Friday, June 29, 2007
Thursday, June 28, 2007
THE ADJUSTMENT PERIOD
Recognizing the adjustment period and successfully managing it is a very important part of any Greyhound adoption. It must be remembered that becoming a pet involves a dramatic change in routine, which can be stressful for a Greyhound, and he must be given time to adjust to his new surroundings. In this regard, a quiet Greyhound may be fretful, a good eater reluctant to eat, a perfectly housebroken Greyhound may have an accident. Give your pet time to get settled, and don’t worry about any odd behavior during the first few weeks. Your love, patience, and understanding will help your Greyhound through this adjustment period, which usually lasts from a few days to a few weeks.
Greyhounds are friendly, affectionate dogs, who thrive on attention and human companionship, and make terrific pets once they get accustomed to their new homes. Raised with their littermates, where they competed for affection, Greyhounds love becoming the center of attention as pets.
Your Greyhound has been housed in a large crate in his trainer’s kennel. He is used to being put outside in a fenced-in area to relieve himself four to five times daily. He may be used to getting up early (about 6 A.M.) to be taken outside. To avoid accidents in the house, we recommend that you take him outside as soon as he gets up. You can gradually get him used to sleeping later.
If your dog has an accident in the house, a verbal reprimand should usually suffice — then take him outside and PRAISE HIM when he relieves himself. DO NOT HIT YOUR DOG or put his nose in the “accident,” as your dog will respond more quickly and positively to kindness.
If your dog is a male, he may attempt to lift his leg in a few places around the house to “mark his territory.” Watch him carefully as he walks around the house, and try to catch him before he does it. If this should happen, it does not usually go on for long, so try to be patient.
If your dog has an accident, clean the spot, then rinse the area with a solution of white vinegar and water. This will neutralize the odor and discourage his going in that spot again.
For the first few days, it’s a good idea to give your Greyhound access to his “potty area” more frequently than you ordinarily would — as often as every couple of hours. This teaches your Greyhound where his new home is, and where he’s supposed to “go.” It also helps to relieve the tension of being in a strange place, and prevents accidents. Also, some Greyhounds are not accustomed to “going” while on a leash, and must learn to do so.
Provide your Greyhound with as soft a bed as possible. Greyhounds not only love their comfort, they require it, as they have very little padding on their elbows, and can develop a fluid condition on joints if forced to sleep on a hard surface.
You will be surprised at how quickly your Greyhound becomes attached to you, and what a difference your presence makes to him. Do not shut your Greyhound in a separate room to sleep if he is not sleeping in his crate. He will much prefer to sleep in the same room with you (in the same bed, if you let him). He’ll feel more secure on his own bed beside your bed, and will be less likely to cry or cause damage. Remember, the bedding in his crate must be very soft, and very plentiful. Crates are made of plastic or metal, and both of these are very hard on a Greyhound’s joints.
Greyhounds are extremely sensitive animals, who cannot be disciplined roughly. A stern tone of voice should be all that is needed to keep your Greyhound off the sofa or bed if you do not want him there. The wrong disciplinary tactics will only teach your dog to be afraid of you.
Your Greyhound should get along well with other dogs, as he has had lots of socialization experience in the racing kennel. Take care, however, to watch them carefully at first, as the “old dog” may become jealous of the newcomer. Muzzles can be very valuable tools during an introductory period.
ALWAYS separate your dogs when you feed them. Dogs can get very feisty over food!
Many of our Greyhounds live in homes with cats, and get along well with them.., They should, however, be introduced carefully. When introducing your Greyhound to your cat, put the dog’s muzzle on him. Bring them into the same room, and allow them to get acquainted with your supervision. DON’T PUSH IT, and don’t be overly nervous. If the dog chases the cat, the cat will probably swat him, and the dog will learn that he is not dealing with a "bunny." When the dog no longer shows interest in chasing the cat, you can slowly start increasing the muzzle-off time. The cat who runs through your yard WILL be chased. This includes the cat with whom the Greyhound lives quite peacefully indoors. There is a big difference! Outside, the remembrance of thousands of years of being bred to chase will take over.
Your Greyhound has never had to go up or down flights of stairs. He may find them intimidating at first. He will learn, but you must be patient with him. If you encounter a problem, start by helping him almost to the top of the stairs. Then put him down and allow him to climb the last few steps. Gradually increase the number of steps he must climb. Reverse the procedure for downstairs. DO NOT PUSH. If he becomes frightened, he may try to jump all the way.
Your Greyhound requires a lead (leash) with a heavy-duty clasp. His collar should be kept tight enough so that it won’t slip over his head if he backs up on his lead. We advocate the use of the Premier collar, which is a sort of combination collar and wide choker. Keep a collar WITH IDENTIFICATION on him at all times, or you may be courting disaster.
NEVER tie your Greyhound outside on a rope, chain, or “runner.” Greyhounds are not used to being tied, and can get tangled up and injure themselves. They will pull, wiggle, or chew their way free.
In retirement, a Greyhound’s exercise needs are no different than any other dog’s. Your Greyhound should be taken on three or four short walks daily on a regular schedule so he can relieve himself, and taken to a large fenced-in area (park or baseball field) a
couple of times a week, so he can romp and gallop at will. It helps during the initial adjustment period to keep your Greyhound well-exercised, to work off his tension and nervous energy.
Greyhounds make excellent jogging companions, once they learn to adjust their stride to yours. Summer’s heat and winter’s salt can injure their pads, which are very soft Keep this in mind when choosing a place to run with your dog. If your Greyhound does any strenuous running, give him a chance to relieve himself afterwards, and again about an hour later, to prevent kidney tie-up. THIS IS IMPORTANT!
NEVER take your Greyhound outside without his lead on. He may become confused and run, or he may chase a cat or other small animal. He does not know about traffic, and if permitted off- lead, is likely to run right into the street. This dog is a SIGHTHOUND, which means he hunts by sight, not scent. He can see for a distance of half a mile, and can run at forty miles per hour. If he sees a rabbit, a squirrel, or your neighbor’s cat, he will not only chase it, he will probably catch it!
A Greyhound’s diet consists of about three to five cups of dry food mixed with some beef or canned food with a little warm water to form a “stew.” A dash of vegetable oil is added for a shiny coat Vegetables may also be mixed in. If your Greyhound has a lot of gas, it will be directly related to the food you are giving him!
Greyhounds should be fed once or twice a day, at the same times. They tend to “poop” twice a day. If you feed at 5 P.M., you will probably have to get up at 5 A.M.
Avoid giving “treats” too often, as these may turn your Greyhound into a beggar and a finicky eater. A dog biscuit given at the same time every day is O.K. TRY TO AVOID GIVING MUCH “PEOPLE” FOOD! KEEP FRESH WATER AVAILABLE AT ALL. TIMES !!!!!!!
ON CHOOSING A DOG FOOD
Buy small, five-pound bags until you find the right dry food for your dog. Then buy forty or fifty pound bags. Palatability is important.
Greyhounds eat a high-protein dog food when racing, but do not require as much protein in retirement DO NOT BUY “NO-NAME” (cheap) dog food!
Look for the meat and bone meal content to be high (second or third) on the list of ingredients. Avoid the fancy dog foods with the three flavors and three shapes. Some well-known brands are good, but sometimes you will pay for the packaging.
The vitamins in commercial dry dog foods are synthetic vitamins sprayed onto the food (the same as your breakfast cereal) so a natural vitamin supplement like Brewer’s yeast can be helpful. If the dog is eating a good, balanced diet, a multivitamin tablet a day should suffice.
When you find a food that agrees with your dog, and keeps his stool firm, STICK WITH IT, and do not switch foods, merely for the sake of giving him “variety.” This switching of food is the main cause of diarrhea and/or gas. A dog who has chronic loose stool or bad gas is eating the wrong food.
There are four points to grooming a dog; coat, ears, nails, and teeth. Greyhounds are short-haired dogs who shed little if kept indoors.
Frequent brushing will help eliminate shedding. Ears can be cleaned with a Q-Tip and mineral oil. Nails can be trimmed at home, with a large clipper or a grinder. Nails can be done at the Veterinarian’s office. It is very important that your Greyhound’s teeth be kept clean, as plaque buildup will result in a gum infection, plus bad breath. If plaque is built up on your dog’s teeth, have the teeth scaled. (You can buy a tooth scaler, or have your Veterinarian do it) After that, it is up to you to keep his teeth clean. Dog toothbrushes DO work.
Your dog should have a DHLLPPC vaccination annually, and a rabies shot at least every two years.
A stool sample should be taken to the Veterinarian twice a year, to be checked for worms.
NEVER use a store-bought wormer. Do not use flea collars or internal flea-preventive pills with a Greyhound.
A heartworm check is essential. Heartworm preventive pills are vital.
Greyhounds require only a fraction of the anesthesia used on a dog of comparable size. It is VERY IMPORTANT that your Veterinarian is aware of this. An overdose of anesthesia can be fatal.
If it's too hot for you, it's too hot for your pet. Remember they're still wearing their fur coats.
"Pets don't sweat like we do. They sweat through their panting and paws," explained Dr. Jean Duddy of Angell Animal Medical Center. "They cannot cool of as well as we do."
To keep your pets safe, walk them in the early morning or late afternoon when it's cooler and don't let them play outside.
"They really don't know enough to cool off," said Dr Duddy. "A dog out playing in this weather will continue to play."
If you have to leave your pets inside during the day make sure they have plenty of cold water and a cool place to stay. And never leave a pet in your car, even briefly.
"On an 80 degree day, ten minutes in a car, the temperature can rise to over a hundred. So ,you can imagine with the temperature already 100 how hot that gets how quickly."
Watch for signs that your pet is in heat distress, symptoms like excessive panting, staggering and dizziness.
If that happens Dr. Duddy says it is important to immediately get them to a shady area. "Cool them with cool, not cold, water, and put ice packs on their neck."