Jump to content

Started growling at youngest human


Recommended Posts

Hi all, 

Just after some advice / opinions on what we're doing. We adopted our first greyhound - 5 year old Alfie - from a rescue centre in the UK about 6 months ago. He's settled in really well and done himself proud with how he's adapted. We've talked a lot about how he has a slightly different relationship with each of us in the house. We both work at home but my wife spends more time with him than me, but he's more likely to look to play and do zoomies in the back garden if I'm around. And he's bonded very well and been very tolerant with our 10 year old human, who lets him out in the morning and gives him biscuits, and lies with him and give him cuddles regularly.

We had one instance of Alfie snarling at me early days when I tried to get him to drop a toy so I could throw it for him. After that we looked for advice online and from an experienced greyhound owner, and we ended up rotating his toys so he didn't get too possessive of individual ones, and I respected his space more while he's chewing one.

A couple of weeks ago he had his first instance of sleep startle when he was sleeping in his bed in the middle of the the floor and our 10 year old went in for a cuddle before checking he was fully awake. Jake was shocked but Alfie was very contrite and they made friends again straight away. Then in the last few days Alfie was on his bed in the middle of the room chewing his ball and growled when the 10 year old came for a cuddle. Obviously this is a bit understandable, but he hadn't done it in the 6 months previous. At the time we had a lot going on, and we told Alfie NO and sent him out into the back garden. Then two days ago again he was lay on his bed in the middle of the living room and he growled when our boy moved anywhere near him, without even coming towards him. This time we just told him NO and then ignored him for a while. 

Obviously we don't want the (human) boy to be worried or scared around Alfie, or loose the relationship they've got. But we also realise that Alfie is telling us he's not happy about something, so we're trying to fix this. What we've done so far is moved his two beds into the corner of the rooms so that they feel more secure to Alfie. We've also made sure that our 10 year old gives Alfie plenty of warning if he's on his bed when he goes to stroke him, and has taken a biscuit with him if he's going to get down on the floor with him.

What I'd like to ask from people with more experience from us is if they can spot anything with what we're doing that could cause us real problems, or if there's any suggestions for us. 

Thanks in advance for any help :)

Tom

   

Link to post
Share on other sites

In this case, the ten year old was wrong. Period.   The bed (any bed that the dog uses) is his safe space.  Greyhounds have never been touched when sleeping in their crates and are considering their bed a safe space.  No resident, visitor etc should be allowed to touch the dog while on their bed, and the bed is the dog's safety zone, whether awake or asleep. No one in the house should be laying on it or using it, ever. 

I spent 10 years with a fantastic boy who had sleep startle and space issues. He was the sweetest dog you ever met and had a huge fan club.  But, if you didn't follow basic rules regarding his space, he bit due to being startled. Each time he bit, the human did something that they shouldn't have, sometimes just not thinking, sometimes by mistake.  Animal Control quarantined him at home for 2 weeks after one of the bites, and even the Animal Control Officer realized that the basic rules hadn't been followed when she wrote the report.  He was a love bug with her while she was there which is why she didn't make him spend the time at doggy jail, but allowed us to keep him at home with a "no walks and no outings" provision. 

It's important to note that your dog will still cuddle on his own terms, but no one should ever "just move in for a cuddle."  My boy would lay by my feet and wrap his front paws around my legs. He would sleep for hours that way and never startled - cuddling was on his terms and where he felt safe. Let the dog approach the humans for pets instead of the other way around.  It's also always good to just announce yourself when walking nearby if the dog is laying down.  I had to walk within inches of my boy on his bed if I got up during the night. I always just announced myself by saying "hey buddy' or something similar as I approached and never had a startle incident by doing so.  Same if he was sleeping in the living room. 

If you have the room, you may want to try setting up a crate in an out of the way place and leaving the door open, allowing your dog to come and go at will. That can be his dedicated safe space as well where he can feel a little more secure.  We left a crate setup for years and it was used mostly to catch sunbeams, but every once in a while we would find him in there, just chilling. 

Good luck. 

 

Good luck. 

rocket-signature-jpeg.jpg

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

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the advice around the crate. However, our 10 year old most definitely WAS NOT IN THE WRONG. If there was disagreement between Alfie and our child it would have been our fault NOT HIS. I'm aware that there is obviously something that Alfie is communicating, and that we want to make him happy and respect his boundaries. That is why we are reaching out to others with experience. However, I will not have our child blamed for loving Alfie, especially as for all his life he has respected dogs and asked before approaching them. I also am uncomfortable with the idea that it is out of bounds for us to approach Alfie under any circumstances when he is on his bed, although as I've said we are trying to figure out how we can reach accommodation with him, and would never knowingly approach him while he's sleeping. I especially resent this high handed statement when this comes from someone who's dog was quarantined by an Animal Control Officer for biting. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

My advice would also be set Alfie up a safe space. We have a bed in the middle of the room, but we also have one in a corner that Buddy can take himself off to. We never approach him without announcing ourselves if he’s sleeping due to him having sleep startle, and having learnt the hard way!

i was in the middle of this reply when your second post popped up. You’re right that Alfie is trying to communicate to you, and the answers you receive from the members on here will all be given to try to help you read your dog better. I wouldn’t read the first response as a criticism of Jake (I didn’t read it that way), but that is not to say that there isn’t a lesson for all the family about greyhound behaviour. If my dog exhibits this kind of behaviour, in our house we feel that it is time to rethink our boundaries as we have been given a warning.

Mine often growls at us when we play and it’s taken me a long time to think a bit more greyhound. He’s not like the other dogs I grew up with and is much less interactive, preferring me to stimulate him with a toy, which I then watch him run around the garden with. He requires very little intervention from me. Obviously I wasn’t there when you played with Alfie, and I can only share my own experiences. If you search the forum and have a read around the subjects you’ve posted on here, you mind find that a small shift in your mindset will help you all get along with Alfie better. You also might not agree with me but the advice we share here is all based on our personal experiences, and you can choose to ignore it as you see fit.

Good luck

Living with Buddy Molly b. 5 November 2010. Welcomed home 16/6/2018 ❤️

Won 17/112 races at Romford - our champion Essex boy

Link to post
Share on other sites

As a new owner I can sympathise with your situation. Having your dog growl at you or someone for the first time is scary, especially if they haven't exhibited any such signs prior. However, as you say, they are just attempting to communicate with you - it's not overt aggression and is very common. 

Educating myself and learning to respect my dogs boundries was key, as was reading up on resource guarding. I put myself in my dogs siutation, I wouldn't be too pleased if he suddenly came up on my bed and jumped on me. 

So that's it really, I accepted that he didn't like it and respected that. Now when he's on his bed I leave him be, when he has a special toy I leave him with it (if I really need it back I will trade it for something better). 

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Alfie2020 said:

Thanks for the advice around the crate. However, our 10 year old most definitely WAS NOT IN THE WRONG. If there was disagreement between Alfie and our child it would have been our fault NOT HIS. I'm aware that there is obviously something that Alfie is communicating, and that we want to make him happy and respect his boundaries. That is why we are reaching out to others with experience. However, I will not have our child blamed for loving Alfie, especially as for all his life he has respected dogs and asked before approaching them. I also am uncomfortable with the idea that it is out of bounds for us to approach Alfie under any circumstances when he is on his bed, although as I've said we are trying to figure out how we can reach accommodation with him, and would never knowingly approach him while he's sleeping. I especially resent this high handed statement when this comes from someone who's dog was quarantined by an Animal Control Officer for biting. 

These dogs often sleep with their eyes open due to the inner eyelid they have and you will think they are awake - you don't know when they are sleeping or awake in many cases.

Making unwelcome contact with any sleeping dog is a bad idea. Ever hear the phrase "Let sleeping dogs lie?" it's a phrase for a reason. 

If you won't enforce some basic rules for the safety of your son or others in the household, I suggest involving your adoption group for advice. They may need to rehome the dog for the safety of all involved.  That's my last post on this and I have blocked you so that I don't inadvertently answer any more questions where you are asking for the help of others who have been through this or other situations. 

Good luck to your dog. He's going to need it. 

 

rocket-signature-jpeg.jpg

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

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Just to clarify, we got Alfie from a national greyhound rescue charity after explaining our family circumstances and that we also had young nieces and nephews. Alfie was suggested to us as an easy going hound who should be good with children. As first time greyhound owners we obviously sought a lot of advice from the provider and others.
I gave lots of backround in my original post, but was mostly querying our reaction to new behaviour from Alfie - having growled at the 10 year old on one occassion (somewhat undestandably) when he was on his bed with his ball, and on an occasion when he was just in the vicinity.
Our reaction has been to move his two beds permanently into the corner of rooms so that he felt more secure - we had sometimes had one bed more in the middle of the room so that it was in front of the patio doors, and as I said this is where he was when he growled. We have also suggested being more aware of his space and positive reinforcement by giving him biscuits if fussing him on his bed.
Thanks to the constructive and sympathetic replies that have said we need to be respectful of Alfies space. As I hope is clear, I posted asking for advice on what we're doing because I want to do the best for all members of this family, especially Alfie.
I hope it's also understandable that I would get defensive when the first reply I get as a new member ignores most of what I've posted and says that my 10 year old son is completely at fault. I suggest that although they may know greyhounds, Don has sod all understanding of people and should stay off the boards.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Don is correct when he says ... 'Let Sleeping Dogs Lie".

This is not an 'old wives tale'.    No dog...especially a Greyhound recently retired from racing... should be bothered when laying down.  Not by adults and certainly not by 10 year old children. Ever. 

If your child was snapped at or bitten by a dog that should not have been approached then the fault is with the child.

Don is a very seasoned greyhound owner who has experienced 'sleep startle' first hand. 

His advice and comments were spot-on.  

 

NSK-Winter.jpg.a6ea578c2e544932c5222b81cda3216d.jpg

Nancy...Mom to Nigel (Nigel) , Sid (Peteles Tiger) and Kibo (112 Carlota Galgos)Missing Casey, Gomer, Mona, Penelope, BillieJean, Bandit, Nixon (Starz Sammie) and especially Ruby (Watch Me Dash) waiting at the Bridge.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Alfie2020 said:

I suggest that although they may know greyhounds, Don has sod all understanding of people and should stay off the boards.

It's up to you if you want to agree or disagree with the advice you have asked for but don't abuse those that give it freely and in good faith.

A lot of greyhounds suffer with sleep startle in varying degrees. It is genetic and can't be altered so you have to learn to live with it otherwise somebody is going to get hurt and it won't be the greyhounds fault.

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 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I wasn't asking for help with sleep startle. I mentioned that only as background. We are well aware of sleep startle and why that happened, and leaving Alfie when he's sleeping was the first rule on the board.

I was asking for help with growling at my child, once when he was in the vicinity of Alfie who was awake and watching us.

I say again I asked for advice because I want to do what's best by all parties.

If somebody comes out of the blocks not even addressing my question but telling me that my 10 year old son is the problem I owe them no respect at all. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Just an idea,  now that Alfie is becoming settled in his new pack he realises that you and your wife are the pack leaders. Is there a possibility he is trying to assert his dominence over your  son, possibly sees him as a  younger sibling that requires to know his place in the pack ?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry you don't like the advice and opinions of our experienced group.  

However... In your original post you stated that your son was approaching the dog while the dog was laying on his bed.... once while he was chewing his toys. 

So... I will once again repeat.. 'Let Sleeping Dogs Lie'. 

No... The dog wasn't actually sleeping, but he was quietly laying down on HIS bed.  

I repeat... HIS bed. 

Alfie has already shown you that he has some resource guarding issues so it is doubly important to not approach him while he's laying on his bed with his toy/bone. 

Research 'trading up' to get ideas on how to handle this. 

Most dogs.. Not just greys... Do not like to be 'cuddled'.  Some dogs will tolerate it.  Many won't. 

If your son wants to ' cuddle' with Alfie he needs to call Alfie over to him and just pat him. No hugging. 

H

ow would your son feel if someone he barely knows climbed into his bed with him and started hugging him?! 

NSK-Winter.jpg.a6ea578c2e544932c5222b81cda3216d.jpg

Nancy...Mom to Nigel (Nigel) , Sid (Peteles Tiger) and Kibo (112 Carlota Galgos)Missing Casey, Gomer, Mona, Penelope, BillieJean, Bandit, Nixon (Starz Sammie) and especially Ruby (Watch Me Dash) waiting at the Bridge.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
26 minutes ago, BatterseaBrindl said:

Sorry you don't like the advice and opinions of our experienced group.  

 

I came here for the advice of your experienced group. It is the attitude of the original responder I have an issue with.

My son loves Alfie and is an innocent in all of this, as is Alfie. When the first words of help I get on here are "the ten year old was wrong. Period" he can stick it. He can say I'm wrong in my parenting or pet care, but my son is blameless and his judgemental attitude stinks.

Thank you for your more measured response on the importance of respecting Alfie's bed, resource guarding and trading up.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Ellen said:

Just an idea,  now that Alfie is becoming settled in his new pack he realises that you and your wife are the pack leaders. Is there a possibility he is trying to assert his dominence over your  son, possibly sees him as a  younger sibling that requires to know his place in the pack ?

Thanks for the suggestion. I had just been reading about the important role of feeding and walking in hierarchy, and was wondering if my son being involved in the feeding at least might be beneficial?

Link to post
Share on other sites

OK.  Stepping in to this.

Fine.  Not your son's fault.  It IS your fault for allowing your son to approach a dog - any dog - that is minding its own business, laying on its own bed, sleeping or not.  It should be a very hard and fast rule that children DO NOT approach a dog in this situation.  Ever.  If your son wants to give attention to your dog that is laying down, the dog should be called over, and rewarded with a treat, to the child so it is on its feet and awake and aware.

Issues like this are the reason many US-based adoption groups will not adopt to families with young kids.  Your son is old enough to understand rules and how to follow them.  Your dog, who sounds like he's dealing with everything and settling in just fine, will always react according to his instincts.

Your first mistake was in disciplining the dog for growling, taking away what it was guarding, and punishing him by sending him away.  Now it *may* assocaite the child approaching with being negatively affected, and so is proactively growling to keep the child away - so it's not scolded and sent outside again.

Growling is one of the only ways a dog has to communicate verbally with humans, as you've said.  It's not, in and of itself, a sign of aggression or even of anger.  It's a signal that your dog is uncomfortable with what is going on.   Moving his beds is a fine way to start, but some basic rules for all humans in the house will help.

If you need to take *anything* away from a resource guarding dog research the concept of "trading up."  Use a higher value treat than what he's guarding, show him the treat and either throw it far away or lure him away from what he's guarding, and pick up the item.  Don't ever just try and take away anything from a resource guarder - that's a recipe for getting bit.

If you want some further common sense advice about house rules with kids and dogs, get the booklet (or ebook) "Family Friendly Dog Training" by Patricia McConnell.  

 

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

Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with all posters' advice. My Sheba bit my then 3-year-old niece when I had Sheba for about 9 months. It was my fault for not paying enough attention, not Sheba's fault, not my niece's fault, my fault. Sheba has sleep startle, is a resource guarder, does not like to be cuddled at any time, especially when on her beds, and in general is a snarky lady. Everyone in my immediate friend/family chain knows this and follows my rules.

You have asked for advice. Advice and suggestions have been given. If you and your family choose not to follow this advice, I suggest you rehome Alfie to another family or individual who will because there is an accident waiting to happen. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, greysmom said:

OK.  Stepping in to this.

Fine.  Not your son's fault.  It IS your fault for allowing your son to approach a dog - any dog - that is minding its own business, laying on its own bed, sleeping or not.  It should be a very hard and fast rule that children DO NOT approach a dog in this situation.  Ever.  If your son wants to give attention to your dog that is laying down, the dog should be called over, and rewarded with a treat, to the child so it is on its feet and awake and aware.

Issues like this are the reason many US-based adoption groups will not adopt to families with young kids.  Your son is old enough to understand rules and how to follow them.  Your dog, who sounds like he's dealing with everything and settling in just fine, will always react according to his instincts.

Your first mistake was in disciplining the dog for growling, taking away what it was guarding, and punishing him by sending him away.  Now it *may* assocaite the child approaching with being negatively affected, and so is proactively growling to keep the child away - so it's not scolded and sent outside again.

Growling is one of the only ways a dog has to communicate verbally with humans, as you've said.  It's not, in and of itself, a sign of aggression or even of anger.  It's a signal that your dog is uncomfortable with what is going on.   Moving his beds is a fine way to start, but some basic rules for all humans in the house will help.

If you need to take *anything* away from a resource guarding dog research the concept of "trading up."  Use a higher value treat than what he's guarding, show him the treat and either throw it far away or lure him away from what he's guarding, and pick up the item.  Don't ever just try and take away anything from a resource guarder - that's a recipe for getting bit.

If you want some further common sense advice about house rules with kids and dogs, get the booklet (or ebook) "Family Friendly Dog Training" by Patricia McConnell.  

 

A genuine thank you for your response. I will look into what you've recommended. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, ShebasMom said:

I agree with all posters' advice. My Sheba bit my then 3-year-old niece when I had Sheba for about 9 months. It was my fault for not paying enough attention, not Sheba's fault, not my niece's fault, my fault. Sheba has sleep startle, is a resource guarder, does not like to be cuddled at any time, especially when on her beds, and in general is a snarky lady. Everyone in my immediate friend/family chain knows this and follows my rules.

You have asked for advice. Advice and suggestions have been given. If you and your family choose not to follow this advice, I suggest you rehome Alfie to another family or individual who will because there is an accident waiting to happen. 

I asked for advice and am happy to take it. What I am NOT happy to take is people telling me my son is at fault. As you said, when your Sheba bit your niece you were at fault. I would be happy to accept responsibility in the same way, and I have come on here asking for advice BEFORE anyone has been bitten because I am trying to be responsible. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/21/2020 at 10:00 PM, longboyz100 said:

As a new owner I can sympathise with your situation. Having your dog growl at you or someone for the first time is scary, especially if they haven't exhibited any such signs prior. However, as you say, they are just attempting to communicate with you - it's not overt aggression and is very common. 

Educating myself and learning to respect my dogs boundries was key, as was reading up on resource guarding. I put myself in my dogs siutation, I wouldn't be too pleased if he suddenly came up on my bed and jumped on me. 

So that's it really, I accepted that he didn't like it and respected that. Now when he's on his bed I leave him be, when he has a special toy I leave him with it (if I really need it back I will trade it for something better). 

Thank you

Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Beachbum1 said:

The bottom line, is when "boundaries" are crossed, and the dog reacts with a bite, the dog loses.

You've gotten good advice. 

I hope, for the family's sake, you now better understand dog behavior. 

Thank you. I am trying to be responsible by coming on here for advice BEFORE anyone has got bitten.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...