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Greyhound Growled When We Tried To Help Him

Guest healthyliving

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Guest healthyliving

Hi everyone,


I wanted to describe an incident that happened today with our 3.5 year-old, Cooper. He has a tendency to pick things up from the ground on his walks outside (acorns, mushrooms, garbage, etc). Today, he picked up something that resembled a chicken bone, but he did it so quickly that I couldn't get a good look at it initially. He took a bite, which made a crunching sound, and then it seemed to have gotten stuck across the roof of his mouth. He continuously put his head down, shaking his head and pawing at his face to try to get it out. His mouth started bleeding and he seemed to be in distress, but it was pretty clear that his airway was not affected.


Seeing that he was in distress I was very concerned so I gently tried to put my hand near his mouth to see what was inside. He instantly growled at me. Given Cooper's history of growling when we go near his mouth (to make him drop foreign objects or brush his teeth) I didn't want to test him further. We decided in the moment to give him a cookie in the hopes of dislodging the bone, which may have helped slightly. We essentially waited for him to dislodge it himself because we knew he wasn't in imminent danger and I didn't want him to bite us, which he has never done.


It has become pretty clear that Cooper is extremely food-possessive and that is simply the nature of our dog. However, in the event that he is in danger (i.e. choking) what do you suggest we do?



Always appreciate the advice/suggestions.





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Interesting problem. I would try one of several solutions, depending on the dog and the situation.


>If the obstruction is located where I could easily reach it, I would first see if the dog would allow me to do so. If he growled, as yours did, I would use one hand to curl my fingers around his upper jaw, folding his flews/lips over his top teeth, and pressing my fingers into the roof of his mouth. The last two things help keep the dog from biting down on my other hand which is getting the obstruction. You might still get bitten but it won't be as bad. Don't let go with the upper hand until you are completely clear of his mouth.


>You can do the same sort of thing by using your whole hand to grab his entire lower jaw, pressing his tongue down to keep it out of the way.


>If the dog isn't in super great distress, you can also get a pair of sturdy gloves and follow the above. Though you may not be able to use a glove on the hand getting the obstruction. You might also be able to use the glove(s) as a block to keep the mouth open while you clear it - roll them into a cylinder and jam then across his mouth as far back in the jaws as you can. Those gloves will probably be toast.


>If you have two people, one person grabs the jaws and one person clears the mouth. Probably the safest way.


The dog will protest any of these moves, and likely some minor injuries will occur unless you're really quick Sometimes you just gotta go what you just gotta do and hope it works out OK.


In the meantime, you should probably start teaching him "drop it" and "leave it" commands. Invaluable for inveterate chow hounds who can't keep their nose off the ground! ;) I totally feel your pain on that one, as I have a food resource guarder too!

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

52592535884_69debcd9b4.jpgsiggy by Chris Harper, on Flickr

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, Lilly

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Good advice from greysmom. I too would start working on drop it / leave it (go slow, always positive; you can find some techniques by searching for "trading up" here). "Drop it" in particular will get him used to you reaching for things so he's a bit less likely to snark at you when you need to take something away.


Glad all ended well.

Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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Yep - I was going to suggest 'trading up' training too!! May not have worked in this particular situation, but still a good thing for your pup to know

Jeannine with Merlin, the crazed tabby cat and his sister, Jasmine, the brat-cat

With GTsiggieFromJenn.jpgAngel Cody(Roving Gemini), and Weenie the tortie waiting at the Bridge

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I'm sorry but I have no suggestions. Those with more knowledge about this situation gave good responses above.


The only thing I would add is that until he's trained to "drop it," don't let him sniff on your walks. I assume when you refer above to walks, you're talking about a leash walk. It's a tough stance to take -- no sniffing -- but since he picks up everything, he can't be trusted. Or if you let him sniff, keep him close to you with the leash just long enough for him to bend his head, and watch exactly what he does. My girl wouldn't pick up anything from the ground that I didn't give her, but I still don't let her wander at the end of the leash. She pretty much heels next to my thigh or just a foot or two away from it.

Edited by Feisty49
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Guest AtticusMom

My Atticus picked up a rotten burger roll (complete with rotten leaves) out of the shrubbery when we were on a walk recently. You would have thought it was a filet mignon. It was disgusting, not to mention who knows what was in it. I had a similar issue in that when I went to take it out of his mouth: he wasn't giving it up. He didn't growl at me, but he was determined to have that roll, and I could not take it away.


In an emergency situation, I wonder if where you are positioned might make a difference? When I tried to take the roll from Atticus, I approached him head on, in an attempt to pluck it from his mouth. I know he is calmer when approached from the side. In the past, my greys have been fine with me "helping" them if something is genuinely stuck in their mouth. Approach from the side, lift up the top part of the mouth/jaw, and reach in.

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I know it is hard, but you can't show fear when you have a resource guarder when you need to take something away. I had one and was in a situation similar to yours. She had it and didn't want to give it up. I was so worried that she would be hurt that I forgot about my fear of being bitten and just grabbed her mouth open and took it out. She did not even act like she would bite me. I wasn't afraid to protect her that way again. It was a chicken bone for her too!


The female I have now is a different story. She will eat anything so she is on a very short leash whenever I notice her being too interested in the ground. Once she starts, she is at it the whole entire walk. On those occasions, her leash is no longer than 2 feet. I'm not trying to be mean to her.

Edited by Dawnnziggy
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If my dog was bleeding from the mouth and CLEARLY had something in there, I would have gotten over his back (like he was a pony), pried his mouth open (one hand on each jaw) and shaken his head.


He cannot bite you if you have good hold on his jaws.


I know it might seem harsh, but he could have swallowed something dangerous. You MUST prevent him from each crap off the ground, and if you cannot train him out of it, I would muzzle him.


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

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