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What To Expect When Adopting A Retired Racer


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Guest ManyBlessings

Good Morning,

 

We are going through the process for adoption of a retired racer near Kansas City. In reading so many things I'm wondering if there is a "normal" when it comes to the greys. They all seem like they are real individualists. Can some of you share your experience with the retired racers........

 

We would like a big boy. I've read marking shouldn't be a problem. There's a nice long thread about that here.

 

Do they chew while left alone? Do they need to be crated if nobody is home? I've read they sleep a lot.

 

We have a 9 month old Berner and a 5 year old pug, both spayed girls...we would like our grey to be social and playful but not hyper.

 

We have two children. Are many of them space guardians? Spooks? We have taught our children the correct way to interact with dogs, but I worry about the situation the comes out of nowhere. I've been reading here about a dog that will accepted lots of attention and then suddenly snap. That might not be the norm, I hope. I would love for our grey to be my couch buddy in the evenings.

 

Do any of you allow your dog (any breed) to growl at a human if they have a high value treat? Or reach into their space? Do most greys have problems in the area? Our Berner tried that (with a high value treat, not space) and we have corrected that behavior. She knows humans are her pack leader. But she is a puppy still.

 

Is there such a thing as a good all-around family grey, easy-going, love-bug?

 

I'm waiting for the two books to arrive that are required reading before adopting from the peticular place we have applied.

 

Thank you for your knowledge!

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Credit Kathleen Gilley

 

 

Of all breeds of dogs, the ex-racing Greyhound has never had to be responsible for anything in his life. His whole existence has been a dog-centered one. This breed has never been asked to do anything for itself, make any decisions or answer any questions. It has been waited on, paw and tail. The only prohibition in a racing

Greyhound's life is not to get into a fight----------------or eat certain stuff in the turn out pen.

 

Let us review a little. From weaning until you go away for schooling, at probably a year and a half, you eat, grow and run around with your siblings. When you go away to begin your racing career, you get your own "apartment," in a large housing development. No one is allowed in your bed but you, and when you are in there, no one can touch you, without plenty of warning.

 

Someone hears a vehicle drive up, or the kennel door being unlocked. The light switches are flipped on. The loud mouths in residence, and there always are some, begin to bark or howl. You are wide awake by the time the human opens your door to turn you out. A Greyhound has never been touched while he was asleep.

 

You eat when you are fed, usually on a strict schedule. No one asks if you are hungry or what you want to eat. You are never told not to eat any food within your reach. No one ever touches your bowl while you are eating. You are not to be disturbed because it is important you clean your plate.

 

You are not asked if you have to "go outside." You are placed in a turn out pen and it isn't long before you get the idea of what you are supposed to do while you are out there. Unless you really get out of hand, you may chase, rough house and put your feet on everyone and every thing else. The only humans you know are the "waiters" who feed you, and the "restroom attendants" who turn you out to go to the bathroom. Respect people? Surely you jest.

 

No one comes into or goes out of your kennel without your knowledge. You are all seeing; all knowing. There are no surprises, day in and day out. The only thing it is ever hoped you will do is win, place or show, and that you don't have much control over. It is in your blood, it is in your heart, it is in your fate-- or it is not.

 

And when it is not, then suddenly you are expected to be a civilized person in a fur coat. But people don't realize you may not even speak English. Some of you don't even know your names, because you didn't need to. You were not asked or told to do anything as an individual; you were always part of the "condo association?; the sorority or fraternity and everyone did everything together, as a group or pack. The only time you did anything as an individual is when you schooled or raced, and even then, You Were Not Alone.

 

In my "mobile abode," the Greyhounds each have several unique names, but they also have a single common name: it is Everybody. We continue to do things as a group, pack or as we are affectionately known in-house, by Kathleen's Husbandit, "The Thundering Herd."

 

Back to those who have not been permanently homed. Suddenly, he is expected to behave himself in places he's never been taught how to act. He is expected to take responsibility for saying when he needs to go outside, to come when he is called, not to get on some or all of the furniture, and to not eat food off counters and tables. He is dropped in a world that is not his, and totally without warning, at that.

 

Almost everything he does is wrong. Suddenly he is a minority. Now he is just a pet. He is unemployed, in a place where people expect him to know the rules and the schedule, even when there aren't any. (How many times have you heard someone say, "He won't tell me when he has to go out." What kind of schedule is that?) Have you heard the joke about the dog who says, "My name is No-No Bad Dog. What's yours?" To me that is not even funny. All the protective barriers are gone. There is no more warning before something happens. There is no more strength in numbers. He wakes up with a monster human face two inches from his. (With some people's breath, this could scare Godzilla.) Why should he not, believe that this "someone," who has crept up on him, isn't going to eat him for lunch? (I really do have to ask you ladies to consider how you would react if someone you barely knew crawled up on you while you were asleep?) No, I will not ask for any male input.

 

Now he is left alone, for the first time in his life, in a strange place, with no idea of what will happen or how long it will be before someone comes to him again. If he is not crated, he may go though walls, windows or over fences, desperately seeking something familiar, something with which to reconnect his life. If he does get free, he will find the familiarity, within himself: the adrenaline high, the wind in his ears, the blood pulsing and racing though his heart once again--until he crashes into a car.

 

Often, the first contact with his new family is punishment, something he's never had before, something he doesn't understand now, especially in the middle of the rest of the chaos. And worst of all, what are the most common human reactions to misbehavior? We live in a violent society, where the answer to any irritation is a slap, punch, kick, whip, or rub your nose in it. Under these circumstances, sometimes I think any successful adoption is a miracle.

 

He is, in effect, expected to have all the manners of at least a six-year old child. But, how many of you would leave an unfamiliar six-year old human alone and loose in your home for hours at a time and not expect to find who knows what when you got back? Consider that if you did, you could be brought up on charges of child abuse, neglect and endangerment. Yet, people do this to Greyhounds and this is often the reason for so many returns.

 

How many dogs have been returned because they did not know how to tell the adoptor when they had to go out? How many for jumping on people, getting on furniture, counter surfing, separation anxiety, or defensive actions due to being startled or hurt (aka growling or biting)? So, let's understand: Sometimes it is the dog's "fault" he cannot fit in. He is not equipped with the social skills of a six-year old human. But with your love and help, you can make it happen.

 

Of 7 greyhounds over 14 years with the breed only one was a spook - a "true" spook not just a shy or

insecure dog. I knew that going in and she was fine. As for the other 6, all of them were / are perfectly normal

dogs.

 

Your questions:

 

Boys marking = 2 intact males currently, no marking. No marking from my other two males either.

Chew when left alone = none of the 7

Crated if we aren't home = 11 hour work day. No crates. No problems. Dog door.

Space guardians = nope.

Spook = see above

Do my dogs growl at me = no.

Do they growl at each other? = sometimes. Unless the growling escalates, I let them figure it out.

Normal greyhounds = 6 out of my 7 would be perfectly fine in your home.

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I'm sure most of your questions will be answered in the books!

 

You're asking for quite a bit--

 

A dog that will be OK with a LARGE puppy, a little dog, and what sound like young children. Playful but not hyper. Interactive but independent. Yes, this dog exists. But you may have to wait a bit for him! And most retired racers require a period of adjustment to home life which lasts anywhere from a few days to a few months.

 

The unique upbringing and early life of a retired racer is what makes him special--or so many of us think--but it's also what can make it a bit quirkly compared to a dog who has been basically raised from 8 weeks on in a home. So be prepared. Your dog will most likely need to be housebroken, taught to go up and down stairs, and even learn to walk on shiny floors and hardwood.

 

You might do best with a group that fosters their dogs since you do have a rather long list of "must haves."

 

I, for example, only needed one that was cat safe. I didn't care about the other things you mention cause I live alone and have no one to worry about but myself. So it was fairly easy for me to find a dog that met my requirements.


Hamish-siggy1.jpg

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

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Guest ManyBlessings

Wow, thank you for that. It did bring tears. Wow is all I can say. And please don't get the idea I'm looking for a "perfect" dog. None are, however, there are dogs perfect for our family. I know one will find it's way in. Soon I hope! That was a truely eye opening article. How sad they grow up like that.

 

 

Credit Kathleen Gilley

 

 

Of all breeds of dogs, the ex-racing Greyhound has never had to be responsible for anything in his life. His whole existence has been a dog-centered one. This breed has never been asked to do anything for itself, make any decisions or answer any questions. It has been waited on, paw and tail. The only prohibition in a racing

Greyhound's life is not to get into a fight----------------or eat certain stuff in the turn out pen.

 

Let us review a little. From weaning until you go away for schooling, at probably a year and a half, you eat, grow and run around with your siblings. When you go away to begin your racing career, you get your own "apartment," in a large housing development. No one is allowed in your bed but you, and when you are in there, no one can touch you, without plenty of warning.

 

Someone hears a vehicle drive up, or the kennel door being unlocked. The light switches are flipped on. The loud mouths in residence, and there always are some, begin to bark or howl. You are wide awake by the time the human opens your door to turn you out. A Greyhound has never been touched while he was asleep.

 

You eat when you are fed, usually on a strict schedule. No one asks if you are hungry or what you want to eat. You are never told not to eat any food within your reach. No one ever touches your bowl while you are eating. You are not to be disturbed because it is important you clean your plate.

 

You are not asked if you have to "go outside." You are placed in a turn out pen and it isn't long before you get the idea of what you are supposed to do while you are out there. Unless you really get out of hand, you may chase, rough house and put your feet on everyone and every thing else. The only humans you know are the "waiters" who feed you, and the "restroom attendants" who turn you out to go to the bathroom. Respect people? Surely you jest.

 

No one comes into or goes out of your kennel without your knowledge. You are all seeing; all knowing. There are no surprises, day in and day out. The only thing it is ever hoped you will do is win, place or show, and that you don't have much control over. It is in your blood, it is in your heart, it is in your fate-- or it is not.

 

And when it is not, then suddenly you are expected to be a civilized person in a fur coat. But people don't realize you may not even speak English. Some of you don't even know your names, because you didn't need to. You were not asked or told to do anything as an individual; you were always part of the "condo association?; the sorority or fraternity and everyone did everything together, as a group or pack. The only time you did anything as an individual is when you schooled or raced, and even then, You Were Not Alone.

 

In my "mobile abode," the Greyhounds each have several unique names, but they also have a single common name: it is Everybody. We continue to do things as a group, pack or as we are affectionately known in-house, by Kathleen's Husbandit, "The Thundering Herd."

 

Back to those who have not been permanently homed. Suddenly, he is expected to behave himself in places he's never been taught how to act. He is expected to take responsibility for saying when he needs to go outside, to come when he is called, not to get on some or all of the furniture, and to not eat food off counters and tables. He is dropped in a world that is not his, and totally without warning, at that.

 

Almost everything he does is wrong. Suddenly he is a minority. Now he is just a pet. He is unemployed, in a place where people expect him to know the rules and the schedule, even when there aren't any. (How many times have you heard someone say, "He won't tell me when he has to go out." What kind of schedule is that?) Have you heard the joke about the dog who says, "My name is No-No Bad Dog. What's yours?" To me that is not even funny. All the protective barriers are gone. There is no more warning before something happens. There is no more strength in numbers. He wakes up with a monster human face two inches from his. (With some people's breath, this could scare Godzilla.) Why should he not, believe that this "someone," who has crept up on him, isn't going to eat him for lunch? (I really do have to ask you ladies to consider how you would react if someone you barely knew crawled up on you while you were asleep?) No, I will not ask for any male input.

 

Now he is left alone, for the first time in his life, in a strange place, with no idea of what will happen or how long it will be before someone comes to him again. If he is not crated, he may go though walls, windows or over fences, desperately seeking something familiar, something with which to reconnect his life. If he does get free, he will find the familiarity, within himself: the adrenaline high, the wind in his ears, the blood pulsing and racing though his heart once again--until he crashes into a car.

 

Often, the first contact with his new family is punishment, something he's never had before, something he doesn't understand now, especially in the middle of the rest of the chaos. And worst of all, what are the most common human reactions to misbehavior? We live in a violent society, where the answer to any irritation is a slap, punch, kick, whip, or rub your nose in it. Under these circumstances, sometimes I think any successful adoption is a miracle.

 

He is, in effect, expected to have all the manners of at least a six-year old child. But, how many of you would leave an unfamiliar six-year old human alone and loose in your home for hours at a time and not expect to find who knows what when you got back? Consider that if you did, you could be brought up on charges of child abuse, neglect and endangerment. Yet, people do this to Greyhounds and this is often the reason for so many returns.

 

How many dogs have been returned because they did not know how to tell the adoptor when they had to go out? How many for jumping on people, getting on furniture, counter surfing, separation anxiety, or defensive actions due to being startled or hurt (aka growling or biting)? So, let's understand: Sometimes it is the dog's "fault" he cannot fit in. He is not equipped with the social skills of a six-year old human. But with your love and help, you can make it happen.

 

Of 7 greyhounds over 14 years with the breed only one was a spook - a "true" spook not just a shy or

insecure dog. I knew that going in and she was fine. As for the other 6, all of them were / are perfectly normal

dogs.

 

Your questions:

 

Boys marking = 2 intact males currently, no marking. No marking from my other two males either.

Chew when left alone = none of the 7

Crated if we aren't home = 11 hour work day. No crates. No problems. Dog door.

Space guardians = nope.

Spook = see above

Do my dogs growl at me = no.

Do they growl at each other? = sometimes. Unless the growling escalates, I let them figure it out.

Normal greyhounds = 6 out of my 7 would be perfectly fine in your home.

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Guest ManyBlessings

Thank you. I was hoping having another dog to two would be good for the grey. He won't be so lonely. Although I do very much want a love-bug personality, we are not home 24/7 to give that attention. And good romps in the yard would be fun, or so I would think. I have and am prepared for many adjustments. The one thing I would have difficulty with is human aggression. At this time in my life I would not be willing to deal with that issue. So I am hoping that is a rare thing....and hoping our rescue screens carefully. They do foster so that is good. I can't wait to meet them! I hope to have my books read by the end of this weekend. Should be here anyday.....ooooohhhhh sometimes ebay is not all it's cracked up to be :flip

 

I'm sure most of your questions will be answered in the books!

 

You're asking for quite a bit--

 

A dog that will be OK with a LARGE puppy, a little dog, and what sound like young children. Playful but not hyper. Interactive but independent. Yes, this dog exists. But you may have to wait a bit for him! And most retired racers require a period of adjustment to home life which lasts anywhere from a few days to a few months.

 

The unique upbringing and early life of a retired racer is what makes him special--or so many of us think--but it's also what can make it a bit quirkly compared to a dog who has been basically raised from 8 weeks on in a home. So be prepared. Your dog will most likely need to be housebroken, taught to go up and down stairs, and even learn to walk on shiny floors and hardwood.

 

You might do best with a group that fosters their dogs since you do have a rather long list of "must haves."

 

I, for example, only needed one that was cat safe. I didn't care about the other things you mention cause I live alone and have no one to worry about but myself. So it was fairly easy for me to find a dog that met my requirements.

Edited by ManyBlessings
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I adopted Olivia (my first dog ever) in December. She's been pretty much a perfect dog. She had a learning curve about some of the house rules and it took about 6-8 months for her personality to really begin to show itself. It probably still is, slowly, bit by bit.

 

Can't answer about the boy marking -- but she's never marked in the house. She likes to on walks, though.

 

I quickly stopped crating her, despite what everything I read about crating being good. She hated it. During work, she stays in kitchen (tile floor) with a baby gate up. She quickly learned it's her routine and often goes there without being asked now when we leave.

 

She's not a space guardian. Early on she did snap at my husband once when she must have dozed off while he was petting her and then sleep startled. Has never happened again. We learned quickly and so did she, too.

 

Not a spook at all. Prefers calm and quiet to loud and noisy, though.

 

She has never growled at anybody...or dog, either, I believe. She chastised a puppy once at the dog park but she generally stays away from crazy dog situations. She doesn't like the crazy, excited, yippy doggy behavior. She's kind of a greyhound snob.

 

She's been very patient and tolerant of small children she's met when she's been out and about. Most of them have been very gentle and respectful -- clearly have been taught about how to treat dogs -- some of the kids I could tell she really liked, others she was just patient and calm and let them pet her even though she didn't feel a "connection."

 

In many ways, I feel my adoption group found me the "typical" perfect first dog/greyhound. She was fostered for a month or so before she came to me and adjusted like she'd always been here. And she never once tried to eat my cat, which was my #1 requirement for the group when helping me choose my girl!

Qui me amat, amet et canes meas...et felem.

Olivia (RDs Merrygoround, b. 4/6/07, Gotcha 12/19/11

Chloe (PAR Candice, b. 5/22/08, Gotcha 12/18/12)

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Oh boy. I posted Kathleen's article to give insight to how a retired racer lives before he becomes a pet.

I did not post it to invoke sympathy or produce tears. It is not sad at all how "they" live. It is normal and natural.

Far more normal and natural than an 8 week old pup taken from his mother and siblings and thrust into a

totally human environment.

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It is really not a sad life at all.c After all they have staffn seeing to their every need :D The sad part CAN be when they get home and have no idea what in heck has happened to their buddies and their routine. The article is merely to help you learn what the difference in their lives are and to help them adjust to a life in your home. The problems arise when they are expected to know things they have never been taught. teaching them will be your job. And a rewarding one it is too!!

Growling is a form of communication. You need to learn why he is growling so change up the dynamic of the cause of the growling and then proceed to teach the dog acceptable behaviors such as trade up, leave it, off or whatever. If a new dog is growling cause you are in his space - read bed - get out of his space and do more educating of yourself. In other words don't choke off communication!!

Edited by Jackandgrey

gallery_7628_2929_17259.jpg

Susan, Jessie and Jordy NORTHERN SKY GREYHOUND ADOPTION ASSOCIATION

Jack, in my heart forever March 1999-Nov 21, 2008 My Dancing Queen Jilly with me always and forever Aug 12, 2003-Oct 15, 2010

Joshy I will love you always Aug 1, 2004-Feb 22,2013 Jonah my sweetheart May 2000 - Jan 2015

" You will never need to be alone again. I promise this. As your dog, I will sing this promise to you, and whisper it to you at night, every night, with my breath." Stanley Coren

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I have 6 males and 2 female hounds and a JRT and they all live very well together. Most hounds coming directly off the track will feel completely lost, not all, but most. Their world has just changed completely. They didn't live a bad life at all. They were loved and cared for, but they lived a very routine life. Greyhounds thrive on routine. Throw something unexpected into the works and hey feel lost. I have only had one out of 13 that chewed. I did have a couple of markers but only when someone else had an accident in the house first. My girls have been very active and my boys pretty laid back. I can say with the exception of a couple of them, most took 6 months or more to come out of their shells. The only ones that walked in like they had been here forever were my young ones. The younger the more active I'd have to say. If you get a hound around 4 or 5 years of age they won't be nearly as active as if you get a hound that is 2 years old.

 

Good luck, I hope you find the hound of your dreams!

Judy, mom to Darth Vader, Bandita, And Angel

Forever in our hearts, DeeYoGee, Dani, Emmy, Andy, Heart, Saint, Valentino, Arrow, Gee, Bebe, Jilly Bean, Bullitt, Pistol, Junior, Sammie, Joey, Gizmo, Do Bee

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Guest ManyBlessings

I guess it seems sad to me because they are so isolated. Both from humans and other dogs. It just seems like a lonely life. Since dogs are pack animals they need social interaction. I realized their physical needs get met, but at what cost? I know it's not the worst way to grow up, but it just seems like a lonely life.

 

I do realize there will be training and adjustments. We got our pug from a rescue. She was an adult, had to have an eye taken out when the rescue had her spayed as she was not cared for properly. She was in a puppy mill situation and up for auction. She's a great dog. 110% trustworthy in any situation and has only ever had one accident in the house. And that was in the first week we had her. We've had her for 4 years. I know it is not the same as a grey. But I've had many rescues, different breeds through the years. All have their own special obstacles. The sheltie we lost a few months ago was from the local shelter. She was over 10-12 years old when we adopted her. She was from a mill raid and was sick for a month before she could be adopted. I remember them telling me she's deaf and nearly blind and will never get a home. We had her 4 years and she was the queen. None of the other dogs messed with her. But around humans she was as kind and gentle as could be. Never snapped at anyone. House trained from day one. Not sure how as her background was terrible. She adjusted quickly and was never crated in our home. The pug is never crated either, but the Berner is. I haven't had a puppy in nearly 12 years.......so that in itself was an adjustment.....for me!

 

I'm excited and nervous. Sometimes reading worries me more than it should. I just can't wait to meet some greys and see for myself! I've never even know anyone personaly with one.

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I guess it seems sad to me because they are so isolated. Both from humans and other dogs. It just seems like a lonely life. Since dogs are pack animals they need social interaction. I realized their physical needs get met, but at what cost? I know it's not the worst way to grow up, but it just seems like a lonely life.

 

 

I think it's exactly the opposite - greyhounds grow up being handled multiple times a day by trainers, leadouts and kennel staff, and they're constantly surrounded by dozens of other greyhounds. They stay with their littermates until they're more than a year old - and it's not uncommon for littermates to go to the same track. Once they get to the track, they're separated by crates (which a lot of them see as their safe space), but they certainly aren't crated all day. Greyhounds are actually EXTREMELY social and well-socialized, which is why some of them have separation anxiety when they come home. They aren't used to ever being alone, or even with just a few dogs. It's also why you can take most greyhounds to events with 50 other hounds, and you won't have a single snark or fight.

 

Edited to add - While there are certainly some "shady" tracks, most trainers and kennel workers absolutely love and know their dogs. They're definitely NOT isolated from people. My latest adoptee grew up playing with his trainer's kids and having birthday parties.

Edited by vjgrey

Valerie w/ Cash (CashforClunkers) & Lucy (Racing School Dropout)
Missing our gorgeous Miss
Diamond (Shorty's Diamond), sweet boy Gabe (Zared) and Holly (ByGollyItsHolly), who never made it home.

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Actually greyhounds are the most socialized of all the breeds. They spend their entire first year of life with their litter mates and being tended by people who usually have children who play with the puppies. They stay with their litter mates until usually around 16 - 18 months when they are sent to tracks. I have two sets of litter mates who have never been separated from each other. They all went to the same track and ran and were sent into adoption within a short time of one another and then joined our family so they have literally been together their entire lives. In the racing kennel they have dogs on either side of them and below them and they are all turned out together as a group where their trainer and kennel workers love on them. They are so social that you will find some of them have separation anxiety when taken out of the kennel situation and put in homes where there are no other dogs. People can add a second greyhound and the separation anxiety gets much better. Take a greyhound who lives in a home with no other dogs or with other breeds to an event and watch the immediate interaction between that greyhound and the other hounds in the room. Some can be breed snobs and only like other greyhounds so their lives are no lonely by any stretch of the imagination. They spend their entire lives with other greyhounds and numerous people handling them.

Judy, mom to Darth Vader, Bandita, And Angel

Forever in our hearts, DeeYoGee, Dani, Emmy, Andy, Heart, Saint, Valentino, Arrow, Gee, Bebe, Jilly Bean, Bullitt, Pistol, Junior, Sammie, Joey, Gizmo, Do Bee

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Guest Wasserbuffel
I guess it seems sad to me because they are so isolated. Both from humans and other dogs. It just seems like a lonely life. Since dogs are pack animals they need social interaction. I realized their physical needs get met, but at what cost? I know it's not the worst way to grow up, but it just seems like a lonely life.

 

They're not isolated at all. They live with their mother and siblings for much, much longer than pet dogs. They are interacted with by farmers, trainers, and others throughout the day once they go to the track as well. My grey at home gets much less attention and interaction from humans and dogs than she ever did when she was an active racer. They're just separated by the walls of their crates for safety, but they can see, smell and hear the other dogs while in their crates, plus they are in a group at turnouts which happen for about an hour several times a day.

 

You might want to look at this photo set to learn what your future dog's life was really like (Click on a picture to read an explanation of what's going on): http://www.flickr.com/photos/dazzleme/sets/72157627145032411/

 

Unlike your rescued pug, it's very unlikely that your future retired racer was ever abused or neglected. I'm in contact with my grey's racing trainer. She loves to see pics and hear stories about ther, and the more I learn, the more I'm actually wishing I could be a racing dog. She got massages after her races (trainer says she was one who liked to roll over for her massage), she got sardines, marshmallows, and peaches and cottage cheese as snacks in her kennel.

Edited by Jayne
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You might want to look at this photo set to learn what your future dog's life was really like (Click on a picture to read an explanation of what's going on): http://www.flickr.com/photos/dazzleme/sets/72157627145032411/

 

 

 

Thanks for posting this. Rachael did such an amazing job with that series.

Valerie w/ Cash (CashforClunkers) & Lucy (Racing School Dropout)
Missing our gorgeous Miss
Diamond (Shorty's Diamond), sweet boy Gabe (Zared) and Holly (ByGollyItsHolly), who never made it home.

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Guest ManyBlessings

Thank you! That is very nice to know. I'd like to think they don't have a bad life......

 

I guess it seems sad to me because they are so isolated. Both from humans and other dogs. It just seems like a lonely life. Since dogs are pack animals they need social interaction. I realized their physical needs get met, but at what cost? I know it's not the worst way to grow up, but it just seems like a lonely life.

 

 

I think it's exactly the opposite - greyhounds grow up being handled multiple times a day by trainers, leadouts and kennel staff, and they're constantly surrounded by dozens of other greyhounds. They stay with their littermates until they're more than a year old - and it's not uncommon for littermates to go to the same track. Once they get to the track, they're separated by crates (which a lot of them see as their safe space), but they certainly aren't crated all day. Greyhounds are actually EXTREMELY social and well-socialized, which is why some of them have separation anxiety when they come home. They aren't used to ever being alone, or even with just a few dogs. It's also why you can take most greyhounds to events with 50 other hounds, and you won't have a single snark or fight.

 

Edited to add - While there are certainly some "shady" tracks, most trainers and kennel workers absolutely love and know their dogs. They're definitely NOT isolated from people. My latest adoptee grew up playing with his trainer's kids and having birthday parties.

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That is nice for them to get to play with their littermates. So maybe my thinking is off.....they are socialized, just not as part of a human family like gazehund was saying. But are they shy? Is that because they don't take change well? Some one just said 6 months for their full personality to come out. Wow, now that does kind of make me sad....as why would that be? Trust issues? It did not take that long for my other rescues to get fully comfortable living in our home. Maybe it's a difference in breeds?

 

Actually greyhounds are the most socialized of all the breeds. They spend their entire first year of life with their litter mates and being tended by people who usually have children who play with the puppies. They stay with their litter mates until usually around 16 - 18 months when they are sent to tracks. I have two sets of litter mates who have never been separated from each other. They all went to the same track and ran and were sent into adoption within a short time of one another and then joined our family so they have literally been together their entire lives. In the racing kennel they have dogs on either side of them and below them and they are all turned out together as a group where their trainer and kennel workers love on them. They are so social that you will find some of them have separation anxiety when taken out of the kennel situation and put in homes where there are no other dogs. People can add a second greyhound and the separation anxiety gets much better. Take a greyhound who lives in a home with no other dogs or with other breeds to an event and watch the immediate interaction between that greyhound and the other hounds in the room. Some can be breed snobs and only like other greyhounds so their lives are no lonely by any stretch of the imagination. They spend their entire lives with other greyhounds and numerous people handling them.

Edited by ManyBlessings
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When I brought Joe home, I could take anything out of mouth right away -- I think it shocked him that I would do such a crazy thing! Then, he decided that I needed to know he really didn't like it when I did that, so he growled at me, once, when I tried to take a rawhide. Surprised the heck out of me! "Oh my god! He growled! He hates me!" :rofl So, I got some cheese. Offered the cheese, took the rawhide, gave back the rawhide, offered the cheese. About ten minutes of that, and with occasional practice, and I can now easily get raw meat from him. No problems. Still working on our little girl, though. She's more intense all around.

 

Honestly, I like that they growl. It lets me know that they aren't comfortable with whatever I'm doing, and gives me the chance to back off and find another way to do things.

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Guest Wasserbuffel
That is nice for them to get to play with their littermates. So maybe my thinking is off.....they are socialized, just not as part of a human family like gazehund was saying. But are they shy? Is that because they don't take change well? Some one just said 6 months for their full personality to come out. Wow, now that does kind of make me sad....as why would that be? Trust issues? It did not take that long for my other rescues to get fully comfortable living in our home. Maybe it's a difference in breeds?

 

By nature greyhounds are sensitive dogs, it's just a breed thing. Like others say, they thrive on routine. Once the dog figures out your family's routine and his/her place in it, the dog blossoms.

 

It also depends on the dog. My grey was 3 when she retired and within the month it took from track to my house, she went through three fosters (our group is 2hrs away, so they had to send her to me through a foster home). That's an awful lot of changes for a dog who was used to very little change in her life. The first few days she was very unsure of what was happening. She was without another dog for the first time ever, and living with another set of strange humans, so she paced and whined a lot. After about a week of feeding her by hand and beginning to train her, she began to get that she was staying here. Within a month she had the routine down, my training sessions had helped her bond with me and she really began to show her true self.

 

Now that she's truly comfortable in her home and routine, she's an easygoing, happy, playful, cuddly dog. She's very outgoing with people, and I think the hardest thing for her to learn after leaving the track was that not all people were put on the Earth to pet her.

 

 

Do any of you allow your dog (any breed) to growl at a human if they have a high value treat? Or reach into their space? Do most greys have problems in the area? Our Berner tried that (with a high value treat, not space) and we have corrected that behavior. She knows humans are her pack leader. But she is a puppy still.

 

YES! If my dog is uncomfortable or feels threatened, I do want her to growl. It gives the human the opportunity to correct their behavior before she feels the need to escalate to a snap or a bite. I worked a lot on trading up with Jayne when I first got her. She put her teeth onto my arm once when I tried for a bone too soon, but she didn't break skin or even leave a bruise. Two years into owning her, now I can safely take anything from her without fear. She looks forward to my hands being near her food dish, because I'm as likely to be dropping a dollop of wet cat food, a bit of meat or an egg on top as picking the bowl back up to move her long butt out of my way.

 

The same thing with space, she used to be nervous of anyone near her space when laying down. After working with her, she's now comfortable enough with me to do anything while she laying down.

Edited by Jayne
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I guess the best way to explain it is suppose they took you and put you on Mars. You have no idea what is expected of you. It's a totally new life, something you've never seen before. You don't know what is appropriate to do and what isn't. It's a learning process and sometimes it takes a few months for them to figure out what is allowed and what isn't. Their lives are very constant in the racing kennel. They know when it's time to eat and when it's time to go out. They also have to learn to trust a whole new set of people so they tend to be cautious. Now you can get some who walk in and honestly don't care what is expected of them. :rofl We adopted a 2 1/2 year old little girl last November and she is a totally different case. She didn't care if she fit in, she was here and that's all there is to it. She more energy than all of my others put together! Yes she still gets in trouble for trying to chew the carpet and for stealing things she shouldn't but she is adorable and I happen to love a greyhound with a lot of energy and personality so she fits in here perfectly. Once your new hound figures out where the food, water and treats come from you will see the playful side of greyhounds come out.

 

Things to watch out for, space aggression. They have never had to share their bed (crate) and some take exception to a person or dog walking too close to their bed and will give a low growl. Best to put the hounds bed in a corner, out of the way of everyone walking around. Food aggression, they have never had to share their food and some will snap if another dog tries to eat out of their bowl. Solution, feed the hound separated from the other dogs. Those are the most common issues but most go away with time and trust.

Judy, mom to Darth Vader, Bandita, And Angel

Forever in our hearts, DeeYoGee, Dani, Emmy, Andy, Heart, Saint, Valentino, Arrow, Gee, Bebe, Jilly Bean, Bullitt, Pistol, Junior, Sammie, Joey, Gizmo, Do Bee

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Guest ManyBlessings

That was great! Athough sardines and marshmellows.......

 

Sorry you all for being so ignorant. I guess I really had no idea they were treated so well. That slideshow is really good. Somehow my mind goes into "rescue" mode when thinking about retired dogs coming off the track as being treated like a puppymill situation. Obviously I was wrong.

 

Jayne, did you get your grey directly from the trainer then? I know there are all kinds of organizations placing retired racers. I can see now that "retired" does not mean "rescued", necessarily. Am I close?

 

 

 

I guess it seems sad to me because they are so isolated. Both from humans and other dogs. It just seems like a lonely life. Since dogs are pack animals they need social interaction. I realized their physical needs get met, but at what cost? I know it's not the worst way to grow up, but it just seems like a lonely life.

 

They're not isolated at all. They live with their mother and siblings for much, much longer than pet dogs. They are interacted with by farmers, trainers, and others throughout the day once they go to the track as well. My grey at home gets much less attention and interaction from humans and dogs than she ever did when she was an active racer. They're just separated by the walls of their crates for safety, but they can see, smell and hear the other dogs while in their crates, plus they are in a group at turnouts which happen for about an hour several times a day.

 

You might want to look at this photo set to learn what your future dog's life was really like (Click on a picture to read an explanation of what's going on): http://www.flickr.com/photos/dazzleme/sets/72157627145032411/

 

Unlike your rescued pug, it's very unlikely that your future retired racer was ever abused or neglected. I'm in contact with my grey's racing trainer. She loves to see pics and hear stories about ther, and the more I learn, the more I'm actually wishing I could be a racing dog. She got massages after her races (trainer says she was one who liked to roll over for her massage), she got sardines, marshmallows, and peaches and cottage cheese as snacks in her kennel.

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Guest ManyBlessings

And with this method the dog doesn't think it's getting rewarded for growling? Interesting.

 

With our Berner, I always handled food and treats and wanted to be sure she would not be food agressive. She seemed to be a bit at first but was the runt of a litter of 10 so I think she had to compete for food. If she growled at me when I touched her or put my hand near her food I would immediately and sternly say "NO!" and take it away. She would have to wait to get it returned. I only had to do that a few times and she was fine.

 

When I brought Joe home, I could take anything out of mouth right away -- I think it shocked him that I would do such a crazy thing! Then, he decided that I needed to know he really didn't like it when I did that, so he growled at me, once, when I tried to take a rawhide. Surprised the heck out of me! "Oh my god! He growled! He hates me!" :rofl So, I got some cheese. Offered the cheese, took the rawhide, gave back the rawhide, offered the cheese. About ten minutes of that, and with occasional practice, and I can now easily get raw meat from him. No problems. Still working on our little girl, though. She's more intense all around.

 

Honestly, I like that they growl. It lets me know that they aren't comfortable with whatever I'm doing, and gives me the chance to back off and find another way to do things.

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You're right, retired does not mean rescued. I didn't rescue any of my dogs, they were in no danger at all, I adopted them. I am very lucky, I have puppy pictures of my one set of siblings. I pre adopted Bullitt when he was a tiny puppy so I have puppy pictures of all 4 of the boys. I know how well they were treated and you should see how excited when they see their trainer and the woman who raised them. They will never forget them. I remember the first time I saw two of mine see their trainer, they were jumping all over him!!

 

That method is called trading up, you trade one thing for another. Greyhounds respond very well to positive reinforcement rather than punishment.

Edited by JillysFullHouse

Judy, mom to Darth Vader, Bandita, And Angel

Forever in our hearts, DeeYoGee, Dani, Emmy, Andy, Heart, Saint, Valentino, Arrow, Gee, Bebe, Jilly Bean, Bullitt, Pistol, Junior, Sammie, Joey, Gizmo, Do Bee

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Guest ManyBlessings

ok, so far I think the two biggest things for me to study up on and go over with the adoption people are food and space issues. I will also search on this forum to see if I can find more to read. I'm a sponge for information and always willing to learn. Hopefully you all don't think I'm just a nut who doesn't deserve a grey :flip

 

Pre adopted, how much fun that would be! But the wait would about kill me. It would be nice if they all had good homes to go to after racing.

 

You're right, retired does not mean rescued. I didn't rescue any of my dogs, they were in no danger at all, I adopted them. I am very lucky, I have puppy pictures of my one set of siblings. I pre adopted Bullitt when he was a tiny puppy so I have puppy pictures of all 4 of the boys. I know how well they were treated and you should see how excited when they see their trainer and the woman who raised them. They will never forget them. I remember the first time I saw two of mine see their trainer, they were jumping all over him!!

 

That method is called trading up, you trade one thing for another. Greyhounds respond very well to positive reinforcement rather than punishment.

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I'd rather see someone research and ask all the questions they want than return a dog because they don't understand what's going on. Ask all the questions you want! We're here to help in any way we can. Search this forum for food and space aggression. There have been many threads over the years on the subject.

Judy, mom to Darth Vader, Bandita, And Angel

Forever in our hearts, DeeYoGee, Dani, Emmy, Andy, Heart, Saint, Valentino, Arrow, Gee, Bebe, Jilly Bean, Bullitt, Pistol, Junior, Sammie, Joey, Gizmo, Do Bee

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And with this method the dog doesn't think it's getting rewarded for growling? Interesting.

 

With our Berner, I always handled food and treats and wanted to be sure she would not be food agressive. She seemed to be a bit at first but was the runt of a litter of 10 so I think she had to compete for food. If she growled at me when I touched her or put my hand near her food I would immediately and sternly say "NO!" and take it away. She would have to wait to get it returned. I only had to do that a few times and she was fine.

 

Growling is a form of communication, not just a "bad behavior" that we shouldn't allow our dogs to do. Because I'm on my lunch break and short on time, here's a previous post I made regarding this issue and why you don't need to worry about 'rewarding' growling.

 

Messing with a dog too much while he's eating and taking their food away for no reason can create a dog who becomes distrustful and possessive of food. Imagine how you feel if someone tried to do that to you when you sit down for a meal. I find that most well-adjusted dogs are not food aggressive as long as they are allowed to eat in peace and know that they will not be disturbed. Food aggressive dogs tend to be insecure and are more likely to show this behavior when in a new environment, around people they haven't learned to trust yet.

 

An alternate method that works better for addressing food aggression is use positive reinforcement to change the dog's association with you approach him while eating. Whenever you approach or get near (ideally before he starts to tense up), you toss special treats into his bowl so that he learns he's going to get something even better and there's no need to feel defensive.

Jennifer &

Willow (Wilma Waggle), Wiki (Wiki Hard Ten), Carter (Let's Get It On),

Ollie (whippet), Gracie (whippet x), & Terra (whippet) + Just Saying + Just Alice

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