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Need Help! Growling At My Son


Guest LPop1212
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Guest LPop1212

We are a family of 4 and adopted our greyhound, Rock, 3 weeks ago today. First 2 weeks were fabulous, absolutely no problems. The last week Rock has been growling at my son (6 years old). He has no problems whatsoever with anyone else or my daughter, or our other dog (border collie mix) or cat. The foster family he came from had 2 grandchildren and he did fantastic with them… the group was looking for a family with kids for Rock to go so we were really excited to find him. My son is literally not doing anything to provoke him (not being loud, not messing with his toys/bed, not hanging over him). It usually happens when my son and I are just talking… a few times we have been completely on the other side of the living room and aren’t having anything to do with Rock. Which leads me to believe this might be a jealousy/protective issue with Rock and he sees my son as a threat? He is very attached to me and follows me everywhere in the house 24/7. We don’t want to give Rock up but are not sure where to go from here. I have been having my son help me take Rock for walks, feed him, put his leash on, help brush him, give him treats, put him in/out of his kennel and outside to go to the bathroom. I’ve called 2 pet behavioral consultants today but neither picked up or called me back yet. I really want to try absolutely everything I can here and do what’s best for both Rock and my family. Advice???

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Some training may help. He is still figuring out the routine and what is expected of him, as well as what's okay and what isn't.

 

There are some trainers on the site who will be along to answer your question further about the types of training and methods which will work best. Given that you hound is so new, I wouldn't get too into the behavioral consultants yet - your hound has not had sufficient time to settle into a routine or learn what is expected of him.

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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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On the contrary, any time there is aggression involved, especially directed toward children bringing in a professional is a smart move. None of us can dx the problem without seeing the behavior and you'll get the whole gamut of advice and opinions here. I really have no clue what's going on and would need a lot more info to guess. I think w professional is a good idea. Just make sure they're actually qualified. Ask about their methods and education - you want someone who uses reward based training methods, who understand behavior modification through classical counter-conditioning and who has spent time working with and observing other professionals.

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Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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Yup, consult a professional! :)

Wendy and The Whole Wherd. American by birth, Southern by choice.
"Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup!"
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LPop, where are you located. Maybe Jen can help find a trainer who will answer the phone. :).

 

Good luck, I hope you, your son, and Rock can get this resolved.

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~Beth, with a crazy mixed crew of misfits.
~ Forever and Always missing and loving Steak, Carmen, Ivy, Isis, and Madi.
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Guest LPop1212

Thank you so much for your replies. I am located in the Toledo, Ohio area. We are definitely committed to trying to work through this, and definitely understand that he is brand new but it's just hard to know EXACTLY what to do without knowing exactly what is causing this, which is why I was thinking consulting a professional asap would be most beneficial. In the meantime we are going to keep Rock completely separated from our son (my husband and I both work from home so Rock will be with either him or I 24/7, not kept "away" and lonely of course!)

 

Lynette

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Guest LPop1212

Just an update... we were able to contact a professional behaviorist the day after my original post. He came to our house and worked with us, Rock & our son and gave some fantastic suggestions and exercises we have been doing since. I would say the aggression is slightly better.. no lunging/snapping and it isn't quite as often. But warning barking/growling is still there... When the behavior consultant was here, he wasn't able to say what he thought was really the underlying issue (we had contacted him so quickly I don't think we even had time to process the details of why Rock was acting this way). I've been paying very close attention since and am almost positive it is a space issue. This happens only (1) in my desiginated office room in our house where Rock and I spend a lot of time during the day and (2) in our living room where Rock has a dog bed (but sleeps at night in his crate in our master bedroom). But whenever Rock starts to growl/bark, the kids are nowhere near him- they aren't hugging, hanging, playing on his bed (the kids are very good with the "greyhound rules" as well call them). I think that is really what concerns me is that the kids are minding their own business, 10-15 feet away, and Rock is getting so upset.

 

Right now, my son exclusively is feeding Rock (throwing food gently towards him or letting Rock eat it out of his hand), and we are playing the "look" game (kids get to act loud/crazy and everytime Rock looks at them he is given a treat and praised), both in order to de-sensitize him with the kids. Rock does fantastic with both of these, and has no issues at all with my son feeding him.

 

So my question now... now that I am pretty positive it is a space issue, is there anything more specific/any suggestions of what more I can/should be doing? Should I take the dog bed away from the living room and not let him in that room/not let him nap in there to prevent the space issue? I, or my husband, am ALWAYS in the same room with Rock and the kids, they are NEVER left alone with him. We're going to have the behavioral consultant come back after 2 weeks for a follow up. He did say I can call him if I have questions but definitely wanted to ask you guys first - even though he does have greyhound experience I think this message board is a fantastic resource and maybe a little more greyhound specific :) !

 

Again, Thank you for all for your time and helpfulness!!

 

Lynette

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Check with your trainer. That's what you paid him for. ;) Glad you are feeling more hopeful and making good progress. :)

Edited by NeylasMom

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Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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Agree with the others about listening to your trainer, but I also want to say that this sounds to me like how my Capri growls at Ajax when he's simply near her, in the same room, or even in a different room but she can hear him. She thinks she's the "police" who has to maintain house rules, and that's not actually the case. We were able to teach her that people set and maintain the rules, but have never been able to break her of the attitude of lording it over Ajax. It sounds to me like Rock is acting like my Capri and thinks your son is like our Ajax - in other words, he thinks it's his job to enforce the rules, whatever he thinks they are. Rock needs to learn that ALL of the humans in your house are to be respected, not just you and your husband.

 

One possible way to teach this, is to do the same training we use to teach that the couch is a privilege and not a right. When Capri was allowed on the couch in the early days and if she ever growled at one of us for sitting on the couch too, we would immediately get her down off the couch - revoking her privilege. We would never get angry or yell at her. Just simple "no! get down" with firmness and not let her back up (at least for a while). So in your case, when Rock growls at your son, I would move him out of where ever he is and not let him come back until he is calm and quiet again. It will really drive the point home if you move Rock out of the room and bring your son in! Calmly, quietly, no anger. Simply matter of fact, oops, this happened and so this other thing must now happen. A baby gate would be a good tool for this, to hold him out of the room for a "timeout period". That way you can go back to your calm work without having to physically engage to keeping him out. At first he will try to immediately come back in. Then he'll sulk. Then he'll start to understand and behave. I hope this helps.

Sharon, Loki, Freyja, Capri (bridge angel and most beloved heart dog), Ajax (bridge angel) and Sweetie Pie (cat)

Visit Hound-Safe.com by Something Special Pet Supplies for muzzles and other dog safety products

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Call your trainer, of course! :)

 

 

 

I will tell you my experience, though, and that is that positive wins every time. Once upon a time one of my NEW dogs was doing this to an established resident dog. We didn't scold or remove. We engineered things so as to catch the growler/protector/easily-offended-one BEFORE she growled and rewarded her richly for being calm, relaxed, welcoming. For this particular dog, we did also provide some time away from the fray, where she didn't have to be alert for invaders :lol , but that is an individual dog thing. When we did that, we were careful to time it so that it would not be viewed as punishment for anything; just "hey, it's nap time for dogs" with its own delicious little rewards...... The results weren't instantaneous, but in a couple of weeks it was like the problem had never existed.

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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