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Greyhound owners - help please, dog being aggressive and bit me

(10 Posts)
Bambinho Fri 24-Jul-15 00:35:02

Had my boy for three months now. Ex-racer who came from the Retired Greyhound Trust and seems to have settled in well. He's a 'cat trainable' grey, in practice this means he avoids the cats as my old cat is quite fierce and isn't afraid to have a go at him. He mainly lives in one room in the house as the cats (I have 2, the other is a timid tortie) have free run of the place.

I've been leaving doors open for him to come out but he seems happy in his room and waits to be led through the kitchen to the garden. He has a dog bed which has been in a large dog cage loaned by the RGT but I thought it was time to take it away on Sunday as he also seems happy lying on a rug and recently found the sofa.

I'm mentioning all this as I wonder if I have disturbed his arrangement too much by removing the cage. He still goes on his bed and has even moved it around so it's more comfy.

Now for the bad bit - on Tuesday night he was on the sofa and I went to stroke him. Not wanting to excuse his behaviour, just looking for an explanation, but I probably made a mistake by leaning over him. He growled, barked and snapped at me but didn't make contact. I was quite shaken up by it, he hardly ever barks so that alone was a shock. It made me nervous of him and I didn't really touch him much the following day. However, that night I thought I needed to get over it as surely it was a one off so stroked him again when he was on the sofa and he went for me again. Maybe I made too much eye contact, I just don't know.

This time he caught my arm and I now have two puncture wounds and grazes. Reading this back I think I must look like an idiot by doing the same thing twice but I have stroked and cuddled him on the sofa loads of times previous to these incidents. Really worried this means I can't keep him.

HarrietSchulenberg Fri 24-Jul-15 00:58:35

I am not a dog trainer but my rescue lurcher got very bossy at around the 3 months with us stage, particularly around him being on the sofa.
First thing I did was banish him from sofa and back to his bed on the floor to remind him of his status (ie not a human). I also bought him a crate, which we leave with the door always open, so he could have a safe space of his own.
This idea of dog heirarchy and status is not always in favour on these boards but it worked for us. He is only allowed on a sofa if a human isn't already on it, and is turfed off when someone needs or chooses to sit there. He will snooze on his floor bed and takes himself off to his crate when dcs are being too noisy and we've not had any more issues of that nature with him.
It could be that your chap just needs his safe crate space back again and a timely reminder that he is not the boss.
I would get your bite treated, though, and be careful around him until you feel he's more settled. If he doesn't settle could you try some behavioural training with him?

Tiptops Fri 24-Jul-15 01:08:56

I think really once he's bitten you, you need to get a vet to check it isn't a medical cause, and then straight onto a behaviourist. I think it's too serious for us to try to guide you without knowing the dog properly, and the last thing you need now is improper advice that makes the situation worse.

Look for a credible behaviourist who doesn't follow dominance theories. The RGT should be able to help, and recommend someone.

Bambinho Fri 24-Jul-15 01:10:25

Thanks for that Harriet, it's reassuring to read your experience. I'm planning on getting some training for him, been thinking I need to be firmer so will do it sooner rather than later. He's my first dog so I'm more used to pandering to cats. Was hoping to see the back of the enormous cage but would rather have a settled dog.

tabulahrasa Fri 24-Jul-15 01:13:16

He's probably guarding the sofa and yep you'd be better getting a qualified behaviourist in.

The good news is that if it's resource guarding it's pretty trainable usually.

Bambinho Fri 24-Jul-15 01:20:31

It's such a relief to hear it should be possible to train it out of him, he's been such a lovely gentle boy with me so far and I miss giving him a cuddle.

it's thrown me losing my confidence in him so much.

SevenAteNine Fri 24-Jul-15 06:49:30

Don't let it shake you too much.

To second Tiptops' excellent advice, first thing is to visit a vet to make sure he doesn't have something wrong with him.

Then, especially as he's your first dog, off to a behaviourist.

bimandbam Fri 24-Jul-15 06:57:53

I would pop his crate back down for him in the first instance until you get more help.

Greys who have been in kennels are used to small spaces to sleep and rest in. I used to chat to a lovely lady who adopted retired greys. She always said it takes them a long time to adjust to space to the point they were sometimes almost agrophobic about it all. She had a crate for them with a blanket over it under the stairs as their safe space.

Then go to a behaviourist or back to the greyhound trust for advice.

Bambinho Fri 24-Jul-15 07:15:16

Thanks to everyone for your reassuring words, I really appreciate how helpful and sympathetic you are being. I'm going to get in touch with the RGT branch where he came from today.

MuttonCadet Fri 24-Jul-15 07:36:40

It sounds like he's claimed the sofa as his "space", you need to keep him off it and see a behaviourist. It's easily trained out, greys are very used to people.

Our first grey snapped at my son when he went and sat in her bed with her for cuddles (he was 13 years old and should know better). It happened only once and never again (as soon as he learnt to respect her space). The problem here is that he's claiming space that isn't his, getting another crate is a good idea.

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