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Nipping


Guest Zigmeister
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Guest Zigmeister

We have had our greyhound for 4 months. A month ago my brother came over to our house. He was there maybe five minutes and all of a sudden our greyhound nipped at him. Didn't bite him, just a little nip. He did the same thing to a friend who came over. How can we get him to stop this bad behavior? When someone comes to the door, he goes crazy barking.

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Can you provide more info about the interactions? What was your brother doing when your greyhound (what's his name?) nipped him? What was your friend doing? After the barking at the door, how does your dog typically act when you open the door and your visitor enters?

 

Most dogs nip out of fear or insecurity, often to defend themselves when they feel their space has been invaded. But we'd need a lot more info about what's going on with your greyhound to try to help you figure out what's going on.

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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Guest Marsroving

My greyhound nips in a playful friendly way. It's like he thinks we are big dogs! I'm not sure what your situation is but my boy has only done it to me and his other mommy when we are playing.

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Guest Zigmeister

As far as my brother, he came into the house and was just standing there at the table, when Ziggy nipped at him. I don't believe he had interacted with Ziggy or anything. Ziggy just nipped him out of the blue. The friend, came into the house after Ziggy barked when he came to the door, but the friend was sort of worried about Ziggy so I had a hold of his collar. The friend did pet him but as

I said I still had a hold of Ziggy. I let him go then and he seemed all right until I went out the door. The friend followed me and that's when Ziggy nipped at him. Now we aren't quite sure about haivng people over or not. We never had a problem with our first two

greyhounds.

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Figuring out an issue like this can take a lot of observation and recognizing subtle body language. Details to try to pay attention to are what direction the person was facing, any hand movements toward the dog, even if unintentional, whether the person was approaching or leaning toward or over the dog, etc. Also on the dog's part, whether he was showing any subtle signs of stress like calming signals, what he was doing right before the nip, which direction did he come from... Without all the details, and especially not seeing the interaction in person, I'm not sure anyone here can provide much assistance.

 

If you adopted Ziggy from a group, have you contacted them about this problem? Maybe they can send someone to your house to observe him when you have a visitor? I would also consider hiring a professional dog trainer or behaviorist, but make sure you find one who uses positive reinforcement and reward-based training. Using any kind of forceful or confrontational training methods can easily make this type of behavior worse.

 

In the meantime, I would recommend keeping him separated from visitors, and definitely don't hold him for people to pet. Each dog is different, and if he's unsure of people he doesn't know, it's best to have people completely ignore him and maybe just toss him treats. When you do have people over, it's best to keep him on leash so that you have control. Or if you're unable to supervise this closely, put him in a crate or in a separate room.

 

Here's a good article that can help with learning to read canine body language:

http://www.greenacreskennel.com/dog-behavior-and-training/canine-calming-signals-and-stress

 

Best of luck, and keep us posted on how things are going.

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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Guest Giselle

^Exactly.

 

I also want to reiterate: Animals RARELY do things "out of the blue". In fact, I would go so far as to say that they *never* do things entirely randomly. In my opinion, there is always some kind of emotional, neurological, or physiological reason for their behavior. So, if you're new to dog body language, it can seem "random" when, in fact, dogs are constantly giving us clues through subtle body language. It does take a very well trained eye to notice these behaviors and to respond by training the dog to do appropriate behaviors.

 

In this case, it sounds like your dog has a fear of new people. This is absolutely normal for most dogs, but it can turn into an especially dangerous behavior when not treated appropriately. And treating it appropriately requires a very keen eye for dog body language. So, if this is your first time working with a behavior like this and reading body language is rather foreign, I would suggest seeking the help of a professional behaviorist sooner rather than later. When human safety is on the line, it's better to be proactive and find a professional than to experiment on your own. Good luck!

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