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Growler Greyhound


Guest Hollymum
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Guest Hollymum

We have now had our four year old ex-racer greyhound for 5 weeks. He is our first greyhound. He has been great so far and very affectionate although two issues are now appearing. The first is that he can be aggressive to other dogs. He wore his muzzle for the first couple of weeks and seemed to be ok with other dogs so we stopped putting it on. In the last two weeks he has taken exception to other dogs whereby his whole body changes, he goes tense and almost stalks the other dog despite reassurance from me. We cannot let him off the lead so this is part of the problem but it seems to occur more when the other dog tries to play. Growling and barking ensue. We are now back to wearing the muzzle! He has not had any bad experiences with other dogs during his time with us.

 

Another issue is that he has now growled both at my husband and at one of my ten year old son's friends. The dog had approached the boy and when he stroked his head he growled. This is a similar thing with my husband. How do we deal with this? We have said "no" firmly and then ignored him and also asked visitors to ignore him too. There were no teeth bared. My husband is at work all day and appears at the end of the day so it is hard for him to walk/feed the dog but he does this at weekends.

 

Is he just asserting himself now that he is settled? He seems quite bright and we have managed to train "stay" (to a point!) and "wait". We have no other issues with him, he is fine about his bed and food.

 

Any suggestions would be gratefully received as I want to nip this in the bud before it becomes a bigger problem.

 

Thanks

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I am by no means an expert, but my first male greyhound was a little like that. He had what I think was a fear of other dogs (those not greyhounds), and it took him YEARS to get over it. He finally got a lot better after a family with a really nice, gentle, calm Lab/Golden moved in next door. I always said that Maddie made Buddy change his mind about other dogs. ;)

 

Buddy was a growler initially, too. Usually if we got too close. We'd tell him "No growling" firmly when he growled, and then ignore him. With Buddy I think it was being bounced from two homes prior to him coming to us; he just didn't know how to trust. It took awhile, but he eventually quit with the growling and would even accept hugging and cuddling. But only from those he knew extremely well. I think he finally realized that he wasn't going anywhere, that we loved him....and then he began to trust us.

 

But there are much more experienced folks here, certified trainers, etc, who can better give you suggestions. My simple advice is be patient, love him, accept him, and be patient. Oh, and be patient. :lol

Phoebe (Belle's Sweetpea) adopted 9/2/13.

Jack (BTR Captain Jack) 9/28/05--11/2/12
Always missing Buddy, Ruby, and Rascal.

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Just a couple of suggestions but as said above, people with more experience will give you additional info.

 

First, do not muzzle him. If something *should* ever happen where another dog gets to yours, your boy (name?) needs to be able to defend himself.

 

Just as important, IMO, is do not let other dogs get near him. It's pretty simple: If he doesn't want to be near other animals, don't put him in that situation. This may mean you'll have to turn around on a walk and/or very firmly tell owners of other dogs that they need to keep their dogs away from your boy because your boy gets upsets and/or is afraid. I don't think your boy is aggressive. It's his way of saying he's afraid, upset, concerned, etc.

 

You said, "We cannot let him off the lead so this is part of the problem but it seems to occur more when the other dog tries to play." I don't understand why you think you should be letting him off lead. If you're in the U.S., you know that letting a Greyhound off leash is not something many of us do, unless in a dog park. If you are talking about being in a dog park, IMO he's too new to you to be taken there. Also, many of us don't even do dog parks because of bad situations that can occur.

 

Regarding the growling: I have no experience with this. My girl has never growled at anything. From reading this forum for a few years, I know that you will be told NOT to tell him "No" when he growls. Growling is a form of communication and a warning given by dogs. You want him to do a warning growl, instead of immediately biting, so you know he is unhappy about something. Many Greyhounds have issues about being approached when they are laying down in that they don't want people to get in their space. If your boy was laying down when he growled, make it a house rule for everybody that they do not attempt to pet "Fido" unless he's standing up. In this situation, you don't want to change the dog's behavior. You want to change the behavior of people in the house.

 

Five weeks is a very short time for him to adjust to his new home. Greyhounds continue to morph for months and even years. It's a wonderful experience but it takes understanding and patience on the part of the humans and remembering that some of the rules will be set by your boy. Rules such as "I don't like other dogs" or "Don't get in my space," are reasonable. If he tries to set a rule "I want to surf the counter for food" then you change his behavior while also leaving no food out for him to get.

 

We need a picture and a name because I'm sure it's not Fido. :hehe

Edited by Feisty49
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Guest Hollymum

Thanks for the replies. The issue with other dogs is easier in that we just avoid heavily doggy areas. The bigger issue is the growling at people. He is the most loving dog to me and my children but has now growled twice at my husband. He is not funny about his bed or food but does not like my husband touching him if i already am. Most of the time he is fine with him. I think we will just have to get visitors to ignore him! Other than these issues he has been brilliant with only a few pees up the curtains and one chicken carcass being pinched when we were stood next to it! Fortunately we managed to wrestle it off of him before any harm was done. Having grown up with gsd and rottweilers i think a greyhound will be a learning curve! He seems bright and has learnt wait and leave it so not all bad. He is called Simba. I will post a photo when i learn how to!

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Guest xengab

5 weeks, he is still adjusting. I've had mine 2 months and only now is he being himself. Many have fear of men, mine was afriad of my husband and groups of men. My hubby walks our grey every day, he also feeds him. IF yours cant do meals, do treats. When he comes over, give him a treat when he doesnt growl. Turn your back when he does growl.

 

We are having toy guarding issues, but have found ways to deal with it. If he growls, we back up and turn our backs, then walk off. He wants to be with us so he follows, we then go back and get the toy. (Football) We throw it for him to play and repeat. Over the weekend (yup 2 days) he now brings it near us, drops it and brings over a different ball for us to throw. We then go get the football, throw that next time. Its working, no one got bitten and he's having fun.

 

We let him have his bed area as his, he seems to need to have something as just his.

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Growling isn't usually about aggression, but about communication. Dogs have very few vocalizations that they can use to convey how they feel. Growling is one of those. If you correct him too strongly and remove his natural inclination to growl as a warning, then he may just learn to skip that stage and escalate his response to something more violent.

 

The key was in your second post - he only growls at your husband when *you* are already touching/petting him. It sounds to me like he is resource guarding you. You are the one feeding and caring for him, and he has bonded with you more strongly than your husband. You are his, and he doesn't like sharing you. It's hard because your husband works long hours, but he needs to take over as much of Simba's care as he can for a few weeks. This will even out the bonding, and help create trust between them.

 

The other thing to do is whenever this situation arises - you're petting Simba, husband comes up to also pet him, Simba growls - you *both* need to immediately get up and walk away. No verbal corrections or anything else, just leave him completely. If that's not possible, stand up and turn your back to him, crossing your arms. Don't pay any attention to him at all for several minutes. He will learn that when he resource guards your attention, he loses *all* the attention.

 

As far as other dogs, greyhounds are often not socialized with breeds other than greyhounds. They don't recognize other dogs as "dogs" like themselves, and it creates anxiety. Often this will lead to some fear and aggressive looking behavior from the anxious dog as he tries to compensate. As with other things that cause anxiety (being alone, thunderstorms, loud noises) you can help him by gradually and calmly desensitizing him to other breeds. If you have friends with calm dogs, ask them to help you. Don't overload Simba with too many new dogs though.

 

Start with introducing one, at a distance. Have them come in and sit/stand, but pay no attention to you and Simba. Just for a minute or two at first, and then leave the space. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Reward Simba generously and vocally for remaining calm, but only when he's calm. Have your friends keep their dog at a distance until Simba seems to accept them easily, then gradually move closer. This might take you several weeks of exposure to work through.

 

If you get the "Celebrating Greyhounds" magazine, it has an article on greeting other dogs and how to manage them properly, along with some good video clips. The magazine is easily worth the subsciption price.

 

Time and patience are your best friends with newly adopted greyhounds. Good luck!

Chris - Mom to: Lilly, Felicity (DeLand), and Andi (Braska Pandora)

35764734494_93de5b5963_b.jpg

Angels: Libby (Everlast), Dorie (Dog Gone Holly), Dude (TNJ VooDoo), Copper (Kid's Copper), Cash (GSI Payncash), Toni (LPH Cry Baby), Whiskey (KT's Phys Ed), Atom

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Thanks for the replies. The issue with other dogs is easier in that we just avoid heavily doggy areas. The bigger issue is the growling at people. He is the most loving dog to me and my children but has now growled twice at my husband. He is not funny about his bed or food but does not like my husband touching him if i already am. Most of the time he is fine with him. I think we will just have to get visitors to ignore him! Other than these issues he has been brilliant with only a few pees up the curtains and one chicken carcass being pinched when we were stood next to it! Fortunately we managed to wrestle it off of him before any harm was done. Having grown up with gsd and rottweilers i think a greyhound will be a learning curve! He seems bright and has learnt wait and leave it so not all bad. He is called Simba. I will post a photo when i learn how to!

 

Our guy doesn't really like any other dogs besides greyhounds (and even then not always). He HATES when another dog jumps on him, and honestly who could blame him? A lot of greyhounds don't like to play rough like other dogs. We have learned to be very forceful (if need be) by telling people to keep their dogs at a distance. I know this can seem sad at first, because we also wanted a dog to take to the dog park and have play dates, etc. However, that just isn't him, and once we accepted that everything has been great. He has growled at us as well. In the beginning it was resource guarding over a toy or bone. He has gotten better, but mostly we just know to leave him alone if he has something in his paws and is laying on his bed. The kind of growling it sounds like you're talking about happened when he and I were on our bed and my mom came up and touched me on the shoulder. He was guarding me! We just worked on him getting to know my mom better (treats!) Try to have your husband feed him for a week if you can.

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Photographer in Phoenix, AZ www.northmountainphoto.com

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It could also be that, when you are petting him and your husband joins in, it's just too much stimulation for him. He's still pretty new to you and maybe that'll change in time, or maybe not.

Think of it this way: you're having a conversation with someone, and a third person comes up and starts talking too. That can be distracting, even overstimulating for some people--could be similar to how your dog feels.

Edited by rascalsmom

Phoebe (Belle's Sweetpea) adopted 9/2/13.

Jack (BTR Captain Jack) 9/28/05--11/2/12
Always missing Buddy, Ruby, and Rascal.

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Guest Hollymum

Thanks everyone. I have spoken to the greyhound rescue behaviourist and she said that he is guarding me and basically becoming a little cocky!. We need to ignore him when we come home and give him affection on our terms. He is no longer allowed to lean on us and we have to be a little restrained for now. We also need to stop all attention if he growls. As for the other dogs we need to carry on meeting them with his muzzle on. Hopefully this will mean that the problems we are having will become less with a little bit of work. He is quite bright and open to being trained so hopefully it won't take long!

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Usually I stay out of these discussions as there is always great advice given. However, I know what the behaviorist told you about muzzling, but I would never do that. If a loose dog attacks, your dog is at a huge disadvantage and if there are other loose dogs they will pack together and attempt to kill your dog if your dog is down and losing the fight, which he certainly will be with a muzzle on.

 

Having the dog on the leash is also a disadvantage to your dog, I am not saying to not have your dog on a leash, because even with no muzzle on the person with the leash is usually trying to stop the fight by pulling on their dog. By pulling your dog he is having problems fighting as his neck is being turned.

 

I would ask the behaviorist what to do if your dog gets attacked with the muzzle on.

 

Just my 2 cents.

 

Dick

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I have a lot of experience with a growler (at people). I suspect that your dog doesn't fully trust you or anyone else yet. If he is feeling uncomfortable or vulnerable in a certain situation he may growl at you or anyone else. As trust builds (which can continue over many years), the growling will diminish although it may never go away completely.

 

At our house we reward growling and never ever discourage it. I want to know when my boy is not 100 percent comfortable with a situation. This ackowledges the dog's right to express itself and is part of preventing a serious incident.

 

My advice - if he growls at someone they should disengage and back up immediately. In time he will come around.

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I muzzle three of my four greyhounds by law. So while I can see all of the arguments against it, given I don't have a choice, I manage it. So I don't necessarily agree with arguments against them. It's up to me to protect my dogs against loose dogs. A muzzle can be a very useful training tool, so I wouldn't dismiss it out of hand.

 

As for the advice about not allowing the leaning, it's a way of my greys showing affection, trust and gaining some reassurance. Given that you've had him such a short period of time, I'd be leary about discouraging it. Ignoring when you come home? Yes, until he calms down. Affection on your terms only? Perhaps, but mine come to me when they need me and want to be with me. It's quite intense if I've been out for a while, but given five minutes of affection, they all wander off to do their own thing.

 

I'd suggest just taking it slower wit him. He'll come round.

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As for the advice about not allowing the leaning, it's a way of my greys showing affection, trust and gaining some reassurance. Given that you've had him such a short period of time, I'd be leary about discouraging it. Ignoring when you come home? Yes, until he calms down. Affection on your terms only? Perhaps, but mine come to me when they need me and want to be with me. It's quite intense if I've been out for a while, but given five minutes of affection, they all wander off to do their own thing.

 

I'd suggest just taking it slower wit him. He'll come round.

Agree with this.

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