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Helping a shy dog! Any tips?

(6 Posts)
whiteliesaregoodlies Tue 30-Nov-10 18:47:56

I posted a few weeks ago to say that we were hoping to rehome a greyhound, and am pleased to say we've had our new boy for a couple of weeks now.

He's 5, a recently retired racer and all is well so far, he's eating and drinking well, enjoying his walks and is lovely and quiet with the children. He responds really well to a cuddle or a brush, and seems really good too with other dogs on walks (quite happy to let them sniff around him).

The only thing that we've noticed is that he's terribly shy (which the shelter in fairness told us) - he'll lie quite happily in "his" room (soaking up the heat from the radiator!) but will sneak out to the kitchen to eat his food when he thinks no-one is watching - and if you spot him he hurries back out again!

I think he's getting better, just wondering if there is anything we can do to help him or best just let him find his own way.

Scuttlebutter Tue 30-Nov-10 22:45:45

Glad to hear he's settling in well. His behaviour sounds very normal for a grey that's recently retired. One of the lovely things about them as they stay with you is watching them gradually "unfurl" their personality, so a dog that seems very quiet and even a bit withdrawn to begin with is a year later a complete love sponge who is determined to have cuddles whenever they want, shamelessly demands roast chicken and has cunningly manipulated the entire family into being his willing slaves/play companions/provider of tickles/comfy seats on the sofa. One of ours took about eighteen months to fully relax with DH as he had been sadly abused by men when racing and is still terrified of ones he doesn't know. Now however, he is DH's biggest goofiest friend and will lie on DH in bed, making strange pleasurable groans and poking DH with his paw in an affectionate way until he gets tickled.

Hope you can post similar stories in a few months...

Ephiny Wed 01-Dec-10 08:04:30

I think sometimes if they're used to living in kennels all their life, it just takes a while to get used to living in a house with multiple rooms and realising that they're allowed to wander around freely. Maybe reward with cuddles/treats when he does venture out? Mostly just time though...

whiteliesaregoodlies Wed 01-Dec-10 08:41:51

Thank you both - I think you're right, he just seems at the minute to be watching it all go by, and then anything new he's very unsure where he's going or what we're doing. I'm not sure he knows what he's "allowed" to do or not to do, hence the sneaking around.

He's much better already at getting into the car (was very nervous, though once actually in the car he's fine). We just want him to feel welcome and secure but I'm guessing the best way to do that is to continue to just potter around him?

Scuttlebutter your boy sounds wonderful - what a clever, lucky boy.

minimu1 Wed 01-Dec-10 10:56:19

My advice would be to go at his pace but do not treat him as a "special" dog eg no extra pandering or mollycoddling (sp!)

Be very confident in your behaviour around him. Clear concise commands but do not ask him to do things he is unhapppy with. Don't try to coax him into places for example.

Watch out for stress signal from him eg yawning, scratching, sniffing, licking looking away etc. If you see this back away from the situation until he is happy.

Greys are great they tend to go at their own pace and over time will can more confidence.

The sneaking around is a stress reaction and if you ignore it - it will stop over time.

whiteliesaregoodlies Wed 01-Dec-10 12:40:46

Thanks minimu1, I see what you mean about the stress reaction. Will keep an eye but try not to fuss.

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