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Growling At Other Dogs


Guest ClydeAndKellie
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Guest ClydeAndKellie

I got Kellie about a month and a half ago. She's not only my first Greyhound but my first dog (i grew up in a cat family). Everything has been great so far, only one accident in the house, no separation anxiety that I am aware while I am gone. Other than trying to eat a dish towel everything has been fine. In the last 3 weeks or so we have been going for rides in the truck to the park, Pet Store, etc. When we meet other dogs Kellie get upset when they get close. When ever a dog gets near her she growls, doesn't seem to display any other aggression and will walk the other way. It's almost like she just doesn't want another dog in her personal space. Is this normal behavior for a greyhound? Is there anything i can do to curb this behavior. I can imagine in the future that this could be problem when being around friends dogs, etc. Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks

 

-Clyde and Kellie

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After only a month and a half everything is still very new for Kelly. So much new stimulation after kennel life limited to just greyhounds.

 

I'd say give her more time to settle in before going on lots of outings. She's telling the other dogs she's uncomfortable - so listen to her.

 

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Peggy still does that to dogs that aren't behaving in a respectful manner - ie. not showing the expected Calming Signals - but it can also be a kind of greyhound play-initiation growl which is more like a 'roar'. You have to really watch the lips and other signs to know what's what.

Real growls she reserves for stupid Border Collies that try to herd her like a sheep.

 

Read that article on Calming Signals and you'll get to know where the other dog's mental state is at. It just takes time to learn your dog.

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Welcome to GreyTalk, and congratulations on your new Greyhound girl! :)

 

Yes, normal for a newly retired Greyhound. Since you mentioned she walks the other way after her courtesy growl, she's likely feeling fearful of strange dogs, and her growling is her communicating her discomfort. (Please don't reprimand her for growling since it is a dog's safe way of communicating their feelings.) She's been dropped in a scary new world. She's trying to adjust to a new home (without her family of Greyhounds at the kennel), new people, new city environment, and other breeds of dogs can look like aliens to newly retired Greyhounds simply because they've never been around other breeds before. I agree to give her more time to adjust, take a few steps back from stimulating environments, and keep some distance between Kellie and other dogs for a while.

 

When I get new fosters, we simply practice taking short neighborhood walks. We pass by other dogs but try to do so from across a street, or if walking straight towards another dog, we turn away to walk in another direction so we can avoid or arc around another dog without close dog-to-dog contact. Eventually, the new Greyhounds become accustomed to seeing other breeds but are no longer fearful knowing they can trust me to keep their personal space safe. After a few weeks or months we can begin working on meeting other well-mannered dogs during walks.

 

BTW, I assume she's riding with you in the front cab of your truck. Just to be aware, dogs do jump out of a moving vehicle's open windows so it's safest to only lower windows about 4" or 5", and go for rides when the weather is cool. (During summer, we usually go for rides after the sun sets.) :)

Edited by 3greytjoys
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I second the no reprimand. Just let other dog owners know even before it happens that your dog is still learning about other breeds and will likely growl but that she is not dangerous.

 

In time with the accumulation of positive interactions with other dogs she will likely stop growling. Some greys do continue to growl throughout their lives. I have one such grey. He will give a little rumble when other large males approach. Dogs that do not respond with the appropriate signals are met with a full display of noise and teeth. This too is acceptable as long as there is never contact. We have never had an escalation beyond this growly display in literally thousands of greetings so the dogs must know exactly what they are doing. Just re-assure other dog owners that there is no danger ( I assume this is the case with your dog). I have yet to encounter another dog owner who has taken exception to my dogs assertive ways and a few owners of unruly puppies have made a point of bringing their young ones over for a "lesson".

Edited by KickReturn
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Well, I'll be the first one to mention the greyhound phenomenon known as "breed snobbery."

 

My George had it. He ONLY liked Greyhounds. Period. No exceptions. Loved all Greyhounds, even from a mile away, but hated all other dogs. In 7 years, the only dogs he adjusted to were my parents, after being muzzled in their house with them for the first 8 hours. He also had a little crush on a German Shepherd that I just can't explain. But all others were met with a "bite first, ask questions later" attitude.

 

I simply kept him away from other dogs and it wasn't an issue for me.

 

I had him 7 years, and he never improved.


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It's not totally uncommon since many greyhounds aren't socialized to other breeds of dogs as puppies during the critical socialization period. The result is that other breeds - especially those who look or act very different - are unfamiliar and thus scary. Dogs who are inappropriately forward in their greetings especially can elicit reactions.

 

The best thing to do is give her space and kindly tell other people your dog is nervous around other dogs she doesn't know and would prefer not to meet them. If you continue to force it, there's a good chance that she'll escalate the behavior if she is unable to move away (leashes get tangled, there isn't room to back up, etc.) or the other dog (and owner for that matter) are unrelenting. In other words, if growling is no longer successful in making the scary dog go away, she'll need to be more forceful, which may lead to snapping, biting, or other more threatening displays of behavior.

 

If you want to change her feelings about being around other dogs, you can pair seeing other dogs with food, but that's best done with the help of a reward based trainer who can show you exactly what to do.

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