Greyhound Hampshire Greyhound Rescue

Adopting a Greyhound

As a responsible charity it is only on rare occasions that we rehome greyhounds outside of the Hampshire, Berkshire, Surrey and Wiltshire area because we are unable to offer effective support to long-distance adopters.

Below are some of the frequently asked questions that those who are about adopt or want to know more about greyhounds often ask us. 

 

FAQs - click links for more info

 

 

Can I Meet Some Greyhounds First?

Yes and this can be achieved by either coming to one of the Meet

& Greets or by meeting up with us on a Sunday afternoon at Danebury Hill Fort for the regular walk around 2pm. This will give you the opportunity to talk with other greyhound owners who will give you the “Warts and All” stories and information about owning a greyhound.

I will warn you that Greyhounds are very, very addictive and you will quickly learn One is Never Enough! As part of the home check

we will always bring a couple of greyhounds with us for size considerations and also so that you can see how incredibly well behaved and “chilled out” they can be.

If none of these options are convenient, then we might be able to arrange for you to meet some greyhounds at one of the kennels however please just give us a call.

 

 

 

Are Greyhounds Child Friendly?

From our experience only very, very few greyhounds are not happy in the presence of children. This is one of the main reasons why the homecheck is so vital because we will only place greyhounds which are suitable for a family home.

The vast majority of greyhounds positively adore children, however they do need a quiet place to chill and children must be taught to respect that like all dogs, greyhounds can be possessive of food and their bed.

Children must know and abide by the “House Rules” and must give the greyhound the respect it deserves and not tease or tantalise.

We would always recommend that families should seriously consider

re-homing any dog with children under the age of three as based on our own experience, children of this age sometimes do not have the understanding of the dog’s needs.

As with any dog young children should never ever be left  alone in a room without an adult present.

 

 

Can Greyhounds be Rehomed with Cats & Small Animals?

In the majority of cases the answer is No, however we have rehomed over 50 greyhounds in homes with cats and rabbits.

The choice of suitable greyhounds regarding colour, age and sex is

therefore very limited and it can take a little time for us to find the suitable dog.

Where we feel a greyhound is suitable to be rehomed with cats we

undertake the initial training and will support the new owner in the training process.

Please always bear in mind whilst your greyhound will accept your

cats as part of the “Pack” this will not always apply to the cat next

door.

 

 

A Little Bit of Light Reading

As reference books we suggest you buy a copy of Adopting the Racing Greyhound by Cynthia Branigan or Anne Finch’s Pet Owners Guide to the Greyhound or Retired Racing Greyhounds for Dummies by Lee Livingood.

For families with young children we thoroughly recommend you read Childproofing Your Dog by Brian Kilcommons and Sarah Wilson.

For knowing what is going on between your greyhounds ears and to remedy behaviour issues two books which we highly recommend  are The Dog Listener by Jan Fennell &  Cesar Millan’s book, Cesar’s Way.

Most of the books are available from the library however they can also be brought online via Amazon.
Please read these books and keep them close by when we bring your Greyhound home.

 

 

Lead, Collar, Muzzle, Dog Tags & Micro-Chipping

The lead, collar and muzzle will be supplied by Hampshire Greyhound Rescue when they deliver the greyhound to you.

By law a dog must wear a collar and dog tags at all times.  We suggest two collars, one a martingale type house collar which is comfortable for the greyhound to wear most of the time and a fish tail collar which should be used when taking your greyhound for a walk.

As the neck of a greyhound is often wider than head the fish tail collar is designed so as to prevent the dog slipping out of it.  We will show you how to properly fit this type of collar when we deliver the greyhound to you.

Whilst on the subject of muzzles until you have fully socialised and can trust your greyhound in the company of other dogs it is recommended that you muzzle the dog.  Although it can be off putting it is better to be safe than sorry.  A muzzle will be essential if you have a cat or small dog in your home until they get used to each others presence.
 
A Name Tag which should have your name, address and telephone number. (Do not put the dogs name on the tag as greyhounds will quite happily trot off with a stranger as soon as their name called)

We can arrange to have the greyhound micro-chipped which from experience is the ideal way of a lost greyhound finding its way home.

ALWAYS have a microchip collar tag on both day and fishtail collars at all times as this does deter thieves.

 

 

Water & Food Bowls and Stands

You will need two large bowls ideally made of stainless steel, we will tell you why in a moment, one will be for food and one for water.

As Greyhounds have long legs and a long neck they can suffer from a condition called bloat which is extremely dangerous, to counteract this, the bowls should therefore be raised off the ground by about twelve inches.

Now the reason for stainless steel bowls, you can purchase a customised stand, but we improvised by buying plastic waste paper baskets and filling the bottom third with sand (for stability) because the stainless steel bowls are lipped they will sit quite snugly into the top of the waste paper baskets and the food and water is safe and secure.

Greyhounds can be exceptionally messy eaters so a plastic mat will help in keeping the mess to a minimum.

Always  ensure your greyhound has access to clean freshwater  at all times and that  the water is refreshed at least three times daily  and more often during the hot summer months.

 

 

Food & Treats (inc Bones)

During the home check our representative will let you know what type of food you will need to feed your greyhound and the amount per day.

When racing, greyhounds are fed on a high protein diet which has the consistency of a bread pudding mix, whilst every morsel is eaten unfortunately this diet plays havoc with their teeth.

We therefore will recommend a dry complete food which has a lower protein content, is gluten free and less likely to cause diarrhoea.

Initially we suggest you purchase only a 2 or 3 kg bag of food so that if your dog’s digestive system is upset you are not left with a large bag of food. 

Incidentally greyhounds are notorious for wind or “botty burp” problems and if your greyhound is clearing the room without even blinking an eye then the diet is over rich.

If you intend to reward your greyhound for good behaviour with treats etc, we have found that the dry gravy bones or dog biscuits are ideal.  From our experience the processed packaged “Reward” sticks and strips can, because of colourings and ingredients cause wind and diarrhoea.

If, in the first few days of coming home your greyhound suffers from diarrhoea please give us a call, sometimes this is stress related and will settle down over a couple of days.

If your greyhound is off its food for a day or so or is suffering from diarrhoea we will recommend you to starve the greyhound for twelve to twenty four hours and then feed with a number of small meals of either boiled fish or chicken with rice or pasta.  Please ensure your greyhound has plenty to drink and does not dehydrate.

At all times fresh water must be freely available to your greyhound, this includes during the night.

Bones

Raw beef knuckle or marrow bones are good for your dog’s teeth and satisfy the chewing urge. It is recommended these be chewed out of doors.

You can also purchase white sterilised bones from Wilkinsons and pet stores and these can be chewed indoors without too much mess.

Please heed the advice that a dog will defend its bone to the last so must not be disturbed.

 

 

Dog Bed, Sofas & Settees

Greyhounds are very easy to please in that they stretch out and therefore all you will need is a single duvet folded in half.  The bonus being that the polyester filled ones are easy to wash and keep clean on a regular basis.

    A greyhound home has normally numerous duvets

    spread out throughout the house.  There is usually

    one folded duvet upstairs and another scattered       

    normally in front of a fire or near a radiator

    downstairs.

   One tip is that a greyhound will not always want to

   sleep where you want them to, especially if you have

   a noisy or busy household, the trick is to find a quiet

   spot where they can chill out.  Normally greyhounds

   will show you within the first couple of hours where

   their preferred spots are.

  Please bear in mind that in a kennel the greyhound’s

  bed is raised and so can look like a settee, sofa or bed so if you intend to let your dog onto a settee or sofa please bear in mind that this can be a conflict area once the dog has settled into its new home. 

If it is a house rule that the dog is not allowed on furniture then the rule must be adhered rigidly to by all the family.

Also lastly when undertaking a long journey you will be able to throw the duvet in the back of the car and your greyhound will snuggle down and you will not hear a peep out of them for the whole journey.

 

 

House Rules

With a family especially with children it is important to set down house rules from day one so that not only are they aware of their responsibilities but also the greyhound is not confused by mixed messages.

Insist that on no account should the greyhound be disturbed or bothered when he is sleeping or resting on his bed, or eating anything! They will defend what they consider theirs!

Always remind all family members to make sure all outside doors closed and secured and that gates are closed and locked at all times.

Please be aware that greyhounds are the worst dogs for thieving food and any unattended food will be gone in a flash.  So all kitchen worksurfaces and tables should be food free unless you want a greyhound filling itself on those lovely cream cakes.

All rubbish bins should have secure lids or stored in a secure place.

We homed a greyhound that could open a fridge door, help itself to cheesy dunkers, a pint of prawns and a birthday cake and then had the audacity to shut the fridge door after he had finished his little snack.

Toilet & Bathroom doors shut or least ensure that toilet seat lids are down.  Running around can be such thirsty work.

Greyhounds quite regularly have a mad five minutes so please ensure that all valuable items are placed out of reach and away from possible damage.

 

 

Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety can be quite a common and complex problem that affects a good many newly rehomed greyhounds, however but we will be on hand to help you and your greyhound.

Separation anxiety can manifest itself in a number of ways i.e. chewing & destructiveness, urinating & defecating, barking & whining.

As I mentioned before greyhounds are like most dogs, a pack animal, and can get extremely stressed when the pack leaves to go shopping, school etc. In the pack environment the leader of the pack will come and go without making a fuss or greeting when it returns. Yes, I know you are happy to see the dog when you come home but please resist the urge to make a fuss until you have got your coat off, greeted your human nearest dearest etc etc. You will be amazed that after a minute of the dog bouncing around you when you first get home how it, when it gets no response from you, will settle down and go and lay down.

Only then should you call the dog over to you to have a right royal fuss which you have wanted. By you adopting this behaviour you are reinforcing the dog’s position in the pack and a chilled and contented dog is one who has no responsibilities or worries.

Hard as it is our advice is to leave the dog alone within the first two hours of it coming home. This first session should only last 30 seconds to minute, ideally just walk out your front door and come back through the back door, importantly make no fuss whatsoever. This should be done two or three times every hour during the first couple of days gradually increasing the time that the dog is left on its own. Your dog will soon learn that it does not have to worry as you always come back.

Incidentally we always recommend you take three or four days holiday, like a long weekend, to settle your dog, however do not fall into the trap of having the dog come home during the school holidays when everyone is about 24/7. Your dog will come to expect it and it will come as a big shock when the new term begins and everyone disappears.

Even before your dog comes home please give some thought as to where your dog will sleep at night.
Many people are happy to have their dogs sleeping on their dog beds in bedrooms others are not so happy with those arrangements. Please discuss with our representative your plans for where the dog will sleep at night.

Separation anxiety problems are easily solved and we have not failed yet although compromises may have to be made.

 

 

House Training

In kennels greyhounds are regularly put out into paddocks to do their “business” and it is in their nature to be clean. Although not strictly house trained a greyhound will quickly learn that the garden is like the paddock.

The first part of formal house training comes when your greyhound first comes home.
Initially we will not let the dog into your home until it has “performed” in the garden. By doing this the dog will have then left its scent in the garden and is therefore more likely to return to that spot to refresh the scent.

Greyhound boys are more likely to try and scent indoors but we will show you how to prevent this.

If in the first few days your greyhound does have an accident then unless caught in the act it is totally pointless in chastising the dog. As with most dog training it is a case of praising the positive and ignoring negative.

Puppy training pads can be very useful for the first couple of weeks, when the risk of 'accidents' will be highest, by which time your greyhound will become used to your routine and you will have become aware of their 'signals' that they need to go out.

A good tip is that after clearing up accidents be it pooh or wee clean all surfaces with a good strong disinfectant and rinse. Once this has been completed using a spray bottle with a mixture of 1 part white vinegar to 12 parts water spray a fine mist over the offending area. This will effectively kill off any remaining scent left by the dog and therefore lessen the chance of then spraying over the same spot again.

 

Poop Scoops & Bags

Please bear in mind that it is your duty as a responsible greyhound owner to pick up after your dog. It is totally unacceptable to leave your dog’s deposits behind for someone else especially a child to then step onto.

Most councils have hefty fines for irresponsible owners who let their dogs foul pavements or public place i.e. parks and do not pick up.

We use nappy sacks in place of poop scoop bags which can be quite expensive especially with 4 dogs.

By the way if your greyhound has a loose motion on your lawn first cover it with cat litter, leave for 5 minutes, you are then be able to easily pick up the offending deposit.

 

 

Coats

As a rule of thumb if the weather is cold or wet enough for you to wear a coat then your greyhound should be coated as well.

We can highly recommend a company who can make can make a made to measure cold weather coat which is also showerproof. They can also make lightweight raincoats as well as some very striking and beautiful martingale house collars. All the coats are incredibly well made, excellent value for money and considerably cheaper and superior to those found in the pet stores.

Some older greyhounds can feel the cold at night especially during the winter months and we would recommend a fleecy type sleep coat.

 

Patio & Glass Doors

A year or so ago one of the greyhounds we rehomed nearly broke her neck trying to run through a patio door, luckily she only suffered severe bruising but she had to be sedated for over a week.

Until a greyhound has got used to his or her new surroundings it is always a good idea to put transfers or large X’s made with masking tape, at the same height as your greyhound eye line on any patio or glass doors.

You can also put pieces of furniture directly in front of glass panels so that in both cases so the greyhound does not try and run through the glass window or doors until they learn that this is a hard immovable surface.

 

 

Vets, Insurance and Healthcare

Although not mandatory, we will always recommend that you take out pet insurance. It pays to shop around and often a good deal can be had when combining household, car and pet insurance.

Always check the upper age limits and see if there are any exclusions because some policies will not insure pets over 10 years old etc.

Expect to pay a premium of around £15-£25 per month.

Always arrange for the insurance to commence the day your greyhound comes home as certain exclusions and qualifying periods need to be completed.

Once the insurance is in place you will at least have the peace of mind knowing that illness or injury can be treated no matter what the cost.

Check out your local vets and choose a vet who has worked with greyhounds. Don’t be afraid to ask “How much experience do you have with Greyhounds" or “Do any of your other clients have Greyhounds?”

Another good question to ask is whether they are familiar with the recommended guidelines for using anaesthesia with greyhounds.

If for any reason you are ill at ease with any of the answers given then perhaps now is the time to change to another Vet.

If your greyhound suffers a broken leg etc or serious injury please do not hesitate to contact us as quickly as possible. We have direct contact with two of the top greyhound vets in the UK and not only is their treatment well proven it is also considerably cheaper.

In the food section I mentioned teeth. It is always a good idea to have a dental check up as part of you greyhound’s annual health check. Some dogs seem to get plaque build up very rapidly and this can lead to mouth infection. If not treated this can lead to more serious infections in other parts of the body.

We normally have our greyhounds lightly sedated and our vet will give their teeth a scrape & polish and trim nails.

Many greyhounds are used to having their teeth brushed with a dog toothpaste so, if your greyhound can be persuaded to let you, then do it twice weekly.

Although greyhounds because of their fine coat feel the cold more so than other breeds, they are more in danger when the hot days of summer come along.

Greyhounds often suffer with heatstroke and so only walk your greyhound in the cool of the early morning or evening.

If your greyhound does suffer with the heat then wrap them in soaking wet towels in the first instance and get them to the vet as soon as possible.

Worming Tablets (Drontal) and Spot On Flea Treatments (Stronghold or Frontline) should always be purchased through your vet.

You will need a pair nail clippers for nail clipping, the ideal ones are those with a back plate which will prevent over trimming and accidental exposure of the nerve endings & blood vessels.

Due their short coat the easiest way for both grooming and stimulating the coat is by the use of a “Zoom Groom” which is a rubber brush with large conical teeth. The Zoom Groom highly effective in stripping out the dead coat and grooming the new coat to a shine.

For that extra special shine especially for black greyhounds is a final rub over with a damp chamois leather and a velvet cloth which will have your greyhound looking like a Derby champion.

 


Toys & Playing

Getting your greyhound to play can be difficult as most have never had the chance to interact with humans in this way. 

Normally a game of chase or running after a ball is, once a greyhound has "switched on", one of their favourite games.

   Please be aware that plastic toys with a squeaker are often

   used when training greyhounds and this can lead to over

   excitement, so caution required.

   If you have a local charity shop buy an old soft toy and watch

   the reaction of your greyhound they will either try and rip it

   apart or it will become their comforter.

   Some of the biggest macho greyhounds can often be seen

   surrounded by cuddly toys, there is no set rule.

   Greyhounds will often collect up shoes, socks, pants, even

   candlesticks and take them to their beds please take care as

   all dogs can be very possessive over items on their bed.

  The rule is to call the dog off its bed and then remove the collected items.

A good number of greyhounds love playing with tennis balls which are both light & large enough to carry and run with.

We have even managed to get our Doris to return it to us which is not always the case.

 

 

Small Animals & The Desire To Chase

One has to remember that racing greyhounds have had a very sheltered life, in that normally they will have only seen other greyhounds and adults. They will not have met other dogs or small animals.

Coupled with that fact, they have the in-bred instinct to chase so it does take a great deal of time & effort to curb this desire.

In fact, no matter how well trained your greyhound, there is good chance that if there is a rabbit on the horizon (and this could be on the far horizon), this training is instantly forgotten.

Most greyhounds will quickly learn that there are different dogs of all shapes and sizes and, from our own experience, this will take on average about six months to achieve.

There will be greyhounds, especially those with a high chase drive, who will never ever accept that there are other dogs other than greyhounds. We have, however, had much success through clicker training.

The rule must be “better be safe than sorry “ so in this respect it is far better to muzzle your greyhound if you are in the least unsure or worried as to how they will react in the company of small dogs & animals.

Another point to remember is that whilst other dogs will run after cats and other small animals they do not normally catch them. A greyhound, on the other hand, can out accelerate a cheetah and reach a top speed of 45 mph. Therefore there is a greater chance of a small animal not being able to escape.

At night if you are unsure if next doors cat is hiding in your garden please muzzle your dog and make a lot of noise before letting the dog loose. It does save bitter recriminations later. The cat will quickly learn to give your garden a wide berth.

 


Walks

Contrary to popular belief, greyhounds do not need long walks or vast amounts of exercise. If your hobby is walking then your greyhound’s stamina can be built up over a couple of months. In fact we know of a couple of greyhounds who undertake long treks over Dartmoor.

For a normal greyhound, two, yes, two 20 minute walks per day are sufficient.

Be warned you can overdo the distance bit and there is a good chance that your greyhound will flop down and refuse to move!! Our Molly was very prone to do this and it took a good 20 minutes before she would move herself.

Please heed the advice about not walking you greyhound in hot weather. They can suffer from heat stroke very rapidly. Always have a source of water available.

Greyhounds are normally superb when lead walking but occasionally we do get one that pulls. In such a case we will normally have started training to break the habit. Incidentally, when meeting for a group walk, your normally placid greyhound can pull like the very devil.

If your greyhound does pull then we recommend the combined use of a harness and a fishtail collar which will curtail the trait.

Until your greyhound has been fully socialised and is happy in the presence of other dogs etc then we recommend that the greyhound be muzzled.

From our experience problems normally arise when your greyhound is on the lead and another dog, who more often than not is off lead, then rushes up and into the face of your greyhound. This often the recipe for your greyhound to defend itself and ask questions later.

With regard to walking routes try to alter them frequently. This will keep your greyhound interested with new places to sniff. If possible part of the walk should be on a hard surface (tarmac or pavement). This will help keep nails from growing too quickly.

 

Letting Your Greyhound Off Lead

I am a great advocate in letting your greyhound have a run off lead but this must take place under strictly controlled conditions and in a safe environment. It should not be attempted until your greyhound has been with you for at least 6-9 months.

Before even contemplating letting your greyhound run off    

lead you should fulfil the following conditions:

Have perfect recall of your greyhound - and I mean perfect.

The greyhound must be muzzled when off lead.

 

Your dog must completely socialised with other dogs.

Off lead exercise should initially be done alone or with other
muzzled greyhounds known to your dog & not any other breed of dog.

The field must be small enough i.e 100 x100 metres for you to see
the dog at all times.

Most importantly the field must be completely fenced with a good
secure chainlink fence.

 

Remember that if your greyhound sees a rabbit or small animal it will chase and despite all your efforts the dog may not heed your calls to come back.

There is no doubt your greyhound will love a free run but this must be carried out responsibly to ensure that no danger can come to either your greyhound or any other animal.

 

Socialisation & Dog Training Classes

Greyhounds by nature are extremely sociable animals and it is only a very few who are not tolerant of other breeds of dogs. It is vitally important that your greyhound gets to meet other dogs in a controlled environment. This is best done with your greyhound being muzzled and, in the first instance, walking through parks etc where he or she will see other dogs. You will then be able to gauge their reaction.

Again, if you need help, please contact us.

The next step is to introduce your greyhound, again wearing a muzzle, to friends with their dogs especially the larger breeds. Over the next couple of weeks keep introducing your greyhound to smaller and smaller dogs. Believe me some of the most feisty dogs stand only a couple of inches off the ground!

It will only take a few weeks for a greyhound to come to terms with the new doggy world. Then it will be time to seek out some training classes. We do have the names of some very successful trainers who have a good deal of experience in training dogs of all breeds & temperaments. Unfortunately because of their success there sometimes is a waiting list to join.

The majority of greyhounds are very quick to learn and we know of two or three greyhounds who have reached the dizzy heights of being PAT dogs & attaining Good Citizen Awards.

Incidently the one thing most greyhounds will not do is to sit. This is a very uncomfortable position for them because of their long legs and therefore it is easier to use the “down” command and get them to lie down.