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Space Aggression Help!

Guest Rabbitfox

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Guest Rabbitfox


I'm new to this forum and have had my retired greyhound (he's called Kai) for 1 week. I know this isn't a long time at all, but my grey has started to show signs of space aggression already and this is something we want to nip in the bud as soon as possible so that it doesn't escalate.


His bed is next to the sofa in our house, as that's the only place it would fit (it's quite big!) and we've been snapped at a few times by Kai; the first couple of times due to our fault, the last one for seemingly no reason at all.


The first time was because my boyfriend's dad came over and touched Kai's paw while he was sleeping, so Kai snapped at him. I've seen sleep aggression before and I told him not to touch Kai when he was on his bed as they've never been woken up by touch before and often get startled.


The second time was when my boyfriend was playing with a soft toy. He was wriggling it around while Kai lay on his bed and Kai seemed to enjoy trying to bite it. We misread this though and Kai snapped at my boyfriend. Completely our fault; not blaming the dog at all. So now we leave him alone when he has toys on his bed.


The third time was yesterday evening. I was sitting on the sofa just talking to my boyfriend when Kai growled and barked aggressively at me for no reason; I wasn't in his 'space', I wasn't even facing him! He just got angry at me and obviously this shook me up a little bit. I'm not sure if this is because his bed is right by the sofa so that he thinks the sofa is still 'his space' (even though he doesn't get on the sofa)? Every time he's snapped it's always been when he's on his bed.


Anyway; we were considering getting a crate for him (the door would ALWAYS be open) as he'd been crated before when in foster and liked it as his 'safe space'. This will help both my partner and I, as well as Kai, get used to the boundaries as to where HIS space is and where OUR space is.


The thing is though we can't fit a crate in our living area; and the only place it'll go is in the kitchen. This would mean that he's in a different room to us whenever he's in his crate and I'm not sure if that's a good idea either.


Completely at a loss of what to do!! I've spoken to the kennels where we got him and they've agreed to help us to make him more confident and getting a crate was step 1.


Do you think it'll be okay in the kitchen or does it have to be in the same room as us?


Thanks in advance


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He'll be fine with his crate in the kitchen. We had a similar setup and actually referred to the crate as Rocket;s Tanning Bed since he went in there mostly to lay in the sunbeams, Rocket has had sleep startle the entire 9 years that he's been with us. 2 of us have been bitten and one other close call, all of which were the faults of the human, not the dog.


Sounds like you are on the right track and the big thing is that guests have to follow the rules or get out. Seriously. Everyone who visits us knows that they do not touch or approach Rocket while he's sleeping.in his bed.


Since it's only been a week, you have to give him some time to get used to the routine of the house and the fact that your sitting spot is next to his bed. To this day, I still announce myself to Rocket when I get close to him while sleeping, even if his eyes are open. I just say something like "Hey Buddy," or "Coming By" to announce myself and he doesn't even blink now.


You just need to learn each other's routines and any potential triggers. He will settle in given a little time and get used to you coming by, but the no touching while sleeping rule has to be strictly enforced and adhered to by all.

Edited by Time4ANap

Camp Broodie. The current home of Mark Kay Mark Jack and LaVida I've Got Life.  Always missing my boy Rocket Hi Noon Rocket,  Allie  Phoenix Dynamite, Kate Miss Kate, Starz Under Da Starz, Petunia MW Neptunia and Diva Astar Dashindiva 


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Make sure you're not conflating "space aggression" with "sleep startle." They are two separate issues.


When he's just barking at you "for no reason" it's probably because he's been startled. There is always a reason. It's just that humans are not very observant!


A kennel in the kitchen should be fine, as long as you make time to be with him and interact. Definitely use it for when people come over, and definitely give him some time outs there where he can just sleep in peace. But you also can be doing things while he's in the living room on his bed.


I hear you about having a small space - there's no way we could put a crate in our living room either. So you need to make the best of what you have. Consider if you can move things around a bit and get him out of the traffic pattern when laying on his bed. Then, like Rocket's Dad said, you just get used to announcing yourself to your dog whenever you come within about 3 feet! Say his name, clap your hands or snap your fingers - just make sure he's awake.


If you want to try an intermediate solution, an xpen set up around his bed can help everyone feel more secure. They come in very short heigthths and you can take the panels apart to fit if needed.


Also, keep a bowl of small treats close by so that you can toss him a treat whenever you walk by him or sit on the couch. You want him to associate being on his bed with people close by with getting a really nice treat.


You can search here in the forum for space aggression and sleep startle for more solutions and tips.

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


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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Congratulations on your new addition! in addition to what's already been said, you might want to consider tucking the BIG BED away for now and use old comforters for a bed. They'll transition nicely to the car after you all adjust to each other, and you might have a little more room around Kai to put a small xpen for him to have his safe space.


good luck, and please add pictures when you have enough posts!

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