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Temperament coming off track . . .


smt
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For all those with much more experience with both adopting and fostering grey's right off the track, what is your experience with temperament, specifically the percentage who show signs of SA/spooks/challenges with general training.  Another way of asking the question is what percentage come off the track generally confident/secure/amenable to basic training (housebreaking/teaching "wait", leash walking, etc.)?  Do you notice variables that seem to correlate with confidence/trainability, such as age, lineage, race history, etc.?

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Each dog, just like people, has a different personality and attitude.  I have had dogs that were fostered and came into our home not housebroken.  I have had dogs come right off the track that never peed in my house.  We have had dogs come from a kennel situation and were very easily crated and others from the same situation that were not.  You get what you get and then you work with it.

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45 minutes ago, Houndtime said:

Each dog, just like people, has a different personality and attitude.  I have had dogs that were fostered and came into our home not housebroken.  I have had dogs come right off the track that never peed in my house.  We have had dogs come from a kennel situation and were very easily crated and others from the same situation that were not.  You get what you get and then you work with it.

Pretty much this.  You never know the quirks until a dog has spent some time living in your home.  Often a spook will be placed on adoption hold by a group so that someone can work with the dog before adoption, but even this varies from group to group. 

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Camp Broodie. The current home of Mark Kay Mark Jack.  Always missing my boy Rocket Hi Noon Rocket,  Allie  Phoenix Dynamite, Kate Miss Kate, Starz Under Da Starz, Petunia MW Neptunia and Diva Astar Dashindiva 

 

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I don't believe there are any statistics.  From my own experience, 3 of 7 have come straight from the track.  When I met them at the adoption kennel, one was reserved/quiet but not shy; one was crazy outgoing, and one was in the middle.  All were easy to housetrain, teach the basic commands I wanted, and all walked easily on leash. The middle  temperament showed signs of separation anxiety but grew out of it.  The crazy outgoing one also shows mild signs of SA, but he has another hound with him at all times and is able to keep it under control.  The reserved/quiet one, the one who sat at the adoption kennel for almost a year because he was black with a graying muzzle and didn't interact much with people, was never very demonstrative but was a stalwart companion who was bombproof and was surprisingly crazy about children.   All this to show as examples of the opinions expressed above that you never can tell.  :)  

I have seen it posted here on GT that fear of thunder can be associated with SA.  My crazy outgoing hound with controllable SA is afraid of thunder.  He's the only one I've had with even mild thunderphobia.  That might be a question you could ask if you can have contact with day-to-day kennel staff.  

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remembering Eve, Baz, Scout, Romie, Nutmeg, and Jeter

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Harley stepped off the hauler from Bluffs, walked into my living room and crashed.  Buck came out of the kennel at Wichita and did the same.  Absolutely no transition.  Little Girl and Bella never raced and were absolute nutcases - which may be why they never raced.  I have long preached the virtues of big boy hounds (says the woman who is sitting here with a girl carin and a girl boxer mix). :blush

When I ran the adoption group I dealt with retired racers as well as lots of "beauty school dropouts" straight off the farms.  Most of the latter were ~15 
or so months old but some were older.   I'd pick a dog fresh off the track every time.  Having been fostered equating training is a crapshoot.

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Thanks everyone.  I feel compelled to share a little as to why I ask.  Our first GH was not quite 2, flunked out of racing after losing 5, came into our lives, and was a dream.  We lost her last year, and when we adopted a girl earlier this year, we ended up surrendering her bc she had SA and crate aversion and after working with her for awhile, we realized that our lifestyle did not allow us to do TRUE alone training.  She would be in a wild panic everyday when left alone.  She was not quite 2 with little to no race history.  We have begun fostering for our local group, and the first little girl we got was also not quite 2 with no race history, and again, pretty severe SA.  Our rep wanted to try her with another dog, so moved her to another foster home.  She continues to struggle there, but there are some medical issues that were just discovered that may account for some of the issues she is having.  We have another girl now who is a dream on most every front.  She is almost 5 with a long race history.  No SA, totally secure and has no problem being left alone for hours on end.  She does, however, spook at traffic noise.  I was fearful that she would slip her martingale while walking her in our residential neighborhood, so had a harness on the way.  Yesterday, my partner took her for a walk, and a damn fire truck went by, without the sirens blaring, but still, she freaked out, pulled my partner to the ground while bucking like a bronco, and slipped the collar.  Luckily, with the help of neighbors, she was nabbed and unhurt.  My partner is another story.  She has a knee replacement, and really messed her knee up running after her.  Not to mention being pretty sore all over from the physicality of trying to control her.  We got the harness today and I walked her.  We did not encounter any loud noises, so I am unable to tell at this point how much effort will be required to contain her going forward.  I worry less about losing her at this point, and more about her causing some kind of injury to one of us in the process.  She is 67 pounds of pure force.  We are middle aged women, each with some Ortho issues that are well managed under normal circumstances.  So, all that to say, we really are considering adopting this girl, but the spook issue concerns me.  Given the last 2 who had SA, we are wondering if we should roll the dice, continue fostering, and wait for a pup who is secure and who fits in with our lifestyle.  We enjoy bringing our dog along for walks and gatherings in the neighborhood.  We also need her to be ok for up to 5 hours alone during the workweek.  And of course, a dog who is able to house train is also important.  We have not had any issues on this front except for the last foster with SA.  She peed the crate every day, and continues to pee in the new fosters house.  Hoping this is medically related and amendable to treatment.  We are fine to continue fostering if the odds are good that there are more "easy" dogs to help transition, given that we are otherwise pet less and work outside the home.  We eventually want to adopt and wonder if we should pull the trigger now or wait.

Anyway, that is why I ask.  We are weighing a very important decision, and want to make the right one.  

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15 hours ago, smt said:

Thanks everyone.  I feel compelled to share a little as to why I ask.  Our first GH was not quite 2, flunked out of racing after losing 5, came into our lives, and was a dream.  We lost her last year, and when we adopted a girl earlier this year, we ended up surrendering her bc she had SA and crate aversion and after working with her for awhile, we realized that our lifestyle did not allow us to do TRUE alone training.  She would be in a wild panic everyday when left alone.  She was not quite 2 with little to no race history.  We have begun fostering for our local group, and the first little girl we got was also not quite 2 with no race history, and again, pretty severe SA.  Our rep wanted to try her with another dog, so moved her to another foster home.  She continues to struggle there, but there are some medical issues that were just discovered that may account for some of the issues she is having.  We have another girl now who is a dream on most every front.  She is almost 5 with a long race history.  No SA, totally secure and has no problem being left alone for hours on end.  She does, however, spook at traffic noise.  I was fearful that she would slip her martingale while walking her in our residential neighborhood, so had a harness on the way.  Yesterday, my partner took her for a walk, and a damn fire truck went by, without the sirens blaring, but still, she freaked out, pulled my partner to the ground while bucking like a bronco, and slipped the collar.  Luckily, with the help of neighbors, she was nabbed and unhurt.  My partner is another story.  She has a knee replacement, and really messed her knee up running after her.  Not to mention being pretty sore all over from the physicality of trying to control her.  We got the harness today and I walked her.  We did not encounter any loud noises, so I am unable to tell at this point how much effort will be required to contain her going forward.  I worry less about losing her at this point, and more about her causing some kind of injury to one of us in the process.  She is 67 pounds of pure force.  We are middle aged women, each with some Ortho issues that are well managed under normal circumstances.  So, all that to say, we really are considering adopting this girl, but the spook issue concerns me.  Given the last 2 who had SA, we are wondering if we should roll the dice, continue fostering, and wait for a pup who is secure and who fits in with our lifestyle.  We enjoy bringing our dog along for walks and gatherings in the neighborhood.  We also need her to be ok for up to 5 hours alone during the workweek.  And of course, a dog who is able to house train is also important.  We have not had any issues on this front except for the last foster with SA.  She peed the crate every day, and continues to pee in the new fosters house.  Hoping this is medically related and amendable to treatment.  We are fine to continue fostering if the odds are good that there are more "easy" dogs to help transition, given that we are otherwise pet less and work outside the home.  We eventually want to adopt and wonder if we should pull the trigger now or wait.

Anyway, that is why I ask.  We are weighing a very important decision, and want to make the right one.  

My completely gut-hunch-type reaction - try a boy, and an older one who did race. Boys can have SA as well, but in my experience they've just been more chill.

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If you are not sure, why not just continue to foster?  You are helping get a dog to it's forever home, learning more while you wait for your dog to come along. I lost my heart girl last year, and our boy this year.  I am also looking to adopt again.  I currently have 3 fosters.  One is older and is bomb proof;  one is 3 going on 1-1/2, is afraid of certain noises and can't be trusted for 30 seconds; the 3rd is a goofy boy who likes to steal things.  I don't plan on adopting any of them because they are just not my dogs.  I will know when the right one comes along.  In the meantime, I am enjoying them and getting them ready for their new families.  No downside to that. :colgate

<p>Mom to Kyle (Diehard Kyle) & Angel Gracie (KB's Sankey) Foster Mom for AFG

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Several comments, in no particular order...

Make sure the harness you get is either a "spook" harness or some other "three-point" safety or hiking harness so she can't back out of it.  Even then, lots of people still use a leash on both the harness and the collar for extra security.

You *can* desensitize her to traffic noises, it just takes time, patience and a lot of yummy treats.  But you have to do the work.  No dog is going to come to you perfectly trained and able to deal with every single thing they encounter.  Even so-called "bomb-proof" dogs have things they need help with, so there's no getting around having to do some training with whatever dog you adopt.  

I tend to agree that you will have a much more visceral response to a dog when you know they are supposed to be with you.  When that happens, the rest doesn't matter.  Being a foster with no other dogs is a very important job with an adoption group.  It's the only way they can reliably see if a dog has SA or not.  So if you're not sure sure sure about a particular animal, keep fostering and see what happens.

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

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Thanks so much.  The last two posts really clarified this decision.  We have decided to not foster with intent, and instead, make sure she is as ready as possible to go to her forever home.  Even though she is so sweet, smart and generally a great dog, we don't have that "visceral" feeling you mention, Greysmom, and she deserves to be with someone that feels that way towards her.  To keep her would be unfair to her and potential future adopters, for whom she could easily be their heart dog.  We will continue to foster for our group, vetting dogs for the capacity to easily adjust to being an only pet in a home in which they must be alone for a few hours a day.  This was our original intent.  It's just so easy to get caught up thinking about keeping them.  But we need to keep our heads on straight and not let our heart rule the day.  Until the dog enters our life that we are SURE SURE about.  

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I take Chris's point about the "bomb proof".  I didn't tell the whole story and should have used the word easy.  That girl is a return and 6 yrs. old.  So she came here knowing home life.  Most of her transition was just learning her new normal, and me looking for anything that needed work.  

<p>Mom to Kyle (Diehard Kyle) & Angel Gracie (KB's Sankey) Foster Mom for AFG

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11 minutes ago, Hubcitypam said:

Agree.  Fosters are absolutely the hardest piece of the adoption puzzle.  I've had foster that I cried when they left and ones I gleefully waved farewell to.

There is already an adopter in mind for our foster girl.  I can already feel myself second guessing.  But in my heart, I know this is the right decision.  When I notified the foster rep yesterday that we would not be adopting her, I was fighting back tears through my whole gym class.  It reminds me of the feeling one has when they have been going out with a really great person, with a few issues that could be looked past or overcome, and yet still, there is just something that is not there:  "It's me, not you" phenom.

Side note, I walked her this morning with her harness (clipped with a coupler to her martingale), and I just could not relax, for fear of a school bus or trash truck coming around a corner.  I know we could work with that over time, but given that the SURE SURE feeling is not there, I am letting go of the commitment to doing so for us.  I will continue to walk her for her own health and happiness, and to keep up the routine in prep for her forever home, though.  It may be anxiety inducing for both of us, but it feels like the right thing to do, for her.

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It is hard to let some fosters go.  I learned to sit down with each dog when they first come here and have a conversation with them (more for me than them :P).  I tell them that I am just a step in the journey to their forever home and I will do my best for them.  Only 2 have stayed with us.  It is awesome to see them pick their family and really blossom. Good luck!

<p>Mom to Kyle (Diehard Kyle) & Angel Gracie (KB's Sankey) Foster Mom for AFG

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