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Aggression- getting a bit worse

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I am new to the grey world. We just adopted a 3 year old male 6 weeks ago. He is the sweetest! But comes with some issue I was curious to have your opinions. 

- Food aggression- we cannot touch his bowl/ go anywhere near him if he has a bone. We decided just not to give him bones for the time being we can't even be in the same room!

- Sleep aggression-  this is new. For the first time since we have him, my husband went over to pet him right before bed and he lost it! We're assuming he was sleeping and we didn't notice? Hoping it's not a pattern. 

-Incident- He actually loves people. He snuggles up to them and constantly has to be touching either me or my husband. HOWEVER, this past weekend a male friend came over at night and he lost it. Barking, growling, even tried to bite our friend This is strange because he has met this male on multiple occasions. ! This has never happened before and he has met other males in our house with no issues. 

I am starting to get nervous with the amount of aggression he is showing. My husband and I want to start a family soon so I am fearful of children with him! Does this seem normal? He was in a foster home before us, but just got off the track seven months ago. 

Any advice would be lovely! 

Edited by SamBam
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Resource guarding and sleep startle are really common behavioral issues for newly adopted greyhounds.  It's usually the first time in their lives that they have to deal with other beings (dogs, people, whatever) being in their personal space - which is also much bigger now.  Sometimes it gets better on it's own with time and patience, sometimes it doesn't.   It's important to remember that this is not true aggression, this is his way of dealing with big challenges and anxiety in his life right now. 

Your strategy of not giving him things that trigger that response is good.  You should also institute a rule that no one - really, no one - should approach him when he is laying on his bed.  If you want to interact with him, call him up and over to you, so you 1) know he is awake, and 2) he's not guarding his bed.  For during the daytime, keep a bowl of small treats nearby and randomly toss him one whenever you walk by.  Say his name and get his attention and toss the treat - so he gets used to associating people by his bed with getting a treat.   If you need to take something away from him for his safety or yours, use the "trading up" method - get a *really good treat* and show it to him and try and lure him away from the thing he's guarding, then have another person pick it up while he's distracted.  If he won't leave his treasure, your treat isn't good enough.

Due to his level of response, I would urge you to contact your adoption group to see if they have a recommendation for a positive reinforcement only certified behaviorist who can come into your home and observe him in person, and give you some tips to help you manage him and his resource guarding issues.   

You can also search this forum for other tips and tricks in the many threads on resource guarding and sleep startle/aggression.

Good luck!

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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We went through all that and then some.  I was bitten in the face twice, both times while petting him on his bed.  

One thing I'd suggest, get a full medical work up and get the (very) expensive thyroid test that they send to MSU.  Mine came back with an exceptionally low thyroid.  Even though greyhounds have different results from most breeds, they took this into consideration.  We also did almost a year of Clomicalm and are just now weaning him off that.  

Things are far from ideal, but they are much better.  I can stand by him when he eats and I can pet him when he's laying down.  But I don't leave my face near his face because he doesn't like that.

There are a few people he can't stand and we have no idea why.  He does not like other animals.  

It might be as long as 18 months before you and your dog adjust to each other.  

I would not let my dog around infants or toddlers even with his improved demeanor.  


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