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Need advice about strange behaviour from normally ggod natured Greyhound :-(

(54 Posts)
Tortoise Thu 06-Aug-09 22:23:32

We have had Mickey, our Greyhound for 2 and a half years and he is generally a lovely, gentle dog and has only ever growled/snapped if one of the children accidently fell on him.

A few days ago my Brother looked after kids while i popped out. When i got back he said Mickey had growled at DD1 when she was sat near him on the sofa. Then snapped at DS2 when he went near. sad I assumed maybe DD1 had put her elbow on him or something and he had warned her with a growl. But they all said she was just sat near him.

Today he growled at DD2 when he was led on floor and she was on the sofa. Again i thought her feet were on him or something but she was sure they weren't.

Now tonight, I was on the sofa with feet up. DD2 next to me and DS2 next to her. DS1 was on the computer chair.
Mickey looked up at me/us and started growling then he suddenly snapped. I shouted at him and he went and led on the other sofa.

Now i am really worried about him but moreso the safety of DC being around him incase he does it again.

I will try and phone the vets tomorrow i think but was wondering if anyone had any ideas as to what could be going on.
Very sad at the thought of having to lose him.sad He is normally so loving and friendly.

Tortoise Thu 06-Aug-09 22:24:26

Title should say good of course!grin

hercules1 Thu 06-Aug-09 22:26:02

You defintely need to go to the vets. Our dog (very out of character) growled ever so slightly at dd one day when she was bringing him inside). A couple of days later he was fighting for his life and at teh time it happened was already in pain.

hippipotamiHasLost54lbs Thu 06-Aug-09 22:26:56

If this is sudden and out of character behaviour then I believe he could be unwell or in pain. The thinking being that he is struggeling because something hurts so his tolerance levels are lower. So the first port of call would be the vet to check he is okay.
Good luck, let us know how you get on. I have been following your 'getting Mickey' story because I would desperately love to rescue a greyhound so am loving yours 'by proxy'

(eek, reading that back it sounds a bit weird, I apologise for that...)

siblingrivalry Thu 06-Aug-09 22:28:05

Hmm, I agree this sounds odd. We also have a greyhound, so I know how placid they usually are.

It sounds as though a lot of the issues surround the dog's place on the sofa? Does he view it as his space and therefore he is being territorial and warning your dc off?

I say this because I don't let ours on the sofa here (or we would never get on it ourselves!) but MIL lets her on her sofa. The dog literaaly races to the sofa when we get there and refuses to budge to let anyone else on -til I drag her off! They seem to like the comfort, after years in kennels, I think.

Just a thought -I may be totally wrong though. Good luck.

Tortoise Thu 06-Aug-09 22:30:59

Thanks, will definatly call vets tomorrow then. Was very strange seeing him growl and snap tonight for no reason when he was led out on the floor. He sometimes growls in his sleep but this time his head was up and he was looking at me. sad

Hippi smileWe all love Mickey and it is breaking has made me so sad to see him doing this and the thought of losing him. Compaired to earlier when i told him off for stealing a cooked sausage off the grill pan lol. And he has just eaten a fly lol!

Tortoise Thu 06-Aug-09 22:34:02

Sibling The sofa is generally his but he will lay anywhere ie tonight and earlier he was on the floor when he growled. He will happily (normally) lay next to anyone on the sofa. He rests his head on mine or DC's lap.

siblingrivalry Thu 06-Aug-09 22:38:48

How old is he, Tortoise? Maybe a bit of arthritis or something, making him snappy?
Ours is still only 4 (she's lame, so no good as a racing dog) so most of our problems are with her silliness!

I think you are right to phone the vet and get him checked over. If he has some pain, hopefully he/she can put him right and he can get back to normal. Good luck, let us know how you get on.

Tortoise Thu 06-Aug-09 22:44:08

He will be 6 in September so still quite young. Shows no sign of limping etc when running round the field!

siblingrivalry Thu 06-Aug-09 22:46:10

Yeah, he is still quite young. DH used to keep/train greyhounds. He's out walking ours at the moment, but I will pick his brains when he comes in.

Tortoise Thu 06-Aug-09 22:47:05

Thanks smilethat would be great.

hippipotamiHasLost54lbs Thu 06-Aug-09 22:57:25

Oooh, am envious of you greyhound owning people (looks down at snoozing-but-deranged-when-awake Cocker Spaniel in despair)

siblingrivalry Thu 06-Aug-09 23:02:55

Hippi, ours is very placid and affectionate, but also very scatty and silly. DH says she is the daftest greyhound he has ever known hmm

I am kind of hoping that as she gets older she calms down a bit!
BTW, I love Cocker Spaniels -swap? wink

hippipotamiHasLost54lbs Thu 06-Aug-09 23:12:49

sibling, I would love to, but it sounds a bit of an out-of-the-frying-pan-into-the-fire situation if yours is daft and scatty too!

Actually, Dill is good fun and great with the dc, just sooooo hyper at times! And stupid - falls over backwards whilst scratching behind his ear, does not understand that both french doors open onto the patio (gets confused if you open one, he goes out, you close that one and open the other; he will stand by the closed door, next to the open one, whining to be let in hmm)

But I am absolutely adamant that at some point in my life I will have a greyhound smile

siblingrivalry Thu 06-Aug-09 23:33:48

Hi again, Tortoise. Just had a word with dh. His first insinct is that it's related to the sofa (I didn't say what I thought beforehand).This is because all of the dog's reactions were when 'humans' wanted to be on the sofa.

He says that if the dog views the sofa as his, then he won't want anyone in his territory unless it's on his terms. He won't let our dc sit with the dog on her bed, because he says that it's her space and she might defend it.

He reminded me of when dd1 climbed into our dog's kennel outside -the dog was really unhappy and started pacing and was very stressed. He says that no matter how lovely and placid a dog is, they will still defend their space.

I'm not saying that this is definitely what's wrong, mind you. We could be totally wrong. But dh thinks it might be worth trying to give Mickey his own bed in a corner somewhere (apparently they feel secure in a corner) and to tell the dc that it's the dog's space. He says it will be hard though, because he is used to the sofa.

Could be worth a try? Let us know what the vet says, if you can.

siblingrivalry Thu 06-Aug-09 23:36:28

Forgot to say, dh says that his health needs to be checked first and foremost, as you need to rule out that he is trying to tell you he is in pain. If not, look at behavioural issues.

Tortoise Fri 07-Aug-09 07:59:38

Thanks Sibling. Would a problem over the sofa suddenly arise after it being fine? He has had the sofa for over a year without any problems and is happy to share the space. He will lay on the floor happily if the sofa isn't free.

He was his normally loving self in my bed last night! (I sleep downstairs due to lack of space!) He came and led next to me and nuzzled me if i dared to stop stroking him!

Will let you know what vets say later. smile Thanks for helping.

Bella21 Fri 07-Aug-09 08:49:31

Sounds like pain to me. Good luck at the vets & keep us posted.

Tortoise Fri 07-Aug-09 09:20:25

Thanks Bella, will do. smile

Tortoise Fri 07-Aug-09 10:48:16

Vet is going to phone later for a chat. smile

Bella21 Fri 07-Aug-09 10:50:44

Thinking about it more, and not wanting to pre-empt what the vets might say, two things spring to mind.

Firstly, is it possible something happened to really hurt the dog while you were out and you're not being told the whole story? If, say, your brother was playing rough with the dc and a child accidentally landed on the dog?

Otherwise, it reminds me of a little terrier I had who underwent an overnight personality change. I had him castrated and my vet at the time gave me what was the fashionable behaviour advice then - rank reduction. It all became clear when shortly after that he began fitting and eventually had to be put to sleep sad

I'm not trying to suggest your dog is seriously ill - it could be something as simple as an ear infection - but what I am trying to say is that I think it very unlikely the dog has suddenly become territorial about the sofa.

I don't know your brother, but could he have hit the dog on reflex if the dog snapped at a dc while you were out? To me, that would explain the dog's fear - it sounds like fear aggression: ears back and down, tail down etc.

Best of luck & sorry for waffling.

StripeyKnickersSpottySocks Fri 07-Aug-09 11:00:07

I hope you work out what the problem is soon and that the vet can help.

I'd agree with not allowing him on the sofa. When we got out greyhound the rescue said not to let her on the sofa as they can become very territorial over what they see as their bed/space. I know he's been on the sofa for quite some time but maybe he's only now coming out of his shell enough to feel he can defend his territory? Just thining aloud here really. But I know that we've had our greyhound now for nearly a year and it was a good six months before she felt settled here. She's a different dog now to what she was only 2 or 3 months ago - in a good way.

She has her own bed in the corner of the dining room and I always tell DD not to go near the dog when she's on her bed. Of course DD being 8 and daft as a brush sometimes ignores me and will fling herself down next to the dog and does sometimes get growled at and once was snapped at. Now 4 months ago if DD had done this the dog would just have lied ther e looking petrified. Now she's a bit more confident she's been a bit mroe assertive. However I do blame DD not the dog for this and I'm not worried that she would bite DD. She warned her, DD backed off and has learnt a lesson. Dog is still as soft as anything.

A friend of mine who also has a rescue greyhound had an incident where the dog did bite her daughter. The dog was on the sofa at the time and the girl was also on the sofa. The rescue sent a behavourist round who said it was all sofa related and the dog had to have its own space on the floor and not be allowed o nthe sofa. This was a few years ago and they've had no problems since.

Tortoise Fri 07-Aug-09 13:15:40

Bella I'm positive nothing like that happened. smile

Sofa is currently empty and Mickey is spralled out on the floor lol! He really doesn't seem worried about where he plonks his big body. Haven't really got a space on the floor and it would be (almost) impossible to get him to stay on a bed on the floor. When we got him i was told they like to sleep up high and would probably lay on the sofa!

Not heard from the vets yet.......

Bella21 Fri 07-Aug-09 14:12:24

Are the vets calling back to give you an appointment?

Tortoise Fri 07-Aug-09 16:53:57

Just spoke to the vet (finally gave up waiting for them to call back!). Have to take him in tomorrow just to check him over for any medical problems.
She said it would be strange to suddenly develop a behavioural problem after we have had him so long.

No need to find money to pay for tomorrows appointment. sad Hope he is ok.

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