Consider the following when you bring a greyhound into your home
Most greyhounds make the transition to a home environment quickly. During the foster period (4-6 weeks) your greyhound will adjust to their new life, however like all dogs, training should be ongoing once you adopt your greyhound.
In the initial stages of taking a greyhound into a new foster or forever home, some dogs may show signs of stress such as pacing, heavy panting, listlessness, lack of interest in food and licking of the paws – these can all be signs of anxiety, and should settle in a few days.
In many respects adopting a retired greyhound is similar to bringing a new puppy home. Life in a domestic environment is a new experience for your greyhound, be patient in allowing your greyhound time to settle in and you will be rewarded with a loving pet.
If at any stage you have concerns regarding your greyhound we are only a phone call away! Our Animal Behaviourist is ready to help you and can provide specialist advice tailored for your specific situation.
- Don’t overwhelm your new dog by trying to be with them all the time, go about your usual routine in a calm manner and allow your greyhound time to watch, see and investigate on their own terms so they can settle in comfortably.
- Retired racers typically don’t have experience with fridges, washing machines or other appliances. While your greyhound is getting used to their new home, be conscious of the noises that household appliances make and understand that this may frighten, confuse or upset some greyhounds. With a bit of reassurance your greyhound will soon understand that these appliances are neither threatening nor frightening.
- Most retired greyhounds also have limited exposure to glass doors and windows, so make a point of showing them to your greyhound so they know they can’t barge through them.
- While in a kennel environment your greyhound has not had to learn food manners, this means they are likely to steal food from tables or benches. Be patient and consistent with your greyhound as you teach them what is and isn’t acceptable.
- Decide on the house rules including where your greyhound is allowed; what the greyhound’s walking and feeding routine will be, and who in the family is responsible for what (include the children by giving them ‘doggy responsibilities’). This should be done before your dog arrives, it is best to start out how you mean to finish.
- Set up your greyhound’s sleeping area before they arrive. This should be in a quiet area, away from drafts and the main thoroughfare of the house, but should also be in an area where they are part of the family – they like to see what is going on around them.
- Remember your greyhound has spent their life in a kennel situation. They may not feel comfortable with having the run of the house when they first come home. Once your greyhound is feeling more settled and is housetrained you can give them access to other areas of the house. Initially it is advisable to put barriers at doors to confine your greyhound to certain areas of the house. Perhaps they are be permitted in the kitchen, laundry, and family areas but restricted from the lounge, office or bedrooms. By confining your greyhound in the initial stages you will make them feel more secure, it will also make housetraining easier.
- Try to put your greyhound on lead and take them out for a toilet break several times a day. Remember to lavish praise on your greyhound when they go to the toilet in the correct place. Over successive days the time between toilet breaks can be increased and by following these steps, confining, attending to and praising your greyhound, your dog will become house trained in no time. If your dog has an accident in the house, be patient and persevere – this is as new to them as it is to you. We have included more details on toilet training in the next section of this booklet.
- Dogs flourish on routine, so try and keep things consistent. If possible feed and walk your dog at roughly the same time every day. This helps your dog feel secure. Every dog, family and situation is different. What works for one may not work for another. Try not to set your expectations too high. Although some greyhounds will fit in straight away, others may take a little more time. Please be patient and allow your greyhound to settle in at their own pace; they will learn your house rules as they settle in.
- Although your greyhound is used to being handled, initially they may not feel comfortable being hugged and cuddled like you might expect from pet dogs. Be aware of your greyhound’s reaction to being touched and if they back off or appear uncomfortable stop what you are doing.