Greyhound Aggression

Posted by csmart
Jun 30, 2008
I have 5 ex-racing greyhounds and have worked hard to get them well behaved most of the time. My old girl (11yrs) has a problem with some other dogs. She charges at them and barks quite agressively but once she has done that either ignores them completely or plays with them quite nicely. She particularly picks on nervous dogs/owners but apart from that you can't tell which dog it will be until her stance changes (ears up/head down). The barking problem is really bad when she is on the lead and the others tend to join in.

In her previous home of 3 yrs she was obviously bullied into behaving as she is quite timid with people and most of the time appears to be a submissive dog.

She also has painful arthritis in her spine and is generally very guarded when touched, especially when asleep.

I have been to obedience classes and she behaves like a normal dog there.

Any ideas?
Posted by Todd
Jul 15, 2008
Hi there and thanks for the post.

It sounds like you need to do some work with her but you have done so much so far that i am very impressed.
Aggression can take a long time to get under control but below is the method that i use to treat dogs with aggression to strange dogs. You will find this method throughout the forums and i have used it on hundreds of cases with good success.

Given that she is a nervy dog when you have to reprimand her you will have to judge what method or severity will be enough to get her attention but not to scare her. She needs to know what she is doing is wrong but not made to fear you.

Is she on medication for her arthritis? Often pain can be a cause of aggression so talk to your vet about if they think they can help

The other major thing to keep on top of is the alpha training. Remember that keeping your dogs realising where there place is in the household is one of the best ways to stop any aggression issues.
Make sure that she follows things like eating last, not blocking your way or making you move around them, as well as ignoring her for 10-15 minutes once you get home.

The best way to resocialise her is to gradually introduce them to things the are aggressive to in a quiet and non-threatening situation. This is why your yard is the best place to start and then move out of her territory to the streets and parks.

So start with a dog that she has met before but don't spend a lot of time around. If the dogs are worse with strangers then start with them and work on the dog issues later.

If you have a yard start work then or otherwise use the lounge.

1) Get your "strange" dog into the yard or lounge. Make sure they are on a lead so that your friend can keep them under control why you focus on your dog.

2) Have the two dogs separated by around 5 metres and sitting.

3) Your dog can approach the other dog one step at a time. Before she can take a step forward she must be sitting and listening to your commands.

4) On the first few sessions don't let the dogs meet so that they can get used to each other for a while

5) After a few sessions let the dogs interact whilst both on the lead. Don't allow any rough play at all. After a few sessions of this let the other dog off but keep yours on the lead.

Once she has mastered behaving nicely with one strange dog slowly try more and more other dogs. Remember to praise well behaved dogs that listen and aren't aggressive.

If your dog gets aggressive no matter how minor or major, whether it be a bark, snarl, lunge or snapping they need to be told off straight away. A loud GRRRR or AHHHHH as well as a squirt with a water pistol is the best way to make sure your dog learns not to be aggressive.

After she has learned to behave with strange dogs on your property move to the pavement. In essence you follow the same process. The other dog must approach while your dog is sitting and being well behaved. Again if she gets aggressive tell her off and praise relaxed behaviour.
If things get too hard to deal with then leave in the other direction while telling your dog off.

With slow introductions move towards dog parks and other areas where they will get heaps of attention from other dogs.

The same general process can be used with strangers.

This method works great but i will be here if you need anymore advice and to help with any hiccups along the way. Good luck with her and let me know how things go

Posted by csmart
Jul 15, 2008
Hi Todd

Thanks for the reply

Yes, she has just started taking medication for the arthritis but I still think she is in a lot of pain and intend to go back to the vet.

The problem with the alpha training for this greyhound is that she doesn't get up when I come in or lie in the way (she always lies on her bed). I always eat first and we walk on the lead for about 2 miles 3 times a day. I know I am not top dog in her eyes as her recall can be very bad (she comes when she's ready) but I am struggling to change things.

Interestingly, since I posted the question her aggression has improved but the role of aggressor has been taken over by the youngest dog which I have been fostering since March.

I will certainly be using your step by step plan on both dogs and start carrying a water pistol on walks. I will let you know how it goes.

Many thanks