The Adjustment Period
Recognizing the adjustment period and successfully managing it is a very important part of any greyhound adoption. It must be remembered that becoming a family pet involves a dramatic change in routine which can be stressful for a greyhound, and he must be given time to adjust to his new surroundings. In this regard, a quiet greyhound may be fretful, a good eater reluctant to eat, a perfectly housebroken greyhound may have an accident. Give your pet time to get settled and don't worry about any odd behavior during the first few weeks. Your love, patience, and understanding will help your greyhound through this adjustment period, which usually lasts from a few days to a few weeks. Greyhounds are friendly, affectionate dogs who thrive on attention and human companionship and make terrific pets once they get used to their new homes. Raised with their littermates, where they competed for affection, greyhounds love becoming the center of attention as pets.
Your greyhound has been housed in a large crate in his trainer's kennel. He is used to being put outside in a fenced-in pen to relieve himself four times a day. He may be used to getting up early (about 6:00 a.m.) to be taken outside. To avoid accidents in the house we recommend that you take him outside as soon as he gets up. You can gradually get him used to sleeping later. If your dog has an accident in the house, a verbal reprimand should usually suffice - then take him outside and praise him when he relieves himself. Do not hit your dog or put his nose in the "accident" as your dog will respond more quickly and more positively to kindness. If your dog has an accident, clean the spot, then rinse the area with a solution of white vinegar and water. This will neutralize the odor and discourage his going in that spot again. For the first few days it's a good idea to go outside with your greyhound. This teaches him where his new home is and where he's supposed to "go", helps relieve the tension of being in a strange place, and prevents accidents. You can then praise him at the appropriate moment. We also recommend using a kennel crate or blocking your greyhound in your kitchen when you are gone at first, to help in housebreaking and to eliminate "separation anxiety" while you are gone. Never confine your greyhound in a room by closing the door. He will very likely become frantic and do damage. Greyhounds have been known to dig through a closed door. If you want to confine your dog to one room, use a baby gate. He will not climb over it and will feel less insecure.
Provide your greyhound with as soft a bed as possible. Greyhounds not only love comfort, they require it. They have very little padding on their elbows and can develop a fluid condition if forced to sleep on a hard surface. You will be surprised at how quickly your greyhound becomes attached to you, and what a difference your presence makes to him. Do not shut your greyhound in a separate room to sleep - he will much prefer to sleep in the same room with you (in the same bed, if you let him!) He'll feel more secure and is less likely to cry or cause damage.
We recommend dry food only, and a higher quality dog food than most grocery store brands such as:
- Eagle Maintenance
- Iams Mini Chunks
- Hill's Science Diet
We also recommend feeding any large dog twice a day to help prevent a serious condition known as "bloat".
Your greyhound requires a lead (leash) with a heavy-duty clasp. His collar should be kept tight enough so it won't slip over his head if he backs up on his lead. Using a martingale lead and separate collar is actually the safest and most comfortable for the greyhound (see catalog section for these items), Keep the collar with the rabies tag and dog license on him at all times, and purchase an I.D. tag with your name and phone number on it. We will also provide your greyhound with a Greyhound Rescue & Adoption I.D. tag. Never tie you greyhound outside on a rope, chain, or "runner". Greyhounds are not used to being tied. They can get tangled up and injure themselves and will pull, wiggle, or chew their way out.
Your greyhound should get along well with other dogs as he has lots of "socialization" experience in the racing kennel. Take care, however, to watch them carefully at first, as the "old dog" may be jealous of the newcomer. Separate your dogs for the first few days when you feed them. Dogs can get very feisty over food. Many of our greyhounds live in homes with cats and get along well with them. They should, however, be introduced carefully. We will help you introduce your greyhound to your other pets. Stairs Your greyhound has probably never had to go up or down flights of stairs. He may find them intimidating at first. He will learn, but you must be patient with him. If you encounter a problem, start by carrying him almost to the top of the stairs. Then put him down and allow him to climb the last few steps. Gradually increase the number of steps he climbs. Reverse the procedure for downstairs. Do not push him - if frightened, he may try to jump all the way down the stairs.
In retirement, a greyhound's exercise needs are no different than any other large dogs. It helps during the initial adjustment period to keep your greyhound well exercised to work off his tension and nervous energy. Greyhounds make excellent jogging companions once they learn to adjust their stride to yours. Summer's heat and winter's salt can injure his pads, however. Keep this in mind when choosing a place to jog with your dog. If your greyhound does any strenuous running, give him a chance to relieve himself afterwards and again about an hour later to prevent kidney tie-up. NEVER take your greyhound outside a fenced area without his leash on. He may become confused and run away or he may chase a small animal. He does not know about traffic and if permitted off leash he is likely to run into the street and be hit by a car. Your dog is a sighthound, which means he hunts by sight, not scent. He can see a small animal move for a distance of half a mile and he can run at forty miles per hour. If he sees the neighbor's cat (or a squirrel or rabbit) in the distance, he will not only chase it, he will probably catch it.
There are four points to grooming a dog: coat, ears, nails, and teeth. Greyhounds are short-haired dogs who shed little. Frequent brushing will eliminate shedding. We recommend using a horse mit. They are inexpensive and can be purchased from us or any store selling supplies for horses. The outer ears can be cleaned with a Q-tip and mineral oil. Nails can be trimmed at home or by a vet. Better yet, come to one of our Meet'n'Greets and Sher will do it. It is important that your greyhound's teeth be kept clean, as plaque build-up will result in a gum infection. If plaque builds up on your greyhound's teeth, have the teeth scaled (you can buy a tooth scaler or have your vet do it). Chew toys will also help keep your greyhound's teeth clean. Scrubbing with a small child's toothbrush will help too.