I have probably never been in a regular home before and things will be strange to me. I may be afraid, though you might not notice. At first I may stare ahead and seem unresponsive. I may be tense and possibly withdrawn. This is normal. Remember that I am undergoing stress while adjusting, just as you probably are, too. Quiet and calm is the way to reassure me. Soothing words are great for both of us.
When we first get to my new home, please take me inside immediately and walk me around on a leash for 5 to 10 minutes. Then take me back outside, and as soon as I go to the bathroom, bring me inside again. That will help to show me that “outside” is where I am supposed to do my duty.
At some point I will pick a spot in the house to lie down. I like comfort, so start now to block me from the sofa if you do not want me on it. Instead, put down a blanket or a soft bed for me and show me where to lie. Let me remain quiet unless I come to you. Be patient and gentle. Speak soft, soothing, one-word assurances, such as “Good” or “Easy”. Speak “NO” more strongly for unacceptable behavior. I’d also like it better if you didn’t bring in a bunch of family and friends to meet me the first couple days. That just confuses me. I’d like to first get to know those people who are going to live in the house with me.
I may be somewhat nervous at first, so don’t sneak up on me. Come from the front. Speak softly. I will always hear you unless I am sleeping. I do like to sleep a lot, so, if I am sleeping, please don’t startle me. If you do, I may make a sassy “grrrumph”, just as I would do to my kennel mates. Make sure I am awake before petting me. Over time I will become more trusting and adjust to a soft intrusion.
Let me explore, but keep an eye on me. Mirrors, fireplace glass and sliding doors reflect my image. This may perplex me (Who is that other dog?). Or I might just walk into the glass. Marking them with some masking tape for a short while will keep me from injuring myself until I learn they are solid. Because of my height I may also be curious about items on top of the kitchen cabinets, a shelf, or a table, and I may decide to help myself. A firm “NO” should change my mind…until you are not looking.
If you do not want me in a certain room, use your hand like a traffic cop and, again, say firmly but gently, “NO.” Stay that way until I get the message. Repetition and softness are the keys to my learning.
Time my duty trips as soon as I wake up in the morning, at noon or when you return from work, just before dinner and before going to bed. It might be a good idea to take my water away after 8:00 pm so that I don’t need to get you up in the night to go out.
When it is duty time, if you have a safe fenced-in yard, let me loose. Otherwise, take me for a walk (I love walks!), using at least a 6-foot leash and a martingale type collar. After I have done my duty, praise me with “Good”, a light pat and “Let’s go eat.” I am beginning to learn to please you, stay with you, and learn acceptable behavior.
Time my feeding, and remember the hand that feeds is the hand that trains. I will start bonding at feeding time, so others may want to share in this at first. But eventually it is best for one person to feed me. I would prefer that you divide my daily allotment of dry food (about 4 to 5 cups) in half and feed me twice a day.
I’d love a big safe bone for my teeth. You may have to show me how to hold it. I have never had toys, but I know I would love them — soft plush animals with squeakers in them. (If I get rough with soft toys, switch to harder rubber ones.)
I may be very afraid the first few nights. The sounds, smells and shadows are all new to me. I may fuss. Reassure me with words and your closeness.
If you let me into your bedroom, I will quickly settle down. Your closeness and scent are my security in this bewildering environment. Remember, once you allow this, you have committed. Like all learned behaviors, this is what I will expect I am allowed to do from now on.
(Note: Literature states that training is accelerated and behavior enhanced when sharing the master’s / mistress’s bedroom. You are the alpha figure, and the bedroom is your den. This master / mistress is also preferably the feeder.)
If you do not allow me in your bedroom, then please keep me nearby and develop my confidence with soft words of assurance.
I have never been alone my whole life. So, at first, when you leave me all by myself, I may panic, become stressed, and do bad things. It’s called “Separation Anxiety.” The best thing is to leave me alone for just very short periods at first and then make them longer and longer each time. That way I can get used to your leaving me and know that you will come back. It may help to give me the security of a crate, since I’m used to that. But, in time, please leave the door open so I can go in and out when I want to. Most of the time I want to be with you, not locked away in a crate. You might leave the TV or a radio on. Or you might put on classical musical for me like they did at the kennels at the track. Many people who own Greyhounds say that the quickest way to cure me is to get another Greyhound to keep me company. If I am causing problems, please don’t just punish me. Instead, call Carl Viener at Adopt A Greyhound Atlanta, Inc. (770-469-9533) and ask him for help. He can assure you that I am probably normal and give you ideas about what you can do to help me over this difficult time.
Please, please, no matter how good I act, do not let me off my leash in an open area. I will be easily distracted by all the sights and sounds in my new world. You will not be able to catch me if I start to run. Unlike other breeds, I rely mainly on sight, so, if I get any distance away, I cannot easily find my way back as scent-oriented dogs can. And since I do not know what cars are, I might chase across traffic. My safety and my life depend on your wisdom, care and understanding. So, always remember: Do not let me loose in an unfenced area — any time, anywhere!!!
I shall try to be a polite and obedient dog if you teach me. There are many good books available that are especially for the care and training of Greyhounds. Plus you can take me to obedience classes. If you give me your patience and love, in time I’ll become the most loyal and loving friend you ever had.
Your New Greyhound