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Most pet adoption agencies have some form of minimum requirement before an animal is released into an adopters care.The system we at the Walthamstow Homefinding Scheme use is as follows. - Last updated 7 Feb 03.
You can either visit the kennels to view the dogs available first - giving us some idea of what you want.Or you can phone Johanna to find if we have a particular type - say a cat safe bitch. For example, I phoned to say I wanted a Black and Tan, very large, young Male who could live with a large neutered bitch - I was told they had a suitable dog - I went to the kennels and was shown a Black and white (black and tan is not a greyhound colour) very large (30") young (2 year old) friendly un-neutered male.
Before you can take one of our dogs home you must have a Home Check done. This is not simply an inspection of the place one of our dogs is going to call home - but also the rest of the family as well as pets are included. We adopt out to all manner of homes from flats (apartments) to houses with vast fenced gardens. From large families with babies to single people. We match, as far as possible, the personality of the dog we know to the situation we see. For instance it is not a good idea to adopt out a "keen" dog (who still wants to chase) into a family with several small pets - or a completely placid dog into a family with a number of active children.
If approved then you need to sign the Retired Greyhound Trust Adoption form. This states that you agree not to race or breed the dog - and the dog remains the property of the trust so that it must be returned to us if for some reason you no longer want it. This is to safeguard the health and happiness of the dog.
You then take the dog home to live happily ever after!! We do offer advice and help about the dog for it's entire life - but particularly during the first few weeks when problems are most likely to occur. Most dogs settle in as though they had lived there forever!
Below are some general comments about settling in your retired greyhound at home.
The change from the sporting life of kennels and fierce competition to one of domestic bliss is a big step. Yet a racing greyhound's athletic career is not in fact a bad preparation for home life.
Greyhounds usually retire at three to five years old - in human terms, as young as twenty! They have been carefully bred and expertly managed, with good diet, exercise, veterinary care and plenty of attention. They are young, healthy animals.
nature of the breed is affectionate, docile and sensitive,
and these qualities combine with the firm discipline already instilled
to make the transition smooth.
The foundations of a contented life in a family are well laid. Caring and understanding owners find that sharing their home with a retired greyhound presents no especial problems and gives all the pleasures of living with any other active animal.
Be prepared to spend time with your greyhound when it arrives home, he needs human companions for reassurance.
Retired racing greyhounds generally settle into their new surroundings and lazier lifestyle with great enthusiasm and immediately recognise their new home as a definite improvement on kennel life. Let your greyhound explore the house rather than shutting him in one room. Remember that household appliances such as vacuum cleaners or televisions may make him nervous, and he will certainly not have encountered stairs before.
A Friend in the family
Most greyhounds are clean in kennels and easily learn what is expected in the home.
By walking the greyhound for just a few minutes each hour or so on the first day and increasing the time to up to 3 hours between walks on the third and fourth day, the greyhound will normally have settled in and understand what is required by that time. It is simply a question of conditioning the greyhound to a regular routine.
Do not shut your greyhound out alone in the garden - he wants to be with you. A bored greyhound can clear a six foot fence. . . The usual allowances must be made in the early days of your relationship.
AVOIDING SEPARATION ANXIETY
Many adopters are under the misapprehension that because greyhounds spend many hours in kennels during their racing careers they can be brought home and left for hours on end by themselves. This is not the case, Greyhounds love company either human or that of other dogs, and although they can be left for short periods (and longer in time) you cannot expect to bring a dog home one day and then leave them whilst you go to work nine to five the following day without finding the dog is stressed and has probably whined and barked and maybe even had an accident or chewed.
In the kennels greyhounds are normally in pairs (a dog and a bitch) they sleep together, and exercise together - they are also surrounded by other greyhounds day and night. During the day the kennel staff are continually up and down feeding, grooming, paddocking the dogs, so they are used to company, both two-legged and four-legged.
Once your greyhound comes home he or she will usually appreciate all the home comforts, although strange items such as televisions, mirrors and hoovers may unnerve them at first (one dog we homed became addicted to Coronation Street!). They will love the idea of having several rooms to explore and the regular walks in the local park or woods. Routine is important, everything is new and depending on your dog's temperament, either an adventure or a little frightening.
Even if you do not need to go out, do leave your dog for approximately five or 10 minutes to build up his confidence, that although you leave you will be returning. If all is well on your return then be sure to praise your dog and give him a titbit, he will not mind your leaving half as much if he thinks something pleasant will happen on your return - something he will enjoy. Build up the times to be left gradually - increasing approximately 20 minutes more each time.
do go to work be sure to arrange for some time off to
coincide with the time your dog comes home, this is a new member of the
family and needs to be welcomed and "settled in".
If you are leaving a dog for more than three or four hours you should arrange for someone to call in either to let him or her into the garden or take them for a walk, and give them either a meal or a titbit to break up the day. If dogs are to be left for longer periods we do usually suggest you adopt a pair, but, even then a settling in period must be allowed for.
Greyhounds are easier and more adaptable than many other breeds, but they cannot be expected to "know" your return, they need to be guided and taught what is expected of them
Greyhounds and Children
breed that grow up with little or no contact with
children, most greyhounds love them, It seems to be inbred somewhere in
the breed, greyhounds like children. However, we would never advise a
known very nervous dog to be housed with young children.
Many people feel the bitches are more suitable for children, this is not necessarily so, whether it be a dog or a bitch if they like children they are equally suitable and affection.
However, it is essential that children of all ages are taught respect for their new four-legged member of the family. Hauling and mauling the dog cannot be tolerated, and even petting and cuddling however kindly meant, can aggravates the dog if it persists all day long.
Your greyhound needs a "safe" place (usually their bed) where they can retreat and rest alone, The children must be taught that this place is "out of bounds" for them.
If these basic common sense rules are applied with parental supervision your greyhound will grow up with your children as a loyal and loving friend.
Bred and trained for the chase, your greyhound needs to be taught that taking off after small animals in its vicinity is no longer what is required! Detraining always requires patience, understanding, caution and time -variable quantities depending on the animal's personal disposition. Begin by walking your greyhound on a tight collar and lead close by your side. Talking to him helps train him to ignore other animals; lapses are corrected by slackening then jerking the lead, plus a firm "NO". Praise him for obeying.
The weekly dog training classes available in most areas are a very good idea - consult your vet for information.
a newcomer to an established dog is best done on
neutral ground and at meal times when the food is a distraction -but
both should be on leads to begin with. The same guidelines apply to
cats, only more so! Muzzle your greyhound at first to avoid incidents.
Nearly all greyhounds can come to live happily with cats but continue caution off the premises where cats are liable to be considered fair game. ('Cat proof' greyhounds are often available through the Retired Greyhound Trust.)
walks a day at a good pace are ample, though if you have
the time, energy and inclination your greyhound will appreciate longer
excursions. Toe nails and pads are all the better for walking on hard
surfaces. You can start thinking about the first off-the-lead exercise
only when the greyhound identifies with you and reliably ignores other
(particularly small) dogs. It should be preceded by an extra long walk
so that the itch to chase is lessened. Choose an enclosed space away
from traffic and other people and animals. If he or she makes off after
something you may be some time catching your pet! Take another person
with you so your greyhound can be released to run to you.
The greyhound should "always wear a muzzle" on these occasions. If you don't feel confident enough to unleash remember that racing greyhounds get most of their exercise on the lead anyway, and do not suffer deprivation.
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