SOME QUESTIONS & ANSWERS ABOUT RETIRED RACING GREYHOUNDS
What has Life Been Like For the Retired Racing Greyhound?
What Should I Expect From My Dog When We Get Home?
Does My Dog Need a Special Place in the House?
How Do I House Break My Greyhound?
Why Is Routine Important To a Greyhound?
How Do I Feed My Greyhound?
What Sort Of Medical Care Will My Dog Need?
How Important Is Exercise For My Greyhound?
When Can I Trust My Dog Off The Leash?
What If I Have Other Questions?
What Has Life Been Like For the Retired Racing Greyhound?
Racing greyhounds have spent their lives in the company of other
dogs. When born, the average litter is about nine pups. Generally, young greyhounds are
touched and hugged as much as possible. As they near their first birthday, they begin
their racing training. They are taught how to chase a lure using a variety of systems, all
geared to maximizing their natural abilities of vision and speed. Eventually they progress
to a race track such as the one from which your dog came.
Kennel life at the track is very routine. Feeding in the morning, several daily
turnouts in the exercise pen, and the rest of the time spent in the crate.
That is, unless the dog is racing that day or is new and needs to be schooled - taught how to run around that particular track. Most dogs are raced every three days; most racing kennels
have about 60 active dogs, and amazingly, most trainers have a special story about each
and every dog with whom they work. As you may infer, the ex-racer has seen very little of
what we think of as the everyday world. They have never seen a house, stairs, children or
cats. Life as a pet is like being reborn for the ex-racer.
What Should I Expect From My Dog When We Get Home?
Because everything is brand-new for your dog, you should expect him or her to be a
little confused. Your dog will be very curious about every niche and corner of their new
home. Most dogs come directly from the race track into their foster home for acclimation,
evaluation an initial training as a pet. The training given in the foster home needs
reinforcement in the adoptive home. For example, the typical ex-racer does not understand
that the stove is not the proper place for those elegant feet, neither for that matter, is
the cupboard nor the table. They have not acquired what we call "manners",
and BGA’s foster program goes a long way toward addressing the situation. However, if
your dog does jump on things, firmly grab hold of its collar, move him or her down while
authoritatively saying "OFF". Should the jumping up behavior be repeated, be
consistent and repeat the "OFF" command. Greyhounds are very sensitive, and will
respond quickly to this simple training
If you have stairs that your dog will need to climb, you may have to be patient. Coming
from the track, Greyhounds have never seen stairs and usually approach them in one of two
ways: they either decide that stairs are completely beyond their comprehension, becoming
stiff and helpless, or, they attempt to leap up or down the whole flight at once. And this
is another matter addressed during foster care, but occasionally the foster home may not
be equipped to introduce the dog to the type of stairs in your home. To educate your
Greyhound about stairs, place the dogs feet, one at a time on each step, with your body
firmly behind the dog so it cannot back down. Proceed up the stairs, one foot at a time,
giving lots of encouragement along the way. Going down stairs requires a little more
muscle, as your dog may want to try all those stairs in one jump. Keep the dog on a short
leash, allowing him or her to take only one stair at a time. In a few days your dog will
be able to navigate the stairs on its own.
Expect your Greyhound to be curious . They have been taught to be alert to quick
movements and, particularly those of small creatures. If your dog even looks sideways at
your cat, immediately and firmly say "NO!" It may take a few times, consistency
again being the key, but your dog will quickly learn what is appropriate behavior with
regard to small animals.
You may find your dog is something of a shadow, following you everywhere. This is a
part of the greyhounds' bonding process. You are the person your dog has decided to trust
first. Be flattered. To help your dog adjust, take him or her everywhere you can. These
are curious and sociable dogs and want to know all they can about their new world. The
more love and attention you give your dog, the more you will get back.
My Dog Need a Special Place in the House?
In the kennel your dog has always had his own confined space where it felt safe and
secure. There are a number of ways of accomplishing this in your house. You can purchase
or rent a large crate or make a special bedding area with a couple of inches of plump
bedding. Either of these methods help the dog to adjust to your household.
Although many people feel uncomfortable using a crate, Greyhounds are quite at home in
them. Indeed , using a large crate can help you to help your dog successfully transition
from racing dog to pet, by affording the dog a manageable space when overwhelmed by the
sudden freedom of your house.
Leaving the dog home alone, uncrated, may result in some behaviors which might alarm
and dismay you. Your dog may investigate the garbage or frantically try to chew through
the door to find you. He or she may find new uses for your furniture, or simply howl and
pine until you return. The use of a crate could eliminate these potential disasters. Dogs
instinctively will not soil their own space, thus making the use of the crate an effective
tool in the house- breaking process. It is a secure and familiar space for the dog and
provides peace of mind for you.
Do I House Break My Greyhound?
Your dog is kennel trained. This means that he or she knows that when let out of the crate at the racing kennel its time to eliminate in the turnout pen. This behavior
is reinforced by BGAs foster program. By taking your dog out frequently, at consistent times, and by giving lots of praise when the dog succeeds, you will quickly
establish the correct place for your Greyhound to relieve itself. Most dogs present body
signals indicating when they need to go out. Look for these signals. They may be as simple
as a serious sniffing of the floor, to a lot of quick pacing back and forth. Initially,
expect some accidents. It takes a little while for you and your dog to learn each other
signals and timing. If there is an accident, do not punish your dog, just hurry
outside and be encouraging. Consider taking the dog out more frequently for a while.
Vinegar and water are good cleaning agents. The acid neutralizes the odor. Corn starch
sprinkled on urine on carpets can be vacuumed when dry. This technique also takes out
stain and odor effectively. Never clean up in accident in front of your dog. You
dont want to even suggest to the dog that cleaning up an accident is something that
humans do. Sounds odd, but all the books will tell you this.
When you take your dog out to relieve itself, you will notice that he
or she seems to be looking for the right spot. This may take some time. Once found, your
dog will relieve itself. The next time the two of you go out, go to the same spot, calmly
waiting for your dog to do what is necessary. Dont distract your dog with playful
body language, as you want him or her to focus on the reason for being outside. Once all
business is taken care of , you can play, walk, etc.
Why Is Routine Important to a Greyhound
A consistent routine is all your Greyhound has ever known. At the
breeding farms and later at the racing kennel, feeding and exercise always occurs at the
same time each day. Generally, the dogs are turned out early in the morning and then again
mid morning. During the second morning turnout, crates are cleaned. After the second
turnout, those dogs not racing that day are fed. The dogs remain in their crates until
late afternoon for the third turnout. The final turnout is usually late in the evening,
just before the trainer goes home for the night. Because the dogs are so accustomed to a
daily routine, it is quite easy to adapt the old routine to what best fits your household.
These dogs are amazingly adaptable and really want to please, but depend upon your consistency. Work out a general routine that might work for you and stick to it. Be sure and make it something that is easily managed by your household and takes the dogs needs into account. ( Note: until you and your dog have established a comfortable routine, you may need to make more frequent trips outside to avoid accidents.)
How Do I Feed My Greyhound
Most dogs reach "pet weight" within the first month of life
in a home. Your dog may seem to devour it's food at first. This behavior will slowly
disappear as your dog realizes that it can depend upon you to regularly provide it with
food. Occasionally, however, the Greyhound will seem totally un- interested in food. Not
to worry. With patient coaxing, the dog will usually more heartily as he or she becomes
comfortable with its surroundings.
Initially, feed your dog between three to five cups of food a day --
half in the morning and half in the evening . As your dog adjusts to the food change, you
can alter the amount depending on the size of the dog, its appetites, level of activity
and appearance. Do not over feed. Two ribs showing when the animal is standing relaxed is
considered about right.
It is best to buy and good brand of dog food that contains about 22
percent protein, derived from meat or poultry content. It should have as little filler as
possible, and no soy! Typically, these better quality foods can be obtained at feed
and pet stores, as opposed to the supermarket brands. An occasional teaspoon of corn oil
may help keep the coat shiny. For good dental hygiene, brush the teeth every few days with
a canine specific dental product Do not use a human dentifrice or baking soda and
occasionally give your dog U.S. made raw hide to chew and dog biscuits.
Change in diet may cause diarrhea in your dog. Should this occur, give
your dog two pink bismuth tablets about every two hours or so until the diarrhea has
stopped. Feed 1-2 cups each cottage cheese and rice or pasta and boiled hamburger, two or
three times a day until the stool begins to look solid. Gradually decrease these
alternative foods while increasing the dry dog food. As stools become normal, eliminate
the cottage cheese or boiled hamburger first, then the rice or pasta. It is important to
recognize that accidents may have been due to an upset stomach, rather than lack of
manners. Remember, the dog needs to adjust and should be treated with patience and care.
If you observed blood or worms in the stool, or if the problem persists, check with your
Sort Of Medical Care Will My Dog Need
In our lives the best medical care is prevention.
Even though your dog was given all its vaccinations and was wormed, at about three weeks
you should take a stool sample to your Vet just to be on the safe side. Your dog was heart
worm tested and found negative, and protection for one month from heart worm was
administered. Discuss with your veterinarian what sort of heart worm preventive will work
best for your dog, and begin treatment one month from the date the first dose was
administered ( check the medical paperwork given to you with the dog). You might also I
ask your vet to show you how to cut your dogs toenails, something that should be done once
or twice a month.
Read all shampoo and flea spray and powder labels and be sure that they
are safe to use on sighthounds. Never use a regular flea and tick powder on a
Greyhound, they are particularly sensitive to the chemicals in them. Check with a BGA
representative or your vet regarding ways to deal with these problems safely.
While all mammals suffer from certain illnesses (such as cancer),
Greyhounds are not plagued with conformation diseases such as hip dysplasia. If given good
at a loving care they can live to be 12 years or more, a delightfully long life for your
dog and your family together.
How Important Is Exercise For My Greyhound
The Greyhound is an athlete. They are accustomed to racing every three
days. However, in retirement their exercise needs are easily fulfilled by 2 to 4
" fun" walks during the week of at least a half -hour in length. They also
enjoy a run in an enclosed, safe area off leash. They are born to run, it is one of their
As you might expect, the change from the racetrack environment to your
household is somewhat stressful, confusing and exciting for your dog. Exercise facilitates
an easier transition. A tired, well satisfied dog seems to have less energy to worry or be
upset. Walking or running with your dog speeds up the bonding process and enables the two
of you to learn each others language that much more quickly.
Greyhounds make excellent jogging companions once they learn to adjust
their stride to yours. Summer heat and winter salt can injure paws however, so check your
dogs feet after each run. Always give your dog a chance to relieve itself before and
the after the jog.
When Can I Trust My Dog Off The Leash
NEVER! Greyhounds have no understanding of cars. They tend to stand in the middle of the road watching the car approach or they try to outrun it. They are sight hounds capable of speeds in excess of 40 mph. They have been taught to chase fast-moving objects. Therefore, you need to structure a situation in which your dog can succeed and not be at risk; one in which you are in control. This may be an enclosed ball field or fenced meadow.
While basic obedience classes will give you good ideas for building a
relationship, it could be really helpful for other concerns that you may have. The
instinct to chase will always override the learned command.
What If I Have Other Questions
If you have any questions or comments, always feel free to call
a BUFFALO GREYHOUND ADOPTION, Inc. representative at ( 716 )873-1165. We work hard to find good homes for great pets. We would love to know how you and your dog are getting along, and enjoy any and all stories you wish to
share. You may e-mail us at: firstname.lastname@example.org