Is The Honeymoon Over?

Is The Honeymoon Over?

 

When your newly adopted greyhound starts to settle in, you may see some new behaviours  appear that were not there during the first few weeks. Usually somewhere between weeks 4 and 6 your hound may start doing things they didn't do before. We say at this time that the honeymoon is over. Most commonly it's some form of resource guarding, but SA can rear it's ugly head, or reacting to something that they didn't react to during the first few weeks.

 

This is a time to maintain your schedule and rules, not overreact, and to seek out help if you feel at a loss. Particularly with resource guarding, for example, growling when asked to get off the couch, it's important to respond in a way that will eliminate the problem rather than exacerbate it. (This is one of the reasons we suggest keeping your new hound off the couch for the first months).

 

If you're not sure how best to handle a new behavior, or if what you're doing isn't working, don't be shy, let us know and we can help. We have lots of experienced greyhound owners who volunteer with us, and some trainers, too, and I know we can find solutions that will work for you. You can post on our Facebook page, email, or call, and we'll be happy to help you figure out the best way to handle any new behaviors that might surface.

 

 

The Transition Part 2 - Transition Tips for New Adopters

Transition Tips

 

Congratulations on your new family member! We are so excited for you! Now, where to start with the best practices to move your hound smoothly through transition?

 

YOUR HOUND'S PROFILE

Check the profile, it is part your digital Welcome Package. It was filled in by the person who knows your hound best(after their racing trainer), their foster parent. There is valuable information in the profile about temperament, skills, training stage, and feeding.

 

VACCINATION STATUS

In your Welcome Package you will also have a rabies certificate, giving the date of the last rabies shot, and usually another document giving the dates of other vaccinations. This should be printed out and given to your vet, so that your hound is not over-vaccinated.

 

BERTILLON This is part of your hound's identification record from the NGA.

 

CRATE/QUIET SPACE

Providing a safe quiet corner for your new hound is important. Their crate is their sanctuary(unless they've 'outgrown it, in which case a corner of the room or an alcove will work). If your hound does not seem comfortable with the set up you've chosen, try a different spot. Some hounds like to be in the same room as you, others prefer some quiet time in a different room. Make sure, if you have kids or other pets, that they don't have access to your hound, and just give them some time on their own. They need this, otherwise they can be overwhelmed with all the newness.

PURCHASE: We recommend Size 48"L x 30"W x 33"H  Smaller males and females 65lb and under may manage with the 42".

 

FEEDING

It's not a bad habit to feed in the crate, this helps reinforce the crate as the safe space in their new home, and also keeps anyone from interfering with them during meal time, which is a big no no. Greyhounds are not accustomed to sharing their space during meals, so bothering them while they're eating is a good way to get a growl. Best to leave them alone during meals. They are accustomed to eating in their crates at the track as well, so this will provide a familiar experience in a sea of newness. Stainless steel or ceramic bowls are safest. You must also ensure your hound has access to fresh, clean drinking water 24/7. A spoonful of plain yogurt with live cultures can really help their stool stay firm.

 

STAIRS

If your stairs are shiny/slippery, we highly recommend using a product you can put on, even temporarily, to help your greyhound feel safe. If they should slip and fall on the stairs, they may become phobic about them and this takes some work to undo. Best to prevent a slip from happening in the first place.

Stair Tape

Stair Treads

Your greyhound may need assistance in learning to go either up or down your stairs. Sometimes it helps to snap a lead on, sometimes putting a treat on each tread will help. Standing beside them while they are wearing a harness and actually placing each foot one at a time on the next step has been successful, too. Be ready to stop any leaps, which are common when learning stairs.

Another method that can work is to watch another hound use the stairs.

 

GLASS SLIDING DOORS OR FLOOR TO CEILING WINDOWS

Having never been exposed, greyhounds can easily run into doors and windows, this applies to screens as well, so we recommend using some masking tape or decals at their eye level so they know there's something there and don't injure themselves. Screen doors too!

 

THE EXIT DOORS

Greyhounds can dash out the door much more quickly than you imagine, so escapes are a real risk. Most escapes happen during the first year, either through gates left open by tradespeople, blown open by winds during storms, or right through the front door when something was seen by your hound blowing down the street. Sometimes there is no time to even try to recall your hound, if your street has a lot of traffic. I am aware of several hounds that died because they were hit by cars after running out the front door. Kids in the house need to be taught to check on the hound's whereabouts before opening any exits. To be safe, we recommend using a xpen or gate around all doors that exit directly outside, to creat a double barrier.

One of the first things to work on with your hound is recall. You can practice right in the house. You're are unlikely to ever get a reliable recall, but this can shorten the odds that your hound might run back to you if he or she ever gets out. Practice drills are good to do, so that you are ready if this situation should occur.

MIRRORS

Greyhounds sometimes see themselves in mirrors and think it's another greyhound. So if you catch your new greyhound growling at himself, this is what's happening.

 

OTHER PETS - Dogs

Introducing your other dog(s) to your new greyhound should be done before you bring your new hound inside. Have someone meet you outside the house with your other dog(s) and go for a walk together. This will take the edge off any pent up energy, and allow them to meet on neutral ground. When you get back to your home, if you have a fenced backyard, take them back there to sniff around together off leash for a while.It's wise to keep everyone muzzled for a while. If you have no backyard, then head into the house.

Once inside, let them check out the house together. Crate door should be left open, and if your greyhound is male, it might be wise to pop a belly band on, just in case he decides to mark. Let them wander as they need to, close doors to any rooms you don't want them to have access to at the moment. Once your hound has found a bed and laid down, you're off to the races. As long as they are anxious, they will stay on their feet. You can keep a muzzle on for as long as you think it may be needed. Do not bring treats out, for the first few weeks keep them separate when any food is around, as dogs will often guard food, and this can cause snapping and nipping. Avoid it all together, and any food should be given when they are separated. These tips apply whether your other dogs are greyhounds or different breeds.

 

OTHER PETS - Cats

If you are cat training, expect the acclimation to take a lot longer. Keep a muzzle on your greyhound until you're sure there will be no chasing behavior. Some greyhounds will chase but not harm if they catch a cat, but you have no way of knowing. We do our best to cat test prior to giving you your hound, but each cat is different, and the hound may respond differently to your kitty than she did to the test kitty. Also, a hound may respond differently over time as they get comfortable. We use baby gates raised up just enough to let the kitties dash under if need be, to make a safe escape, and we pull all furniture away from the walls so they have a place to get away if there's a sudden trigger(usually a cat dashing across a room). If your hound is persistent in attempting to chase the cat, use a leash. Check our cat training tips, and if your hound is getting worse, not better, give us a call or drop us an email, we can help figure out what can be done. If your cat is the agressor, you may need to keep them separate for a while, and if your cat has claws, you will need to apply tips to keep your greyhound safe while your cat gets used to your greyhound.

Claw Tips are available for purchase at Pet Value.

If any skin wounds occur, spraying colloidal silver on them promptly can prevent infection and support healing. Colloidal Silver is available for purchase at most health food stores, farm stores, and at Camp Greyhound.

 

WALKS

For walks, it's good to try to find a quieter area if possible, so there aren't a lot of people and dogs. Some greyhounds do fine on a noisy crowded street, but others will suddenly statue, which means they are overwhelmed with the stimuli. Take it slowly and watch your dog carefully for signs that he's comfortable. Most greyhounds will correct a small dog that rudely jumps up on them, so try to keep your distance until you are sure of your hound's response. Wearing a muzzle during walks can be helpful in a few ways. It will stop any snapping from causing harm, if another dog jumps on your greyhound; it will stop your greyhound from eating unwanted items during the walk, and it also keeps people away, they often incorrectly assume a dog is dangerous if they are wearing a muzzle. While you don't want people to be afraid of your new greyhound, this is one way that people with reactive dogs handle the crowding problem.

If your greyhound is continually going into statue mode, or super anxious on his walks, we recommend and can help set up a buddy walk with one of our members or other adopters. This can make the world of difference for greyhounds having trouble during transition. We highly recommend playdates as well. These can be organized by using our Facebook page or the Camp Greyhound Club page.

Using a harness on your new greyhound, along with their martingale collar, is one way to make doubly sure they won't back out of their collar and get away. It is possible but not common to back out of a harness. In addition, a harness distributes force across the body rather than focusing it on the neck. Many people simply clip the lead to the harness and keep the martingale on just for looks (jewelry for your hound!). We carry some harnesses for our foster dogs at Camp Greyhound, or check our Supplies and Services list on our website.

Always make sure your contact information is on a tag collar, and kept on your hound. Your hound is microchipped, but a tag is easier to access.

We also recommend coming up to runs at Camp Greyhound if you can manage it. We are about an hour north of Toronto, just off of highway 11. Our pasture runs are well managed, everyone wears a muzzle and the hounds have a wonderful time with each other.

If you're not seeing improvement on walks within the first 3-4 weeks and your hound appears to be getting more anxious rather than less, it's time for some professional help. There are recommendations for trainers on our website under the LINKS section, and you can email us or post on the Facebook page. We have many volunteers and members that are experienced with this problem.

 

The Vet

We recommend visiting a vet within 2 weeks of your hound arriving for a check. While he or she has already been checked, the parasites in Florida are quite stubborn, and hookworm can be difficult to erradicate due to the migration factor. We recommend checking a fecal sample and/or using either Interceptor or Advantage Mulit for the first 6 months to ensure your hound stays hookworm negative. You should also do one more heartworm test in about 6 months, to be sure.

 

More tips can be found by posting either on the CGAP Facebook page or on the Camp Greyhound Club page. You can also find a wealth of information on these forums:

TOPIC FOR NEXT TIME: Alone Training

http://awesomepaws.proboards.com/ The bottom sub-form is all greyhound related.

http://gracanada.proboards.com/ Use the search function at the top of the page.

http://forum.greytalk.com/

 

The Transition, Part 1

From the farm, to school, to the track and into your home, the racing greyhound has had a fairly structured existence. She has always been part of a group, first on the farm with their litter mates, then at school with their training school buddies, and then at the race track with their track mates. They are always together. Their daily routine alters little, with turnouts, visits to the sprint path, race days and spa days, they always know what to expect and when to expect it.

Then their employment ends, and that way of life is suddenly over for them. No more race days, no more sprint path, no more buddies, no more trainer. Their world has been turned upside down, and they land in your living room.

The degree of change cannot be overestimated for these gentle souls. When you first meet them, they are still in shock and really have no idea what's happened, they just know their world has been rocked. They try to carry on.

If they look around the room and see a crate, it's often the only familiar thing in the room. If they are really fortunate, there's another greyhound there, which will calm and soothe the newly retired racer. These are really the only two things that can cause them to feel like their world isn't over.

When we suggest getting two greyhounds, it's not because we want to move 2 greyhounds Into homes. When a newly retired greyhound sees another greyhound, it makes them feel all is still right with the world. Even a short visit can make a world of difference to your new hound's confidence.

Alone Training

Sometimes the transition from track to home goes very smoothly and a greyhound adapts quickly. Other times, it takes more work. The best thing you can do for your new greyhound is to train them how to be alone, if you have to leave them for extended periods every day. This does take some time, but it's an investment in having a happy and contented hound.

You can find resources and tips about Alone Training on our website and help in our Facebook groups. Simple things can also help. Having a friend drop by or hiring a dog walker for a mid day walk if you can't be there yourself can make a big difference while your new hound is learning. Leaving the radio or TV on for them can also help. And remember, most hounds do learn, it just takes some time. More tips can be found under RESOURCES and on our Facebook page.

If you aren't able to adopt two greyhounds, try finding a greyhound buddy to walk with. Check with one of our reps to see if you can set up a buddy walk with another newly retired hound.  If you can't find a greyhound buddy to walk with, try to find a walking buddy of another breed.

If you find your new greyhound "statues" during walks, it's not because they are stubborn.  It's because they are overwhelmed with all the new sights and sounds in their world.  Try making walks shorter, and if you can find a quieter area to walk in, that can help, too.

These suggestions can help the transition go more smoothly. As always, if you're having trouble or concerns, drop us a line. We're here to help.

 

About Fostering a Retired Racer for CGAP

Foster homes are the backbone of most greyhound adoption groups, and this holds true for CGAP in a big way.

The Work

Let's talk about the learning opportunities first. A greyhound off the track will need some minimal training. We don't require you to do extensive training (although there's nothing wrong with that if you'd like to), all we ask is some regular turnouts with praise when your foster hound does his business. Greyhounds are already crate trained from their previous employment, so really, all that's required is to transfer that training to apply to the whole house. Most ex-racers have little difficulty with house training.

A newly retired greyhound might disrupt your home schedule to a degree, depending on how he manages being alone for the first time in his life. If you have to go out all day, and you have no other pets to keep the foster greyhound company, you can expect some anxiety from your hound, in many cases. It takes a while to train a greyhound to be happy on their own, as they have always had company. We can help with that, but it does take some time. Some greyhounds never manage to be alone, and this is important information for us to have in order to make a placement that will work well for both the adoptive family and the hound.

A bit of leash work is sometimes required for happy walks, and an adjustment to a more urban style of walking. Some greyhounds make this adjustment very smoothly, others will need more practice. Again, this is information that's important for us to know. If a hound is very noise sensitive, we need to find a home that's willing to work with him over a period of time for his placement, either that or one that has a backyard, so that there are alternatives for elimination.

A hound's response to cats, smaller dogs and children is also important to know in many cases. If we have an idea of a greyhound's initial response to these things, we then have a better idea of how much work the adoptive family will need to do.

These issues are important ones for us to know about, and a foster home supplies that information. This makes the liklihood of a good fit for hound and family much higher.

The Upside

Our foster periods are usually quite brief, as we encourage adoptive families to treat the initial transition period of learning about pet life as a bonding experience. People who want pre-trained greyhounds are directed towards other groups.

Getting to spend time with a retired racer is a real treat, these are soulful, loving dogs that can be enchantingly quirky. Fostering is a way of having that experience without having to worry about paying for food or veterinary care, which CGAP covers for all fosters.

The rewarding feeling of helping a particular greyhound learn about pet life, and knowing that you facilitated this change for him or her, is indescribable. This is a rewarding experience that is matched by very few experiences in life. You have helped a hound to be part of a family, and made a difference for every person in that family as well, because without your work, we would not be able to adopt these hounds into loving, good fitting homes. This is what drives most of our foster families to do what they do.

Other foster duties will include things like hosting adoptive families to meet your foster greyhound, and doing some transport of your greyhound, whether to a prospective adoptive home or to a vet if he or she should need a visit(unusual).

If you think you would like to become one of our foster families, we have an online application you can fill out here: https://www.campgreyhound.ca/greyhound-foster/

 

 

CGAP's 1st Haul, November 30th 2017

We were so happy to receive our first haul of hounds on November 30 from ACT Greyhounds in Florida. Coney and Kallie were pre-adopted, and Fisher, Cutler, Sandy, Honey and Trooper all went into foster homes.  By Christmas, all were in adopted homes, learning how to be pets. Our foster parents, the backbone of our adoption program, did a wonderful job with these hounds! This first haul went very well, and we thank everyone for their support! We are looking forward to another haul soon!

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