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Boyfriend's Dog Doesn't Like Me


Guest LauNachtyr
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Guest LauNachtyr

This is my first post on this website. I hope I can get some good advice and thank you in advanced.

 

My boyfriend lives at home with his parents. They have owned dogs for years. Last year one of the two dogs they had pasted away. They decided to adopt a greyhound, as a playmate for the surviving dog, also a breed they have never owned before. They found a local dog to adopt and adopted Summer, the dog, quickly. Being a rescue dog she is jumpy. The first week she paced the house but eventually got used to her surroundings. My boyfriend and I were at the house the day she was adopted. I am at his house 5 days out of the week so I am practically a member of the family. I used to take care of their previous dogs sometimes, let them out to do their business, feed them, sometimes play with them. Their other dog, Chet, is a flat-coated retriever. He is a very friendly dog with little behavioral problems, and very playful. I get along with Chet very well. He will come and cuddle with my boyfriend and I and he gets along with everyone.

Summer quickly saw my boyfriend's parents as her owners but was very jumpy around my boyfriend and I. we have tried to get her used to us with treats, letting her come to us instead of approaching her. She is wary of being pet on the head so we were told to pet under her neck but approaching her is difficult. When we enter the room she is in she runs to her crate and doesn't come out. If we try to give her a treat she will either take it from us and run off or not come to us at all. We have tried to be in the same room as her crate to get her acclimated to us but it has not worked. Her crate is on the first floor and my boyfriend's room is upstairs. If we are upstairs and his parents are out she whines loudly for attention. If we come downstairs to give it to her she runs off. She is not even comfortable with us in the presence of boyfriend's parents. She will run away or turn away from us. Summer also has this fear of being uncomfortable walking through doorways. If she is near a doorway and there is a person or animal also near that doorway she gets anxious and sprints through the doorway to a less populated area. Once my boyfriend opened the pet door to let her in when their other dog Chet was coming towards her to go out. She became anxious and smacked her hip on the doorway and ran off limping and whining while almost knocking Chet over.

Summer is a very different dog with the boyfriend's parents. When they enter the house she is playful and dogs their feet. His parents take her to dogs parks and pet store meet and greets where she gets along with strangers and their pets.

My boyfriend was able to get Summer to be slightly comfortable with him when he was home with his parents when I was not around. She would greet him at the door but would still run away from him most of the time.

We tried for many weeks for her to get used to us but nothing worked. At one point we gave up because there was no change in her behavior towards us.
His parents have had her for 4 months. About 2 months ago my boyfriend and I sleep startled her. She woke and barked at us and we promptly left the room. Since that time she has been less comfortable with my boyfriend and any progress he had made with her has been wiped from her memory.
Last week his mom went to a family get together with both dogs. Summer was not comfortable with the new enviorment and nipped at two family members, banning her from coming to the get together again. Since this time she seems to bark and growl at my boyfriend and I when we enter the house.
His parents assure me that Greyhounds take a lot of time to get used to people and that we should give her time. I feel that we are not staying even the same with her but getting worse.

 

Boyfriend's parents want me to try giving her treats whenever we enter the house but I'm skeptical about this working. What can I do to get her more accustomed to me and my boyfriend?

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His parents are right. It can take a very long time for a grey to accept different people. It took one of ours six months to willingly approach my husband and acknowledge him. It has taken her another three years for her to be happy up see him and snuggle with him as she does me.

 

The other thing I'd say is that greys are incredibly sensitive to our feelings, and expressions. Watch how your boyfriends parents act towards Summer, their body language, volume of their voices etc. how is it different to yours and your boyfriend? I'm also wondering if you actually like the dog? Because she'll be able to tell.

 

A final thing is whether you and your boyfriend are coming and going a lot in an inconsistent pattern? Routine can very important for these dogs especially at first, and if you're there sometimes, not at others, leaving and coming home at odd times etc, then it may be very difficult for Summer to figure out who you are and what you're doing.

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have you tried offering her some nice yummy treats like chunks of meat, smelly chunks of liver work nicely too (in kitchen with drip resistant floors ;))? or doggy biscuits? if she won't come near you can toss them near her & work yur way closer every day as she get used to you two being treat-givers instead of scary monsters.

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best thing to do is give her time. I had one of my greyhounds for 9 years, and it was only in the last couple of them that she would accept my dog-sitter's husband, and she lived at their house for almost a year before I adopted her.

Sometimes it's not the behavior of the humans, it's the look. Y'all might have a physical resemblance to someone she has bad memories of. I knew of one greyhound who liked everyone UNLESS he/she was wearing a baseball cap. Then that person was evil and not to be trusted. *shrug*

The problem with any second-hand dog is that you don't know their background. You don't know the first four years of Summer's life, so you don't know what you might be doing that is triggering for her.

 

Absolute best thing to do is give her time. That same greyhound I mentioned earlier wouldn't look at me, or let me look at her, when she came into our adoption group. I saw her semi-regularly, because I dog-sit for my dog-sitter, and that's where she was fostered. Even so, it took her at least 4 months before she wouldn't run when I looked at her, and even longer before she'd take a treat from my hand.

 

Patience and love, and love and patience,mixed with peaceful behavior, peaceful body language, peaceful voice tones. And lots of time.

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Please note, just because she is a "rescue" doesn't mean that's why she's jumpy. "Rescue" is a very controversial word on GT and many people assoicate it with euthanization or death. For example, mistreatment that will cause death or pulled from a kill shelter before death takes place.

 

And, no this is not just semantics because many racing greyhounds are treated very well because they are performance/working animals providing a pay cheque for their owners. They do not need rescuing, rather they get adopted. Yes, bad things happen, and it gets reported to the NGA. But so do many wonderful things happen which we don't hear enough of. This topic is also very controversial, but I want to put it out there to set a different tone. I could go on and on but hopefully you get the gist. Others will also have vastly different opinions but I want to stay on topic here.

 

All breeds have different personalities, not just greyhounds. Their world on the track was very predictable and very routine which is what they seem to thrive on when they go to their forever home, even if they are/were extremely timid. And it may depend on their breeding. Flying Penske is well known to have bred very timid pups. They are also not bred to be pets, but adjust well to home life considering this. Some just take more time. It sounds like you are doing the right thing by offering treats, you just need to be patient. I have a shy girl who sees our neighbours all the time and is fine until they try to pet her. In other words you can look at her, but don't go near her because that is scary to her. We adopted her 5.5 years ago and she has improved, so you can see how long it takes some greyhounds. As I said, this is a "dog" behaviour, not just a greyhound thing.

 

It sounds like you should be more wary of approaching her, give her more "high value" treats and wait and let her come to you on her terms. If you feel anxious around her, she will sense this and react. I'm not sure what happened at the family get-together, but she was obviously stressed and given her personality, I suspect it was too soon for her to attend something like this. She knows where her teeth are and didn't bite, but gave lots of warning.

 

I am wondering though if she is getting more stressed and her behaviour is escalating. Without details, it's hard to comment, but I would search for "calming signals" to determine when and what is causing her to be anxious, and read lots of good books such as Patricia McConnel's "The Other End of the Leash".

 

Has anyone contacted the adoption group for advice? That may be another option, but it sounds like some general dog behaviour education may also help.

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Guest LauNachtyr

His parents are right. It can take a very long time for a grey to accept different people. It took one of ours six months to willingly approach my husband and acknowledge him. It has taken her another three years for her to be happy up see him and snuggle with him as she does me.

 

The other thing I'd say is that greys are incredibly sensitive to our feelings, and expressions. Watch how your boyfriends parents act towards Summer, their body language, volume of their voices etc. how is it different to yours and your boyfriend? I'm also wondering if you actually like the dog? Because she'll be able to tell.

 

A final thing is whether you and your boyfriend are coming and going a lot in an inconsistent pattern? Routine can very important for these dogs especially at first, and if you're there sometimes, not at others, leaving and coming home at odd times etc, then it may be very difficult for Summer to figure out who you are and what you're doing.

BFs mom told us to be very quiet around Summer when they first got her. Even talking at a normal indoor voice volume she shushed us but she is very loud. She is the type who always speaks loud and yells across the house often.

 

I neither like nor dislike Summer. When his parents first got her BFs mom told us to sit on the floor with her a lot and I think that's a lot of the problem. We were always quiet and lower than her. I'm thinking that we were acting submissive to her and she sees herself as dominant over BF and I. It's very obvious that Summer sees the parents as authoritative figures. We have tried to play with her, give her treats when we came in the house, pet her under the chin instead on top of the head but no matter what she will still run off. We have stopped trying to approach her because when she runs off sometimes she hurts herself.

 

My BF and I come and go about as much as his parents do. My boyfriend has a strange work schedule (changes weekly) and goes to college 3 days out of the week. I however am there at more regular times, usually noon until 9pm for each weekday. His parents come and go at about the same times. Sometimes when no one is home I have stayed over to get Summer acquainted with me. In the first two month she began to warm up to me. I was even able to get her to lay in my lap and sleep. In that time she would greet my boyfriend when he came home at the door, was excited and playful with him.

 

BF and I are also worried because Summer nipped at his relatives a week ago, grandmother and an aunt. Summer has been banned from going to the relatives house. I believe Summer did this because she was not ready for such a new environment. This is mainly why I want to get Summer more accustomed to us. I have been bit by a dog before; it's tolerable but I'd like to avoid such a situation. I'm also concerned because parents don't seem very concerned.

 

I have done research within this website and found something that I am willing to try: "it might help: Have you tried any rewards or desensitization? For example, every time you walk by the dog on the bed (or another situation that makes him aggressive), throw a really high value treat on the floor. Don't say anything or even look at the dog, just do it casually. Keep enough of a distance that you don't pass the threshold of making the dog uncomfortable. If you do this you need to take a step back so that you only reward where the dog is comfortable. With enough repetition, most dogs will start to look forward to humans walking by and forget about everything else. When this starts to happen, you can start to reward new behaviours, such as giving eye contact, getting closer, petting, etc."

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These are not the actions of a confident or dominant dog. They are the actions, to me, of a timid or fearful one. The advice on the website is good, but as well as that, you just should let her approach you, not approach her. Don't give her a reason to run away.

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Guest LauNachtyr

These are not the actions of a confident or dominant dog. They are the actions, to me, of a timid or fearful one. The advice on the website is good, but as well as that, you just should let her approach you, not approach her. Don't give her a reason to run away.

 

To be honest entering the house is the reason she runs away. I usually walk away so as not to startle her. I rarely walk towards her anymore.

have you tried offering her some nice yummy treats like chunks of meat, smelly chunks of liver work nicely too (in kitchen with drip resistant floors ;))? or doggy biscuits? if she won't come near you can toss them near her & work yur way closer every day as she get used to you two being treat-givers instead of scary monsters.

 

BF and I are going to try to drop treats near her but not beckon her to come to us. I'm hoping this will show her our presence means good/food.

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One of my dogs had a very similar reaction to my SIL.we told him to ignore our timid femake. She would go to the furthest room away from him.it took a while he never acknowledged her presence. The suddenly she went up to him for treats. He didn't look at her or move. He just held his hand open and didn't say a word.time is the best factor. It sounds like her crate in a more public location might give her a safe space and exposure to call many and daily activities.

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It's not her dog. It's a dog which runs away from her. If it were my grey, the last thing I'd do is suggest that someone my dog is showing every sign of not trusting, and who has no experience with spooky, flighty or scared greys, is send them out the door, off my property, with my dog for a walk. Not happening.

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It can be a big help to not look at a frightened dog. Turn sideways to her and keep your eyes pointed elsewhere if you need to be on your feet in the same area that she is. And, keep in mind as others have said that it can take a long time for a skittish one to get used to you.

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Guest LauNachtyr

A whole page of advice and no one says to take the dog for a walk - sigh. Best way to bond and build trust. And if the OP is already walking the dog than how often and how long?

I can hardly get close to Summer to pet her, let alone to affix a leash or strap on a harness. I have walked Chet, the other dog, before. He is even good off a leash for going into a car, sitting on the porch. Summer is not even allowed near an open door because she will dart off. I don't think it would be a good idea to try to walk her if she isn't used to my presence as is.

 

It's not her dog. It's a dog which runs away from her. If it were my grey, the last thing I'd do is suggest that someone my dog is showing every sign of not trusting, and who has no experience with spooky, flighty or scared greys, is send them out the door, off my property, with my dog for a walk. Not happening.

Agreed, she is not my dog. However I have been trusted with the other dogs including Summer in the past. I have taken care of the other dogs, but again, this is a special case. The owners have not had experience with spooky/jumpy dogs before either. Each dog they have had has come into their home already trained by previous owners. That is why this is a troubling thing because even they don't know how to handle her nor do they seem to take me seriously when I have made suggestions about talking to a trainer, etc. I'm taking my own initiative with this.

It can be a big help to not look at a frightened dog. Turn sideways to her and keep your eyes pointed elsewhere if you need to be on your feet in the same area that she is. And, keep in mind as others have said that it can take a long time for a skittish one to get used to you.

I'll keep that in mind. I have made a point to not look at her but to have that confirmed by someone is very helpful.

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I had a semi-spook greyhound that I adopted at age 9. He was happiest in a back bedroom. He came out for meals and to go potty, then went back to the bedroom. I accepted that that was his normal. A few times before he died he popped into the living and looked at us and then went back to the bedroom. He would allow us to leash him for vet trips but otherwise seemed happy with his solitary life.

 

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The thing is that they seem to be doing what we have suggested: taking time, being non-threatening, treats. And it has worked for them, because Summer trusts them. She doesn't trust you or others. So you need to back off, and accept that this isn't a quick or easy fix.

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Guest LauNachtyr

The thing is that they seem to be doing what we have suggested: taking time, being non-threatening, treats. And it has worked for them, because Summer trusts them. She doesn't trust you or others. So you need to back off, and accept that this isn't a quick or easy fix.

I have kept my distance with this dog for months. I can already tell this will have to be a gradual thing. I wasn't look for quick fixes or anything like that. I have done my research and figured out what is best for me to do concerning Summer and best for Summer too. And I intend to do so soon. I don't go towards her, I give her space. BF has a whole floor to himself and the steps to the room are right next to the front door. When I enter the house I go immediately upstairs and leave Summer to herself. My cause for concern was the sudden nipping because Summer had never done that. And following that she began to bark and growl at BF and I unlke before. I would like to avoid being bitten and that's all. I give this dog more than enough space, I am rarely near her crate or her pet bed. I am not trying to force her to like me, I only want her to see me as someone is who regularly over and not as a threat to her. I have not hit her, yelled at her, etc. She still views me as someone who is not welcome. I give Summer her space. I have long since backed off.

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Maybe preparing Summer's meals would help toward her seeing you as something good rather than scary. :dunno

 

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Give her time, patience and love. She'll come around. Please don't get caught up in the rescue vs. retired argument. It is completely irrelevant.

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People tend to want to double their efforts with shy, spooky dogs. We want to hug them and coddle them and prove to them that we're okay and can be trusted. The best thing you can do at this point is the exact opposite. Ignore her. No eye contact, no forced interactions. Toss treats if you want to, but do it from a distance.

 

Think of it this way... If you wanted to hatch an egg, you wouldn't take a blow torch to it. :lol You'd let it warm up in your hand until it comes around on its own. As frustrating as it is, trying too hard to 'make' her like you will be very counterproductive. Just give it time and patience.

 

Best of luck to you.

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Give her time, patience and love. She'll come around. Please don't get caught up in the rescue vs. retired argument. It is completely irrelevant.

OP stated "Being a rescue dog she is jumpy." Implying that she is jumpy because she is a "rescue" is likely far from the truth. Genetics and how people behave towards her are more likely the reasons Summer is jumpy. A little education can go a long way.

 

We often attribute human emotions such as "like" when the real issue is trust. By the sounds of it, she'll come around eventually, it just takes time. Hopefully you'll keep us up-to-date. Greyhounds really are awesome pets. We often refer to this community as a "greyhound cult" :lol

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Guest daytonasmom

A whole page of advice and no one says to take the dog for a walk - sigh. Best way to bond and build trust. And if the OP is already walking the dog than how often and how long?

 

This definitely depends on the dog. My Daytona has lived with me and my 19 year old son for about a year and a half, and still will only go on walks with me. Other people can come with us, but if I'm not there, no walks, period. I think it's one of his funny quirks, but wish he would get over it. More walks would be good for him! Again, one of those situations you just have to wait out, and it seems like with greyhounds the wait can be considerably longer than other dogs.

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I don't think the OP should be walking this dog... HOWEVER what may be helpful and possible is for the whole family to go for a walk together. OP and her BF can walk a few metres ahead of Summer and the parents, not look back or pay her any mind... just chat with each other quietly. If Summer seems comfortable with this or becomes interested in investigating them then they can slow down a bit to let her catch up, and hold really tasty treats out behind them as they walk for her to take.

 

It's definitely important to not rush shy dogs. They'll come around on their own time when they're ready. But I know that can be really hard... I have the hardest time with the shy dogs because I get impatient (not in a bad way... I understand why they take time, I just really want to be friends!).

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Guest Rubbles_Mom

I don't think the OP should be walking this dog... HOWEVER what may be helpful and possible is for the whole family to go for a walk together. OP and her BF can walk a few metres ahead of Summer and the parents, not look back or pay her any mind... just chat with each other quietly. If Summer seems comfortable with this or becomes interested in investigating them then they can slow down a bit to let her catch up, and hold really tasty treats out behind them as they walk for her to take.

 

It's definitely important to not rush shy dogs. They'll come around on their own time when they're ready. But I know that can be really hard... I have the hardest time with the shy dogs because I get impatient (not in a bad way... I understand why they take time, I just really want to be friends!).

I think that's a great idea. In fact that's exactly what I suggested to my roommate who hasn't bonded with Rubble as much as me.
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Guest Bean_Scotch

Just leave the dog be. She'll come around when she's darn good and ready. Go about your normal feeding/elimination/treat giving 'routine' and try not to dwell on it. It only makes it worse. She'll come up to you when she's ready and it takes time, and patience. The more you 'force' the issue, the longer it takes.

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