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I want to adopt a greyhound but we've never had a dog. What do I need to think about? Start from the beginning and speak slowly!(29 Posts)
I fell in love with a greyhound I met a few months ago and when I read up about them they sound amazing. We've got an appointment on Friday at our local greyhound rescue but DH has yet to be fully convinced. I won't be a child about it - if he really doesn't want one, that has to be fine. But I really want one!
We have a large ish house and an OK garden. One side is hedge which needs securing - I've had a quote for this.
2 well behaved DC 12 and 10.
DH works full time but often from home. I teach 2 days a week. Would need to look into cast iron options for those 2 days but not sure what. Both sets of parents like dogs and would look after for holidays etc.
OK, hit me. I need absolute basics! How often do they need a wee? Can they ever go off lead? What do I need? Will they steal food? I want to be a bit better informed by Friday!
They need a wee reasonably often, but if you leave the door into the garden open in the summer (We do!) they can go in and out. When you're out walking, they do lots of wees! They should be ok off the lead as soon as they know you well enough to recognise you as pack leader.
What do you need? Bowls, a bed, collar and lead, toys, a ball, poo bags, a brush, treats. I think most dogs will steal food if you leave it out where they can get it. My dsd has a cocker spaniel who can jump right up with all four legs onto the dining table.
Thank you! So what if you're out for a couple of hours, do they just hold their wee (hopefully!)?
Not all greyhounds can go off lead so check with the rescue
Also a rescue greyhound may need to be house trained as they could have spent their lives in a kennel so will need to be shown to wee outside.
Again it will depend on individual dogs but should be ok to be left for 3 hours at a time.
Greyhounds are beautifully lazy so will not need loads of exercise but you must have a sofa on which they can lie with their legs in the air for several hours a day
(ignore pack theory we have moved on a bit from that now)
Yes ignore pack leader.
Off lead? Depends on the dog and the background. A failed racer may do well but a hound with very high prey drive may not be safe around small fluffies.
They need a wardrobe and special collars!
I would get one from a rescue that has them in foster first. Then some of the work will have already been done about teaching them to live in a home - like toilet training and how to climb up stairs. A good rescue will give you lots of advice and be on hand for advice after you take the dog home.
Choose one which is friendly with other dogs and small dogs. Some greyhounds go off lead eventually but you do have to be very careful with this as their sheer speed can mean they are off and lost before you can blink. It is possible to find enclosed spaces for them to run. They dont need much excercise and are generally lazy.
My greyhound can be left alone for 4/5 hours.
Collars called martingales are the best for greyhounds. You can get a whole range of nice patterened ones online.
My old boy is a darling and everyone loves him. They are easy dogs in some ways but do have their special ways so I would say do some reading online to see if its the breed for you.
You mention the hedge but what is the rest of the garden secured with? I home check for our local greyhound charity and we won't re-home anywhere that doesn't have a minimum of 6ft boundaries all the way round as they can be springy buggers when they want to be (namely in our case when they see the neighbours cat!).
Be prepared that if they've only been in kennels that they might be a bit bamboozled by stairs and wooden floors at first, one of ours still won't come upstairs after a year of having him, but then again he is a bit special!
In terms of letting them off lead it'll depend on the individual dog, the rescue should be able to advise whether they think the prey drive is too high to have reliable recall. We tend to take ours to freedom fields so that they can have a run safe in the knowledge that they can't go too far.
Greyhounds are excellent counter surfers, so ensure anything you don't want them to have is kept in a cupboard and never leave food unattended if you want it to be there when you get back!
The first time you hear the greyhound scream of death your blood will run cold and you'll be convinced they're being murdered, you'll quickly come to realise it probably means they've just stubbed their toe and that you should only really worry when they hurt themselves and don't make a sound!
All that said, in my incredibly biased opinion they are the best dogs in the world. Incredibly loyal, very smart, absolutely bonkers in the best way and absolute cuddle monsters!
Our fence is only 5 ft and this has been fine but some of the rescues do insist on 6.
A surprising element for me was that when you adopt a greyhound you become part of a whole community which you can choose to become more or less involved in. There are facebook groups, meet ups and walks to go on, charity things for the recues etc. Lots of folk end up with more than one as well. They are kind of addictive.
And yes to the scream of death! Can be a bit embarrassing in public if other dog walkers think you have done something really bad to them! No they just stood on a jaggy leaf.
We have two retired racing greyhounds and they are honestly no trouble at all. Neither have ever had any accidents in the house, they are quiet, lazy and gentle. We can let our boy off the lead for most of his walk but our girl will never be able to walk off-lead as she loses all sense of recall when she sees anything move.
I'm a childminder and I love how calm the dogs are around my children, the little ones bang drums, runaround and the dogs don't bat an eye.
Regarding holidays, we have tried to settle them in with home boarders but they fret so much. They are used to kennels and so they settle better there ever though I hate taking them.
Go for it OP, they are so sweet and you won't regret it.
Greyhounds are brilliant, loving dogs. They are also escape artists, 6' fences are a must with a secure garden. Mine escaped one morning and I found him sat in the back of my neighbours car with her ds.
If you can let him off the lead, they don't need long walks, mine would go mental, running around like a loon, off the lead for 10 minutes and then take himself off home.
The sofa will never be yours again. They sleep for 16hrs a day.
Mine was also rescue, couldn't walk upstairs, wasn't house trained and anything small and furry was fair game (neighbours cat for instance), couldn't lock him in the house as he'd destroy it, RSPCA suggested I left him outside with the necessary shelter etc as he wasn't used to being locked him, he was great once we'd ironed that out.
Buy a copy of Retired Racing Greyhounds For Dummies.
Possibly an extra couch; definitely a bin lock.
My greyhound is the best birthday present I ever had.
They're not really dogs - more like giant cats. A lot of them won't chase a ball etc and if you try to train them to do tricks they will most likely shrug and turn round. Luckily they're generally so laid back they don't need much training.
Mine can't go off lead. Partly due to being completely untrainable as above but he did race for a long time and when I had him he had a really high prey drive. I got dragged after a bloody pheasant once. He's old now and had mellowed. I do know lots of people that have taught recall.
They like lots of beds and home comforts. Mine sleeps next to our bed on a cot mattress with a folded double mattress on top. When DH isn't home he automatically gets into bed with me 🙄
They're pretty healthy as breeds go. Don't really smell. Their teeth can be gammy - they often end up needing a dental.
If a leaf touches them or they scratch their ear too hard or they bump into something they will issue a scream so piercing you will be imagining broken legs and all sorts.
They like to lean on you and chatter their teeth like a cat purring and they're very loving.
Mine is completely unbothered at being left for 5-6 hours and I know a lot of others that are. If I'm going to be any longer the dog walker goes in and takes him out for half an hour. He does like it when I work from home though.
I've met some lovely friends through the greyhound world. I even had a 'greyhound people' table at my wedding.
I have a greyhound cross. To be fair mine is more collie but, things I have learnt from other greyhound owners are that the food n water bowls should be raised as some greyhounds find it hard to eat from floor level bowls. Also they get cold so will need a warm winter coat. They are prone to corns but if they suss out the corns give them attention, they will pretend they still have them even when they don't (I am looking at you Barney who had a limp long after his corns had healed but only when people were looking ).
I adore greyhounds. The lumbering way they walk. Their long pointy noses. Their little beady eyes. Beautiful beautiful dogs and so much nicer imo than the cockerpoos, pugs n labradoodles that are in fashion at the moment
This is exactly what I need, thanks!
The rest of the garden has a 6 foot fence but there might be a stretch that is 5 foot.
Next door has two very precious Siamese cats that are always in our garden - I'd need to warn the neighbours I think!
Honestly? I would change your fencing to prevent them coming in. Warning the neighbours won’t stop the cats. It’s that or never allow the dog in your garden off lead.
Oh God really? I had assumed that once the cats realised there was a dog about they'd steer clear, they're very nervy.
One of the dogs we're going to see this week has 'passed' the cat test (would love to know how they do those!) but I know that doesn't mean it will never chase one!
Whilst we don't have a greyhound, the best resource we found was the Facebook group 'dog training advice and support'. It has units on most aspects of dog ownership and they will answer specific questions not covered in the units.
In our area there are quite a few secure fields where you can let dogs off lead safe in the knowledge they can't escape!
My dog lives with cats. In the morning she goes out the back and the cats go out the front.
What if the cats streak across the garden and the dog grabs them before they learn to steer clear?
I don't know! Argh. I know they are kept in at night.
I have a wolfhound that wouldn’t eat the cats. Just a really high prey drive greyhound could chase and grab. There’s a way of fencing your garden to keep cats in. (DIY or get a professional in) Should be doable to prevent them jumping in. Or do what we did and escort the hound out on a leash to start with.
My girl is a sweetie but I choose to err on the side of caution and ensure we never have a situation I could have prevented.
So i’m completely biased because we adopted our greyhound at Easter and we all adore him. He’s a 6 year old ex-racer who’d had one foster wkend and we adopted from a greyhound rehoming kennels. My DC are 8 and 11 and we found it helpful watching some bits about dog body language on YouTube which helped the kids understand when our dog didn’t like what they were doing. We also got a book called ‘Retired greyhounds: A guide to care and understanding’ by Carol Baby which was v helpful in setting out the rules for the DC (don’t approach when DDog is eating, leave him along on his bed, never try to take something off him etc.). Our DDog arrived housetrained, able to jump in and out of cars and go upstairs but some can’t. Do speak to the rescue about your circumstances and they’ll help find a dog that will suit you. You might need to muzzle a dog initially in the garden until the cats learn to steer clear, our neighbours cats and the local foxes now avoid our garden.
In terms of what you need: insurance (we found bought by many was cheapest for the type of cover we wanted), raised food and water bowls, beds (plural-ours requires upstairs and downstairs beds as well as full use of all sofas), harness, coats, poo bags, many treats (especially for recall training), muzzle, toys. Don’t bother with balls, i’ve yet to meet a greyhound who wants to play fetch. Oh and coat and collar shopping is great fun.
Good luck! I’m sure your DH will come round when faced with gorgeous greyhounds in need of homes, mine did and i’m now trying to persuade him we should get a second dog...
@Hodgeheg3 thank you so much, that's lovely!
(Any chance of a pic?!)
Oh and my DH said all the way to the kennels 'I'm not saying we're having one - just going to have a look' and then Barry leaned on him and did cow eyes and he asked if we needed to leave a deposit.
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