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Mystery Screaming - Should I Muzzle In The Backyard?


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This morning I let my pups out in the backyard for their morning potty and went on with my breakfast in the house. Next I knew I heard some growling and barking and then the all too familiar Scream Of Death. I ran out to see my little Honey girl cowering, frozen in place, screaming herself hoarse. Since she's a very vocal girl, and she screams over just about anything, I'm quite familiar with it. My usual response is to just hold her tight and comfort her until she calms down and I can see what happened. Once I got a good look at her she was completely fine, no limping or cuts - except for a mouthful of dirt and some drops of blood on her shoulders (which wasn't hers). I checked over her brother Hank, who at this point was circling around us, and he had a tiny cut on his foot, just above the nail, that wasn't big enough to even drip blood.

 

Here's my best guess at what happened: Honey initiated play with Hank and somehow that play got too rough. Hank probably jumped on her back/neck with his bloody paw and she got knocked over, rolled, or pushed into something that scared her and somehow got a facefull of dirt in the process. Normally she will snap at him when he gets too physical in play, but something happened this time to make her cry for help. Perhaps her corrective snap at him escalated the situation?

 

We've had Honey 4 years and just adopted Hank 2 months ago. This is her first time not being an only dog and I'm hoping this incident isn't indicative of them not being a good match. Besides the occasional step-ons and don't-touch-me's they seem get along just great. They happily share the furniture and toys and seem to understand that there is enough affection and treats for everyone. Honey seems to really enjoy having a friend to bark at cats with. Hank is a handful though - he's a 4yo big boy, constantly underfoot and always in motion, which means he consistently pushes Honey around without really meaning to, and she's fairly tolerant of it.

 

Honey tries to initiate play with Hank by chasing after him, bowing (sometimes grabbing a toy while bowing), and then running away in a chase-me type zoomie. Her favorite game is keep-away zoomies, but whenever Hank makes any sort of contact she snaps at him to make him back off. He's actually really good about listening to her when she asserts her boundaries like that, and games end when she says they end. Honey is definitely a screamer, and is one of those shiny velvety rabbit-fur greyhounds with tissue paper skin, with the disposition to match. She's screamed about being pinched by a blanket before, so it's quite possible she got spooked instead of hurt and I have nothing to worry about. She's also turning 8 in a few months, and has a mild case of arthritis in her hip. She doesn't realize she's officially a senior dog though, and is still her excitable playful self.

 

Since Hank is so young and fresh off the track, I'm still feeling him out in terms of aggressive behavior. He has more energy than any other greyhound I've ever heard of, and is constantly bumbling around and underfoot. He wants to be active all the time, and is up for just about anything (he's great, and here to stay for sure). The first week we had him, an off leash dog started a spat with him while he was already overstimulated, but nobody was hurt. Are there any precautions I should be taking with him? I muzzle him on walks but I'm wondering if Honey would be more comfortable with him muzzled in the backyard (it's a fairly small yard, not enough room for Hank to go full sprint). Are there any specific behaviors that seem like red flags to you that I should look for? Do any of you have an elderly dog AND an almost-puppy and have any advice or tricks for bridging those opposite needs?

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Were they wearing collars? My best guess is that Hank got his toe caught in her collar - this would explain the cut on his toe (as he pulled it free) and her screams of fright and pain because of the yanking on her neck and maybe a degree of strangulation as the collar twisted tightly.

As a FYI, I'd certainly recommend no collars or ONLY breakaway collars when they are playing together, especially unsupervised. Dogs have died through one getting a foot - or worse a jaw - caught in a tag collar, sadly. They twist so easily, causing asphyxiation in the collar-wearer as both dogs panic and fight to get free.

My own feeling is that I wouldn't let a pup and a senior play together unsupervised because of the inequality in their fitness, tolerance, and age levels. I'd probably also limit supervised playtime too, because dogs can be really bad at knowing when enough is enough.


By the way, our first greyhound screamed blue murder when he got a toe caught in a blanket, too! :lol

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The plural of anecdote is not data

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We never leave our dogs unsupervised in the yard. We haven't for over 15 years. We go out in all kinds of weather, and all times of day. I know who made what and how many times. We pick up immediately and monitor fun times. Unless you are putting out one at a time, that would be my recommendation. Your second dog is very new, as well.

Irene Ullmann w/Flying Odin in Lower Delaware
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Definitely muzzle. Definitely.

 

If you're not going to supervise, then you need to protect them from themselves. Worst case scenario, in the time it took you to get outside, one of your dogs could be dead. I've had to make trips to the vet for stitches/staples when things got out-of-hand when I was standing right there watching them. None of these was actual aggression - just dogs playing like dogs - but greyhounds have such thin skin and such sharp teeth, that even a small nip can unzip a dog's whole side easily.

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Guest Greyt_dog_lover

I am of the other camp. I think you are over-analyzing the situation. yes, there may have been a bit of a scuffle, but no big deal. Muzzle them both and let them have fun. Dont worry about the collars and every detail of their daily interactions. Let them be dogs and things will work out, no worries. I know it can be overwhelming, but relax and be calm.

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Muzzle both and let them play -- supervised. No collars or breakaway collars only.

 

My boy screamed when he had his foot in my flip flop. Screaming tends to be drama. The real injuries are often silent.

 

I don't consider my 8 year old a senior, and I certainly let him play with his 5 year old "sister". Hell, my friend lets her 14 year old play with them both, because her 10 year old is the fun police and refuses to let him be the goofball he is!

 

Disclaimer: Your dogs WILL get hurt at some point. Take them for stitches and don't worry about it. You probably already have pet insurance. If not, look into it. It lets you worry less!

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We never leave our dogs unsupervised in the yard. We haven't for over 15 years. We go out in all kinds of weather, and all times of day. I know who made what and how many times. We pick up immediately and monitor fun times. Unless you are putting out one at a time, that would be my recommendation. Your second dog is very new, as well.

 

:nodplus1.gif

 

Definitely muzzle and definitely supervise. Not everyone is comfortable with the idea, but my boys go out naked in the backyard. No collars, nothing. Where are they going to go? The yard is fenced in. My two have very different energy, and in the past there were occasional disagreements with loud barking or snapping for a second or so. I can't call them fights, it was never that serious. However, I knew they were muzzled so i worried less. I always supervise - anything could happen.... although Merlin has stopped badgering Sagan to play since his stroke.

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We never leave our dogs unsupervised in the yard. We haven't for over 15 years. We go out in all kinds of weather, and all times of day. I know who made what and how many times. We pick up immediately and monitor fun times. Unless you are putting out one at a time, that would be my recommendation. Your second dog is very new, as well.

This is exactly what I would have written.

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We never leave our dogs unsupervised in the yard. We haven't for over 15 years. We go out in all kinds of weather, and all times of day. I know who made what and how many times. We pick up immediately and monitor fun times. Unless you are putting out one at a time, that would be my recommendation. Your second dog is very new, as well.

I'm with Irene on this one. NEVER let them out without being there to watch what is going on and to be the police and stop any excessive running or aggressive play. I too know who made what and how often. (We're anal Irene :hehe ). I always say better safe than sorry. When these guys get started, they don't know how or when to stop.

 

Also agree that they should be muzzled when they go out.

 

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