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Hi all, I'm heartbroken :brokenheart and seeking advice (also new here.) 

My partner and I adopted Jumper 3 months ago. He's a 4 year old ex-racer. Everything has gone very smoothly -- we've both bonded with the dog, he's doing well with obedience training and we've spent a lot of quality time together. We love him to pieces, and he is very affectionate, cuddly and loving. He always wants to be right next to me (classic velcro dog.) 

Over the weekend, Jumper bit me (or rather, nipped me pretty good) in the face. I have a black eye and one puncture near my tear duct where his tooth made contact. When it happened, he had come over to sit next to me on the couch. He laid down in a strange position, and his butt was stuck in between couch cushions. I attempted to readjust his butt to make us both more comfortable, and before I knew it... I was knocked over by my snarling dog. 

In hindsight, I should never have tried to manipulate his body, especially approaching him from his backside. I know this was a mistake. 

I also believe we granted furniture privileges too soon.

Saying I adore this dog is an understatement, and I want to make the right changes to avoid these stressful situations for both of us. 

Moving forward, I plan to enroll in more formal obedience training classes to help rebuild and strengthen our bond and trust. 

Any other advice, concerns or thoughts would be very much appreciated. Greytful to have this community.  

- Rae (28 y/o, female)

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Hi Rae :welcome 

Sorry these are the circumstances that have brought you here. I know it's scary and upsetting to have that happen, but it sounds like you have a good handle on things and a smart plan going forward. You know what prompted the bite, and you know you granted furniture privileges too soon. No more furniture for Jumper for now. It sounds like he was probably startled or hurt rather than being possessive of the couch, but better safe than sorry either way. I have a dog who sleep startles and have been in the black eye club myself. Jumper didn't cause any serious damage, and that's very important--he could have had he wanted to. You might read over this recent thread as well. Not exactly the same situation, but it might be helpful nevertheless. 

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

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I'm thinking thyroid--I'd get a panel run asap. After that, I'd look at any possibility of a pain response. I'm sure Jumper didn't want to hurt you, there's something wrong.

Beth and Petey (8 September 2018- ). Godspeed Patrick (28 April 1999 - 5 August 2012), Murphy (23 June 2004 - 27 July 2013), Leo (1 May 2009 - 27 January 2020), and Henry (10 August 2010 - 7 August 2020), you were loved more than you can know.

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Rocket had wicked sleep startle.  I was bitten as was one of his sitters.  In each case, we knew he startled easily but both made a stupid move that triggered him being startled.  We both earned membership in the Bite Club as a result.  Rocket was much like your hound - the most easygoing, friendly boy you ever met.  he loved everyone. As I read your description I immediately thought you startled him.  

For now and maybe forever: 

1. Always announce yourself when approaching and make sure all household members and guests do so. Greys can sleep with their eyes open and you will think they are wide awake when they are not. Saying something as simple as "hey buddy" or using whatever name he responds to is usually enough. Let him see you. 

2. Do not attempt to move him or take something from him when he's laying down. We had a rule of only petting him when he was standing up due to the startle. You may need to do something similar if his startle is bad. 

3. I would make sure he knows the "Off" command and will get off the furniture when told to.  Furniture privileges are earned, not a right.  Rocket never had any interest in furniture so we didn't have to deal with that one. 

4. If he has a treat or picks up something you don't want him to have, trade up. That's part of training but usually you can trade up sor something that he perceives to be of higher value such as a treat that he doesn't usually get and reserve that treat for times you need a high value item to get something away from him. 

It takes a little getting used to, but Rocket had  almost 10 wonderful years with us and I would love another 10, even with the quirks. 

 

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Always missing my boy Hi Noon Rocket. The home of Petunia, MW Neptunia and Kate, Miss Kate.

Don't believe everything you read on the internet. - Abraham Lincoln

 

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Yes, it could easily have been sleep startling, or a response to being manipulated in a painful way (or at all), or he just doesn't like his butt to be touched.  The important thing to remember is that this wasn't a *deliberate* show of aggression towards you and it wasn't personal.  If he had wanted to hurt you badly he certainly could have.  It's probably mostly bad luck he caught you as much as he did.  He's not a "bad" dog, or even a cranky one - it's just the way dogs react and communicate.  He likely forgot about the whole thing seconds after it happened.

I wouldn't even look at it as a failure of any kind in his training or bonding.  This is a dog who responded exactly the way a dog usually responds.  You can go ahead and do all your plans - they can't hurt and likely will help - but like I said, it sounds like he's fine.  It's harder for humans to forget and move on!  Now you know what NOT to do, so you and your partner just have to remember NOT to do it.  ;)   Every dog teaches us something, and you just had a lesson.

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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Thanks @ramonaghan @greysmom @Time4ANap @PatricksMom for the thoughtful responses. It's reassuring to hear that his actions weren't deliberately aggressive, just communication that I need to hear and try to understand. I feel confident that there are simple changes I can make to avoid this from happening again in the future. Potential injury and pain is worth looking into as well... will make sure our vet takes a close look at him. Again, thank you, I appreciate your help. 

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I was bit in the face twice in the first four months after we got our greyhound.  (One time as a result of advice I received from our adoption group.)  To this day he has never attempted to get on a bed, furniture or anything that isn't obviously his.  Not my rule, his choice.  We had his thyroid checked after the second incident and it was low.  (There's a really expensive test at MSU where your vet can send bloodwork.)  He has been on thyro-tabs for 2 years and we retest him each summer. 

Even on meds, he licks his lips and yawns constantly (stress signs.)  He doesn't like other people in our house and doesn't like other dogs anywhere, except greyhounds (there's one around the corner.)

Through all this, he's settled in and so have we.  We know what to expect of him and when to leave him alone.  I'll put my hand on him and if he wants to roll over and be pet he does, but if not I leave him be.

Most greyhounds aren't who they are going to be for at least a year after you bring them home.  It will hopefully get better the longer you have him.  Just be wary of his warning signs: lick lips, yawn, growl, bite.  

Finally, although it is terrifying to be bitten in the face by your dog, I've come to realize it was just a warning.  If he wanted to injure me, I wouldn't be writing this message.  

Best of luck to you and Jumper.

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Hi Rae,

You poor thing! Something like that does shake you and you can’t help feeling wary and disappointed after that.

My boy snapped around 5 or 6 times at me or my partner during the first few months. I think it’s just pure luck we managed to pull out of the way quickly enough. 

I learnt very quickly not to push him or try to move him when he was asleep or staking his claim to something (eg my bed) - I was so upset when he snapped viciously after a couple of weeks (I gently pushed his back to stop him falling off the bed). Working on ‘down’ or ‘bed’ with lots of positivity/rewards and pointing to his own bed has solved that, so now I don’t have to touch him I can just tell him and he’ll sigh, scowl, get up and move. 

6 months on.... he will still growl and eventually snap if I take some tasty food away from him. But ‘leave it’ and trading up has helped wonders in emergency (stolen food he shouldn’t have) situations.

It takes a while to relax and trust again after a bite or angry moment, but try not to obsess over it or let it jade your relationship with Jumper. He’s still the same lovely boy, he just needs a bit of guidance to let him know what is and isn’t acceptable.

Good luck :)

 

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Dogs bite-they just do. Don't take it personal. It doesn't mean the same thing to you as it does to him. In his mind he was just communicating hehe. Just be aware that sometimes these hounds can have quirps that will result in the behavior you described. Sometimes they actually have a sore place in their back that will cause pain when manipulated in a certain way. Sometimes they will behave like that because in their whole entire life no one has EVER disturbed them while they are resting and thats the way their mind is now programmed. So when someone moves or manipulates, or in some cases even touches them, when they are resting, it sets off kind of an auto reaction where they will strike out like that. The important thing is don't worry about it. All is well. Chalk it up to a normal 'difference of opinion' so to speak and move on. It won't or should not have any negative impact on ya'lls happy future. Just give him a wide bearth when he is resting and don't forget he has made 'adjustments' to conform to you guys to :). BTW I am on my 10th greyhound and have fostered many as well.

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On 8/18/2020 at 12:19 PM, racindog said:

Dogs bite-they just do. Don't take it personal. It doesn't mean the same thing to you as it does to him. In his mind he was just communicating hehe. Just be aware that sometimes these hounds can have quirps that will result in the behavior you described. Sometimes they actually have a sore place in their back that will cause pain when manipulated in a certain way. Sometimes they will behave like that because in their whole entire life no one has EVER disturbed them while they are resting and thats the way their mind is now programmed. So when someone moves or manipulates, or in some cases even touches them, when they are resting, it sets off kind of an auto reaction where they will strike out like that. The important thing is don't worry about it. All is well. Chalk it up to a normal 'difference of opinion' so to speak and move on. It won't or should not have any negative impact on ya'lls happy future. Just give him a wide bearth when he is resting and don't forget he has made 'adjustments' to conform to you guys to :). BTW I am on my 10th greyhound and have fostered many as well.

10th?? Wow, that's amazing! :-)

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The support on this thread is incredibly helpful, thank you all so much for taking the time to share your experiences, perspectives and advice. I feel much better about the incident, and your stories have helped shape my understanding of Jumper's needs and motivations. It wasn't a malicious attack, it was clear communication and a very important lesson for me. 

I'm happy to report that we are doing very well. Jumper is happy as a clam, and I am fully recovered. We've moved on swimmingly, but I feel much more prepared to avoid this kind of situation in the future. Thank you all again.  

And wow, @Feefee147 10 greyhounds is amazing. I have a sneaking suspicion Jumper won't be my last. 

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23 minutes ago, Rae said:

And wow, @Feefee147 10 greyhounds is amazing. I have a sneaking suspicion Jumper won't be my last. 

Yeah, they're lovely (and addictive) - I suspect I'll end up with more. I'm being restrained as we've only had my boy 6 months and he's quite a shy meek chap but if I had my way I'd have another one seven

Not sure I'd ever get to ten though. Well done @racindog

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