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Delehue

Advice/Reassurance about introducing a new Grey to a senior Grey

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Hi - My partner and I have had our current grey Marlow for 8.5 years.  We adopted Marlow when he was four and he is now 12.5 years old!  He is still healthy and happy but definitely slower these days.  We had been debating about whether to get a new greyhound once Marlow passed or have them overlap a bit to help ease the new dog in.  We finally decided to go for it and 9 days ago we brought home Leo.  Leo is a 3.5 year old male and pretty fresh off the track.  The dogs did great together the first few days but since then Leo has growled and quickly lunged and snapped at Marlow.  One of the times he caught Marlow's ear.  Both times we had taken the muzzle off under our supervision because the dogs were doing so very well together.  We've now gone back to muzzle on except during meal times and if we are hanging out with the dogs separately.  

We really want it to work out but know that if they Leo doesn't start getting along better with our senior Marlow, that it won't be fair to Marlow.  Does anyone have any advice on introducing to greys to each other?  How long did you have to rely on muzzles when introducing new greys?  Is there anything we can do to help Leo not feel threatened or aggressive towards Marlow?  Leo is doing so great otherwise and is so sweet so would love for them to get along but also feel guilty for putting Marlow on edge.  Marlow is a very passive greyhound so both times this happened he did not growl back and has just been avoiding Leo since these incidents.

Thanks for any advice, tips, anecdotes!  

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Has Leo been neutered?  If not, schedule it asap.  If he has, it can take between three and six months for them to lose all that extra testosterone in their systems and calm down some.  That will help a lot.

But it's also true that dogs getting along is basically a personality match.  And though most greys get along with most other greys just fine, sometimes they don't.  Only you can determine if this is a basic personality clash, hormones on overdrive, or just two dogs learning how to live together - by watching their body language, how they interact, and how serious the snarls/snaps are.  You may want to ask a neutral observer who understnads dogs/greyhounds to come in and observe them if you don't feel like you can tell.  Someone from your group, or a certified animal behaviorist *which is hard right now, I know.  You might have to wait a while before you can do this.)

Then you have choices.  If they just need some more time together (more than likely), then just keep the youngster muzzled.  You can also help things along by taking them for side-by-side walks to help them bond a little quicker.  Reward Leo for being calm and respectful to Marlow.  (You can toss him yummy treats, but that might cause more issues, so give them directly to him.) 

In our house, we *always* defer to the senior dog.  They were here first, they have been part of our family longer, and they deserve to be respected by us and by their housemates.  It's up to US - as the huumans with thumbs - to protect the senior's place in the pack as top dog and to reinforce his status, to keep him safe and make sure the other dogs know that behaving badly towards the senior will not be tolerated.  The senior gets fed first, gets his treats first, goes in and out the door first, gets in the car first, walks first in line, gets to choose where he wants to lay (other dogs get moved if he wants a particular bed),  has his own private time for pets and attention from/with us.

Your younger dog may need some subsidiary  NILIF (Nothing In Life Is Free) behavior modification too.  I find it works well with pushy dogs, especially pushy males.  Basically he has to work for anything he wants - food treats, attention, whatever - he has to offer something you *ask* him to do before he can obtain his goal.  So, separately, teach him a command that he can accomplish - watch me, sit, down, but anything will do - that he can "pay" with.  This emphasizes his place in the pack and helps him realize that HE isn't the boss of the house.

And, if ultimately you feel your senior dog isn't safe living in his old age at his own home, you *may* consider returning the younger dog.  It's hard and not ideal, and most adoption groups will push back, but, as I said, I always defer to the health and safety of the dog that's lived there the longest.

Good luck.


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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What were the situations when Leo went after Marlow? Describe as detailed as you can.

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@greysmom Thank you so much for all the detailed tips!  We've already started implementing these.  Leo was neutered pretty recently so hoping with some time plus some more diligence on our part, it will improve.  We haven't had any new incidents of aggression.

@MaryJane The first time they were each just given a treat.  We had just tried to start giving treats since they had be interacting well for a few days and had done this a few times without issue so I am not sure what was different this time. It happened very fast and I figured it was that Leo was still used to guarding food/or feeling like food was scarce and got protective.  Since then we decided it was too early to give them treats together. The second time, I was in our master bathroom getting ready with the door open and Leo was laying on a bed in our room (we have several dog beds through out the house and he had followed me in there and laid down).  Marlow was in the other room with my partner and then came slowly walking through our master bedroom door.  Leo growled and then almost immediately jumped up and lunged at Marlow in the bedroom door way.  When Leo growled Marlow froze but did not back away. I heard the growl so moved towards them was able to grab Leo and tell him "NO!".  I read online about how important the growl is and that it is better a dog is growling as a warning before snapping because the alternative would be to snap without warning.  But I am a bit concerned how quickly he moved from a growl to a lung with a snap.  I was right there and able to respond quickly and grab him.  Since this incident we've been keeping the muzzle on and staying very close.  

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I am far from being an expert, but sounds to me very much like resource guarding. In the first case, the treat, and in the second case, you :) It sounds like NILIF that Chris mentioned would be a big help. Good luck!

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Did you give treats while they standing up in front of you or did you drop them in the dog bowls?

It sounds like Leo was laying down and Marlow came close to the bed he was on - if this is correct - was Marlow about 2 or 3 feet from Leo when Leo jumped up and lunged?

 

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@MaryJane

While they were standing in front of us.  Marlow has to sit for his treats but Leo doesn't know a command yet (but we are working on it!) so he was standing.

And yes, Leo was laying down and Marlow came close to the bed.  Probably about exactly 3 feet from the bed Leo was on.

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3 hours ago, Delehue said:

@MaryJane

While they were standing in front of us.  Marlow has to sit for his treats but Leo doesn't know a command yet (but we are working on it!) so he was standing.

And yes, Leo was laying down and Marlow came close to the bed.  Probably about exactly 3 feet from the bed Leo was on.

 

That happens - this is from my experience fostering countless greyhounds. 

Don't give them treats when they are standing next to each other. Put it in the dog bowl and make sure that they stay away from each other's dog bowls.  As to beds - you need to make sure that they both stay away from each other when they are laying down - they should be about 4 feet away. Note, this can also happen with stuffies. When they are outside, put muzzles on as this can happen if they start running and get competitive.

This might get better with time or it might not.  You do want to make sure that you muzzle or separate when you are leaving the house.

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