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Ernie Snapped At My Husband Tonight-Very Scary


Guest laura150
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Guest laura150

I'm feeling really freaked out right now.

Tonight, Ernie was lying on his bed, awake because I could tell, my husband went up to him to give him a pat and say goodnight and Ernie lunged at him, teeth barred, very scary. My husband jumped back like 5 feet and Ernie followed him. He didn't bite him but then just sat back down and acted like nothing happened.

 

I have been on the floor with Ernie a million times and he snuggles up to me and loves the attention. I have never ONCE felt threatened by him. He's snapped at my husband once before when we first got him and Ernie was on his bed.

 

I would guess it's possible sleep (although I know he was awake)/space aggression but is it normal for a dog to be fine with one person 'invading' his space and not another?

 

Again, I'm the main provider of food and runs because of our schedules and I do give Ernie a ton of affection. My husband is really nice to him, gives him lots of treats for encouragement and takes him out during the day (when he can get Ernie to go with him). Why does he trust me more than my husband?

 

I don't want to be in a situation where my husband resents the dog and is afraid of him and I want to learn how to make Ernie trust my husband and feel safe with him.

 

Does anyone have any advice?

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It's possible he was asleep. My rule of thumb is that I never approach the dogs on their beds to snuggle (I learned that lesson the hard way with Dart). I would suggest if you're going to approach Ernie to snuggle on his bed, or anywhere he may be sleeping, call his name loudly to make sure he's awake. Just my 2 cents. I'm curious to hear what other people think.

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Guest laura150

I definitely agree. I always get nervous when my husband goes to pet him because of the first time he snapped at him. I always make sure he is a awake before I approach and he always gives me that ears back look like, oh yes, come pet me. I need to remind my husband that he shouldn't be petting him while he's laying down and that he could have been sleeping.

 

It was more the scary snarl and growl and lunge that made me really nervous.

 

My husband is sulking and I keep reminding him that he needs to give Ernie time, it's only been a little over 2 months since he came home and that this is a somewhat 'normal' greyhound behavior.

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Guest Clawsandpaws

This has happened to my bf and I when we first adopted our dog. It's scary! How was your husband petting him? Was he leaning over Ernie? My dog seems to greatly dislike people who lean on/over him. I think he feels like he will be crushed. It is a guarantee that if you accidentally sit on Dudley he will growl. That's how he tells me "Hey, I'm scared, don't hurt me!" so if it ever escalated to a snarl/snap, it's probably more of a "GET AWAY FROM ME WHAT THE HELL, YOU'RE TERRIFYING"

 

What happened with Ernie seems to be a communication issue, so until you all learn to communicate with each other, I would take a deep breath and relax. Try to learn his "cues" and subtle ways he's telling you what is going on his is doggy brain.

 

A good thing to practice for now: If you want to give Ernie a pat, call him to you, lure him off the bed with a treat and then give the lovins while he is standing.

 

(PS I have very limited knowledge concerning behaviors, but it's late at night, so I figured I would give my 2 cents :))

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I have taught Katie to give a clear signal for when she wants to be petted. It helps clear up situations like this, as long as the human is willing to follow the dog's lead. Which, to be aboveboard and everything, isn't always easy, because there are times when I just want to pet her! I just have to remind myself sometimes that there are two living, feeling beings in this relationship, and it's not always about what I want.

 

Here is a video that I did tat demonstrates the idea:

 

http://youtu.be/u7Yep9zOHNY

 

I hope that helps!

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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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He may look awake, but many greys sleep with their eyes open. Even if he was only zoned out and not sleeping, he was startled and felt threatened. Your pup had a perfectly natural reaction.

 

We have a "no petting unless Rocket is standing up" rule in our house. He startles easily, and often his eyes are wide open when he's sleeping. If you implement this rule, you most likely won;t have any further issues like this. The bed is your hound's safe spot, so it's best that it's his domain.

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Camp Broodie. The current home of Mark Kay Mark Jack and LaVida I've Got Life.  Always missing my boy Rocket Hi Noon Rocket,  Allie  Phoenix Dynamite, Kate Miss Kate, Starz Under Da Starz, Petunia MW Neptunia and Diva Astar Dashindiva 

 

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He may not be enjoying your attention on the bed either, but more tolerating it. A lot of people miss the more subtle signs that a dog is stressed. Pay close attention to what he does when you get on his bed to pet him. Does he do a quick tongue flick or lick his lips, yawn, or turn his head away from you, get very still or sort of sit up more upright and stiffen up? Those are all signs of stress. In which case you might want to rethink how and when you give attention entirely.

 

Otherwise, best thing to do is pair husband approaching dog on bed with some really yummy food (canned chk, hot dog pieces, etc) so that he eventually associates your husband approaching with the same good feelings the food provokes.

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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DH was bitten by our most recent arrival so I do sympathize. I'd agree with the others in terms of making sure houndie is awake and standing. But I think it's also possible for a hound to trust one person more than another because our hounds trust me more than dh simply because I'm around more and work with them more. Try not to get nervous when your husband approaches your hound and everyone try to relax.

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If Ernie had wanted to bite your husband, he would have. Therefore, what your husband got was a very stern warning. Whether he "trusts" you more or not, he does NOT like having your husband pet him when he is laying down on his bed - for whatever reason. I also agree that it's highly likely Ernie was actually asleep, or at least very drowsy. Greyhounds can sleep with their eyes wide open, so our rule of thumb is to always make sure they #1 move, and #2 look at you, before they receive attention of any sort on their bed. Stomp your feet, throw a light stuffy on their body, there are lots of wake-em-up stategies. And your husband needs to make sure he has something nice and yummy on him every time he approaches Ernie on his bed.

 

Also, it sounds like he needs to do some bonding exercises with Ernie. If possible, he needs to feed the dog at least one of his daily meals. By hand, if he wants to speed up the process. He can also take Ernie for walks which are great for bonding. But he needs to take over at least some of the daily care and feeding chores if he wants Ernie to see him as part of his 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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I agree with Jen's (NeylasMom) advice to look for subtle body language to see if Ernie truly enjoys being approached and snuggled on his bed, or is he just tolerating it. How your husband approaches him could potentially be contributing to his response too. Does he approach directly and face-on, and lean over him to pet him? All of those can be confrontational and intimidating approaches for a dog. Whenever I approach one of my dogs while they are lying down, I turn sideways, sit down next to them, and talk to them, before reaching out to touch.

Here's an article with info about some of those subtle signs that can indicate a dog is stressed:
Canine Calming Signals and Stress

Edited by JJNg

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

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Just wanted to add that I'm sorry your husband experienced this as it is very scary and I'm sure he is not feeling so good about Ernie. You are correct it does take time and some pups it takes longer than others (months vs weeks). You have received all good advice in the previous posts and the best solution I believe is your husband needs to bond more with Ernie and also ensure he is awake prior to approaching him on his bed. Both can be done in multiple easy ways, one is as simple as calling Ernie's name before approaching him on his bed to ensure he is awake. In time, Ernie will bond with your husband if he is involved with day to day rituals such as feeding, going for a walk, playtime in the backyard, etc.

 

Again sorry you're both going through this as I know one doesn't want their newly adopted pup to be something they fear or resent.

Kyle with Stewie ('Super C Ledoux, Super C Sampson x Sing It Blondie) and forever missing my three angels, Jack ('Roy Jack', Greys Flambeau x Miss Cobblepot) and Charlie ('CTR Midas Touch', Leo's Midas x Hallo Argentina) and Shelby ('Shari's Hooty', Flying Viper x Shari Carusi) running free across the bridge.

Gus an coinnich sinn a'rithist my boys and little girl.

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Another thing I didn't notice mentioned is if he is bending over Ernie to pet him on the bed. He may feel threatened and trapped if your husband is bending over him. Being this new calling him to come and be petted is best, especially if a treat is also offered.

Sue ,Sky and Dood, Bridge angels Clark, Gypsy, Dreamy and Sneakers, Oshkosh,WI Heartbound Greyhound Adoptionsept2013sigcopy_zps8ad6ed09.jpg<p>

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Sleep Startle Aggression and Bed Posession Grumpiness are different things. The dog can't help the first but it can be trained out of the second. How your DH reacted and has now become sulky isn't helpful, he could have redirected the dog onto something else following that warning snap and thereby not lost 'face' in the mind of the dog. Maybe you could have helped redirect the dog to something else just after? I know it's not easy when you are suddenly confronted like that. Dogs on their beds are best left alone unless you know for sure all their senses are up and running and they know you won't be stepping on them, falling on them, or dragging them off the bed.

 

There's a kind of Dog Behaviour 101 refresher article here:

http://www.dogstrust.org.uk/az/factsheetsanddownloads/factsheetbehaviouralproblems11.pdf

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For what it's worth, our first greyhound was totally my husband's dog. She was off limits to all kids, including our own. I could pet her but other than me and my DH, no one else could. She would go up to people, and look like she wanted attention, but then growl if they would pet her. She was wierd and probably not a good fit for our family but we'd had her nearly a month when she started all the growling so we loved her and were committed to her. She was our first greyhound and despite all my reading, we obviously didn't know what we were doing. Anyway, our group helped us but I wish I'd known about Greytalk -so much knowledge here. Also, there is something about my husband's personality that all dogs LOVE him and he can do things to them that I can't do. So, all that to say, with all the advice you're getting it sounds like you'll be able to work things out with Ernie but it might also be that his relationship with you will be different than his relationship with your DH. Good luck!

<p>Kim and the hound - Rumor
Missing my angels Marlow, Silver, Holly and Lucky

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Guest laura150

He really does invite me to come on his bed and as soon as I get up, he paws me until I pet him again. He is super sweet and affectionate with me. Right now, he's leaning over me waiting for pets after I finish typing.

 

My husband goes to work at 5:20am and is usually home during the day with the dog and then goes back to work, not coming home until 8:30 or so, so he misses Ernie's breakfast and dinner and normal walks. He tries to get Ernie to go outside with him during the day. Sometimes it's successful, sometimes it's not. He takes him for car rides and little trips, so it's not for lack of trying.

 

Is there any other way that he can work with Ernie to build his trust?

 

I realize that while Ernie may always 'like' me more because I'm the affectionate, high pitched voiced, feeder/runner, I want him to trust my husband.

Should my husband be showering him with treats right now?

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Guest LunaTheGreyt

Maybe your husband can give him a snack in the middle of the day? You could take a quarter cup or so from his breakfast and dinner if you don't want to add extra calories, and hand-feeding would be best. :)

 

I know it can be very scary when your own dog acts like that...Luna has food aggression and it can be extremely disconcerting when she snarls and bares her teeth. I wish you all the best of luck with Ernie!

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Having your husband give treats, feed, and take him for walks can help build trust. But honestly, I find that the one thing that does the most to earn a dog's trust is to respect his boundaries, let him solicit interaction at his own pace, and show him that you're not going to put him in a situation that makes him uncomfortable.

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

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You will also notice that I try and follow a "five second rule", where I stop petting frequently so that the dog can let me know whether or not I should continue.

 

 

He may look awake, but many greys sleep with their eyes open. Even if he was only zoned out and not sleeping, he was startled and felt threatened. Your pup had a perfectly natural reaction.

 

 

He may not be enjoying your attention on the bed either, but more tolerating it. A lot of people miss the more subtle signs that a dog is stressed. Pay close attention to what he does when you get on his bed to pet him. Does he do a quick tongue flick or lick his lips, yawn, or turn his head away from you, get very still or sort of sit up more upright and stiffen up? Those are all signs of stress. In which case you might want to rethink how and when you give attention entirely.

 

All these are excellent points. Also from Greysmom about the fact that if Ernie had wanted to bite, your husband would have been bitten. This was a warning.

 

Whether Ernie was asleep or not, I would suggest your husband does some serious reading on dog body language and non-verbal communication. Many people are more 'liked' and trusted by dogs than others simply because they instinctively understand what dogs are saying to them and respond accordingly. Maybe Ernie trusts and likes you better because you are one of these people? Maybe you wouldn't have attempted to pet Ernie at that time because you would subconsciously picked up on the fact that he was not happy about it, but your husband missed it.

 

It's easy to fix, if your husband is willing to put some time and effort into it and not rush Ernie. Get some good reading material (I find Stanley Coren's How To Speak Dog an excellent primer, and also Patricia McConnell's The Other End of the Leash) and have him read it and learn how to read what Ernie is saying. If he is also willing to abide by Ernie's signals and not push his luck (in the way that so many men, and also children, do) then he can probably have the same great relationship with Ernie that you do.

 

I have two sons. One is a natural born 'dog person' who understands on an intuitive level what dogs are telling him, and the other loves the dogs but has to work a bit harder at the language barrier. Sometimes this son gets it wrong, and the dogs therefore trust him a little less - they don't find him so comfortable to be around. I'm pretty sure if we'd had the sort of dog who was willing to show his teeth while that son was living at home, he might well have been bitten - and probably more than once.

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The plural of anecdote is not data

Brambleberry Greyhounds My Etsy Shop

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I'm very sorry this happened. I know it can be very scary. Payton did this same thing to DD and myself within the first couple of weeks of him being here. And I am the one who does the feedings, walks, etc. (along with DD).

 

Payton loves DH but I think it is simply because DH is the giver of hot dogs for absolutely no reason. No work - just a hot dog. I should point out that DH has never touched Payton in his bed.

 

Payton is much better now. I have a treat bowl above his bed and we randomly give him treats when we walk by. He looks for them now.

 

But I think it is just building trust and reading your dog. The clues can be so subtle and sometimes I am still not positive. I leave him alone on those occasions. And as a general rule, no one else is allowed to touch him in his bed.

 

I am sure you and your husband are a little nervous. Joining in training your dog is also a great way to build trust between your husband and your dog. Good luck!

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Payton, The Greyhound (Palm City Pelton) and Toby, The Lab
Annabella and Julietta, The Cats
At the Bridge - Abby, The GSD

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Guest laura150

Thanks for all the advice!

We really think that it was a sleep startle, he wasn't expecting my husband to be bending over him and he snapped. And you're right, if he wanted to bite him, he could have. He was telling him that it wasn't OK for him to be over him and in his space while he dozed/relaxed.

 

I have been had dogs all my life (Ernie is my first greyhound) so I think the point of being a natural dog person vs. my husband who's never had a pet before, speaks volumes. I tend to pick up cues when Ernie is excited, happy or anxious/nervous.

 

My husband continues to give him treats and he's been over to my husband looking for affection. I think he doesn't even remember snapping at him, it was just a warning.

 

The suggestion of giving him a mid-day snack (taking a bit of food away from breakfast and dinner) is an awesome idea. We will do that!

 

Thank you all!

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Guest kalzanetti

I am glad I found this. Just a few minutes ago, Wyatt jumped at my toddler. He was laying on the floor next to the couch I was on. She was just walking over to me. I don't know if she startled him, but I was up fast and was "Hey hey hey No no no." I picked her up and checked, he didn't bite her but maybe could of if I wasn't there. They all know not to go near the dogs when they are laying down. And I am glad I always in the room when they are all out. I am definitely on high alert. I have talked to the kids again and it is known that no one is to be near the dogs without me or either dad. Even if the all 3 dogs are out, they need to leave the room and get behind the gate and wait for us to come back in the room.

 

Going forward, we will start saying his name when walking around the house and he is laying down. Scary to say the least.

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