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Training a Greyhound as a Service Dog - and the outdoor cat issue


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:huh I adopted my first geryhound in 1990 or 1991?  I knew nothing about them and was sure darn lucky as I never feared bringing in a kitten and a hamster to the home. All got along great. I spent hours training my dog (again no knowledge - he was not from a group - but from a shelter - longer back story there) and he was even off leash!! Of course now I know NOT to do that.  After he passed I had another greyhound --again who lived with cats indoors and in our backyard as well - and I even on and off from 1992 - 2006ish volunteered for Grehound Adoption groups.  That brings me to this question which I am not sure if any of you can answer.  I have spoken with a wonderful woman who trains Greyhounds as service dogs. There is a small chance I may even adopt one that tests as cat tolerant (Yes that does not mean it is a sure thing.)

I long for the closeness and uniqueness of a greyhound. Have not had one in years. I do believe the right one can be trained as a service dog. What I am more concerned with is that until I returned to this forum all the years later, I see so many people saying their cat loving greys are fine inside but may terrorize the same cat outside. It is something I did not even consider since my Dad;s Greyhound, My sister's greyhound, my ex-boyfriend's and even an old roommates grey all lived with cats indoors and out (the outdoors however was usually a small concrete type or small grass area with a fence.)

Does anyone have experience otherwise?  Or does anyone know of someone who has a Greyhound Service dog I could connect with?  A service dog in my understadning should be able to (for the most part) be alert to the human and not distracted by other people/things.  So for example if I had my service dog with me at a hotel and we are checking in - and someone had a small fluffy thing running around the service dog should be able to stay focused on me.

I have done quite a bit of training - even with dog reactive, fearful dog. Many years ago long-term foster a HIGH prey greyhound - he could never have been around small dogs or cats.  So I get it is instinct vs, (or and) prey drive. Just trying to assess if offering my home to an adopted greyhound that hopefully can be trained into a service dog is right for our family and right for the dog.  Thank you!

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Just my two cents:  I think there are to many variables for one answer.  So much depends on what you want/need the dog to do for you.  The personality of the dog.  If you need physical help you may find a small population of greyhounds with the inner lab quality that might do the job.  Although service dog trainers lean to other breads with more stamina for 24/7 needs.

Now if you are looking for more emotional support needs less constant physical (fetch, guide me …) there would be more options to try.  You would also have to look at what you are asking the dogs to do and for how long.  They maybe good for a couple of long days but remember they are sprinters and need some down time to recharge.

As for the cats and small animals,  so much of that depends on the dog personality.  I have had several therapy dogs that could care less when on leash.  Once off leash in fenced yard would hunt and kill bunnies.  On leash would let the domestic bunnies cuddle them.

Good luck with your search for a service dog.  There are so many variables to consider and no blanket answers.

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Yes.  There really isn't a definitive answer to your question because it depends entirely on the individual personality and prey drive of the dog.

I will add that's it's very possible to find a dog that fits all your criteria.  We have lots of greyhounds here on GT who live with dogs, cats, chicken, goats, rabbits, snakes, lizards and just about any other kind of animal you can think of.  The whole inside vs outside is mostly a matter of training and patience.  If a dog believes another creature is part of his pack - and therefore not to be chased - inside the house, they can "usually" be trained to view them the same way outside.  The issue comes in finding a low prey drive greyhound in the beginning.

That means being very open and transparent with your adoption group and listening to their advice about the personalities in their kennel.  And then you take the dog home and see what happens.  Because sometimes dogs lie.  Even with experienced groups that test all their dogs for dog/cat tolerance, sometimes a greyhound will be so anxious or overwhelmed that they don't react the same way to stimulus the way they will once they have relaxed in a home environment.

You didn't say who you've been talking with about greyhounds as service dogs, but Barbara Masi, with Awesome Greyhound Adoptions, also runs a group that trains greyhounds as service dogs for veterans.  Mostly as emotional/ptsd support, but she's probably the one person in current practice who has the most experience doing what you're thinking about doing with a greyhound.

Awesome Greyhound Adoptions

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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I was going to mention Barbara Masi as well, as likely having the most relevant experience for your particular question. 
 

All my greyhounds lived with indoor cats, only one needing some extra reminders to do the right thing :lol. He was also the only one who chased outdoor cats and was not good with small dogs. All the others showed little or no interest in outdoor critters. 

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We had a member here in past years  named Brooke who became ill and trained her greyhound  DeeDee as a service dog. I have not seen her post here in many years, so I'm not sure if she is still posting online or not. You may be able to reach her through her YouTube Channel which shows the progression of Dee Dee's life as a service dog. At this point DeeDee has probably gone to The Bridge, so I don't know if her next Service Dog was another greyhound or not.  I'm not sure if there is anyone still here who knows Brooke, as many people migreated to other social media venues over the years. 

This is the 1st episode of DeeDee's YouTube series. 

 

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Camp Broodie. The current home of Mark Kay Mark Jack and LaVida I've Got Life.  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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Hmmm...  This reminds me of GTer DosTacos who was in a wheelchair and trained his greyhounds to be service dogs.  But he hasn't posted for a while either.

There have been many who have enquired as to a greyhounds suitability for service work.  Again, it depends so much on the individual.

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

35764734494_93de5b5963_b.jpg

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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2 hours ago, greysmom said:

Hmmm...  This reminds me of GTer DosTacos who was in a wheelchair and trained his greyhounds to be service dogs.  But he hasn't posted for a while either.

There have been many who have enquired as to a greyhounds suitability for service work.  Again, it depends so much on the individual.

Dos Tacos posted a while back under a new account name. It has been a while though. Hopefully he is lurking here and will see this.

I just searched and he was posting underthe name Twogirls, but his last post here was last October. 

rocket-signature-jpeg.jpg

Camp Broodie. The current home of Mark Kay Mark Jack and LaVida I've Got Life.  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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They say that dogs can lie on the cat safe test. I've got one on his bed next to me at the moment which is why he was bounced. Guinness I'm looking at you :D I think it also depends on how the cat reacts to the dog not just the dog's attitude to the cat.

There's a reason service dogs are usually Labradors, spaniels, GSDs etc. it's because they have been bred to work with people not for people.  Using a greyhound as a service dog is asking it to go against breed type but until you try you won't know if you've been lucky and got one that can be trained that way. But if it's a companion dog you want to bring a smile and a bit of comfort to people in care homes then go for it.

Grace (Ardera Coleen) b. 18 June 2014 - Gotcha Day 10 June 2018 - Going grey gracefully
Guinness (Antigua Rum) b. 3 September 2017 - Gotcha Day 18 March 2022 - A gentleman most of the time

 

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20 hours ago, 1Moregrey said:

Just my two cents:  I think there are to many variables for one answer.  So much depends on what you want/need the dog to do for you.  The personality of the dog.  If you need physical help you may find a small population of greyhounds with the inner lab quality that might do the job.  Although service dog trainers lean to other breads with more stamina for 24/7 needs.

Now if you are looking for more emotional support needs less constant physical (fetch, guide me …) there would be more options to try.  You would also have to look at what you are asking the dogs to do and for how long.  They maybe good for a couple of long days but remember they are sprinters and need some down time to recharge.

As for the cats and small animals,  so much of that depends on the dog personality.  I have had several therapy dogs that could care less when on leash.  Once off leash in fenced yard would hunt and kill bunnies.  On leash would let the domestic bunnies cuddle them.

Good luck with your search for a service dog.  There are so many variables to consider and no blanket answers.

Great answer - and yes, so many variables - probably why I am confused. :huh I am open to sharing type of Service Dog. It is mostly for emotional support and when I travel. (Was Car-jacked at gun point many years ago and also experienced home invasions) most of my PTSD has subsided - yet there are times where nothing seems to help - and I recall when I owned dogs I slept better and was less on edge - I have extreme insomnia and there has been clinical research done on pets ( cats and dogs - mostly dogs) and how they help with sleep. Also a trained dog can  "search a hotel room" for instance before I enter - relieveing some stress of someone else there. I also have medium to severe virtigo from a car accidents - so the grey could also support me in a balance and mobility way . Yet this is not all the time.  My service dog ( I hope to train myself with some expery help along the way) would be with me most of the time in the home - and occasionally in public to support - yet not the 24/7 that many service dogs need to offer. If the dog exhibits great patience and openess - I also considered (after it was suggested to me) to first train as a therapy dog and then move to service if the dog seems to be able to do it. Ironically one of my Greys used to go to nursing homes and another to schools - at the time I did not know what a certified therapy dog was.  Thank you.

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18 hours ago, greysmom said:

Yes.  There really isn't a definitive answer to your question because it depends entirely on the individual personality and prey drive of the dog.

I will add that's it's very possible to find a dog that fits all your criteria.  We have lots of greyhounds here on GT who live with dogs, cats, chicken, goats, rabbits, snakes, lizards and just about any other kind of animal you can think of.  The whole inside vs outside is mostly a matter of training and patience.  If a dog believes another creature is part of his pack - and therefore not to be chased - inside the house, they can "usually" be trained to view them the same way outside.  The issue comes in finding a low prey drive greyhound in the beginning.

That means being very open and transparent with your adoption group and listening to their advice about the personalities in their kennel.  And then you take the dog home and see what happens.  Because sometimes dogs lie.  Even with experienced groups that test all their dogs for dog/cat tolerance, sometimes a greyhound will be so anxious or overwhelmed that they don't react the same way to stimulus the way they will once they have relaxed in a home environment.

You didn't say who you've been talking with about greyhounds as service dogs, but Barbara Masi, with Awesome Greyhound Adoptions, also runs a group that trains greyhounds as service dogs for veterans.  Mostly as emotional/ptsd support, but she's probably the one person in current practice who has the most experience doing what you're thinking about doing with a greyhound.

Awesome Greyhound Adoptions

Good luck!

Thank you as well. This gives me some hope! I Have spoken with Barbara Massi - she was very helpful... even shared her group with my clients. I am not a military veteran - however I work with them and have been offering pro bono services to veterans for years and more recently support First Responders.  Her dogs are more for people who need 24/7 support which is not me. Another person I have spoken with is Greyt Hearts Service Dogs Inc. I wish I had photos of all my greys - so many years ago - before digital cameras :unsure Attached is one of my Rio - my darn husband dressed her up for a forball game - admittedly she loved getting dressed up. Terrible picture - probably 16 years old

Rioinredskin1.low copy.jpg

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15 hours ago, Time4ANap said:

We had a member here in past years  named Brooke who became ill and trained her greyhound  DeeDee as a service dog. I have not seen her post here in many years, so I'm not sure if she is still posting online or not. You may be able to reach her through her YouTube Channel which shows the progression of Dee Dee's life as a service dog. At this point DeeDee has probably gone to The Bridge, so I don't know if her next Service Dog was another greyhound or not.  I'm not sure if there is anyone still here who knows Brooke, as many people migreated to other social media venues over the years. 

This is the 1st episode of DeeDee's YouTube series. 

 

Thank you - this is WONDERFUL - it brought tears of joy to my face - amazing owner - amazing dog.

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5 hours ago, HeyRunDog said:

They say that dogs can lie on the cat safe test. I've got one on his bed next to me at the moment which is why he was bounced. Guinness I'm looking at you :D I think it also depends on how the cat reacts to the dog not just the dog's attitude to the cat.

There's a reason service dogs are usually Labradors, spaniels, GSDs etc. it's because they have been bred to work with people not for people.  Using a greyhound as a service dog is asking it to go against breed type but until you try you won't know if you've been lucky and got one that can be trained that way. But if it's a companion dog you want to bring a smile and a bit of comfort to people in care homes then go for it.

These are valid points - and if I were in a large home I owned not rented - it would be great to have both - a herd of dogs and cats - one that would be a service dog.  Yes -we had a dog that lied - well sort of - actually he did not lie on the cat test - sadly a volunteer lied to us - we ended up going from owner to long-term foster until we could get him a better home. He was handsome and smart and wanted to kill ANYTHING small

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9 minutes ago, 1Moregrey said:

Then I am sure you can find the perfect greyhound to fit your needs.  Best wishes in your search.  Please let us know how it works out.

Thank you!! :rolleyes:

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Given your needs, I am sure you can find a greyhound that would work for you! I think starting with training as a therapy dog is an excellent idea. Good luck and please let us know how it goes!

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On 8/3/2022 at 12:01 PM, Remolacha said:

Given your needs, I am sure you can find a greyhound that would work for you! I think starting with training as a therapy dog is an excellent idea. Good luck and please let us know how it goes!

Thank you - still not sure if the adoption group will find a greyhound that will work. Really appreciate all these great comments.

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