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Growling when lying down


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I recently adopted a retired racing greyhound- he is 4, male and very chill and relaxed.   I completely understand that the environment is new to him and he needs time to adjust- so far he has been great; however, I have noticed a very odd behavior that has come up the last few days.   My greyhound LOVES to be pet by people when standing up, he will walk right up to strangers and ask for pets - if he is sitting on the couch at home or even when he gets on my bed I have noticed that (i) if you sit down too close to him he may start to growl  and (ii) if you sit down close to him and pet him on any body part that you normally pet when he is standing up he may growl and even bark or snap at you.    I have no idea where this is coming from - is it territorial? Is it something else?  Obviously when he growls or barks we immediately stop whatever we are doing but if this is something we can fix it would be great.  Does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions? 

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A growl is his way of telling you he is anxious and not comfortable with you touching him.

Please do not scold him for growling.... the only other way for him to express his anxiety would be to bite. 

Please keep in mind that these dogs have never, ever been approached or touched while they are laying down.

He also may actually be asleep with his eyes open (yes..they can do that!) and you have startled him....and he reacts by growling.

For now I would not give him any bed/couch privileges.

 

Nancy...Mom to Sid (Peteles Tiger), Kibo (112 Carlota Galgos) and Mario (2nd Chance Rescue).   Missing Casey, Gomer, Mona, Penelope, BillieJean, Bandit, Nixon (Starz Sammie),  Ruby (Watch Me Dash) and especially  Nigel (Nigel), waiting at the Bridge

 

 

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Search the forum here for threads on "sleep startle."  It's *very* common and not a sign of aggression at all.

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

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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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Agreed, it's probably sleep startle and/or some resource guarding of his snoozing space. We've had Sweep 6.5 years now and she has always had sleep startle, but in the past year or so she has decided she doesn't want to be touched on her bed at all. Some hounds will grow out of it with time as they get used to being in a home, but that has not been the case for us. She's the sweetest, most affectionate girl when she's standing, so we just take advantage of that as much as possible. :)

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Rachel with Sweep and kitties Olive and Momo.
Always missing my boys Mud and
Henry

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Thanks everyone for the feedback - he is 100% not sleeping and definitely wide awake.    This may happen when we both sit down on the couch at the same time - as I said, it is very weird since it started happening out of nowhere, our obedience teacher thinks it might be a territorial issue.   Hope it is something he grows out of the more comfortable he gets.   Thanks for all of the feedback!

 

 

 

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He may or he may not.  It's likely showing up now because he's starting to feel comfortable and settled in his new home - comfortable enough to express himself a bit.  It *could* be resource guarding, but he would liekly be guarding other things as well.  Sleep startle is *extremely* common in retired racers and we deal with the issue a LOT here, which is why there are so many threads about it if you search.  Yes, it may go away, but there are numerous things you and your partner can do to help your dog work through this issue, which is mainly one of trust and familiarity.

Good luck and congratulations!

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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We had a boy for 10 years who was this way.  The sweetest dog you ever met but he could not be petted or touched when on a bed or lying down.  We invoked a hard and fast rule for all household members and visitors of NO PETTING UNLESS HE'S STANDING UP.  I put it in all caps because it was not optional.  He was my best buddy and would even snuggle with his legs wrapped around mine when I was in my chair and he was on the floor. He would sleep that way for hours, but we still did not pet unless he was standing.  He bit twice over the years, including me.  Both times that he bit were because someone forgot or ignored the rule, so not his fault.  He was simply used to his space being his, and that's okay. 

 

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Camp Broodie. The current home of Mark Kay Mark Jack.  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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My two greys will even growl/snark/bark at each other if they think the other (or in Gino's case, the cats!) is too close when laying down. It happens if they are on their beds or crashed out on the floor. Or even in their crates in the back of the van.

Current Crew: Gino-Gene-Eugene! (Eastnor Rebel: Makeshift x Celtic Dream); Fuzzy the Goo-Goo Girl (BGR Fuzzy Navel: Boc's Blast Off x Superior Peace); Roman the Giant Galoot! (Imark Roman: Crossfire Clyde x Shana Wookie); Kitties Archie and Dixie

Forever Missed: K9 Sasha (2001-2015); Johnny (John Reese--Gable Dodge x O'Jays) (2011-19); the kitties Terry and Bibbi; and all the others I've had the privilege to know

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  • 2 weeks later...

Please pay close attention to the stories and advice offered here. Your greyhound should not be touched when lying down. This behaviour may decline as he becomes more comfortable with life in your home or it may not. Every time he growls, you should smile and be thankful that you have a dog that is proud enough and confident enough to tell you that he'd rather not be touched when lying down. Growling? He is simply talking to you in his language. Don't take it personally. I always positively reinforced the growling with a "good boy" and then I would back off. 

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