Need help with dog/child issue - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 07-24-2008, 03:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We have had our female greyhound (2 years old) for just about a month.
She is a sweet, submissive dog in general.
But, she is chewing ds's toys. In order to prevent this, we've been cleaning up and keeping them away from her. I correct her with a firm, "NO" when I see her chewing. She also started chewing our furniture, like the corner of the coffee table/computer desk/toy box. The chewing is because she's anxious, she follows me from room to room and if I am not focusing 100% on her, she runs to the next room and chews wooden furniture. I am vigilant about keeping track of her as a result, and she wears her plastic muzzle or gets crated when I'm not right there with her. I've bought rawhide, nylabone, rope toys, and a squeeky chew toy, none of which she really chews on. If I see her chewing something appropriate, I praise her like crazy.

The bigger problem:
Twice now in the past few days she has "corrected" ds. He is 6, and pretty reserved and semi-fearful around dogs. Our grey seems to like him very much, but once when my back was turned (the dog was 2 feet away on the floor), ds apparently tried to remove her muzzle (which he is not allowed to do, btw), and she did this cross between a yelp and a growl at him. I thought at first ds has pulled her ear too hard, and it hurt her. I have been working with him to not touch her while she is eating or sleeping, and not to grab her neck and get in her face. I am being pretty vigilant about never leaving them alone together, but had just started to relax a bit, as they seemed to get along so well.

The second time was this morning, the dog was lying on ds's bedroom floor (muzzle on), and ds and I were in the kitchen. Ds ran into his bedroom while I was washing dishes and I heard the same yelp/growl. I asked ds what happened and he said he was trying to lift her head up.


I realize he needs to respect her space, and I need to be more vigilant supervising. But is this likely to progress to biting?
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#2 of 9 Old 07-24-2008, 04:34 PM
 
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EVERY DOG WILL BITE. Jean Donaldson makes this point--there is no such thing as a non-biting dog; there is only a dog who has not yet bitten. Many dogs go to their grave having not yet bitten, but it doesn't mean that if you pushed them hard enough they wouldn't have.

So yes, this could progress to biting. On the other hand, so could about a million other situations. I am encouraged that she's yelping/growling (which means "please stop! Please stop! I don't want to bite you!"), but you (as you already know) need to put a stop to the kind of physical insisting that he's doing. He can learn to make her do what he wants her to do by asking, not telling (for example, luring her with a piece of cheese to get her head up).

For the chewing, you're doing everything right. My only suggestion is that you get her things that are the same texture as what she is chewing--is it all wood? She could have a wood "thing"--lots of dogs do.
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#3 of 9 Old 07-24-2008, 06:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you, I was hoping you'd answer!
It's wood she chews but also ds's plastic dinosaurs and legos.
I guess dh could make her a wood chewy, he's got plenty of scraps downstairs. I just don't want her to get splinters in her gums.

I read that you shouldn't punish a dog for doing the warning growl/yip thing, as then you have no warning and they may go right to nipping after that.
I am worried that ds isn't going to "get it" and I don't know if I can handle keeping them separated forever. I have to worry about keeping her separated from the cats outside (she's fine with them inside) and I think it may be too much for me. The rescue lady said that rehoming her would not be so difficult, as she loves other dogs, big and small. She said that it is actually harder to find a dog free home than an adult only home. That makes me feel a bit better I guess.

I feel a sense of urgency because we all are so attached to her already and if I have to give her back to the rescue I feel I should do it fairly soon. I want to do what is best for us, and the dog. She may be happier in a home with other dogs and no children, and not have to be muzzled all the time!
This rescue does not foster, so I guess I could say I've fostered her for a month anyway. She no longer counter surfs, jumps on humans, steals food, lies down on command and can navigate stairs pretty well.
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#4 of 9 Old 07-24-2008, 09:52 PM
 
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It sounds like you're on the right track. A friend of mine has two greyhounds they got before children. It took awhile for them to really settle into the home - just because of the life they lead before joining a regular home.

I agree that the growling/whining is a good thing. He's being vocal & making it clear that a boundary has been crossed. DS sounds like he is more than old enough to understand where the line is.

Surviving sleep deprivation one day at a time with dd (Oct '11) & ds (Oct '08).

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#5 of 9 Old 07-24-2008, 10:06 PM
 
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With the chewing, do you give her things to chew on??? Like raw hides??? Those food puzzles and plastic dental chewies that you put toothpaste on are nice for chewing.

I will never, ever keep a child under age 12 around a dog who is sleeping- my old dog was asleep and my brother fell on him and got a pretty bad bite. I would buy a crate and crate the dog when he is asleep, or lock him in a separate room. The dog we had was a good dog, great with kids, he just got scared and was startled (and probably hurt) by a 3 y/o falling on him. It was the only time this dog bit, and it was superficial but scary and could have been much worse.

I have also found, in my experience, that dogs do best in pairs. They seem to get bored on their own and do dumb stuff. I had a dog once, literally, chew through a table leg.
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#6 of 9 Old 07-24-2008, 11:50 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OakBerry View Post
Thank you, I was hoping you'd answer!
It's wood she chews but also ds's plastic dinosaurs and legos.
I guess dh could make her a wood chewy, he's got plenty of scraps downstairs. I just don't want her to get splinters in her gums.

I read that you shouldn't punish a dog for doing the warning growl/yip thing, as then you have no warning and they may go right to nipping after that.
I am worried that ds isn't going to "get it" and I don't know if I can handle keeping them separated forever. I have to worry about keeping her separated from the cats outside (she's fine with them inside) and I think it may be too much for me. The rescue lady said that rehoming her would not be so difficult, as she loves other dogs, big and small. She said that it is actually harder to find a dog free home than an adult only home. That makes me feel a bit better I guess.

I feel a sense of urgency because we all are so attached to her already and if I have to give her back to the rescue I feel I should do it fairly soon. I want to do what is best for us, and the dog. She may be happier in a home with other dogs and no children, and not have to be muzzled all the time!
This rescue does not foster, so I guess I could say I've fostered her for a month anyway. She no longer counter surfs, jumps on humans, steals food, lies down on command and can navigate stairs pretty well.


I think your son will get it, just keep re-inforcing it with him, time outs if that's what it takes.

But rather than the negative way I agree with the person who suggested teaching him to train the dog with treats, lures, etc to get the dog to do somethings he wants and he can learn the RIGHT way to interact with the dog rather than being told he's wrong. Let him know when he's doing it right, and if he's completely leaving the dog alone, praise him then too. He'll find it a fun learning experience, and this will last him all his life. It will be faster too. Rather than supress his desire to interact with her, channel it and get it going the right way, he really wants to interact with her, so fighting it takes more time.

she seems to be fond of him, the fact she was lying down in his room is evidence.

Also get her specific dog chews so she doesn't confuse her toys with his, or wood with wood or old shoe with new shoe etc. Not that wood was a good idea, because of splinters anyway. Maybe a kong with some dog treats in so it smells right? My sister and I learned to share with our poodle, we'd tell her to bugger off and she'd just ignore us, and we'd play with her toys, after a while my mom gave up.
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#7 of 9 Old 07-27-2008, 02:37 AM
 
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When our dog was a puppy and started chewing toys we did two things on the advice of a friend who raised dogs for a while 1. Do not buy ANY toys that resemble the kids toys-so no stuffed animals etc. 2. Make a specific place for the dogs toys and the kids toys. We got three big boxes, one for the kids toys, one for the shoes, and one for Max's toys. If he had something he shouldn't I said OFF and took it away. He stopped really quickly. As for the anxiety-is she getting enough exercise? And is she getting attention for the chewing? So when she does it, do you talk to her and all that? Sometimes for an attention needing dog that is good enough. We use a sound-sorta sounds like pppsssshhhhhttt. It gets the attention and if he does what he shouldn't we do that and just move him away from the thing without making eye contact. It works surprisingly well and he is much calmer.
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#8 of 9 Old 07-27-2008, 12:02 PM
 
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We also have a greyhound, and he was wonderful with ds when he was younger and more stationary (sitting/crawling), but started to get noticeably more anxious as soon as ds started walking around. There were a few growly warnings along the way, which made me nervous, but we just kept a close eye on them and hoped it would pass.

Well, one day we looked away for a SECOND, and ds fell on him while he was sleeping...he was completely startled and he snapped at him. Luckily, he didn't *actually* bite him, but he could have. I was SO upset...I even talked to dh about returning him to the adoption agency. We didn't, but we did end up reading A LOT about greys and children.

The suggestion we saw over and over again was to keep greys and toddlers separated during active play time. We hated the idea of crating him while we were home and in the same room, but it was worked out so well!! He's not anxious AT ALL anymore, and happily goes to his crate whenever ds is around. We also have a landing halfway up our stairs that overlooks our living room...the stairs are gated, so they can't get to each other, so he goes to that spot about half the time. What's great, is that they can still interact with each other, but there's no fear of any more accidents.

We also started going on a nightly family walk which they both love. Ds will stand at the door and say "walk?" or just pick up grey's leash and walk over to his crate and shake it. It's a great bonding time for the two of them and it's some extra exercise for dh and I.

Once ds is more sure on his feet and is old enough to truly understand that he can't go near the greyhound while he's sleeping or lying down, we'll lift the crate rule, but I have a feeling grey will still choose to go there from time to time. He really seems happy with the arrangement! Anyway, good luck with whatever you choose to do.
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#9 of 9 Old 07-28-2008, 12:11 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all for your advice.

We've made a breakthrough in the chewing! I bought some flat, square rawhide pieces (as opposed to the bone shaped thick ones) and she loves to chew them. She even plays and pounces and throws them around. I am so excited. It's only been two days and I think she already understands that those are for chewing and nothing else is. I praise her like crazy for playing with the rawhide, and if she so much as sniffs a child's toy, I give her the "NO".

As for the issue with the dog and my son, I am still working on that. I am having ds give the dog treats and am planning to have him start putting her food bowl down when she is fed.
I have noticed that she seems quite anxious when ds is playing loudly near her, or when he acts goofy/crazy near her. She doesn't know what to make of him. I've started crating her when ds acts like that. If he is calmly watching tv, or doing a craft, I let them be together.
When ds acts rambunctious around her, I was constantly saying "stop it, the dog is getting nervous, etc" and I think it created a negative atmosphere when they were together. I think keeping them apart unless things are calm will be my strategy for now.
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