NEW GREYHOUND OWNER GUIDE
This collection of advice began when Rocky Mountain Greyhound Adoption was incorporated back in 1994. Back then there were one or two good resources for greyhound information but they were not easily found. We decided to put together the collective wisdom of several sources for our adopters, something we could provide containing what we felt would be the most important information you’d need. These hints have a lot of experience behind them, and are being offered to help you and your greyhound make the best transition possible into your new life together. Although we provide these tips for your use, remember that we are always available to discuss any situation, problem, concern or question you might have. If you are having a problem, don’t let the problem grow; call any of us immediately so we can nip any problem before it grows. Always feel free to call!
There are no foolish questions, and, believe us, over the years we have seen just about everything! If we don’t know the answer for your question, we will get the answer for you. Also, if you find a solution to a pet problem, or find an especially helpful tip, please let us know so we can add it to our tips. This Owner’s Manual has evolved over the past twenty years from a four page summary to what you see now and we anticipate it will continue to grow.
INTRODUCING YOUR GREYHOUND TO THE HOME - SETTING GROUND RULES
Set the rules for your Greyhound the minute he arrives at your home. Don’t allow him to do things that are not acceptable just because you “want to give him time to settle in.” Treat the dog with love and respect, but firmly enforce the rules of his new home. Failure in this regard could allow habits to develop now which may be difficult to correct later.
When you get your newly adopted Greyhound home, introduce him first to your yard. Take him to the place where you want him to relieve himself. If he does relieve himself, give him lots of praise. Let him look around the yard for a little while. He will be very curious and want to check out all of the smells and sights. Remember, from the time you pick up your Greyhound, almost everything he sees, smells or hears will be new to him.
INTRODUCING OTHER DOGS
If there are other dogs in your household, we always want you to bring them with you to choose their new friend. When you arrive at home with your new greyhound, introduce the dogs again — outside. Monitor both dogs’ behavior until they have gotten through the initial “meeting” stage. We recommend a muzzle be used for this first introduction, both as a safety measure and to reinforce to the Greyhound that this dog is to be a friend. Still, be careful and watchful the first few days to make sure the pecking order is established without undue power struggles or injuries. And supervise them at feeding time until you’re sure each dog knows which dish is his.
SPECIFIC AREAS FOR “RELIEF”
If you want to train your dog to relieve himself in a particular area of the yard, now is the time to begin this training. Take him to the pre-determined area each and every time he must relieve himself for the first week or so, praising profusely each time the desired action occurs. Soon, your dog will only relieve himself in this area. Remember, consistency and abundant positive reinforcement is the name of the game.
INTRODUCING YOUR GREYHOUND TO THE HOUSE
After allowing a little time for outside exploration, take your Greyhound inside the house. You may want to introduce him to the house on lead. Let him explore the house a bit, with you at his side. This will allow you to begin effectively setting those ground rules! Keep an eye on him and if there are any signs of him planning to relieve himself in the house, tell him “NO” in your best mean mommy/daddy voice. Not a soft no, but a loud, sharp “NO.” If he relieves himself in the house, immediately take him outside. It isn’t necessary or desirable to be mean or rough with the dog. An abrupt “NO” and being led outside a few times should be sufficient. If at all possible, make sure you have a couple of days when you first pick up your Greyhound to spend with the dog. Watch him very closely the first few days, reinforce the house rules consistently, and you will be off to a great start with your new friend.
Once you have introduced the entire house, take him outside to “do his business” one more time. Greyhounds are very sensitive, and if you are able to correct them “in the act” of undesired behavior, they learn very quickly what behavior does not please you. Make sure you spend just as much time (preferably a lot more) praising them for good behavior. Greyhounds WANT to please you!
INTRODUCING YOUR GREYHOUND TO YOUR CAT
Many of our adopted Greyhounds live with cats. When introducing your new Greyhound to your cat, make sure you are all in the house and that you have control of the dog. Bring the dog into the house (with its muzzle on) while you or another family member is seated with the cat in your (or their) lap. Show your Greyhound by petting the cat seated on your lap that the cat is a member of his new family and was in the house before he got there, and therefore, not a play toy.
Greyhounds tend to be curious about the small, fuzzy beasts, and will run right up to the cat to investigate. Keep the Greyhound under control at all times, preferably on lead. If the cat runs, the chase instinct will kick in and your Greyhound will probably chase the poor cat. This is why the “lap trick” seems to work so well — you are able to keep the cat relatively stationary for the initial introduction. Be sure to praise the Greyhound for nicely sniffing and investigating the cat. Any inappropriate behavior must be quickly and firmly discouraged. Again, a sharp “NO” to the dog while continuing to pet the cat seems to work well.
Monitor all encounters between your new dog and cat for the first few days. Be very careful of allowing your Greyhound and cat to be outside together until you are sure what the dog’s reaction will be. Many Greyhounds show absolutely no interest in a house cat, others a little curiosity and a rare few think they are stuffed toys to be played with. Outside, cats may be another matter entirely. Keep all encounters quiet and restrained for the first few days. If we know you have a cat, we will recommend only dogs we have monitored around cats or feel relatively certain will be “cat safe”. While we can’t absolutely guarantee that your companion will be “cat safe”, we do test at the kennel to get an idea of their prey drive.
THE FIRST FEW DAYS
We recommend you plan to be home with your Greyhound for a few days after he gets home. We prefer, for those who work, to schedule the “take home day” on a Friday or Saturday, or when you have a couple of days off. You will be able to get to know him, teach him what is OK in your home, and help him become a member of the family a little faster. Remember, once he gets to your house, it will be the first time in his whole life he hasn’t had lots of other Greyhounds around him all the time. Being left alone the first few times can be a little scary. If possible, it’s best to work him into being left alone during the first few days, so when he is left alone for longer periods of time (like when everyone goes back to work or school) it isn’t quite such a shock to his system.
On adoption day, please do not plan a very busy, fun filled day of going places and meeting new people. Being adopted is exciting all on its own, and too much activity can be stressful for your new friend. If you need to get supplies, a quick trip to the pet store, but plan to take your new friend home from the kennel and have him/her become acquainted with their new home. We had an incident many years ago where the adopters took their new friend to several friends and relatives' homes, went to the dog park, went to the pet store, then had a party at their house. The greyhound was overtired and decided he had enough. He found a place to lie down and snarled when anyone went close to him. Needless to say, they were then afraid to keep him. He was later adopted with no problem.
Crates are sometimes a necessary evil. Your Greyhound has spent a large portion of its life in one, so do not think of it as cruel. We recommend crates to help the initial introduction into the home go more smoothly, especially if your new Greyhound will be the only dog in the house. The crate allows the dog to learn he can be left alone and be perfectly fine while you’re gone. All dogs should be weaned off the use of a crate as soon as possible for that particular dog (some dogs may take longer to wean from the crate than others). Our experience has been, the younger the dog, the greater the possibility of needing a crate. Note, too, that there are some Greyhounds which will always need to be crated. If you happen to have one of those dogs, don’t feel it’s cruel or unkind to keep them crated. Being loved in your home but using a crate is preferable to being returned and rejected and waiting for a new owner.
If your dog is one who will be crated initially when you are away, proper introduction to the crate is needed. The crate should NEVER be used as punishment. The crate offers the Greyhound a familiar, quiet sanctuary. Put a crate pad, blanket or comforter in the bottom of the crate to pad the floor well. We recommend the crate be located in your bedroom, where the dog feels most comfortable. Feed your Greyhound biscuits or treats in the crate. You may find your dog will use the crate as a bed. Make the crate a fun place. When the dog is left alone, leave stuffed animals, rawhides, and/or chew hooves inside to keep him company.
LEARNING TO BE ALONE
When you arrive home with your new Greyhound, make every attempt to stay with the dog the rest of that day and night. The following morning, leave the house (dog inside, preferably in the crate with a treat and toys) for 10 or 15 minutes. Walk around the block, then return. That afternoon, repeat the same procedure, but stay away for 45 minutes to an hour. The next day, try two hours in the morning, two hours in the evening. The first day the family leaves for work/school, try to have someone return home at lunch. Repeat this for the next two to three days.
THE TRUE PERSONALITY EMERGES!
Keep in mind you may not see your new friend’s true personality for a few days. It usually takes a Greyhound 3 to 5 days to feel “at home” in a new environment and safe enough to be himself. During the first few days, he may be more shy than usual, or may test your patience, almost making you prove you love him.
THAT’S REALLY A GRIN!
Remember, many Greyhounds GRIN, which can, to the uninitiated, look very scary! When your Greyhound is happy and excited to see you, he may pull up his upper lip, usually front end down and rear end in the air, and may yip and nip at you. He isn’t attacking; he wants to love you! We recommend you discourage the nipping. While they are usually good about only getting cloth, they occasionally get too excited, and it can hurt!
This photo is Scooter Mama (Mac's Aunt AJ) Smiling!
You may want to keep your Greyhound in your bedroom with you at night with the door closed the first few nights. This will usually settle the dog down quickly and help both you and him to get a good nights sleep (although the first night is often a less than restful one!). This method works best because it allows you to hear when the dog becomes restless, a sign he may need to go outside and relieve himself. The first night or two may be somewhat stressful for the dog, and he may whine, pant, pace and generally do all kinds of stuff that will keep you awake. A quiet word of reassurance will usually settle him down. Although the first night or two might be a little rough, the dogs seem to adapt much more quickly if they are allowed to be near you at night.
Some Greyhounds are very stressed the first night or two. In extreme cases, you might try giving the dog a buffered aspirin or a Benadryl to make them a little calmer or a little sleepy. This should not be done on a regular basis, but in a situation where the dog is too stressed to even think of lying down, it can help a little.
A few Greyhounds will initially have what we call “sleep space aggression” when they first move into their new homes. They have always slept in a kennel environment, and are not used to anything or anyone touching them when they are asleep. For that reason, a Greyhound may wake with a start and even a growl or snap if startled by touching while asleep. Make sure the dog is awake before touching him. Remember, Greyhounds can, and do, sleep with their eyes open! Say the dog’s name loudly, clap you hands, make enough noise in some manner to make sure your dog is really awake before touching! Always, always, always teach children to say the dog’s name loudly before touching the dog.
For a couple of reasons, we don’t recommend that you immediately allow the Greyhound to sleep in bed with you. First is the possibility of sleep space aggression. If you are asleep and accidentally roll over on the dog, it could result in a very tense situation. Second, and more important, while Greyhounds are very sweet, easy-going dogs, they need to remember that they are the dog in the family, and that the people are the leaders of this “pack.” After you have established with the Greyhound who the authority figures are in the home, and you feel confident that you do not have a dominant dog that will continually challenge you for leadership, letting them on furniture, including the bed, is up to you. Until that time, save yourself and your friend a lot of trouble and confusion: let him be a dog and stay on the floor.
Some Greyhounds do suffer from separation anxiety and need to learn you will come back when you leave. If your Greyhound does have separation anxiety, he may cry, chew, relieve himself in the house, etc. If separation anxiety becomes a problem, a crate or limited access to the home is necessary. A dog with separation anxiety does not like being left in a closed room. You may come home to chewed doors, carpet, etc. A crate works best, as it offers a sense of security to the dog while offering you peace of mind. And if possible, put the crate near a window or sliding door so the dog can see outside; he or she will be less bored that way. Remember, leaving a greyhound in a closed, small room (laundry room, bathroom) is inviting trouble. You may well return home to find a considerable amount of damage to doors, walls, and anything else the dog can get teeth or toenails on.
If you choose not to use a crate for the first few days or weeks with your new dog, a baby gate may do the trick. The baby gate is used to limit the dog to one room of the house, or a certain section of the house. Most Greyhounds will not jump or knock down a baby gate. A barrier to them means they cannot go there, and being able to see over the gate helps with the “trapped” feeling. The kitchen may be a good choice to leave the dog because of the floor (easy cleanups!). If you confine your Greyhound to a room, make sure to open the curtains and pull up any blinds on the window. He will want to see out the window, and having curtains or blinds open will eliminate the temptation to remove them for better viewing! If you choose to leave your greyhound in a room with a tile or other hard floor, make sure you leave them something nice and soft to lie on.
Greyhounds and open doorways do not mix. It is very important that doors not leading to fenced areas are never left standing open. To a Greyhound, an open door is a written invitation to go investigating. We recommend that prior to opening any door, you get a hold of your dog by the collar. This also helps assure that when visitors arrive, an over exuberant pup does not greet them. If you have small children, PLEASE set ground rules immediately that only adults may open doors. Apply this same logic to yard gates, etc. If you have a yard gate, please consider placing some kind of lock on the gate so that it isn’t inadvertently left open.
Greyhounds love to look and see what’s on that counter. Greyhounds need to be taught that it’s not acceptable to investigate a counter too closely. If the dog shows a little too much interest in the counter, a sharp “No” and sometimes an accompanying clap of the hands works well. We recommend that you get in the habit of keeping kitchen counters clear of food or other interesting items. This is especially true for bread. For some reason, bread just isn’t safe around these guys. Unless you want the Greyhound to have it, put it in a cabinet or in the pantry!
There are also some tricks you can try for “counter surfers.” One is to use a piece of nice, wide, sticky tape, roll it into a tube, sticky side out, and place on the edge of the counter. Dog jumps up, feet stick, and hopefully he won’t like the sticking part and won’t do it again.
You can also take a nice, tempting morsel, attach it by string to a can with pennies in it, the can taped shut so the pennies can’t get out and be eaten by the dog. Leave the “bait” on the edge of the counter, and when the dog grabs it, the can comes down, hopefully making enough noise to deter repeat attempts.
GARBAGE AND TRASH CANS
Like countertops, garbage cans are just too interesting to these guys to leave alone. It’s really much easier to relocate the garbage and trashcans to a pantry or under a counter, or buy a trashcan with a lid than to try and train them to stay out.
One trick recommended by an obedience trainer is to put a lot of pepper in the trash can and let the dog sniff the pepper, and some will decide they don’t want to raid the trash again.
Greyhound puppies are raised their first few months with shredded paper in their beds. When their paper is changed every few days, it’s a big party. As a result, Greyhounds view paper products — newspaper, magazines, paperback books, hardback books, etc. — as toys which are there to be shredded. If you leave any of these items lying about, they figure you’ve left it out for them to SHRED!
HOUSE TRAINING MADE EASY
Greyhounds are kennel trained, meaning they learn not to mess their crates in the kennel, but to wait for “turnout” to relieve themselves. This makes house training a relatively simple process. Here are a few suggestions to make the transition that much easier.
During the first few days at home, make sure you take the dog out several times a day, tell them it’s time to go potty, and praise them lavishly when they do! Watch them closely those first few days for any anxious behavior that could mean they need to go outside and quickly get them outside, whether they really need to go or not.
You may want to use diapers on your Greyhound for the first few days to make sure he knows relieving himself in the house is not acceptable. Greyhounds are very clean by nature. With diapers on, if they begin to relieve themselves, the fabric of the diaper will catch the “relief” and cause them to stop immediately. Don’t remove the diaper immediately after the dog soils. Leave him in the soiled diaper for 20 minutes or so, then replace with a clean diaper. Your dog will hate the feeling of the wet material next to his skin and learn quickly not to repeat the act! Keep them in diapers as long as necessary to get the point across but make sure to take the diaper off before you let them outside, or you will really confuse them!
A pair of men’s briefs, size 38-40 works well for most dogs. Small females will need a size 36 or smaller. Put the briefs on the dog, checking for where the base of the tail hits the briefs. Take them off and cut a hole for the tail. Then put them back on, adjust the waistband until snug, and secure with a diaper pin. A panty liner may be added for those dogs that don’t stop urinating immediately upon feeling the moisture.
When you have animals, it is inevitable that you will at some point have messes to clean up. There are many products: Spot Shot (aerosol), Carpet Science (spray or foam), Nature’s Miracle and Simple Solution for messes on carpets. Some people swear by white vinegar diluted with water for urine spots, some people say it only encourages more use of that spot. Another wonderful invention is the Bissell Big Green Clean Machine. Particularly if you succumb to the “can’t have just one Greyhound” disease and you end up with multiple greyhounds in your house.
One of the best things we have found for cleaning those carpet messes is Unique Natural Products Pet Odor and Stain Eliminator. Some veterinarians in the Denver area carry it, and you can find it online on Amazon.
Greyhounds have very little body fat so they need something soft to lie on. Greyhounds who continually lie on hard surfaces wear the hair off their rear ends and bellies. Greyhounds love to “nest.” They love a towel, blanket or piece of cloth on top of their beds to scratch at, bunch up, and fashion into the “perfect” nest before they fall asleep. Dog beds can be made out of just about anything, as long as it provides a well insulated, soft surface. Fabric covered foam, old comforters, blankets, or foam-and-cedar stuffed dog beds all work well.
You may feed your Greyhound any high quality dry dog food. It does not have to be expensive. We recommend the dry dog food over soft or canned for health reasons. Greyhounds are fed a very soft diet throughout their racing career. Their diet, though high in protein and necessary nutrients, is very hard on their teeth. Switching a retired racer to dry dog food helps to keep their teeth in healthy condition. A tip: a dog who has a sensitive digestive system may do well with a diet food, Fit & Trim, Cycle, etc. These foods are high in fiber with lower fat content and are more easily tolerated. “Senior” foods are the same, lower in calories and fat, higher in fiber.
Greyhounds LOVE rice, pasta, veggies, bread, all kinds of people food. A cheap “treat” for meal time is boiled pasta in beef or chicken broth added to their food. Leftover vegetable soup? The greyhounds would love it! The trick is not to give them too much of the “special” stuff.
A dog straight out of the race kennel will probably need to put on some weight, but usually not more than 3 to 5 pounds. Plan on feeding the dog the equivalent of 8 cups of dry food a day for the first few weeks or months. Some may not want to eat straight dry food to begin with. Try mixing part of a can of dog food with water and pouring it over the dry food. You can also use rice and broth, pasta and broth, or soups. Plan on feeding this amount until no hip bones can be seen, then reduce the food to 4-6 cups, or however much it takes to maintain the proper weight. You don’t want your dog overweight (their bodies are not built to carry excess weight), but you definitely want to take the dog from “race weight” to “pet weight.” Generally speaking, ideal pet weight is just 5 pounds over race weight. What is a good weight for a greyhound? You should be able to see just a hint of the last rib or two and the hip bones, those pointy things on top of their rear ends, should just be covered nicely.
Greyhounds love a variety of dog treats. They come in every shape, size, flavor, and texture. Be careful how generous you are with the treats to avoid upset tummies and noxious gas. Milk Bone type treats tend to be one of their favorites, and seem to be easier on their systems. They LOVE pig’s ears (dried and smoked), but the noxious gas produced can be prohibitive! Greyhounds love treats and are used to getting them. The race kennel rewards all jobs well done with a treat.
A diet of dry dog food helps to prevent tartar and promotes good dental hygiene for your dog. Raw-hides, Milk Bones and biscuit style treats, and other hard things to chew on will help your Greyhound’s teeth improve quickly. If the build up of tartar is severe, you may want to have your veterinarian scale the teeth. You also help to maintain your dog’s teeth by periodic brushing. Dog toothbrush kits are available at Petsmart or through mail order pet suppliers. A regular “people” toothbrush is usually not recommended because they are too hard on the dogs’ teeth. Make a paste of baking soda and brush softly. Or a clean piece of hosiery wrapped around your finger with baking soda works well too; this also helps to stimulate the gums. Do not use toothpaste unless it is specially formulated for dogs. People toothpaste has ingredients the dog should not ingest.
Just like humans, Greyhounds can suffer terrible consequences from the bacteria that enters their bloodstream from infected, abscessed teeth or gingivitis. The infection can find its way to the heart, liver, kidneys, any of the large organs, and threaten your pet’s life!
Greyhound nails grow just like all dog nails. When the dog leaves the kennel, its nails are trimmed. To keep your dog’s nails in good condition, they should be trimmed every 4 to 6 weeks. This can be easily done on your own using dog nail clippers. If you plan on trimming your Greyhounds nails, keep a bottle of Quik-Stop or similar styptic powder close by in case you cut into the quick. Plain old flour can also be used to stop bleeding from a nipped quick. If you are the squeamish type, your veterinary clinic or a groomer can quickly and easily do this for you.
Some people have good luck with a Dremel nail grinder. If you try one of these, grind each nail for a few seconds at a time to prevent the nail from becoming hot from the grinder.
Grooming your Greyhound is fairly easy. Their coat is short and shedding isn’t usually severe. An occasional bath and routine brushing will keep your Greyhound’s coat in great shape. He may have a dandruff problem when first leaving the kennel, but this will improve quickly. When you first take your dog home, give him a bath. We have had good results with Adam’s Flea & Tick Shampoo. This shampoo is safe to use on a Greyhound, will kill any little critter on the dog’s coat, and best of all, leave the coat nice and shiny with a clean, fresh scent. Other shampoos recommended are any listed as safe for use on puppies.
Please note: Some humans are allergic to Adams products! We had one greyhound who almost ended up being returned because one of the family members thought they were allergic to the dog. Turned out, it was the Adams shampoo!
If it becomes necessary to give your Greyhound medications, the “peanut butter trick” works wonders with pills. Put the pill in a little lump of peanut butter, and watch how fast your Greyhound will gladly gulp down his medicine! This is a great way to get Imodium AD down the dog when first taking them home (for diarrhea). You can also use cream cheese, Velveeta, soft lunch meats and anything else that is kind of soft and can be molded around the pill that will get your Greyhound’s attention.
Flea and tick control may be necessary. PLEASE, don’t ever use a flea collar on your Greyhound. It could make the dog very ill. Greyhounds are sensitive to many types of chemicals used in these collars. Don’t take a chance — DON’T USE THEM! Use only flea and tick preparations that contain Pyrethrin as the active ingredient. The entire line of Adam’s products is recommended. These are available at PetsMart. You may also make a home remedy, which is supposed to repel most insects. To make, mix 1 cup Avon Skin So Soft (bath oil, no substitutes) with 2 cups of white distilled vinegar, 1-3 cups of water (more water, less potency) and 1 teaspoon of one of the following: herbal repellent, citronella oil or eucalyptus oil. Mix all ingredients together and put into spray bottle. Spray on pet.
We know of one race kennel and many adopters who have had good luck with Frontline TopSpot for flea and tick control. If you live in a highly infested area, check with your vet for this product.
Each dog adopted from RMGA is current on rabies and “5 in 1” shots (the five diseases every dog should be inoculated against: canine distemper, adenovirus, type 2 parainfluenze, parvovirus and bordetella). You will receive a vaccination certificate with your new friend. You must plan to provide these shots each year for your dog after adoption.
HEART WORM PREVENTION
Heartworm disease has come to Colorado. Mosquitoes spread canine heartworm disease. The disease is spread from dog to dog with the mosquito being the carrier. It can spread quickly, and almost every dog is a potential victim. Left untreated, heartworm disease can result in death. Simple preventative care is all that is necessary to keep your dog safe from this disease.
Pet doors are a wonderful invention. You can get a dog door put in a wall, sliding glass door, and even in the glass panel of a door. Hale Security Pet Door, (303) 649-1819, http://www.halepetdoor-denver.com/
makes and installs some of the best doors made. They have an excellent magnet system on the flaps which prevents drafts and they have locking panels for security. There are cheaper doors, but Hale doors are truly some of the best. If you choose to buy a dog door from them, please mention RMGA and they will make a donation to our group. (And no, we don’t recommend them because of the donation, Jan has had a Hale door since 1998 and would never have any other brand.) Make sure to size the door correctly — Jan’s is an “extra tall large.”
SLIDING GLASS DOORS AND WINDOWS
Depending on if and where your dog was fostered, he may or may not know what a sliding glass door is. And those dogs leaving straight from the kennel may never have seen a window before. Be careful the first few times you let your dog out a glass door. You may want to tap on the door or put some type of decoration on the door to make it more obvious to the dog. Even when a Greyhound knows a glass door is there, they may get so excited they forget and bash their little heads on the door! Probably not good for the door, and definitely not good for their heads! If you have windows that are low to the floor, introduce the dog to them as you would a glass door.
Stairs are probably the biggest challenge your Greyhound will face when it leaves the kennel. They are not familiar with more than one or two steps at a time, and a whole staircase may be frightening. Some steps may be scarier than others — open-tread stairs seem to be the worst. You may have to help your Greyhound learn to go up and down steps. To teach your dog to go up or down, it helps if you can have a person on each end of the dog. Encourage motion in the right direction. One person should gently lead the dog by the collar, while the “rear guard” encourages from behind, and also assures the dog doesn’t slip and fall. A fall down the steps for a Greyhound can very easily result in a broken leg. Both front and rear guard persons may have to actually work the dog’s feet for him the first few times. By moving the dog’s feet for them, they will catch on quickly and soon be zooming up and down the stairs with ease. Remember to go slowly at first and speak encouragingly the whole time.
When learning to come down the stairs, make SURE you keep a hand under their chest to insure they don’t fall. When going up, make sure you have a hand or a body behind them to prevent them from falling. BE FIRM! Remember, greyhounds are also great con-artists and will try and manipulate you if you let them! Don’t give in when they whine and don’t want to try anymore.
A linoleum or tile floor can be a challenge for your Greyhound. They have never been on any type of slick flooring, so this too could be a learning experience. When a Greyhound begins to slip, their natural inclination is to grab with their nails. Unfortunately for the dog, all this does is have them walking around on the tips of their nails — not conducive to navigating a slick floor; they just slip that much more. If your dog tends to slip and slide his way across the floor, try putting rubber backed scatter rugs on the floor. Don’t make a solid path of the rugs, instead leave spaces in between for him to start getting the feel of walking on the smooth floor. When he appears to be comfortable with that arrangement, begin increasing the spaces between rugs and removing rugs as his ability increases. If you feed him in a kitchen with slick flooring you will be amazed how quickly he gets comfortable with it!
A Greyhound looking into a mirror for the first time can be an entertaining experience. Most will cock their heads from side to side, wondering who that gorgeous dog is, others will try to get the dog in the reflection to play. Needless to say, upon first introduction, monitor your dog. As with a sliding glass door or window, tap on the mirror to get them used to its boundaries. It won’t take the dog long, it will get tired of the other dog refusing to play and eventually will just ignore the mirror.
Finding the right veterinarian to care for your new Greyhound is essential. Greyhounds are sensitive to many types of medications. It is very important your Veterinarian understands the physical and physiological differences of Greyhounds. Check with your veterinarian to make sure he/she knows that some drugs normally used on dogs cannot be used on Greyhounds. (Specifically anesthetics. The wrong type or dosage can kill a Greyhound.) We have found that most veterinarians in the Denver metro area have experience with Greyhounds, but your dog’s life is certainly worth a few questions. If your veterinarian objects to your questions, find another vet!
The following is a list of items we recommend you get prior to bringing your new friend home:
Some dogs will require a crate for the first few days or weeks until they have fully adapted to their new homes. Although not all dogs require a crate, it really helps, especially if your dog turns out to have a bad case of separation anxiety. Crates can be obtained at Albertson’s, Petsmart, Petco or other pet supply stores. If we have a crate available, you may purchase a crate from us for $75. When you no longer need it, we will sell it on consignment for you, and you’ll get the full $75 back once the crate has been sold. If you decide to buy your own, make sure the crate is no smaller than the equivalent of a Pet Porter 500 (Extra Large).
A six foot leash (“lead” as it’s known in the racing world), either nylon or leather. Horse leads are also very effective and are less expensive than a traditional dog lead. If you have a greyhound that will have to go potty on lead, buy a long lead! At least 6 foot, if not longer. A little privacy is essential for those bathroom habits. Expandable leads like Flexi Leads are not recommended for greyhounds.
A martingale or greyhound collar will come with your greyhound. This type of collar is essential for walking your greyhound on lead because greyhounds’ heads are smaller than their necks. A greyhound collar will tighten just enough to hold your dog without letting them slip their lead or choke. Fancy greyhound collars are available from numerous Internet sources. Some people feel you need to use the martingale for on lead only. If you choose to do this, please keep a buckle collar on your dog at all times with a name tag and contact information.
Your dog will go home with an RMGA Inc. tag, but you also must keep an identification tag with your name, address and telephone number on the dog at all times. With both tags on the dog, should he ever get lost, the chances of a speedy return increase. PLEASE call us immediately if your Greyhound escapes from your house, yard or you. We often know where lost dogs are before we get a call from the adopter and we can expedite his/her return.
FOOD & WATER BOWLS
You’ll need large food and water bowls which can be purchased relatively inexpensively from Petsmart, Target or Wal-Mart. Be sure to get an extra bowl for water for the yard. (If you adopt more than one dog, get a set of bowls for each dog.) Greyhounds are notoriously messy eaters; you may want to place towels or large placemats under each bowl to help with the mess.
A good quality dry dog food is needed. Some brands to choose from: Petsmart Authority, Purina O.N.E., Nature’s Recipe, Pro Plan, Nutro or Sam’s Exceed Lamb & Rice. Dog biscuits are also recommended. Science Diet has been known to cause the Big D (diarrhea) in Greyhounds and is not recommended.
Imodium AD (tablets rather than liquid) is almost always a necessity when taking one of these guys home. If diarrhea occurs, give them an adult dose every four hours until they “firm up.” If diarrhea persists for more than a day and a half, take them to the vet with a fecal sample and let us know!!!
Canned pumpkin, no sugar added, will also aid in the relief of the Big D (diarrhea). The best way to keep the pumpkin from spoiling is to freeze it in an ice cube tray.
Plain yogurt with live cultures will also help with the infamous Greyhound Gas. A few spoonsful on your greyhound’s food should help to alleviate the noxious odor that greyhounds are known to emit.
Each dog varies, but due to their short hair and lack of body fat, most greyhounds get chilled at low temperatures. You should buy a jacket made especially for greyhounds, due to their deep chests. For an inexpensive alternative, a XXL sweatshirt, with sleeves rolled up a bit and the waistband tied up over their backs also works well. Torri makes and sells Greyhound coats. If you are interested, give her a call! 303 995-6929.
Because they have such low body fat content, Greyhounds need a soft place to sleep. Be sure the bed is large enough (42-52” diameter). Costco sells excellent dog beds at a great price! Many people use old comforters or quilts. The blanket on top gives them something to paw on and “nest” in a greyhound habit.
MICROBIAL CLEANER/ODOR REMOVER
Accidents will happen. Nature’s Miracle and Simple Solution both available at any PetsMart work well for removing stains and odors. Also, if you have an area that the odor just won’t come out of, try this: 1 part water to 1 part white distilled vinegar saturate the area, allow to stand one hour, blot up with towels, rinse with clear water, blot up and allow to dry. It works well on old odors, but doesn’t work very well on stains. Another effective odor remover is plain baking soda, sprinkled generously on the spot and left until the next vacuuming.
If you live in an area that requires a pet license, pick up an application. Many cities levy a hefty fine if your dog is found without a dog license. Don’t take a chance; take the time necessary to license your dog. Most licensing agencies also keep a database of licensed pets and will call you if your dog is picked up.
A soft brush and a shedding blade (sold in pet stores and feed stores for use on horses) are about all you need. Once a week with the shedding blade followed by a soft brush and then a damp towel keeps them from shedding and keeps them nice and clean.
Other nice to have items: rubber-grooming mitt fits over your hand, textured on both sides and works really well for baths. Greyhounds don’t have a “doggy odor” and are very clean by habit. Do not bath often. On the few occasions they do need a bath, and you need a flea/tick shampoo, we recommend Adams products. Otherwise, any shampoo that is safe for puppies and kittens.
Toys are a necessity, especially for young dogs. We have found that if they have lots of toys to choose from, they tend not to chew on things they shouldn’t. Some favorites: rawhide bones, stuffed animals, old socks tied with a knot. Rawhide bones: buy only white bones. Tan or brown colored rawhides are treated with chemicals. Don’t get bones that are too small — at least 8” are best. Stuffed animals: frequent Goodwill and Salvation Army type places to get cheap, used stuffed animals. Throw them in the washer and dryer before giving them to your dogs.
A good idea if the dog has been fostered, a great idea if the dog has not. For males, get men’s briefs size 38 to 40. For females, get size 36 or so. Diaper pins are a must to keep things in place. You can also use disposable adult diapers. Adult large size. Put on your Greyhound, note where the tail would hit and cut a hole for the tail to go through. Pull the tabs tight and add a piece of duct tape around the waist (on the diaper, NOT the fur).
Get plenty of sleep the night before you pick up your new friend! They will be very excited in their first night at home and will probably have a little trouble sleeping.
PET REGISTRATION, PEDIGREE & RACING RECORDS
NGA BLUE PET TRANSFER FORM
For $20, you can register your pet with the National Greyhound Association and have the records reflect that you are now the owner of record for that dog. When you send in the completed paperwork, you will receive a registration certificate that carries all pertinent information on your Greyhound pet: official NGA name, pet name (optional), color, sex, whelping date, two-generation pedigree, and complete bertillion (markings). A portion of your application fee can be donated to the adoption group of your choice.
If you are interested in applying for the Pet Transfer, let us know. Torri has a supply of “Blue Slips.”
NGA PET PEDIGREE
Another service provided by the NGA that you might be interested in is the Pedigree information about your new companion. You can receive your pet’s 5-generation pedigree from the NGA. The certificate is suitable for framing. The pedigree costs $15 and can be obtained by sending your information to:
Abilene, KS 67410
If your adopted Greyhound was an active racer, you can find racing results, as well as pedigree information, on the Greyhound Data website. You will need to create a login for the site, but it is free.
There is a lot of information provided above, and you might be intimidated by all of the situations covered. Please know most new greyhound owners will not experience these problems, but we want you to know that, should a problem arise, there are ways to deal with the issue! We don't want you to think greyhounds are dumb by any means. They are very bright creatures, eager to please and very loving. If you choose to share your life with one of these amazing creatures, we are sure you will find it was one of the best decisions you have ever made!
THERE ARE NO STUPID QUESTIONS!
If you have any questions or problems, PLEASE, call one of us! There are contact numbers for several of us on all of your adoption paperwork!