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New Grey Bonding To Everyone-But Me! Please Advise

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First and foremost, thanks to all on this wonderful forum who give us newbies somewhere to go for all the knowledge you so graciously share!


We just adopted a male 3 y/o grey 6 weeks ago. We have had dogs before, but never a greyhound. He is primary with me during the workweek as I work in a different town where we live and my husband is at home with our lab. The new grey and I stay at with my mom for about 5 days, then we go home to my husband and other dog on weekends, holidays, vacations, etc. When my husband is off or on vacation, he comes up to stay with us at my mom's. I am the only one who ever feeds (hand feeding), treats, walks and trains our grey. I am the constant in his life. I am very concerned about what I perceive as a lack of bonding between us and am hoping that someone out there has some words of wisdom or maybe has ever experienced something similar.


He is absolutely OVER THE MOON for my husband, mom, strangers, visitors, etc. He wags his tag madly, jumps around, will roo or bark and mouths hands. He is the same way when he sees my husband and the trainer that comes over and works with us. He is totally flat with me and always has been. When I come home from work, I barely see him wag his tail. But my husband comes in from the other room and he goes crazy. He will randomly walk up to other visitors and my husband and wag his tail while they pet him but since we have had him, he has never come up to me and wagged his tail. The trainer has suggested that I treat him( super food motivated) for coming up to me and randomly to show him that good things come from me so he basically comes to me for treats but offers no wag. I have been showering him with treats and positive reinforcements thinking it should make some difference but it doesn't.


He only seems to tolerate me for food, walks, etc. I am trying not to take this personally, but I am wondering our guy even likes me. I read the posts about bonding and we have been taking long walks together, play with toys together and we hired a trainer to come to the house weekly to teach me how to clicker train so we practice daily. We have been working with the clicker about 3 weeks now and he responds very well to the trainer when she is working with him, but when it's just him and I, he doesn't seem to want to interact much. I do see him exhibit some calming signals when I pet him (turning away and tongue flicks) and there has been twice I have been petting him on his bed (not such a great idea now I have been reading the forum!) and I ended the petting with a pat and he reached over with his mouth and put it on my hand and arm. He did not bite or growl, however, I am taking that he didn't like that I patted him.


I have read here that this takes time, however I would think we would be bonding some since I am his caregiver and my husband doesn't do anything with him or do any of his caregiving but he seems to prefer him so much more and is nothing but flat with me. I really want a relationship with him and maybe I am trying too hard. It's odd to say, but I almost feel like there is some barrier between us and sense a coldness from him. Any sharing of advice or experiences would be much appreciated and thank you in advance! :ghplaybow

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I'll be watching the replies on this, as my Phoebe is a lot like this. She sees me as mainly her slave I think :lol; and adores my hubby who does nothing for her. She was supposed to be my dog, I was the one who wanted her.

Phoebe (Belle's Sweetpea) adopted 9/2/13.

Jack (BTR Captain Jack) 9/28/05--11/2/12
Always missing Buddy, Ruby, and Rascal.

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Guest justysmom

I think you might be misreading his signals...at least this one...he is asking you to keep petting him.


"I ended the petting with a pat and he reached over with his mouth and put it on my hand and arm. He did not bite or growl, however, I am taking that he didn't like that I patted him."

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I dunno. Of the five greys we've had, and the four we've got, one is my husbands. The rest have been mine. Or I am theirs. But I notice that they do tend to be more excited around my husband, but they come to me when they need to lie quietly, be comforted, sleep, or generally 'be', if that makes sense. They still love me coming home and everything else, but I am their rock, more than anything. I give them a base from which they can explore their world. They are happy to see me when I've been gone, and excited, but it's different to what they give others.

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Carry some pieces of cut up hot dog in your pocket and reward every time you walk in the door. That should get some attention. It might have to do with something your husband routinely does that your pup likes but you might not be doing something he likes routinely. I'm with ya though, I'm always the bad cop and do all the un-fun things like nail clipping etc, so I am not perceived in the same light I think. Make sure hubby is both good and bad cop, and that you are too.

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Welcome to GreyTalk! :)

Glad you posted your concern. You are not alone.


First, keep your faith and patience with your new boy. Six weeks is still very early when a Greyhound is adjusting to any new environment, and your boy has two new environments and new people with which to adjust. You will see more changes at 3 months, 3 years, and beyond. :)
You seem to be doing a good job re: caring, respectful, positive reinforcement training, feeding, etc. Hounds often appear more joyful to see familiar people and/or animals they don't get to see as often as their expected faces in daily life. (Consider yourself lucky that your hound is so confidently independent.)


One of our hounds was similar upon arrival. He adored men (was used to male racing trainers), but appeared indifferent to women (including me as primary caregiver 24/7). He watched everyone carefully but was so quiet, almost like a piece of furniture. We knew to respect his resting space. Whenever he was standing up we treated him kindly and respectfully with positive verbal rewards and love in all interactions. He arrived very untrusting of any humans touching his body, so during nail clips was muzzled + happily fed treats (from second human sitting down) through his muzzle, etc. We ensured he stood far away from his "personal safe zones" of his beds or crates during tooth brushing, grooming, pill administration, wound care, etc. He had no clue how to play with toys until we fostered a playful, young hound. I did happy, positive training but never pushed training to complete a cue if he was clearly uncomfortable. He quickly learned obedience requests by me capturing, naming, and rewarding his natural daily actions. He was super smart, but I never forced long practice sessions; 3-5 minutes practice is enough for our (independent) Greyhounds to keep their interest. I waited a couple of years to fully earn his trust before attempting to teach him "sit" (which I captured/named as he was about to lie down naturally). It took two years before I ever received a little kiss from him. That tiny kiss was the most treasured moment ever !! :) That was just the beginning of him finally showing his love and trust. The extra care we gave him in the first couple of years set us up for a lifetime of trust and love. He was my heart boy and lived happily to almost 14 years old.


We can't really determine your boy's mouthing reaction without knowing him and seeing all his other signals surrounding that moment. It might have been affection but could have been an early gentle warning of discomfort that he reached his tolerance threshold, especially if prior signals included turning away and tongue flicks.


Your boy seems like a sweetheart! Enjoy developing a trusting relationship with him. :heart :heart

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Sounds to me like you're trying too hard.


He gives all that showy attention to other people because he doesn't see them all the time. He knows you, he doesn't have to fuss over you!


I bet if he stayed with your husband for five days and you went to pick him up, he'd go nuts!


For what it's worth, my Buck ONLY smiles at total strangers! Let a woman he doesn't know come into my condo and he goes nuts! Jumping and smiling and carrying on. He has never once smiled at me (although he does jump and carry on).


Dogs are weird. Don't take it personally.


And why are you hand feeding him? Just carry on and know that he loves you in his own way, and you can't buy his affections with treats and hand feeding, and generally making (in his mind) a nuisance of yourself. I'm sure he adores you!


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

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YOU are MOM. As kids we never really got excited at seeing mom, she was always there for us and thus expected.. But grandma, WOW HI!.. we as kids would get excited.

He feels secure enough to just be himself with you.


The mouthing when you pet him, mine does this and he wants MORE PLEASE.


Yes keep up the training, but don't over do it. He is still getting use to a new life with you. New houses, new people, new foods, new new new .. It can be very overwhelming, and then he has you and he can relax.


My grey is mine, but he gets super silly when my hubby takes him for walks. ME he stands at the door and waits. He TRUSTS that he WILL go for a walk. With my hubby, he can't always walk him so its not something my grey can trust will happen.

6 weeks is a very short time, 6 months then I'd be wondering.

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Oh I thought our grey either hated both of us or just was depressed for the first few weeks of having him. I at first described Steven as COMPLETELY aloof. Just feed him, walk him, and leave him alone! I think the only reason I thought he MIGHT like me was because he followed me everywhere I went.


Now almost a year later, that couldn't be less true. He's excited to see my fiance and i always, and still follows us around. He comes to us for love but also sometimes just wants to chill out on his own. I think he expects things of us, I'm the feeder and hugger and my fiance is the one who will go wrestle him and get out that goof ball energy.


Don't be too hard on yourself, it takes a long time for their true personalities to come out. Your boy depends on you, if you weren't there to feed him or walk him I bet he'd be very concerned.


Steven (our grey) gets VERY excited about new people in the house. I don't think it has anything to do with who he likes more, its just new things to them are such a big deal.


You're doing great!!

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Hard to tell from a distance but it sounds like he's pretty relaxed with you. For an outgoing dog, strangers and people they see less often are always exciting and need to be made up to (tail wags etc.).



The mouth on your hand/arm could go either way. I have had dogs do that when they don't want me to stop petting and I have had dogs do that when I touch a spot that they don't want petted. Watch the facial and body language.


For training, I like to keep sessions very short (as in 3-5 minutes, in the beginning) and to spend most of them on things the dog does easily and well. Big party with each click :) . Once the dog gets the hang of being trained, then you can move on to more challenging things.

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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Guest Rubbles_Mom

Your grey not freaking out when you come home is not a bad thing. It means he expects you to come home and is confident that you will. My grey, Rubble, looooves men (I would assume due to mostly male trainers) and anybody and everybody we meet is a new best friend. I don't think it's a reflection of his relationship with you, especially at 6 weeks.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hahaha this has been me for the last year!


We got our almost 6 y.o. grey just over a year ago. He is definitely a little aloof and very independent, but absolutely LOVES men (^ I assumed the same, having a male trainer). He instantly bonded to my bf, but also adores my sister.


A few months after we'd adopted him, he developed mild separation anxiety - specific to my bf! He wouldn't eat or drink while my boyfriend was at work, but was totally fine when I was away -_-

I used to have to get DBF to feed him before he left to go on night shift, because otherwise there would be no dinner!!


He eventually settled and no longer goes on hunger strikes. It took several months, though.

He still favours men, but will mostly greet me at the door with a wag now when I get home - although sometimes (if he's tired enough) he will also give my boyfriend the silent treatment from the couch. So I don't feel so bad!
Give it some time. Give it lots of time. I think I've also come around to his independent personality with time, too - now I wouldn't have it any other way :wub:

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