Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all ex-racing greyhounds could find a loving home like mine, as we make such lovely pets! All dogs need time to adjust to their new homes, and all breeds and all ages need a bit of effort to help them fit in with the family. There are some things you need to be aware of, when adopting a greyhound like me. Please don’t let this put you off adopting. We are well worth the effort, I promise.
Many greyhounds will never have lived in a house before, and will not be aware of garden duty. It is important that you are prepared for messes and widdles in the house for a while. You will need to be very patient and understanding as it may take a little bit longer to teach a grown up dog than a puppy. They will most likely also be unfamiliar with vaccuum cleaners, washing machines and stairs.
Greyhounds are brought up with lots of other hounds and will not be used to being left alone. They may howl or whine, and get upset at being by themselves, it takes a lot of getting used to. Be prepared to spend time with your greyhound to start with, a large crate with comfy bedding in can help them to settle down. Once they feel secure, it will get much easier and they will be happy to snooze while you are out. They snooze a lot.
Greyhounds are bred and trained to chase small furry animals. This is an instinct that that will always be there, no matter what you do. I’ve been told that some hounds are safe to live with cats, but it’s safer to assume that it’s not a good idea. I have a cat, but we have to be kept apart because I will chase her, and she is frightened of me. The same goes with rabbits and guinea pigs, for the same reason, if these are allowed to run free in the garden
Greyhounds can run very, very fast. For this reason, it is important to keep your greyhound on a lead when you are out walking, unless you are in a fully enclosed space. Cats, rabbits, squirrels or even small dogs will be irresistible, your greyhound will run after them, and you will not catch him once he runs. He can easily get lost or run onto the road. You will know, later on, if their recall is good enough to overcome the instinct to chase.
Greyhounds tear easily. A hound that has raced will usually have kennel scars. To avoid adding to them, make sure you that have good solid fences or walls around your garden, not wire, that they can catch themselves on. They heal well, but it’s not pleasant. Nips and scratches from other pets can have the same result.
People always imagine that greyhounds will need a lot of exercise. This is not true at all! They are bred to sprint, and need a run out occasionally, but are basically lazy. I’m happy with a short walk, not at a particularly fast pace, and so we could be good pets for older people.
It will always be necessary to visit a vet from time to time with your hound. This is normal of course, but remember that they treat lots of different animals, so try to find one who is familiar with greyhounds. There are a few ailments specific to them, which your vet may not be aware of. Like corns for example which can cause lameness. I had a corn which went undiagnosed until we spoke to my old owner.
I don’t like to generalise, but most of the greyhounds I have ever met, have been very gentle, loving dogs who like to be cuddled. They will happily stand for ages to have their ears or head stroked, and like nothing better than to be curled up on the sofa with their human. We make great listeners.
All in all, the first few weeks or months of patience and compassion will be rewarded. Your greyhound will love you, unreservedly, and you will wonder why you never had one earlier.