National Adopt A Greyhound Month – Tips For Raising a Greyhound
A greyhound is a very ancient breed of dog, and they can be traced back to hunting dogs used in ancient Egypt. They are part of the hound group, and they were valued due to their incredible ability to spot prey and give chase.
Today, most greyhounds are not used for hunting, but they are used for racing. Running as fast as 41 miles per hour, these dogs are lean, muscular, and surprisingly relaxed and calm when racing or hunting.
Many pet greyhounds that are adopted are retired racing dogs. Owners often “retire” dogs from the track even when they are very young if they fail to do well in races. Dogs on the track can also be injured or develop health issues that disqualify them from racing.
The Home Environment
Racing greyhounds are housed in kennels. It is very rare for these dogs to have an understanding of being in a house or to be housetrained. However, they are very intelligent dogs, and routine trips outside and lots of positive praise when they go to the bathroom outdoors quickly lets the dog know what you want. Adult dogs should be taken outside at least three or four times a day during this adjustment and housetraining phase.
Being in a house will be confusing for the dog. He or she may want to find a “kennel” space, so providing a crate in a quiet area of the room with the family gives the dog a safe space of his or her own.
Greyhounds can be very shy and timid, particularly around new people and new places. They are also dogs that do not respond to harsh treatment, and even raised voices can be very intimidating to many of these pets. Training can be helpful to their adjustment.
At the same time, these are dogs that have always been around other dogs at the track. Being in a home as an only dog or being with unfamiliar dogs in a new environment can trigger separation anxiety. Crate training is helpful with this, as an anxious greyhound can be destructive with chewing and scratching in the home. Gradually leave the dog out for short periods of time when you leave home, building up to longer times as the dog becomes comfortable.
Each greyhound is different with regard to prey instinct. However, the breed is genetically wired to chase, and they are very unlikely to come back on recall. Keep the greyhound on a leash whenever you are out of a fenced yard. Always make sure the fence meets the requirements recommended by the greyhound adoption organization.
Most greyhounds are very good with children, cats, and other dogs. They do need to be socialized, particularly with cats and other dogs, but this is no different than many breeds.
Most greyhounds love to cuddle and hang out on the couch with the family. However, these are dogs that need regular exercise, including a brisk walk at least once a day. Track dogs may require training to heel, and they should be fitted with a special collar or a harness as they can easily slip a traditional dog collar.
Most greyhound rescues report that it takes about 5 months for an adopted racing greyhound to adjust to life in the family. Try to avoid any types of drastic changes in the home environment at this time to allow the dog to bond with the family and become comfortable as a house dog. rai