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Ursula nipped my partner. Need advice from the pro's . . .

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So, our sweet, precious darling angel baby Ursula nipped her other mother last night and brought a little blood in the process.  We rotate nightly treats for the girls, and last night they had frozen peanut butter Kongs.  After they finished up the treat, Kala went to grab them from the dogs and Ursula growled at her and nipped her hand.  It happened so fast!  She has not done anything like this before, so we are a little taken aback.  I can't say we have ever even heard her growl before.  We have had her 8 weeks this past Saturday, and everything has gone really smoothly (except for her chewing up a rug pad when left alone for about 45 minutes).  So, after doing a little reading, I know that going forward, if we remove the kong, we need to "trade out" with another treat, which we will try.  To add to the story, over the past 24 hours, on two walks, she has shown some apprehension when visiting with another (leashed) dog and a small child who wanted to pet her. Again, this is new.  She has seemed very outgoing and interested in meeting new creatures of both the human and canine variety.  She mainly just backed away and acted a little scared.  We are perplexed.  To our knowledge, nothing has occurred that would cause her to be both more nervous around new sentient beings.  And the last question . . . we have been allowing her on the sofa and bed during the day, but now are wondering if we allowed these privileges too soon.  Should we keep her off the furniture until she settles in more?  We don't want her to develop into a dog who thinks she ACTUALLY rules the roost.  I had to redirect her off of the furniture a few times this morning, but she did eventfully stay down (after testing it a few times).  

Besides the incidences mentioned, she's great.  Am I overthinking all of this?   I'd love some feedback from the pro's.  

This is what started the whole "getting on the furniture" thing.  She put her front paws up on Kala's lap, and she is just such a love bug that we hoisted her the rest of the way up.  From then, she has made herself at home on furniture.  She loves to snuggle by her humans, and will also cuddle up with Bette.  No space aggression issues have presented so far.  Given the nip and the nervousness on walks, I'm halfway worried of seeing that next.


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Hi Sonya! Not a pro by any means, but to me it sounds like she's getting more comfortable and confident there and letting her opinions be known. Sweep was like that, a perfect angel for a while and then, "No mom, I don't like that!" Yes to trading up treats. I don't think you have to take away furniture privileges unless/until she starts guarding that too. Finally, if you have any doubts or anxiety about her interactions with kids, keep her away. I'm sure she has her own reasons for being suddenly nervous (weird smell? loud noise? phase of the moon?), but it's way too risky IMO, and she will feel your nerves too. (I remember getting swarmed by like four or five kids at Sevier Park with Sweep when she was new and the thought makes me cringe now, even though nothing bad happened. It so easily could have gone sideways and I had no clue how to read her yet.)

Hope Kala heals up quickly!


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

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Hi. I'm not a dog professional (IE: It isn't paid work). The behaviour you describe isn't bad behaviour; it's just dog behavior. Possession is 10/10ths of the law :) . The first full day that I had my current grey, I leaned over to pick up a toy that was near him and he promptly 'told' me "Hey! You're crowding my personal space and get the **** away from my toy." - he bit me on the arm (without drawing blood) and I've respected that his space and his possessions are his, ever since. He's a great dog and we've been pals for more than five years now.  As for the furniture, I calmly and quietly taught him (in stages) that the house and yard is his to roam, and also that "all four paws on the floor" is the rule. He has the choice of six dog beds.  Cheers. 

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Probably over-thinking, yes!  ;)  

Everything you describe is really normal for a dog getting comfortable and really settling into their new living situation.  She now has a level of trust and familiarity with her people and her home, and she now feels more comfortable expressing her opinions.  Same with meetings out on walks.  She may have been a little closed down, and you just didn't see it.  Or maybe she was trying out meeting all these new things, but now knows she doesn't really like that.  It's hard to know exactly.

Just know, and please pass on to your partner, that the nip wasn't personal and that it could have been much worse if Ursula had *really* wanted to hurt her.  You both now know she's a resource guarder, so you know what to watch for and how to handle it.  It means being careful ANY TIME you need to remove and high value resource (space, treats, food, toys) from her possession.  Trading up is a perfectly valid response.  The other thing you can do is teach her the "leave it" command.  There are plenty of videos on YouTube on how to manage that.

For walks and meeting new people/dogs, just be very careful and let her decide whether she wants to or not.  If she seems anxious, just say Hi and move on.  Don't force her to interact when she clearly doesn't want to.  She may decide in the future that it's all ok, and she'll be eager to reach out again.  Or she may be naturally more introverted and prefer the company of a smaller group of companions going forward.

Dogs do grow and change, just like other living things.  The dog you have right now isn't the dog you had 8 weeks ago, nor is it the dog you'll have 8 weeks from now.  And that's perfectly normal too.

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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To answer the furniture question. By the look of it it's too late to keep her off the furniture. Teach the down command so she'll get off the furniture when you want to use it and put a throw over the sofa and like the rest of us enjoy the sight of your hound making themselves at home :D

Greyhounds don't rule the roost as such but both sides learn to live with each other and as long as they get fed, exercised and toilet breaks at roughly the same time each day they are happy.

12 hours ago, greysmom said:

Dogs do grow and change, just like other living things.  The dog you have right now isn't the dog you had 8 weeks ago, nor is it the dog you'll have 8 weeks from now.  And that's perfectly normal too.

That is so true. The first few months you'll notice a rapid change with some backward steps as she processes her new world. I've had Grace for just over two years and she is still changing

Grace (Ardera Coleen) born 18 June 2014
Raced at Monmore Green, Wolverhampton UK - 68 Races, 9 wins, 5 second places
Gotcha Day 10 June 2018 

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From a K9 Handlers perspective I would be unconcerned about the possessiveness/bite over the peanut butter kong. MANY dogs are possessive of food-its genetic to a certain extent- it doesn't concern me. Simply trade up for something she wants more to remove it or just don't give her anything she will fight over. I see no point in flexing your muscles so to speak to her over treats or food or anything else. I believe in letting them eat their food/enjoy their treats in peace. Actually possessiveness in my line of work is a desired attribute as it tends to mean they will be a good work dog :).  I also wouldn't be concerned about her being on furniture as long as she didn't get dominant over it and you said there have not been any space issues or anything so I wouldn't have a problem with it. If she ever does get uppity over furniture I just very clearly and stearnly forcibly pull them off of it and remind them it is MY furniture and they are allowed on it only because I say so.  Then the next day or so I let them back on again and they are more appreciative and usually there are no more problems.  Now that is with greyhounds-understand that- not with other more drivey dogs. 

The important thing out of your post to me is that I want to implore you to please do not make too much over her being social with animals or people. Please don't make her allow herself to be petted or interact with another dog or person in any way if she doesn't want to.  Leave her alone to handle it as she wants as long as she is not doing something stupid like being aggressive.  Forcing it on her will only make her worse-not better.  In fact some dogs may even get to where they don't want to go out on a walk etc at all anymore because they make the association that 'every time I go out they make me be petted; or they make me socialize with another dog; etc etc. in other words it becomes an unplesant aversive to them. It is OK that she is uncomfortable about it. IF she has it in her to be social she will gradually get that way on her own at her own pace where she can be comfortable.  If you make her endure it when she is clearly uncomfortable and stressed over it then you will only make it worse.  And the fact is she just may not be real social.  Many dogs really don't like being petted by strangers or being close to strange dogs. There is nothing the wrong with that.  You said she likes you and to cuddle with you and that is really all that matters.  Some dogs just don't like people in general. Some do. Some dogs are literal socialites hehe.  But she has the right to be respected and not to have people and dogs thrust upon her if she is uncomfortable with it IMO.  She may learn and grow and become very social at her own pace-or she may not.  But forcing it on her will not teach her that it is OK and that it is 'fun'. It will just make her hate it more. Let her learn at her own pace so it is not stressful for her and see what happens being heavy on the positive reinforcement/yummy treats. And I want to say I put 'yummy' treats for a reason.  You should always use high value yummy treats. You can cut up cheese and hot dogs etc or you can buy yummy treats but don't waste your money getting cheap treats.  The dogs know the difference and it definitely affects the success you have in training. If you want them to respond at their highest level you've got to offer them the good stuff hehe. She sounds greyt! I am sure you will be blessed to share in each others lives. JMO.

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Thanks to all who shared their thoughts re: my concerns with the angel baby.  I feel more at ease after getting your input.  I especially will take to heart to advice to not "force" Ursula into any interactions she seems uncomfortable with. She currently LOVES to go on walks, and I don't want that to change.  We are going to a mng on Saturday, so I will be curious to see how she does.  There will be a limited # of people there at one time due to COVID constraints.  We also have a wonderful pub that is dog friendly with outdoor seating right down the street.  The weather is cooling dramatically this weekend, so we were hoping to take the girls with us while we have the first Oktoberfest of the season.  If she seems uncomfortable in any situation, we will cut it short.   She's such a playful, happy, frisky girl . . . this aloofness seems so new and out of nowhere.  But I definitely hear what everyone is saying, and don't want to force her to be a dog that she's not . . .

It's so weird ~ Bette is the stoic one at home, but SUPER SOCIAL when out and about.  She loves to meet new people, new dogs, new anything.  Maybe that will be a good model for Ursula.

One of the many reasons I hate COVID is that it interfered with our plans to do in person dog training.  I will be so glad when we can engage in that.  I know I could likely learn how to do some basic training via youtube.  I am such "in person" learner that I would much prefer the former to the latter.  Now that things are starting to open up a little more, I'm hoping that truing classes will start up again soon.

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