Help!.....Advice needed....Unexpected lab owner
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Thread: Help!.....Advice needed....Unexpected lab owner

  1. #1
    Emmalab is offline Junior Member
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    DefaultHelp!.....Advice needed....Unexpected lab owner

    We have had Emma in our home for 2 weeks. Emma is a 3 y.o. half lab and half greyhound. She was pulled from the pound by an individual after her "family" grossly mistreated and neglected her. This individual wanted to keep Emma but cat problems prevented it. She attempted to contact rescue groups but none were interested in Emma. In the individual's home, Emma seemed to have a total greyhound personality in a lab package. WRONG! Her personality is all teen-age lab.

    We have 2 greyhounds, 10 y.o. assertive female and a 12 y.o. passive male. There have been 4 snarky episodes between Emma and our female grey in the past 2 weeks. It seems to be a resource guarding issue with Emma and I am the resource. No teeth were exchanged but a lot of barking with neither dog backing down. The episodes end when I separate them and use my voice of mom for them to knock it off. Each time, it has left me feeling sick that this may not work out.

    Emma is a great dog. She is gorgeous and gives kisses. She loves people, large and small. She shows no aggression around food or toys. She is fine with my passive male grey. There have been no potty accidents and she sleeps all night. She has already learned sit, stay, and wait. We start formal obedience training on Monday with a quality instructor. I walk her at least 2.5 miles a day with a lot of throwing the ball time in the backyard.

    I am not sure what I need to do to get past these snarky episodes, or if we can. Part of the problem may be that I am very used to having senior greys that have been together for years. Any advice, recommendations, or moral support would be immensely appreciated.

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  3. #2
    AngusFangus is offline Senior Member
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    Hi there. I wanted to say thank you very much for rescuing Emma.

    I would think that greyhounds and Labs would have such very different personalities! Culture shock, I'll bet! The greys I've met have been so laid-back, gentle as little lambs.

    It sounds like you are a very experienced dog owner, but this is your first Lab (mix)...? Is that right?

    Some little tips that may help:

    -NILIF for all dogs, especially Emma.
    -Can you walk Emma and the female together? Enjoying pleasurable activities together may help take some of the edge off.
    -Some people recommend always acknowledging who you believe to be the "Alpha" first (feed them first, pet them first, etc.). However, I had a behaviorist recommend against this, so we've started mixing it up on who gets to do things first. To be honest, I'm not sure which is the best approach. Jury is still out.

    We have a lot of people here who rescue and foster, and they may be of more help. I have to think that two weeks is not really a long time, so maybe everyone is just still settling in.

    Who starts the snarkiness? It sounds like Emma?

    Dogs who have been mistreated take a whole lot of patience while helping them work through their issues. One day at a time, it gets better. I think the obedience training is a fabulous idea and will go a long way towards both establishing you as the leader, as well as helping increase Emma's confidence with lots of positive reinforcement.

  4. #3
    Emmalab is offline Junior Member
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    Thanks so much. You are right, that Emma is my first lab and I am experiencing major culture shock. She has the speed and prey drive of a greyhound with the strength and "determination" of a lab. Prey drive is no problem for us. How to handle all that energy and "determination" is still a bit daunting.

    The episodes start so quickly, that I couldn't say exactly what did happen. I will be standing at the stove or sink with one dog, the other walks up, then wham! The barking and snarling starts. I know I need to relax but it scares the bejeebers out of me.

    I use greyhound basket muzzles on both females when we are not at home for safety. (Smearing the inside with peanut butter seems to help make the muzzle easier for Emma to handle.)

    Thanks again for any advice. Please feel free to be blunt. I know that my attitude and expectations need to change. When needing a crash course on speaking lab, go to the experts.

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  6. #4
    Jefferson'n'Ted's Avatar
    Jefferson'n'Ted is offline Senior Member
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    I'm certainly no expert, but I have two rescued males. The younger one gets snarky over food. What I have found works best with him, is to step in front of him, I say NO in a very firm voice as I'm getting in position, then back him up--I do this by body blocking, stepping towards him until he backs up, saying "away" as I do so. Then I make him sit. That seems to calm him down a tad. And breaks up the snarkiness. Of course the other male is very submissive and doesn't argue back to Teddy. Not sure if this would work if they both were being snarky.
    It has taken a lot of trial and error to get to this point. The NLIF was a mixed success--the hand feeding especially.
    “If I know every single phone call you’ve made, I’m able to determine every single person you’ve talked to; I can get a pattern about your life that is very, very intrusive. And the real question here, is what do they do with this information that they collect – that does not have anything to do with al-Qaeda? And we’re gonna trust the president and the vice president that they’re doing the right thing? Don’t count me in on that.”
    Joe Biden, 2006

  7. #5
    AngusFangus is offline Senior Member
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    Would there be any way to separate them during the day, rather than using the muzzles?

    I know it's so hard not to get freaked out when they do stuff like this (believe me I know), but it's really important to try to stay relaxed and calm. They feed off the energy you're giving out.

    One of my two boys (Simon) is a resource guarder, and his favorite resource is me. I need to do better about not allowing it. What I think I *should* do, every time he tries to wedge Angus out, is get up and move into him, backing him up, until he gets the message. Simon is a Lab mix as well, and lately I have actually been wondering if he could have a little Greyhound in him. He has that Greyhound chest, totally. Very tall, narrow ribcage. Anyway, that's neither here nor there...

    The only other advice that comes to mind at the moment is the tried and true, "A tired Lab is a good Lab." It sounds like you are doing a lot of walking, but maybe you need some serious aerobic activity in there as well. My boys are five and six now. We discovered several years ago that, in order to keep the peace, they must have vigorous exercise twice a day. The easiest way to do this is to teach them to play fetch. Labs are very natural at this, of course. In addition to two walks a day (short one in the morning and longer one after work), I have a dog sitter who comes by at lunch and plays fetch with them. Then at night, about 8 or 8:30, I take them out again. They can usually only go really hard for about 10-15 minutes each on average. Shorter in the summer, longer in the winter.

    I was never a really outdoorsy, "let's go play in the yard" kind of person until these boys. Looking back, it's hard to believe how my lifestyle has changed.

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