Greyhound Rescue Advice

(48 Posts)

This may be a tad rambly so apologies in advance! Also, I know there is a greyhoundy thread just below but I'm greedy and want my own grin

My last dog passed away 3 years ago now and I think I am now ready to think about another. I have always very much liked greyhounds, but have never owned one. Last dog was a border collie who we rescued from a puppy and had until he was PTS with cancer age 7, Before that I had a west highland terrier (never again, devil dog!) who my exH kept after we divorced angry and I grew up with a pointer and border collies so I like to think I am a reasonably experienced dog owner.

I have been reading up about greyhounds for a few weeks now on the websites of various rescues in my area and it seems like it would be an ideal dog for us. There's just me, himself and my dd who is 10 and a half and is fairly sensible. No other pets. Stepsons visit regularly but are all adults. I work part-time, 3 days a week. OH works from home so no lengthy periods of leaving any potential dog alone.

I suppose I am looking for someone to convince me that this would be the right dog for us. As much as I adore collies I definitely don't want another BC, in all honesty I don't want to sign up for relentless hours of walking and running with a dynamo dog smile In all the research I have done I can't seem to find any negative aspects of having a greyhound, other than the small furries potential issues, and I am sure that there must be some! confused

So tell me how wonderful they are and then I shall print the thread, hand it to himself and he won't dare refuse me grin

Thanks flowers

mistlethrush Tue 17-Sep-13 14:52:29

I've got a lurcher - because we wanted something that had a little bit more get up and go than a greyhound but still was quite laid back (DS is a very energetic 8) - and she's lovely. I suggest you move over to the pointy hound's cushion as there are many rescued pointy hounds there - whilst there are the odd niggle here and there (eg separation anxiety with some of them), generally its all good. If you've coped with a BC, a grey hound should be a doddle.

We have an ex racer/rescued grey.Have had her for 4 years now.
We also have a JRT,which we had when we got the grey.They are two totally different dogs IMO,greys are very laid back,sleep all day,just need 2 short walks a day.After having a JRT (& staffies when I was growing up)I would say that greys don't have a distinctive personality,ours isn't very affectionate or enthusiastic about anything except when she sees a cat grin Don't get me wrong we love her to bits,but the difference from other dogs was a bit of a shock for me.
Also she has cost us a fortune at the vets.If you let your grey off the lead when out for a walk & they spot something,they will run through anything - barbed wire,trees bushes etc ,they do not see things in the way(due to their training)which results in injuries.Ours tore her cruciate ligament on her back leg,we had it pinned,but it didn't heal so she ended up having it amputatedhmm
She copes great with 3 legs though.

mistlethrush Tue 17-Sep-13 15:15:50

You see, this is why we went for a lurcher instead - we wanted a cuddle monster who liked to play, including on walks. She does have a high prey drive - but is safe off the lead and has only once gone over a barbed wire fence (and back the other way, jumping between the top two strands despite the shouting).

Will sidle over to the other thread then!

chickens - yes, lots of my reading has brought up the off lead issue so I think if we do go for it we will be keeping him/her on lead for a good long while! Bless yours with only three legs.

CMOTDibbler Tue 17-Sep-13 15:34:29

We have a rescue lurcher, and he is soppy, enthusiastic about many things, a bit dim, but does recall and doesn't have much prey drive. He certainly has personality, and we love him.

I'd really recommend a lurcher - the same need for only a little exercise, then a lot of snoring. Mines currently snoozing on a mat by the patio door as the cat is in the chair and the chickens are pecking the glass by his head

topbannana Tue 17-Sep-13 21:15:31

High vets bills if you are unfortunate and a tendency towards bad teeth. Insurance will cover the injuries but likely not the dental work sad

moosemama Tue 17-Sep-13 21:48:20

I have a lurcher to, well actually two of them now, as I have a 15 week old pup.

Lurcherboy is the best of both worlds, he's laid back and a very steady dog, which is great with three dcs, but he's also very demonstrative and loves nothing more than a cuddle. He has some Border Collie in him, which means he loves to retrieve and will bring back balls and frisbees to your heart's content. He's not the brightest bulb in the box, clicker training is interesting, as you can see him desperately trying to work out what you want but it taking a really long time for his cogs to turn! He has a great recall, which isn't true for all Lurchers, they are sighthounds after all, but shows it is possible with the right dog.

The best thing about him is his flexibility. He is quite happy to snooze the day away on two walks a day, but is equally happy to spend the whole day out and about with the family walking or playing on the beach.

His mix is Deerhound/Saluki x Greyhound/Border Collie and I would happily recommend that mix as a fantastic family pet.

My pup on the other hand is a total different make. We don't know his mix, but from his build there's probably quite a bit of Saluki, definitely some terrier and some Border Collie, but who knows what else. He is a real live-wire, very quick to learn, but equally as quick to get himself into trouble. grin

Another advantage of Lurchers is that as long as they're not a first cross sighthound to sighthound (technically called a 'Longdog) or sighthound to working breed (definition of a lurcher) you can get them classed as a crossbreed for insurance purposes which brings down your premiums.

I've never had a greyhound, but have known a few and just like any other breed in my experience they are all individuals, some are laid-back, some are more nervous, some are cheeky and comical, some gentle and affectionate, whilst others may be more aloof etc.

Greyhound owner here - we have four. Please feel free to ask me anything specific to greyhounds, as although lurchers are adorable, they are a very different dog.

Firstly, please don't ignore the very real reason why greyhounds need adopting - for many, this is a compelling contributory factor. The racing industry spits out thousands of young healthy dogs each year which would otherwise be killed or dumped (and sadly, many still are). By adopting one (and they often come up for adoption as young as two or three) you will be providing a loving home for an animal that would otherwise be a discarded byproduct of the racing industry.

Personality wise, they do vary considerably. As a generality - in so far as any breed has typical character traits - they are relaxed and laid back. Not the brightest of dogs but having said that, ours have all done obedience classes, and I've previously done KC Gold with one aged 12, and am working through the APDT scheme levels with one at the moment. They make excellent PAT dogs, DH loves running with our younger ones (so you can think about shorter length CaniX) and I'm going to have a go at Rally O next year. A young grey could probably have a go at basic agility, heelwork etc. So please don't form the impression that they are only good for sofa surfing and the odd zoomie.

They are remarkably healthy - apart from the teeth but even then with care you can keep them looking good. Our 11 year old male has just been in for a dental and had a couple out - but since he's otherwise in fabulous health I'm not too concerned about this. They generally live to 12 - 14, but 15 is not uncommon and even 16. Yes, they have thin skin but you quickly become very used to the odd cut etc and in any case you should only let them off the lead where it is safe to do so - you quickly get used to checking out safe spots and bookmarking areas.

They are very addictive - most pointy owners start with one and quickly acquire more. Greyhounds genuinely thrive and benefit from multi dog living as they have in their racing lives always lived with their own kind - they find the adjustment to solo living difficult at times and are always happier with another pointy around.

Also addictive - the shopping. Most greys have a stunning wardrobe of coats, collars (ah, the collar porn), velvet leads, bandanas, tassels etc. - not unusual for a grey to be considerably better dressed than their accompanying human.

There is also a wonderful pointy based social world. Having a greyhound introduces you to a world of regular sighthound playdates, greyhound walks, greyhound gatherings, specialist events and the company of fellow adopters/greyhound addicts. There's a huge social side to this - you could spend practically every weekend in teh summer going to some sort of pointy related social activity.

I could go on. blush But feel free to ask if there is anything i haven't covered.

mistlethrush Wed 18-Sep-13 08:35:45

I would agree with Scuttle that there is a whole world of pointy events that I was completely unaware about before I got mistlehound. Not everyone's cup of tea - but if you like doing things like that its great fun and you get to meet some lovely people and their hounds and you normally bring back a dog that's completely exhausted, even if it was only all the mental energy required meeting so many other pointy dogs. Oh - and not only do the owners flock together, pointy dogs often recognise other pointy dogs and are more drawn to them than other breeds (although that doesn't stop them wanting to play with others necessarily)

Alix81 Thu 19-Sep-13 16:29:05

We have just adopted an ex racing greyhound smile we had border collies before so he is quite different. We only got him saturday and he seems to be settling in nicely and wanders round the house a bit more than when he arrived. He has made his 'home' in the smallest room in the house but its nice when he comes and sits in the living room with us in the evening!

Thanks for all the responses on this thread. Meant to come back to it sooner but been laid low with heavy cold.

After some lengthy sexual blackmail discussion I have managed to get Himself to agree to adopting a greyhound grin

Next step....approaching the Landlord with such a sensible and reasoned argument that she can't possibly refuse me.

Alix81 - when you say "we had border collies before so he is quite different" - could you explain what you mean? I feel like I have read so much greyhound information on the web that I am a bit overloaded!

mistlethrush Fri 20-Sep-13 09:31:46

Too old - my experience with collie crosses is that they need exercise then mental stimulation then more exercise and more mental stimulation and when you're completely exhausted at 9.30pm having walked and played and trained and walked some more all day, they will bring you a toy to play with - and if you don't play with that one they'll think... 'I know, she might play with x if I got that - now, where did I last see that... I know, its upstairs, I'll just dash off and get that and see if that is a more tempting toy. Oh, perhaps that's too shaggy, perhaps she'll play with the squeeky bone that I got the squeek out of... That's in the hall.... SHE'S NOT PLAYING. What's that bushy thing that keeps following me. I'm going to catch it. This is fun. I need to get a better grip... just need to go a bit faster... Bother, dropped it and its got away I'm just going to have to catch it again. Perhaps if I growl a bit louder at it I will get a better grip. Its going round in circles very fast... ' and so on until you go to bed. And then they'll be waiting ready for the postman to come at 6.30 in the morning, ready to shred the post. Most pointy hounds will work out its the evening, perhaps suggest a chew, then stagger to the sofa and sit next to you and drop off to sleep. Stagger down the garden last thing, and go to sleep again. And still be asleep when you get up in the morning. grin

Sounds like my kinda dog grin

Now to spend valuable work time composing a letter to Landlord. Tips appreciated!

mistlethrush Fri 20-Sep-13 14:03:04

I would offer an increased deposit, a full, professional carpet clean on leaving the house, and suggest that you would returf the garden if that was necessary.

I would stress that you have chosen a greyhound due to their laid-back nature, rather than a breed such as a spaniel or collie which might be more likely to do obsessive behaviour that could lead to damage to the property.

Can you say anything about length it will be left alone ever?

Thanks for tips. Was definitely going to mention the breed and the benefit of lack of lots of dog hair and dog smell everywhere.

Will also be putting in a sentence or two about dog not being left for very long at all.

There is also a specialist insurance you can get for dog tenancies - can't remember its name but is specifically designed for dog owning tenants.

Bear in mind that most rescues won't (quite rightly) let you adopt until they can see written authorisation from the LL.

Well, in the spirit of keeping the thread updated...

I have emailed the agents this morning with my pleading letter to landlord attached so now will have to wait and see. Already spotted about 20 dogs in various rescues that I 'want' grin

He is my favourite at the moment grin

mistlethrush Mon 23-Sep-13 09:23:31

Aww he looks lovely - and black dogs often get overlooked - although, when they are in good condition, they can look absolutely stunning as they get such a gleam on them!

sooperdooper Mon 23-Sep-13 09:27:07

We've got a rescue greyhound, and I grew up with a boarder c

Does anyone know how greyhounds are with birds? I feed the garden birds quite obsessively regularly and it just occurred to me that it might be a bad idea to encourage birds into a garden with a greyhound confused

Anyone know?

mistlethrush Mon 23-Sep-13 11:23:13

Any dog might chase them. A greyhound might make it up to the bird table though - so you might need to take measures to stop that - otherwise I can't think it will be worse than any other dog.

Oh - and we managed to get several lots of dogs to accept pet bantams and not chase those (too much) but they would still differentiate between them and 'other' birds which were fair game...

Good point, we had a budgie with our last BC and she used to walk around on the dogs back but then he wasn't the sharpest knife in the drawer grin

Getting carried away with excitement now tbh and it could all fall down with an email back saying no, jog on, no dog for you in my house. Very anxious <bites nails>

Re birds - ours take zero interest in our garden birds - of which we have many. They also ignore frogs. At the park they will occasionally show interest in ducks, but nothing serious.

Squirrels are a different matter. grin

Slightly positive reaction from estate agent today. She was fine with it and said she couldn't imagine the LL saying no to such a "well written letter" <preens>

She has promised to get back to me as soon as she hears from LL so I am of course refreshing my email every five seconds grin

Back and updating again!

Heard back from the landlords yesterday and they have agreed to let us have a dog providing we take out tenant insurance for pet owners so it is all going ahead!

Called the greyhound rescue last night and have arranged to have a conversation with them tonight after work re: home visits/suitability etc! Very excited and must admit to being a bit apprehensive now I have got the official “go ahead”.

I do, of course, want to pick the brains of greyhound owners again please :-D Dog or bitch? I have never had a bitch before and for some reason I feel myself leaning towards a dog again and I can’t quite put my finger on why….

Is there much difference between the sexes? As always, any advice is gratefully received. Am at work so can’t return to thread often but really do appreciate any help 

mistlethrush Thu 26-Sep-13 11:02:18

Yes, there are differences between dogs and bitches. I went to a really interesting training session with a lurcher - savy trainer - he pointed out that bitches would tend to be 'the boss' in the home environment, and dogs were more likely to take the fore outside the home - because, on a survival basis, the dogs are less important to the continuation of the species than the bitches.

We've always had bitches - for one thing, all the wee is on the lawn, not all over the tubs / climbing frame / shrubs.

Ooh how exciting! smile

I have a greyhound after having spaniels and labs and a crazy collie cross. I often forget I have my greyhound girl. She is so chilled and quiet and such a snoozer! I think greyhounds are the perfect companion. They are just quietly there by your side and are soo happy to be in a nice house being loved.

As for dog vs bitch I would keep an open mind rather than rule out one sex completely. I prefer bitches personally but all dogs are different so I looked at both.

My girl has no interest in catching birds, she's daft but even she seems to realise she can't fly! grin However she would eat the food you are putting out before the birds got a look in.

Our greyhound family is currently two dogs and two bitches but we have previously fostered and owned others as well. Obviously the biggest difference is the physical size - bitches are usually smaller. For instance our two bitches weigh around 24kg and 28kg - the two boys are 31kg and 37/38kg .

Beyond that though, I'd say there is far more difference between individual dogs than there is between the sexes. Looking at our two current bitches for instance - one is a "been there, done that" character, full of quiet confidence, chilled out, friendly, and happy to demand tickles from anyone. She is flying through her clicker training. The other bitch is also friendly, but happy to wait for you to come to her, won't approach strangers, and is a bit more nervous. Has the brain of a very small pea. Completely adorable though and has bonded to me like Velcro. Enjoys meeting other dogs and is an accomplished food thief, and cushion nester.

From an adoption point of view, especially as you'll be having one, it really won't make any appreciable difference - just focus on the personality of the hound. The other lovely thing is that their personality does develop and change over time. My MIL looked after the dogs on the weekend and was commenting on the difference in one of ours since he first arrived - considerably more mellow than the gangly chap who arrived in 2006! Now he is a squishy love bucket who looks at DH with almost embarrassingly soppy adoration. He's still a goofball though. smile

And one of our bitches does a sort of modified squat so she will often wee over vertical surfaces such as tree trunks, garden pots etc.

From a rescue point of view, it's great that you are heading towards a dog - the larger males often find it much harder to be rehomed - usually because people are put off by their size. On a day to day level the bigger hounds are no more bother than the smaller ones and I think they look absolutely stunning.

A quick message to say thanks for all the replies. Very useful information and I am definitely going to try to focus on the personality of the animal rather than the sex. Speaking to the woman from the rescue after 5 tonight so hopefully will be going up to the kennels to have a look at weekend. <excited>

mistlethrush Thu 26-Sep-13 19:01:55

Don't overlook black dogs either... I don't know why they get overlooked so often, but they do - and a black dog in good condition can look absolutely stunning.

Agreed Mistle - once a black dog loses their kennel coat, and has a few months of sardines, the coat shines like satin - (proud owner of three sable hounds here). Our lovely tiger brindle is soft and has a slight gleam but just can't match the black pack for sheer gloss.

mistlethrush Thu 26-Sep-13 22:05:56

I've got a scruffy tan (actually she's red with blonde highlights wink) so don't have any hope of a shine!

GillyMac93 Thu 26-Sep-13 22:15:29

I have a ex racer greyhound , love love her to bits ! Thought she would be quite boring compared to crazy collies and springer see have had but thing with greyhounds is they're so easy going , she will lie and sleep at my feet all day and then leap into action on walks and playing . Sounds like the perfect dog for you ! Bear in mind though if it's an ex racer many aren't used to being indoors and it can be hard going toileting! Iv had my girl over a year and we still have odd accidents . Go for it !

mistlethrush Fri 27-Sep-13 07:23:19

My 2 yo Lurcher had to be housetrained - she had never been in a house before coming to us. We had a lunge rein (for a horse) that we took her in the garden on so that we could get her to focus on what she should be doing there rather than looking for interesting smells and pootling about.... We've not had an accident for months - although it was particularly difficult early days as she thought 'inside' was where you did things.

I'm back again and fishing for more advice i'm afraid blush.

I don't intend to let the dog sleep upstairs, I know lots of people do but I never have in the past and don't want to this time so plan would be for dog to sleep in kitchen with door closed. I'm starting to worry that this might present problems. Am I being hideously cruel to do that? I do anticipate that settling in could take time and pooch could potentially be whining/barking at night but am I asking for this to happen by keeping him/her confined to kitchen at bed time?

As always any advice is very much appreciated. It seems that now I have got the go ahead from the landlords that I'm starting to doubt myself confused

<slightly embarassed but brazen bump>

mistlethrush Sat 28-Sep-13 19:36:44

Some people do have their dogs sleeping downstairs - our last dog did - although she had the run of downstairs and could sleep on the landing if she wanted to - just not our rooms.

In terms of your kitchen, I wonder whether you have room for a crate as that would give you the containment in a way that is established as a relatively easy way of keeping dogs happy in a specific area (without causing any damage to the fittings)

No, no room for a crate sadly. Its only a small house really, reasonable sized lounge but just a small dining kitchen. Thing is once ive got dog housetrained im probably happy to let him have run of downstairs or a bed on the landing but as its a rental im pretty worried about accidents on cream (how practical!) carpets. Whereas kitchen is tiled floor.

Im probably overthinking but id rather overthink than underthink! Seems like ive been without a dog a long time sad

If dog slept in a crate at night could it 'go away' in day or would that be confusing? I know i must sound pig ignorant but havent used a crate before.

mistlethrush Sat 28-Sep-13 19:58:48

Usually, dogs are aclimatised to see their crates as their 'safe' place to go - so they're left up all the time - I've never come across anyone managing to take one down during the day.

Lots to think about it seems. DP isnt a dog lover like me and i can imagine he will complain about a crate in a small house. Thanks for all your advice, really appreciated.

mistlethrush Sat 28-Sep-13 20:05:19

Actually- it was the housetraining thing that got me having the dog in our bedroom - I've never done it before - but she'd gone from a barn with lots of dogs - probably from a shed with lots of dogs - to here being on her own and she really didn't settle at all well in the kitchen on her own... So, thinking it was the only way I'd get some sleep, I took her upstairs and put her mat by myside of the bed - I kept my hand on her until she settled down - and she would be able to hear both of us anyway. The advantage of that was that, if she got up and left the room (and potentially needed to go down the garden) I woke up so was able to nip downstairs after her and take her out in the garden (she thought that you did things inside, not outside when we got her). If she had been downstairs I wouldn't have managed to do this. I'm sure it helped with housetraining.

I'm not sure that all greyhounds manage stairs out of interest...

I remember that all too well from last pooch. I slept downstairs with him for what felt like a million years while housetraining a terrified dog in a house filled with shift working stepsons and an early rising OH! unhappy memories!

Large or extra large crate for a greyhound?

mistlethrush Sat 28-Sep-13 20:54:54

what size of greyhound? I would be erring towards the extra large. You could see if the rescue has any you could borrow to see how it gets on with it?

Not sure of size yet. Ive said i dont mind dog or bitch and size isnt an issue to me so god knows what we will be matched with!

Just wanted to add that your new grey will probably be a Velcro dog at first. They are all at sea, and often find the first few days a bit bewildering, especially if it's the first time in their lives that they have been without any canine company. Remember that these dogs will have lived with their kennel mates 24/7 - basically, they are never alone.

Being able to sleep near you - even if it's on the landing - is often very soothing for them in the first few days. You will also find that they follow you everywhere - get used to a pointy nose peeking round the bathroom door! Gradually as they build confidence, and get used to their new routine, they are more confident sleeping away from you. You will also find that they tell you where their preferred sleeping spot is. What I'm trying to say in a long winded way, is that by keeping the grey downstairs they may get stressed, whereas if they can sleep near you, they will probably be happier and less likely to have an accident.

With winter coming on, and cream carpets shock I'd invest in a steam cleaner grin, and it's sensible to stock up before dog arrives on some cleaning materials for wee. Even without stress, the best dog is bound to have a few accidents in teh first few days, and will almost certainly mark at least once or twice.

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