Greyhound troubles

(48 Posts)
EmKR100 Sun 03-May-20 13:29:57

Two and a half months ago we rehomed a retired racing greyhound. It’s been super hard. He has reached the point where he is pooing twice a night on the kitchen floor, he caught and killed a pigeon in his mouth in the local park yesterday while on a short lead, and he is barking and whining like mad at other dogs while on walks and in our garden at the dog on the other side of the fence.

He also has separation problems and goes crazy when we try to leave, pulling pot plants down from shelves etc. I should add he’s massive for a greyhound.

He’s got such an incredibly high prey drive combined with anxiety at being left alone which is building with the lockdown. Then suddenly he’s a sweetheart and totally placid - as long as we are sitting quietly next to him.

He never sleeps! Just is constantly unsettled and filling the house with the most toxic, terrible farts.

We are worried we are going to have to return him and I’m feeling overwhelming guilt about it.

Just wondering if anyone has ever been through this with a rescue dog where it just doesn’t seem to be working. He keeps looking at me with his big eyes but it’s really impacting our lives and making the house feel disgusting as it’s all one big room downstairs that constantly stinks of dog poo every morning.

Is anyone out there a greyhound owner? Have we been unlucky with the match? We’re wondering about fostering to see if we can find a dog who is more like the traditional greyhound who likes a good old sleep and is happy lounging about. And won’t need to be muzzled on every single walk. Bluey just has the prey drive of a tiger.

OP’s posts: |
frostedviolets Sun 03-May-20 14:35:45

Is anyone out there a greyhound owner? Have we been unlucky with the match? We’re wondering about fostering to see if we can find a dog who is more like the traditional greyhound who likes a good old sleep and is happy lounging about. And won’t need to be muzzled on every single walk. Bluey just has the prey drive of a tiger

Disclaimer: I’m not a greyhound owner.

I do think you have been unlucky to a point but then I do often take the endless evangelical posts on here about greys with a hefty pinch of scepticism.

The prey drive.
A greyhound is a sighthound.
A dog bred to chase and kill small furry animals.
And a racing greyhound presumably must have inherited that strong chase/kill instinct else they wouldn’t be any good as racers I would assume?

So I often read in disbelief when people talk about how good their ex racers are with cats for example.
It seems really odd to me that a dog bred to hunt who has had that instinct rewarded and reinforced on a track then wouldn’t show the same instinct out and about or in a home environment.
I have often thought about an ex racer for myself but always talk myself out of it due to the prey drive (I have a small cat)
In short, I think I would expect a greyhound to have a sky high desire to kill things.

It has always been my understanding that greyhound rescues rehome them with the muzzles, due to their high prey drive.
My neighbour has an ex racer and he is a beautiful, sweet and lovely thing.
He doesn’t wear it now but he definitely wore a racing muzzle for quite some time after they adopted him.

Perhaps a fostered greyhound would be better?
You’d have a much better idea of how it behaves in a home as a pet then.

LochJessMonster Sun 03-May-20 16:35:31

This is why I cringe at people suggesting that rescue greyhounds and lurchers are perfect first time family pets.
They are not guaranteed to be the lazy relaxed dogs that some people are lucky enough to get.

Separation anxiety and not being toilet trained are common, as is the high prey drive.

1. Greyhound muzzle when off lead
2. Back to basics with toilet training, waking up during the night to let him out to toilet.
3. Farting- look at changing his food
4. Unsettled at home- look at mentally stimulating activities, a kong wobbler or slow feeder
5. Separation anxiety- difficult and will need a lot of work.

EmKR100 Sun 03-May-20 16:46:37

Thanks guys.

He can’t go off lead as he’s too wired, which we did expect, but we had hoped to avoid muzzled walks while on the short lead. However as he managed to catch and kill the pigeon at incredibly close range he’ll now have to wear a muzzle any time he leaves the house. It’s quite unusual for greyhounds to be in that position and they do usually seem to prefer a retired life of snoozing. Ours doesn’t sleep for more than a few minutes at a time - the average greyhound sleeps 18-20 hours. He has a crazy amount of energy.

He’s got two types of kong and a licky mat but isn’t really interested in them. He has rawhide bones which he does like. He has an adaptil plug in on 24/7.

Farts - We’ve changed his food to grain free and given him dog probiotics and charcoal biscuits, and we mix natural yogurt and pumpkin into his food but nothing has an effect.

The poos in the night are baffling and seem to be to do with protest rather than need. He often does 4/5 poos on walks during the day and has access to the garden all day. He’s only left from midnight to 8am which should be fine.

We planned to return him this afternoon but both ended up crying about it and have postponed it for a while longer. Just scratching our heads about whether the situation is right for any of us.

He constantly yawns and licks his lips (signs of greyhound stress) and just seems so unsettled. Anyway, thanks for replying! It’s a super tough decision, and as first time dog owners there’s also the element of not knowing what level of difficulty is normal.

OP’s posts: |
RuthW Sun 03-May-20 16:49:33

I have three greyhounds

Most ex racers need to be muzzled outside. They go after birds, squirrels, cats and small dogs. Not their fault as they have been trained.

He's pooing at night because he's lonely. They can have very bad separation anxiety as they are not used to being alone. Our problem was solved by getting him a sister.

As for the farts. Sorry that's greyhounds!

frostedviolets Sun 03-May-20 16:55:25

He can’t go off lead as he’s too wired, which we did expect, but we had hoped to avoid muzzled walks while on the short lead. However as he managed to catch and kill the pigeon at incredibly close range he’ll now have to wear a muzzle any time he leaves the house
Yes he he will need to be walked leashed and muzzled.

It’s quite unusual for greyhounds to be in that position and they do usually seem to prefer a retired life of snoozing. Ours doesn’t sleep for more than a few minutes at a time - the average greyhound sleeps 18-20 hours. He has a crazy amount of energy
Im going to sound like a broken record but I wonder if that hyperactivity is stress/anxiety.
My dog gets like that if stressed through overactivity (she’s quite high strung).
Paces and whines and doesn’t really relax.
Give her far less stimulation, calmer walks etc and she is happy to sleep the day away.

He’s got two types of kong and a licky mat but isn’t really interested in them. He has rawhide bones which he does like. He has an adaptil plug in on 24/7
Don’t give rawhide.
Very very bad for them.

Farts - We’ve changed his food to grain free and given him dog probiotics and charcoal biscuits, and we mix natural yogurt and pumpkin into his food but nothing has an effect
I wonder if it’s stress related.

The poos in the night are baffling and seem to be to do with protest rather than need. He often does 4/5 poos on walks during the day and has access to the garden all day. He’s only left from midnight to 8am which should be fine
I think this may be stress too.

We planned to return him this afternoon but both ended up crying about it and have postponed it for a while longer. Just scratching our heads about whether the situation is right for any of us
Suppose it depends how much work you are willing to put in and whether you can possibly accept him always being somewhat high strung and anxious.

Windyatthebeach Sun 03-May-20 16:58:06

Maybe he would sleep better on your bed?
Sorry no help whatsoever...

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cabbageking Sun 03-May-20 17:00:04

You need somewhere safe where he can free run and go full pelt mad for 5 or 10 minutes per day. They to have that burst of energy release rather than long walks. They are scavengers and like to steal so hiding his food may keep him entertained. Mine always did 3 looks a day and you need to be aware of the time frames for his movements. You may wish to consider some socialization training. Try playing music in the background. They like to nest and having some old towels or blankets he can make his bed with may relax him. Avoid offal foods and check he has a high protein diet rather than quantity. Go for a basket muzzle rather than one that restricts the mouth opening to avoid over heating.
Get the vet to check his tummy for any allergies and look at some rice in his diet perhaps? Sounds like he has a digestion or food irritation?

userxx Sun 03-May-20 17:17:04

Two and a half months is still very early days, you need to give it longer. How old is he?

Scattyhattie Sun 03-May-20 17:51:32

When is his last meal, maybe need to alter times so he's empty in the night? I don't think animals do protest mess but anxiety does effect bladder/bowels

Also is worms can have effect on bowel movements, the consistency of poos often show how gut is doing. Going for a couple on a walk in normal and latter ones will be soft.
My greyhounds had terrible stinky, farts & soft poop on any chicken/turkey kibble once I switched to a fish based one they were fine so have stuck with variation of this since as seems common.

LochJessMonster Sun 03-May-20 18:07:36

I think you should contact the GT anyway and talk about the issues. They are the most experienced people to talk about this with and know what his behaviour was like before he came to you.

Scattyhattie Sun 03-May-20 18:21:03

This is useful for separation anxiety
en-gb.facebook.com/subthresholdtraining/

I've always used the muzzle with new hounds it means you can relax and any mistakes aren't going to get you in trouble. Especially if any of those "friendly" dogs charge over, circle or flyby to freak them out. I imagine when don't know these are same species its either an attack or potential meal hmm. Also as handler tend to slow, tense up & tighten/shorten the lead when seeing something approach which can then cause dog to react as you've suggested its worrying.

It needn't be forever, My girl had a very high prey drive, she did adjust & mellow after 6/12m and wasn't as reactive to fast dog movements in park & eventually good with all sizes of dogs , although I wouldn't have let her run off in open space just too high risk of it not being fine & she was pretty injury prone just in the garden. Could usually tell by her ears when she'd spotted something of interest, but if its not moving they may miss it altogether she'd plod along lovely on lead but if a squirrel ran past it was like holding a kite in a storm so paid to be observant of surrounding s (mindfulness? grin). My other 2 greyhounds had a much lower prey drive than her, lad was more interested in sniffing than any squirrels nearby though offlead I'm sure he'd likely have a halfhearted chase for fun.

I do know fair few adopters with ex-racers & cats or other small curries and its more about individual dog ( plus that cat's behavior) as prey drive is quite different indoors to outside, so its possible with training for some to cohabit. Many dogs of all breeds that live with cats will still chase other cats outdoors.

picklemewalnuts Sun 03-May-20 18:45:08

Ask what he was fed before.
Try feeding raw- it will help with the bowels and the settling. If he's got a constant mild belly ache he won't settle.

However, the barking at the fence thing has been miserable for us. Train him on that now- take him in the garden and train him there, give him treats for responding to commands, when he fusses at the fence take him straight back in and ignore him. Then try again.

jinxpixie Sun 03-May-20 19:33:20

I would be simplifying his food. Not a lot of point going grain free and then giving him charcoal biscuits. Cut out the probiotic, pumpkin and raw hide, charcoal biscuits and give it a week or two and see what happens. Cut out the licky mats and kongs if this is extra food than his normal meals

He does sound very stressed - I would cut down on all exercise for a week. Scatter feed him his food - I can not say enough what a miracle scatter feeding is. He may find it hard to start with so keep it simple and put the food in one place.As he gets used to it throw it over the whole lawn for him to find.

The benefits of scatter feeding are physical and mental relaxation, sniffing out food decreases dogs heart rates and slows down their breathing and makes them chilled and tires them out.

Does he have a really comfy warm bed? It needs to be soft out of a draft and really really snuggly.

You could try adaptil plug ins or sprays - works for some dogs .

The other thing is to try a t touch or thunder shirt at night. Or make your own body wrap again works for some dogs and not others so I would diy it first rather than spend money.example here

Initially I would be preventing the garden barking and keep him in. I would not do any training on this for a while as you really do need to get him chilled and relaxed. So keep him in and away from the trigger for the moment.

Try a really chilled week, just cuddles, no fence running or barking ,no chasing, just chilling and see how things are then.

It is hard and I do appreciate how emotional this is for you all.

mais Sun 03-May-20 20:19:48

Our greyhound was never a racer and has a very low prey drive - most thing she reacts to is catching a fly - we are lucky, but we did check this out with the owner before rehoming her. She does hate being on her own, greyhounds are used to company - in the end we had to let her sleep in our room until she settled and after a couple of months we moved her to the hall outside our bedroom door which we close. She is much better at night now.
We sought advice from MJ Fox who is a font of knowledge on all things greyhounds - she has rescued and rehabilitated hundreds of greyhounds over the years. I highly recommend her book, it gives great insight and understanding of greyhounds and lots of practical advice.
We don’t feed raw - it didn’t agree with our dog & on reading MJ’s research you will see that greyhounds have been used to a more grain based diet which went against everything I thought about dogs before. When we first rehomed our greyhound I originally fed her raw meat, high quality dog food with the highest protein content I could find thinking I was doing the right thing. Cooked chicken and a low protein greyhound feed form the main basis of her food. Chicken is calming and also porridge is another thing which is great to add to food - I sometimes give a bowl of porridge which she laps up. We feed Gain 20 which is designed for resting/retired greyhounds.

www.amazon.co.uk/Understanding-Greyhounds-Companions-Through-Ages/dp/1511911328/ref=nodl_?tag=mumsnetforu03-21

Modwolvesrock Sun 03-May-20 20:25:46

We have two retired racers, a large boy and petite girl.
Ours are happiest when zooming around, so we take them to a local field which is rented out to dog owners. It's fenced off and safe.
Maybe the rescue he's from can help advise you for when lockdown is over?

Our girl was a nervous little thing when she came to us, which really made her ill sad I would put money on it that stress is causing your boy stomach problems. Every time our girl ate she was ill until we put her on chappie, which she was able to tolerate. She wasn't on it for long, but it was a huge relief to see her feeling better.

It takes time to really work through the issues some retired racers have, but they really are worth every bit of it (and more!) smile

Oliversmumsarmy Sun 03-May-20 20:33:13

I only know one greyhound who lived happily with a cat and it was because he was never a successful racing greyhound as he wasn’t interested in chasing the bunny or any other furry fast moving device.
He just wouldn’t run.

cabbageking Sun 03-May-20 20:39:36

I have many cats and they have slept with the greyhounds and salukis.

They got to know which were their cats and which were ones wandering through the garden. Like anything you have to introduce animals or children in the correct way. Animals also feed off the owners worries and can sense if you are relaxed or tense. This can affect their actions.

banjodoggo Sun 03-May-20 20:40:24

OP, I know exactly what you're going through as we went through it too. We ended up taking our greyhound back.

I still feel absolutely wracked with guilt, 18 months later, but she was ruining our lives to be honest. There was nothing fun or enjoyable about having her and she didn't seem happy with us, either.

I feel guilty, but I don't regret it. We now have a poodle who is much more suited to our family and we're all happy.

Also people don't talk about the downsides of a grey on here I've noticed. They're constantly suggested when people are looking for dogs. But they're massive, the bark really loud and deep, their farts are hellish and their poos are enormous and sloppy and lots of them.

cabbageking Sun 03-May-20 20:45:28

Yes they have a deep bark but mine only barked occasionally when they heard someone approach.

They never had smelly wind or sloppy pooh. Either the diet is wrong or the animal has problems.

Booboostwo Sun 03-May-20 20:49:00

He definitely sounds like a stress character but if there is a physical problem that is causing him pain he will never settle unless the pain is addressed.

I think you need to take him to the vets to figure out what is happening with his digestive system. The large number of poos, not being able to keep them in overnight and the farting all point to gastrointestinal problems.

Once this is treated or managed and he is pain free you may find you have a much less stressed dog on your hands and you can work from there. But if he is constantly in pain no behavioural modifications stand a chance of working.

Oliversmumsarmy Sun 03-May-20 21:05:04

Just want to say we had ddog as a puppy.

We were advised to keep her on dry food and canned dog food was the work of Satan
No kidding 4 Oz of dry food would go in an 14lbs of poo would come out.
I was having to reuse bags on walks because she stopped to poo so many times.
There was so much poo in the house.

All cleared up over night with canned dog food.

Although I think all the symptoms you describe could be stress related

Honkingallthewaytothebank Sun 03-May-20 21:14:44

Lots of good advice above.

My tuppence worth:
• It sounds like he’s struggling to adjust to house life.
• The barking and whining at other dogs may be from a lack of exposure to other breeds, it could be a desire to play, it could be panic. •Has the kennel you rehomed from given any advice about increasing exposure to different breeds?
Do speak to the place you adopted him from re diet and the night time poo. They should have some breed specific (and dog specific, if they’re worth their salt) advice.
• How long is he being left alone for? If he’s spent his life until the point he came to you in kennels of some description, the silence and lack of interaction when you leave will be deafening to him.

Our younger greyhound has always had a ‘nervous’ tummy meaning she only eats kibble with a little warm water and olive oil mixed in now. Any sort of wet food or even meat gives her diarrhoea. It took quite a while to get this right but she is generally contented now with food.
When we first rehomed her, aged 3, I wanted to send her back after a week. It was like having a baby but worse as we were in an apartment so night time poo excursions involved an actual middle of the night walkies. Compared to our older girl, who had been a dream, she was nervous, unsure, and not a ‘good’ walker on the lead.

Now? Both still wear muzzles for walks, we too have had one or two dead pigeon episodes when an inexperienced dog walker decided that the muzzle wasn’t necessary. And the older one now likes to eat cat poo, so the muzzles stay on. It’d be lovely if they didn’t have to wear them but they are perfectly used to having the muzzle on, and the vet bills would be huge (I once caught our older girl trying to eat an actual rotten fish from the gutter).
Recall is still pretty much zero with her, and ‘ok’ on a good day with our older girl. We don’t risk off-lead unless it’s an enclosed space.

How old is your rescue? What was his life experience before coming to you? Middle of the night poos sound like stress or anxiety. Does he have a nightlight? Does he let you know that he needs to go out? (Our younger one just stares at us which isn’t helpful if we are sleeping 😂).

Sorry, my response is a bit disorganised. Doing ten things at once. If you drop me a PM I’m happy to give you the details of a very knowledgeable lady at the greyhound rescue we adopted from. She may be willing or able to chat to you if you can’t get coherent advice from your ‘own’ greyhound rescue.

Honkingallthewaytothebank Sun 03-May-20 21:16:46

@banjodoggo was it really a surprise that a 25+ kg dog did big poos, was ‘massive’ and had a deep bark?

Windyatthebeach Sun 03-May-20 22:00:49

My new dpuppy has a greyhound grandparent! Any chance of a glimpse of yours op??
smile

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