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Leash Agression, And Occasional Aggression With Other Greys. Ideas?

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Hey -


I'm posting this for a friend. Our greyhounds are inevitably going to be spending time together, but there is this potential aggression problem. Any ideas?


"I've had my 8 year old greyhound for 3 years. He was on the track for over 4 years before I adopted him. He is very good with all people but has very specific triggers that lead to aggression. He has very severe leash aggression toward other dogs, only non-greyhounds. He growls, snaps, lunges and will bite me or whoever is walking him. The bites are always on the thigh right at dog-head-height and through clothing. They cause serious bruising. I have to muzzle him on all walks.

He is an affectionate, obedient, enjoyable pet on all other fronts. I have started him (about 4 weeks now) on a 40mg dose of fluoxetine (he is 80 lbs) and it seems to have taken the edge off the leash reaction.

Over the past few months he has spent a lot of peaceful, even unsupervised, time indoors with a friend's two greyhounds who are not aggressive. When a slight mutual altercation begins he will never back down but will fight and attack until we clap our hands and break it up. About a week ago he unexpectedly punctured the snout of a new greyhound when they were introduced in a friend's apartment. Today he inflicted a similar puncture on the snout one of the very familiar dogs during a scuffle over an empty food bowl. This is a dog he plays with and enjoys being around.

Does anyone have a dog happy dog with sudden and dangerous aggression to predictable triggers? Has anyone had positive results with treating aggression with fluoxetine? I love my dog but his aggression is dangerous and I sometimes think he'd be better in a situation where he never got exposure to other dogs."

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I'm not a trainer in any way, but IMO if this isn't a fixable issue, you'll need to muzzle him whenever he's around other dogs. I know that when Annie and I arrange to meet up with other Greyhounds in an enclosed backyard, they're all muzzled just to protect from the normal snarkiness that can happen during play.

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Fluoxetine (aka: Prozac) only takes the edge off while the dog is being medicated. Fluoxetine has side effects that may become problematic if used very long-term, so consider it a temporary helpful band-aid. Appropriate, skilled (positive method) training must occur at the same time, otherwise, a dog will return to previous behavior once medication is stopped.

(Do not stop Fluoxetine cold turkey.

Consult with a veterinarian whenever changing dose.

Always check with a veterinarian before giving dog any other medication - even over the counter - while on Fluoxetine.)


Owner has been fairly lucky so far, but owner's responsible management of this hound is key. I would discourage the owner from allowing this dog in multi-dog environments (if possible) until a reputable, trained skilled professional is involved.


Any type of highly-valued items like bowls, treats, toys, etc. should not be left around the environment of this dog -- if other dogs are present.


Owner is lucky that clapping stopped a scuffle from escalating to a full-blown fight. Tall chair-backs placed between two dogs can help separate them. A chair-back separates dogs' faces, and keeps human at a little safer distance away.

Common canine behavior: If a fight begins, all dogs in the area are likely to join the fight.


Agree with Feisty49: If one dog is muzzled ALL dogs should be muzzled. (If only one dog is muzzled, that muzzled dog becomes a defenseless sitting duck for severe injury from non-muzzled dogs.)


I strongly encourage this Greyhound's owner is to seek professional help ASAP. A highly skilled professional could make a world of difference.


Reputable links (previously posted by GTer "Giselle"):

Behavior consultants: www.iaabc.org

Find a CPDT-KA trainer: http://www.ccpdt.org/

Veterinary behaviorist: www.dacvb.org

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We had a dog who was on 20 mgs of prozac for the last three years of his life. We built up to that dose and am wonderilng if you just started with 40 mgs. That is a high dose. We were taught exercises and training to do in conjunction with the medication by a behaviorist.


Our dog was leash aggressive, but fine with all dogs indoors. He was very insecure, thunderphobic as well as disturbed by many noises. He was a wonderful people dog. We began muzzling him for all outdoor greyhound events. It kept many dogs out of his face by virtue of the fact that he was muzzled. He was always a work in in progress and we wouldn't change one minute of all our work and expense if he could only have been happier.

Irene Ullmann w/Flying Odin in Lower Delaware
Angels Brandy, John E, American Idol, Paul, Fuzzy and Shine
Handcrafted Greyhound and Custom Clocks http://www.houndtime.com
Zoom Doggies-Racing Coats for Racing Greyhounds

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Since this is an 8-yr-old dog who has been in the home for 3 years, I'm wondering if these have been ongoing problems, or are they newer developments? Especially if the issues are newer, or even if they have been going on for a while but have gotten worse recently, a good vet check to rule out medical issues is essential.

And as 3greytjoys mentioned, medication by itself won't fix the problem. It needs to be combined with training and behavior modification. Did the vet who prescribed the medication also provide a behavior consultation and recommendations, or refer to a qualified trainer or behaviorist?

To address these types of behavior problems, it's important to look at the big picture, all aspects of the dog's life and routine. Any factors causing the dog to experience stress or anxiety, even in situations unrelated to the actual aggression incidents, can affect overall behavior, increase reactivity, and lower the threshold of tolerance.

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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