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Hey everyone. Feeling more than a bit stressed about my rescue grey Jack.

I've had him for about 9 weeks and I KNOW that's a short length of time, but a few things have come up that make me quite uncomfortable. Firstly, when I got Jack I commented to the rescue that he was absolutely huge (definitely top percentile of greys) and that this was a bit of a concern for me. The idea was that he was a such a sweet and shy boy that his size shouldn't be a problem.

He was very pully on the lead and still is (I harness him) and that's helped manage it but every walk is quite the workout. The main issue is his behaviour. Last week he sprinted to the kitchen to steal something from a bin. I imagine you'll say he's resource guarding but strangely enough I was able to pet him while he was eating his loot. When I went to get a high value treat to trade up he wouldn't give me his attention. I didn't come near him but it seemed the act of me getting his attention (saying his name is a high pitched tone, not shouting) pissed him off and he actually ran over to me to growl and try and bite me. We've had a few other instances where he's come right into my space to snarl or growl. It is usually related to food but I never try to take it directly off him and he has no stress if I'm around his food bowl.

This morning I took him out to the toilet and then fed him and let him up on the bed, at this point he usually has a wee cuddle with me. Sometimes he's a bit playful rolling around for belly rubs but today he was crouched on the bed and staring at me quite intensely, I thought he wanted to play so I did some playful movements away from him (thought he might break into zoomies) but he stayed very still and stared. I felt uncomfortable so I left the room and he was barking at me from the other side of the door. Just didn't feel right to me.

I really love him and want to make this work. But I'm also very aware that I'm a young woman trying to look after him solo and at this point I'm quite scared of him. I can't sleep for anxiety as every day it just feels like it's getting worse. I've put a real effort into basic training so I give him a lot of rewards and love. It just doesn't feel right to be scared of my own dog.

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I’m so sorry that you and Jack are going through this difficult situation.  My guess is that he’s sensing your fear aside from being in his new home which is stressful in and of itself. 
Reach out to the adoption agency and explain what’s happening.  It may be that Jack is not a good match for you. You state in your post that you had immediate misgivings about his size.  Red flag right there. 
There is no shame, no failure, in returning a dog that is not a good match.  It is an unselfish act of love to do what’s best for the dog.  
Best of luck.  Keep us posted.  

Irene ~ Owned and Operated by Jenny (Jenny Rocks ~ 11/24/17) ~ JRo, Jenny from the Track

Lola (AMF Won't Forget ~ 04/29/15 -07/22/19) - My girl. I'll always love you.

Wendy (Lost Footing ~ 12/11/05 - 08/18/17) ~ Forever in our hearts. "I am yours, you are mine".

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38 minutes ago, LaFlaca said:

I’m so sorry that you and Jack are going through this difficult situation.  My guess is that he’s sensing your fear aside from being in his new home which is stressful in and of itself. 
Reach out to the adoption agency and explain what’s happening.  It may be that Jack is not a good match for you. You state in your post that you had immediate misgivings about his size.  Red flag right there. 
There is no shame, no failure, in returning a dog that is not a good match.  It is an unselfish act of love to do what’s best for the dog.  
Best of luck.  Keep us posted.  

Agree with previous comment.

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Yes, reach out to the adoption agency and say exactly how you are feeling.  Although he probably would have bitten you by now if he really wanted to, that isn't the point.  You're showing fear now and the dog is reacting. Probably the sooner he is back in an environment where people don't show fear, the better his prospects will be.  The right dog for you will  be out there somewhere, sometime, so don't beat yourself up over this. The adoption world often balances itself out quite soon when it gets a bounce.

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Sadly I had to return my beloved greyhound after a couple of months. Like you, I had asked for a smaller dog if possible(I'm 5 foot) and they gave me Ally, nudging 40 kgs with a high prey drive. Luckily he was a very good natured boy, but it was just not safe for me or him. There was a lot of snot and tears (mine) but I now know it was the best for both of us.

I am now going to consider fostering to ensure a good match.

Good luck

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Agree with the above, but adding in the meantime that using a harness just makes it easier for the dog to pull strongly.  Consider a "head halter" instead -- some brand names are Gentle Leader and Halti collar.  You guide through moving the head, like when riding a horse.  See YouTube video.

Also, consider not letting your dog up on your bed.  That will make you feel safer and reinforce your status as leader.  

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remembering Eve, Baz, Scout, Romie, and Nutmeg

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Yes.  A return isn't a failure, just an acknowledgement that this match wasn't the best one.

It sounds like you're in the UK, and we sometimes see the agency that adopts out greyhounds there really try and get you to keep the dog.  Don't let them.  Be strong.  He needs to be in a home with lots of greyhound experience and ability to deal with his (common but difficult) issues.

If you are *very* committed to him, and want to try and work through this, consider getting the in-person help of a Certified Animal Behaviorist.  One who uses positive reinforcement only techniques.  Your group or veterinarian may be able to give you a referral.  They can come to your home and watch your interactions and give you personalized advice about solving your relationship problems.

And don't despair!  There is a greyhound out there for you!  Just consider that you were this dog's first foster home, and now the agency has a lot more information to get him into a more appropriate situation where he can thrive, and you can find a companion that won't make you anxious.

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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When you want him off your bed, do not pull on his collar. Clip the leash to it. Consider keeping a muzzle on him, add a dab of peanutbutter on the inside to make it more appealing.

 

Charlie the iggy, Hada the podenco maneta, Georgie Girl (UMR Cordella), Lulu the podenco andaluz
Angels: Mazy (CBR Crazy Girl), Potato, my mystery ibizan girl, Allen (M's Pretty Boy), Percy (Fast But True), Mikey (Doray's Patuti), Pudge le mutt, Tessa the iggy, Possum (Apostle), Gracie (Dusty Lady), Harold (Slatex Harold), "Cousin" Simon our step-iggy, Little Dude the iggy ,Bandit (Bb Blue Jay), Niña the galgo, Wally (Allen Hogg), Thane (Pog Mo Thoine), Oliver (JJ Special Agent), Comet, & Rosie our original mutt.

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There is definitely a dog out there who is right for you but unfortunately this one isn't it. He might have been a big softy with them but they are used to handling greyhounds and it sounds like this one needs a firm hand. Have a word with the adoption agency sooner rather than later and think about fostering as Ellen's doing.

 

Grace (Ardera Coleen) born 18 June 2014
Raced at Monmore Green, Wolverhampton UK - 68 Races, 9 wins, 5 second places
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Hi,

I'm sorry that you have to go through that. I can imagine that the situation is scary and overwhelming.  I adopted a greyhound just before lockdown and due to being in lockdown I felt quite isolated and anxious. 

Johnny is huge, like a horse! He was a nightmare on the leash, the walks were not enjoyable at all. Also, he has sleep startles (I didn't even know what sleep startles are before I got him) and resource guarding. I had a few days during lockdown were I wished I could give him back but because of covid and travel restrictions I had to stick it out with him. I felt  guilty about my thoughts but also he was not quite the dog I've imagined he would be. 

After the lockdown I got an experienced greyhound trainer, who really helped me lots. Without going into too much detail, it really helped to go back to basics and to start really slow all over again. Crate training, really short walks in familiar environment with little to no distractions (were I was able to communicate with him what I expect him to do when walking on the leash), simple routine every day. I just wanted too much too soon and overwhelmed him.

It wasn't always easy but the dog who is sleeping next to me on the sofa now is nothing like the dog I got beginning of the year. He can still be a dick sometimes but mostly he is a very chilled, good natured boy and I love him to bits.

Don't be ashamed if you come to the conclusion that he is not the right fit for you. It doesn't mean you failed. You deserve a dog that fits your lifestyle and he deserve an owner who meets his needs. You sound like you are going through a lot to try to make it work somehow. Your feeling of safety needs to come first.

But if you want to give it another shot, I would highly recommend getting professional help (your adoption group can probably help you with finding a trainer who is experienced with greyhounds). For me it felt like Johnny will never change and the progress didn't feel like it's coming fast enough.

 When the trainer came to my house and explained Johnnys behaviour, it all made sense and I understood he is not a really weird dog, just a normal greyhound with a few quirks :)    I'm not saying it always works out,  I just want to let you know that there are cases were it seems difficult at the beginning and it works out at the end. 

No matter what you decide to do, please get in touch with the agency. It will be relieving to get another opinion  and you shouldn't be alone in your doubts and insecurity. 

all the best to you

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I agree with greysmom, when I contacted the adoption agency, they were reluctant to take him back. The only advice I was given was that  a harness might help( that would just have given him more momentum ).

They asked to give them a couple of days before they could pick him up, so a week later I had to call again!

 

Whatever you decide be strong:rolleyes:

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Sorry if I missed this, but is this fellow your first dog? 

Old Dogs are the Best Dogs. :heartThank you, campers. Current enrollees: Aiden. Punkin. Annie. Miss M.

Angels: Pal :heart. Segugio. Sorella (TPGIT). LadyBug. Zeke-aroni. MiMi Sizzle Pants. Gracie. Seamie :heart:brokenheart. (Foster)Sweet. Andy. PaddyALVIN!Mayhem. Bosco. Bruno. Dottie B. Trevor Double-Heart. Bea. Cletus, Knot Like The Others.

:paw Upon reflection, our lives are often referenced in parts defined by the all-too-short lives of our dogs.

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Hi all, thanks so much for your comments. He is my first dog yes. So I know I don't come with a breadth of experience with this.

It's really interesting to hear about someone getting through it and having a lovely dog on the other side. My concern is that Jack knows instinctively that he has the upper hand and the air between us just doesn't feel right. I don't think that's his fault at all, I think it's my fear getting in the way and that's not something I can get on top of. I went through a hard time earlier this year with my ex-partner who made me feel a bit afraid (sorry if that's TMI) and I think that Jack has made me feel afraid and it's brought something out in me that means I'm exacerbating it. As I say, that's my problem not his, but that doesn't mean it's all going to be okay. 

Jack's routine is fairly simple, I'm repainting the flat which is a wee bit disruptive but he's in his crate a lot, gets lots of kongs and stimulating things, and we do very familiar walks. I work on obedience every day but I can see he's not thrilled by it. I called the adoption centre yesterday to chat and then immediately after took him for a walk with a local greyhound owner. It was overwhelming to watch his dog walking like an angel on a lead (and always has done) and Jack was intent on dragging me around here there and everywhere. For reference, he's about 37kg and I'm 5'2 and weigh about 56kg, so it just didn't feel good. I think the lead pulling was something I felt we could work on as he was such a cuddle bug inside the house, but now I'm so nervous in the house with him. 

I think I'm going to return him. I'm devastated about it as I really thought I'd be his forever home. I've got giant bags of treats and the world's most luxurious bed and I was so excited to have him, but i just think I've freaked myself out and I have to be kind to myself and say this isn't working. 

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Give yourself a break. There will be a perfect dog out there for you, but I know how you feel,as  it's only been a couple of weeks since I returned Ally.

Depending on the time of day it is with you, have a cuppa, or something stronger:sad1

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Do what feels right for you and Jack. Does your adoption agency pick the dog for you or can you pick one yourself? In my opinion, the workers at the kennel can tell you a little about the behaviors they’ve observed there but only you can feel the ‘energy’ between yourself and any dog you are considering.  Sometimes, the dog will even pick you! Don’t give up.  Don’t despair. You’ll find your match!

Irene ~ Owned and Operated by Jenny (Jenny Rocks ~ 11/24/17) ~ JRo, Jenny from the Track

Lola (AMF Won't Forget ~ 04/29/15 -07/22/19) - My girl. I'll always love you.

Wendy (Lost Footing ~ 12/11/05 - 08/18/17) ~ Forever in our hearts. "I am yours, you are mine".

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2 hours ago, HazeyJ said:

For reference, he's about 37kg and I'm 5'2 and weigh about 56kg, so it just didn't feel good. I think the lead pulling was something I felt we could work on as he was such a cuddle bug inside the house, but now I'm so nervous in the house with him. 

 

I hear ya. I'm 5ft 1 (and a half - you know that half is important :D) and about 50kg and my grey is also 37kg. It's not easy and they are big, powerful dogs for us little 'uns.. 

In all honesty, my horse/dog scared the cr@p out of me at times when he first arrived 10 months ago. He was incredibly nervous, a fiend to walk when small fluffies were around and turned into a resource guarding devil with my bed and stolen tasty treats.

I was a fosterer for a local charity and I think that really helped, as I had the mindset with each dog (all different breeds) that I was just a stepping stone to build up their confidence, get them used to a home environment and then see them on their way. So with my boy I never felt the pressure or the commitment of 'ownership' and *having* to make it work. 

A potential couple were going to adopt him ... that all fell through (they wanted a smaller sighthound) and then with lockdown came a lack of potential rehomers. I adopted him about three months in and haven't looked back. But it took a lot of training (for both of us), patience and time. Now I absolutely adore him and wouldn't be without him, trust him in all situations and can easily walk him safely. But it was a long road to get there. 

If he's not right for you then you absolutely have to do what is best all round. Greys do have some issues that you possibly wouldn't find with other breeds and/or smaller dogs, and in my experience are a lot harder than other rescue dogs. 

But you've invested time, effort and love in him. You've identified his issues and can make sure the charity take these into account with a new home. As I said to Ellen a while back - don't see this as a failure and absolutely DONT (easy as it sounds) beat yourself up. If you were fostering him (lots of people do this) the outcome would be exactly the same - you'd just feel good about yourself and not agonise over it. 

*big hugs* 

 

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He is running the show. He considers himself the leader and you the subordinate. IMO that is a recipe for failure and/ or disaster. In his defense it is not him. In fact many, if not most, dogs will respond the same way to greater or lesser degrees to the appeasement strategy you are using. I know you are well meaning but what you are doing is not fair and will set the dogs up for failure. Sooner or later you will probably get bit. Not because Jack is a bad dog but because dogs bite.  It is what they do and since you have allowed him to assume leadership it follows naturally to subordinates-YOU!  And the most tragic thing of all is that then it will label him unfairly and severely restrict his opportunity to find the good home and life he deserves.  You desperately need professional and knowledgeable instruction about 'pack structure' in your home and setting rules etc.  And I don't mean big box pet smart/petco etc 'courses'. You need highly regarded quality training and frankly it won't be cheap. You simply must be the leader or else-and this applies to Jack or any other dog.  Its not your fault because you have not the experience and don't know. Clearly you mean well. But seriously, appeasing him and giving him control like you have with treats even for the bad behavior is the absolute worse thing you can do.  The most compassionate hound I ever had came to me from a situation just like yours. He had even 'taken control' of the peoples furniture-because they let him. He was returned twice for fighting and biting rather viciously. He never, not once, challenged me or anybody else for leadership of anything from the first he came into my home. He could see instantly that it was a stable pack structure-with ME at the top- and he LIKED that and felt no need to challenge anybody. Dogs can behave quite differently in different homes. Jack would probably behave just as nice in even a strange home that was dog savvy and had an established and rightful pack structure.  You need some serious training on dog social structure and relationships regardless of whether you try to learn how to handle Jack or get a different one. Bottom line dogs have got to have a leader and that needs to be you. On every turn you are submitting to Jack's whims and he has no rules like he should have. That will never work with Jack or even a different dog.  That being said there is a dog out there for you that can help you to learn-with training-so don't give up the ship. For Jacks well being though it might be better  for all concerned to return him before something happens that harms him and can't be undone. But let me emphasize the problem is not Jack. The problem is that you don't know what a dog needs as far as rules and leadership and how to provide it for them. 

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5 hours ago, HazeyJ said:

Hi all, thanks so much for your comments. He is my first dog yes. So I know I don't come with a breadth of experience with this.

I think I'm going to return him. I'm devastated about it as I really thought I'd be his forever home. I've got giant bags of treats and the world's most luxurious bed and I was so excited to have him, but i just think I've freaked myself out and I have to be kind to myself and say this isn't working. 

A first dog can be a challenge and a big first dog even more so, although having down-sized from Great Danes to greyhounds I may not have any authority with which to speak about this :lol You have received some good advice, both about working with or returning Jack. If you keep him, a good starter book is "Greyhounds for Dummies" (we've all been there :) ), as well as just about anything written by Patricia McConnell. If you decide to return him, those books will still do you good if you decide to try again with another dog, greyhound or otherwise. 

Old Dogs are the Best Dogs. :heartThank you, campers. Current enrollees: Aiden. Punkin. Annie. Miss M.

Angels: Pal :heart. Segugio. Sorella (TPGIT). LadyBug. Zeke-aroni. MiMi Sizzle Pants. Gracie. Seamie :heart:brokenheart. (Foster)Sweet. Andy. PaddyALVIN!Mayhem. Bosco. Bruno. Dottie B. Trevor Double-Heart. Bea. Cletus, Knot Like The Others.

:paw Upon reflection, our lives are often referenced in parts defined by the all-too-short lives of our dogs.

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2 hours ago, racindog said:

 But let me emphasize the problem is not Jack. The problem is that you don't know what a dog needs as far as rules and leadership and how to provide it for them. 

Hey there. I understand what you're saying and the thought was very much in my mind. I had read a lot on positive reinforcement training and about trading up and treating dogs for good behaviours. It was always my intention to be the leader and I very much tried to do that through hand feeding him, doing obedience training every day, making him wait at doors for me to go through first etc. The very first time he snarled at me, and I think you commented when I posted about it, he jumped up onto my chest and scratched me. He's about my height when he jumps up and I was very clear in my mind that I didn't want that to happen again. Unfortunately that meant I lost some confidence addressing him and asking for behaviours. 

I completely agree that in the right home with a more confidence and secure owner, he'll absolutely thrive. He's a cuddle bug and loves a belly rub and is a lovely dog in so many respects. I like to think in my message I wasn't demonizing Jack. I know it's not his fault and I accept responsibility for allowing things to get to where they go to. 

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You done good. :)

Old Dogs are the Best Dogs. :heartThank you, campers. Current enrollees: Aiden. Punkin. Annie. Miss M.

Angels: Pal :heart. Segugio. Sorella (TPGIT). LadyBug. Zeke-aroni. MiMi Sizzle Pants. Gracie. Seamie :heart:brokenheart. (Foster)Sweet. Andy. PaddyALVIN!Mayhem. Bosco. Bruno. Dottie B. Trevor Double-Heart. Bea. Cletus, Knot Like The Others.

:paw Upon reflection, our lives are often referenced in parts defined by the all-too-short lives of our dogs.

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58 minutes ago, HazeyJ said:

Hey there. I understand what you're saying and the thought was very much in my mind. I had read a lot on positive reinforcement training and about trading up and treating dogs for good behaviours. It was always my intention to be the leader and I very much tried to do that through hand feeding him, doing obedience training every day, making him wait at doors for me to go through first etc. The very first time he snarled at me, and I think you commented when I posted about it, he jumped up onto my chest and scratched me. He's about my height when he jumps up and I was very clear in my mind that I didn't want that to happen again. Unfortunately that meant I lost some confidence addressing him and asking for behaviours. 

I completely agree that in the right home with a more confidence and secure owner, he'll absolutely thrive. He's a cuddle bug and loves a belly rub and is a lovely dog in so many respects. I like to think in my message I wasn't demonizing Jack. I know it's not his fault and I accept responsibility for allowing things to get to where they go to. 

I understand completely- oh believe me I do. Even for experienced handlers new dogs mean new challenges.  I did not mean to be rude but because of my background I know I can sound forceful.  IMO you don't have to worry about whatever you decide to do because you are motivated and operating out of love.  Therefore you simply cannot go wrong. Truthfully Jack is lucky he had you instead of some possibly mean person who would not have had such love and concern for him in their heart. I am just sorry it doesn't seem to be working out but you are doing the right thing and putting Jacks well being first. No one could do more than that. :gh_child

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On 12/7/2020 at 11:24 AM, HazeyJ said:

I think I'm going to return him. I'm devastated about it as I really thought I'd be his forever home. I've got giant bags of treats and the world's most luxurious bed and I was so excited to have him, but i just think I've freaked myself out and I have to be kind to myself and say this isn't working. 

I was in this exact position with a Romanian foster dog (not a grey) from a rescue who told me she was otherwise well behaved, but had a fear of men (they reached out to me because I had a female only household). She would be fine one minute, then stare at me, jump and bite my arms relentlessly. I'd read up on behaviour training for days, and nothing I did worked with her. I was put into a difficult position by a rescue who knew I'd never had a dog before, had just given me a problem dog with serious issues they had either withheld information about when giving her to me, or genuinely didn't know about, and then were very reluctant to consider taking her back when I pleaded with them for help and advice after being relentlessly bitten. It got to a point where I just had to put my foot down and say "no more". My arms were black and blue, and despite her being a relatively small dog, I was becoming more and more afraid of her and the constant biting. I had to ask several times, but eventually the rescue agreed to take her back. Bare in mind she was a FOSTER and they were being difficult about me giving her back, so some rescues are just like this. It didn't stop me feeling absolutely heartbroken, and like I'd failed a dog who needed my help. I cried and cried but I did the right thing for me and the dog. If your rescue is difficult and non-supportive, try another rescue. I've learnt from experience they definitely aren't all made equal, no matter how good their intentions are. 

I totally relate to you having so many treats and nice things you feel like you've wasted money on, but there's plenty of dogs out there who will be a better fit for you. Hopefully you'll find another grey to fall in love with. :) I feel very lucky with the grey I ended up with, he's an angel, so I promise you'll find your own angel soon! :heart 

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Hi everyone. A big thank you for all of the kindness and understanding you've shown me. I ended up returning Jack. To the credit of the rescue, they were incredibly understanding and made no argument about it at all. It all happened very quickly and a new set of foster parents picked him up the same evening. I was a snivelling snotty mess and felt just awful handing him over. He was quite happy to jump straight into their car! 

They had just fostered two other greyhounds and their first statement was 'wow, he really is massive'. They've kept in touch with me and they might just be trying to make me feel better, but the foster mum has said that she's an experienced dog handler and even she can see that he's difficult to stand up to. 

I think I'd like to try again some time, but need to lick my wounds and understand how I could have handled various situations better. 

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You made the right and loving choice.  Some of these dogs can be challenging. Others, easy as pie.  Think of this as a learning experience. A lesson in what to look for in your ‘forever’ Grey. Hint - Let the dog pick you. This has always worked for me.  😉

Irene ~ Owned and Operated by Jenny (Jenny Rocks ~ 11/24/17) ~ JRo, Jenny from the Track

Lola (AMF Won't Forget ~ 04/29/15 -07/22/19) - My girl. I'll always love you.

Wendy (Lost Footing ~ 12/11/05 - 08/18/17) ~ Forever in our hearts. "I am yours, you are mine".

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Greyhounds ARE big dogs and if they are straight off the track they are extremely strong and Jack sounds as though he was extra large, which for a first time (petite) owner would make life rather more difficult. I had owned whippets for twenty years before I adopted Chancey and knew about sighthounds. I didn’t choose her, she was delivered to my door and even I swallowed a bit when I saw her in the house for the first time and realised how tall she was and she’s not enormous. Even now, seven years later, I look at her and it suddenly hits me at just how big she is, and she’s getting to be a little old lady! No matter how gentle they are under normal circumstances, it is always wise to remember that they have sharp teeth and strong jaws but then any size dog can do a lot of damage if they have a mind to.

At 5ft7ins. I could handle Chancey although even I had a problem when she got excited at seeing small fluffy dogs and leapt, screaming, into the air. My hand tight against her collar was my shoulder height and I had to stand really firm so that I didn’t get pulled over. At the same time I had a whippet on another lead.

Sadly, you had to return Jack, which was probably the best thing for both of you under the circumstances but I hope the experience hasn’t put you off adopting another  greyhound when you are in the right frame of mind to do so. Did you use RGT or another adoption group? Sometimes a specialist rehoming group is better than a more general charity as they are more likely to know the foibles of their breed but RGT cannot take them all off the tracks so I know they turn up in smaller rescues with alarming regularity.

Good luck with your next foray into adoption no matter what breed you decide upon.

Miss "England" Carol with Chancey - (Goosetree Chance) and whippet lurcher Nutmeg

R.I.P. Bluegrass Banjoman. 25.1.2004 - 25.5.2015 and Ch. Sleepyhollow Aida. 30.9.2000 - 10.1.2014.

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