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Timid Girl-New Grey Owner


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Guest AstroCat

Hello!

 

My fiance and I just became the new proud parents of a beautiful Grey. :) She will be turning 3 in December and she's our angel already. We adopted her last Saturday. Her racing name was Quirky Katana, but we renamed her Leia (since she is our princess!)

 

We have a few little quirks with her we are trying to work with. She is very, very shy... a new noise or person is in the house an she will hide, or hunker down and start shaking (and has peed herself once when my fiance was trying to get her to take her outside). She's gotten a lot better with me, as I work only part time and have been with her the entire week. (Tomorrow will be her first day alone with daddy!) Working a lot with giving treats and getting her comfortable coming up to us. Lots of praise when she comes up to us- not too excited as to scare her though. And we don't let new people go up to her, we let her come up to them. Which usually takes a few hours depending on what kind of food is around. :) We are taking her for walks and getting her use to different areas. We have a lot of places in our area that lets you bring dogs in. So she goes in the pet stores with us and when I went in with my mom to get our nails done, we brought a blanket in and our princess came with us. It took her about an hour and a half to stop pacing and staring at the door, but she finally realized none of the ladies were going to hurt her and laid down next to us.

 

We do have 4 cats, she seems to be doing pretty well with them. They race around 100 mph in the house and she'll just peek up from the couch, look at them, and put her head back down and fall back asleep. She goes and eats treats side by side with them, and even ate out of the same bowl as our cat Tippy. We muzzle her at night (she has crate anxiety) but I am a light sleeper and she has not chased the cats at all. I woke up the second night she was loose to her letting out a small whine, and I peeked out and she was watching the cats play with a mouse they had just caught. But she still did not get up and chase. She's also been introduced to my parents 4 cats. There was one incident with my moms one cat, Mimzy, but it wasnt Leia's fault... Mimzy, who happens to be the most shy cat either of us have, decided to come out of her room and start stalking Leia. I looked around to see Mimzy and Leia turned around and sniffed Mimzy... and got it on the nose. She came running back to mommy with her tail between her legs real fast.

 

The biggest thing we are working on right now is she has a little bit of a growling thing going on. Its not a mean "Im going to hurt you" growl, but more of a "I'm uncomfortable so you should get out of my space." but its usually when she is laying on the couch beside us. When she does it I give her a sharp "No!" or "Ah ah!" and shove her butt off the couch. I tapped her nose the one time, but not hard, just enough for her to know that growling is not okay. She's growled a few times at the cats when she has been on her blanket or on the couch or chair and they get in her space, she just growls and looks away from us/the cats, so we think she's a little possessive of her space. But we know she's adjusting. Just want her to know that growling is NOT okay.

 

This is my first greyhound, and my fiance's first dog. When I lived at home I helped my parents raise a doberman, mini eskimo, and beagle growing up. But this is definitely a different experience. She's very chill, definitely lives up to the worlds fastest couch potato! She follows me around now like my shadow. She's a cute little girl and I look forward to her coming out of her shell even more. :)

 

I would appreciate any advice on a grey like her! I know getting a shy one is going to require more work, but she's well worth it!

 

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Just remember that a low growl like that is a warning that she is uncomfortable with whatever is going on. It may be too soon for furniture privileges at all if she is doing that. Others will chime in with more advice, but I take a growl as a "heads up" to correct whatever is heppening at that moment. Better a growl than a bite.

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Camp Broodie. The current home of Mark Kay Mark Jack and LaVida I've Got Life.  Always missing my boy Rocket Hi Noon Rocket,  Allie  Phoenix Dynamite, Kate Miss Kate, Starz Under Da Starz, Petunia MW Neptunia and Diva Astar Dashindiva 

 

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First, welcome and congrats on your new addition! Leia is beautiful. While I don't have experience with a shy hound, I can weigh in a bit on the space issue. I agree with the above re: the growling. My girl, though she's never in three years tried to get on the furniture, is also possessive of her bed with our cats and will growl if they get too close. They respect it and move along. It's a perfectly appropriate method of communication and not something I correct because I don't want it to escalate, though I'm lucky in that it is ONLY directed at the cats and not us. You're right to make Leia get off the couch when it's directed at you, and I also agree that it's probably too soon for furniture privileges. Things are still very new and as you said, she is adjusting, so you want to set her up for success as much as possible. It sounds like overall things are going well, and if you take things slowly I suspect you'll find, like many of us here have, that she will really blossom in a couple months' time.

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Time and patience will be what you need with a timid dog. Lots of both. And yummy treats. Lots of those too. Remember, everything she is encountering - every single thing - is new to her and likely creating a lot of anxiety. Some greys are really chill and don't care, but many, like your girl, need your empathy and compassion when they are overwhelmed. Don't overload her with new experiences as it may cause her to shut down. She will let you know when she's ready for something new.

 

As far as growling goes, I agree with the above. It's the *only* way she has to let you know she's not comfortable with something. If you correct her - particularly in any physical way -you're only teaching her not to growl, it doesn't change her behavior. If she is guarding her space and growls at people, immediately stand up and get her off the furniture - lure her, teach her a command like "off" or "bed," use a yummy treat, clap your hands, throw a treat to encourage her to get off, hook her leash on (or keep the leash on her) and use that to take her to her bed. Don't physically push her. Don't hit her nose. Don't grab her collar. All are good ways to get yourself bitten. Luring will be the easiest way (if she is food motivated). Get her off the couch and to her bed and *then* give the treat.

 

If she is guarding the furniture, remove her furniture priviledges for a few months. She needs to settle in and develop a bond of trust with you and your husband before she will feel comfortable enough to share her space.

 

I never correct my dog for growling at the cat(s). It's an appropriate warning, in my opinion. The cat needs to learn to live with the dog the same way the dog has to learn to live with the cat, and I mostly leave them to work it out. Just be aware that as your dog settles in and gets more comfortable, her reaction to the cats in your home might change. She might become more curious about them and want to sniff or play with them. Or she might want to chase them - which could be playing or it could be serious, you need to assess her body language to see what sort of steps to take after that. Just be sure your cats always have escape routes and safe places to hide in every room.

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

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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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Too much stimulus too soon. I'd avoid trips away from home particularly to stores or dog parks. If she's really shy I wouldn't push walks to different areas. Let her get used to home and gradually expose her to new things. Take it slow until she gains confidence.

 

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Yes to everything above. Also, reach out to her foster mom. We have a private FB for our adopters, so you can post for help there too. Katana (Leia) was very shy with certain men so make sure your fiancé goes slow with her. She will need lots of time and patience but is a really sweet girl. Don't overwhelm her with trips all over yet. Give her time to get to trust you both. I would also not let her on furniture yet. Good luck and hope to meet you at one of our events!

<p>Mom to Kyle (Diehard Kyle) & Angel Gracie (KB's Sankey) Foster Mom for AFG

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Guest AstroCat

Sorry for the late response- I don't have internet at home so I wanted to wait til I got to my parents place so I could respond.

Thanks everyone for the advice! I know we dont crowd her and when new people come over we tell them just to ignore her and let her come up to them. I'll keep our walks and stuff close to home from now.

 

What would be the best route with the furniture? What we have been doing was making her get down if she growled. I did tap her nose the last few times but I havent since. Just told her "No" and made her get down Its not too hard to keep her off the furniture when she is at my parents place, because there is just one couch, but there are two couches and a king size chair that she sleeps on at our house, and we have her loose at night because of the crate anxiety.

 

Would it be best to keep up with what we are doing- if she growls she has to get down, and work on making her get down when we want? For instance she will go to the other couch if we make her get off the first one- so after a while go an tell her down and help her off that couch? Or would it be best to pile stuff on the furniture so she cant get on it for now, and train her down/bed? We had originally thought letting her on the couch would keep her comfy and help her come out of her shell more.

 

We have tried to lure her off the couch with treats- but even though she LOVES food, if she's comfortable she wont get up for food. Even to take her out to the bathroom if she's on the couch we sometimes have to pull her off the couch.

 

She is getting better each day definitely. Yesterday when my fiance got home she was laying on the chair and rolled onto her back and started to wag her tail- best excitement she's shown towards him so far. :)

I was in contact with the foster mom. She only had her for 3 weeks from the kennels, so this is all very VERY new to her. She said she did some growling there but it went away pretty quickly too. She suggested Adaptil for her too. :)

 

Also- if we do the no furniture thing, should we just crate her and get her use to it, or keep stuff on the furniture so she cant get on it? This is all so new to me, we've always had them from puppy up, so we trained them ourselves, this is definitely a new experience to us. But she is well loved already!

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The biggest issue is she doesn't share well. If she's not growling at you long distance (which is possible - one of mine used to growl if someone was across the room from her), then it's really a "personal" space guarding. IMO, I would let her be on the furniture if you/fiance are not on it. But if you want to change chairs, she should get down before you sit. To get her off, either teach her a command, or keep her leash next to the furniture and attached the leash, clap your hands and say her name in an excited tone of voice, and say "off!" or "let's go outside!" Then lots of treats and praise when she does. She may growl and grump at you for asking her to move - ignore that and try again. She needs to learn that she needs to do what you ask her to do - and that she will get a YUMMY treat for her obedience.

 

There are good reasons to have a dog that is crate trained. That being said, some dogs just don't like them, and can escalate that dislike to potentially hurting themselves trying to escape. If you would like to keep her crate trained, then you need to work on making the crate a "very good place." Someplace she feels secure and happy and associates with good things - feed her meals in the crate, randomly toss *extremely* yummy treats inside, give her *extremely* yummy treats when she is already inside. Make sure it's a comfortable place, out of drafts, good padding, blankets if she likes them.

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

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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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I'm chiming in with: my Rosey could not be lured into her crate with a dog biscuit. Then we figured out mozzarella string cheese. Lol I swear the moment she sees it in my hand she trots to her crate. Best of luck!! I just got Rosey less than 2 months ago and she's my first grey. I've learned patience, gentleness, encouragement, ROUTINE, and lots and lots of love is the way to their heart. Rosey is SLOWLY but surely coming out of her shell. She'll play for a split second and the moment she realizes I'm watching she stops. But it's a joy to see. I have to say that loving a greyhound is easy 💜💜💜

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Some dogs do not like the crate, and I only believe in using a crate if it is a big safety issue. Just take it slow with her.

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I really don't have a lot to add, but just want to reinforce the growling part. Try to think of growling as "positive". Growling is a way dogs communicate. She's telling you she's uncomfortabe, in this case resource guarding (the sofa) so I would provide dog pillows and disallow furniture privledges. You may want to search for NILF (Nothing in life is free) posts here on GT and work with her as she may eventually be able to be on furniture without guarding.

 

If a dog growls and they are punished for it, they will stop growling. However, they may just go for the bite instead. I much prefer a dog growl at me and let me know we somehow have to change the situation, rather than get bit. Turid Rugass (sp?) also writes a lot about calming signals such as tongue flicks, lip licking, turning their head, etc. If she's exhibiting any of this, you can get a heads up if something is making her uncomfortable. Take it slow for now, she's seen a lot of changes in a short amount of time.

 

eta: I'm not a fan of crates unless it's for safety reasons. Some will tell you they like to crate train their dog so if there's an emergency, they are used to the crate. I never crate our pups and never had an issue, so I will never recommend crates.

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Lovely girl!

 

Growling: When possible, in early days I try to avoid whatever causes the growl. Dog's brain is full -- it's hard work coming to a new home! When not possible, I will either gently move the dog and then "Good girl!" and the most delicious treat ever .... or leave her where she is and drop some delicious treats in front of her when I approach, sit down on the other end of the couch, etc. I want her to learn that somebody sitting nearby and/or asking her to move is a wonderful, well-rewarded event rather than something to get tense about.

 

I don't crate a dog who fusses, hates it, tries to escape. Different if they find it a safe and comfortable place.

 

Best luck with your new pup!

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Hi,

I think you need to ease up on taking her places until she is more comfortable at home. Yes take her for walks but other places not so soon.

 

We were told to NOT have friends over the first two weeks of getting out grey, let the dog bond with YOU first.

I know its exciting, I just got mine 3 months ago. But he is really bonded to me now, trusts me and is a big goof.

 

Too much too soon can break any trust your dog has in you. She needs to learn HOME is a great safe place she can relax in.

 

As for the growls at the kitty, LET HER.. LOL Just like the cat might hiss, the dog will growl and kitty will learn that means BACK UP!. Much better she growls a warning, then just snaps at the cat.

 

Im also a no dogs on the couch person. Let her have her bed to sleep on, have extra beds or blankets she can sit on around the house. Kick the cats off the dog beds when you see them doing it.

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