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Problematic Walks And Interactions - Am I Doing The Right Thing By Her


Guest Cutedogname
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Guest Cutedogname

Thankyou for a wonderful resource, I am a first-time new adopter and have had our girl for a week and she was fostered for about a month before that.

We live in an apartment in a city and have to walk our girl outside to go to the toilet. The main issue is that we live in such a busy area, with lots of cars, people and other dogs that she is constantly on high alert when she goes for a walk. Inside the house she is extremely food-driven, and going ok with our beginner training but this all goes out the door when we walk her. Basically she gets so overstimulated that she either can't really focus, statues/shivers or goes into high alert or all of the above. Even worse, there are a lot of dogs being taken for walks off leash here and the vast majority of them are small, fluffy and running. The rescue organisation made us aware that she is not good with cats or small dogs, and at the time I didn't think this would be an issue because we don't own other pets but didn't realise how many there are in our neighbourhood and how seriously she reacts to them. I can tell that there is a mixture of high excitement, anxiety and definite prey drive, but there are many opportunities for 'worst case scenarios' considering there are so many small dogs running around. For example, she saw two dogs running behind a bicycle the other day and went into overdrive and lunged, jumped and twisted around on the leash to try and follow the dogs. This is happening up to three times a day, dependent on the type of dogs we come across (she refuses to go to the toilet straight away so the walks are around 20 mins each).

I want to do the best by her, but I don't know whether I am helping or hindering her transition to pet life. She is on a trial with us, and in almost every other way she is going really well but I don't want to force a life onto her that she (or we) can't cope with.

Edited by Cutedogname
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Other more experienced posters will chip in I'm sure, but clearly this is a difficult situation for both of you so I wanted to help if I can.

 

She is clearly getting stressed in those situations and that will impact on her whole day. This article about dogs 'running out of spoons' is a helpful read if you haven't already come across it: http://yourdogsfriend.org/spoon-theory-and-funny-dog-gifs/

 

I'm seeing something a bit similar though not nearly so severe here as I adopted a new greyhound (my second) last week. He's not experienced a busy urban environment before, and sometimes he gets nervous about e.g. busy roads, police sirens, strange dogs approaching him. I'm managing this by being careful about when and where we walk so as to avoid stressful situations if possible - avoiding the busiest roads in the rush hour, giving yappy/ off leash dogs a wide berth. I also carry treats with me, and will stop and examine all these strange new phenomena from a distance and then reward him for calm behaviour. I won't say I get it right all the time but I can seeing him growing in confidence.

 

I think for you to succeed you are going to need to do something similar. Can you walk her at times/ in places where it is quieter and you don't encounter so many dogs? It doesn't matter if it's a boring back alley rather than a park - boring is better than stressful. Managing her surroundings is key, and will help build her confidence that you are able to look after her. You also need to develop a firm manner for dealing with any dogs that do run up - and their owners. Maybe someone from your adoption group or her previous fosterer can come over and assess the situation and give you some practical guidance?

 

Re the prey drive: Ken doesn't seem to have much of one but my old boy Doc when he first came to me wanted to chase anything and everything that moved - a carrier bag blowing in the wind, even. With him as with most dogs this did wear off to some extent as he settled into domestic life and realised that he was not expected to chase everything any more - though squirrels, cats and foxes always remained fair game!

Clare with Tiger (Snapper Gar, b. 18/05/2015), and remembering Ken (Boomtown Ken, 01/05/2011-21/02/2020) and Doc (Barefoot Doctor, 20/08/2001-15/04/2015).

"It is also to be noted of every species, that the handsomest of each move best ... and beasts of the most elegant form, always excel in speed; of this, the horse and greyhound are beautiful examples."----Wiliam Hogarth, The Analysis of Beauty, 1753.

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Since she's on trial, you might ask your group to switch her for a "bomb proof" dog. City living is not for every person and certainly not for every dog. The city isn't going to change. Will the dog? Maybe. But maybe not. Better to ask for a dog that is calmer NOW than in six months or a year when you've just had all you can take.

 

My 2 cents.

 

Good luck whatever you decide to do.


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Susan,  Hamish,  Mister Bigglesworth and Nikita Stanislav. Missing Ming, George, and Buck

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Clare gives good advice above, but yeah, sounds like your environment will not be the easiest for the dog to transition to. If you're not up to the challenge of working very slowly and using very careful management (and there's no shame in that - it's certainly not what everyone signs up for when they adopt a greyhound, and most certainly not most first time adopters :) ), I'd do as Susan suggests and see if you can get a more bombproof dog.

 

Good luck!


Meredith with Heyokha (HUS Me Teddy) and Crow (Mike Milbury). Missing Turbo (Sendahl Boss), Pancho, JoJo, and "Fat Stacks" Juana, the psycho kitty. Canku wakan kin manipi.

"Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

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While you make up your mind what to do, I would keep a muzzle on her while out walking, then if a small fluffy does come within reach she cannot 'chomp' on it, causing her to be called a "Dangerous dog" and getting into trouble.

 

My Chancey lives minutes away from forest walks so stress from transport, noises etc. have never bothered her but she is still, after 18 months, on the alert for anything moving when we are walking around the quiet streets of my housing estate. I keep a muzzle on her to account for unexpected meetings with cats or small dogs.

 

Out in the forest when she sees another dog she can become a screaming banshee, leaping straight up in the air, twisting in her collar, trying to get to the other dog. This morning I got her past a couple of dogs successfully by making her stand, with me hanging on tightly to both her martingale and tag collars, then we met a little brown terrier who always comes rushing up to us (we walk with friends most mornings). It was impossible to keep her quiet under those circumstances and I was hanging on to a bucking bronco of a greyhound until the owner of the terrier finally managed to catch her & pick her up. That is dangerous enough on a sandy path, I would hate to be coping with that on a busy pavement!

 

Good luck with whatever you decide.

Miss "England" Carol with Chancey - (Goosetree Chance) and whippet lurcher Nutmeg

R.I.P. Bluegrass Banjoman. 25.1.2004 - 25.5.2015 and Ch. Sleepyhollow Aida. 30.9.2000 - 10.1.2014.

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I would agree with the advice to use a muzzle and I also meant to say that I would walk her in a harness - it's too easy for her to back out of a collar.

 

As others have said this may prove be a hard nut to crack. If you feel it's going to be much of a challenge in your particular circumstances, don't be ashamed to go back to the adoption group and say so. They want their dogs to be happy in their new lives and may well feel another one would be a better fit :).

Clare with Tiger (Snapper Gar, b. 18/05/2015), and remembering Ken (Boomtown Ken, 01/05/2011-21/02/2020) and Doc (Barefoot Doctor, 20/08/2001-15/04/2015).

"It is also to be noted of every species, that the handsomest of each move best ... and beasts of the most elegant form, always excel in speed; of this, the horse and greyhound are beautiful examples."----Wiliam Hogarth, The Analysis of Beauty, 1753.

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I can feel your pain and frustration . Learning about city living with no filters, no privacy can be very scary for a dog.

 

I can tell you about my experience adopting Brady.

 

I had a row house in the city and no yard so the grey I adopted had to be able to potty on the leash and I also had a kitty. I originally wanted a female, cause they are smaller and I thought easier to handle.... They told me they did not have any females at the time that they felt would be a good match. All the females were fine but would be best served in homes with fenced in yards.

 

They did have a big fabulous brindle boy who they felt would fit well and did I want to meet him... Of course and the rest is history.

 

Given that your female is not small dog safe maybe you need to consider different greyhound. Have you been in touch with your adoption group? The adoption group will work with you, because they want you both to succeed. Clearly the small dog and cat issue are bigger than you anticipated.

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The handsome boy Brady, mid-morning nap. The sun, the sun feels so, so, so good.

I can't keep my eyes open ... ... Retirement agrees ...

... and the Diva Ms India, 2001 - 10/16/2009 ....

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Guest Amber

My greyhound was reputed to be small dog and cat safe (from tests and apparently living in a home with cats for 4 days ok) . I requested such a dog because i live in a very busy suburb with heaps of dogs all round and cats coming into my garden.

 

Well for the first month, she had quite a problem adjusting and did not present as remotely small dog or cat friendly! Though she didn't act aggressive or lunge or bark, but stood rooted to the spot staring. After several months she got pretty good with dogs of all sizes and 18 months on, she is reliable with all dogs, but i wouldn't trust her with a cat. She's better at moving on and walking past now tho.

 

The first few weeks always are pretty stressful i think. And even one that is said to be ok with small fluffies may still need to adjust to such a busy environment , like my fey did. agree with others though that as she is known to be high prey and not good with small dogs, who DO have a tendency to run over to greyhounds, then it may be less stressful for her and you if she led a quieter life with a nice big yard and just one walk a day in a quiet area.

 

Sorry if that's not much help, it's not easy at the beginning often, so hard to say how well she may adjust.

Edited by Amber
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Guest Cutedogname

Many thanks for all of your replies. The good news is that she seems to have calmed down a fair bit. We have firstly decided to completely avoid the park unless it is late at night. Walking her when there are fewer distractions is working well. We have come across cats and possibly a rabbit this morning and although she had a big interest in them, she was able to be walked away and lost interest after a while (so proud!).

 

With other dogs, it is becoming clear that she is really just bouncing off their excited energy (why do all the small dogs have to be off-leash and running!?). Since she is still getting used to our area (and freezing every now and then when she doesn't want to come home), we are just trying to take it as easy as possible and trying to let her calm down as much as possible if something sets her off while we are outside.

 

So I do think she is staying with us, we are committed to being patient and working with her to get used to this. I think she does have the capacity to get used to this world and at the moment she is genuinely demonstrating that she has the ability to change :)

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Welcome to GT.

 

Can you find a less "busy" place to take her for outs? She's going to have a transition time and it sounds like it's a bit overwhelming! If you could find a quieter, less busy place that would be great. If not - you may need to find a grey that has already been fostered to adapt to a busy environment.

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I am so glad that things are improving. I agree that walking her in areas that have less distractions is the key.

groupwindia-greytalk2.jpg

The handsome boy Brady, mid-morning nap. The sun, the sun feels so, so, so good.

I can't keep my eyes open ... ... Retirement agrees ...

... and the Diva Ms India, 2001 - 10/16/2009 ....

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Guest daytonasmom

For all those small off-leash dogs - in my area there is a leash law, it is illegal to have your dog off leash when not in a designated public dog park or on private property. If there are similar laws where you are, maybe it's time to let the authorities know there is a problem? If it were me, I'd do an "anonymous" call. Talking directly to the owners, I've found, even while being polite is often less than helpful. (took a few tries, but I managed to put that in the nicest way I possibly could! LOL)

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  • 3 weeks later...
Guest HeatherLee

I have a kind of similar issue with my boy, Gambler. And I've yelled at people something fierce for letting their little fluffy dogs run toward us off leash, or long retractable leashes. And they never did it again :shakefinger This may not be for everyone, but after awhile I had enough of it and when they realize their dog can be seriously injured doing that, they learned to be more careful.

 

Gambler isn't super prey driven, but he barks like a maniac when other dogs are around when we walk around our apt complex (he doesn't have a problem in other public places). I've noticed that when another dog is coming I tense up in anticipation, which only makes him worse so I've started singing to ease tension when other dogs are around. Or when I see another dog I use my happy voice and say something "good boy Gambler, you're such a good boy" while hes still acting good and continues to, which helps a little. This might help a little.

 

Or start by training her in your house. Teach her "leave it" and work up doing leave it with more distractions in your apartment. Or teach her to focus on you when there is a distraction and give her a treat when she looks at you. That way she can associate a distraction with something positive. Try to walk her around your apt when you have less distractions, treat when you behaves well and work your way up to more distracting environments.

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If these dogs are off leash in an area they shouldn't be, I'd call out to the owners "Please leash your dog! Mine is unpredictable and yours looks an awful lot like the rabbits used in training on the track!" I find that this usually gets Fluffy's owner's attention and they'll quickly leash their dog. If that doesn't get action out of them, you can more sternly say "please leash your dog now before mine gets it". I absolutely cannot stand irresponsible owners. It's one thing to have their dog off leash. It's a whole different thing for them not to comply when asked. Best case scenario is they rumor gets out about the new greyhound and people start leading their dogs.

Introducing Tessie, PK's Cat Island 12/9/13
Jackson the Airedale 12/12/05
Forever missing Grace 2/18/03 - 1/19/13 (RT's Grace, 18156/23B) and Fenway 10/10/06 - 9/25/16 (not registered)

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:) Gracegirl, you are using my favourite line - when people think it's OK to let their little dogs come rushing over to "meet" my two big black beauties, I just tell them their dog looks a lot like the lure they chased when they were racing - usually the light goes on and they quickly get control of their little dog(s). If they ask me first it is OK, I use the same line :) because frankly, the cute little dogs have cute little sharp teeth that can do serious damage to my dogs' leg(s).

 

That being said, I really don't think my dogs would hurt them, but I prefer not to test the theory since these are not dogs we regularly meet on our walks. We occasionally meet and walk with a man who has a small pom-type mix. When we first started walking with them, my dogs were interested, but a firm hold on their leashes and my firm "Leave it!" let them know that the little dog was to be left alone! We hadn't seen them for a few days and my girl was more interested than I liked, so I just reminded her that she knows this dog, and told her to "settle down" and we all walked together with no issues. :)

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