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Hi everyone! 

We have a grey who we adopted 10 months ago and we are really struggling to “read” her emotions - she’s just a very unpredictable hound! But we love her lots.

When meeting other dogs, she will pull me over to them, tail wagging wanting to say hello. They will sniff politely for around 5-10seconds but then out of nowhere she will growl. They don’t even have to be sniffing her face, just “in her zone”. But whilst growling at them, she will continue to sniff them - and we just can’t work out if she wants to say hello or for them to leave her alone! And this is all breeds, even other greys. And it’s definitely not a playful growl, she doesn’t bow or look like she wants to play, she goes all stiff and gives them the side-eye. 

She is even worse inside, she will tolerate other dogs outside as above if they don’t hang around sniffing her for longer than she wants them too, but as soon as you bring them both into the house she will growl at any sort of movement from the other dog, even if they’re really far away! 

We don’t live with another dog but it would be nice to be able to bring her over to friends of family with other dogs and know she won’t be stressed out by them, but we don’t want to upset her so we have stopped putting her in those situations where she’d have to be inside with another dog. 

She does also growl at us on occasion, again very sporadically. Sometimes we put it down to sleep startle, other times we’ll be stroking her and she paws us for more, then growls! So now we just leave her to it unless she comes to us for a fuss and can leave when she wants to. 

Any help greatly appreciated! 

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I would wager that she's still in the settling in phase with you.  It sounds like you're doing all the right things - giving her time and space to work through her anxiety.

Since she's still being so reactive you would probably benefit from the help of a good certified animal behaviorist who could come to your house and observe her interactions.  It could be leash reactivity, resource guarding, sleep startle, or all of them of none of them.  She just might be one of those anxious dogs whose first response to stress is growling and snapping rather than running or hiding.

You might also benefit from this book:

The Cautious Canine by Patricia McConnell

She's an excellent trainer who gives really sound advice in a straightforward, easy-to-understand manner.  Her books are short and really goal based and can be had in paper or Kindle formats.  She also has another book specifically about Leash Reactivity to other dogs which also may be helpful.

Regardless, I think avoiding her triggers is the safe way to go at this time.  She may never be the social butterfly you would like - greyhounds are often breed snobs - but hopefully she can learn to be less anxious in her daily interactions.

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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