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Newly Adopted Greyhound Help!


Guest Trace

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Hello everyone!

 

I just adopted a fairly young retired racing Greyhound last week! Her name is Trace and shes 1.6years old!

 

So I have a few problems (not huge ones, but need some advice).

 

For starters- STAIRS. She can do outside stairs, inside stairs, but NOT my apartment stairs. Don't know why they frighten her to death, the one staircase I really need her to do she refuses big time; but were working on it.

 

My main problem- is that she is not excited for anything. She doesn't want to go on walks (I'm thinking a big part of that is her having to go down the stairs). I know she has only been with me a week, and she is still learning everything because she has never been in a house before- but her tail never wags! I feel as if she is not happy even though I am trying so hard for her to get adjusted.

 

We go on super long walks and usually she is OK on them, tail is still never wagging but shes taking everything in. The occasional stops on the walks where she just doesn't want to move, but that I stand next to her for a minute or 2 and she picks up again.

 

Is the tail wagging a problem? Is it just that she is getting used to everything still? I feel so bad =/

 

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First, welcome to Greytalk and greyhound life!

 

Others will chime in, but it looks to me like your hound is still adjusting to a major change in her life. Her life before retirement was very structured, with exercise in a pen with other greys (or else on the track), and the same every day. Now, suddenly, she has to deal with a world full of dogs and other animals to which she's never been exposed, a living environment much different from what she's used to, and a major change in her routine. Depending on the group from which you adopted Trace, she may have come directly from the track, with no exposure to any of these things. Stairs (especially if they aren't carpeted) are strange and scary things. Going down them is especially scary!

 

Offer her some structure, and take it slow. Give her a routine (eat at a specific time, go out at a specific time, etc.). As far as the stairs, we only have a 5-step stairs from the back room to the rest of the house, so we never had any major problems with our greys. Take them slowly, and offer Trace rewards for each bit of progress.

 

It can take up to six months (or more) for Trace's full personality to blossom. We adopted our most recent grey Rufus in July, and he's still showing us new facets to his personality. Be patient, be supportive, and do as you did here -- ask when you're not sure. There's a whole world of greyhound/sighthound owners here who can offer you their experience, advice, and support.

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First, welcome to Greytalk and greyhound life!

 

Others will chime in, but it looks to me like your hound is still adjusting to a major change in her life. Her life before retirement was very structured, with exercise in a pen with other greys (or else on the track), and the same every day. Now, suddenly, she has to deal with a world full of dogs and other animals to which she's never been exposed, a living environment much different from what she's used to, and a major change in her routine. Depending on the group from which you adopted Trace, she may have come directly from the track, with no exposure to any of these things. Stairs (especially if they aren't carpeted) are strange and scary things. Going down them is especially scary!

 

Offer her some structure, and take it slow. Give her a routine (eat at a specific time, go out at a specific time, etc.). As far as the stairs, we only have a 5-step stairs from the back room to the rest of the house, so we never had any major problems with our greys. Take them slowly, and offer Trace rewards for each bit of progress.

 

It can take up to six months (or more) for Trace's full personality to blossom. We adopted our most recent grey Rufus in July, and he's still showing us new facets to his personality. Be patient, be supportive, and do as you did here -- ask when you're not sure. There's a whole world of greyhound/sighthound owners here who can offer you their experience, advice, and support.

Thank you very very much! This makes me feel loads better! I've been lurking on the forums and finally decided to get a grey and sign up- so thank you for the welcome! I'm very excited to see her start to blossom. I know it's only been a week and I need to be patient. I just hope shes happy. Thanks again!

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It took 2 weeks for us to be able to walk Jack like a normal dog :P And even more for me to walk it alone! (As a "pack" it was easier)

For the stairs, we put on his harness, took a handful of treats, picked him up like a suitcase and did the stairs, then threw the handful on the floor for him to eat. In 3 days he was going up and down by himself :)

Jack actually STOP wagging when really happy. Like he will look at me, wagging, nudging my hand for pets, but when I start petting him, he stops the wagging. He will wag his tail, anxiously waiting to eat, but no wagging when eating. They are not labs, they don't wag their tails much :) Don't worry, she is just adjusting :)

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Cynthia, with Charlie (Britishlionheart) & Zorro el Galgo
Captain Jack (Check my Spots), my first love

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It took 2 weeks for us to be able to walk Jack like a normal dog :P And even more for me to walk it alone! (As a "pack" it was easier)

 

For the stairs, we put on his harness, took a handful of treats, picked him up like a suitcase and did the stairs, then threw the handful on the floor for him to eat. In 3 days he was going up and down by himself :)

 

Jack actually STOP wagging when really happy. Like he will look at me, wagging, nudging my hand for pets, but when I start petting him, he stops the wagging. He will wag his tail, anxiously waiting to eat, but no wagging when eating. They are not labs, they don't wag their tails much :) Don't worry, she is just adjusting :)

Thank you for the insight!! As you can imagine I am just worried. I really do believe it wil get better!

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Guest MurphysMom

Hello!! Congrats on your Trace, I can't wait to see pictures :beatheart

 

We adopted our very first grey in May, and even though she's an outgoing, friendly, and lovely little lady, she's still showing us new bits of her personality. She isn't a big tail-wagger! She'll slowly windmill it around when we get home, or when DH plays with her, but for the most part we just get a watery, starry-eyed stare from her, and maybe some teeth-chattering. She didn't express any excitement about our walks for quite awhile (her leg was also injured when we got her so our walking excursions were limited until around September) but now when I ask "do you want to gooo?" she'll leap around and act like a total goofball. It will probably take awhile but it's so much fun to watch them emerge from their shells!

 

We don't have any scary apartment steps, but inside our house we do have a ton of carpeted steps... it took her about four days to figure out how to climb them herself but she didn't gain 100% confidence for quite some time, and open-backed stairs can still be a little scary. Murphy is more voice-motivated than food motivated (she's weird like that) so I would prop her up from behind and my husband would gently tug on her leash while I literally placed one paw in front of the other. We acted like crazy happy people whenever she made any sort of movement forward on her own. Praise praise praise! and patience :) enjoy your doggie!

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Totally normal for all of what you're describing. At 18 months she's still really a puppy and will be going through all that "puppy stuff" like fear phases. She will have a couple more awkward growth spurts where she'll be a total klutz, and some teen age tantrums and anxieties.

 

If she's food motivated at all, grab some SUPER FABULOUSLY YUMMY treats, and a friend to help you, and work on the stairs at a quiet time of day. As someone mentioned, if they are open-backed you will need to work a little harder at helping her get comfortable with them.

 

Some greyhounds *never* wag their tails. Some are coffee-table-clearers. You won't know for a little while yet until she really settles in to her new home and routine. Schedules are important - make one and keep to it, even on the weekends for now.

 

Congratulations and good luck!

Chris - Mom to: Lilly, Felicity (DeLand), and Andi (Braska Pandora)

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Angels: Libby (Everlast), Dorie (Dog Gone Holly), Dude (TNJ VooDoo), Copper (Kid's Copper), Cash (GSI Payncash), Toni (LPH Cry Baby), Whiskey (KT's Phys Ed), Atom

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HI! I was in your shoes 4 months ago. Enjoy your pup. Celebrate all the wins and just let all the lows get not much reaction.

 

Stairs, are they the OPEN kind you can see thru? Rather then filled in stairs like most have inside.. Because as someone who gets vertigo, those open stairs set me off badly but other kinds dont. Just take it stair by stair, BE calm yourself and have all the time in the world. Thats whats worked for us with NEW things. Everything is new remember..PRAISE her to the sky above when she goes up or down the stairs. Give treats.

 

Walking, takes awhile. For MONTHS we had a dog who would go to his bed and not be excited about walks. Then I had him jog a short ways with me (he is more fit then I am..LOL) and that was like OMG! what fun. He now is happy to walk BUT has his moments. Mine has small dog fear so on walks he can get freaked out, over time he's getting better.

 

What you need to know is, your grey doesnt trust you much. That takes time, and how much time varies from dog to dog. But you have to roll with the punches. Play with your dog, let her come to you for cuddles, dont crowd her. When she does come, give her a treat.

 

Time will fly by, if your rescue group has dog walks, GO. My boy learned so much and loved seeing his ppl.

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Good comments above. When I started walking Logan his thing was (and still is to some extent) staring -- he would stop at the driveway of any house with an open garage door and stare into it, I guess just because he had never seen it before. He was very interested, but did not show it beyond the stare. The stopping in the middle of a walk is a common greyhound thing, called statuing -- the dog gets overwhelmed with sensory input, and their response is to simply stop. Waiting it out is the best approach if you have the time.

 

One way that might get her more interested in walking is to try walking in a park if you have one around -- mine get way more excited walking in the park versus the neighborhood. I have a ranch house, so no comment on the stairs.

 

One slightly off-topic comment:

 

"We go on super long walks and usually she is OK on them, tail is still never wagging but shes taking everything in."

 

Not sure what super long is, but keep in mind that a greyhound on the track was not a long-distance walker. AFAIK, for a track dog exercise is limited to the racing (which is a short sprint) and turnout in a fenced area. A greyhound can definitely become a long-distance walker, but it might take a bit of time. That said, being tired would not explain lack of interest at the beginning of the walk, because greyhounds also don't think ahead -- she would start out strong and only become tired as the walk progresses.

Rob
Logan - LoganMaxicon15K.jpg - Max (Aug. 4, 2004 - Jan. 11, 2018)

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Guest Lupin290

My boy took a while to learn carpeted stairs, and when he first encountered stairs that weren't carpeted we had to start over.

 

Two pieces of advice: First, sometimes learning stairs is easier with 2 people. One person to stand in front and encourage and another to stand behind and prevent them from going backwards.

 

Second, try to find some food that your hound LOVES and use that as motivation. Most greys have never experienced special treats like peanut butter, baloney or sqeeze cheese before, so they might turn up their nose the first time you give it to them. Give them a chance to taste it and find out their favorites. To be clear, I am not encouraging you to feed your dog junk food, but having a highly motivating food in front of them can be very useful when teaching them to go up the stairs. It is also nice to have that special treat when you go scary places like the vets office (I work for a vet, we always have spray cheese on hand, lol).

 

Good luck!

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Trace, I know walks can be hard with a new hound, but like others have said, give it time. I second the walking in a park suggestion, if possible. At this point, Redbo is so bored of walking around our apartment complex; he statues out of sheer boredom. But a walk in the park, oh boy! He starts jumping around and acting like a goober.

 

This is the second post today of new owners worrying that their dog isn't wagging his tail enough :) Some greyhounds just aren't tail waggers, but they will show their contentment and happiness in other ways!

 

It's funny, I'm actually wary whenever mine wags his tail too much... I'm always afraid he's going to whack into something and start bleeding everywhere.

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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.

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 you can help him.

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Guest GreyOrchard

 

Hello everyone!

 

I just adopted a fairly young retired racing Greyhound last week! Her name is Trace and shes 1.6years old!

 

So I have a few problems (not huge ones, but need some advice).

 

For starters- STAIRS. She can do outside stairs, inside stairs, but NOT my apartment stairs. Don't know why they frighten her to death, the one staircase I really need her to do she refuses big time; but were working on it.

 

My main problem- is that she is not excited for anything. She doesn't want to go on walks (I'm thinking a big part of that is her having to go down the stairs). I know she has only been with me a week, and she is still learning everything because she has never been in a house before- but her tail never wags! I feel as if she is not happy even though I am trying so hard for her to get adjusted.

 

We go on super long walks and usually she is OK on them, tail is still never wagging but shes taking everything in. The occasional stops on the walks where she just doesn't want to move, but that I stand next to her for a minute or 2 and she picks up again.

 

Is the tail wagging a problem? Is it just that she is getting used to everything still? I feel so bad =/

 

 

Not surprised about the stairs. Stay close to her and go one step at a time like you would a 2 yr old child. In a week or so she should be very improved.

 

If her tail does not wag it could mean that she is what I used to call a "robot". She has never had much joy in her life, was treated as a thing with no feelings. It will come. Get down on the floor with her, whine and bark a little, roll over on your back and pant like a dog, paw at her a bit.....and though she might at first be shocked, eventually she might remember what it's like to be a puppy. It wasn't that long ago. But....when you do this, please, close the curtains!

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I agree with not assuming she was treated badly. I really just think she's still getting her bearings. When I first got Rudy, I remember when I first took him for walks. We'd go outside and he whined and looked at my car longlingly, then did the same thing when we got back. I got the sense he wanted to get in that car and be taken back to what he was familiar with. Since then it has become obvious how much he loves routine and the familiar, so I think my feeling was somewhere close to the mark.

 

I've since become friends on facebook with Rudy's breeder and she's a very loving and sweet person who loves seeing updates about Rudy. She often posts pictures of her dogs and certainly loves them. I have no doubt he had a happy youth, I just think it was very stressful for him to be in a new environment with new people and dogs.

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My boy is so cuddly and goofy. I do not think he was treated badly or harmed on purpose. Seeing him run around I can understand where all his scars came from, HIM! He tripped over his own legs this morning. LOL

 

I think some dogs do get mistreated BUT many are treated very well.

 

This world is new to them, throw me in the middle of NYC and I'd be reacting the same way, totally lost, fearful and wanting to go home.

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Guest fitzdawg

This is the second post today of new owners worrying that their dog isn't wagging his tail enough :) Some greyhounds just aren't tail waggers, but they will show their contentment and happiness in other ways!

 

+1

 

My boy would rival the happiest Labrador in how much he wags his tail (and has from the day we got him 2.5 years ago), while our girl very rarely ever wags her tail. She definitely expresses her happiness in other ways, but tail wagging usually isn't one of them.

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Guest fitzdawg

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.

 

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 you can help him.

 

Hands down, this is the best description of the challenges and responsibilities that people have when adopting a retired racer. Very well said.

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