Younger Or Older? The Greyhound Differences

A young greyhound is so very different to a regular greyhound (e.g. a one who has finished racing).

The young ones are usually cat workable or timid and often both – there will be a reason for this.  They may be shy, have no gumption, have no instinct, or are not fast enough.  Put simply, unless they are one of the above, or injured – they have failed.  They are not good enough to progress to racing greyhound standards – so they are rejected.  This is a huge benefit to the dog because he gets to be a loved pet much earlier in his life.  But it means he will behave differently to a middle aged dog.

Many of our dogs are failed racers – non racers and under 2 years old.

Regular Greyhounds

Greyhound racing is a business and focus is given to those who are successful – because those dogs will win races, and they will make money.  Ultimately that is their purpose in life.  A racing greyhound will have some experience of life; he will be used to being with people, used to loud noises and used to being out and about.  Some are still timid when the leave the industry – but most become pet dogs very easily.

Whilst they have no experience of home life – they have a lot of general life experience.  That makes most of them turn into laid back lazy couch potatoes within weeks of arriving in their pet home.

Young Greyhounds/Failed Racers/Cat Workable  

A young “failed racing” greyhound can be quite the opposite.  They may have had very little exposure to life, people and experiences.  They may not have been outside their racing kennel environment and some may not have spent much time outside their own actual kennel.  This means everything is new to them including traffic, other dogs, people, and life in general.  They may not even be used to being handled. In the right home, with the right amount of patience – these dogs will settle and become fabulous pets.  The tricky bit is how to settle them the correct way.

A failed racer is not simply a younger version of a greyhound who has finished racing. Some dogs may have been trialed, failed and sent to rescue – others may not have even started their training.  Some will never have seen outside their own kennel and paddock.

Often people want to adopt the regular greyhound so he is laid back, lazy and easy settle into domestic life – but they want a younger greyhound so he lives longer – or a one which is cat workable.  You rarely get it all, so:
  • An owner has to accept young age/cat status as a trade-off for having to put more effort into making the adoption work.
  • It goes without saying that they are younger so they are not the laid back and lazy greyhound you read about or that your friends may have. They may be unsettled, puppyish and need lots of walking.
  • Most of our young dogs will come from a foster home. But that home will have other dogs and those dogs will give the young dog confidence.  If you then adopt a dog to be an only dog – you have to expect extra problems and you will lots of need patience.

You cannot expect a young dog to come straight into your home and know the rules – and how to behave, especially if he is an only dog.  You have taken him out of his comfort zone, away from his friends and he is now alone, for the first time in his life.  It is up to his human family to help him settle into family life and overcome any fears.

How do you do that?

  • With patience – never force a dog to do anything he doesn’t want to or doesn’t understand how to. If in doubt leave them alone. This includes walking – a young dog will not be harmed if he is not walked for a week or so until he has started to settle. Forcing him to walk may terrify him.
  • With confidence, from all humans in the home. Greyhounds can be emotional sponges – they will pick up on and react to your stress and that will make them worse. If you worry – they worry  – so you worry more about them – and they get even more worried and so on and so on.  Be calm, be confident and be in control.
  • With low expectations of what your dog can do – think of him as a blank canvas and it’s the families’ job to create a masterpiece.
  • With bonding – start to slowly bond and build up trust before you have any other expectations. But don’t force him to take a treat or a cuddle.
  • With a safe space where your dog can go to relax – away from the noise of family life. The short term use of a crate can work –or behind the sofa, in the corner of the room, under the stairs – anywhere he will feel safer.
  • With group dog training – this will also help your confidence.
  • With fun – make life happy, fun and playful – but let them do it in their own time. They may even only start to play when you are not looking.  But if the toy has moved – playtime has happened. NEVER force them into playing.
If you don’t follow the advice you may end up with a dog who is VERY scared . And very scared dogs only have 1 way to defend themselves.  They bite. They are not guarding anything, they are not being naughty or aggressive – they are doing the only option left to them for protection.

Please consider: If you had always been ignored and you had never been loved – someone suddenly showing you lots of attention and affection would be very scary – no matter how good their intentions are.

The younger dogs do settle – and they do make amazing family pets.  Most can be trained to live with cats but we strongly suggest you to think before adoption.  Can you offer the dog the time and patience he needs whilst remaining calm yourself.

Please do not think a dog behaving perfectly in a foster home will be an easy option . You do still have to start from the beginning and put in the hard work.

If you do have the time and patience needed for the younger dogs then please complete our online adoption form.

Read how to cat train here.

Read about children and dogs here