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Considering a rescue dog - maybe a greyhound or lurcher, we are first timers!

(65 Posts)
doggydays Tue 13-Nov-12 12:22:41

That's it really!

We are first timers, please be gentle! Kids are early teens. We have a large garden, I work 2 days a week during school hours (might possibly be able to change this if I negotiated with work, not sure).

No experience of dogs before but feel we could offer something, we are in no rush and if you think it's not a good idea, fair enough!

Would be able to give at least an hours exercise a day and probably more in reality if required or it helps?

No specific love of any particular breed and happy to be guided if another breed would be more appropriate, just at the start of our journey and thought I might post initially.

Scuttlebutter Tue 13-Nov-12 14:11:24

An excellent idea! Greyhounds are ideal first time dogs - gentle, loving, very laid back and great fun. Come over to the Greyhounds, Lurchers thread, have a browse and find out more about them - we are a very friendly bunch, and between us, we have greyhounds (we have four currently blush), whippets, lurchers, grippets (cross between grey and whippet), a gorgeous whiffie (cross between whippet and staffie) and assorted other pointy nosed delights.

If you would like a recommendation on a good rescue to work with, let us know roughly where in the UK you are and we can point you at some. Scruples Whippet rescue is a national rescue and very well thought of - you could take a look at their website, or the Retired Greyhound Trust as a starter.

Greyhounds will be very happy with an hour a day of exercise. Fortunately, they don't need huge amounts. They can also enjoy doing things like basic obedience classes (though this isn't their strongest suit), and are brilliant PAT dogs. They aren't noted for their brains but are highly skilled thieves (your kitchen surfaces will be spotless). Usually a rescue grey will already walk nicely on the lead, be mostly housetrained, and usually they travel very well. DH likes going running with a couple of ours.

One last warning - they are highly addictive and one is never enough!! grin

CMOTDibbler Tue 13-Nov-12 14:19:12

We've just adopted a greyhound grin. He is lovely, quite happy to snooze most of the day (is sleeping on the sofa while I'm working), and a complete gentleman on the lead. We luffs him.

Rhinestone Tue 13-Nov-12 14:48:39

Nothing to add, just hurrah for you for getting a rescue dog!

doggydaze Tue 13-Nov-12 15:04:47

Rhinestone - Lol, I didn't say that I WAS getting a rescue dog, just considering our 'worthiness', for want of a better word!

We are in West Yorkshire, but close to the North Yorkshire border if that helps broaden the field.

I'll pop over to this thread you mention, thanks.

My basic concern is my working hours, I leave at 8.30/9am and return about 2pm. I could walk the dog before if that helps but, in reality, would that be a bit long to leave a dog? I could negotiate changing the hours a touch, but, worst case scenario, if I couldn't, what's the thoughts there?

Happy for honest answers, if that won't work, then it won't work and it's not fair on all concerned.

CMOTDibbler Tue 13-Nov-12 15:22:36

A dog would be fine being left for that length of time 2 days a week

lovemydogs Tue 13-Nov-12 15:53:30

I got one greyhound 5 years ago and a second a year later - they are fantastic - great on the lead, love being in the car (my boy likes sleeping in the car when it is on the drive!!), they snooze on their duvets most of the day, are fine when left - I used to work 4 days a week and they were fine though now am at home, mine don't nick stuff from kitchen to be honest. My girl is very clever and knows words and commands - my boy less so. Both are very loving and affectionate. Neither sleeps on any furniture (not sure if this is unusual) and are very gentle with people and children. I do not let them off the lead though as they are both ex-racers and I would worry that they would run in front of traffic if they saw a rabbit or squirrel but they always seem very happy. They are not muzzled when out. I just love mine. They really have changed my life and have given me a reason to go on when my parents died. Good luck xxxx

interregnum Tue 13-Nov-12 16:08:47

Lovely to hear someone considering a rescue greyhound rather than a puppy.
Can only echo what love my dogs said, they are ideal for the first time
owners, and although they might suffer from some separation anxiety at first
they will happily sleep through 5 hours. Our two would quite happily sleep in the car 24 hours a day given the chance.

doggydaze Tue 13-Nov-12 16:18:53

Thanks for your replies so far, seems I am not too far off the mark with the breed.

How would I reduce the possibility of separation anxiety? Take some time off work initially?

Sorry if the questions is simples smile

Scuttlebutter Tue 13-Nov-12 16:33:21

Best way to avoid SA is to adopt two! And I'm not entirely joking, as greys spend all of their racing lives living in v close proximity with other dogs, so unlike a "normal" dog which quickly adjusts to being the only dog in the house, they often find it a bit more of a stretch. Having said that, masses of people have only one greyhound and they get on fine, just that when you see how happy they are with a pointy nosed chum you really do think about it.

However, lots of ways for a solo grey to have pointy friends, and most greyhound charities organise things like regular greyhound walks, playdates (yes, really), lure coursing events, charity dog shows etc for a good dose of hound socialising.

No need to take time off work - generally the thinking is that you should ease them in v gently into your routine, and not over fuss them the first few days. Initially they may be quite quiet, and will be adjusting to your household routines (they really thrive in a household with routines) and then you gradually see the comedian emerge grin And that's when the fun starts .....

Hopeforever Tue 13-Nov-12 16:36:36

We had 2 lurchers and one of the loveliest things was watching them play and chase each other

Rhinestone Tue 13-Nov-12 16:41:01

doggydaze it's too late now, you've put it in writing in The Doghouse, we'll hold you to it!!

FWIW, I think your dog(s) will be fine being left for 5 hours twice a week. No more than 4 hours is the general rule of thumb but a fabulous loving home where the rule of thumb is slightly exceeded is far preferable to a 'not particularly special home' where the dog is rarely left iykwim.

Merle Tue 13-Nov-12 16:41:23

OP I'm guessing that Tia rescue at Sowerby Bridge will not be too far from you?

Scuttlebutter Tue 13-Nov-12 16:49:14

Rescues near you - there's the North Yorkshire branch of the RGT - see here - they have monthly greyhound walks - these are great for potential adopters like you to attend as you have a nice stroll, meet some lovely hounds and get a chance to chat to some greyhound owners in a nice, relaxed no obligation way.

There's also Tia Greyhound Rescue link here at Hebden Bridge.

Good luck!

bellarose2011 Tue 13-Nov-12 17:09:37

our family dog that was a greyhound/lurcher cross was a great dog. really chilled and although he did need a really good run everyday once he was home he would sleep all the time. also he was happy to be on his own for 4-5hrs.

one thing i will warn you off is there hunting instincts, he killed many rabbits around our house (countryside) and could not be stopped once he spotted one. and when he was about 13 my mum came to stay at my house with him, i had recently got 2 kittens. we were all in the kitchen (4 adults) and he was under the table, we had not realised that one kitten had gone under the table towards him. he snapped at her once, caught her neck and killed her instantly. it was awful and after having him for so many years we could not believe he had done it.
he was normally a very placid freindly dog but i think these breeds can't help themselves when they see something small and fluffy so be careful with neighbours cat ect.

doggydaze Fri 16-Nov-12 08:56:32

Guys - thank you for your help so far.

I know I am changing course but I am not really (!) as I am at the 'considering' stage rather than 'going to do it' stage so mulling and asking questions on here! Lurchers still in my thoughts, just researching a touch more.

I went to the DogsTrust Leeds yesterday, it's close to us, it's kind of a 'flagship store' for DogsTrust, massive place. Just wanted advice really, nothing more. I will probably offend people, I am sorry, but the place felt 'cold'. Staff weren't really all that interested, although they might have been busy, I don't want to be critical. It was kind of like walking into a house that you might want to buy or a school or something but not getting the 'vibe'. Ramble ramble.

Anyways, to cut a long story short I surfed about a bit on the web last night and I was impressed with a site call Yorkshire Rose Rescue. All their dogs are in foster homes. Lovely website, not that this should make a difference. I can't figure out where in Yorkshire they are based though (not that it matters).

Does anyone know anything about them at all?

Scuttlebutter Fri 16-Nov-12 09:22:32

I can't comment on the Leeds branch, but I know the peeps at Dogs Trust Bridgend, and understand what you mean. They are a big operation, and have lots of paid staff - nothing wrong with this, but there is that strong air of this being a "job" and things being less individual. However, their care is excellent and they have superb back-up, adoption procedures etc.

I don't know the rescue you mentioned, but took a look at their website and there are several very encouraging signs. I LOVE the fact that all their dogs are in foster and have a minimum assessment period - this is excellent, both from a dog welfare perspective (most dogs get stressed in kennels), and in ensuring a really good, realistic assessment of the dog's behaviour/character. As with all reputable rescues, they do a thorough homecheck first, and dogs are rehomed once they are chipped, neutered, vaxed etc - all good stuff. I also like that they will make recommendations for you and dog match after doing the homecheck, suggesting that they are really trying hard to make the best fit dog for you, not necessarily the photo you have fallen in love with.

Also, they are a registered charity, and while there are some good rescues who aren't, this structure means that the organisation's governance has to meet a certain standard, and there is some transparency about their finances, etc. You can look them up on the Charity Commission website and review their expenditure. There is also a website callled Rescue Review where people post their experience of adopting through various organisations - may be worth a look.

Inthepotty Fri 16-Nov-12 10:07:26

OP I recently adopted my second dog from Yorkshire Rose Rescue. They are fantastic at matching you up with a dog that's right for you, excellent aftercare etc- they were on the phone on day two to make sure my dog had slept ok!!

doggydaze Fri 16-Nov-12 10:38:59

Scuttlebutter - thanks for taking a look for me, a newbie. Appreciated. Good encouraging signs then!

Potty - Again, good. Where are they based, do you know? Yorkshire is a big county. Although, it probably doesn't matter if all the dogs are if foster homes.

Would a tentative email commit me to anything? I am a bit nervous, how daft!

FunSizedMum Fri 16-Nov-12 11:50:30

I'm interested that noone has responded to bellarose's comment...

"one thing i will warn you off is there hunting instincts, he killed many rabbits around our house (countryside) and could not be stopped once he spotted one. and when he was about 13 my mum came to stay at my house with him, i had recently got 2 kittens. we were all in the kitchen (4 adults) and he was under the table, we had not realised that one kitten had gone under the table towards him. he snapped at her once, caught her neck and killed her instantly. it was awful and after having him for so many years we could not believe he had done it.
he was normally a very placid freindly dog but i think these breeds can't help themselves when they see something small and fluffy so be careful with neighbours cat ect. "

I find this story shocking and it isn't the first anecdote of it's kind that I've heard. I would love a sight hound, but the idea of having to worry about what might happen if it caught the neighbour's cat is a bit much for me.

Really not wanting to put the dampeners on your exciting doggy venture though doggydaze. I hope you find the perfect pooch at your local rescue and, as Scuttle says, a foster home is the perfect place to really get to know the dog's character. All the best with it! smile

Scuttlebutter Fri 16-Nov-12 13:07:49

FunSizedMum, many dogs, including sighthounds, chase and kill other animals, including cats, squirrels, rabbits, sheep etc. Chasing and killing is a natural behaviour for dogs, especially for sighthounds, terriers and other working breeds/types. Speak to any farmer and they will tell you about sheep being worried by the "pets" of irresponsible owners. At our local park, which is teeming with squiggles at the moment, I've recently seen several dogs kill squirrels, including a Lab, a collie and a terrier cross.

All responsible greyhound charities provide advice to new owners on managing a dog with a strong prey drive, though it is also worth pointing out that around 20% of greyhounds can live very happily with cats and other small furries. In the story above, it's not clear to me if the sighthound concerned was known to have a high prey drive, but this story could equally have been about a JRT or any number of other breeds. Certainly, killing rabbits on walks is not confined to greys.

Ironically, I'd argue that the fact that greys are known to often have a strong prey drive means that greyhound owners are generally very careful with them - common precautions include limited off lead play/running, wearing a muzzle etc. thus ensuring that greys generally are less likely to be involved in incidents.

70isaLimitNotaTarget Fri 16-Nov-12 16:48:31

"Lots of dogs will chase a cat/rabbit/squirrel.
Greyhounds are fast enough to catch them"

<<Some wise person said that, don't know who>> blush

stleger Fri 16-Nov-12 17:09:14

My dog, who is slightly whippet, is convinced that all cats want to come and talk to him and looks sad when most run away. Greyhounds and their cousins are great dogs...could you maybe take your dog to work? I have brought mine sometimes!

doggydaze Fri 16-Nov-12 17:15:59

I can't comment on the greyhound prey drive I am afraid, being a newbie. We have no cats and, in fact, DH utters terrible oaths pretty much every weekend that he ventures into the garden, because all the local cats seem to crap in it! At the risk of offending many cat owners, having a dog with a high prey drive might be not such a bad thing! We do have a garden with a wooded area (well, 7/8 well established trees with TPO's on them) at the bottom and therefore many squiggles, I am rather fond of their antics though.

I did send an initial email, didn't fill out the application form, just enquired if, being inexperienced, we were suitable. I received an IMMEDIATE response that they didn't see why we wouldn't be and to fill the form out!

doggydaze Fri 16-Nov-12 17:16:36

ps - yes, I could take to work. That wouldn't be an issue at all.

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