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Highly Selective Dog-Chasing


Guest rotifera
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Guest rotifera

I have a 2.5 year old, smallish male (~65 lbs). I adopted him 2 months ago. He has virtually no prey drive that I can discern. He is terrified of my indoor cat, and shows no interest in cats or squirrels when outside. He has been exposed to large and small dogs. Very small dogs he sniffs and then completely ignores. He tends to ignore most larger dogs too, and any dog who wants to roughhouse. He is polite and tolerant of puppies but again will walk away if they get mouthy.

 

His real preference for playmates are dogs who are a bit smaller than him, but not really small; in the 35-50 pound range. Most of the dogs in this category he will play-bow to and mutually chase back and forth. So long as they know to stop and play-bow back, or show their teeth to make him back off when they're finished, all is well.

 

However, a few of these dogs (I would say maybe 15%) he will give chase to in a way that doesn't seem especially playful. These are dogs who tend to run very fast, are on the submissive side, and when he chases them they will not engage ... only tuck their tails and try to run away more. The trouble is, he's a greyhound and they can't outrun him. My dog has never bit or snapped at one of these dogs, but he does growl and he won't give up the chase until I grab his collar.

 

Is this prey drive? Is this my dog being a bully? I hesitate to call it prey drive because he never exhibits that behavior toward any really small animals. But, maybe smaller animals just don't catch his attention because they don't run fast enough? But then again, if he thinks dogs of this size are "prey," why would he only bully 15% and play fine with the other 85%?

 

I would like to break him of this habit if I can, but if it's prey drive I recognize that that may not be possible. If anyone has encountered behavior like this and can give me some insight that would be great. This is my first greyhound.

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I take it this is at the dog park?

 

I am not a fan of dog parks....it only takes a split second for 'play' to change into 'aggression'.

 

Nancy...Mom to Sid (Peteles Tiger), Kibo (112 Carlota Galgos) and Mario (2nd Chance Rescue).   Missing Casey, Gomer, Mona, Penelope, BillieJean, Bandit, Nixon (Starz Sammie),  Ruby (Watch Me Dash) and especially  Nigel (Nigel), waiting at the Bridge

 

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Guest Scouts_mom

This isn't prey drive, your pup is a bully to that 15 %. It may be that they are giving off signals that they are submissive or something else that makes him think that they need to be chased. And they have probably never met a dog that plays like a greyhound plays. I don't think you can train this out of your dog, so you need to be super attentive to your dog. If you know the other dog's owner, you might suggest that your dogs get to know each other through sharing a walk together (on leash).

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Guest rotifera

Good idea Scouts_mom re: the mutual leash-walk, thanks. Disappointing to hear that my dog is probably a bully, but it seems like there may be a way to work with him on that, as opposed to high prey drive which is a hardwired response.

 

BatterseaBrindl you are correct, this is at a dog park. I have tried to be vigilant with my dog while at the park, never letting him crowd dogs at the entrance, waiting for him to sniff every new dog before I let go of his collar, grabbing him immediately if he does his chasing thing, and taking him out of the park if a small dog shows up or if he bullies anyone.

 

The "small dog" section of the park is almost always empty, it being winter, and when it is I let him in there to play with a select 1 or 2 medium dogs to which he has shown no aggression. He is great under those circumstances. If he I and go in by ourselves he gets no exercise. He just follows me around and won't play with toys or run by himself.

 

I even tried a private meetup today with a woman who has a retired greyhound of the same age. As is his usual pattern with large dogs, my dog was polite to him but showed zero interest in running and playing with him.

 

I live in an apartment with no fenced-in yard, so the dog park is really the only option for him to stretch his legs and run.

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Hi Rotifera (as an aside- is your name referencing the Phylum? if so, that is awesome!)

 

We have a greyhound that is definitely not dog park material. I realize that for some greyhounds it works, but ours will do the same as your dog. If the dog is only running away from him, he "flips a switch" so to speak and will essentially run them down. It only took one time of him doing that for us to realize we needed to keep him out of that environment. It only takes one time for something to happen, and after all we want to set our dogs up to succeed.

 

2 months isn't very long to be used to playing with toys, etc. so I would keep trying and he may get the hang of it. It took a few months but now our GH likes to play fetch with large stuffy toys.

 

The other thing I will recommend, if you haven't tried already, is a flirt pole. It's essentially a large cat-toy that has a toy or other item tied on the end of a piece of rope or bungee (something with some give) and that is attached to a stick. We made ours by taking a small diameter piece of PVC and threading a nylon rope with some give through it to make a length of about 5 feet on the end and then tied a toy with no stuffing to it. Hopefully that makes sense.

 

Our boy will chase that like no-ones business even though he will not run all out with just us or a toy alone. We take that into an empty dog park and he will go to town.

 

Just a suggestion if you want to get him to exercise sans other dogs :)

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Padfoot the greyhound fr. Coach Venom, Joined his forever family: 10-1-13

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If you get in this situation get the owner to call their dog. Sometimes this is the only way to save the situation. Often owners of other dogs will stand there in shock having never seen a greyhound in the chase before. I look after a grey with the same behaviour. A fast medium size dog is a lot of fun to her. It can get very scary very fast.

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Is he nipping at or grabbing onto their necks as he's doing this? If so, I'd say it likely is predatory behavior, but it doesn't matter much what it is because it's not acceptable either way if he's terrifying the other dogs. You might have a short bit of leash (you can just cut a nylon leash so there's no handle at the end that will hang a couple of feet, but not drag or get tangled in his legs) attached to a harness so that you can grab him more easily when he does this. Immediate time out until he calms down adn then release him to "go play". If the time outs don't change his behavior then you may need to select him playmates more carefully or perhaps have him play in a smaller area where he can't get to running at that speed.

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he will give chase to in a way that doesn't seem especially playful. These are dogs who tend to run very fast, are on the submissive side, and when he chases them they ... only tuck their tails and try to run away more.

... he does growl and he won't give up the chase until I grab his collar.

 

Professional racing Greyhounds are often highly competitive while running on race tracks. Many hounds instinctually carry that behavior into retirement when running with other dogs. Also, any moving animal/bag/item outside could be perceived as prey (even if hound is fine with inside cats). In your new hound's case, other dogs may be frightened by his racing behavior, or may be (rightfully) feeling the real danger of becoming prey.

 

Generally in any dog breed, a fearful dog could be considered an "underdog" in a dog pack setting. Wild canine instinct is to hunt down injured, sick, or fearful prey. In a dog park, something as minor as another dog yelping or tripping/falling is enough to spur an entire dog pack attack. This can happen in seconds, too quickly for any humans to intervene in time. (Btw, squeaky toys mimic the cry of live prey.)

 

A few options to consider:

- Perhaps ask your adoption group if they offer "Greyhounds only play dates" where all Greyhounds are safely muzzled while playing together inside a fenced enclosure.

- Possibly another Greyhound adopter with a fenced yard would welcome you and your hound over for play dates.

- Consider limiting dog park visits to times when others are not present. (If he doesn't want to run, take a nice walk instead.)

- Fast-paced leash walks are excellent exercise for healthy Greyhounds.

 

Important note: It is not safe to muzzle only one Greyhound in a dog park setting because if a dog fight occurs, your dog would not be able to defend himself. Also, other dogs often perceive a single muzzled dog as a helpless underdog to attack. General rule: If one dog is muzzled, all dogs should be muzzled.

 

Since Greyhounds are quick sprinters (not endurance runners), they don't require extensive running exercise. Racing Greyhounds average 2 races per week. Each race lasts approximately 30 seconds. Running is nice for retired hounds who have access to safely fenced enclosures, but running is not required for them to live a healthy, happy life. Daily leashed brisk walks are fine exercise for many apartment/condo dwelling Greyhounds.

(If your hound lives with cats, a lure/flirt pole may not be recommended because it reinforces prey behavior.)

Edited by 3greytjoys
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Guest rotifera

Thanks all for the suggestions. I will be sure to be more careful in the future.

 

Neylasmom, there is never nipping, snapping, bowling over, or biting involved, just growling. And I've never seen him go after or show much interest in really small animals (though to be fair I don't let him run loose with small dogs or cats). Hence I am inclined to believe that it is bullying rather than prey drive, but either way I don't like it and I agree he should not be allowed to do it.

 

Padfootx13, Rotifera is indeed in honor of the phylum (love the little guys). I have not tried a flirt pole per se, but I have tried attaching a toy to a long leash, dragging it along the ground and swinging it in the air away from him. He showed no desire to chase it, he just backed away and looked mildly alarmed.

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Don't fall into the trap of believing your dog is going to suffer if he doesn't get to run.

 

I also live in an apartment, I have absolutely no place to let my dog off leash, and I assure you, he is very happy! And on those occasions I have taken him to a Greyhounds-only playgroup, ALL of the dogs tend to have a few bursts of running followed by long periods of sniffing and peeing on everything!


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I'll be the downer here. Are you financially prepared to cover medical expenses if your boy hurts another dog? It just stinks that get blamed when little dogs don't stay on their side of the dog park.

 

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We used to take our boy to the dog park, but we quit because he doesn't like dogs jumping on him or getting in his face and he will snap. With a dog as fast as a greyhound, we aren't always going to be close by if that happens. I would recommend doing the activities that 3gretyjoys recommended. We go to the dog park right before closing when it's empty or don't go at all. There are some greyhounds that seem made for the dog park, but ours isn't and I think yours might not be either. I was a little bummed about that at first, but it's just part of his personality and I've come to accept it. He's a diva!

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest jetska

Is he nipping at or grabbing onto their necks as he's doing this? If so, I'd say it likely is predatory behavior, but it doesn't matter much what it is because it's not acceptable either way if he's terrifying the other dogs. You might have a short bit of leash (you can just cut a nylon leash so there's no handle at the end that will hang a couple of feet, but not drag or get tangled in his legs) attached to a harness so that you can grab him more easily when he does this. Immediate time out until he calms down adn then release him to "go play". If the time outs don't change his behavior then you may need to select him playmates more carefully or perhaps have him play in a smaller area where he can't get to running at that speed.

 

This is good advice. It doesn't matter what you label the behaviour. I have found that time outs worked well with both my greyhounds and their inappropriate chasing. When they were both new I found that little staffies were the most frequent victims because they were often very submissive and likely to scream.

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Guest ms3569

I also recently adopted a young 2.8 mo old male who growls at my son's yellow lab when they run in our fenced backyard. My dog has a very low prey drive . He lives with 2 cats and has no issue with them. He's absolutely fine with the lab in the house and loves when she comes. He wants to playbow in the fenced yard and the lab has no interest. When they run the lab does a good job of keeping up with him and he"ll growl at her. I've started letting them out seperately so this doesn't happen. I haven't seen my dog nip or bite at all, but I'm afraid he might. When he does this we bring him right inside. I feel like his behavior is from his competitive nature but I don't know the breed well. I understand your concern because we love my son's lab dearly and would never want to see her bitten.

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Guest jetska

I also recently adopted a young 2.8 mo old male who growls at my son's yellow lab when they run in our fenced backyard. My dog has a very low prey drive . He lives with 2 cats and has no issue with them. He's absolutely fine with the lab in the house and loves when she comes. He wants to playbow in the fenced yard and the lab has no interest. When they run the lab does a good job of keeping up with him and he"ll growl at her. I've started letting them out seperately so this doesn't happen. I haven't seen my dog nip or bite at all, but I'm afraid he might. When he does this we bring him right inside. I feel like his behavior is from his competitive nature but I don't know the breed well. I understand your concern because we love my son's lab dearly and would never want to see her bitten.

 

That growling could be a playful 'hurry up, is that all you've got' or it could be 'don't touch me, I'm running!', hard to tell without seeing them though.

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  • 3 months later...

I have two greys (Colin and Paddy) who growl ar each other when running in the yard. It's a "Come on, hurry up" kind of thing. When they do that Andy just looks at them and goes back inside, like they were just crazy kids.

Col has next to no prey drive, but Paddy is a dedicated hunter.

You need time to get to know your dog. His behaviour will eventually change in time, when he starts to feel more at home with you.

Sorry for butchering the english language. I try to keep the mistakes to a minimum.

 

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When I went to my first greyhound only playgroup I saw what a bunch of nutheads they can be when they play/run together. They run, growl, bump, etc. From my experience, their "play" often involves fast, competitive running and growling which I think totally freaks out other breeds. Teague is completely fine around other dogs, but I can't take him to a dogpark because he will do just as you say. Basically run them down, bump them, and growl (not aggressive growl, just his "I am very hyper and want to play" growl). Most of the other dogs don't know what to make of it. The whole time he has this goofy look on his face...kind of like the annoying kid who doesn't pick up on social cues from others :P I know he isn't "aggressive", but I am more worried about other dogs snapping back at him, or else him accidently injuring a dog by running it over. I still let him run with dogs that we know and trust, but I avoid the unfamiliar dogs and owners.

 

I have no idea if your situation is similar, but just wanted to point out my experience. My dog isn't at all aggressive, just crazy :P lol

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i'm dog sitting for my daughter's 2 petite dogs. in the house 12# emma is best buddies w/ the greyhound. outside when she is chasing squirrels....or even just darting across the yard, it's muzzle time for my two. outside it's totally free range when it comes to a moving object. as to greyhound get togethers please make sure everyone is muzzled. they play hard and do have pack mentality which can be agressive. it's essential, there was a post many many moons ago about a gh who was seriously injured by the rest of it's housemates. (if someone finds it, this is why we have muzzles or something like that please post. as to dog parks, our dogs skin is paper thin and rips easily w/ the smallest pawing or nip by another dog. it's not worth it!

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