Jump to content

Muzzle All Day? Crate?


Guest MagicsMom
 Share

Recommended Posts

Guest MagicsMom

Hi all - total newbie here.

 

Two months ago we adopted Magic from our state Greyhound rescue. Magic has been retired for about 8 months and was fostered with other greyhounds, cats, and children for two months prior to him coming to his forever home with us. We have a 9 year old daughter, a dog, and a cat. He integrated into our home beautifully and has bonded with all of us, including our animals seemingly quickly. He has never shown ANY aggression to anyone in the house in the two months since he moved in.

 

In the past three weeks, Magic has begun displaying some aggression towards the kids who come over and play at our house. He has attempted to bite two kids (we were stupid and didn't muzzle him because he just never showed any sign of needing it as his foster home or here) and is now growling and seemingly aggresive with any other child who comes in and out of the house.

 

I'm researching behaviorists who can begin to help us try to resolve the issue, but in the meantime I feel like I need to muzzle him all day because it's summer, I work from home, and my daughter has her friends in and out all day. It's either this or crate him all day.

 

My first question is this - I have NO experience with muzzling dogs - Is it acceptable to muzzle him all day until we get the behaviour evaluated and/or resolved? Is it more humane to crate him on days when I know there will be kids in and out? We're committed to working this out but I'd feel much better in the short term knowing that it's not inhumane to keep him in his basket muzzle for hours at a time.

 

Second - I know that a professional is the ultimate answer to our situation, but I'd feel loads better if anyone had any been-there-done-that experience. Is this a correctable behavior? Common to greyhounds? The only thing I can tell you is he does display some separaton anxiety and is pretty attached to our daughter. I'm a bit afraid it's a protective thing. We all keep the fact that he's only been in the "pet world" for less than a year and is learnign the ropes. We are patient and committed - we already can't conceive of not having him in our lives.

 

Thanks so much all!

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Lygracilux

Magic is absolutely beautiful! Love his smile in your siggy.

 

Others will chime in on the behavior aspect, as my grey has never had an aggressive issue. But with that said- I'm not one for crating to begin with. If the dog is able to free roam, definitely let him.

It is in no way inhumane to basket muzzle him pretty much all day. My hound Fusion had hot spots in between his legs that he would not stop licking. They got so insanely bad he had to go on antibiotics. As a last resort we basket muzzled him with a stool guard (you wont need a stool guard if you're just making sure he doesn't nip. We just needed it because he could still lick through the muzzle without it)

He had it on from 8:30am to 5:30pm, for about 3 weeks until the spots were completely healed. And he honestly never had an issue with it, minus the crazy rubbing up against my leg when I took it off at the end of the day lol. Actually, he liked getting it put on in the morning because he knew he'd get some yummy peanut butter smeared in it.

 

When he doesnt need it on, dont put it on him. But if there are little kids running around and he's acting this way-muzzling is the way to go for sure.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just want to clarify that he's only aggressive with other kids coming over to the house? He's fine with YOUR kids? I think he's protecting your family. My suggestion would be to muzzle when you know you're going to have other kids/guests over. I'm not an expert as I haven't had to deal with this but you should be holding his collar when the kids come in and have them calmly meet him at the door. You may have them offer him treats to show that they're not a threat. I would absolutely muzzle the entire time the other kids are there, at least for the time being. If it continues to be a problem you may have to crate. I'm sure others who have more experience with this.

 

It's absolutely fine to muzzle as long as needed. Remember, they can eat and drink through the muzzle.

 

Congratulations on your new addition.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest MagicsMom

Thanks Lygracilux and GreyhoundGirl! And thank you for the kind words about Magic. He is freakin' adorable and has such a great smile.

 

To clarify, yes, he is ONLY showing the behavior with other kids coming over the house. He LOVES our daughter. He frequently cries when she is out of sight, particularly when she is upstairs in the playroom. He hasn't learned the stairs yet, so he doesn't understand what's going on up there. He gets most agitated when my daughter in her friends go up there or when they come back down.

 

We always, always, always do the safe introduction tactic,even before this behavior surfaced. We hold his collar for anyone new who comes in, have them stand calmly whille he greets them and pay close attention to his body language. I think having them offer treats is a wonderful idea. We'll keep a small container by the door to start that practice. I've got a vet appointment for him as well just to make sure nothing else is going on, but it "feels" like a protective behavior. He's such a good, sweet boy - I was worried about stressing him out. He wore the muzzle pretty well today although he rubbed the ground back and forth for a while after I put it on. We'll definitely keep doing that.

 

Thanks again for the replies.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Greyt_dog_lover

You really havent given any situational information, so to be able to help you really need to give very specific information to the "aggressive" behavior. I am going to bet that its not aggressive behavior or guarding behavior of your daughter. I am going to say its probably inappropriate interaction from the other kids, but that is just a hunch. It is extremely rare to have a greyhound that is aggressive, more often it is a greyhound that is feeling threatened and is simply growling to show discomfort. For some reason we humans associate growling with aggression, its not. If you could give a few examples of the behavior that you have witnessed first hand, that would be very helpful in giving you some insight. I do agree that a behaviorist can help, just be sure its a behaviorist, and not a trainer.

 

Chad

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Muzzling isn't going to reduce his anxiety about the kids coming and going so wouldn't be my first choice. On the contrary, it may cause his aggression to increase. Instead I would give him a safe area of the house gated away from the kids where they won't have access to him where he can relax without worry. That's better than a crate imo, but if you feel you need to crate for some reason, it needs to be away from the kids where they don't have access to him. They sure as heck shouldn't be able to come anywhere near his crate.

 

Longer term, I think you may need to have a more structured schedule where kids are not "in and out" all day and you'll need a professional to set up a training plan to get him more comfortable with that level of activity.

 

Bottom line, in the meantime, you need to eliminate as much as possible his exposure to kids coming in and out. Reactivity and aggression are almost always fear/anxiety related and I suspect that level of activity is just too overwhelming for him, especially unwanted attention from kids who may be loud, rough, etc. It's your job to protect him from that and keep the kids safe.



We always, always, always do the safe introduction tactic,even before this behavior surfaced. We hold his collar for anyone new who comes in, have them stand calmly whille he greets them and pay close attention to his body language.

There's a good chance this is making his behavior worse. If he's uncomfortable about the interactions and you're holding his collar and forcing him to endure them, what options does he have? Let him have his space.

gallery_12662_3351_862.jpg

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."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest MagicsMom

Chad -

 

The first instance of what I'll call biting behavior (as opposed to excited snapping) occurred when one of my daughters friends (who we watch VERY carefuly because she has a tendency to be rough with dogs) was walking to our upstairs playroom with my daughter. His ears perked up and he just reached out and bit her arm as she started up the stairs. I watched it unfold. He didn't bite down hard - it's what I would called a "warning" bite. No growling, no lead up, just reached out and clamped down. If I ahd to personify it I'd say it felt like a "hey there, that's my person, don't you hurt her up in that room up there".

 

The second instance occurred with a different friend after the girls came downstairs. Magic gave a big bark and snapped at her face. Again, not even touching the dog. The only commonality was the girls having been upstairs. Today, with the basket muzzle on, he growled at a friend who wanted to sit on the floor and pet him, which I stopped her from doing.

 

Hope that helps.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest MagicsMom

There's a good chance this is making his behavior worse. If he's uncomfortable about the interactions and you're holding his collar and forcing him to endure them, what options does he have? Let him have his space.

 

In this case, I'm unclear on how to manage guests at all. To clarify, he is an "eager greeter" at the door. He will enthusiastically greet and provide a nice "nose up the butt" greeting to anyone who walks in if we let him. We held his collar first as a new dog to ensure he wouldn't bolt/inappropriately greet folks, second to make sure when kids come in they don't get knocked over and so Magic has an opportunity to sniff and greet first, and now to ensure there isn't biting or other behavior when kids come in. With a muzzle, I don't think the collar holding is so much necessary anymore, yes?

 

I'm trying to come at this from a place of abudance of caution which balances Magic's health and well being with that of the kids who will inevitably come over. And we will definitely be working with a behaviorist versus a trainer. I worked in college with unadoptable animals by doing socialization work and trying to reduce stranger anxiety but that was a loooong time ago and it seems there are some fundamentally different ground rules with greys. Do you work with them like their pups to teach them household manners?

 

We're working on basic command training but I'll admit the biting behavior is just out of my depth.

Also - a more structured schedule is definitely something we're working to define for the remainder of the summer. This becomes much less of an issue once school is back in sessions, but it's clear we need a way to manage ins and outs until then.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

In this case, I'm unclear on how to manage guests at all.

You simply don't have him in the area where guests are coming in and out. Have him behind a baby gate away from the action and instruct people to ignore him entirely when he's gated away.

 

Greyhounds are dogs. Behavior mod for them is not different than for other dogs though there are some behavioral issues that are common with greyhounds, like space/sleep aggression. Definitely a good call to work with a behavior professional on this issue.

 

I cannot stress enough - muzzling and leaving him free with the kids is not a good solution. It does NOT in any way make him feel more comfortable, it only serves to protect the kids from being badly bitten. It still allows him to feel anxiety over the situation he is in, fails to teach him appropriate responses and allows him to practice the unwanted behavior, and possibly get reinforced for doing so (he snaps, kid gets scared and moves away, snapping got him what he wanted, which was distance from the kids - next time he's more likely to snap sooner). I think it's highly unlikely this is territorial aggression thought I won't say it's impossible, but think it's much more likely anxiety. Either way, not doign him or yourself any favors continuing to put him in situations where he feels the need to aggress.

 

ETA: In case it's not obvious, I'm suggesting a management option - an interim solution until you can get professional help and work through the behavior modification program, which may take some time. But until you can do that, you need some way to eliminate the behavior. The more he reacts the more likely he is to react again. Reinforcement that I mentioned above aside, every time a dog gets anxious or reacts chemicals are being released in the brain that then stay in the system for a while, maintaining a level of arousal for a period of time, making it more likely the dog will reacting to a lesser stressor in the future. Really important to manage until you've worked through the issue. Sorry if I sound like a broken record. Hope that's helpful.

Edited by NeylasMom

gallery_12662_3351_862.jpg

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."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think I would baby-gate Magic away from all the kids and activities that are going for the time being. He maybe feeling overwhelmed by the summertime activity level in your home. I would not allow any neighborhood children near him until you can get a behaviorist or trainer in to help you. I think of this as being proactive and keeping everyone save.

 

2 months with your family and 2 months with his foster family is not a long time.

 

Have you spoken to your adoption group and foster family for suggestions? More children, voices, running. playing, shouting (kids playing voices) all the things you would expect to hear while children are out of school and in and out of the house could be overwhelming him.

 

Can you baby gate him in your office with you?

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 ....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest MagicsMom

Sound advice! Thank you.


Yep! Ordering a second baby gate now (my office has two entries). I'll place his bed in there with me and that's how we'll handle this. You guys are awesome. It's good to know that I can apply typical training techniques with him for the usual stuff (he shows great promise in the house manners areas :) ).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

He's still very new in the house (2 months) and is feeling very nervous. Having so many people coming in and out is hyper-stimulating him and making him anxious. Can you have your daughter go to her friend's houses rather than them coming to your house. Give him time to settle in and calm down.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm going to 2nd or 3rd the opinion to allow Magic to not have to interact with guests at all for a while.

Our boy Kingsley was not aggressive toward new-comers, but definitely nervous as he would stand in another room and peer around the corner. While it does sound like Magic is happy to greet people, maybe just giving him time to feel fully comfortable in his new home will take this stress away for him.

 

You're doing great!

Amy and Tim in Beverly, MA, with Chase and Always missing Kingsley (Drama King) and Ruby (KB's Bee Bopper).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I see you are in Indy. I would give his foster family a call and also the group for advice. Kids can be too much for my Jake, especially if they are loud and moving fast. I would be very careful. Technically he has two biting incidents, whether he broke the skin or not, and you need to know what the bite laws are in your county. I am in Indiana as well. In my county they pick up the dog for a 10 day stay at the shelter if vaccs aren't up to date, and in the past, some multiple bite cases were deemed aggressive dogs and put down. In the county where my daughter lives, they have 0 tolerance for dog bites. I am not trying to scare you. I want Magic to be safe :) There are several Indy greyhound people on the board. Reach out to them and see who they know/have worked with regarding trainers and behaviorists. :)

 

I like the idea of putting him in the office under your supervise with no kids near and make it a happy place. Enjoy your new boy :)

vr2a.jpg
Tonya, mom to May, and my angels Vinnie, Rex, Red, Chase, and Jake.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest MagicsMom

Thanks all! He is happily ensconced in my office. I have two pass throughs so I got gates and put them up. It's been quieter here this morning (kids are outside playing) but I can already tell he feel much less stressed.

 

So glad to have this group! We have reached out to Indy greyhound group and the foster family as well for advice on help and suggestions for behaviorists.

 

Thanks!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 5 weeks later...

Thanks all! He is happily ensconced in my office. I have two pass throughs so I got gates and put them up. It's been quieter here this morning (kids are outside playing) but I can already tell he feel much less stressed.

 

So glad to have this group! We have reached out to Indy greyhound group and the foster family as well for advice on help and suggestions for behaviorists.

 

Thanks!

Excellent! I was reading through this and thought "I think he just needs some space away from the kids". Kids are overwhelming, let's face it LOL! I'll bet that by next summer when kids are in and out all the time again this won't be an issue. He's new, he got comfortable with "his people" and now there are small, hyper strangers around. That's scary! But GOOD FOR YOU for not freaking out, for asking questions, and for dealing with the issue so that your dog, your child, and her friends are all comfortable in your home.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Bean_Scotch

Sounds like you've gotten a 'management' solution, so great! I would look at some counter-conditioning and desensitization techniques to be applied when he's on lead and the kids are loose(muzzled of course). As for if it's acceptable to have a muzzle on a dog all the time...yes. I have a foster Greyhound X here that's still muzzled 20/24hrs a day simply because he has a pretty solid history of aggression and it allows me to see what he would normally do, just not cause harm to any of the other 7 dogs here. If you need some training help--I'd be glad to help you out, my training info is below.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest xengab

Hi,

Im a new greyhound mum too. Our rescue group advised us to get an Xpen and teach the dog to feel safe in there, so when people come over, we can use it and relax. We can move it around the house if we need him away from the action or allow him to be with us but safely contained due to doors being opened.

 

Might be another option for you when you need to help get him used to the kids going by.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...