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Territory


Guest Shrivy
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Guest Shrivy

We recently adopted Jay almost two weeks ago. He is a 2-yr old dark brindle who did not school very well and never quite made it to the track only logging four races total. He is a very will behaved dog for the most part other than being very rambunctious when he is on the leash while being walked albeit for a very brief time. We have tried to calm this situation with him and it doesn't really seem to work very well at all. He tires himself out quite quickly and is usually pretty docile afte that. The issue we have been having with him is that he seems to be very territorial of his crate and pad. He actually bit my girlfriend on the arm yesterday when she was 'playing' with him as he was on his resting mat on the deck outside our home. He did not break the skin and scared her more than anything but now she is afraid of him and is really struggling with our continuing to have the dog. He also growls anytime you try to secure his crate at any time. The other people in the house are also quite disturbed by the dogs behavior as well and do not want to even go near him for fear of being bit. As I said, he is very well behaved for the most part and these are behaviors we have only seen in the very, very recent past.

Is this something he will eventually stop doing? Any advise will certainly help.

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Space and sleep aggression are common issues in greyhounds, as well as many other breeds of dogs. The issues tend to get better with time, but may not completely go away. Two weeks is not nearly enough time.

 

Our grey, Payton, has space and sleep aggression. Both have gotten much better in the year we have had him, but we have a rule not to bother him while he is in his bed. He is still wary of strangers touching him.

 

Our girl, Lips, hasn’t had a bit of space aggression from day one.

 

There are tons of topic on this issue with lots of great advice. Good luck.

61bd4941-fc71-4135-88ca-2d22dbd4b59a_zps

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 greyhound_in_LA

Your adoption group should have told you or given you materials on space issues and sleep startle aggression with newly retired greyhounds. And they're covered in adoption books.

 

Dogs, not just Greyhounds, can be territorial (guarding or protective) of their personal spaces such as dog beds, crates, etc. It's their personal space. Just like you and I have our own space bubbles and don't enjoy when people get in our face or stand right on top of you, many dogs don't like it either, and Greyhounds have never shared their resting or sleeping space with others. If a dog is lying down and resting or sleeping, you really shouldn't go on that space and bother it.

 

Some dogs can be trained out of it over time; some can't. You are way too early in your adoption to make a permanent decision to give him back. I understand your girlfriend is scared, but actually, it was her fault for not respecting his space and letting him be when he was not wanting to be played with.

 

I think it's important for you and whoever's in your household to review the rules of WHAT NOT TO DO with a new dog.

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Try not to be too worried. This is a very common (if not *the most* common) issue that new adopters have with retired racers. I'm sure everyone will provide excellent feedback to your question- you can also try searching the forum for "space aggression."

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I would reassure your girlfriend as best you can that it wasn't personal -- it wasn't that he doesn't like her; he was feeling frightened or crowded, and it can be hard for us humans to read those signals. Hope she wasn't badly bruised.

 

Our rule here is: No approaching the dog when he's lying down, in his crate, or eating. If we need the dog at those times, we call him up onto his feet (or call him over to us if he's standing up). For being able to latch his crate without a growl, you might try walking past his crate at a distance that doesn't cause him to growl, and tossing him a handful of scrumptious treats (little cheddar cheese cubes, hot-dog coins, etc.) as you walk on by. Several times a day, couple days of that, he'll start to see you approaching his crate as a good thing and not a problem. Can also help to kinda approach sideways when you need to approach him -- shoulder turned toward the dog, head turned partly away, instead of marching toward him straight on.

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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Don't let the word "aggression" deter you. Protecting their bed is natural, as they have had their own space (bed/crate) at the track and are not used to anyone encroaching on that space while they are in it. Greys will sleep with their eyes open. This could have easily been Sleep Startle, not Sleep or Space Aggression. Searching each of those terms here on GT will give you lots of information.

 

A new hound should NEVER be approached or touched while sleeping until you know they are settled and okay with it. You always need to let them know you are approaching their bed, even if they appear to be awake. Even then, the best rule for all is to never pet the hound while on it's bed. Let the hound come to you for pets.

 

We have a "no petting unless the hound is standing" rule in our house just to avoid such instances. It's not really a problem, because he is always showing up to be petted. We have had our boy for over 5 years and to this day, we still only pet him when he's standing so that we know he is awake. He is easily startled when sleeping and will growl / snarl / snap etc. As soon as he realizes that it's one of us, he backs off, but he is obviously not comfortable being touched while sleeping.

 

If your hound is more of a snuggler, this may not be a problem down the road, but your hound is way too new to expect him to know that you are trying to play / pet when he's sleeping.

 

This should have been covered by your group prior to adoption and in the reading materials that groups require you to read before applying.

 

Welcome to GreyTalk. Be sure to post some pictures of your new hound when things get settled.

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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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My greyhound, who I consider completely non-aggressive used to growl on his bed in the beginning. For the most part, he seemed to just naturally get better as he got used to regular household commotion around him. I did the training that Batmom suggested by tossing treats as I walked by him on his bed. I eventually sat down with him and gave treats, then pet/massaged etc. on his bed, never going to the next step until he was totally fine with the previous one. I have absolutely no fear at all now about petting him, he is completely comfortable with anyone on his bed.

 

One thing to be aware of is your greyhound's body language. Subtle things like holding the head slightly back, licking lips, an anxious look in the eyes, etc. can show that a dog is uncomfortable with what you are doing. It is something that most people don't notice so they continue with whatever they are doing, and get a nip or bite, which they incorrectly think was "without warning."

 

Also, space aggression shouldn't be confused with sleep startle which greyhounds also sometimes have. This is when they snap or bite without even realizing it when they are suddenly awoken from a deep sleep. This is something that is difficult to train out as the dog is not conscious of what it is doing. It sounds like your pup was awake when this happened, but just another thing to be aware of. :)

 

 

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Yes, "aggression" sounds so much worse than it actually is. I just don't know what else you would call it so you could search it. I have to tell people all of the time not to bother Payton in his bed. I never say space agression. I say bed issues and then go through the whole spill about how he gets nervous if someone touches him in his bed.

 

At first we were nervous about Payton and we almost returned him. I am so glad we didn't. I love him like crazy.

 

We did the treat when we walked by his bed. It wasn't long before he started looking at us expectantly when we walked by.

61bd4941-fc71-4135-88ca-2d22dbd4b59a_zps

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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You, your girlfriend, and your housemates need to understand that his growling is NOT a personal attack on them. He has never had anyone try and share his bed - ever! Or his crate or his food bowl or anything remotely related to him!

 

You can call it whatever you want, but it comes down to the fact that he is guarding the resource of his bed. He is uncomfortable sharing that space with anyone or anything. This trait will probably lessen over time, but more like several MONTHS than several weeks. Two weeks is just a blip of time in his world, and some dogs just take longer than others to calm down, settle into the household routine, and become trusting of you.

 

I've had three greyhounds who guarded their space. They have all drawn blood on both the DH and I at one time or another. We have never considered that it was their "fault" because it wasn't. We were the ones who made the mistakes. One never got much better, one is partially better but still has occasional issues, and one is now completely over it. But it takes time and patience.

 

For the time being, just make it a house rule - Don't bother the dog when he's laying down on his bed. Period.

 

If you want to pet him or give him attantion, call him over to you. That makes sure he's awake and aware. He's also on his feet and off his bed. If you want to speed the process up, keep a bowl of treats near his bed/crate/ outside pad and whenever you (or any of your friends) go by, throw him a treat. Same as Batmom suggested above for his crate. You need to change his thinking about people approaching him, not punish him for doing something which is instinctual.

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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If you play rough with a dog, it may use teeth. Brees has chewed on me plenty, and my aunt's mixed breed leaves bruises all the time. She likes to chew arms. My glasses have a gouge on one lense from Joe playfully lunging at me. My fault, not his.

 

Both of mine have growled at me when I did something stupid that made them uncomfortable. It's ok. Give him space for a good long while.

 

With Joe, I had a friend stay with him for my first day back to work after bringing him home. She was warned to give him space, not get near him when he was laying down, etc. When I came home, her whole family was there loving on him, in his bed, hanging over him, and generally doing all the things you shouldn't do. He was blissed out! BUT -- you can't use Joe as a pillow. That gets a growl. Brees mostly wants to be inside your body. Just glued to us. Sometimes, though, she gets annoyed when we crawl up her arse, and she growls. Totally fine. We move. Growling is good!

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