Adopting a greyhound is considered one of the most heartwarming things that a dog lover can be involved in. Greyhounds are often enlisted for racing when they are just puppies. After a racing career, they become ex-racers and are put up for adoption. Coming home with a new greyhound can be a little daunting, especially for the first time.
Hounds need time to adjust to the new environment. A lot of patience and sticking to routines will help acclimate your greyhound to the new environment and lifestyle.
Here are some sure ways of dealing with an adopted greyhound from the first couple of days:
Keep it simple
Your greyhound has been spending most of its life in a country environment. Transitioning to a family home will take some time. Adopt a routine and be patient as you allow your greyhound to venture into the new space and investigate new things.
The adoption officers have a wealth of information, which you should be provided with during the handover. The information will include how to introduce your greyhound to your family, from the pets to the children. During this handover session, ensure you ask all the necessary questions no matter how silly they may seem.
Potty train your greyhound
As soon as you get home first, take your greyhound to the toilet area. Usually, this is the backyard, so take your dog through the house to the yard with you in the lead. When they do go potty, praise your dog and let them know they did well.
Allow your greyhound to explore and give them space
Create a space for your greyhound to retreat to whenever they want to be by themselves. It could be a mat/bed by a corner or a crate set away from human traffic. This safe space also becomes a place where your pet can go to when you ask. The spot should be nice and cozy with a toy or treat stand. When approaching them while they are in their safe spot, make sure they are awake so that you don’t startle them.
Introduce and supervise the time spent with other pets.
Your adoption officer should advise you on the best way to introduce your hound to existing pets at home. Introduce the pets to each other on neutral ground. Ensure your greyhound is muzzled as a safety precaution. After the introduction, take them to the yard and let them explore while keeping an eye on them. During the introduction and initial interaction, avoid confined spaces, and keep toys off the yard to prevent possessive behavior.
Develop a routine
For a smooth transition to a new environment, put in place a routine from the first day. Setting a routine means putting in place regular times for toileting, feeding, and play. Retired greyhounds come from a background based on many routines, which creates certainty of what their day entails. Greyhounds thrive from a routine and respond positively to consistency.
Keep track of your hound’s general health and dental wellness
Greyhounds are prone to poor dental wellness due to the shape of their jaw. To help decrease the risk of poor dental hygiene, you should feed your dog a combination of dry and wet foods. Dry kibble is abrasive against the teeth and aids in the removal of built-up plaque and tartar. Since greyhounds have a unique body structure, it is easy to overfeed or underfeed them. Ask your adoption officer to provide you with a guide related to your greyhound weight.
Rules for training an adopted Greyhound
Training an adopted greyhound helps them live happily and comfortably in your home. Having raced for a better part of their lives, your adopted greyhound has no expertise with this new world you have brought them to.
Here are easy training tips that will make the transition easier when training your hound:
Learn how to speak greyhound
Take time to figure out how your greyhound thinks and responds. The more you understand how your greyhound’s previous life affects his current behavior, the easier it’ll be to train and understand him. Unlike other dogs, greyhounds do not get noisy and flit from place to place when overwhelmed or stressed; instead, they freeze. When this happens, back off and allow your hound to decide when it is safe to proceed. Greyhounds also react quickly when startled or frightened; they bolt. So use an adequately fitted Greyhound collar and a strong leash whenever you are outdoors.
Build a great relationship.
Training isn’t just about learning manners and obedience; it is about creating a relationship and communicating. Train your greyhound earlier on to build that relationship and to be open to communicate. Greyhounds are sensitive creatures and can easily tap into your actions and moods. If your greyhound thinks you are upset, they will be stressed. Lashing out at him will make him shut down, so be careful how you interact when you are stressed out or unhappy about something.
Reward good behavior.
Pet owners are quick to notice their dogs doing something wrong than something right. You probably would barely notice if your greyhound was quietly chewing on a bone or toy, but if it was a slipper or sneaker, you would be all over him. Teach your greyhound to indulge in good behavior that gets them rewarded.
Make it fun.
Find ways to incorporate his passions into the training, such as the love for running and chasing. Be creative, and even act silly. Make watching you so much fun that it’s all they want to do. Use what your greyhound wants as rewards. If he wants to chase something, ask him to sit, and then release him to pursue it. Pay close attention to things that he likes and are important to him. Then use those things as rewards for good behavior.
Keep it short and simple.
Greyhounds do not enjoy a lot of repetition. After doing the same thing over and over again, you will notice his eyes glaze over or his attention straying. If he does something right, repeat it once or twice then move on. If he isn’t getting it right, try something simpler.
Break down sessions into smaller sessions. If your greyhound isn’t getting something right, chances are you are doing it too fast. A behavior you intend to reinforce can always be broken down into parts or actions.
Keep the training positive.
Bullying your dog into doing anything won’t build trust. Remember, training is all about building a good relationship. If your greyhound doesn’t get something right over and over, go back to something he did right and make him do it, then reward him.
Socialize your greyhound.
Show your greyhound that the people within the household are friendly. Take him for car rides, to the kid’s sports events, family outings, to a dog park and for walks around the neighborhood. Neglecting socialization may cause your greyhound to develop social problems. This means he may get too frightened or unhappy when in public or in a social gathering. Your greyhound should also meet other dog breeds. Keep an eye during their interactions to ensure all dogs are safe.
Key take-away points to keep in mind:
- Your greyhound’s personality may take up to 8 weeks to fully emerge after you bring him home. Never leave your greyhound without supervision during the first weeks of training, especially if he hasn’t been house trained.
- Greyhounds are incessant learners. Your greyhound will learn whether you teach him or not. Hounds learn from everything that happens to them. Take advantage of this because every interaction will be a learning experience.
- If your greyhound keeps doing something you don’t want, determine how this bad behavior is being rewarded.
- Retired racers can take a while to forgive and forget. Avoid situations that will scare him because bad memories last longer.
- Rewards are the key to successful training. Rewards could be in any form, not just treats. Try a variation of rewards often so that your dog understands it as so. Rewards shouldn’t be bribes; your greyhound will not respect your leadership if you do so.
- Do not use the dog crate as a form of punishment. Your greyhound should view his crate as a safe space, so do not send him to his crate as punishment, particularly when he first adjusting. A firm” No” will suffice when he misbehaves.
Feeding your adopted greyhound
Although Greyhound owners agree on how much they adore their dogs, they don’t agree on which food suits them best. Feeding your greyhound a balanced diet is crucial. The right foods ensure his coat is healthy and shiny, and his energy levels are replenished. Since greyhounds are active, they need higher amounts of protein and fat.
Basics of greyhound nutrition
Decades ago, a dog’s diet was primarily composed of meat. With the upsurge of commercial pet food, most dog foods consist of carbohydrates. Eating primarily provides a means to replenish energy, and energy comes from fats, protein, and carbohydrates.
The energy your greyhound derives from protein in his diet comes from the protein’s digestibility and quality. Knowing the right protein for your dog will ensure better absorption. The best sources of protein for your dog include fish, eggs, poultry, and meat. Milk is great for pups, but adult dogs don’t tolerate it. Grains are a great source of protein; however, they provide a lower quality of protein.
Arguably, the recommended amount of protein for your dog’s diet ranges from 20 to 27 percent.
Carbohydrates come in many forms; sugars, grains, vegetables, and fruits. However, dogs do not require a high amount of carbohydrates in their diet. Commercial foods contain high amounts of carbohydrates, and this is why they are also inexpensive.
Fats offer a highly concentrated source of energy. They provide twice as much energy as carbohydrates and proteins. Fats make food taste better, transport fat-soluble vitamins, and provide vital fatty acids.
A greyhound with no access to the right kind of fats will have a dry coat with dandruff. Your dog needs at least 10 to 15 percent of fats in their diet.
Your greyhound should always have access to clean, freshwater. Some of the main factors that influence the amount of water your dog drinks include temperature, the moisture content of his food, and his activity level. Greyhounds, however, tend to take less water than the average dog.
Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamins are divided into two main subdivisions; water-soluble and fat-soluble. It isn’t definite how much vitamins and minerals dogs need, but they can’t produce the vitamins they need. Vitamin C, for example, is used as a preservative of commercial dog foods. Most owners recommend that dogs need an additional amount of vitamins.
Q&As about dealing with an adopted greyhound
My adopted greyhound doesn’t seem interested in toys or playing. What can I do?
If your adopted hound came from a rescue, it is likely he/she has never had toys before or even seen them. Slowly entice her/him with toys by using treat-dispensing toys such as the Pet zone IQ treat ball and the KONG toy.
My greyhound is very obedient but occasionally looks sad, depressed, and withdrawn from people. What can I do?
Socialization is an essential bit of your dog’s social life. Take your hound to a dog park or doggy care when he can meet, play, and interact with other pets.
How do I train my adopted greyhound that won’t go up the stairs?
You can train him to use the stairs by putting a treat on each step or stair and remember to praise them whenever they go up a step. Do the same for walking back down.
Greyhounds are gentle creatures, with many having unpleasant memories from their past. Helping them assimilate into the new environment will help nurture a happy and healthy pet. It will also lead to comfortable and safe interactions with friends, other pets, and strangers. Remember a reward-based training is highly impactful and builds trust.