Arriving Home With Your New Greyhound or Lurcher.
Most of our greyhounds (and some lurchers) may never have been in a home before. To help you settle them in, we would like to remind you of the common characteristics of these dogs, and give some additional house and garden safety tips to help the early days / weeks with your new hound go as smoothly as possible.
These tips are in addition to the advice you will receive in our adoption pack, which will include the following:
- reminders you to keep your dog muzzled until you are sure about his behaviour around other dogs, and on a lead until you are confident about recall and have attended training classes;
- cat training advice;
- child safety advice; and
- advice against the use of flexi leads.
It is important to remember that most of our greyhounds have been living in kennels as part of the racing industry. They tend to be sensitive, delicate and clueless. They have legs that go faster than their brains and intelligence is not normally a characteristic. This is what we love about these funny, lazy, affectionate dogs, but even the most experienced dog owner will be surprised by the greyhound. We often hear things like ‘only a greyhound’ and ‘greyhounds need their own manual’- so don’t rely on your previous experience with other breeds.
Our lurchers will normally have been straying before coming to KGR. We will tell you as much as we know about your dog, but they are typically loving, lively, clever and athletic. If they have been living as a stray they may feel quite self-sufficient and think nothing of hopping over a fence, or out of a window, just to see what is on the other side. These characteristics mean that these safety tips are important for them too during the initial bonding and settling in period.
Don’t forget to activate your free (4 weeks) insurance as soon as you collect your new dog and read through the advice in your adoption pack carefully.
In the garden
- When you arrive home, go straight through the house into the garden and encourage him to go to the toilet. This is his first important toilet training lesson and it avoids him marking when he investigates his new home. See our website for more toilet training advice.
- Make sure your new dog is always supervised (and preferably on the lead) in the garden for two to three days. This lets him get used to his surroundings, learn where everything is and bond to your family. Use your common sense – and if your dog is nervous keep him on the lead for longer. If your dog is very nervous or very athletic, you may have been advised to keep him on the lead in the garden (or not to leave him alone in the garden unsupervised) for a longer period.
- If cats visit your garden, you may wish to muzzle your new dog until they have learned to avoid your garden.
- Glass doors / windows in sun rooms or patio doors can pose an accident risk to your dog. It is recommended that you put a frosted / patterned vinyl covering (or even a masking tape cross) on the lower parts of the glass to ensure your dog can see it from either direction, and not run into the glass. Even if you have had dogs living with you before, don’t expect your greyhound / lurcher to behave in the same way.
In the house
- Some dogs may not have used stairs before and might be afraid of climbing the internal stairs in your home. Once your dog has settled in you can (should you wish!) teach him to climb the stairs using treats to encourage him up, one step at a time. A second adult (standing carefully) behind to stop him dashing backwards is helpful. Take your time and don’t force him. A really good treat, like ham or cheese is best. Call us for more advice if you have problems.Going down the stairs is tricky for your dog. Hold his collar by your side in a ‘handbag hold’ and encourage him to come with you down the stairs while you support him. Don’t let him go down the stairs without holding his collar, until he has the hang of it. Some dogs will try to take too many steps at once.Most dogs find carpeted stairs easier than wood. If you have polished wood stairs (or other hard surface) you may need to put carpet down. Outside, they normally seem to manage fine.
- Occasionally dogs struggle to walk on hard floors, such as laminate, or ceramic tiles. If your dog is nervous, just give him time and encouragement. Most get accustomed to the new surface and learn to cope just fine. Occasionally, mats or hallway ‘runner’ carpets may be necessary while your dog learns to keep a leg in each corner.
- Most dogs just cannot resist investigating bins. Even recycling bins can reveal a yogurt pot with a calorie hidden in the bottom! Raiding bins can result in injuries from sharp surfaces, or they may eat harmful or poisonous items. Make sure bins are locked, are out of reach, or are safely kept in a cupboard. Be careful with outdoor bins too – for example, the food recycling bin/caddy is often easy to open and the bacteria growing on food inside is very dangerous for dogs.
- Not all human food is safe for your dog to eat. Before you leave your dog alone in the house, make sure food is out of reach. It is a good idea to keep food off the surfaces, and if you do not have a kitchen door to close the dog out, you may want to consider child locks on cupboards. Do some research on the types of food that can be harmful to your dog. Chocolate, some bones, grapes, and raisins are the obvious ones.
- Should you wish to bath your dog, it is normally best to let him settle in for a few days first. Make sure you have an assistant to hold the dog and you are advised to put a towel on the bottom of the bath or shower to help avoid falls. Don’t let the water get too warm – greyhounds can faint!
- It may seem obvious, but we must also remind you to make sure you (and your guests) keep windows (including upstairs windows) and doors closed. Your dog may try to dash out of a door that is left open, or even jump out of a window.
Finally……lots of things may be strange to your new dog when he arrives home – like TVs, washing machines and mirrors – so have your camera on hand to catch some funny reactions. It is lovely to see them investigate and get used to their new surroundings and we are always amazed at how quickly the dogs relax and find their bed.