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busfrsr100

Need Some Support And Encouragement

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Hi All,

 

I am struggling. We have had our pup for almost 2 years. He has brought me more joy than I can describe but also more stress and anxiety than I would have expected. It is a constant grind. As soon as we resolve one thing the next comes up. E.g. hook worm for 6 months, fleas, statuing on every walk for a year, scared of kids, won't sleep through the night (Still won't) and now he has all of the sudden become territorial of the couch.

 

I have read books about positive reinforcement training and worked with the pup ad nauseum. I read books about understanding how dogs think, express themselves through body language and have even taken a greyhounds only training class! Each thing we are challenged with we usually get through, but this latest issue with him growling and occasionally showing teeth when we sit on the other end of the couch (5 feet away from him) is quite hurtful (He has lost couch privileges indefinitely).

 

Anyways, as pathetic as it is, I am just needing some community support. I like to think I am not the only person to have experienced this.

 

Best Regards and thanks for your input.

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Its a very common dog behavior, so you arent alone. If you search here you will finds tons of threads about resource guarding their furniture and beds.

 

I would suggest you contact a good, certified canine behaviorist to come to your house and observe you and your dog and give you some personal strategies on how to manage this.

 

In the meantime, if you don't take his growling personally you will be better able to be objective about the behavior and see it for what it is - his attempt to communicate with you in one of the only ways he can. Your job is to hear him and figure out how to make your competing wants and needs work together successfully.


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

35764734494_93de5b5963_b.jpg

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

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Try to become more definite and assertive about maintaining your routine. The dog is to join in with you, not you with the dog. Pandering to them in a 'democratic' manner makes then think they need to assume greater control of their lives, hence the growl conversation about him preferring to have all of the couch to himself. Invite him up there when you are on there first, send him off if he whinges. Have someone else offer him a treat when he does this - the enticement to leave the couch can reinforce it being a good thing for him to do.

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Anyways, as pathetic as it is, I am just needing some community support. I like to think I am not the only person to have experienced this.

 

Since you are looking for commiseration, grab a drink and read on:

 

We got our boy (turning 4 next month) in late October 2017. He was a well mannered, though somewhat confused three year old. In early November he tested positive for hookworm which began a 4 month odyssey of Interceptor, Advantage Multi, Drontal, Panacur, metronidazole, etc. He finally came back clean from that in March. However, he still has an above average amount of diarrhea....daily.

 

In December, he began to growl if I got near his food bowl. So I hand fed him for a few weeks and this is better, but I don't linger when he gets fed. (PS Behaviorist told me to cut this out!)

 

Over Xmas break, he would growl at us sporadically, mainly over resources.

 

Through the winter, he became less and less tolerant of visitors, especially the teenage friends of my kids. At this point we have them walk in the door with treats just to get past him and head downstairs. Otherwise he will growl and snap at them.

 

At Easter, he snapped at my father who tried to scratch his ear while the dog was standing in the kitchen. He snapped at a neighbor while we were out walking. He has snapped at all of us at one time or another. (And believe me, it's terrifying. Teeth bared and snarling. Phew.) Finally, one night, he drew blood on my forehead. I contacted the adoption group and they put me in touch with a non-vet behaviorist who recommended a LOT of things. I researched one of the recommended items and there were many articles linking it to pre-mature death, so I looked for another behaviorist.

 

One of the items this person recommended however, was a 5 panel thyroid test with an evaluation by MSU. Our vet agreed with that suggestion. This was about $300 plus the vet did some "super" chemistry for another $200. The super chemistry said his creatinine levels are high. They want me to catch his "morning pee" (yep, you read that correctly). The thyroid test came back with diagnosis of "hypothyroidism due to lymphocytic thyroiditis". It says, "Results as these occur in greyhounds but are uncommon." Oh, and his underbelly turned purple, which we assumed was him aging but they now tell us is a classic sign of hypothyroidism.

 

We are currently working with a DVM Behaviorist recommended by our vet. I have 3 Adaptil diffusers plugged in around the house. He is wearing an Adaptil collar. He is taking .6mg of Soloxine for the thyroid. They want us to get a Royal Canin Hydrolyzed Protein dog food that is $85 for 25 lbs. They gave us 10 pages of instructions which I'm still making by way through. We have to have his blood retested before we get a renewal for the thyroid meds, so another $300 I'm guessing. They wanted to give him the puppy prozac but I asked to hold off for a while, until we see what the soloxine does.

 

His latest joy is to steal things. Shoes, couch pillows, socks, clothing, etc and run with them to his crate. I offer a trade for one of his toys and we usually resolve it peacefully. He also loves to throw his XL Kong up in the air and let it bounce, then scramble after it. I'm okay with this for the first 30 minutes, then I try to trade for a softer toy.

 

For all that, and I have no idea why, but I like the dog. And I suspect that on some level he feels the same.

 

So, hopefully this is the kind of story you were soliciting. If you feel less alone and I got to take my brain off of work for 15 minutes, we both win. Sorry my story doesn't have an ending, but it's still ongoing.

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Thank you for the encouraging words. We love him, but it is hard to keep a cool head when you feel like no matter how hard you try it doesn't make a difference.

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You DO have options. If you are truly overwhelmed - you could return him. 2 years is a LONG time to still be struggling this much. It's not the end of the world, and if he's just not a good fit for your home it could be better for you and the dog. I know you love him, but if the "fit" just isn't right - clinging to this isn't good for anyone. Greys are amazingly adaptable, and he could drop into another home that "fits" and be just fine. I know that's not what you're thinking, but it IS worth thinking about. Our goal is to put greys in homes that work. That means right dog - right home. There's no shame in throwing in the towel. Sometimes, you have to just realize, that no matter how hard you try, you got the "wrong dog". And that's OK.

 

If you were an adopter of a dog I'd fostered, and you called me after 2 years and said this - I'd say bring him back to me. We'll place him again, and we'll find another dog for you. It's not supposed to be hard (yes, at first it's hard). But it's supposed to be happy, and fun. If it's not, think about your options.

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Thank you for the encouraging words. We love him, but it is hard to keep a cool head when you feel like no matter how hard you try it doesn't make a difference.

 

I guess I don't understand what you think the dog is doing wrong???

 

Fleas and worms and other medical issues aren't anything he has any control over whatsoever. They are annoying, and sometimes difficult to deal with, but hardly issues to cause his caregiver to despair.

 

His other behavioral problems all seem to be caused by some sort of anxiety - again, not some thing he has much control over, which may be the root of his anxiety in the first place. He can't control his brain chemistry any more than a human can, and he needs acceptance and understanding, and his people to offer help to him to get above his medical - physical - limitations.

 

Every living being you come into contact with, and especially those who you are privileged to share your life with, come with problems and restrictions and other baggage that need some form of compromise and understanding. It makes me very sad that your boy has been with you for nearly two years and you are all still struggling so much. If he can offer you no joy in your relationship with him, perhaps it would be better to return him.

 

I hope I'm just over-reacting, and that your post is just a moment out of a full and happy companionship. I'll apologize if that's the case.


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

35764734494_93de5b5963_b.jpg

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

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I think you should return this dog.

 

Sounds like you're not happy, and surely he's not happy if you're not.



Hamish-siggy1.jpg

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

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I think you should return this dog.

 

Sounds like you're not happy, and surely he's not happy if you're not.

 

Hi GeorgeofNE, While I appreciate all of the insight and support this group provides, and I respect the significant contribution you've made to greytalk through thousands of posts, I think this is just the type of comment that would upset just about anyone and shouldn't be made in haste without a full understanding of the situation between dog and owner. Clearly I am looking for support (note the title of the thread) not for opinions on whether or not I should surrender my dog of whom I care deeply for and who has made my life better than it was before getting him. If you notice in my original post I commented that "he has brought me more joy than I can describe" so obviously it isn't all bad. I don't mean to be rude, but just need to stand up for myself and my pup as we have both worked hard to form a good relationship together. In any case. Thank you for caring enough to post....that does mean something to me.

Hi Greysmom,

 

Of course all the health issues are out of his control and I am working tirelessly to help him be as healthy and happy as he can be. I trust I am like a lot of people and there are ups and downs. We have had many more ups! I was simply yearning for words of encouragement in this case as I happened to be stressing out at that moment. Thank you for caring!

I guess I don't understand what you think the dog is doing wrong???

 

Fleas and worms and other medical issues aren't anything he has any control over whatsoever. They are annoying, and sometimes difficult to deal with, but hardly issues to cause his caregiver to despair.

 

His other behavioral problems all seem to be caused by some sort of anxiety - again, not some thing he has much control over, which may be the root of his anxiety in the first place. He can't control his brain chemistry any more than a human can, and he needs acceptance and understanding, and his people to offer help to him to get above his medical - physical - limitations.

 

Every living being you come into contact with, and especially those who you are privileged to share your life with, come with problems and restrictions and other baggage that need some form of compromise and understanding. It makes me very sad that your boy has been with you for nearly two years and you are all still struggling so much. If he can offer you no joy in your relationship with him, perhaps it would be better to return him.

 

I hope I'm just over-reacting, and that your post is just a moment out of a full and happy companionship. I'll apologize if that's the case.

Hi Sobesmom,

 

Thanks for the insight. I agree there should be no shame in giving your dog up if it simply isn't the right fit. I do believe he is a strong fit for our family, but I do understand this is an option. If I ever got to a point that his ability to be happy was compromised in our home I would think hard about going this route. Thank you for caring.

You DO have options. If you are truly overwhelmed - you could return him. 2 years is a LONG time to still be struggling this much. It's not the end of the world, and if he's just not a good fit for your home it could be better for you and the dog. I know you love him, but if the "fit" just isn't right - clinging to this isn't good for anyone. Greys are amazingly adaptable, and he could drop into another home that "fits" and be just fine. I know that's not what you're thinking, but it IS worth thinking about. Our goal is to put greys in homes that work. That means right dog - right home. There's no shame in throwing in the towel. Sometimes, you have to just realize, that no matter how hard you try, you got the "wrong dog". And that's OK.

 

If you were an adopter of a dog I'd fostered, and you called me after 2 years and said this - I'd say bring him back to me. We'll place him again, and we'll find another dog for you. It's not supposed to be hard (yes, at first it's hard). But it's supposed to be happy, and fun. If it's not, think about your options.

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Hi GeorgeofNE, While I appreciate all of the insight and support this group provides, and I respect the significant contribution you've made to greytalk through thousands of posts, I think this is just the type of comment that would upset just about anyone and shouldn't be made in haste without a full understanding of the situation between dog and owner. Clearly I am looking for support (note the title of the thread) not for opinions on whether or not I should surrender my dog of whom I care deeply for and who has made my life better than it was before getting him. If you notice in my original post I commented that "he has brought me more joy than I can describe" so obviously it isn't all bad. I don't mean to be rude, but just need to stand up for myself and my pup as we have both worked hard to form a good relationship together. In any case. Thank you for caring enough to post....that does mean something to me.

Hi Greysmom,

 

Of course all the health issues are out of his control and I am working tirelessly to help him be as healthy and happy as he can be. I trust I am like a lot of people and there are ups and downs. We have had many more ups! I was simply yearning for words of encouragement in this case as I happened to be stressing out at that moment. Thank you for caring!

Hi Sobesmom,

 

Thanks for the insight. I agree there should be no shame in giving your dog up if it simply isn't the right fit. I do believe he is a strong fit for our family, but I do understand this is an option. If I ever got to a point that his ability to be happy was compromised in our home I would think hard about going this route. Thank you for caring.

OK - cool. Thanks for your reply, and thanks for understanding my comments were made out of of care and support. Your replies to others give me a little more insight into your situation as well. That said - I had a really, really hard dog. We struggled for years with his multiple issues - but I would never have given him up. And - the multiple times I posted here with "yet another" issue - I totally disregarded the people that said "give him back" - even though that was reasonable advice, and they meant well.

 

So - knock it down. One thing at a time. The medical issues, hook and fleas - don't count, That just happens. It sucks, but it does. So in your mental "count" - disregard that. Focus on one issue at a time that is actually a dog/behavior issue. And knock those down - one at a time. If you focus on the big issue today, and fix that, you win. Yes, another issue may crop up, but narrow your mental focus. Prioritize. Don't list every thing that's been a PITA in the past 2 years and lump it together in your brain.

 

Change your perspective. You beat hook. WIN!! You beat fleas - WIN!! You beat Statuing - WIN!! Everything you do to get a dog over a hurdle is a WIN. Focus on the wins. Fix something - be proud of that. Turn the page, fix the next thing. Soon - there will be nothing left to fix.

 

Focus on the GOOD stuff you are doing. You mentioned furniture aggression - and you got him banned from from furniture. You KNOW what you're doing. Just keep doing it. Now I'll throw in the support - just keep on. Ask for help and support as each issue crops up, but don't compile them. The "worst" dogs, can be the "best". It just takes a lot of effort to get hem through the hard part.

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Thank you for the support. Just what I needed. I agree with your approach. It is like life in general. One day at a time! Bringing him into our family has definitely brought us so much happiness so it is all worth it.

OK - cool. Thanks for your reply, and thanks for understanding my comments were made out of of care and support. Your replies to others give me a little more insight into your situation as well. That said - I had a really, really hard dog. We struggled for years with his multiple issues - but I would never have given him up. And - the multiple times I posted here with "yet another" issue - I totally disregarded the people that said "give him back" - even though that was reasonable advice, and they meant well.

 

So - knock it down. One thing at a time. The medical issues, hook and fleas - don't count, That just happens. It sucks, but it does. So in your mental "count" - disregard that. Focus on one issue at a time that is actually a dog/behavior issue. And knock those down - one at a time. If you focus on the big issue today, and fix that, you win. Yes, another issue may crop up, but narrow your mental focus. Prioritize. Don't list every thing that's been a PITA in the past 2 years and lump it together in your brain.

 

Change your perspective. You beat hook. WIN!! You beat fleas - WIN!! You beat Statuing - WIN!! Everything you do to get a dog over a hurdle is a WIN. Focus on the wins. Fix something - be proud of that. Turn the page, fix the next thing. Soon - there will be nothing left to fix.

 

Focus on the GOOD stuff you are doing. You mentioned furniture aggression - and you got him banned from from furniture. You KNOW what you're doing. Just keep doing it. Now I'll throw in the support - just keep on. Ask for help and support as each issue crops up, but don't compile them. The "worst" dogs, can be the "best". It just takes a lot of effort to get hem through the hard part.

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I agree with Greysmom in that it sounds like there's some underlying anxiety there. I'd recommend going to a veterinary behaviorist and possibly getting him on some medication that would crank down his anxiety a bit.



Meredith with Heyokha (HUS Me Teddy) and Crow (Mike Milbury). Missing Turbo (Sendahl Boss), Pancho, JoJo, and "Fat Stacks" Juana, the psycho kitty. Canku wakan kin manipi.

"Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

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I totally get how you are feeling! We have had ours for a year and a half now, heck--we moved him with us cross-country! We truly do love him, and he has brought us a great deal of joy and laughter. He seems to be comfortable in our family and enjoys being with us. But there are some very challenging things we deal with off and on with him. We have had other dogs over the years, and none of them have stressed me out as this one can. His behavior can be erratic and we have spells where he doesn't sleep at night. We are currently in a "good" stretch, I hope it stays that way. Hoping you hit a good stretch soon too, hang in there!

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