Adjustment

THE ADJUSTMENT PERIOD
The length of time it takes your Greyhound to become … Click here to read more

THE UP’s AND DOWN’s OF STAIRS
Teaching your greyhound how to walk up and down stairs … Click here to read more

HOUSEBREAKING 101
Crate training is the most effective way to … Click here to read more

SCHEDULING HELPS!
Feed at set times and walk your greyhound … Click here to read more

SWEET FREEDOM
Once your pet does urinate and defecate outside … Click here to read more

SEPARATION ANXIETY
Many new adopters, whether it’s their first … Click here to read more

POSITIVE TRAINING TECHNIQUES
The most effective way to train your greyhound … Click here to read more

HELP MY DOG IS LOST!!
When you discover your dog is lost the following … Click here to read more

 

THE ADJUSTMENT PERIOD

The length of time it takes your Greyhound to become accustomed to and relaxed in your home can vary tremendously. Some will walk right in and act as if they had lived in your house all their lives, other’s will be afraid of everything. The majority fall somewhere in the middle. Remember to be sympathetic to your new family member’s situation he/she has had a traumatic upheaval the routine of track or farm life and it may take him some time to adjust.

It has been said that bringing a retired racer into a home for the first time is like dropping you or me on top of a mountain in Tibet, EVERYTHING is new and different, the food, the people, the sights, sounds and smells.  As you can imagine your new family member has a lot to learn, so naturally it can be a bit frightening.  But in all except for the rare worst cases, a few weeks (often just a few days) of patience and understanding will get you and your hound through it and soon your new pet will grasp what you expect from him.

Don’t be surprised if a hound you were told was playful and friendly seems to be subdued for a while when he arrives in your home.  Greyhound personalities tend to “blossom” over the first few months at home, even if they seem perfectly relaxed right from the beginning.  As they begin to relax and feel secure with you, they’ll let more and more facets of their character shine through.  This can be good and bad.  A dog who started out on his best behavior in an effort to fit in may let his “rascally” side begin to show during this period.  But if you have consistently but lovingly established from day one that YOU are the top dog and that there are rules he must learn and obey, you shouldn’t have much trouble.

Many Greyhound owners thoroughly enjoy watching their initially quiet dog turn into a bit of a scamp. Just be careful not to let it get out of hand.  Remember, there is a whole network of people willing and ready to help with whatever problems might arise. All you have to do is ask.   As your greyhound becomes more secure with his new home and begins to trust you, you’ll see his personality emerging.  He might steal your possessions and hide them, or smile at you when you come home, or start demanding access to the softest spots in the house.  These are all signs that your greyhound is adjusting and that you now have a confident new member of your household.

Because Greyhounds have lived in kennels and on farms all their lives, things we take for granted as “every day” will be new and sometimes scary to them. Few have ever had to negotiate stairs.  Ceiling fans, linoleum floors, sliding glass doors and any number of other things can present challenges to them. If you have sliding glass doors you should get several vinyl decals and stick them on the doors at the dog’s eye level until he learns the glass is there. Many Greyhounds have been injured by trying to go through glass they didn’t realize was there.

Greyhounds adopted through GEM will have been in foster care prior to being adopted.  This means that they have had the opportunity to be introduced to many of the things they will encounter while living in a home like television, sliding glass doors, children, stairs, cars, cats, etc. They may not have experiences with all of these things since each foster home is different but they will have had at least some basic work with crating, feeding on a schedule and housebreaking.

THE UP’s AND DOWN’s OF STAIRS

Teaching your greyhound how to walk up and down stairs is really pretty easy. Remember that this is new to your dog and you have to be patient and persistent. This is not the time to baby your dog. Encourage but do not coddle. Dogs can read our facial expressions so remain calm and smile them through this.

  • Let your dog lean against your leg. Start at the bottom stair and grip the dog’s collar. You may need to put the dog’s front legs on the step.
  • Start your walk up the steps still holding the collar. You can encourage your greyhound by saying “come on let’s go up”. If the dog does not respond get behind and put the rear legs on a step also. Slowly alternate the front and rear legs up the stairs.
  • You are now at the top. Praise your dog in a high pitch voice and let him/her relax for a few minutes.
  • Grip the collar again and start down the same way.
  • Praise again when you reach the bottom.
  • Go through this up and down sequence at least one more time.
  • REMEMBER – Always end a training session with a positive action and reward!

If your stairs are not carpeted make sure your greyhound’s nails are as short as possible so they don’t slip on the steps. If your stairs are the open-backed type or very steep, please allow your greyhound a little extra time to learn these. If you find that the dog is not voluntarily following you up and down, repeat this exercise each day for the next few days. Within a short period of time your greyhound will fly be navigating and down the stairs with ease, after all YOU are up (or down) there!

HOUSEBREAKING 101

Crate training is the most effective way to housebreak your greyhound. Greyhound’s are raised in crates and are very comfortable with them.  The basic principle is that greyhounds are very clean animals and will not eliminate where they sleep.  Therefore, if a greyhound is in the crate it will not eliminate in either the crate or the house.

The following are the basics of crate training:

  • Crate Size – GEM will recommend the appropriate size for your greyhound prior to the time of adoption. At least 40″ long, 27″ wide and 30″ high (Vari-Kennel 500).
  • Location – Place your crate in a room that is familiar to the dog. A remote location such as the basement or a room that is far away from family activity can make your dog feel as if it has been abandoned.
  • Rule – If you can’t watch your dog, crate it.  Be alert and don’t let your dog out of your sight until you are confident he/she is housebroken.
  • Punishment – Don’t punish for accidents. Above all don’t use the crate for punishment. A simple NO in a low pitched voice is all that is needed.
  • Schedule – Keep to a regular feeding and walking schedule (even on the weekends).  The following two sections will walk you through the fundamentals of housebreaking using a crate.

SCHEDULING HELPS!

  • Feed at set times and walk your greyhound at set times. Do not vary your schedule, even on the weekends. At a minimum, your greyhound should be walked first thing in the morning, first thing when you arrive home, last thing before you go to bed and 15-30 minutes after each meal.
  • Feed the same food all the time.  Do not vary the diet, do not feed table scraps or an overabundance of between meal snacks (limit it to 2 small treats a day).
  • Watch your pet’s stool. If it is too loose, cut back on the amount of food by ¼ cup per feeding until it becomes firm. For more information about feeding visit the care & feeding section of our guide.
  • Take your dog out on a regular schedule. Walk in a small area where you want the dog to go to the bathroom. Dogs like to relieve themselves in familiar surroundings. Limit bathroom walks to 10 -15 minutes so the dog can understand what you expect of him/her. Save the long walks for recreation time. After the dog eliminates PRAISE!!!
  • If your dog does not relieve himself outside, confine it to its crate for another 30 minutes and then take him/her back out. If the dog does not relieve himself then confine again for another 30 minutes. Remember to limit your bathroom walks to 10 – 15 minutes.
  • REMEMBER – Always end a training session with a positive action and reward!

SWEET FREEDOM

Once your pet does urinate and defecate outside then you can give them some freedom in the house, until then, keep an eye on them.  Until you are confident that your pet is completely housebroken do not let your pet out of your sight.  If you cannot watch your dog, crate it.  Too much freedom given too soon will force you to start the housebreaking process all over again, don’t try to rush it.

If you catch your pet in the act of an accident, loudly say “no!” or “stop!”, clip on their leash and take them immediately outside to their toilet area. While your dog finishes: PRAISE!

Clean the accident area with an effective cleanser to remove the scent of urine or stool from the carpet or floor. We recommend Nature’s Miracle cleaning solution. Do not let your dog watch you clean it up. It is available in most pet stores and mail order catalogs.

Greyhounds are very smart dogs and usually catch on very quickly when you follow this housebreaking process, if problems persist there may be another reason for them and it’s a good idea to get your dog in to see a vet to rule out a urinary tract infection, or worms. That way you can be sure that you are dealing with a behavior issue and not a medical one.

Greyhounds usually tell you when they have to go out. Sometimes we are not able to recognize the signs. Some of the signs are as follows:

  • Pacing or Walking in circles
  • Walking to the door and looking back at you
  • Standing by the door
  • Listlessness or restlessness, inability to settle down
  • Barking, Whining, Staring at you or the door
  • Holding up a sign that says “OUT” – ok, so I haven’t personally seen this but like I said they ARE very smart!

When your dog indicates a need to go outside, respond immediately, don’t wait for the next television commercial or a break in activity, their success depends on your setting them up to succeed, if you make them wait and they have an accident, it’s not their fault it’s yours for not taking them out as soon as they asked.

Housebreaking Trouble Shooting Checklist (click HERE for a printable version)
Having trouble with accidents in the house? Review this checklist carefully and see if there is something you’re not doing. Call us if you need more information or advice.

  1. Are you keeping your pet confined when not at home and within your sight when you are at home?
  2. Are you limiting the “bathroom” walks to 10 -15 minutes?
  3. Are you walking after meals and at the appropriate times?
  4. Did you keep a chart/diary for at least 5 days?
  5. Are you feeding your dog at the same time every day, measuring his/her food with a measuring cup to assure accuracy, not overfeeding, keeping snacks to a minimum, and not giving table scraps?
  6. Is everyone in the family cooperating with the housebreaking effort?
  7. Are you adding to your pet’s confusion by punishing him/her after the fact for accidents?
  8. Are you certain your dog isn’t sick and needs to be examined by a veterinarian? (Worms or urinary tract infections are easily cured but can interfere with housebreaking)
  9. Are you removing the scent of your pet’s urine and/or stool from the affected area?
    ( We recommend Nature’s Miracle cleaning solution.)
  10. If you have a fenced yard, are you going outside with your pet so that you know whether or not it has relieved itself?
  11. Are you praising your dog when it eliminates outside?
  12. Are you giving your pet too much freedom in the house?

Still having problems??? Please call GEM at (877) GEM-DOGS.

SEPARATION ANXIETY

Many new adopters, whether it’s their first or their tenth Greyhound, try to arrange to get their dog on a Friday (or whatever day begins their weekend), and some take a few days off work when their new hound arrives so they can spend plenty of time with him the first few days. This is a VERY good idea. If your new dog arrives in a strange home with strange people and strange dogs (or worse – no other dogs) on Sunday night and on Monday finds himself all alone all day for the first time in his life, chances are he’s going to be a very unhappy hound. And he’s likely to look for some way to get your attention and express his displeasure.

Adjustment seems to be hardest, as a rule, for the first Greyhound, especially if there are no other dogs and if the humans are away from home a good part of the day. Remember, Greyhounds have been surrounded by a LOT of their own kind and spent most of their days with humans for their whole lives. Very few of them like to be left alone. So separation anxiety is not uncommon for new/first Greyhounds. It can manifest itself in many undesirable ways, including howling and/or destructive behavior. The best “cure” is often (but not always) the addition of a second Greyhound to the family.  For more information about Separation Anxiety please visit this website: greytdogs.

POSITIVE TRAINING TECHNIQUES

The most effective way to train your greyhound is to join a basic obedience group class.  Many GEM’s, including this webdesigner, have had fabulous experiences training their greyhounds in Trainers Academy’s “Greyhounds-ONLY!” class.  These classes are inexpensive and fun.  Use your martingale collar for training.  Please do not use a metal choker on a greyhound as this could damage their throat and thin skin.

The following are some training insights on greyhounds:

  • Sitting – Greyhounds do not like to sit, their long backs and well-developed muscles make this an uncomfortable position for them. Coming close is good!! Doing it is great!!!
  • Recall – Greyhounds can be taught to come when called, but don’t ever be fooled into thinking they will come every time you call them (this applies to all breeds).  No dog can be trusted to respond 100% of the time.  Please read: Trust, A Dangerous Disease
  • Praise – Greyhounds respond very well to praise. This praise should always be verbal, accompanied with physical patting and/or a treat. The verbal praise should be done in a high pitch voice. Also, dogs *do* read facial expressions, so smile when your dog does well and frown when it could have been done better. Use a small piece of a treat as a reward for desired behavior.
  • Reprimands – They should always be done in a low pitched voice. The command should be NO!!! This will be sufficient to train any greyhound. Remember hitting teaches a dog aggression.

There are many retired racers that have earned obedience titles. Just remember that training must be done with a light, encouraging hand and leash rules always apply, even with a highly trained greyhound!

HELP MY DOG IS LOST!!

When you discover your dog is lost the following should be performed:

  • Immediately do a quick search of the area. Take a favorite treat, toy or dog friend with you … and squawker, if you have one.
  • Call GEM’s lost dog pager (877) 567-8436 / (877)-LOSTGEM, local animal control, and police and alert them with a description of the dog, name, tag #, tatto numbers and the area in which the dog is lost.

Someone from GEM or a friend with a greyhound should come and help you search. While searching it is extremely important to have someone stay near the telephone for a spotting.

Next make up posters in bold letters with the following information:

LOST DOG ! ! !
DOGS NAME
DESCRIPTION
TATTO NUMBERS
YOUR CONTACT NUMBER(S)
REWARD!

The posters should be placed on telephone poles, in supermarkets, in convenience stores, and given to mailmen and children. Keep in mind that most people can recognize a “LOST DOG”. They may not be familiar with a specific breed such as a greyhound!!

  • Place food and a crate by the house and near the last spotting.
  • Call the newspapers and place an ad in the lost/found for the dog and state reward.
  • After the first 24 hours increase your search area to 25 miles.  Again call the police, animal control and animal rescue groups.  Also visit the shelters with a picture of your dog.