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Location guarding

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Hi all! I’m hoping you can give me some advice. 

We have recently rehomed a new 3 year old female greyhound into our home with an existing greyhound male who is 9 years old.

Everything was going so well, she settled really quickly, she is already giving us kisses and tail wags and doesn’t have the sleep startle that paddy had once he first came to us. However we are starting to see location guarding from her towards the dog beds directed at the male greyhound. The first occurrence happened when I was working from home with my back turned to the dogs. I heard a growl and turned round to see the female grey lying down in paddy’s bed (between armchair & sofa) but staring at the male who walked past. I thought maybe she was startled in her sleep by him and so didn’t think anything of it.

She is very food driven so we have to eat at the diner table otherwise she tries to take our food from the table. We have been working on this and she is getting better but we decided to shut the door to the dining room last night for ease. We heard a bark in the living room and my partner went in to see what was happening. Our male greyhound was in his bed (between the sofa & armchair) and she was standing over him growling. She stopped growling once she saw my partner but barked at paddy again. My partner told her no and told her to get into her bed (she hasn’t learnt the word bed yet but we are trying to train her so keep using it! Both of these occurrences happened in paddy’s bed which she has decided is hers. She does sleep in the other bed by a bay window so equally enclosed but if our greyhound tries to go back into the bed she jumps up out of her bed and tries to take it. 

At first we thought it was because she didn’t like the bed I bought for her so I returned it and got the exact same orthopaedic dog bed that paddy has so they both have the same one. They are positioned on either side of the sofa we sit on. 

She has really attached herself to me, following me everywhere. She is less sure of my partner but still gives him kisses and has never once displayed this behaviour with us when we approach her in a bed.

We have have had paddy for 5 years, he is so placid and calm so we are concerned about how this behaviour is affecting him, as he won’t naturally assert his authority over her. I am conscious that we have two packs (I am the overall pack leader and both seem to respect that) but I can’t intervene with who is their pack leader between themselves.

How do we train pearl to limit this behaviour and is this something that will resolve with time & training? 

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1 hour ago, Natasha said:

I am conscious that we have two packs (I am the overall pack leader and both seem to respect that) but I can’t intervene with who is their pack leader between themselves.

Sounds like she is trying to see where she fits in and who is in charge between the two.  If she is just being vocal or trying to crowd him out (think king of the hill game) they will work it out soon.  If it is escalating or you fear for a fight for safety sake put turn out muzzles on to prevent any injuries.  

Something to consider is the personality of both dogs.  

If you have a two that each think they are the leader.  If you respect the order meaning interact with whoever is the number one first in everything.  You will not upset the order and can have a more peaceful pack. 
 If you interact with the lower in status first you can create confusion between the two which can cause them to keep discussing (growling +) to figure it out.  

My two females were this way if they were interacted with in the wrong order they would have to figure out who really was in charge each time.  If I reinforced the order things were peaceful.

My next pair one of the original females was 6, and new male was 2. They got along fine except when they were playing in the yard. Female would knock the wind out of him anytime he passed her.  She would run into his side so hard I could hear it 80 feet away.  This went on for a few days but he learned.  He was definitely low middle of the pack personality.

If you can figure out what personality types you have then you can make adjustments.  The adoption group may have someone who could observe them and offer help if you need it too. 

Best wishes 

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I am conscious that we have two packs (I am the overall pack leader and both seem to respect that) but I can’t intervene with who is their pack leader between themselves.

Yes, you can.  And yes, you should.  If you're setting yourself up as "pack leader" BE the pack leader.  You decide, not them.

The dynamic you're describing is very common.  Males are pretty much "get along" dogs - they get along with everyone without too much trouble.  Females tend to want to be the boss.  If you're OK with that, then reinforcing that relationship will help work things out.  How your boy reacts to the new dog tells you a lot.  He probably doesn't really care.

Specifically about the beds, it's possible she likes the location, and not the actual bed, better than the one you have set up for her.  It's probably more like a crate/kennel and feels more protected and safer to her.  If you have room for an actual crate, you might try that for her and see if she will leave his bed alone.

Otherwise you're going to have to decide if you're going to support your older dog or reinforce your younger dog in regards to who gets to lay on that bed.  If you choose to let your boy remain in possession of the bed, the female needs to be moved out of it every time she lays in it, or requests it.  Teach her to "go to her bed" as an actual command, and TREAT and PRAISE when she's on *her* bed.  You need to make her bed more valuable to her than the other one.  If you're going to reinforce the "pack order" wishes of the younger dog, the older one is the one that needs to move.

It can work either way, but all humans in the house needs to agree and be absolutely consistent in your response.  Greyhounds are excellent human trainers and will take advantage of perceived variations better than a 3 year old asking Mom and Dad for a cookie!!!

Whichever way you decide, you need to remember that this is natural, instinctive behavior for both dogs.  Yes, you can let them work it out - but then you need to let them work it all the way out.  It looks and sounds aggressive and mean to us, but it's just dog communication and really normal for them.  And don't punish the female for growling or barking - redirect and treat/praise when she complies, but involve yourself only when safety is involved.

Edited by greysmom

Chris - Mom to: Felicity (DeLand), and Andi (Braska Pandora)

52592535884_69debcd9b4.jpgsiggy by Chris Harper, on Flickr

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, Lilly

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Thank you for your replies 1moregrey and greysmom!

The adoption agency we got her from didn’t really give us much advice about how to handle any possible issues in the first couple of weeks so it has all been a giant learning curve! 

We really can’t tell if this going to be a long term issue or something that resolves itself in a couple of weeks. As we can’t trust the girl she at night when we go to bed, she is currently sleeping in a separate room which I think she is finding hard as she slept with another grey in the kennels. Could this be contributing to the issue?

Most of the time she seems to want to play with the male but he just isn’t interested so I think she is also finding that frustrating. She gives him kisses sometimes so I’m hoping they will get in eventually get on but her behaviour is making the older grey nervous of being in the same room as her which is not ideal!  

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