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Hi everyone, support , reassurance  needed.

 

A bit like Anya's post. We have had Ally for 6 weeks now and there have been a lot of positives. Sleeps to at least   8: 30, house trained, working on the separation anxiety

Initially  for the 1st couple of weeks when on walks he appeared very calm, ignoring other dogs.I now think he was just focusing on me and actually not noticing the other dogs, Now he is more relaxed his prey drive is coming to the fore and is much more reactive towards other dogs. Even my husband has been nearly pulled off his feet when he has lunged at another dog or spotted a squirrel and he is 6 foot, and  is much more relaxed than me when walking him. My concerns are I am 5 foot with early osteoporosis and I'm now terrified that he will lunge and I will break a bone - he's 84 lbs( I'm not at all scared of Ally, he's a lovely good natured boy)

I snapped my ankle a few years ago( sober , flat shoes:mellow:)  and  still have some metal work, so this is  a concern.

I've changed our route so as not to come into contact with many other dogs, but it still happens and the squirrel population seems to  have multiplied. I've being doing leave it/ watch me training which is fine in the house but as I have him muzzled out doors it's difficult  if not impossible to give him treats to reinforce the training. I've ordered the feisty Fido book, but  most of the training seems to involve treats, He's not interested in toys at all .

I'm now  very nervous when walking him which I know doesn't help as he will be very aware of this  and more likely to lunge, but I'm finding it impossible to relax when I see another dog approaching  ( I've never done so many about turns )

 

Any advice  gladly received.

 

 

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Your concerns are valid. If you get injured while walking him, or his lunging at other dogs and squirrels escalates, this would not be good for either of you. Definitely talk with the group. I don't think a trainer would be of help. He might just be the wrong dog for you. 

I've had huge boys before, and even some smaller females who were still quite strong in their older years, and I did get pulled to the ground once.

 

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You can train him to walk nicely, but the prey drive might not get down to the point where he will not lunge forward.

I have taught a foster that was pulling all through the walk to walk at the heel in a month, but the lunging still persisted if he saw something. With mine, they don't lunge anymore, but they still pull after 4 years with me if a squirrel come our way.

Your safety (and his) are essentials. If you can, try to tire him before your walks (good long play sessions in the yard) but I agree with Ducky, speak to your group and see what's what. Carry treats with you in the meantime so he stays focus on you and not on every leaf blowing in the wind. Teach him a signal (Look, or any other cue) so he learns that when you say the word, you give him a treat. Try to get a no pull harness (for him) and a hip belt (for you). Keep the lead short so he doesn't have as much inertia.

It can get better, or not. But your safety should be the priority. You don't want to get hurt. Keep safe :)

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Do you have to walk him (versus doing turnouts in the yard)?

What equipment are you using to walk him? 

Have you tried training sessions (separate from walks) outside with him unmuzzled so it's easier to feed him? Consulted a trainer? Taken a group class?

You haven't had him that long and there are a number of things you could try from both training and management perspectives. I don't think you're anywhere near exhausting options and determining it's not workable but there's also no shame in returning him if you don't feel it's the best match

By the way, your nervousness isn't likely to affect his predatory behavior. If his reacting at other dogs is fear based, then maybe, but if he's just going after squirrels, eh.

If you aren't ready to return him, until you get help or make progress with training, switch him to a no pull harness (I like the Freedom and Balance harnesses) or if you need to, use a head halter (preferably after you acclimate him, there's a great video online on how to do this, I think from Jean Donaldson, but possibly Karen Pryor or Patricia Mcconnell, I'm brain farting at the moment, actually probably Mcconnell) and keep the leash shorter (3-4') while walking.

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The only dog that ever pulled me to the ground was a 30# terrier. :blush.  i feel your pain  I'm going through the same think with a 22 month old boxer mix but returning her is not an option.  So far the Voice Of God "Morgan NO" when she spies a cat or squirrel seems to work best.

Most certainly talk to the group.  There is no shame in returning a dog if you fear he will injure you. FWIW a trainer I worked with was totally against harnesses as she said you lose control but maybe that was just her opinion.

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40 minutes ago, Hubcitypam said:

FWIW a trainer I worked with was totally against harnesses as she said you lose control but maybe that was just her opinion.

I also believe that a harness gives you less control. With a harness the dog can pull with all their body weight as the load is spread across the chest. Use a martingale or fishtail collar for control and if your hound is an escape artist use a harness as a backup. You can get double ended leads so both can be used at the same time. 

10 hours ago, Ellen said:

I'm now  very nervous when walking him which I know doesn't help as he will be very aware of this  and more likely to lunge, but I'm finding it impossible to relax when I see another dog approaching  ( I've never done so many about turns )

You're right and I bet you are tightening the lead at the same time. Is it possible to walk him at a quieter time of the day when there aren't as many dogs around? Grace is frightened of noisy children so we tend to walk early in the morning and mid afternoon before they come out of school.

Have you watched the Channel 5 series "Dogs Behaving (very) Badly? It's available here https://www.channel5.com/show/dogs-behaving-very-badly/ It'll give you some good tips and hopefully some reassurance.

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Raced at Monmore Green, Wolverhampton UK - 68 Races, 9 wins, 5 second places
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Thanks' for all your help, I think I will call the charity . When he nearly pulled my husband over( Ally had  spotted a water vole on the bank of the canal)  I realized that if I had been holding the leash we would both have ended up in the canal which has scared me witless. We only have a small back garden, not enough space for him to really run around and tire himself out. Even this am, my husband took him out for a walk and he lunged at a squirrel- this was on the pavement  by a busy road.

 

I'm sitting here in tears as I feel I've failed him

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1 hour ago, Ellen said:

I'm sitting here in tears as I feel I've failed him

You haven't failed him. You have tried your best but unfortunately it looks like he just wasn't the right dog for you and no-one is going to think any less of you because you gave him a chance. It takes a lot of strength to realise that before it's to late and either you, your husband or Ally is injured.

Have a cup of tea and call the charity but don't let this experience put you off adopting a greyhound, there are plenty of them that don't have a high pry drive or are reactive to other dogs, I know because I've got one. You could ask if you could foster with the option to adopt if the right one turns up.

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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Thanks', I've just called the charity. I know all our safety is paramount  and I know I'm not the best fit for him, he could so easily get injured if he lunges across the road taking me with him.

I'll think about the fostering as greyhounds are such lovely dogs.

I wish it was a bit later in the day as I wouldn't be sitting with a cuppa, but something much stronger:weep

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I used to have a golden retriever 20 years ago that weighed 120 lbs.  He was a powerful animal and I struggled to control him.  We bought a lead called the gentle leader and it changed our lives.  Fit over his snout and after the first walk he stopped pulling.  After a year I stopped using it and he never went back to pulling.

I'm unsure of its effectiveness with greyhounds because of their ability to backpedal.  Has anyone had success with this?

I'd imagine you'd want a 2nd, shorter leash hooked to the martingale collar?

Just a thought. 

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7 hours ago, Ellen said:

I'm sitting here in tears as I feel I've failed him

No.  Just no no no.  You haven't failed him.  Not in any way.  And don't let anyone make you feel as if you did.  It just wasn't a good fit.  It happens, more often than you would think.

Consider that you've been his very first introduction to livnig in a home - his first foster!  And now, his group has much more information to place him successfully in a home where he will thrive, even with his prey drive issues.  He'll be fine.  And you'll be safe.  Send him out into the world with a smile and a kiss for luck!

There are plenty of lower prey drive greyhounds out there.  You may need to wait for the right one, but please don't let that one fact turn you off the breed.

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5 minutes ago, greysmom said:

No.  Just no no no.  You haven't failed him.  Not in any way.  And don't let anyone make you feel as if you did.  It just wasn't a good fit.  It happens, more often than you would think.

Consider that you've been his very first introduction to livnig in a home - his first foster!  And now, his group has much more information to place him successfully in a home where he will thrive, even with his prey drive issues.  He'll be fine.  And you'll be safe.  Send him out into the world with a smile and a kiss for luck!

There are plenty of lower prey drive greyhounds out there.  You may need to wait for the right one, but please don't let that one fact turn you off the breed.

Exactly as greysmom says! 

I fostered dogs before adopting my grey. It was heartbreaking waving each of them off. But their time with me gave them time to adjust, feel some love and get used to home life before moving on to a forever home. 

Don't feel like a failure. Feel like a great person who gave Ally a safe home, love and training before going on to find his perfect permanent place. Had you been fostering instead of adopting the outcome would be exactly the same, you just would have mentally felt different. 

I doubt that helps right now - but you see the point! Big hugs!

 

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thank you all for your kind words. I know I need to return him, it's just heartbreaking. He's lying on his back with not a care in the world. I've a feeling his high prey drive has come to the fore because he has become more relaxed and  feels he can enjoys his walks more, scanning for squirrels etc, with constantly checking I'm there.

He is going to be the perfect fit for someone as he is so gentle and loving ,

I'm just sitting  gently weeping into a glass of wine.

 

I think in a few weeks I will definitely think about fostering:gh_run 

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15 hours ago, Ellen said:

I'm sitting here in tears as I feel I've failed him

As others have said, you have not failed him. He's just not the right fit for you. You would have done well with my last girl, the one in my signature. She had zero prey drive. She did kind of look when a squirrel actually ran over her foot, but she didn't try to chase it. She didn't chase anything. 

I know how heartbroken you must be. There was a dog I adored and desperately wanted to adopt. However, my home situation was completely opposite what he needed and I knew he'd be unhappy here, even though I adored him. I shed many tears over not being able to adopt him. He ended up going to a loving home that was the right place for him and was well-loved there for the rest of his life.

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Beverly with Sammy (Where's Mandrill), the happy toy-flinging chow-hound. Desperately missing my angel Mandy (BB's Luv) [7/1/2000 - 9/18/2012]. Always missing Meg the Dalmatian and Ralph Malph the Pekeapoo.

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Ellen I know exactly how you feel but you made the right decision. You and your husband's safety are paramount and not all dogs are a good fit. Luckily you recognized that early on and did the right thing by him. It's much better to give him another chance with another family than keeping him and being scared of him, right?

My girl is making some progress on walks. As soon as I spot a likely victim I either do a U-turn or if they are too close, immediately distract her with the Watch Me command and a cookie. Fortunately she isn't interested in squirrels otherwise I'd really be in trouble as there are hundreds around these days! I tried to brush her teeth yesterday and it didn't end well - she went berserk and bit me on the elbow. I'm going have to take baby steps with that....one of these days.

All the best to you and hopefully you will find a new grey that presents less challenges. 

 

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you and your husband's health and safety come first! a dog with 0 prey drive is what you need. ask your adoption group about a senior dog or a brood mama w/ little drive. they are out there. and good for you speaking up and protecting your safety.

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I completely understand how you're feeling. I tried to do a local (and not that great, as I since found out) rescue a favour as they had a small crossbreed from Romania that needed a home without men. They asked me, so I agreed as I felt like I was doing them a favour, and I get to "test drive" a doggo for free. It was win-win! Except until the dog was an absolute nightmare that wouldn't stop biting me. :x Not something I was warned about when I took it into my home. I couldn't stop crying after I gave her back, as I was intent that this would be my first dog, and everything would be great. After all, I'd read all about training and was so confident I could do it. I was so wrong.

Fast forward a month or so, I adopted my lad from a very reputable rescue in the UK, and it couldn't have been a more different experience. Fingers' crossed he says just as he is, but my hound has been good as gold aside some minor issues here and there. I don't think he'd know how to be aggressive if he tried, poor sod. 

The right dog is out there for you, you're not a bad owner and you didn't fail the dog. You're giving the dog a chance to find an owner who might have more experience, where it would be a better fit, and that's 100% the best choice for doggo. Keep trying! I advise asking if you can foster before committing, it really does take the pressure off, although I didn't do it myself for my hound as I did a meet with him before getting him. A good rescue will always make sure the dog AND you are ok! 

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