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Probably A Worry-Wart Question...

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I have two greyhounds, connie and lola. lola is almost 14 and connie is 6.

So, sometimes Lola really struggles to get up. Or she loses her balance or slips,

and then can't get up. I know this is a problem in itself, but I am posting about

the behavior of the other dog when this happens.

When lola is trying to get up, connie runs over to her and starts barking,

nipping, and making it impossible for lola to get herself up. I don't understand this.

Anyone had this happen, or know what connie's behavior means? I can see if she's

upset seeing lola in distress. I just worry, is she trying to hurt her, because of some

instinctive dog thing "to get rid of" a dog in the pack that is hurt or old????

I'm probably being overly worried, but when it happens it's distressing.

Any clues??

Thank you for reading this.




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I can see why you're concerned. Some often get aggressively aroused when exposed to radically different behaviour by pack-mates and other animals they know like humans. It's something like how they will pile in on a dog that goes down and gets injured. And yet there are instances where a dog will help to calm you if you are worried or lay against you to provide warmth and comfort if you have the flu. I think therefore that the triggers are more to do with unusual physical movements and the exponential effect of rising fear hormones.

The fact the it may be evolutionary advantageous to get rid of sick or ailing pack mates, or our current obsession with anthropomorphisism and Political Correctness denying that, isn't particularly helpful in this case.

You are the human with the big brain and the opposable thumbs here - so protect the ailing dog from the younger one to the best of your ability and help Lola to rise more safely by any appropriate means.

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You're not being overly worried and you CANNOT leave these dogs alone together any more.


Your 14 year old is reaching the end. She should not have to put up with ANY B.S. Truthfully, a dog who cannot even get up may not have the quality of life you really want her to have. The thought of her being torn up by her housemate is truly horrifying but COULD happen. Please keep them apart when you are not home.


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

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IMO your instinct is correct. I have noticed in various packs I have had over the years that even kind gentle pack members can 'suddenly' become aggressive and even attack other sick or old pack members. When it happens it may be unclear to ME that the dog attacked is significantly infirmed; however they usually cross over sometimes much sooner than expected and sometimes by causes that I and my vets had no knowledge of. So IMO the "pack" KNOWS sometimes better than us when a fellow pack members time is short due to things we may not even be aware of. And yes as I said the healthy pack often acts on it by 'ostracizing' the weaker member. I have seen it. So I really take care to protect weaker pack members. I discussed it with my vet and he in fact warned me that I needed to watch that the younger pack members did not attack an older/infirmed one because he said they certainly could/would.. Further in one such incident a totally sweet totally non-aggresive grey -Bobber- suddenly and without provocation attacked an older infirmed pack mate,Cash, she had been living with for several years peacefully. It required vet treatment and suturing for Cash. And ultimately the weaker one did cross over sooner than expected. I asked Bobber WHY she attacked Cash like that and Bobber told me that she did not know why. Bobber in fact felt sorry for it and bad about it and was puzzled herself because she did not know why she had done it. That pretty much convinced me that it is in fact a genetic thing in dogs to preserve the pack just as I had suspected all along. So I think your gut is telling you the truth and that you should be extra careful about monitoring their together time.

Edited by racindog
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thank you for sharing your thoughts. maybe i misrepresented Lola's condition, she can get up MOST of the time. but, her back end is weak

and it does happen. not every day, for sure. she loves to eat, and is very spunky at times. she loves lying out in the sun, on the grass. however, i will heed your advice and do my best to make sure nothing bad happens!


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Even if the younger dog is only playing, you shouldn't allow her to harass the older dog anymore. And I would definitely not leave them alone in the house together in the same room.


A harness such as this one may help you at those times when Lola needs a boost up.


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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  • 2 weeks later...

I second the harness suggestion. Nutmeg wore this one, which is customized for each dog, https://www.etsy.com/listing/225448995/greyhound-assistance-harness , 24/7 during her last months with lumbar stenosis (LS). It was a godsend, not just for getting her back up but for preventing falls. It's hanging up now with my first aid stuff for when I might need to lift an injured dog.


Ellen, with brindle Milo and the blonde ballerina, Gelsey

remembering Eve, Baz, Scout, Romie, Nutmeg, and Jeter

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