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Growling When Meeting New Dogs/dogs Initiate Play


Guest SonjaAndStella
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Guest SonjaAndStella

I've had my 4 year old female greyhound for about a month and a half. She has one play mate who is another greyhound, and they get along well. She doesn't mind other dogs, and really just ignores them, unless they decide to sniff all over her face. When they get around her face, she will growl or bare her teeth. She's also not very fond of it when dogs try to initiate any kind of play that isn't just running around in circles. Any suggestions on how to deal with this? I'm thankful she's giving a warning, and not just biting, but I would still rather her not react that way. Thanks!

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Where is your greyhound having these encounters? On walks? At friends' houses? At a dog park?

 

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Guest SonjaAndStella

Well, tonight, we were on a walk and a dog came up to us off leash. They were fine, and she didn't mind, until he sniffed her face-then she bared her teeth and growled. It seems to always be with off leash dogs, and usually outside. If she meets dogs slowly, and when both of them are on leash, then when we take them off leash to play she is always fine with them. But she seems to not like dogs being in her face in general- especially if she's just met them. And the greyhound she plays with is too polite to get in her face, so I'm not sure what she would do if he did that!

 

A few weeks ago, I did have her at a friend's house with my friend's lab. They met outside first, and got along fine. Then we moved inside after a while, and they just hung around and co-existed. When the lab initiated play, Stella put her ears back and growled. That time, unlike the others, it seemed to me like she just didn't know how to respond. I suppose she isn't used to that sort of play, since she's never been around labs before. That was the only time I have let her off leash with a dog indoors, because I do not want to overwhelm her.

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She's not doing anything wrong. She's just telling the other dogs, in the language that they understand, that she doesn't like what they're doing. It's not aggression and there's no need to correct it. As you've said, if dogs behave politely she's fine. If she were mine, I'd just try to protect her from dogs and situations I knew she didn't or wouldn't feel comfortable with. As she settles in she may develop more tolerance for rude or unwanted behaviour from other dogs, but if she doesn't, that would be fine in my book.

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Exactly what "Hawthorn" said. That's normal dog behavior. She's not a toddler, she's an adult dog who was raised with other dogs and knows how to speak dog to strangers! She's politely telling them, "That's enough of that stranger, back off."


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Guest SonjaAndStella

Thanks! I knew she wasn't being aggressive, but I still wanted to make sure she was acting normally. Other dogs I have had would respond differently, but I know greyhounds are special :)

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Guest k9soul

Actually, new dogs sniffing the face area is kind of considered "rude" dog behavior. It's usually something that happens more once dogs are accustomed to each other and live together. A lot of dogs, having been taken away from mom and littermates as babies, don't really learn normal dog etiquette the way our hounds do. That's why they can get along so well with other hounds but react more negatively to other breeds, at least at first.

 

The other thing to consider is it is an uncomfortable situation to be leashed while the other dog is free. She can't back off or get space or retreat if she needs to, whereas the other dog is free. So she's much more likely to dislike them right in her face in that situation.

 

I would agree with trying to avoid those situations when possible. It would really be nice if people didn't let their dogs off leash, especially if they are going to run up to others. It's not safe for anyone.

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Guest SonjaAndStella

Thank you for your insight. That makes a lot of sense. I don't blame her at all for not wanting them in her face- so if I can't do anything to discourage her growling, I'll try to avoid off leash dogs. That's just hard- some rude dog owner always leaves their dog off leash!

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I think she sounds OK - as long as she is just telling them off and not taking it further.

 

My Fey I would say, is very good with other dogs. She can go to a beach, off leash (I'm in UK and consider it a safe place to let her off leash) and I can pretty much trust her to behave appropriately . She doesn't tend to approach other dogs that much, she will often just walk past and ignore them, or carry on playing with me. If she does approach, it's normally slow and polite. She is also OK with other dogs approaching her.

 

However....there are a few things she doesn't like and one is other dogs putting their paws on her body. She doesn't like playing that way and gives them a little snarl. She doesn't seem to 'get' how to play the way labs do - no wrestling! If a dog runs over and wants to play with her, she tends to do laps at full speed (as far as she is concerned, that is how dogs should play!) and the other dog can't keep up at all.

 

In the first few months, she was a lot more unsure and grumbly, she is much more accepting of other dogs now (after 20 months in my home). And of course, if your dog is on leash and the other dog is off leash, that can make for a more tense encounter, as yours has its 'flight' option removed.

 

So anyway I don't think it's anything to worry about but yes - try to keep really rude /out of control dogs away or avoid them.

 

She may well get more tolerant in time once she has gained confidence; if you can find some nice , calm well mannered dogs to walk with, that will help too.

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I'd be very cautious around off-leash dogs... not for them but for your girl. One little play nip can do damage to a Grey.

 

I'm cautious even when a dog is on a leash because most people let them wander at the full length of the leash. If I see that, and they're on the same side of the street I'm on (no sidewalks here), I immediately stop and put Annie behind me....to protect her in case the dog is too rambunctious but also to avoid me doing something to another dog who hurts my girl.

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