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Play Aggression?


Guest OrangeCounty
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Guest OrangeCounty

I've had my (almost) 4 year old female for about 5 weeks now. She has been adjusting slowly, but well. Today I was playing with her by throwing one of her stuffed toys around and playing tug of war (while sitting on the ground at her level), when she all the sudden barked in a way I haven't heard before and jumped on the couch. My reaction was saying no (which, looking back, I don't think I should have since she may have been warning me), but then I got up and went to another room and closed the door without latching it so she could come in if she wanted. She eventually did come in and sat down next to me, then followed me to the other room and sat close to me on the couch as if to say sorry haha.

 

I was just curious if anyone else has had issues similar to this when playing with their grey in that way. I won't be playing like that with her anymore since she doesn't seem comfortable with it.

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Are you sure she wasn't still playing? Hard to say without seeing it but what you're describing wouldn't be a typical aggressive response. Many dogs bark when they play and my girls bound all over the furniture as they do it.

 

What was she doing while you were playing? Was she vocalizing at all? Growling? Was she becoming more intense, tugging harder?

 

I wouldnt deprive yourself and her of what's a great way to expend physical and mouth energy and bond with your dog. I do encourage rules for tug though. You always initiate, she can't put her month on you (i f she does "ow" and a brief 30s or so timeout from play) and she knows to drop it when you ask her to (you need to teach a drop it cue using either food as a reward or engaging in play again). Then if while you're playing you think she's getting over-aroused you can ask her to drop it, have her sit or lie down and wait a few seconds so she's calm and then give your play cue and re-engage.

 

ETA: Regardless of whether it was aggression or not, I would not correct her. Punishment is likely to increase aggression, not decrease it. And you may have been joking, but theres no evidence that dogs feel guilt. Most likely she was a little shut down from the correction or picking up on your emotions.

Edited by NeylasMom

gallery_12662_3351_862.jpg

Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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My living room sounds like a war zone when my three get playing - barking, growling, more barking, jumping around the furniture like a jungle gym, twirling like cow ponies, more growling, throwing toys and beds and papers and books around, more barking. It's really chaos. But a minute later they all shake and lay down and pant for half an hour like it never happened! It's all play for them.

 

If you're used to how other breeds play, you might be shocked by real greyhound playing. It can be rough and loud, but it's still play to 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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Guest GreyOrchard

I agree with the above - it sounds like she was playing - just feeling more comfortable, though, and enough to play-bark at you. I recently published a book abouut pet greyhounds recently where I encourage owners to get down on the floor and play-bow with their greyhounds. They love it!

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It could be that she was so excited that she surprised herself by the bark and was worried that things had gotten too intense and she wasn't sure how to deal with it. I'd suggest calming down the play a bit when she seems to be getting really amped up, as NeylasMom suggested. No punishment, just letting things come down from the really heightened energy a bit. Better to have every playtime end on a happy note, even if not as excited as they might get to otherwise. She's still pretty new, so you may need to figure out how much excitement is too much for her to handle.

 

(My position is a cautious one because our non-grey likes to play but easily gets overstimulated and goes from 'just playing' to overwhelmed by the energy and used to get snarly/snappy. We just stop before she gets that amped up now.)

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What kind of bark was it? Once you get to know her well, you'll be able to tell if her bark is excited, angry, or frustrated.

 

From what you've said sounds more like a playful/excited bark or she was maybe a bit frustrated if you were not giving her the toy.

 

I tend not to play on the floor with dogs, i am usually either seated on the couch or standing. Not really from any conscious choice, but subconsciously i just don't feel 'right' being sat on the floor at the same level as the dog, when playing.

Edited by Amber
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Mine barked once when over excited and scared himself by the loud echo..LOL We dont stop him from growling, or barking as he doesnt do it very often.

Our only issue was growling over one type of toy. He'd sit over it and growl and not give it back (he's very good with drop it). So we'd just walk off and play stopped. Which he didn't much like, so he'd bring the toy to us and drop it as we'd asked him to do that before. I'd say 3 days of doing that and hasnt happened since.

He barks when playing seldomly but it happens, he growls too when tugging.

 

Going to try that play bow! We do rooing together already and was a great bonding thing for us. His eyes got wide and he sighed then joined in..

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My boy Rudy is a really intense player. When he was new to me, I remember the first time he started to involve me in his play, and when I played back he gave a booming bark/growl and I was not QUITE sure if he was overaroused/worked up or if it was still all in good fun. Since then I've learned it's really all in good fun for him, BUT he can get a bit wild to the point where he's grabbing at my shirt and pulling, and I turn away when he does this and halt playing a bit since I don't want my clothes torn or for him to get my skin instead! Usually pausing, turning away a bit, and then tossing him a toy redirects his attention and he goes back to zoomies and toy flinging.

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Guest OrangeCounty

Thank you all for your replies! It just sounded like a different bark, almost between a "scream of death" and a bark and she jumped on the couch. The only time she has growled in the past was when I was doing the same thing with her (tug of war), so I think it's just specific to that action.

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It's normal for dogs to growl when they play tug though, as long as it's not getting overly intense and turning into a guarding situation.

 

I wonder if she didn't actually do something that was slightly painful or scary and she startled herself - maybe she bumped into something or tugged on the toy in a way that just tweaked her mouth or neck for a minute?

Edited by NeylasMom

gallery_12662_3351_862.jpg

Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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