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Muzzle Recommendations After Devastating Incident


Guest LurcherLove
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Guest LurcherLove

A little background info first. Mavis is a 2 year old lurcher. She is half Greyhound and half Irish Wolfhound, although she seems to have gotten more of the greyhound personality and traits and just the long wiry fur of a Wolfhound. We've had her since she was 8 weeks old and she was/is a handful - she has a ton of energy and a ton of personality to go with it.

 

We learned last year that she loves to play frisbee and found it to be a good outlet for her energy and prey drive. We'll throw the frisbee like a normal frisbee but have also learned how to throw it to make it roll on the ground really fast - so it's like she's chasing something.

She has a VERY high prey drive. She's fine with our indoor cat, but when she sees rabbits, cats and squirrels outside she goes bonkers. Oh, and she's leash reactive to dogs. We're working on counter conditioning and actually are starting a reactive dog training course on Tuesday (Nov 22). She is fine with 95% of the dogs she meets, but has told off a couple so we just try and avoid busy parks and have play dates with one neighbourhood dog who can handle and has the same crazy exuberance she does.

 

So about the incident, yesterday evening my husband had Mavis out at the small off leash area by our house. There is rarely anyone there and if there is, it's generally dogs from the neighbourhood that Mavis has known for a while. Steve threw the frisbee, Mavis went to catch it and on her way back she dropped the frisbee and headed towards two small dogs that Steve didn't realize were there. He didn't think much of it though because she's been around lots of small dogs. But then she picked up one of the dogs (it was a yorkie) and started shaking it like a ragdoll, just how she does when she gets her frisbee. Thankfully Steve was close and he grabbed her collar and she dropped the dog. The dog was fine, no puncture wounds, and was walking around afterwards - Mavis was completely uninterested in it then and just was calmly sitting there while he spoke to the owner (who was rightfully horrified). I know where these dogs live, they're knew to the neighbourhood, and we're going to go check on them later today.

 

We realized its probably best Mavis have a muzzle on in public. It breaks my heart because we did so much socialization from the get-go and she is a good, fun loving dog. So first off what kind of muzzle would you recommend for her? We still want to play frisbee with her but how can we do that if she's muzzled? We do have one fenced in school park we can use, but can only go during the evening when school is out and she definitely needs to get during the day as well. On weekends we like to go to a large park where they allow dogs off leash. It's so big you maybe only run into two or three dogs depending on time of day, weather etc. Will she be ok here with her muzzle on? Apologies for the long post. We're just feeling really down and hopeless right now.

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The dog park didn't have separate areas for large and small dogs? Is there a nearby greyhound adoption group who might let you join their playgroup?

 

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Guest LurcherLove

No, it's just a small off leash area by our house, smaller than a school field. But none of the big dog parks in our city have separate areas for big and small dogs. There is a local greyhound adoption that has playdates but they're only once a month. I'm going to look into it though.

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The problem with muzzling in a dog park is that your dog cannot defend herself if attacked or threatened by another dog. Unless all dogs are muzzled, the park is a no go.

 

I think your best bet is to try and find a neighbor or someone nearby with a secure, fenced yard that you can use for unmuzzled play to keep your dog and others completely safe. You may well find that person through the greyhound group. Most play groups require muzzles on all dogs, and if they don't, I would avoid them due to the higher risk of injury of think skinned dogs.

 

Good luck. It's frustrating, but there are solutions out there that don't involve dog parks. It's just a chore to find them.

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Your dog picked up a small dog in it's mouth and luckily, the other dog was not hurt ... the question should not be how to get it back to normal because there is no normal anymore. You need to avoid dog parks and not let the dog run loose unless it is in your fenced in yard. If you keep your dog on a leash and avoid parks, then there should not be a reason to muzzle. If you do playdates with other dogs, all should be muzzled.

 

Think of this first incident as a warning, the next one will probably not be as benign.

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Why would you muzzle when you can just keep her on a leash? Use a long line attached to a harness when you're playing frisbee and don't have her on it when there is the potential for unfamiliar dogs to appear. Makes no sense to me to muzzle her rather than just using a 6' lead. Not only does it put her at risk, but she can still injure a dog while wearing a muzzle. On that note, I would definitely check on the other dog again. There could have been internal injuries, though I would imagine they'd be trying to track you down if there were. My first greyhound picked up a feral cat once. It got a good swat in and she dropped it and it ran off, but I don't think it survived. :( Not to scare you, hopefully the other dog is fine, but it can happen even if there aren't visible wounds.

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That situation could be considered "predatory drift" in the dog world. Frisbee was an original target but live prey animal was instinctually irresistible.

 

General rule for dog muzzles: If one dog is muzzled ALL dogs present must be muzzled. (Racing Greyhounds are required to wear muzzles during races for multiple reasons (competition; open mouth or body bump; pack issues, etc.) and during kennel potty turn-outs with multiple hounds inside fenced enclosure.) Here's a link to Greyhound muzzles in USA, (hounds can pant and drink water while wearing this type of open basket muzzle): http://www.gemgreyhounds.org/GEM-Store/kennel-muzzle/

 

Many Greyhound adoption groups advise adopters: no multi-breed dog parks for retired racing Greyhounds. (Aka: sighthound breed bred for racing/chasing/hunting.) It only takes one perceived underdog, or one squeal for an entire dog pack (all breeds) to join a fight.The safest option is as mentioned above: Greyhound (and/or sighthound) only play dates in a fully fenced enclosure where ALL hounds can be safely muzzled. Greyhounds have paper thin skin that rips wide open more easily than other breeds. Since fenced spaces are a premium in our area, we worked with the city to use a dog park very early on a weekend morning before the public usually arrives. One person stands by the gate to ensure no other dog breeds enter the enclosure. Since dog parks are public, if other breed owners have a problem waiting or returning later, all our Greyhound owners happily gather up the hounds and leave immediately. (Most non-GH owners are understanding since this arrangement protects their own dogs, and they get used to our weekly scheduled time.) We've also gotten permission to use a fenced ball field during off season. (Thorough poop clean-up is important.)

 

Daily leashed jogs with a human are a great alternative, or friends with a fenced back yard who are willing to muzzle their own dog also or let you exercise your hound solo. There might be lure coursers nearby (must use artificial lures only), but if course is not fenced you run the risk of losing your hound, and your personal financial liability increases if dog is running-at-large (puts humans, pets, and wildlife at risk). Caution: Lure coarsing increases prey drive.( As a cat owner, I would not do any lure coarsing with my hounds.) Good luck.

 

ETA: I disagree with using any leash or long drag line during frisbee runs. Huge injury risk of dogs dangerously tripping and flipping themselves.

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ETA: I disagree with using any leash or long drag line during frisbee runs. Huge injury risk of dogs dangerously tripping and flipping themselves.

This. I play disc competitively with my dogs. No leashes. The dog can trip, the leash can snag, if you throw the disc too far both of you will get a tremendous jerk, and quite frankly you can't get a long enough line to play a proper game of frisbee anyway. And if you could, your dog would be so far away and you'd have no real control anyway.

 

Where do you live? Maybe someone in your area will have ideas for fenced places you could play. Here in Canada we have outdoor hockey rinks which are great for about 8 months of the year for dogs (although some cities are idiots and do not permit dogs in them). I have several near me so I use them fairly regularly, though I do also let my dogs run loose at the park as well. Sometimes baseball diamonds are an option.

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Guest LurcherLove

Why would you muzzle when you can just keep her on a leash? Use a long line attached to a harness when you're playing frisbee and don't have her on it when there is the potential for unfamiliar dogs to appear. Makes no sense to me to muzzle her rather than just using a 6' lead. Not only does it put her at risk, but she can still injure a dog while wearing a muzzle. On that note, I would definitely check on the other dog again. There could have been internal injuries, though I would imagine they'd be trying to track you down if there were. My first greyhound picked up a feral cat once. It got a good swat in and she dropped it and it ran off, but I don't think it survived. :( Not to scare you, hopefully the other dog is fine, but it can happen even if there aren't visible wounds.

We checked on the other dog. He is fine according to the owner, although she didn't take him to the vet.

I worry about using a long line, she runs very fast towards the frisbee and I can see it getting tangled around her legs.

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Guest LurcherLove

This. I play disc competitively with my dogs. No leashes. The dog can trip, the leash can snag, if you throw the disc too far both of you will get a tremendous jerk, and quite frankly you can't get a long enough line to play a proper game of frisbee anyway. And if you could, your dog would be so far away and you'd have no real control anyway.

 

Where do you live? Maybe someone in your area will have ideas for fenced places you could play. Here in Canada we have outdoor hockey rinks which are great for about 8 months of the year for dogs (although some cities are idiots and do not permit dogs in them). I have several near me so I use them fairly regularly, though I do also let my dogs run loose at the park as well. Sometimes baseball diamonds are an option.

We're in Canada! I actually took her to a rink near our house this morning. Bad thing is, it's concrete inside and will probably only be useful for another month, if that. And yes, I agree about the long lead, I worry it would wrap around her legs as she ran. We're actually making a flirt pole this afternoon to use in our backyard and for now will play frisbee at a private fenced in area in the evening after dark.

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We're in Canada! I actually took her to a rink near our house this morning. Bad thing is, it's concrete inside and will probably only be useful for another month, if that. And yes, I agree about the long lead, I worry it would wrap around her legs as she ran. We're actually making a flirt pole this afternoon to use in our backyard and for now will play frisbee at a private fenced in area in the evening after dark.

 

That's too bad about the rink. All the ones are around here are grass.

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Guest LurcherLove

Thanks for everyones replies. I guess even taking her muzzled for a hike in the park where we may only encounter 2 or 3 dogs isn't an option. She's such high energy and while she does get a daily on-leash walk or two (1 hr to 1.5 hrs worth) it really doesn't drain her energy like a good run does. We're making a DIY flirt pole this afternoon to help burn some energy in our backyard (our yard isn't huge so not good for running). Also, we checked on the other dog and he appears fine according to the owner.


That's too bad about the rink. All the ones are around here are grass.

I just noticed where you're from. We're in Calgary, although all of my family is from and still is up in Edmonton. We'll be up there for the holidays. Thankfully Mavis has lots of doggie cousins up there and my parents yards are quite big.

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Guest LurcherLove

I'm in Calgary...email me at - spell it out - zed you bee bee eye ess ess at yahoo dot com, and i can tell you where an appropriate field might be...

Thanks for your reply. Tried emailing but it delivery failed twice? Can you email me at rowaneliot1985@yahoo.com? Thanks.

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