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Will He Ever Be Small-Dog Safe?


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Guest burgerandfrey

I'm just wondering if anyone has had much success or has tips on getting a high-prey-drive hound to think of small dogs and puppies as something other than toys.

 

We have two greyhounds. Lola is cat-safe and small dog safe. Zeke is not. He raced for two years and it's easy to see why he was successful - his prey drive is intense. If you get out a plush squeaky toy he goes absolutely bonkers for it. He is very good on-leash and will not bolt after squirrels, but he is certainly interested in them. This isn't a huge deal for us, because we do not have any cats or small dogs. When we are out for walks we supervise any greetings with other smaller dogs by keeping Zeke on a short leash. He is very obedient and we watch his queues to make sure he is relaxed. If it's a really small squeaky dog we let the owner know that he is not good around small dogs and ask them to please keep their dog away (Why do small dog owners always have the longest leashes?). Around slightly larger ones he is pretty good and doesn't seem to want to eat them. Still... it's a short leash, quick sniff, and then move along. Lola loves little dogs, so we let her be the small dog ambassador. Zeke greets the large dogs and Lola (who is tiny for a greyhound) gets behind him until she knows the strange dog is safe.

 

So my brother down the street just got a new small dog: A Cockapoo puppy. We did tell them that if they get a small dog we may never be able to take care of it or let them bring the dog around Zeke. The other day his wife brought over the little puppy. We didn't know she was stopping by so we opened the door and there she stood with the little puppy in her arms. I quickly grabbed Zeke by the collar because he was heading straight for them. I clipped his leash on and he did the funniest thing: He sat right before my sister-in-law and her puppy, which is what he does when someone has food or a toy that he wants. So he doesn't growl or bare his teeth. He just thinks this puppy is a toy and he wants it. He really wants it! He was trembling all over with anticipation. When I though he was relaxing I loosed up on the leash a little and Zeke lunged for the puppy even while my sister-in-law (whom Zeke knows) was holding it. I didn't give him enough slack to get there, but he would have grabbed that puppy right out of her arms. Of course my sister-in-law was a little freaked out, but Zeke was just doing what comes natural to a sighthound... and what he was trained to do for years. Sigh... we did warn her not to bring that little puppy around Zeke.

 

So we don't plan on letting Zeke and the puppy anywhere near each other until the puppy grows up, but even full grown this dog will only be about 15 pounds. Zeke does okay when he meets dogs that size, but we still would never let him play with one. However it would be nice if we could go for walks with my brother's family and all take our dogs with us. Any tips for getting Zeke to recognize a Cockapoo as a dog instead of as a toy or food? I know, I know... they look like toys to me too ;-)

 

Sean

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Guest onlygreys4me

I know I have only had Talley for about a month now, and I was told by the gentleman I got her from that she will go after small animals. they are fixing a house next door to me and a young man had a small (i think ) husky. just a puppy he wasnt watching it and the pup was running around in my yard. Me and Talley just walked outside I saw the puppy come running at us so I pulled on Talley to get going on our walk, I no sooner turned my back to start walking and I heard a "yelp" Talley had either snapped at or bit the puppy. The guy who owned the puppy of course then comes running out to see what the problem was. and I just told him that the puppy must have ran up to my dog and it snapped. so I really have to keep an eye on her and a short leash around small dogs. I had to other greys and they both were neither cat safe or small animal safe. Most of the time thats why a lot of greys are not adopted out because of that.

Good luck with your two. You'lll be alright.

 

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There are some dogs such as my Teddy who will even with all the desensitizing, beahvioriss and everything else in between we tried, go after and kill a small dog if the opportunity presented itself. My Teddy is fine with cats- not dogs.

 

Please be extra careful and never allow the other dog close to yours, make sure it doesn't get off leash (talk to your brother so he really understands).

 

Just recently a greyhound killed a pom poodle puppy and was sentenced to house arrest for the rest of its life. No outside for anything except to the vet. The dog couldn't even pee/poop in it's backyard unless it was in a cement enclosure with specific measurements. If you do a search on here for "Lexus (name of dog" and Rhode Island" you can read for yourself of what transpired for both those poor dogs. One dead, another one pulled off death row at a kill shelter and a huge mess in between.

 

I would never allow a high prey dog to be near any small dog, ever.

Edited by RobinM

 

 

ROBIN ~ Mom to: Beau Think It Aint, Chloe JC Allthewayhome, Teddy ICU Drunk Sailor, Elsie N Fracine , Ollie RG's Travertine, Ponch A's Jupiter~ Yoshi, Zoobie & Belle, the kitties.

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Guest couchpotato

No answer for you, but our Melissa also has a high prey drive, and acts similar to what you describe. We hate to exude any negative energy or tension when we spot a small animal but we are just resigned to that fact, and are mindful of our surroundings, she is otherwise "perfect."

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I don't have any specific advice, but what I have seen with two of mine, first Cosmo and now Chase, is in their cases it has seemed to wear off over time. When we would walk Cosmo at the beach years ago she was keenly interested in little dogs, especially ones being held in someone's arms. In the last year of her life Cosmo was SO gentle with them. She would just sniff hello at the tiniest of dogs. And she didn't react at all to the little yip yaps who went berserk at her. However, she still caught and killed a squirrel in our yard in the last year of her life.

 

As for Chase, the more we've walked him on the boardwalk and the more he's gotten used to seeing all sizes and shapes of dogs, the less interested he's become. I'd never leave him alone and unmuzzled with a little dog but he is WAY less interested in them than he used to be, that's for sure.

...............Chase (FTH Smooth Talker), Morgan (Cata), Reggie (Gable Caney), Rufus
(Reward RJ). Fosters check in, but they don't check out.
Forever loved -- Cosmo (System Br Mynoel), March 11, 2002 - October 8, 2009.
Miss Cosmo was a lady. And a lady always knows when to leave.

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My sister has a small (<10 lbs) terrier mix and keeps asking me when she (the dog) can meet Aston. At first I said I'd bring him by her apartment sometime with a muzzle on, but then had second thoughts and took Aston by my sister's workplace for her to meet him on his own first (so him trying to lunge at her baby wouldn't be her first impression of him). I have since explained that as I get to know Aston, I've found that there is some self-control I can impart through training him, but he won't ever be safe to play off-leash with Penny due to his high prey drive (her dog's fear aggression doesn't help, either, but I didn't mention that :huh ).

 

Aston's Aston, not meant to be with delicious small animals. We love him oodles either way. All part of what we signed on for :wub:

 

 

Edit to add: Aston has a past small-dog attack on his record, which I blame fully on the past owner who let him off-leash outdoors :angryfire

This is a particular reason why I'm not keen on testing his boundaries any time soon.

Edited by o_rooly
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Guest burgerandfrey

Thanks for the replies. The more I think about it the more I think... why risk it? Zeke is who he is and he is a great fit in our home. Maybe we will be able to go for walks with my brother's family and their dog, but if Zeke continues to think of their dog as a toy then we'll just have to walk different ways. Our experience with Zeke has been similar to Tracey's. We walk him on the boardwalk down at the bay, which is a very popular place to walk dogs. He is getting used to the fact that dogs come in all shapes and sizes and he shows less interest in the little ones than he used to. As OnlyGreys4Me mentions, it can be a problem with irresponsible owners let their small dogs or puppies off leash or on long leashes. I'm amazed at how many people walk their little dogs on long retractable leashes. The dogs just go where they please... often running right up to bigger dogs. We sometimes have to ask other dog owners to please reel in their dogs before something happens, and unfortunately sometimes they look at us like our dog must be aggressive and mean.

 

It's too bad that my brother's family didn't get a dog that could safely play with ours, but a small dog is a good fit for them.

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Just to add, I had this problem with Doc when he first came to me - he had a strong chase instinct and very little experience of other breeds as he came to me straight from the adoption kennels. What we found helpful was some mixed-breed obedience classes, with a good trainer recommended by my vet. There he met all sorts of dogs under controlled conditions, and learnt that all those funny-looking creatures were also dogs!

 

Like your Zeke he had a particular problem with puppies, their squirmy movements do make them look like prey... when I confessed this to the trainer she invited us to come early one week and sit in on one of her puppy classes. We sat at the side and watched for a while. When he was calm (process probably speeded up by the fact that it was a setting he already knew) she took the smallest, fluffiest and whitest puppy from its owner, came and sat beside us, and offered its bottom to Doc to sniff so he would recognise that it was a dog too. This worked beautifully, though I have to say the puppy's owner looked very relieved to get it back in one piece!

 

I'm NOT saying you should attempt this yourself, it's an approach that requires an experienced handler with a very good knowledge of dog body language (maybe your adoption group could suggest someone?). As RobinM says, some dogs have so high a prey drive/ antipathy to other breeds that they cannot ever be trusted with them. These days, Doc is pretty blase about strange dogs - most he will ignore, a few who he sees regularly have become good friends, but I am very careful about who I let him play with. Even leaving out the prey drive issue, different breeds play differently and that can lead to misunderstandings - dogs like staffies and boxers love to wrestle which he finds threatening, while they in turn find it scary when he tries to initiate a game of 'nip and chase' (a great greyhound/sighthound favourite).

Clare with Tiger (Snapper Gar, b. 18/05/2015), and remembering Ken (Boomtown Ken, 01/05/2011-21/02/2020) and Doc (Barefoot Doctor, 20/08/2001-15/04/2015).

"It is also to be noted of every species, that the handsomest of each move best ... and beasts of the most elegant form, always excel in speed; of this, the horse and greyhound are beautiful examples."----Wiliam Hogarth, The Analysis of Beauty, 1753.

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Racing ability/career length has very little to do with "prey drive."

 

I've confirmed this with some real racing folks--the prey drive/racing skill thing--see below! George lives peacefully with 3 cats. He has zero interest in squirrels or even rabbits outside. He had a successful 3 year racing career. He is not safe around ANY breed of dog other than Greyhounds! I think, given enough time, a muzzle, and a patient "test subject," he can LEARN to get along with other dogs, but his initial reaction is growling and lunging. I cannot even tell if that's just his doofus way of asking, "What are you? Can I have a taste?" or he's out to get them! I just keep him on a leash, veer around other dogs, and all is well!

 

I would NEVER let George loose with other breeds. He does do OK with my parents' two English Setters, but that's 'cause he spent about 9 hours muzzled the first time they meet, in THEIR house. He pays virtually no attention to them in fact. But just last night, some bonehead with a small fuzzy on a flexi lead wasn't paying attention and let their dog run right up to us. I had to grab him by the collar. But he didn't "go after" the dog--it presented itself as a tasty New Year's snack!


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Susan,  Hamish,  Mister Bigglesworth and Nikita Stanislav. Missing Ming, George, and Buck

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Something squirmy being held in someone's arms = way too interesting. Your dog can't get a good look at it or a good sniff so it's just a furry squirming thing -- ai yi yi.

 

Better for introductions if the puppy is on a leash on the ground and your dog is on a leash and muzzled for safety. That said, for really small dogs I feel it's best if the puppy is 6 months old or so.

 

Some adult dogs (not only greyhounds) will always react in undesirable fashion to small dog squeaking, rolling over on its back, etc. Many, tho, will realize the small dog is in fact a dog after a sniff or two.

Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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Guest Fasave

I have a ten year old greyhound snob. Lunging and growling at any dog that's non-grey. He does better if I'm walking him alone but over the years I've come to learn that the safest thing for him is to stay clear of non-greys. Still, I make sure he gets out for plenty of walks and activities but limit them to places where all dogs must be leashed and I'm not afraid to tell someone to leash their dog. I've also learned that it's not worth creating a scene and if need be, I will drag him into the woods, up a driveway or to the other side of the street.

 

I've also recently adopted a four year old who was bounced because he bit a collie the first week in his new home. His issues are also with dogs (fine with squirrel, tested cat safe), well, and maybe the birds at Petco :lol His reaction is totally different in that he SCREAMS and stomps. I've worked with him so that when he sees a dog, I call his name and when he looks at me I give him a treat immediately. Now when he sees other dogs, he comes to me for a treat. In fact, on some of our walks if we get to a house where he knows a non-grey lives (even if he doesn't see it), he comes to me for a treat. Such a smart boy. I'm hopeful that he just needs more socialization and we're starting obedience training in an all greyhound beginners class in a couple weeks to start building a stronger bond. I do know that this is going to take time and it will be a while before I will trust him even getting close to a non-grey. If it never happens, I'm okay with that too seeing with my senior, it's not an option anyway :lol

 

On a final note....I wish a had a dime for every time I've heard someone walking their dog off-leash tell me to not worry, their dog won't hurt mine :angryfire I'd be a very rich person by now.

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Guest Swifthounds

Racing ability/career length has very little to do with "prey drive."

 

That has been my experience here. Everyone here has been cat and small dog safe and that has included a GH raised from a pup with small critters, track washouts, and several grade A racers with long careers.

 

High prey drive greyhounds are almost always non cat safe, but many CAN live with small dogs. A dog, after all smells like a dog and given exposure to other breeds and sizes and coat lengths of dogs, a greyhound will learn that dogs come in models other than greyhound (which is contrary to their previous experience at the track). Greyhounds that aren't "smaller" dog safe aren't high prey dogs, they are other dog aggressive dogs. Much can be accomplished with training, but it requires a lot of time, patience, and non reactive dogs.

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Guest burgerandfrey

Like your Zeke he had a particular problem with puppies, their squirmy movements do make them look like prey... when I confessed this to the trainer she invited us to come early one week and sit in on one of her puppy classes. We sat at the side and watched for a while. When he was calm (process probably speeded up by the fact that it was a setting he already knew) she took the smallest, fluffiest and whitest puppy from its owner, came and sat beside us, and offered its bottom to Doc to sniff so he would recognise that it was a dog too. This worked beautifully, though I have to say the puppy's owner looked very relieved to get it back in one piece!

 

That's a great suggestion, and something we will consider if this becomes an issue we want to pursue. Fortunately Zeke is a very well behaved dog who responds well to us. His owner or foster family must have spent some time working with him, because he came to us just knowing how to behave like a good dog! He walks well on a leash, sits when you ask him to, gets down off of furniture when you ask, waits patiently, responds when we call him... he just couldn't be an easier dog. Lola we could work on a little, but she generally follows Zeke's lead and so they make a very easy-going pair of greyhounds (we feel very fortunate for how easily they adjusted to our home).

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Guest burgerandfrey

Racing ability/career length has very little to do with "prey drive."

 

You are right George. I shouldn't have generalized since each hound has their own unique personality and likes/dislikes. I think I was just looking for an easy explanation since Zeke seems to think of puppies as toys and our other greyhounds have not. Honestly puppies (especially Cockapoo puppies) look like toys to me too, so I can't blame Zeke for wanting to treat one the way he treats his stuffies (which unfortunately tend to end up decapitated in the front yard... he plays mostly with Kongs and balls these days). As far as other dogs go Zeke and Lola generally get along with them as long as they don't want to wrestle or play too rough. Zeke doesn't pay much attention to most small to medium sized dogs... he likes dogs his own size (although he did meet an unusually large Great Dane that seemed to intimidate him once). So I think once this puppy grows up he probably won't pay it any attention as long as it respects his space. Lola loves to play with smaller dogs, but Zeke merely tolerates them.

 

Sean

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Guest burgerandfrey

I have a ten year old greyhound snob. Lunging and growling at any dog that's non-grey. He does better if I'm walking him alone but over the years I've come to learn that the safest thing for him is to stay clear of non-greys. Still, I make sure he gets out for plenty of walks and activities but limit them to places where all dogs must be leashed and I'm not afraid to tell someone to leash their dog. I've also learned that it's not worth creating a scene and if need be, I will drag him into the woods, up a driveway or to the other side of the street.

 

Fortunately neither of our greys is aggressive towards other dogs on walks, but any dog can feel threatened when they are on a leash and encounter a dog that is off leash, so yes... we often have to remind people that we live in a city with a leash law. The ones who use long retractable leashes are almost just as bad if they just let out all the slack and don't pay attention to where their dog goes. As high as Zeke's prey drive seems to be when it comes to squirrels, cats, and puppies; he will never bolt after something while on a leash. Lola won't either. They might snap to attention and focus on their prey, but they will not pull or bolt. Our first grey was both cat safe and small dog safe, but when she saw a squirrel she would attempt to yank your arm off! Fortunately we trained her out of that.

 

I've also recently adopted a four year old who was bounced because he bit a collie the first week in his new home. His issues are also with dogs (fine with squirrel, tested cat safe), well, and maybe the birds at Petco :lol His reaction is totally different in that he SCREAMS and stomps. I've worked with him so that when he sees a dog, I call his name and when he looks at me I give him a treat immediately. Now when he sees other dogs, he comes to me for a treat. In fact, on some of our walks if we get to a house where he knows a non-grey lives (even if he doesn't see it), he comes to me for a treat. Such a smart boy. I'm hopeful that he just needs more socialization and we're starting obedience training in an all greyhound beginners class in a couple weeks to start building a stronger bond. I do know that this is going to take time and it will be a while before I will trust him even getting close to a non-grey. If it never happens, I'm okay with that too seeing with my senior, it's not an option anyway :lol

 

That's so funny about the birds. Zeke goes nuts for birds at the pet shop! He also gets excited about the guinea pigs, but when he saw a woman carrying a rabbit he didn't really pay much attention. Go figure. I read about using treats to get their attention around small critters so they associate the critter with the treats. We tried that with the puppy, but I don't think we will get another chance to reinforce it... at least not until the puppy is fully grown.

 

On a final note....I wish a had a dime for every time I've heard someone walking their dog off-leash tell me to not worry, their dog won't hurt mine :angryfire I'd be a very rich person by now.

 

Many dog owners where we live (Pacific NW) have the attitude that it is cruel to fence or leash dogs. Unfortunately they don't realize how dangerous this attitude is for the dog, other dogs, and other people until something bad happens. We do have a leash law in our small city, but they leave it up to the underfunded and understaffed county humane society to enforce it. So it doesn't get enforced. We still call the animal control number at the humane society when we see an off-leash dog without its owner (unless it is a dog we know... then we take it home to its owner). Most of the time we just encounter people walking their dogs off leash. We do remind them that it is illegal to walk a dog off-leash unless you are on a designated off-leash trail or park. We usually get that "you all must not be from around here" look (we moved here from the East Coast). And yes... I would also like a dime for every time I've been told not to worry because their dog is nice (implying that our must not be nice since we have to keep them leashed).

 

Sean

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Guest NeverSayNever

My greyhound, Travis, was very high prey. He would grab any dog that did not resemble a greyhound regardless of size. If it was fat, small, or hairy... it was prey. It took a lot of work, but eventually he did give it up and went on to be the only greyhound to every earn 2 Master Agility Championships. Once he decided to stop, I was able to trust him 100%. Here are some things I did with Travis initially:

 

1. I took him to an obedience class almost every night of the week. In other words, I exposed him to non-greyhounds for an hour almost everyday. If your greyhound is only seeing one small dog, once a week, your chances of success are less likely.

 

2. Normally, all of my training is postive. I clicker train... but I did correct Travis for lunging and being inappropriate. He did wear a prong collar initially so I could correct him quickly without getting into a wrestling match.... but I also clicked and treated for everything he resisted.... small dog sniffs him, click and treat. Small dog runs by, clicke and treat. Small dog jumps, click and treat. So while I did not tolerate his bad behavior and stopped him... I focused mostly on telling him when he was right.

 

3. Travis ended up being a huge fan of a bumper (used for retrievers in the water). Travis could carry that toy for hours. I found that having something in his mouth seemed to help him turn off the prey drive.... you might see if there is a certain toy your boy feels that strongly about.

 

4. I also think having a job helped to channel Travis' drive into something positive. Once he decided he was an agility dog, he never once betrayed my trust.

 

Rest in peace, Travis. Can't believe you've been gone for well over a year now.

 

Good luck, keep working at it.

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Guest burgerandfrey

Thanks for the response NeverSayNever.

 

Those are helpful suggestions. Fortunately Zeke is exposed to other dogs quite often. We go for regular walks around our neighborhood and down to the shopping district and the park on the bay. Dogs are very popular around here and we always encounter other dogs and their owners on walks. Of course this time of year not as much as in the nicer months, but Zeke tends to do very well around other dogs when meeting them out on our walks. It's really just the toy dogs and puppies that excite him, and even then I think it depends on what the dog is doing. If the owner is holding the dog in their arms, and the dog is squeaking, then of course it seems like a toy to Zeke.

 

We will start doing the positive reinforcement after Zeke has successful sniff and greets with other dogs. We are also thinking about getting our hounds involved in coursing, but it might require more driving than we can do this year since we are preparing for a new baby to arrive at Summer's end. Speaking of... I hope Zeke doesn't think the baby is a toy! Fortunately he has been excellent around the small children he has encountered. Not that we would ever leave a baby and a dog together unsupervised, but I don't think we will have any concerns about Zeke that we wouldn't have about any dog. Fortunately both of our hounds seem to have a high tolerance for children, as my youngest niece has tested. She loves to brush him and he loves the attention.

 

We do try to keep both of our dogs active, which I think does help them relax. Lola doesn't need any help to relax, but Zeke does tense up in some situations... if he feels threatened by a strange dog for example. We have noticed that he is really much more relaxed around other dogs when he gets plenty of exercise. We sometimes taken them to a greyhound playgroup, but more often we just take them on long walks and hikes. We also take them to a fenced in park for some real running as often as we can.

 

Sean

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Hey Sean,

 

Well, on the upside... some cockapooos get big... my first dog was a cockapoo and she was almost 35 lbs (and was in great shape, too, up to the ripe ol' age of 16!).

 

Best of luck with Zeke, he sounds like a spitfire and (IMHO) the feisty ones are the most challenging AND rewarding dogs to have in your life. B)

 

Jen

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Guest burgerandfrey

Hey Sean,

 

Well, on the upside... some cockapooos get big... my first dog was a cockapoo and she was almost 35 lbs (and was in great shape, too, up to the ripe ol' age of 16!).

 

Best of luck with Zeke, he sounds like a spitfire and (IMHO) the feisty ones are the most challenging AND rewarding dogs to have in your life. B)

 

Jen

 

Heh - "spitfire" is probably a good word for Zeke, but he isn't as stubborn as some dogs we have had. He actually seems more eager to please than any other dog we have had. We had another greyhound for ten years before adopted Zeke and Lola. All three have had very different personalities. Our previous grey had a big personality, and she wore her emotions on her sleeve. We shared a very deep bond with her, but she could be stubborn at times and very impatient. She was also incredibly sweet and shared our love of hiking and travel. We are still getting to know the new hounds. Lola just seems happy all the time, and is the gentlest greyhound I have ever met. Zeke is almost as expressive as our first grey, but he doesn't always show it. He is very patient and appears stoic... even melancholy at times. But he also gets more excited about walks, rides in the car, and chew toys than any dog we have previously had. Fortunately he and Lola are also eager to go places in the car or on foot.

 

35 pounds is a big cockapoo! I guess it depends on who the parents are though. How great to have a dog in your life for 16 years! That's one downside to adopting greyhounds... you often get them when they have already lived several years of their life. Zeke was on the track until he was almost five. We got our previous grey when she was only a year and a half. And Lola retired at 2.5 years (her track in Rhode Island closed).

 

Sean

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Guest Spencers_Greyt

When I first fostered then later adopted Buzz he was very small dog/other breed aggressive. He’s mellowed out quite a bit because I take him to Petsmart quite often so he is always around other dogs. In your case, the more you can have the puppy around Zeke the better it would be so he can get used to the puppy and his unique smell. Of course that would mean someone holding the puppy and someone supervising Zeke but I think he needs to be in the puppy’s presence so he can learn eventually that the puppy isn’t a toy.

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Guest FastDogsOwnMe

I have two that I would never trust around a small and furry, and two that I do as long as the other two are not there to get them going.

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