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At what point do you recognize and accept that your hound will never grow out of certain undesirable traits?


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We've had our boy for over four years now and while we love him dearly, he has a few quirks that sadden us. For years, I have thought he would "grow out of it" but I am starting to think that this is how he was born or something happened on the track that caused him to behave this way that will never leave him. 

Specifically, he is a cuddle bug (or wants to be) but only on his terms. That is to say that if he cuddles you and rest your hand on him, he growls loudly, gets up and relocates. He will sometimes show teeth as if resting your hand (without moving/petting) on him is a threatening and aggressive attack. Similarly, if he is laying on the other side of the couch from you and you move, he tends to growl and potentially show teeth but I think that is related more to sleep startle. He always wants to be touching us/cuddling on the couch at all times, but he can't figure out how to act. The only way he remains content when cuddling is if he is constantly being pet. We have tried taking away couch privileges several times to no avail. 

At this point, I truly believe this is something that is deep inside of him that simply can't be trained away. I'd be lying if I said this didn't make me sad but I would also be lying if in the back of my head I feel like we have done something wrong (that said, he has had this behavior since the day we got him). 

Wondering if there are others out there that have had similar experiences and have had to come to grips that their hound isn't ever going to be "perfect" (at least in human eyes). 

I can't stress enough that we love him and we think he loves us, but the situation saddens us at times. There is no question in my mind that if we didn't stick it out with him he would have bounced around a few homes before he got someone that would put up with it so we also rationalize that we were meant to get the challenging pup. -_-

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It sounds like that is just his personality. My heart dog Fletcher had many quirks, including him being a Velcro dog that followed me from room to room, but he didn’t share space well. He was allowed on my bed when I wasn’t in it, but he wasn’t allowed to sleep with me. He did reach the point where if he was uncomfortable he would get up and move rather than growl, but I tried hard not to push his boundaries as well. I often said he was “special” :lol but I loved him dearly and I know he loved me. 
It sounds like you have adjusted to this, I am sure it was nothing you did or anything that happened to him before you got him. He is lucky he ended up with you.

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13 minutes ago, Remolacha said:

It sounds like that is just his personality. My heart dog Fletcher had many quirks, including him being a Velcro dog that followed me from room to room, but he didn’t share space well. He was allowed on my bed when I wasn’t in it, but he wasn’t allowed to sleep with me. He did reach the point where if he was uncomfortable he would get up and move rather than growl, but I tried hard not to push his boundaries as well. I often said he was “special” :lol but I loved him dearly and I know he loved me. 
It sounds like you have adjusted to this, I am sure it was nothing you did or anything that happened to him before you got him. He is lucky he ended up with you.

:nod Adding only that my angel hound, Paddy ALVIN! Mayhem, whom I miss so much, was entirely, appropriately named. 

Old Dogs are the Best Dogs. :heartThank you, campers. Current enrollees: Aiden. Punkin. Annie. Miss M.

Angels: Pal :heart. Segugio. Sorella (TPGIT). LadyBug. Zeke-aroni. MiMi Sizzle Pants. Gracie. Seamie :heart:brokenheart. (Foster)Sweet. Andy. PaddyALVIN!Mayhem. Bosco. Bruno. Dottie B. Trevor Double-Heart. Bea. Cletus, Knot Like The Others.

 

:paw Upon reflection, our lives are often referenced in parts defined by the all-too-short lives of our dogs.

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Jagger, aged 11, came to me 3 years ago.  He had been living with an old man in a high-rise in South Florida, and the man went into an assisted living facility at age 81, and Jagger was returned to his adoption agency (that I had adopted Taylor and Facebook from).

Jagger came with a note from the daughter: "He doesn't like cats", and the adoption agency was told never to contact the family again.

I can touch Jagger anywhere, hug him, but ONLY when he is standing.  Same goes with anyone else.  If he is laying down, it's OK to pet his head, but touch him anywhere else, and he turns into Cujo.  Even when fully awake.

I can work with that, and I warn others.   It is what it is.

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28 minutes ago, Beachbum1 said:

I can touch Jagger anywhere, hug him, but ONLY when he is standing.  Same goes with anyone else.  If he is laying down, it's OK to pet his head, but touch him anywhere else, and he turns into Cujo.  Even when fully awake.

I can work with that, and I warn others.   It is what it is.

Sweep is similar. Super affectionate when standing. Not so when lying down. She always had sleep startle, but not wanting to be touched on her bed at all started a couple of years ago. I'm sure she has her reasons. We respect that. Do I wish I could snuggle with her on her bed? You bet. But I have cats for that. She's still our sweet girl.

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

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As you can see, this is a fairly common personality trait, one we see here quite frequently.  It's nothing you did "wrong" or even anything traumatic that happened to him earlier in life (which hardly ever happens).  It's just how he is.

There are several things you can do.  First is just to not interact with him when he's laying down.  Retired racing greyhounds are *never* approached without them being fully awake and aware that someone is around.  So living in a home where they can be touched anytime can be very challenging for dogs who are space sensitive or sleep startlers.  So just make is a house rule that when the dog is laying down, he's left sompletely alone.  If you want to interact with him, use treats and call him over to you so he's on his feet, and gets a reward, for coming over to you.  Keep these petting sessions short and pleasant, and always stop well short of his threshold.  Then have him lay back down again.

If he's laying on the couch, same deal.  Always make sure he's upright and awake before touching him.  And always reward him for calmly accepting attention with a yummy treat.  Keep some good treats close to the couch (or in your pocket) and if both of you are on the couch, just randomly toss him one every once in a while as long as he stays calm.

IF HE GROWLS or bares his teeth he needs to get down and lay on his bed on the floor.  Don't react too much or be loud and angry.  Just - "OK.  You growled.  I heard you.  So now you get off the couch."  You do not want to punish him, but you do need him to know that's not acceptable behavior.  The first thing we teach our dogs is an "off" command, so they can be moved around easily in our small space.  Once he's laying elsewhere calmly, he can have his treat, and then leave him on his own - but don't let him back on the couch for 20-30 minutes.  If he resists getting down, have him wear his leash in the house (only when fully supervised) and use that to get him down.

It may take time, and he may never fully break this habit, but you can mitigate the behavior and help make him a safe housemate.  Unfortunately he may never be a great cuddlebug.  

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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Hey there, welcome to Greytalk! I just wanted to say that there is behavior modification training you can do (using reward based training) that may improve this behavior. Behavior modification is always an ongoing process, and dogs can revert back to this type of behavior when they're stressed or especially if they're ill or in pain. But there is definitely a good chance you could modify this behavior with training if you're highly motivated. It does take time and work, and the training plans are often repetitive and use minute steps. My experience is not all owners are interested in committing to that kind of work so depends on how bothered you are by this behavior.

I would also caution you that the wrong type of trainer (anyone using punishment or correction) could EASILY make this behavior worse and the dog training profession is totally unregulated so it's easy to end up in the wrong hands. I can't see where you're located since you're new here, but if you're willing to share your location I can ask on my professional list serves for recommendations in your area (or I may even know someone), or if you have someone you are interested in working with, I'm happy to do whatever vetting I can based on their online info and give you questions to ask to vet someone. 

Edited by NeylasMom

gallery_12662_3351_862.jpg

Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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On 12/4/2020 at 11:01 AM, NeylasMom said:

Hey there, welcome to Greytalk! I just wanted to say that there is behavior modification training you can do (using reward based training) that may improve this behavior. Behavior modification is always an ongoing process, and dogs can revert back to this type of behavior when they're stressed or especially if they're ill or in pain. But there is definitely a good chance you could modify this behavior with training if you're highly motivated. It does take time and work, and the training plans are often repetitive and use minute steps. My experience is not all owners are interested in committing to that kind of work so depends on how bothered you are by this behavior.

I would also caution you that the wrong type of trainer (anyone using punishment or correction) could EASILY make this behavior worse and the dog training profession is totally unregulated so it's easy to end up in the wrong hands. I can't see where you're located since you're new here, but if you're willing to share your location I can ask on my professional list serves for recommendations in your area (or I may even know someone), or if you have someone you are interested in working with, I'm happy to do whatever vetting I can based on their online info and give you questions to ask to vet someone. 

Hello, and thanks for your offer to help. I live in the Lansing, MI area and would be happy for any referrals you can provide. Let me know if anyone comes to mind as I have done a bit of research in the past and didn't find anything promising.  

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4 hours ago, busfrsr100 said:

Hello, and thanks for your offer to help. I live in the Lansing, MI area and would be happy for any referrals you can provide. Let me know if anyone comes to mind as I have done a bit of research in the past and didn't find anything promising.  

I put out some feelers on my two force free list serves. I'll let you know what I hear back. 

gallery_12662_3351_862.jpg

Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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20 hours ago, busfrsr100 said:

I'm glad I'm not the only person that has experienced this! 

I'm experiencing the same issues with my grey too. She's 8 years old and I got her almost 3 months ago. She has several issues, some of which I addressed in an earlier thread in this sub-forum and I'm working on those (sleep startle being one of them). Lately though on multiple occasions when she's sleeping she growls, bares her teeth and snaps - even though I'm not touching her or near her. One time she bit me on the elbow, another time she snapped at my small elderly dog when she came too close to her. The rest of the time she is the sweetest, most affectionate dog, loves to cuddle and be petted. I'm learning to live with her quirks but I give her a wide berth when she's asleep!

 

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On 12/7/2020 at 3:19 PM, busfrsr100 said:

Hello, and thanks for your offer to help. I live in the Lansing, MI area and would be happy for any referrals you can provide. Let me know if anyone comes to mind as I have done a bit of research in the past and didn't find anything promising.  

Can you email me? I think my GT mailbox is full. Jboydmorin at gmail. Not turning up much, want to get some more info from you. 

gallery_12662_3351_862.jpg

Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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