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.
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.
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".
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.