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New Grey Bites And Severely Injures My Two Other Greys


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I am writing in tears and deep sorrow. I have 3 greys at this time. My first girl, Penny, I have had for over 7 years, my second is Mia who I have had for three (gosh, maybe four!) years and I just adopted Nora 3 months ago. All three are 9 years old. Nora was a re-surrender to the group I got her from. I have the understanding that her owners had financial problems as to why they could not keep her. It was said that she does well with other dogs and prefers to be with them. We cat tested her, as I have 3 cats, and her prey drive is basically zero. She is very sweet and very loving and has demonstrated much comfort being with my other two, and is especially fond of Mia. From what I have seen in her, I would consider her obedient and submissive.

Here's where the problem comes in:

Although she is does not have a prey drive and just ignores the cats, one of my cats thinks she's one of the dogs and really likes to be a part of their group. She loves to rub on them and my Mia (who is so sweet and gentle) even lets her lick her ears and face. Nora does not take well to her rubbing on her. Her general approach is totally ignoring the cats, but when the one tries to rub on her she gets very tense and has snapped at her twice. Once she was standing and the other time she was lying on the floor. There were two occasions where she snapped at my husband and I when she was on the floor and we kind put our heads over her head. We have since stopped approaching her that way and just do tummy rubs and such without kissing on her. She has snapped at Mia twice on walks. She did so when Mia was barking at a passing dog and a cat. They walk side by side. Then she snapped at my neighbors dog through the fence. They were running the fence together, the neighbors dog stopped, they sniffed each others noses and then "snap".

Now to the REALLY bad parts....about 6 weeks ago, my Penny was eating. Penny always eats after the other two are done. When she eats she drops kibble on the floor. None of the three show any signs of food aggression, but they do get interested when that kibble falls. We always stay with Penny until she is done. Well, I got busy one evening and left the room (oh to turn back time...). The next thing I hear is a dog fight. I come out and Nora bit Penny in the face. She tore a huge portion of her scalp open and an area by her eye. It required major stitches. We went through two absolutely awful weeks as she had major infection in both wounds. It was traumatic. I didn't want to give up on Nora because she is literally an angel despite of these moments. Then...it happened again. Last night, Mia and Nora ate their dinner and I let them out as usual and then began to feed Penny. This time, I heard a fight outside. I ran out and both trotted up to me like nothing happened but, looking down at Mia, the entire top length of her nose was tore open with flesh hanging from it. Many stitches later, we are praying that she doesn't get an infection like Penny did. My only thought on what conspired between the two is that Nora went on a run (unusual for that time of day) and Mia did her normal "dart" at her playfulness and Nora didn't like it. I know what some of you are thinking.....why didn't you have her muzzled? Good question. It is so hard to have a dog who shows NO signs of aggression and then out the blue has decided to bite. It feels like it escalated from the initial adoption. Started with some snaps, down to a severe bite, add in a few more snaps, and then another bite.

I thought I was doing a good thing by adopting an elderly dog who needed a forever home. Her disposition seemed so fitting. What happened? And how can she be so gentle 99% of the time, but have these trigger moments? I have had several opinions: surrender her back, euthanize, muzzle, separate.

Thank you for taking time to read my long story....and thank you in advance for any thoughts on this.

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I don't know what to say, except, you have to be kind to your first two dogs. As hard as it may be, the third dog may need to be an only dog. I wouldn't wait until it gets worse.

Irene Ullmann w/Flying Odin in Lower Delaware
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I don't know what to say, except, you have to be kind to your first two dogs. As hard as it may be, the third dog may need to be an only dog. I wouldn't wait until it gets worse.

I am leaning towards this sentiment as well.

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Sorry my response was so quick before, let me elaborate a bit.

 

Some greyhounds get exited when they see other dogs or small animals and if they can not get to them, they will turn and attack whatever is near them in their excitement and that can be the other greyhounds in your house. Sometimes this behavior gets better because the dog adjusts and calms down but, that is not a guarantee and should not be assumed that it will happen.

 

If you keep the dog, you will never be able to leave it in the yard with the other dogs without a muzzle and it would be best if you are always out there with them to see what the triggers are. Feeding time will also be an issue that you would never be able to leave them alone at that time meaning that they would have to be watched from the start of their eating to the end ... FOREVER. You might also check to see whether your dog is also the same way when he/she is laying down as this usually ties in with the other behaviors. Lastly, when you walk the dogs together be aware that if another dog comes up that it could trigger the same type of behavior so, avoid other dogs getting close to you.

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Just a note: If you muzzle one dog, you MUST muzzle ALL dogs.

 

Best luck going forward.

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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Muzzle. Also, remember that if you muzzle, muzzle ALL!!

Wendy and The Whole Wherd. American by birth, Southern by choice.
"Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup!"
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I'm so sorry you're going through this; my heart breaks for you. When we adopted our greyhound, she was the first dog that both my husband and I had ever had. We were looking forward to being active greyhound community members; taking her to M&G’s, grey sitting for friends, and fostering for our group. But we can do none of those things now, because our girl has bitten other greyhounds in each of these situations.

As a result, our girl is an ‘only’ dog. Our cat is pretty savvy, and gives Bonnie her space. But when at an event with other dogs, we keep our girl muzzled. However, muzzles are only as good as the handler who's watching that they remain on. Muzzles will give one a false sense of security, as a determined pup is able to pry it off. They help in the short term, but because of their fallibility, and discomfort for the dog, they’re not a realistic permanent solution for keeping your dogs safe. Dogs are smart cookies, and will use a chain link fence, or a tree trunk, etc., to get it off. I can't tell you, how many muzzles I've seen come off at a greyhound run. You need only turn your back for a few seconds, and there it is, on the ground. I don’t know what else to say, other than I know how gut wrenching this problem is. I’m hoping someone can offer some hopeful behavioural advice. Sending you hugs.

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If only one dog is muzzled, it can't defend itself if attacked. Since you can't 100% guarantee that your other dogs will not develop a "bite first ask questions later" attitude towards the newby, or retaliate if snaped/bit at again, all three need to be muzzled. I would *definitely* muzzle all three if you need to leave the house, and every time they go outside.

 

FWIW, I have a dog that has a displaced excitement biting issue. It's always a crap shoot if she's going to bite us, another dog, or a toy when she gets overly stimulated. The behavior has decreased a loit with age and maturity, but she ripped open the whole side of one of my other dogs in a 5 second time frame about 2 years ago just because the other dog walked by and stepped on her foot. I was sitting three feet away at the time and there was literally nothing I could have done.

 

We monitor her constantly - she is never let out without a muzzle and supervision, she never eats without one of us right there. Our cats are not allowed to interact with her due to the fact that, though she is cat safe, she will snap if they irritate her. The cat is calmly and quielty moved out of the room or up away from her. Her bed is separated from the rest and she is encouraged to lay there - near us, but out of the direct line of travel, and away from the other dog beds. We rearranged our room to accommodate her issues.

 

Even with all our management and training with her, we do still have incidents. The one described above was the first one in several years, and she hasn't had one since - but the danger is always there. Only you can decide what you and your family can handle and are willing to commit to in regards to keeping her.

 

In your case, her snapping doesn't sound like it's all about one thing - excitement, resource guarding, annoyance, anxiety - and each issue has different behavioral solutions. If you can commit the time and energy to dealing with them, please contact a certified veterinary behaviorist who uses positive reinforcement-based training to help guide you through this process.

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Muzzle one, muzzle all is because the muzzle dog is vulnerable to attack from the others dogs or animals in the area and has no way to defend itself.

 

Muzzle keepers are available to attach the muzzle to the collar and keep the dog from getting it off. I just zip-tied and small snap to the muzzle and would snap it on the D-ring.

Wendy and The Whole Wherd. American by birth, Southern by choice.
"Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup!"
****OxyFresh Vendor ID is 180672239.****

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It may be the new girl has issues with other females. We adopted a little female, at the time we had several males and one other female. She was fine with the males but attacked my female twice, almost killing her the second time. We returned her with a notation that we thought she had issues with other females. She was eventually placed in a home with a male and has done very well.

 

I would muzzle everyone until you figure out what her issues are, especially when they are outside.

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Yes, all hounds should either be kept securely separated (perhaps crated while injuries are healing) or all hounds muzzled. Although a muzzle would likely be too painful for Mia's injury right now. (Moleskin can be placed as a soft liner where the muzzle rests on top of hound's muzzle.) Feeding and treats should be completely separated by a closed door or baby-gates, etc. for each hound. Helps to be aware that canine pack instinct is to join a dog fight if a fight is already in progress. Also, a multi-dog pack is prone to attack an animal in distress (e.g., crying or yelping in pain, or experiencing a seizure).

 

In my experiences, I would return Nora to your adoption group to be rehomed as a single pet to an adult only home. She could happily thrive for the rest of her life in that type of environment.

 

IMO, your responsibility is to your core family which includes your original two Greyhounds and your cats. Nora seems highly stressed in this environment, especially since her snaps are escalating. Your cats are at risk of her defensive reactions, especially the one who rubs against the dogs. (Personally, I would try to prevent cats from doing that to any dog.) Nora's quick reactions could be from her previous history/life experiences: perhaps she was attacked by other dogs resulting in her fear aggression and lack of bite inhibition; humans may have punished her (instead of using positive reward teaching methods); humans may have invaded her personal resting spaces; she may be feeling undiagnosed medical pain; animal competition; or simply feeling too much environmental stimulation while she's already stressed after losing her previous home. Greyhounds are so sensitive that a previous family's extreme stress and/or bickering could affect a hound longer-term.

 

Please read this link about the spoon theory: http://yourdogsfriend.org/spoon-theory-and-funny-dog-gifs/

 

Many years ago, as a child, one of my family's dogs (different breed) killed our Labrador when both dogs had been given their own separate bones (outside and spread far apart from each other). Unfortunately, one dog wanted both bones.

 

I'm very sorry you are going through this situation. Many other Greyhounds could live seamlessly well in a home with multiple pets. Good luck.

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Others have nicely answered the why muzzle ALL question :) . If only one is muzzled, she can't defend herself. She might snarl at another dog and the other dog might get offended and bite her (or worse; have known of a couple of dogs badly attacked in this type of situation).

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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It makes me very, very sad to think you would consider euthanizing this dog in this situation.

 

I believe that your obligation is to return her to the group and let THEM decide.

 

Many people, like me, only have one dog at a time. She doesn't need to die.

 

I'm terribly sorry you have experienced this, truly. Please contact the group ASAP.


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What a horrible thing to have to work on! I hope those injuries heal soon.

Muzzle or all of them or securely crate the offender in a different room if you can't be there.

You have given this dog every chance, unfortunately not all of them get to make it, so rehome to the adoption group with the advice that the dog can only go to an expereinced single-dog owner.

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It is so hard to have a dog who shows NO signs of aggression and then out the blue has decided to bite.

First of all, I'm very sorry this happened to you. I can imagine it must have been very traumatic for all involved. I do disagree with your statement above as there clearly were quite a few signs of aggression that went for the most part unaddressed (with the exception of you and your husband adjusting how you interact with her on her bed). The article that 3greytjoys linked to above is a good one to understand how stressors can build in a dog's life, pushing them to aggress or aggress more seriously in a situation they might not otherwise.

 

Having said that, degree of bite is an important factor when considering whether the dogs are likely going to be able reintegrate and live safely together moving forward. Given the severity of these bites, I would say you need to rehome or euthanize her. If the group is willing to rehome her as an only dog then that seems reasonable to consider, but honestly I would be having a heart to heart with my group about whether they will have the dog evaluated before placement, provide any training resources to a new adopter, etc. Even though she has only directed the more serious aggression toward the other dogs, she has snapped at you and your husband so the potential for more serious aggression toward people is there imo. When weighing euthanasia vs rehoming people really need to consider the potential risk. I would certainly hope the group wouldn't place this dog in a home with kids either for instance, or in a home where children are guests frequently. If the group doesn't seem concerned about weighing these factors or seems to be blowing you off (I know many an adoption rep who are happy to blame it on the adopter not providing a structured enough environment when they don't immediately see the problem in their own home or a foster home) then I would be concerned.

 

Having said all of that, in the meantime, I would keep the dogs separated. People are quick to suggest muzzles here because these guys are so acclimated to them and they're quite useful in many situations, but you really shouldn't use a muzzle to put dogs into a situation you wouldn't without the muzzle because you haven't addressed the underlying issues. The dogs can still attack, become traumatized, etc. even if major damage isn't done. Much safer to keep them separate and then if you were working with a trainer and were at the point where you wanted to start to have the dogs together for short supervised periods or training sessions, you would use the muzzles, for additional safety. Also, and this would I hope seem like a given at this point, but make sure the dogs are separated for any food related activities especially. This includes not just while they're eating, but while food is being prepared and until bowls have been picked up, washed and put away. Always best to make sure no stray food is on the ground or just keep the feeding areas in places the dogs don't otherwise have access to.

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First muzzle everybody. Keep them muzzled. Nobody needs to get hurt. IMO you should return her to the group. It has been my experience that when 2 dogs don't like each other and fight that you cannot change it. If 1 dog has a tendency to jump on others I have never been able to 'fix' that either. Manage yes but not fix to where they were safe without muzzles etc and CLOSE supervision. At least I couldn't. And really IMO she is a threat to your cats-one snap is all it would take.

 

There is NOTHING the wrong with Nora. I think it is awful you would even consider the death penalty just because she doesn't play well with others. It was kind of you to offer her your home but sometimes its just not a good fit. Nobody's fault. Dogs have personalities likes/dislikes as we humans do. Just the way it is. For future reference there tends to be more problems in my experience between females. You might consider a male if you bring another one into your pack if you return Nora and it is more likely there will be peace with the other females.

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You've already gotten good advice. I would like to present you with the worst case scenario... our greyhound Bonny was killed by our greyhound Darcy. These two had been living together for over 8 years. Darcy always had space and food aggression. She always gave warning and the other dogs/cats were respectful of her space. Unfortunately, as they aged, their senses were no longer the same. Bonny was 13.5 y/o and had signs of cognitive dysfunction. Darcy was 14.5 y/o and was going blind. It only took one bite to the jugular over a dog bed. After that, we kept our remaining dogs completely separate in different parts of the house when we were not home. Darcy was also fed in a separate room. Re-homing her at 14.5 y/o was simply not an option. Darcy passed at 14 years 10 months due to a tumor.

 

For the safety of your existing pack, I would seriously consider working with your adoption group to re-home Nora. I wouldn't consider anyone a failure for recognizing that it's not a good mix.

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Guest k9soul

I have a hound who has quite strong resource guarding behavior towards other dogs. He actually seemed more reasonable at first but then he began getting pushier with my other dogs when I handed out bones and such. Unfortunately I didn't pay enough heed to the warning signs and one day seemingly out of the blue he attacked my lab mix to get her bone. She was growling as he approached her but was looking away from him so I was shocked when he attacked her anyway. Thankfully since she wasn't a grey she escaped with only a couple small sores on her head and a bloodied ear. But ever since then I have been extremely cautious with making sure he is securely and fully separated when they get bones or at feeding times. I keep him gated in his own area until everything is licked clean and he has lost interest. I then pick up both bones and/or the other dog's bowl before letting him out.

 

He also initially was a space guarder but this has vanished completely over the years as he has settled and gained trust, as well as with work on counter-conditioning. He also had quite strong sleep startle, which has diminished to mild.

 

I think it mainly comes down to what you are able/willing to do to manage this. She may be much more liable to act out if her whole world is shaken up by the rehoming and the feeling of needing to establish her place there. I do think it's possible, whether there or elsewhere, that she can eventually settle and is not necessarily a lost cause by any means. My hope is that you can get some help from the adoption group on going forward and making the best choice for all involved.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest Greyhoundguy

My wife and I are having similar issues with our newly adopted grey Casey, we have had her 2 years. The first year was the most challenging. She attacked our older grey Lexi several times quite severely... we considered returning her but she is usually quiet,gentle and a sweet girl. We worked with the adoption group and two behavioural specialists. We identified the trigger points and muzzle Casey when we are not home and during walks. Casey gets aggressive around cats, dogs behind fences and when overly excited or frightened. When we first adopted her she was very timid and showed sighs of abuse. She would cower if a hand was raised the wrong way or a word spoken too loudly. She has come a long way and has bonded well with my wife and is starting to trust me more and more

 

The last year has been relatively peaceful as we managed them quite well. Until 2 days ago, my wife and I had arrived home, the dogs were excited to go for a walk but we were putting our purchases away. Casey jumped and landed on Lexis's paw there was a yelp a growl from Lexi and the fight was on, it lasted less the 10 seconds and Lexi ended up with a 2 inch gash behind her ear.

In all the altercations Lexi is the one that gets injured ( she is 2 years older and 10 pounds lighter and is shy 14 teeth).

We are considering re homing her but are torn.

We are looking at our options, re homing through our adoption group or medication. The consensus seems to be re adoption before Lexi is injured again or killed. I guess my question is has anyone used medication to control fear aggression and if so how was the success rate.

 

I have found the post quite informative and thanks!!!

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I want to thank everyone for all the greyt advice. Thank you for all your understanding and your kind words of compassion for my pups and my situation. We did decide to surrender Nora back to the rescue group. They were very understanding and she is in a foster with two males now. I don't know what the future holds for her. It was a really hard decision. I only had her 3 months, so I don't know how anyone can make a similar choice after having your dog even longer. We are all rescue people here, so surrendering is a hard choice for us! But, in the end, I had to do what I felt was best for my other two greys and for my cats.

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Hoping all works out for the best for everyone.

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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