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Adopting a European street dog(22 Posts)
We're taking delivery of our new pooch next Saturday....he's flying from Athens to Paris and then being driven to Maidstone where we collect him.
We've met him in Greece (he was living on the beach there) and know he's a lovely chap - and quite young at around 18 months.
Has anyone got any advice as to how we should integrate him into his new life? We have a resident (rescue) 3 y/o Springer/Jack Russell cross who is currently lord of the manor and is obviously going to be a bit grumpy initially to have to relinquish part of the sofa!
I'd love advice on feeding/getting a dog used to walking on a lead/levels of exercise etc
Also should one of us sleep downstairs with him on Night 1? He's never been in a house before. Could he go on a demolition derby?!
I adopted mine from Spain at about the same age. It took him a few weeks to relax enough to ‘notice’ all the things he could chew up, so maybe don’t be lulled into a false sense of security! I found he behaved like a much younger puppy (which he was, in effect). He was on my bed from day one, but that has meant that he’s always slept really well!
If you haven't already, find the 'caring for rescued ex street dogs' Facebook page, it's great! Lots of advice and support. Good luck!
We adopted from Romania. She was a street dog then lived in a shelter for a while. She came by van and was very smelly. Just take your time with him. Ours suffered terrible separation anxiety because we had taken time off work to settle her in but we slowly left her for short times and she went mental.
We also slept downstairs with her for 2 weeks.
Do you have a back up plan if your resident dog really takes a dislike to the new arrival and it doesn't work out? This is one of the risks of adopting from abroad, in the UK your existing dog would be introduced before you went through with the adoption.
Just to warn you - I brought back a dog from Greece (who had been living with me there). They are so used to living independently/on the streets that they will absent themselves if they feel like going out and you are not around (or doing the vacuum cleaning with the back door open half an inch). They see nothing wrong in it. Make sure your house (and garden) are secure and that the dog cannot slip out of a door/window left open or a fence that is too low, etc. I knew mine had a habit of this and had spent a long time discouraging her whilst she was in Greece (she had time-out in garden shed, which she hated as she couldn't see what was going on outside and she was very nosy and sociable - 10 mins in the shed would be enough). Nevertheless, she managed to get out several times in the UK and had no road sense - very alarming times (make sure your mobile number is on your dog's tag as you will get him/her back much quicker). Luckily, she came to no harm and I got much better at making sure it couldn't happen. DogLost website lists are full of (still) lost overseas rescue dogs who have slipped out and either never been recaptured or who have been killed on roads/railways - in rivers.
Thank you everyone for your replies - I've just asked to join the Facebook Group for carers of ex Street Dogs which is EXACTLY what I need! Thanks for that Tropic.
Our new doggie arrived last night and was understandably a bit traumatised. He's been as good as gold today though - and we haven't had any problems with our other dog. I think so long as they are fed in different rooms and the new dog is given a crate to sleep in for the first week or so....... things should be ok between them!
He's very similar to a Weimaraner I once looked after for a few weeks.... desperate to please and following me everywhere! I think his love of people is greater than his sense of adventure... so hopefully he won't go wandering. Our back garden is very secure though, so he can't escape from that!
I would strongly suggest double leads to start with, one on harness, one on collar. I spend a lot of time trapping escaped rescue dogs who have bolted from new homes. Even if he seems like the most laid back dog in the world, I would double lead for at least the first month. As for the back garden, I wouldn't take any risk, a scared dog of that size will leap an 8ft fence no problem. Supervise at all times.
Giving him time is the key. Everything will be different. The air will smell different. People will talk funny. The noises will be different.
The FB group is really good so that will help a lot.
I adopted from Cyprus, best thing I ever did. He is amazing. It was not easy for the first 2-3 weeks. He was overly attached to DH so when he left the room or house we had a distressed dog who was going mad trying to find him. He also tried to escape constantly.
We are about 10 weeks in now and DH is out for the night and the dog is sitting by my side and I am not even sure if he knows DH isn't here yet. He has stopped his escape artist tendencies too.
It was worth the few weeks of stress and hardship. The love he gives is just so lovely.
Yes, definitely use a non-slip harness (the ones with three straps) and lead. They do tend to try to bolt. He also tried to get out of what we thought was our safe garden. It is amazing how high a scared rescue can jump or what damage they can do in a short space of time.
Don't rush walks, they will not be used to it and can overwhelm them to get used to too many things at once. Take everything slowly and it will all come together.
Also be prepared for many 'what the fuck have I done moments'. I was ready to send him back at points because I was overwhelmed but he is worth every second of those hard weeks.
A LOT of foreign rescues escape - from harnesses, gardens and out of cars. So, when collecting, be super careful. Have a non escape harness and take NO risks. Ensure your garden is absolutely escape proof. Our Romanian rescue found ways over and under our fences. She also taught our then 2 year old existing dog how to jump over the fence - he’d never attempted it before.
Also, don’t rush. It’s a terribly stressful journey for them. Leave him to get used to the house, used to the idea of being your dog before walking him. A week or so even. Space. We had a rule. Don’t approach the dog. Let her approach you. Find a safe s ecure space for dog bed and never go near him or touch him when in the bed. This is the safe space.
I introduced our (very large) existing dog to rescue dog on neutral territory on a quiet green, parallel walking until they seemed ok. The rescue dog could be VERY defensive going into your house as everything will smell of your dog so your rescue will feel he’s on another dogs territory. I’d try to keep them separated at first in the house and take it from there. Good luck. Hope it goes well.
So 4 and a bit weeks later and all is going well. I have to admit to having had several "what the hell have I done" moments with him though!
Despite his passport saying he's of mixed breed we soon discovered that he is in fact a pure bred hare hound (Aka Hellenic Hound) - and as a result is a compulsive hunter. And as is typical for the breed, has zero recall. I sobbed at the thought of having a dog who lives his life on the lead or in enclosed parks. That's rather like being in prison. So after 4 weeks of building a bond (and he is very attached to us now), we let him loose into some woods which are pretty enclosed all round by walls/fences but with access points. We put a tracker and 5 metres or so of trailing lead on him. He isn't perfect, but he's pretty good. He charges around like a hooligan, but checks in every few minutes. Once or twice, he's actually stopped for a pat before charging off again. Usually though we have to stand on his lead to get him back. We know he's definitely not the sort of dog to run away, but his hunting instinct is very strong, and if he's not careful, could get lost. Today he wrapped himself around a tree. I didn't need the tracker to find him - his pitiful howl could be heard for miles!
I should add that he's a perfect gentleman at home - gets on really well with our other dog, is very affectionate and obedient and hasn't had a single accident indoors despite never having been in a house before (he had to be carried in on the first day....). He's also a very good guard dog... managing to scare many trick or treaters last night! I've joined a wonderful Facebook group dedicated to owners of rescued Hellenic Hounds which has 500 members, most of whom post regularly. It's lovely to be part of the "greekie" community.
OP apologies if this is completely irrelevant as I don't have a rescue dog or your breed of dog. I do have a working cocker spaniel that was a nightmare hunter in his younger days. I was advised to not let him hunt on his own and to 'hunt with him'. So I got him interested in balls or dummy's and we either play 'chase' throwing a ball or we 'hunt' where he has to sit and I hide the ball in grass and then he 'hunts' it out with my help. This does mean we no longer go for a walk as all he wants to do is to play with me but we went from poor recall to him sticking by me like glue.
Mine is a die-hard hunter with zero recall too - I feel your pain, I don’t dare let him off anywhere that isn’t enclosed, and even then I leave a long line on since the day I spent 2 hours in the rain trying to recapture him in a very small park!
You’re doing much better than me though, it’s taken us about a year to get to the point where he’ll fairly reliably take a treat from me outside.
It’s lucky he’s young and we’ve got a long time to work on this.
My friends adopted a street cat from Italy this summer. He's been back and forth to vets ever since and unfortunately has FIV. Has been a nightmare to integrate, but is nonetheless a lovely little ball of fur and they say it's definitely been worth it.
Makes me remember a street dog who moved in with us when we lived in Malaysia. When we left, we couldn't bring her back with us and she ran after our taxi as we drove away 😭 God, it's got me welling up now.
Bit off topic, but I'm interested to know what a Springer/jrt looks like! I have a lab/jrt, they seem very active those jrt's!
Please post a pic - Cheers
I'm glad your dog is settling in so well. I have 2 ex-street dogs. One of them settled in right away but the other took a good couple of years before she was settled. It was months before she would walk on a lead. They're so rewarding.
Here is my lab/jrt
And my collie cross with who knows? She is a rescue from Turkey
As the owner of springers who are die hard hunters, I echo the ball/dummy retrieval. Tap into his natural instincts to hunt for stuff. Be very careful leaving a longline on him whilst allowing him to run free, mine would strangle himself. My lot love rabbit fur covered balls and feathers. This website sells that kind of stuff:
Cherie... what lovely photos. It's quite unusual to see cats and dogs living in perfect harmony!
Our last dog was a pure bred working Springer and I understand Springers and their hunting instincts well. Hellenic hounds are on a different level though. I've seen no evidence (and the Friends of Hellenic Hounds Facebook Group has 500 members) that you can train them to chase balls in lieu of prey. Wishful thinking....
We attach the long line to his harness not his collar. He has wrapped himself around a tree a couple of times now, but it's hard to see how he could strangle himself if tied to a tree by his harness rather than collar.
Thats my oldest cat Tilly, I also have three other cats, all rescue. They all get on very well, the only time I need to be watching is if the dogs have chews, they will guard those from the cats, although they are usually gone pretty quick!
There is Jeff, exploring the shed and Bits and Bobs having a kip x
Mine has no interest in chasing balls, but he will chase a rabbit skin tug toy attached to a horse lunging whip and wiggled around like a small furry creature. It also provides a good HIIT style work out for me. (But it doesn’t work if there are any real life furry creatures around.)
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