Dominant Behavior in Greyhound Dogs
The following correspondence discusses how to handle dominant behavior in a Greyhound:
First of all, thank you for such a great site! I have found it so helpful! I had wanted a greyhound since I had my horse boarded with race horses back when I was 12 (eons ago), and finally got the chance. Your site helped make the final decision and choice a smooth and easy one.
I have a question for you, now that we have had Chanel for almost 6 months now. She is basically a sweet girl, and mostly gentle, especially with my two children (ages 5 and 6), but she has been, and has become increasingly, more growling with me. I am clearly the alpha in this family, and I don't know if she is challenging me? She is very headstrong to start with. A lot of it does also center around food. I can give you more details if you can offer any help?
Thank you for any help you can suggest!
Thanks for the great comment I'm thrilled you found my site helpful and I'm glad you decided to get a beautiful Greyhound. Regarding your question I was recently told by a friend an interesting bit of information about a show he watches called the Dog Whisperer. He recently saw an episode about the issue you described. Apparently he suggest that when a behavior is occurring that you want to stop you touch the dog on the side or on the back. It mimics a little nip or bite that another dominant dog would do when it wants to persuade a dog lower in the pack from a certain behavior. You can try touching Chanel when she has food and growls when you go near. I plan to see if I can find a web site for the Dog Whisperer and see if there is any more good info, I'd like to add some to my site. But you may want to check it out as well and see if there is more detail. It sounds like he's is pretty amazing when it comes to understanding dogs. Apart from that, what worked for me when I had Hamlet (he was also very dominant and challenged me a lot as he was growing) was to put a muzzle on him, it makes dogs feel submissive. I would do it for short periods after bad behavior and then take it off and his behavior would improve. Maybe with the food have the muzzle on and put the food down if she growls say "no" in a stern voice and take the food away and do this until she stops the growling and then take the muzzle off and see if the growling stops. If it does give lots of praise. Well hope that helps a bit. Let me know.
Take Care and give Chanel a hug.
Oh I can't thank you enough for answering! Chanel has been getting worse instead of better, even since I wrote to you. I am beginning to wonder if she is sick or hurt in some way we don't know about. I have also seen the Dog Whisperer, and he is amazing. I have tried one of the tricks with the food, putting it down and putting my back to her between her and the food until she stops growling, then letting her at the food. Unfortunately for me, she is unbelievably head-strong, and can wait me out for a half hour or more. I have also tried touching her side, and she just growls more and snarls and snaps whenever I touch her. I am at a loss. I love her and refuse to give up on her. You certainly can use my letter; I'd love to know if others have the same problem, and if so, how they have handled it and what may have worked. I think having this on your site would be tremendously helpful to a lot of people! I like the idea with the muzzle and will absolutely try it. I'll let you know how it goes.
Thanks a million!
My dog was also very dominant and always testing me but I realized I'd better get the upper hand or it will be trouble down the road so I had to get tough. One day when he was challenging me and growling and snapping I got him on his back and in a firm deep voice looking in his eyes said "no" and he got the message. This is the alpha dog's behavior. The Dog Whisperer mentions that if you also put your hand on your dog's throat but very gently, this simulates the alpha dog's bite- mouth around the throat but the dog will instinctively get the message. If Chanel is large and older you may want to do this with a muzzle on just for the added effect and for the sense of safety for you. But she really doesn't want to hurt you just posturing to let you know whose boss.In terms of your fear that she is sick-if she is only doing this with you and not other family members I don't think that is the problem but if you are concerned have her checked over by a vet just to be sure.
I can't thank you enough for your advice! I tried the move of putting my hand on her throat and gently applying pressure, while looking in her eyes and letting her know "NO." She happened to be laying down each time, so it was convenient to push her head all the way down and apply some pressure on her body as well. I can't believe how well it worked! I could feel her body surrender and the growling stopped. The subsequent times she tried it, it was clearly a test, and the technique worked like a charm. I hope it sticks! Thanks so much again!!
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