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Greyhound's Relationship With Wife And New Baby


Guest Neurobio7
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Guest Neurobio7

Hello all,

I haven't posted on here in a while but I need some sage advice. I have had dogs all my life while my wife isn't so much an animal person. We adopted a former racer together 2 and half years ago but we were living an hour apart (for work) so he lived permanently with me. We recently got married and had a baby so we live together now and suffer with longer commutes. Now there are problems with my wife and dog's relationship, especially relating to the baby.

 

Darwin was listed as cat-safe when we adopted him, but clearly was not. We have two cats that now live in the basement and come up when I am home and can mediate their interactions. If he is sleepy in his bed he will let the cat sit on my lap but ususally cries and whines when she walks around. I think he is very fearful based on his experience at foster care before we adopted him. We have made some strides in the two years but I would never leave them alone together.

 

He also bit and attacked a small white fluffy dog when we first adopted him indicating he was not small dog safe. I take some blame for that because he shouldn't have been in that situation weeks after adoption. He is now fine with smaller dogs as long as they are properly introduced outside with a walk.

 

My wife's relationship with the dog now that the baby is here is another story. He came to us very insecure and thrives only on positive energy but shuts down with negativity. She has very little tolerance for him (even getting anoyed when he gets up, stretches and shakes before laying down again for another two hour nap). We now have a five-month old who will start crawling in some time. I am 95% positive that nothing will happen to put our son in danger but my wife is 0% sure. She is home with the two of them all day while I am at work so her opinion matters a bit more than mine. If anything were to happen it would be on her watch and she is uncomfortbale with the dog based on his history.

 

I do believe that the prey drive is both neurally hard-wired and trained into these dogs and I have just been repressing it for the two years through systematic desensitization, and positive reinforcement. Are greys usually ok with crawling toddlers? He usually ignores the baby now but has been acting a little different since the baby came home (negative attention seeking). He still gets long walks twice a day and the same amount of positive attention from me.

 

I firmly ascribe to the policy that when you adopt an animal you agree to take care of it through sickness and health until he/she passes away. My wife is not so dedicated to this philosophy and has a tense relationship with the dog. Has anyone here dealt with this kind of issue before? If something were to happen I don't want to have to return him with the tag of "baby-biter" decreasing his chance of a happy home (especially when his behavior might be the result of his tense relationship with my wife).

 

Thanks everybody.

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What is he doing all day while you are at work? What desensitizations/introductions have you done between him and baby?

What is the negative behaviour that you are seeing?

Have you contacted your adoption group for advice?

Lastly, if no-one is happy in this situation, sometimes the most loving and selfless act you can do is allow your dog to be rehomed. I'm not saying that you are at that point, but it is something to consider.

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I haven't been in this situation myself, but I would say that prey drive is much different than being good or bad with babies/kids. My dog has a VERY high prey drive and he loves kids. It sounds like your main issue isn't with the baby, it's with your wife and the dog not bonding so that you two are comfortable setting good boundaries between the dog and baby. Just my two cents.

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We had dogs before we had children and never had a problem. The dogs and the babies were taught to respect each other and be aware of space issues. If your wife is constantly tense with the dog around, that is being telegraphed to the dog. It is unfair to the dog and the wife to be placed in that situation. Neither one can change, apparently. I know you love your dog, but the kindest thing, might be, to return him to the agency that you adopted him from. I'm sorry. That is my opinion.

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We had dogs before we had children and never had a problem. The dogs and the babies were taught to respect each other and be aware of space issues. If your wife is constantly tense with the dog around, that is being telegraphed to the dog. It is unfair to the dog and the wife to be placed in that situation. Neither one can change, apparently. I know you love your dog, but the kindest thing, might be, to return him to the agency that you adopted him from. I'm sorry. That is my opinion.

 

This. None of what you described sounds, to me, to be unworkable, but if your wife isn't on board, it isn't going to work.

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I agree with the others. Nothing about this situation sounds overly concerning or "unworkable." I'm actually a little confused, because it doesn't sound like he's done anything inappropriate in regard to the baby? The issue, from what you've described, is that your wife doesn't want a dog. If she is so on edge that she's annoyed with the way the dog lies down, I can't imagine that he's getting the positive interaction he needs all day long while you're at work. :(

 

Don't feel like you have to keep this dog on principle alone. If it's not working, the kindest thing you might be able to do is to rehome him.

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I agree with the others. Nothing about this situation sounds overly concerning or "unworkable." I'm actually a little confused, because it doesn't sound like he's done anything inappropriate in regard to the baby? The issue, from what you've described, is that your wife doesn't want a dog. If she is so on edge that she's annoyed with the way the dog lies down, I can't imagine that he's getting the positive interaction he needs all day long while you're at work. :(

 

Don't feel like you have to keep this dog on principle alone. If it's not working, the kindest thing you might be able to do is to rehome him.

 

This. Nothing you have indicated seems wrong. Your wife doesn't like or want him in the house. Period. I might not understand that but I respect her right to feel that way. I also completely understand your feeling that when you adopt a dog it is for life. I think in this case, you are the party that is going to back down. Talk to your group about finding the right forever home for your boy.

 

Congratulations on the baby and the marriage. It's been a big year!

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The first thing to do is have a conversation with your wife. If she is unwilling (or unable) to co-exist with the dog, and let the dog be a part of her and the baby's life, then there really isn't a workable solution for him remaining with you. Please contact the adoption group he came from. They should be able to re-home him easily.

 

FWIW, there's nothing in what you described that would preclude your dog from being quite successful living with a baby-toddler-small child. It's all about setting rules and boundaries for both the dog and the child and the adults strictly enforcing them. Such as, never leaving the child unsupervised with the dog (ever); never allowing the baby to crawl or get on the dog's bed; never allowing the baby to pester or crawl *on* the dog; not allowing the dog to take things from the baby.

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Guest GreyOrchard

Am sorry to say that while my sanctuary was in full swing I heard this type of account far too many times in the past 10+ years and it always ended in the dog being rehomed. Often people phoned me who were too embarrassed to reconnect with the previous rescue group or did not want their greyhound to return to living in kennels. Once I had a couple who had adopted from me, but were embarrassed to face me after their promises of keeping the dog even if they ended up having a baby....something I speak to all young couples about if they want to adopt from me.

 

 

You need to ask yourself what is best for the dog. I feel very sorry for him that he is living most of his day with someone who fundamentally does not like, understand or trust him and has no genuine interest in honoring a commitment to him.

 

Bringing up issues of prey drive is SO common under these circumstances that it is almost expected, and it suggests you see your greyhound as a possible mindless and unpredictable half-wild creature who has no idea that the baby is human and has your DNA and thus your scent.

 

Sorry to be so harsh but I have seen this too many times and your words and situation is ticking all the boxes. So yes, rehome him.

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I have an even better idea. Call your in-laws and rehome her.

 

No, of course not. But I have the feeling that the situation won't improve when your child gets older. Your wife can't stand the dog. Then you can only keep one of them.

When I was in your shoes, minus the baby, I chose Colin to stay. But this is something I would never recomment.

 

Sorry, if this sounds mean but I don't see another way.

Sorry for butchering the english language. I try to keep the mistakes to a minimum.

 

Nadine with Paddy (Zippy Mullane), Saoirse (Lizzie Be Nice), Abu (Cillowen Abu) and bridge angels Colin (Dessies Hero) and Andy (Riot Officer).

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I'm with everyone else.

 

You probably shouldn't have gotten a dog in the first place since she made no secret (apparently) about not being a dog person.

 

It's not fair to the dog to be in a home where half of his people (I can't count a crawling baby in this equation) don't want him there. Please let him go to a home where everyone cherishes him. I feel really sorry for him, and for you. My brother married a gal we all LOVE. And she pretended she liked dogs when they were dating, but they have been married for 10 years now, and no dog. The truth is she tolerated the dogs in the family home, but she hates the mess of pets, and just doesn't want one. Doesn't make her a bad person--but she didn't grow up with animals like we did. I'm actually glad they don't have a dog, cause I know she would not treat it the way our family treats dogs.

 

And FYI, you cannot "train" prey drive. A greyhound will either chase, or he won't.


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Susan,  Hamish,  Mister Bigglesworth and Nikita Stanislav. Missing Ming, George, and Buck

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Some time ago I read something that stuck in my mind - to paraphrase, "whomever loves the least controls the relationship". It was talking about marriage but in reality it applies to every relationship. In this instance, it's your wife who doesn't love the dog, and since she is not willing to provide a safe, comfortable home for the dog, then the dog needs to go somewhere where he WILL have a safe, comfortable, loving home.

 

I'm sorry you're faced with this.

 

FWIW, we have a now 10 y.o. grey with moderate prey drive (has caught and killed birds, will chase critters outside etc) and a toddler who is just under 2. No issues with them whatsoever but we also have been very, very careful in managing their interactions and giving Bella lots of love and affection and walks and time just for her.

Dave (GLS DeviousDavid) - 6/27/18
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Bella (KT Britta) - 4/29/05 to 2/13/20

 

 

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Guest Neurobio7

Thanks everybody for the responses. I assume everybody on here is a dedicated dog person like me, so I thought I would come here first to see if anyone has had this kind of problem before. It is a bit of an awkward situation for me.

Somedays I come home and it seems like they have had a completely neutral day and other days their relationship is tense. Those days things I consider normal dog things get her ire.

I don't view him as an mindless automaton at all. He is in fact a quick learner, but it is my wife that is mistrustful of him with the baby. I have no worries about him and baby as long as they are supervised in their interactions.

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At what point will they have a "happy" day?? Sometimes the most loving thing to do is to let them go. If your wife has very little tolerance and is bothered by normal stretching and shaking, your poor dog is not thriving in your home.

 

I had to say good bye to our beloved pup this week. He left this world knowing how much he was loved and cherished. Your dog deserves the same devotion. It sounds like keeping him would be very selfish on your part and that is not love imo.

Jan with precious pups Emmy (Stormin J Flag) and Simon (Nitro Si). Missing my angels: Bailey Buffetbobleclair 11/11/98-17/12/09; Ben Task Rapid Wave 5/5/02-2/11/15; Brooke Glo's Destroyer 7/09/06-21/06/16 and Katie Crazykatiebug 12/11/06 -21/08/21. My blog about grief The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not get over the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same, nor would you want to. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

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I'm sure everyone who has responded feels your pain and understands that 1) you love your wife, 2) you love your dog. And that's why for the good of both of those entities, probably the kindest thing to do is have him rehomed. Focus on your baby. Your wife will be happier, and you know what they say--happy wife, happy life. Like I said, it doesn't make her a bad person. But she's not an animal person, and that's unlikely to change.

 

Best of luck whatever you do!


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Years ago, my ex-husband loved our two dogs, but not the same way I did, and he would get irritable and impatient with normal doggie things like dog hair everywhere, or them playing while he was watching TV, and of generally the "work" side of having dogs. Over time this really did bring increasing tension into the marriage, and we did not even have children. Because dogs are just such an essential for me to be happy, I think all of this played a part in the general growing unhappiness that ended up with us parting ways. The dogs definitely weren't the only reason but they were a part of the wedge that grew.

 

Obviously you know your wife best and yourself best, but I think it really sounds like someone is going to have to give; otherwise not only will the dog probably be unhappy but your marriage and relationship with your wife may suffer as well. I guess you have to really take a look inside and search your feelings, and hopefully have a heart-to-heart with your wife too and come to a decision together. If it comes down to needing to rehome him, know that it's a decision of love and that you are not failing him or being a bad owner.

 

It certainly is a difficult and heartwrenching situation to be in and I sincerely wish the best for all involved.

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I would just add, that while your dog is not having any behavior issues now, the increased tension and unhappiness in the home will eventually leak down to him, and he will begin acting out. Greyhounds are very sensitive to peoples emotions and interactions, and they just don't do well in stressful situations long term. That doesn't mean he will bite anyone (including the baby), but he may begin pottying in the house, destructive chewing, tearing up the furniture, and other destructive behaviors.

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Hi,

my husband has been afriad of dogs his whole life due to experiences as a child. He KNEW I loved animals and wanted a dog someday.

So when our vet suggested we get a companion animal for our cat, tested the cat with her own greyhounds and gave us the number for the rescue group she knew and trusted to give us the right dog, husband said ok.

We were up front about husband not having beena round dogs before, having met other greyhounds (my friend also has one and we got him walking her grey before applying for our own hound).

I asked him every step of the way if he was ok with it. At any point we could stop, if he got worried even after the hound came we could work with him and do whats right for the hound.

One week after my husband told me we'd never give up our boy and they work together every day on leash walks, he feeds the meals to our hound and brushes his teeth.

His fear of dogs has decreased in 3 months because he worked on it. He has a bond with our hound, yes the dog is more bonded to me and trusts me more but thats changing as husband gains more confidence.

 

If the wife is willing to work on this, it can work out. If the wife isnt wiling, the dog needs a new home. Fearful, tension and no bond is a good way for someone to get bit or the dog not listening to her commands.

I'd talk to your wife, find a trainer, set up in home training so she can learn tools to get the dog going where she needs it. Give her some confidence dealing with the dog.

If she isn't wanting to do that, then you need to find a new home for the dog. Only her actions can fix this.

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I would just add, that while your dog is not having any behavior issues now, the increased tension and unhappiness in the home will eventually leak down to him, and he will begin acting out. Greyhounds are very sensitive to peoples emotions and interactions, and they just don't do well in stressful situations long term. That doesn't mean he will bite anyone (including the baby), but he may begin pottying in the house, destructive chewing, tearing up the furniture, and other destructive behaviors.

This. And agree with the others. While I understand your situation, through no fault of his own your very good dog is being set up to fail. After he has acted out because he felt that he had no other option, rehoming him will become very complicated due to his being labeled as difficult or a biter. He feels the tension and exasperation from your wife and that is not going to change unless she does. We want to help our dogs to be content and to succeed in life, not set them up to fail as is the case with your fellow. Please give serious thought to rehoming him sooner rather than later. He's a good boy.

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This is a tough situation.

I am a person who can't be happy without at least one dog, preferably 2 or 3.

And like the OP, I've always felt very strongly that when you get an animal, it's for life. HOWEVER, I feel like this is one of those "it's me or the dog" situations. And that's a terrible position to be in.

 

I'm assuming you want to keep your wife? Is there good communication between the 2 of you, or has she completely shut down where the dog is concerned?

 

In a perfect world, you could say to your wife: honey, I love you, our baby, and this dog. I really need you to make an effort with the dog, I'm not going to feel right about rehoming the dog, and it would mean so much to me if you could try to build a relationship with the dog.

 

In a perfect world, she would say: you know what, you are right. I haven't tried to build a relationship with the dog, and because I love you, I will try.

 

In reality: I'm afraid you're going to have to choose between your wife, and your dog.

 

My question is: how will you feel about your wife, if your decision to give up the dog has been forced on you?

 

Just know this: if you do choose to give up the dog, it's not a failure on your part. Unfortunately, sometimes you have to make a choice that goes against what your heart feels, and do what your logical brain says is best for the dog and your family.

 

It's not really fair to the dog to be living in a hostile environment. Perception is reality, and your wife perceives this dog to be a dangerous animal. He's not likely to have the opportunity to prove her wrong, bc she won't let him.

 

I really hope that you and your wife could talk about it, and she would come around when she truly understands how you feel, but if she's the one home with the dog and the baby, and she doesn't want the dog, you're going to have to choose.

 

I'm so sorry you and the dog are being put in this position, it's not fair to anyone.

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Here's an out of the box suggestion - can you work towards you staying home with the dogs and the baby while your wife works? She may be able to tolerate them better if she only deals with them a few hours of the day.

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Very sorry that you and your family are in this situation.

I am another 'can't live without my dogs' person.

Even though DH loves dogs, he is not as dedicated and devoted as I am, but after 43 years of marriage, he most certainly understands ...and more than tolerates ... all of us.

 

However... In your situation I have to agree with those who say the dog should be rehomed.

It has been 2 years and your wife does not want him ... and has admitted she is nervous and is not willing to try to get along with the dog.

So .....unless you are willing to rehome your wife.....

 

Our Nigel was 'bounced' to us nearly 4 years ago from a family situation similar to yours.

They had him for 4 months, then suddenly reported that he was 'barking constantly and peeing and pooing in his crate' .

Turns out they had a new baby .... and suddenly the dog was a 'problem'.

:(

 

Nigel has a fabulous life here with us and I am sure your fellow will find a new family who will love him as much as you do.

 

Nancy...Mom to Sid (Peteles Tiger), Kibo (112 Carlota Galgos).   Missing Casey, Gomer, Mona, Penelope, BillieJean, Bandit, Nixon (Starz Sammie),  Ruby (Watch Me Dash) Nigel (Nigel), and especially little Mario, waiting at the Bridge.

 

 

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Somedays I come home and it seems like they have had a completely neutral day and other days their relationship is tense.

 

At what point will they have a "happy" day??

 

...I had to say good bye to our beloved pup this week. He left this world knowing how much he was loved and cherished. Your dog deserves the same devotion.

 

Jan makes a really great point here. If the only choice he gets is a "neutral day" or a "tense day," it begs the question, when does he get a "happy day?" Don't keep the dog just because you feel guilty, or because you're afraid of what the alternative will be. As you can see, there are lots of very devoted greyhound people who would be happy to give a boy like this a home.

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