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aggressive greyhound

(16 Posts)
tharsheblows Wed 11-May-16 18:36:50

We got a rescue greyhound in September last year. He was super nervous but bonded with my husband who was home full time until a few weeks ago. He's very much my husband's dog and likes my youngest son too.

He hasn't really bonded with me or my eldest son, has snapped at me once when he had a bone and I was walking towards him (we don't let him have bones anymore in the house), growled at me once when I walked into a room, has jumped up out of his bed and growled and approached my son once when he walked into a room and just now ran up to my son in the kitchen and growled baring his teeth. The aggression towards my son is getting worse. He's 18 and over 6 ft tall but it's still scary -- the dog is a full size male greyhound.

I'm in the process of contacting a dog behaviour person but thought someone here might have advice. Thanks.

taptonaria27 Wed 11-May-16 22:05:23

Speak to the rescue you got him from too, especially if it was a greyhound rescue.
It sounds unusual behaviour for a greyhound but rather like my terrier who got worse rather than better and was eventually rehomed 😥

Scuttlebutter Wed 11-May-16 23:32:11

Please urgently contact the rescue where you got him from, explain what has been happening, and discuss him being returned to their care.

He is clearly not happy or settled - but could very well be in a different home. The kindest thing for him, and the safest thing for your family is to allow him to go to a home where he would be happier and more settled. But PLEASE do this via the rescue - this way, knowing his characteristics they can take their time placing him in a suitable childfree home.

phoolani Wed 11-May-16 23:37:56

I'm no dog expert but these problems seem common in a household where the dog has bonded with one person in particular - we're having a similar, tho distinct, problem with our (non-rescue) puppy. If he bonded with your husband in particular and husband has now - largely - disappeared, he's unsettled. Surely the key is to work on establishing a bond with rest of the family?

phoolani Wed 11-May-16 23:40:05

To add on: a dog behaviour person is a great idea. I don't think the dog is unhappy in your home, he's just unsettled that his main carer is suddenly around much less.

PacificDogwod Wed 11-May-16 23:45:37

Yy to getting a behaviourist involved.

Our male rescue GH has now been with us for one year, v much bonded on me and seems to generally prefer women. He does give short quiet warning growls towards DH and DSs, but this has much improved with a. recognising what sets him off (grumpy in the evenings, does not like anybody 'standing over him' when he is in the bed for instance) and avoiding this and b. lots and lots (and lots) of treats from people he was not happy with. Also DSs spending time kicking a ball for him or playing tug-of-war with him has really helped. And treats. All the time.

The are large dogs and certainly I am well aware that they have a biting end.
I feel that it has taken ours until just very recently to relax more around men/tall boys.

PacificDogwod Wed 11-May-16 23:46:04

Oh, has he been vet checked?
Pain can make a dog grumpy and aggressive.

tharsheblows Thu 12-May-16 09:46:57

Thank you! We contacted the rescue who said "be firm with him" 😕 but are going with the "treats all the time from eldest son" plan. If he bites anyone he's going back to the rescue but up until now he's been good with people in the house and kids -- he stays away from them and is happy enough to just camp out in his crate. So we'll work on it. (My youngest is 14. I don't have little kids -- if I had little kids, he'd be gone.)

My husband thinks it's resource guarding. There has been a change in his feeding routine and after discussing it with my husband, I think I've been leaving the dog's food out too long so he feels he needs to guard it. Later, when the dog knew there was no food in his feeding place, he was fine with my eldest. And then he got a bit of steak from him so was super happy. Luckily he loves liver treats and cheese too, much cheaper!

The resource guarding explanation works for why he growled at me when I came into a room, too. He's been better with me now that I'm feeding him. And he knows that I give the best ear scratches in the house. 😊 I give him a fair amount of treats already but will ramp that up as well.

He hasn't been checked by a vet but I will suggest doing that. I don't think he's in pain because he gets taken out every day by a dog walker he loves with dogs he loves and does a lot of running around!

Still waiting to hear back from the behaviourist. It makes complete sense that the dog is unsettled from my husband being out of the house suddenly -- it's reassuring to me because that seems like a fairly easy solvable problem! Thank you all for pointing that out and being so nice about it.

tharsheblows Thu 12-May-16 10:07:54

nb: the room my son and I walked into and he growled was not the room with the food but the layout of our house means it is on the way to the room with the food! We weren't getting near his bowl or anything but we could have possibly been headed that way. Or just headed to the sofa to watch TV but I guess he didn't want to risk it.

TrionicLettuce Thu 12-May-16 14:22:31

It's definitely worth getting him checked over at the vets just in case. Being a bit of a grouch with our other dogs was the first sign of DDog2 having arthritis in her hips. She was acting normally on walks (i.e. flinging herself around like a mad thing) but the vet suggested anti-inflammatories and she's definitely much happier now she's on them.

It may well be nothing physical at all but dogs can show pain in funny ways.

taptonaria27 Thu 12-May-16 14:58:59

My dog was a resource guarder, it's not uncommon and there are lots of strategies. You're right to only put a little food out and get his least favourite people to give the best treats. Essentially don't give him anything to guard as far as possible.

phoolani Thu 12-May-16 16:53:15

Our dog started resource guarding me (because I do everything for him!) and started to growl and snap at dh and the kids if they touched me. So every time any of them came up to me, the dog got a treat from them and then we both fussed the dog while I gave whoever it was a hug. It got better very quickly, almost in a day of concerted effort. It's basically turning something the dog thinks is a 'bad' event into something he views as a 'good' event. Son enters the room? Great, a treat is coming! Going near to his bowl when there's food in it has to be done more gradually as you assess what level of proximity he's comfortable with and always be ready with a treat.

tharsheblows Tue 17-May-16 07:25:06

Thank you! I still haven't made an appointment with the vet and I will but it's gotten much much better. My son is giving the dog loads of treats and also feeding him sometimes when he's home. We're not leaving the food down for very long (long enough for him to eat though!) either. And my son went on the fun dog walks (versus the go out and do your business and come back walks) with my husband last weekend too.

The combination of all those things seems to have worked.

We'll start on the proper resource guarding training too -- doing the things that people recommend by gradually getting him used to someone approaching him when he's eating -- but the acute problem of him guarding it from rooms away when he's not eating seems to have gone. Fingers crossed.

I really appreciate all the advice!

MiaowTheCat Tue 17-May-16 07:31:36

Nancy got very growly and just generally a mardier bugger than her usual diva personality just as she was starting to get ill toward the end of her life.

You know about the sleeping with their eyes open thing right?

tharsheblows Tue 17-May-16 08:51:55

Yes, I find it weird and disconcerting! He's just 3 and a bit, retired early. He's missing half his tail, no one knows what happened but they think that's why he stopped racing.

Right now he's making little sounds in his sleep! He'll wake up soon and start looking out the window for the dogwalker and his friends. 😊

MiaowTheCat Tue 17-May-16 14:57:06

Awww bless him - give him an earscratch from me - I miss sticking my hand out of the bed and reaching over to give Nancy's lovely floppy houndie ears a scratch in the night - our remaining dog is a cross between a GSD/collie/terrier/god knows what else and he doesn't have the same lovely ear flop going on about him!

Nan was always a bit growly and gobby with it but we just left her be while she was eating and it was fine - but since she was older when we got her (she was 7-ish) and had not many teeth left by that point we were less worried! Lost her to cancer just before Christmas.

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