LEASH or FENCE
No Greyhound should EVER be allowed to run off lead in any area that is not securely fenced. Greyhounds have been bred and trained for thousands of years to chase. That instinct is stronger than anything you will ever be able to teach him. If you let your greyhound run loose and a rabbit (or a squirrel, bird, piece of paper, etc.) catches his eye, he’s gone and no amount of calling or commanding him to come back will make him stop and come back to you. He won’t stop until he’s either caught his prey, or lost sight of it, but by then he may well have also lost sight of you, too. A greyhound can cover a lot of distance in less than a minute. Being a sighthound, he’ll have no idea how to find his way back to you if he can’t see you and he doesn’t know how to retrace his own steps by scent. Even worse, that path in pursuit of his prey may lead him across roads, into traffic or other dangers. Your greyhound won’t even see that oncoming car until it’s too late. All he sees is what he’s chasing so DON’T trust him not to chase! Trust has been called “a deadly disease” and with good reason.
A securely fenced yard is wonderful, but not an absolute necessity. If you don’t have a fenced yard you must be willing to walk your dog several times a day, no matter how rotten the weather is, how tired you are, or how ill you may feel. If you DO have a fenced yard you want to be sure that you can lock any gates or other entrances in/out of it, so that they aren’t accidentally left open, allowing your greyhound to escape the safety of his fence. This is especially important in subdivisions or neighborhoods where kids are frequently around your home and may pass thru your yard and leave a gate open.
MARTINGALE COLLAR & LEASH
Because Greyhounds necks are muscular and larger than their heads, most can easily slip a regular buckle type collar. A martingale or “sight-hound” collar is designed with this body type in mind and is much harder for a greyhound to slip. GEM not only strongly recommends martingale collars, we provide one with each dog who is adopted from us. Our adoption representatives will show you how to properly fit the collar and explain it’s use.
Tags should also be kept on your dog’s collar at ALL times. You will be required to get one with your name, address and phone number on it if you adopt a greyhound from us. The GEM tag must also be kept on the dog AT ALL TIMES. Tags should not be placed on a D ring collar because they can get snagged or caught on something and cause the dog to choke. If your greyhound happens to get loose, we have volunteers ready to assist you. Those tags could be your pet’s lifeline to safety.
These are not an absolute necessity, but they are highly recommended, at least for the initial transition to home life. Many Greyhounds prefer having their own space and love their crates. After all, most of them have spent much of their lives in crates. For home purposes, the crate should be as large as you can get. If you need to use a crate for car travel, however, an airline crate that is just big enough for the dog to stand up and turn around in is best. Recommended size is at least 48″ long, 29″ wide and 32″ high.
A squawker, or prey call, is what is used by trainers when preparing a greyhound to race, and then inside the lure during his racing career. It makes a sound that the greyhound associates with his prey, getting treats, and a fun race. A squawker is invaluable if your greyhound were to ever get loose or lost. It is one of the few items that could help you call them back to you and is much more effective than voice alone.
FIRST AID KIT
Greyhounds are pros at getting “owies”. The great majority of their injuries at home are simple enough that most owners can treat them without having to make a visit to the vet. The GEM Store has a wonderful first aid kit that contains everything you need for minor first aid. You should learn as much as possible about animal first aid, but the most important thing to learn is when to let the vet handle it. Keep your vet’s daytime and emergency phone numbers readily accessible and when in doubt, USE THEM!
There are several types available, ranging from $3.00 up to $18.00 depending on the type you choose. The main thing you want is easy to use, since you should plan on trimming nails at least every other week.
Muzzles are a must for most Greyhound owners. They’re indispensable for keeping them safe from each other when three or more are turned out together. They’re also very handy in the house, especially during the settling in stage. A muzzle will prevent your dog from chewing on the furniture (or the cat!) while you’re not home. With some dogs, a muzzle is a sufficient substitute for a crate. Greyhounds are used to wearing plastic basket muzzles, and an undamaged and properly adjusted muzzle will not be uncomfortable for them. They’re simple and cheap insurance against any number of disasters.
SHEDDING BLADE / HOUND GLOVE
A shedding blade is used to groom out the dead hair and reduce shedding. Most greyhounds who come in from the track or farm have what is called “kennel coat” which is a thick coat of hair that tends to be a bit longer and shaggier than that of a greyhound who’s been in a home for a few months. This “kennel coat” will shed out within a few months of their arrival and leave behind a glossy smooth coat of hair that is much sleeker and not as “fuzzy” as their kennel coat. Once the kennel coat is gone, most greyhounds shed very little, and grooming with a hound mitt several times a month should all but eliminate shedding.
CHEWIES & STUFFIES
Cow Hooves are recommended, they are safer than rawhide and will satisfy even the most aggressive of chewers desire to munch on something yummy. If you want to give rawhide, make sure they are American made beefhide, 9″-10″ bone or larger, and processed without lime, bleach or arsenic which can make your dog sick. Please never leave your dog unattended with a rawhide as they could choke on a piece. Stuffies are usually something new to a retired racer and they have to learn how to play with them. If you have other dogs who already play with stuffies this should happen pretty quickly, if not, it’s up to you to teach your new hound what a stuffy is all about. Stuffies with squeakers inside are usually preferred since they give the dog the satisfaction of a squeak when they bite them. Stuffies with squeakers should be used under supervision as some dogs like to “de-squeak” them and the plastic squeaker can become a choking hazard.
STAINLESS STEEL OR CERAMIC BOWLS
One bowl for food and the other one for water (3 quart bowls work well). A raised feeding station is also recommended but not required. You can make your own by using a milk crate, or 15″ plant stands that you can get from most hardware stores or home improvement shops.
As with any new pet, your retired racer will need to learn about your house, your schedule and how to ask to go potty. In the initial learning phase, there are sure to be a few accidents. It’s best to be prepared in advance by having some Natures Miracle (or other enzyme cleaning solution) and Spot Shot which is wonderful for removing anything from blood and vomit to crayons. Remember, do NOT scold the dog for having an accident in the house if you are not there to correct the dog WHILE IT IS HAPPENING and then immediately take them outside to finish the act and PRAISE them for doing it in the right place. If you discipline a dog for having an accident after the fact, they will only be confused, and will have increased anxiety about their need to go to the bathroom, which can lead to more accidents and other types of behavior problems.
THE RIDE HOME
Try to remember that your greyhound has not spent much time in a car, and you are a stranger to him (although not for long!), so on that car ride home he has good reason to be nervous. Reassure him with your voice will only reinforce the nervousness, so it is best to just ignore him until the nervousness stops. Make sure right after the car ride home and BEFORE you go into the house for the first time that you take your greyhound for a walk around the yard first and let him go to the bathroom.
You may feel a little nervous about getting your greyhound. Remember your greyhound is much more nervous than you are, and that nervousness manifests itself in a variety of ways He might pant, whine, move around a lot, have a drippy nose, sweaty paws, and start getting flaky skin and diarrhea. These are all common symptoms and will disappear once the dog feels more secure and calm, you just need to be patient.