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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