Adopting a Greyhound

Every year thousands of Greyhounds are euthanised when they are no longer needed for racing, so adopting a Greyhound has become very popular as they are generally very friendly, calm, affectionate and social dogs.

While Greyhounds make for a great family pet, there are some things that potential owners need to be aware of before adopting a Greyhound to help keep them and other pets safe and happy.

Greyhounds need company

As dogs are pack animals, they are not designed to be left alone all day for long periods of time.   This is even more of an issue for Greyhounds, who have spent most of their time being surrounded by other dogs in their racing kennel environment.

As a result, when left alone without people or other dogs for company, they can be prone to separation anxiety which can cause them great distress and lead to destructive and other problem behaviour.

Natural instinct to chase

As ex-racing greyhounds have been trained to chase moving objects, it can be their natural instinct to chase after small prey animals, or in fact any moving animal that catches their eye.  For this reason it is important that you find out if your Greyhound has been temperament tested with other animals, particularly small pocket pets and small dogs.

You also need to keep this in mind when you are out in public and continually work on their training and being a responsible pet owner. However, there are plenty of other dog owners that don’t always do the right thing, so may let their small dog run up to, or run around too close to your Greyhound, so it pays to always keep a close eye on any situations, particularly if you are out at a dog park with your Greyhound with others around.

Exercising a Greyhound

Despite their running prowess, greyhounds don’t need excessive exercise. They are designed to sprint in short bursts, not run great distances, so are great for families and busy couples who don’t want to spend hours walking their dog.

Different states do have different rules in relation to walking your Greyhound on or off-leash, so do make sure you check out the latest legislation about Greyhounds in public places in your State or Territory.

Greyhounds love to sleep – up to 20 hours ! and should be kept indoors, even in an apartment, as long as you have a comfy couch or large enough bed they can get their required shut eye on.

They have long lean frames, and short coats, so are very prone to the cold. Keep them warm with a jumper in the winter when walking, and they may even need one inside the house if the heating’s not on.

Greyhounds and muzzles

When fostering a Greyhound, they will generally come with special fitting wire or plastic muzzle specifically designed for greyhounds.  It is always recommended they wear a muzzle when being introduced to other pets or small children for the first time, or if there are ever any concerns for safety of small animals. Always use a Greyhound specific muzzle so they can safely pant and drink. 

Greyhounds are quite comfortable wearing a muzzle, so if you aren’t quite sure, even after adopting a Greyhound, it is better to be safe than sorry and put on the muzzle when out in public.  This should also sends a signal to other dog owners to give your dog space. 

Greyhounds with anxiety may feel even more vulnerable with their muzzle on though, so do make sure people don’t let their dogs rush up, disrespect your dog’s body space.

For other dog owners out there that may be reading this,  do not let your dog run up to other dogs, especially those in muzzles. It can cause them anxiety, and any dog feeling threatened may also lash out with fear-based aggression.

Don’t assume they are aggressive either if they are in a muzzle and cross the road or scowl at the owner. Some are more than happy to say hello, just ask first and watch for signs of anxiety in your own dog and the greyhound.

How to get involved with Gumtree Greys

Gumtree Greys’ rescue and re-home greyhounds from across the eastern seaboard of Australia, place them into appropriate foster care and ultimately have them adopted into loving, permanent homes.

They rely on the support and donations of the public and organisations such as the PETstock Assist charity foundation, to help them continue their important rescue and re-homing work.  They are always in need of foster carers – people who are considering adopting a Greyhound may like to start the process by fostering a greyhound first.

Foster carers who are happy to just bring a Greyhound into their home to help socialise them, before finding them their forever home, are always welcomed with wide arms too.

If you would like to get in touch with Gumtree Greys to learn more, or to support, their work visit gumtreegreys.com.au


About the Author: Lara Shannon is a NDTF certified dog behaviourist and trainer, Executive Producer and Host of Pooches at Play on Channel 10 and editor of Poochesatplay.com. Lara also runs her own dog training and boarding business in Melbourne’s Bayside area and is the Author of Eat, Play, Love Your Dog.

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