself on him. It might be helpful if you can make the area smaller, so that he can't totally escape your presence, but still has room to himself. In other words, if you have something like a great room, put a bed in there, and block off the other rooms, so that you can be in there, he can be in there, and he can just watch you and learn about you, instead of isolating himself at the far end of the house. If he's getting up and leaving when you enter a room, I'd try to make sure I had treats in my pockets and just casually drop one when you are in the room he is in. Don't stop walking, don't look at him, don't talk to him. You just want him to think "hey... this guy walks around and treats rain out of the sky!" He may still leave the room the first few times, but will probably quickly learn to come back and get the treat, and if you are consistent in not pushing interacting with him, will start staying in the room while you walk through. He may even start looking forward to it. Also, when you pet him, try to observe the "5 second rule". Pet briefly, pause, and let him tell you whether he wants more. We humans tend to pet dogs a lot, and they will often tolerate it, but not really enjoy it. This is probably just a phase he is going through, and dogs generally find men scarier than women, so it may not be long before he comes back around.

 

Here's a good video on the 5-second rule:

 

And if you are looking for toys that he might like, I find dogs like treat-dispensing toys. Busy Buddy is an extensive line, with several different types. Kongs are another.

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My blog about helping Katie learn to be a more normal dog: http://katies-journey-philospher77.blogspot.com/

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Guest cruzNhounds

Actually, I'll offer something a little different. My husband ignores the dogs and it seems to make them *want* to get his attention :lol

 

:nod True that!

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All I can tell you is what I have observed from many years and many greyhounds. First some do just like one gender over the other and nothing will change it. Second, in your case, IMO you havn't had him long enough to find out who he really is yet. Really don't worry about it- its too early at this point. They can "change" completely over time. Goldie was such a spook when I got him-especially of men. My husband never tried to push himself on Goldie- he just kept being nice to him - talking sweet to him and OFTEN giving him LOTS of treats- little pieces of cheese, cookies etc. Yes I know that is not optimum for health-but neither is the stress of being scared of half of the human population. Anyway- Goldie slowly came around and eventually had no more fear of anybody-male or female! He loved my husband and enjoyed interacting with him. Yes I was his fav but it in no way inhibited his relationship with my husband. If I were you I would just back off a little on trying to 'make it happen' and instead just concentrate on building engagement with him by giving him lots of treats and love and let him progress at his own pace in your relationship. I really think you'll be surprised at the relationship he will ultimately develop with you. He probably just needs some time and a very slow pace and lots of treats. JMO.

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Guest Greyt_dog_lover

I have had a few very shy fosters come through, as well as I have a very shy girl that I adopted years ago. She was so shy of men that if a man simply looked at her, she would run and hide. When I met her in the kennel the first day she tried to become part of the back of her crate trembling and whining the entire time I was trying to get her out to meet her. She is my favorite, and I am hers. It took a while but this is what I did:

 

1) Hand feed every single meal, the wife didn't feed any meals.

2) I was the only one that gave her any treats, not my wife.

 

For the first week, I had to hold the food in my hand and put my hand behind my back and not move for her to even approach me.

 

After about 6 months of me hand-feeding every meal, and giving her all her treats, she learned to trust me. So much in fact that she will willingly do just about anything I ask. We went to an indoor dog area where they have a pool for the hounds to swim in. I walked up to the edge with her and pointed into the pool and said "Olive, lets go". Without hesitation she jumped into the pool. I have also taken her to agility classes where she is one of the stand-out greyhounds. She will do things for me that most other greyhounds balk at. I attest this to her intelligence, as well as our bond from me hand-feeding her.

 

Chad

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Guest PiagetsMom

Are you the one who always puts him back in his crate? Maybe he anticipates that is what you might do if he comes close to you and he is really ready for more freedom.

 

 

I can't find if you said whether or not you crate your boy, but if so, this would be something to consider. Otherwise, the other advice given has been very good. :)

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Guest Liz_in_PA

After we had had our girl, Bonnie, for a year we took her to the picnic. Bonnie had actually been in other home for a year before bouncing for economic reasons. Her foster family, who had her for a month before we got her, was stunned. They said, "whoa. She actually has a personality?" The foster family was/is very experienced with fostering and the changes in Bonnie surprised them.

 

Dash growled at me for the first 6 months--oh heck, maybe it was a year--whenever I put my arm on his back. It was hard not to do this when his head was in my lap while we were sitting on the sofa. It doesn't bother him anymore. It used to scare the carp out of me. He was my first dog.

 

They change. They relax. They learn. So do we.

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