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Greyhound growling at children

(19 Posts)
Flippetydip Tue 03-Oct-17 14:22:53

We've had our new addition coming up 5 months now. She's been brilliant and we thought had settled well.

However, in the last week or so she has apparently growled at the children a few times. I say apparently as it's always been when we have not been in the room. The children are 6 and 8 (with conversely the 6 year old being the more sensible of the two). They are both respectful of her space but it seems to be when they've tried to be too over affectionate with her I think, so are obviously not being as respectful of her space as she thinks they should be.

We have put the following in place: children are not allowed go "face-to-face" with hound, they are not allowed to sit on "her" sofa, or kneel down in front of her. When they stroke her it should be along her back only, they should not put their arms over her. We are keeping the hound in the kitchen with us when they are in the sitting room after school.

What else should we be doing, or indeed not doing? As a general rule, she seems fine around the house but I really want this to work and not become an issue. Likewise, I don't want to ignore her warnings and it to escalate into a snapping or biting situation.

CornflakeHomunculus Tue 03-Oct-17 14:49:01

If this a new behaviour then a check up at the vet is a good idea just to rule out any physical causes. Having a shorter temper than usual is a common first indicator that a dog might be in pain.

Obviously stepping up the supervision and managing interactions more is a good idea. It'd also be worth familiarising yourself with dog body language, particular the subtle stress indicators. It's possible she might have been trying to get some space for a while but has had to escalate to growling to get a response. There are some excellent links in the first post of the Doghouse sticky thread and also here covering child-dog interactions and dog body language. Some of these you can go through with your children as well so they learn what signs your dog might be giving that she's uncomfortable and wants some space.

Oops4 Tue 03-Oct-17 19:38:53

Is her sofa an actual sofa? Is she allowed on a sofa that the kids aren't? A dog bed maybe, but a sofa (unless you mean a sofa shaped dog bed)?

Flippetydip Tue 03-Oct-17 20:11:46

Yes, there are two sofas in the living room. She's on one, kids on the other.

fluffygal Tue 03-Oct-17 20:16:41

My lurcher used to growl at my children when they were younger- it would be if they were playing loudly near her or being silly. She just found it stressful I guess. She hasn't done it for a few years though they are 6,10 and 11 now. What are your children doing when she growls?

nightshade Tue 03-Oct-17 20:22:28

You need to make sure kids are supervised with her....personally I would never let a dog have a sofa of its own....mine sneaks up when we're not here but never gets up on beds or sofa otherwise...

It's about pecking order in the pack...she will be seeing herself as an equal to the children....get them involved in basic training with treats so she develops a respect for them...also get them to feed her and make her sit before feeding ..

Again to establish them as higher in the pecking order..

Flippetydip Wed 04-Oct-17 10:44:12

I thought the whole "pecking order" theory had been debunked quite soundly?

Greyhounds are not renown for their ability to sit but the children both get her to wait before eating which she does very well for them.

Cornflake thanks for the links. We watched the video with the kids last night and they really took it on board, which is great. We'll keep up the close monitoring.

BLUEsNewSpringWatch Wed 04-Oct-17 13:07:05

night the pecking order theory is considered totally incorrect and does not fit with any modern research into dog behaviour. A dog really isn't going to think it's even level to the DC, especially just because dog goes on a sofa!

Arseface Wed 04-Oct-17 13:22:45

All our greys have given a low grumble at various of our DCs over the years.
Usually if they are playing too boisterously near where the dog is lying down (sofa or dog bed) or being too full on with affection.

It's usually just a warning to calm down and give them space and is fine if the DC respect that.

Check with the vets and make sure the DCs don't touch the dogs when your not there to observe for a bit. You should be able to work out what's causing it.
Also, this is a very rare occurrence for us and our DC are much younger (and wilder!) if it is happening frequently, I'd get a good behaviourist in to nip things in the bud.

Arseface Wed 04-Oct-17 13:24:31

You're not there...

Flippetydip Wed 04-Oct-17 13:31:27

Arseface (how rude do I feel now) thanks for that; it's reassuring to hear that yours have done the same and that just because she's growled a few times it doesn't mean she's likely to savage the kids suddenly.

We will continue to be hyper vigilant.

CMOTDibbler Wed 04-Oct-17 13:42:43

My ddog1 grumbles at ds when ds is leaning on him or he's not in the mood to be cuddled. He's never, ever, done anything more than that and its a closed mouth/jaw low grumble than an agressive lips back, teeth on show growl

Flippetydip Wed 04-Oct-17 13:51:47

Thanks CMOT. I'm probably overthinking this but I'd rather be over-cautious than not cautious enough if that makes sense. There were no teeth on show apparently so I'm probably over-reacting.

She woke up with a right start and a bark and a growl the other night (I heard her from upstairs) when DH was watching the lovely Simon Reeve on Russia and the huskies woke her up.

chickensaresafehere Wed 04-Oct-17 16:40:09

My lurcher (who is very patient & tolerant) occasionally gives a warning growl if she's particularly fed up with dd kissing her too much.
But I must point out dd is 17!!!!And then gets all offended because the dog has growled at her!!

SleightOfMind Thu 05-Oct-17 20:42:03

Am changing the dogs food at the moment and one is having some trouble with it.
Last night, while sleeping, she farted the whipped round and growled at her bottom!

Just to show, it can be more annoyance than aggression.

BLUEsNewSpringWatch Thu 05-Oct-17 22:14:30

Last night, while sleeping, she farted the whipped round and growled at her bottom!


MyGirlDaisy Sat 07-Oct-17 08:52:33

Some great advice given already. Greyhounds are normally brilliant with children but our Greyhound growled a few times in the first few months if he was on his bed and the children got too near him, but it was only ever a low short growl. On reflection I would say it took a year for our dog to feel settled and for his personality to come out, the other thing I noticed was that he would and still does sometimes sleep with his eyes open or almost open and on reflection I wonder if my boys thought he was awake and stroked and startled him. Now 4 years on we all lie with him and cuddle him, he puts his head on their laps for cuddles. Fabulous dogs, I wouldn't have anything other than Greyhounds and Lurchers.

viques Sat 07-Oct-17 09:04:29

Dont forget the living conditions that ex racing rescue greyhounds have lived in are atrocious. They are not socialised at all in puppyhood, and often live in bare sheds in a pack . Fortunately they are by nature a quite laid back breed, most other breeds would be un home able after such treatment.

Make sure there is nothing physically wrong, they are quite vulnerable to injury, their skin is very thin and their legs easily knocked, as are their tails. They are not really 'playful' dogs, so it is good that you are teaching your children to respect their space.

mummabubs Sat 07-Oct-17 09:22:53

I'd say @viques has got it pretty spot on.

We've had our rescue grey for 4 years now and I'm due to give birth shortly so we're hoping things will go well. However I do have two nephews (older one is 4) and he definitely went through a phase of walking up to our Greyhound and poking them in the nose, ears, anywhere really. I was very quick to remove child but my SiL didn't see a problem with her child exploring my dog's private space. The rules you've put in place for DCs sound good and as others have said a warning growl might just be your dog's only way of being able to ask them to back off or keep it down, not necessarily a guarantee that they're about to snap.

However... having said that given the age of your children and that you've only had your Greyhound 5 months which in the scope of their lives is still a very short time I would not be leaving the children in the room unsupervised with your dog.

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