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Any Suggestions On How To React To This Growling


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Had my boy 4 months, we walk the same route 90% of the time. Sundays we go on a longer walk as I have time in the morning to do so.

 

This morning we get to the corner where we can turn left for the long walk or right for the usual walk. He turns left (happens most mornings, usually a firm HEEL, has him turn to walk with me). This morning I do the same thing, this time he growled.

I waited 3 seconds, repeated the heel command, he growled again.

I waited another 3 seconds and said COME, firmly and he followed me.

During those 3 seconds I did my best to scan the area, incase it was growling for some other reason.

He was VERY attentive to me the rest of the walk, but not his goofy self. He didn't show signs of stress (usually yawning/shaking his whole body).

 

When we got home, he was fine. Ate breakfast and bounced around. I checked feet, body, neck for any signs of cuts/bites/bruises.

 

Any suggestions on what his growling could have been about? Did I handle it corretly? I tried to just shake it off and walk like normal. Could he just be testing me? Or just wanting the longer walk?

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Maybe he is intimidated or made anxious by the firm tone? I read the commands in your post as kind of yelling (since they are typed in all caps). My hound Rudy is pretty vocal with his feelings and if he feels he is being yelled at he growls uneasily and gives me calming signals (looking away etc.) I don't yell at him but have yelled a few times in surprise about something and that is how he reacts. If your boy is already anxious about something, the firm tones might be making him more so. I find greyhounds to often be quite sound-sensitive in my personal experience.

 

ETA: I would personally be careful of giving commands in a tone that he perceives as scolding, especially the "come" command. I give commands in a cheerful/chipper voice and then lots of praise and/or reward when they respond correctly.

Edited by k9soul
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oh no. I dont yell at him my voice wasn't raised. I think he'd shut down if I did that. I work in a library so I can do the calm, controlled firm voice without it being loud

I just dont use my 'its playtime' voice. Normally I can just tell him once, in a normal relaxed way.

If I use babytalk, that gets him bouncing around (literally).

I do reward him when he does the right thing, he loves pats and being told he is a good boy (that results in bouncing/jumping for a few steps. I dont correct him for that. As it's always in the heel position and a trainer told me that is just fine)

 

But I will try a different tone with him, its always good to be reminded of that.

 

Maybe I tensed up on the leash and he responded to that. But I took note, as its not his usual way. I know growling means something and hope to learn from it.

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Gotcha, I tended to just read it louder in my mind because of the caps I think :).

 

I personally don't make mine heel on walks, but I don't live in a crowded city area. As long as they aren't pulling I don't mind if they walk ahead of me and just relax on walks. If your tone wasn't lower or louder, I'm not sure without having been there in person what might have been going on, but he may have been anxious or tense for some reason, hard to know.

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You say you reward him when he does the right thing, what if he doesn't? Does he typically receive some sort of correction?

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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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From my reading of this and my interpretation of 'heel' it sounds like a walk is more of a military march-in-step. That kind of walk doesn't sound like any fun at all to me. It may be boring and frustrating for him, too. Is there a specific reason you have to have him heel, instead of just walking calmly and loose-lead near you? Does he regularly get to do loose-lead fun walks, and is there a difference that he knows between the two (different signal when starting the walk, different routes, no 'heel' command given)?

 

I know you were indicating that there was less time this morning, but instead of 'heel' to direct him to stay exactly at just the right spot, could you work on maybe training 'right turn' and 'left turn' signals - which could also be used with a dog not at a strict heel position to give an indication that you are turning one direction or the other so you wouldn't have to worry about pulling him with no warning of the direction change? Well, you don't have to worry when they start to understand it, anyway....

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Well, when we are at home, if he does something we dont want him to do, we say no.. then redirect him to something he can do. Then praise him.

On walks, he sometimes gets scared of other dogs/small kids. We talk softly to him, until he calms or walk him away from it (if possible). Usually he is a good boy to walk, he might sniff around ( as dogs do). I then say come, and he comes. He gets a pat and off we go.

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If he is frequently given instructions/commands on walks it's possible he's feeling frustrated. If that's the case I'd either let up on the commands and let him just walk/sniff, or try to make the commands more "fun" and interesting by rewarding with treats he really likes part of the time. When rewarded with treats randomly it makes things more interesting and more rewarding.

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Yes he goes on loose leash walks. He also jogs with me in the morning which I need him to be beside me. (which he mostly does). And nowhere near military precision, LOL He is allowed to sniff, pee etc on walks. But I dont want him doing that on every tree or else we'd not make it a foot up the road in 20 minutes.
He walks with me in the morning (walk/jog) and yes he does love it. He is a very goofy/playful boy. Leaps around, does these really weird racing start things (no clue how to describe him doing it, just stops, runs to the end of his six foot leash then stops by jumping in the air). I dont hold the leash very tightly and if he chose too could range ahead, he goes behind me to sniff things (as he learned it trips me to cut infront).

I mainly use Heel, as a word to mean, Im moving. I use stop at streets when we cross, walk a few steps then give the Heel commanded to tell him to walk with me. Him being at my side is very important when crossing streets as I've been hit by a car as the idiot driver didn't really look. Plus many close calls that if my boy was lagging or infront of me, he'd be hurt. I guess I use heel the way some use the word come.

 

But yes, I will see if I can teach him left/right signal training, makes sense.


k9sol- sure I can try no commands on the walk and see how he goes. Plus we've bacon in the fridge he can have as that his super special treat .

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I would see if it happens again. It sounds like it was a response to your cue, but perhaps there was something he heard that you couldn't hear that turned him off.

If it continues to happen though I would be thinking about what could be happening on walks that's unpleasant for him. Do you ever jerk or pull on the leash if he doens't respond to your heel cue, if so he may be anticipating that pain and growling in response. Alternatively if you use it to keep him moving toward other dogs/kids, he could be making a negative association for that reason. When I want my dog to walk with me, I use a "let's go" cue in a sing song voice and then I reward with food for the dog staying with me. Frankly, I don't think your pats or praise are worth all that much to him as compared to the scary stuff he knows he may encounter on walks. I would be taking high value food on your walks with you and rewarding for that, as well as paying close attention to his cues and if he doesn't want to go in a particular direction (particularly if there are things in that direction that you know he's scared of) that you simply take another root.

 

Also worth investigating a medical issue that may be making it painful for him to walk. Examine all of his paws carefully for injuries, cuts, corns, etc. and consider a vet visit to rule out orthopedic issues, especially with his neck.

 

Last thing to consider, I've found most greyhounds don't really enjoy jogging. They're sprinters so the repetitiveness of a jogging pace without the ability to sniff, pee or explore really isn't all that fun I don't think. You might consider leaving him behind for those for a while and replace that exercise with something more fun for him like pouncing on tossed stuffies, playing tug, or an off leash sprint in a fenced in area.

Edited by NeylasMom

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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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Rudy is a bit excessive with having to sniff/mark everything, too. I generally do sort of a "compromise" where the first part of the walk he gets to sniff/mark and the later part he has to stay closer to me. I don't really do it by command but just keeping him on a shorter leash and quickening my pace/not letting him sniff at that point. I often have a few treats in my pocket while we're out as well so I can reward him from time to time. I don't every walk but now and then I do for rewarding behaviors I like :)

 

ETA: I was posting while Neylasmom was. She made some great points too!

Edited by k9soul
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I tried jogging with our boy, Sam. Being unable to stop and sniff at stuff left him frustrated and he didn't seem to enjoy it, like NeylasMom said. It also made him irritable on our other walks. It set up a "me vs. him" dynamic, and I got the impression that he started to see me as the "mean baddie" who made him do unpleasant stuff. It made it harder to build the kind of collaborative and cooperative spirit I was developing with him on walks. I think everyone's made good suggestions already, but if the growling continues, maybe try cutting out the jogging and see if that helps?

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Good advice above, but I will just add that you may be making too much of a rather minor deal. You wanted to go one way and he wanted to go another. He was letting you know. He did ultimately go your way with relatively little trouble. It may have simply been a one-off disagreement.

 

As you've discovered some greys have "softer" personalities than others. One of mine, I could yell at her at the top of my lungs and she would just go "meh!" and do what she wanted. My boy about collapses if he hears a cross word, let alone if it's directed at him. He responds much better to cajolling and singsong voice than to commands, even during training.

 

One way to let him know what kind of an outing he's going on is to use different collars/leashes for each activity - one set for potty walks, one for pleasure walks, one for jogging. Especially if you do these activities at different times during the day/week and not necssarily on a schedule. The other solution is just that - put his daily outings on a firm schedule so he knows what to expect. You may already be doing this, but thought I should mention it.

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I don't have anything to add but that one of my greys absolutely loves to jog! We go 3 times a week for 3-4 miles each time. She gets to stop to sniff/poo/pee several times each mile. I think of it as interval jogging, lol. Anyway, after that, I pick up the boys and we go for a walk. She definitely knows the difference between the exercise and the stroll. I have been in a boot for over a month now due to a stress fracture and she is losing her mind since we haven't been able to run.

 

Hope things work out.

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He LOVES jogging. We dont jog the whole walk because I cannot do that yet..LOL

He did have an upset tummy when I got home from work yesterday so not sure if that could have been a factor. (just lots of runny poo in the yard. )

 

This morning, I tried using very little commands to see what he'd do. Which was loads more sniffing. I only had to give a few commands as it was trash day and someone's left over chicken was on the ground. yeah.. would have been very bad.

He also gets excited, tail wags, jumping around when he sees the trash pick up trucks. Had a firetruck going by too with sirens and horn blasting, he just pee'd and kept walking.

 

I asked a few people who live down the street which he wanted to go down, and then growled about. They've been having issues with small dogs running loose.. so he might have seen one or heard it.

 

But had a good walk/jog with him this morning, his normal goofy self. But I will be looking into training him the left/right stuff for walks as that seems very helpful. Plus we'd love to get him into agility.

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Sounds like you shouldn't worry too much then, unless it starts happening with increasing frequency.

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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It could be as simple as just letting you know he was displeased with your intended route, or actions in some way. How wonderful it is to have a dog who lets you know how they are feeling. It makes the correct course of action that much more obvious. I celebrate and reward every growl. Nothing make me feel worse then when I misunderstand what my dog wants.

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I understand better now how you are using 'heel' and it doesn't strike me as harsh as I initially interpreted it. I have a somewhat similar cue to tell Monty when he is done sniffing or staring at something -'too slow' (actually, usually it is said ''too slow, Toot!') said in a happy voice and I give him about a second before I start firmly stepping forward and he has until the leash is tight between us to decide to move on his own. It isn't really a command, more of a warning that we're moving on. I also use 'nope' when he is aiming for something that he isn't allowed to sniff (garbage cans, lawn and leaf bags waiting to be picked up, plants or other things that he isn't allowed to pee on) or when he asks by leaning in a direction that he wants to go but we aren't going to (he always seems to want to cross busy streets, and some times there would be danger in trying because of heavy traffic or the inability to see down the road). He pouts, sighs, and follows his little non-grey sister in the direction we were heading.

 

Yes, I talk to the dogs continually when I walk them, which is how they have picked up so many weird phrases that I use to tell them where and when we are and are not going somewhere. I am sure the entire neighborhood thinks I am nuts.

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I took him for a walk on saturday, and let him turn that corner, wish I had it on video. LOL He jumped around, wagged his tail and was dancing around. It's weird because its a longer less known route where he's been scared few times.

He also found out about automatic doors, as part of the walk goes through a set of shops. He caught on to how they worked very quickly, so when we walked that way sunday, he made sure to open them and even set them off so a toddler 3yo? could get in (mother had walked in and didn't pay any attention to kid, doors shut kid got stuck. So my boy just stood and wagged his tail, and the doors opened. ) Yes, I made sure the mother knew.

 

No other growls from him and yes I think he was annoyed we didn't go that route. I dont mind growls, or whines.

 

I also changed to using "lets go" instead of heel for sniffing episodes. Voice tone is very key to his response.

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Yes he goes on loose leash walks. He also jogs with me in the morning which I need him to be beside me. (which he mostly does). And nowhere near military precision, LOL He is allowed to sniff, pee etc on walks. But I dont want him doing that on every tree or else we'd not make it a foot up the road in 20 minutes.

He walks with me in the morning (walk/jog) and yes he does love it. He is a very goofy/playful boy. Leaps around, does these really weird racing start things (no clue how to describe him doing it, just stops, runs to the end of his six foot leash then stops by jumping in the air). I dont hold the leash very tightly and if he chose too could range ahead, he goes behind me to sniff things (as he learned it trips me to cut infront).

I mainly use Heel, as a word to mean, Im moving. I use stop at streets when we cross, walk a few steps then give the Heel commanded to tell him to walk with me. Him being at my side is very important when crossing streets as I've been hit by a car as the idiot driver didn't really look. Plus many close calls that if my boy was lagging or infront of me, he'd be hurt. I guess I use heel the way some use the word come.

 

But yes, I will see if I can teach him left/right signal training, makes sense.

k9sol- sure I can try no commands on the walk and see how he goes. Plus we've bacon in the fridge he can have as that his super special treat .

IMO he is still too now to go off leash at all times. Off-leash in unfenced areas is a hot topic here. Those who do it know the risks and spend a great deal of time practicing. And yet it can still be deadly.

 

While on leash I'd keep it short to minimize zig zags and spins.

 

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He wont ever be off leash, but thats different then loose leash. Only places he is off leash is, in the house, in our fenced in yard and in the fenced in dog park (on his own or with his grey friend)

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He wont ever be off leash, but thats different then loose leash. Only places he is off leash is, in the house, in our fenced in yard and in the fenced in dog park (on his own or with his grey friend)

Thank you for clarifying that. :)

 

Hada the podenco maneta, Georgie Girl (UMR Cordella), Lulu the podenco andaluz, Rita the podenco maneta
Angels: Charlie the iggy,  Mazy (CBR Crazy Girl), Potato, my mystery ibizan girl, Allen (M's Pretty Boy), Percy (Fast But True), Mikey (Doray's Patuti), Pudge le mutt, Tessa the iggy, Possum (Apostle), Gracie (Dusty Lady), Harold (Slatex Harold), "Cousin" Simon our step-iggy, Little Dude the iggy ,Bandit (Bb Blue Jay), Niña the galgo, Wally (Allen Hogg), Thane (Pog Mo Thoine), Oliver (JJ Special Agent), Comet, & Rosie our original mutt.

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