You’ve been to the adoption group - posh lead and collar in hand - and your new pet is now gazing excitedly out of your car window, on his way home.
But what next?
Greyhounds are naturally very biddable and want nothing more than to please you and be ‘good’. You can make their transition to home life easier by being clear on what you want from them.
For example, letting them away with sleeping in your bed for a few nights, then insisting they go to their own bed will feel like a punishment! They will wonder why their ‘privilege’ has been taken away and will fret about it.
If the bed is out of bounds, make it clear from day one by taking them gently off it and saying ‘Down!’ in a clear authoritative voice. Be Consistent..
Click on the image below to download a copy of the code of practice.
On arriving home on that very first day, bring your greyhound through the house on his lead and out to the garden, wait for him while he pees and praise him. Now he knows that this is where he is expected to ‘go’.
Lead him back indoors and over to his bed, then take his lead off and ignore him while he sniffs about and explores his new home. After his innate nosiness has been satisfied, he will be thoroughly exhausted and will decide that it’s time to take his new bed for a ‘test nap’.
The first few days will be very exciting for you, your family and your new pet. You will get to know each other and get used to having a new, lazy, hairy, family member! Here are some tips on how to care for your new pet, but first, allow us to answer the most common first-time-pet-greyhound-owner question:
“No, there’s nothing wrong with him and yes, it’s perfectly normal for greyhounds to sleep that much!
The fastest way to a greyhound’s heart is through his tummy. Any dog loves treats but greyhounds REALLY love treats! Don’t overdo it, though, as an overweight greyhound is an unhappy, unhealthy, short-lived greyhound.
The single most important aspect of a greyhound’s diet is protein. During their racing career, greyhounds are given a diet with protein levels of 28% or even higher. This is fine when they are training and racing competitively, but can be harmful to a sedentary dog.
Your pet greyhound should be given meals based on a dry, complete dog food of no more than 20% protein maximum. If you can get one with 18% protein, even better. You will be advised on how much dry feed should be given, appropriate to your pet’s weight, by your adoption group.
Of course, any dog would get terribly bored with the same old thing, day in, day out. Try the ‘something yummy’ rule for variety.
ONE of these
Splash of hot water to mix.
Make sure your pet has something to chew that will help him keep his teeth clean. Yoghurt a few times a week will keep his tummy right and his breath nice.
The most important place in your greyhound's world is his bed. He will definitely be spending a lot of quality time here.
The best sort of bed is a duvet, folded in half. These are easy to clean, you can get dark coloured covers and your greyhound can easily drag it to a sunnier spot if he chooses. The large basin shaped plastic beds are also perfect but there is really no need to get one unless you choose to. Wherever your greyhound sleeps, it must be nice and soft under his bony body!
Once you welcome your pet greyhound into your life, you will quickly discover that you become obsessed about fancy collars, especially when you see the range available on the Internet!
Whether you decide on plain fabric, leather, or pink with hearts on, make sure your greyhounds’ collar is wide and comfortable. Greyhounds have sensitive necks and not much cushioning body fat, so thin collars aren’t as comfortable.
Martingale collars are by far the best buy where greyhounds are concerned. Wide and comfortable, they have a loop on them which pulls the collar more snugly when a lead is clipped on and loosens when the lead is taken off.
Grooming is a great way to reinforce the loving bond between you and your pet. Use a rubber grooming mitt to shake out their ‘kennel fur’ which they won’t need in a warm home. Naturally non-shedding, you’ll find that, once their kennel fur is gone, you’ll only need to groom them out of closeness and affection, rather than necessity.
Greyhounds are very loving and affectionate. You’ll find that they like to pop their noses under your arm to tell you to start petting! Sometimes, a greyhound will ‘nibble’ you. This is a very loving grooming gesture which might pinch a little bit but means ‘I LOVE YOU!’Things to Watch Out For.
Once they settle in, many greyhounds take to ‘borrowing’ articles from the house to hide in their bed. This most ‘greyhoundy’ of traits is so that they can have your scent with them, even when you aren’t there. Beware - underclothes are a particular favourite!
When they’re REALLY comfortable, greyhounds flip onto their backs with their paws in the air like a dead spider! This undignified pose is usually accompanied by a toothy ‘greyhound grin’. This looks uncomfortable, ridiculous and scary but means ‘I am SO comfy! How great is this!
Your greyhound will arrive home to you neutered, fully vaccinated and micro-chipped. Booster vaccinations and health and dental checks should be carried out annually, from the sixth month after your greyhound comes to live with you.
Annual health checks are important, as they will assure you that your pet stays healthy as he gets older and will give you an early indication of any problems, should they arise.
One additional extra every pet owner should consider is pet insurance. You may never need it but should anything happen to your beloved pet, at least you will be spared the worry of what treatment would cost.
The Irish Retired Greyhound Trust has teamed up with Allianz to offer greyhounds adopted through Irish Retired Greyhound Trust supported groups discounted cover with Petplan. For further information, please see http://www.allianz.ie/Pet-Insurance/.