Are You Ready To Adopt A Greyhound?

So, you want to adopt a Greyhound, but what's life with a retired racer really like? Well, I wouldn't be without mine. They're the most loving, even-tempered and regal dogs I've ever had the good fortune to meet. And all of my houndie friends would agree.

However, there may be the odd teething problem in the beginning. Please don't be put off by some of the 'horror stories' you may have read while doing your research. It can be a challenge introducing any new family member - even a new baby.

On the plus side, if you do adopt a 'difficult' Grey, you'll have loads of funny stories to tell your friends.

For the most part Greyhounds are like any other dog, but they do have some quirks that are typical of the breed.

Like all dogs they need to be fed well, walked, groomed and loved. Unlike other dogs, many Greyhounds have never been in a home before they're adopted.

Radley snoozingBe prepared to lose your sofa

Introducing an adult dog to a home is a very different experience to introducing a puppy. 

Learning The Ropes

You have to remember that many Greys have never encountered some of the surfaces they may have to walk on in a house, or even outside.

When Radley first came home he refused to go into the kitchen. It was the first time he'd ever stepped on lino and he was afraid he might slip. A very real possibility with those long legs (I'm thinking Bambi on ice here :o).

Stairs can be another issue, and here's where you really start to notice the difference between an adult dog and a puppy. Carrying a 30+kg Greyhound down a flight of stairs is nothing like helping a puppy get back down. Yes, it has happened, many times. Greys find getting up steps much easier than getting down.

House Training

Greyhounds like to be clean and would prefer not to relieve themselves indoors. However, they don't know how to ask to go out yet. In the kennels they're taken outside for exercise and toilet breaks and they will need you to do the same until they've learned to ask.

We took Yogi out every two hours in the beginning. After meals is always a good time too.

We were lucky because we never had any accidents during the night. He had his last toilet break at about 10.30pm and his first in the morning at about 6am. Some hounds can't wait that long though, so patience is the order of the day.

We only ever had one accident with Yogi but it was a corker. It was my own fault as I was cooking in the kitchen and had forgotten to take him for his break. I'd just put the water on to boil for the veggies and I walked into the lounge to see him with his leg cocked and a stream of pee hitting the fan. It just had to be on high, of course.

Fortunately a firm, 'Yogi, no!' stopped him mid-stream and I was able to lead him outside to finish off.

I'll leave the result of that little incident to your imagination.

Some hounds learn faster than others but the key is time and patience.

Greyhounds are sensitive dogs and do not respond well to raised voices or punishment.

If you plan to adopt a Greyhound lots of love and reward-based training is the way to go.

Table Manners

Another important thing to remember when you adopt a Greyhound is that the only food a racing Grey has ever had access to is what has been given to him. So, to him, any food he can reach is his.

Who stole the cheese?It wasn't me
Yogi begging for foodBut why is it not mine?

Yes, that means the tuna sandwich you only took your eye off for a second, or the dozen eggs you thought were out of reach up on the microwave, or even the mug of coffee on the side table. If he can get to it, it's fair game.

Again, time and patience (and keeping all food out of reach until he's learned what's his and what's not) will reap rewards. Oh, and speaking of keeping food out of reach, that means the bin too.

A dear friend of ours had a hound who popped his head into the bin and swallowed two hot teabags. To add insult to injury the bin lid got stuck on his head. 

She freed him from the bin and called the vet, who advised to check his mouth for burns (there were none) and keep an eye on him.

He was fine but, a couple of hours later, he threw up half a gallon of 'tea' and two empty teabags - all over their lovely cream carpet. Hound 1 - carpet 0.

For some really good advice on training your retired racer I like Lee Livingood's approach. Lee is the author of Retired Racing Greyhounds For Dummies.

Quirks You May Encounter When You Adopt A Greyhound

The first time Ammy met a houndie was at a Lincolnshire Greyhound Trust meet and greet just before Christmas 2011.

She was so excited to see them but was worried that, even though they were all wrapped up in their winter coats, they still seemed to be cold.

She rang me to tell me about it and I couldn't stop laughing. I said, "They weren't cold, they were happy to see you."

Yes, a happy Greyhound does this lovely little thing called chattering. It's just like our teeth chattering when we're cold, only they do it when they're happy or excited. Yogi's not much of a chatterer but Radley did it all the time. At meal times, when I got him ready for his walk and even in his sleep.

If you adopt a Greyhound there's no avoiding the Greyhound Scream Of Death. It's not a matter of if, but when, and you will never forget the first time you hear the GSOD!

My first experience was when I was out walking Radley at Doe Park Resevoir near Denholme, West Yorkshire. Now, Doe Park is at least half a mile from Denholme but I'm sure he woke everyone in the village that morning.

One minute he was happily trotting alongside me and and the next there was this shriek from hell. I was convinced I'd turn round and see a lioness on his back with her jaws clamped round his neck (I grew up in Africa) but, oh no. There he was, paw in the air, look of sheer horror on his face and... a blade of grass between his toes.

Yes, a mere blade of grass. Such drama queens, but oh so adorable.

In total contrast, he once ripped his dew claw off and the first we knew about it was blood all over the sofa. His entire 'thumb' was gone and not a hoot - there's no fathoming them, but we love them all the same.

Ready to adopt a Greyhound now? Go to our Adopt a Greyhound page and find your nearest re-homing organisation.

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