EMERGENCY REPAIR FUND
INFO ON THE INTERNET
PRECAUTIONS AND LOST GREYHOUNDS
5,000 YEARS - FOR A SINGLE PURPOSE
CELEBRATING GREYHOUNDS - 1998
GREYHOUND BEHAVIOR PART
GREYHOUND BEHAVIOR PART
HOMELESS HOMER UPDATE
CHANGE OF ADDRESS?
FLAS AND BLUE'S EXCELLENT ADVENTURES
THE GREYHOUNDS MARCH ON
GREYHOUND ADOPTION SERVICE REPS
I feel compelled to write a letter to the newsletter after receiving word this past Sunday of another greyhound being hit by a car. Please see the article "5,000 Years - For A Single Purpose".
Most of the people I have talked to, brag to me, how much they can trust their dog off lead. I have been involved with sighthounds for 30 years, including showing and obedience. Just like other breeds that are bred for a specific purpose, such as herding sheep, the greyhound hunts by sight, and has since the beginning of time. No amount of training can undo this.
People are under the misconception if they have a dog since puppyhood, you no longer have a sighthound. Two of the dogs hit by cars, and one that is missing were all placed as puppies.
Not all the calls I receive are about dogs hit by cars. There have been numerous lost dogs since January, and three are still at large.
At this time, I feel I must tell you about a dog named Sparkle, who brought more joy than anyone will ever know into my life.
The story has been too painful for me to write. Now the time has come.
On December 6, 1994 my son had put up outside Christmas decorations, there were wires running through the front storm door causing it not to shut properly. My husband, during the winter, stores chemicals for his jobs, inside the house, so they won't freeze. He had been in and out quite a bit that night. Sparkle usually slept with my son at night, so I did not notice her missing until I went to wake Michael up for school the next morning, and asked where she was. He thought she had slept with me. Panic set in. I searched the house and the yard - NO DOG.
I called animal control. Around 10 o'clock one of my neighbors came by, and told me she had seen Sparkle running up the middle of Toll Road Ext. (a very busy road). She took me to the spot - NO DOG!
Some friends arrived. We searched all that day, and soon that day would turn into two nightmarish weeks.
She evidently became so spooked the first day she escaped, that she never approached a person again. She was extremely friendly!
On the second day I contacted all the neighboring police, animal control officers, vets, boarding kennels, radio and TV stations, UPS, and the local Post Office, also I photocopied numerous flyers which I put everywhere trees, telephone poles, convenience stores, bank machines etc.
Day three, I contacted a physic who was well known in locating lost dogs. I borrowed a squaker from the track, and rented a bullhorn. I searched day, and all of most nights.
The evening of day four there was a sighting on Route 95. I immediately drove down there, and from my cell phone called six friends to assist me.
I had my cell phone with me, during all my searching in case anyone had to get a hold of me.
The search went into the wee hours still NO DOG! I couldn't eat, sleep, my stomach was in knots. I cried constantly. The frustration was too much to bear.
She was sighted approximately every four days, in different areas, so I still knew she was on the run. I kept hoping someone would take her in. Even if they kept her she would no longer be out in the cold.
I finally received a call early the morning of >December 22nd from a wonderful woman who belonged to the Lebanon Doberman rescue. While walking her dog in the woods, she had found a dog, it was one of the worst cases of greyhound abuse she'd ever seen. The dog had starved to death
She was about a mile from here. So near, yet so far away. The what ifs? are with me all the time, the healing very slow.
I did not knowingly let her out the door. However, I learned a hard lesson on how quickly a sighthound can disappear. I never saw her again until I picked up her body.
Mine is not the only sad story of a missing dog, there are many. Please avoid this by keeping your dog leashed at all times. When it's in the house do not give it an opportunity to escape.
Remember in your contract you signed you agreed not to let your dog off lead. It is in violation to do so. Save yourselves this heartache.
Greyhound Adoption Service, Inc., needs to raise a minimum of $6,000.00 immediately. Our funds are depleted once again. As I write this, we only have $143.00 in the checking account. We are in dire need of new crates, new perimeter fencing and new electrical equipment in the kennel.
In January we sent out an appeal to replace the kennel's main heat source and had an overwhelming response from you. With the overflow funds we renovated the kennel floor and pens and bought a new bathtub.
The cost of the new crates is $1,000. They are the highest quality, state-of-the-art maintenance-free crates that carry a lifetime guarantee. The crates we are now using do not have enough ventilation and the latches are not secure.
The perimeter fence was built 20 years ago and is falling down. The dogs are digging under the fence and pushing out the weak sections and escaping. The entire perimeter fence needs to be replaced immediately for the security of the dogs. The job has been estimated at $4,000.00.
The kennel was also erected 20 years ago and we are still using the original electrical fixtures and outlets. The existing ceiling fan needs to be replaced and we need to install 2 more ceiling fans and another exhaust fan to keep the dogs cool. We need to install additional electrical outlets and replace some of the lighting fixtures. The estimate for this project is $1,000.00
We are appealing to you once again to raise the funds for these emergency repairs. Cash contributions are tax-deductible. Please contribute to the Emergency Repair Fund by sending whatever you can to help the greyhounds be safe, secure and comfortable. Your check or money order should be made payable to GREYHOUND ADOPTION SERVICE, INC.. Please send your contribution to:
Greyhound Adoption Service, Inc., and the greyhounds at the kennel sincerely appreciate your continued support.
Greyhound Adoption Service, Inc., held its 1997 Reunion on May 18th at the Middlesex County 4-H Fairgrounds in Westford. Once again we had an absolutely perfect day for it! We had roughly 300 greyhounds and their owners attending. People >from The Greyhound Project, Greyhound Options, Greyhound Friends and Greyhound Placement Service were in attendance. Everyone seemed to be basking in the pleasure of so many wonderful greyhounds. It was great to see so many people and greys enjoying themselves.
I would like to thank the vendors who participated - The Glorious Greyhound, Halemar Specialties, Gallery 125 and Buckle-up Products. My sincere thanks to Dr. Regina Downey for her informative Question and Answer Session and to Jeanne Huber for her expert nail clipping services. Thanks to all the firms and individuals who donated raffle items.
A heartfelt thank you goes to the wonderful volunteers who helped set up, clean up and staffed the various tables. Many thanks to all the "go-getters" who helped before the reunion. I wish to thank each and every one of you -- I could not have done it without your efforts!
Once again the fun dog show was a highlight of >the reunion. There was some real stiff competition in the various classes! The following are the winners:
For those of you who are on line you may want to explore some interesting sites. The National Greyhound Association's web address is: http://nga.jc.net You can look at Sire Standings, The NGA Hall of Fame, order supplies, find out how to obtain an NGA Pet Certificate, find out adoptions statistics and look at the NGA photo gallery. The NGA's new telephone is 785-263-4660.
The Greyhound Project has a wonderful site that can be found at: http://csa.delta1.org/~greyhound/ This site also has a multitude of information including Some Advice, All about Greyhounds, Greyhound Gallery, Publications, Supplies and Links.
A Breed Apart (ABAP) is the first on line greyhound magazine and it can be found at: http://www.abap.org/ ABAP publishes interesting new articles every two months and has many greyhound links to explore. ABAP has lots of archived material dealing with every aspect of greyhound ownership plus all the previously published articles.
There is also the Greyhound-List. This list has over 700 fellow greyhound enthusiasts subscribed to it. Just think you can have contact with greyhound lovers every day! To subscribe to the Greyhound-L just send e-mail to: LISTSERV@APPLE.EASE.LSOFT.COM For subject, try to leave blank. If you can't, type in Greyhound-L. For copy, type in Subscribe Greyhound-L and your name. When you get a response, just follow the directions.
Warning: The Internet is addicting when it comes to Greyhound stuff -- my dear wife Carla is forever looking up various greyhound links and web pages! I created a web page for her and that can be located at ../albmaj/index.htm Of course, our two greyhounds Albert and Major are featured! Carla's e-mail address is Albmaj@AOL.COM PJ also is on-line and she can be reached via e-mail at Phylienaj@AOL.COM.
If you have a web page dedicated to your greyhounds, please send us the info and we will publish it in the next newsletter. If you would like to receive future issues of Greythound News via e-mail rather than regular mail, send Carla (Albmaj@aol.com) an e-mail message including your name and current address along with your e-mail address.
A few precautions are needed to prevent a greyhound from getting loose and becoming lost. They are common sense and should be practiced by the new greyhound owner as well as the person who has owned a greyhound for years. Some of the things you should always be diligent about:
The following article appeared in Greyhound Club of Canada's February 1996 newsletter. It also appeared in the Fall 1996 issue of Celebrating Greyhounds Magazine. Many thanks to Stuart McLean for allowing us to reprint his article.
Imagine a dog, a regular dog, in fact; imagine a mutt. Imagine this mutt is a very happy go lucky, average sized male who possesses instincts and traits handed down to him by ten different breeds of his family tree. He has a good temperament, our imaginary mutt: he is friend to both animal and man. His behaviour is generally good: he comes when he's called.
When out for a walk with this mutt, or a game of chase-the-ball his behaviour is predictable and safe. If you're out at the park with the mutt and you lose sight of him, there is no need for worry. One shrill whistle will bring him running back to you from behind whatever tree or bush he was investigating.
The point is this: he's safe. He's safe because we know what makes him tick, we know what he will do, and when he will do it. He shares the common behaviours and physical limitations of almost every dog you have ever seen throughout your whole life; you know exactly what to expect from him.
Now, just for fun, let's do some genetic engineering to this imaginary mutt. The first thing we'll change is his personality; alter his patterns of thought and reactions with instinctive behaviours that most dogs do not have. From now on, imagine our mutt has the uncanny ability to perform hunting tasks. Then again, almost all dogs have hunting ability, don't they? Well, let's enhance our mutt's ability beyond those of most dogs. Let's imagine our mutt enjoys the benefit of, oh, let's say five thousand years of single purpose breeding; the purpose being pursuit and capture. Hunting.
Let's change him even further. Let's give this mutt the physical enhancements he would need to fully exploit his new instincts. First, we'll change his vision, giving him larger eyes so that he can spot his prey even if it's a kilometre away. We'll make his vision sharp and clear so that he can tirelessly scan the horizon, looking for targets.
Now in order for our mutt to be able to catch what he spots so far away, we'll give him great speed. Imagine that we can recreate his heart and lungs to be larger and stronger, and alter his skeletal frame and musculature to be more efficient, powerful, aerodynamic. With his new body design, our newly enhanced mutt can go from a standstill to sixty kilometres-per-hour in about three seconds. We will also add to his great speed the power of agility, giving him the ability to corner and change directions at high speed, so he can easily capture what he chases.
Let's summarize our changes. Our mutt has single mindedness now, and determination to hunt; he possesses instinct centuries old. Our mutt also has the physical ability to back up this powerful instinct; he can hold his own with the fastest land animal in the world, and he can spot prey with the proficiency of an eagle.
What else does he need? What other changes should we make to this mutt to compliment intelligence for the chase? Imagine that this mutt has the instinctive intelligence to go around fences, bushes, walls and buildings to catch what he sees. He no longer just stops and barks like a fool when something comes between him and his target.
Finally, there is one last change we should give our imaginary canine creation. He should have the power of camouflage. He will possess a calm demeanor and a tranquil, loving attitude. It will not be obvious that he has such great powers.
Wow! We've imagined quite a super dog! All he needs is a name. Maybe "Feline Terminatorus"? Or "Squirrel's Nightmarous?" Then again, in keeping with his personality, something low key would be more appropriate; let's just call him "Greyhound."
Now -- when you take this re-created animal out to run and play, will you forget his new abilities? Will you allow his powers of calm tranquillity to lull you into believing he's just a dog? Will you let him off the lead in an area that's unfamiliar to both of you, or unsafe? An area where the sight of another dog, cat, bird, squirrel or white piece of floating trash could send him streaking at sixty kilometres an hour across a traffic-filled road?
He would appear out of nowhere, instantly; a driver would have no chance to even attempt to hit the brake.
Will you expect this "Greyhound" to stop, or come to you, when he can't hear you calling out over the thunder of his own legs striking the ground in full sprint? Would you expect him to respond to your panicky shouts when the only thing he can hear is his huge heart pounding, the panting of his own breath, and the relentless howl of centuries of instinct?
Your answer should be "NO." A Greyhound is a specialized animal possessing physical ability and instincts beyond normal dogs. A responsible owner must never forget that.
The "mutt" in this article is a metaphor; our final imaginary product, the Greyhound, is real. You own one, and I own one.
My adopted Greyhound is Voodoo. Voodoo is without doubt the best friend I have ever had. I love him, and I know him very well.
I know that he doesn't understand that a car (his second greatest love in the world) can kill him. I know that if I let him off the lead to run (his first love) in an unsafe or unfamiliar park or meadow, he could be a kilometre away and totally lost in less than a minute, and never hear me calling. I know that even though he hasn't shown aggression toward, or a desire chase a "Whizmo" look-alike for over 8 months -- he could at any time. After all, he's from the track, his programming is to pursue and capture.
I love this breed and I love Voodoo. It's because of this love that when I am out with Voodoo, I never take my eyes off him. I never let him run free unless I have carefully scouted the park in advance and know everything in it and around it; I also learn the safest, best time to go there.
As adopters, we all know these rules, and have been warned by our adoption representatives. Did you pay close attention? Do you understand fully what this wonderful breed is physically capable of?
To all new adopters, I would like to say: listen to the advice! Bond with your dog -- know your dog. Don't be in a rush to watch him run for the first time. I know it's tempting to just unhook them and watch them fly! Please don't throw caution to the wind.
To all the long term adopters, I would like to ask: Has your friend's power of tranquillity ever lulled you?
Love them, enjoy them; don't risk them. Please.
Once again Marilyn received a telephone call asking to take a pregnant female from a track. The answer was yes! The "yes" decision was made because Marilyn believed in saving the greyhound's life as well as her unborn pups.
Barberator arrived on March 18, 1997. I went to the kennel the next day to meet the very pregnant Barbie! She is a black girl with some white markings. We scheduled a trip to the vets to have her examined and x-rayed. She had at least 5 pups and was at least 50 days along. The canine gestation period is 63 days.
Marilyn proceeded to give Barbie extra food to prepare her for the "ordeal". During the next few weeks Marilyn would say to me, "Wouldn't it be fun if we had Easter puppies?" Barbie must have ESP! On Saturday, March 29th, Marilyn and I spoke on the phone many times - the last time about 11:00 P.M. Marilyn said Barbie was in heavy labor at that point. I hopped in the car and drove to the kennel. I arrived a little before midnight and Barbie's first pup's feet were showing -- finally at 12:30 A.M., the pup was delivered.
Barbie delivered 5 pups from 12:30 to 4:45 A.M. A long delivery! Especially for Marilyn and I, as Barbie decided to nap in between delivering pups. She had 3 black females, a black male and a white & fawn brindle male. Their weights ranged from 1 to 1* pounds. After cleaning up and getting Barbie and her pups settled in their whelping pool, Marilyn let some of the kennel dogs out and I drove home bright and early Easter morning. I witnessed the sun rise for the first time in many years!
The runt of the litter was the black female with a bit of white on her nose at 1 pound. On Sunday, Marilyn noticed she wasn't nursing really well but caught on by Monday and was soon thriving along with the rest of her littermates. It just amazes me how small and seemingly helpless the pups are when they are born and how they automatically know what to do.
My trips to the kennel became more frequent to visit Barbie and her pups and Marilyn would give me daily telephone updates. (Jeez, you'd think I had the pups instead of Barbie!) I would take pictures and enjoyed watching the little ones grow. Barbie was a great mother and was extremely protective of her pups when adopters came to the kennel. Of course, everyone had to see the precious little ones.
They grew rapidly, at 11 days old their weights ranged from 2* pounds to 3 pounds. On April 12th all of the pups eyes and ears were open. April 18th Marilyn heard the first little bark from one of them. They weighed from 3* to 4* pounds on April 19th. The black male decided to explore and managed to wriggle out of the pool on April 20th. Marilyn called and told me Barbie was beside herself because the black male decided to escape. The following day all the pups were climbing out of the pool into the pen so Marilyn put the pool away.
At this time Marilyn started the weaning process and introduced a formula of yogurt, rice baby cereal, evaporated milk and canned puppy food. After 3 weeks on this mixture puppy chow was added gradually until the pups were just eating puppy chow mixed with canned puppy food and moistened with warm water. On May 14th the pups took a trip to the vet to have their first shots and general check-up. Everyone's check-up was fine. Their weights ranged from 8.1 pounds to 10.9 pounds.
Barbie was spayed and came through the procedure with no complications. Three of the pups went out the week of May 25th. Two of the females remained at the kennel until the third week of July. The little black girl with the white on her nose went to the vets on July 14th for her rabies shot and weighed a whopping 31 pounds. Remember this was the runt of the litter. We nicknamed her Big Bertha! She is going to be a big girl.
Big Bertha went to her new home on July 17 and poor Barbie was so upset she didn't eat her dinner. Not to worry though, as luck would have it Barbie was placed the next day. I miss Barbie and her pups and hope they are all thriving in their new homes!
The Greyhound Project, Inc. has published the 1998 Celebrating Greyhounds Calendar. They always out-do the previous years calendar with absolutely stunning photographs of greyhounds. The 1998 Calendar features 45 glorious color photographs of adopted greyhounds from across the country and England. Don't miss the opportunity to order yours today! Please use the order form on the last page of the newsletter.
The following 2 part article first appeared in Greyhound Companions of New Mexico's Winter and Spring Newsletters. It also appeared in "Speaking of Greyhounds" June 1997 newsletter.
Judy Kody Paulsen graciously granted permission to Greathound News to reprint the articles.
Racing greyhound trainers often deny ever having observed behavioral problems in their greyhounds. Most of the time, this is not intentionally misleading information they provide, but it must be remembered that the relationship between racing trainer and greyhound is one of a professional nature. Their relationship is conducted under very structured conditions and there is very little interaction other than specifically for training purposes. Take a greyhound out of that rigid, well-defined environment and it is likely to become confused and behave differently until it knows its place in the adoptive household and understands the new boundaries for behavior. For this reason, we cannot always rely on reports from trainers regarding a greyhound's personality. The following article is offered as advice in dealing with a newly adopted or fostered greyhound, but can also apply to dogs that have been in the home for some time, yet still exhibit behavior or training problems.
Retired racing greyhounds have known a very limited and structured environment during their lifetime. Everything they have been exposed to during preparation for life at a racetrack has been controlled by a very rigid schedule of training, eating, resting, turnouts, confinement in crates and racing. To a racing greyhound, this existence represents normalcy and the repetition and predictability provides a certain security for them.
When a greyhound is transplanted into an adoptive home, there can be much bewilderment during the first few days or weeks. Understandably, most greyhound adopters would prefer to give these dogs constant love and attention, room to roam in a safe, fenced yard, a life free of confinement in a crate and access to toys and playtime at their whim. We are eager to bestow special treatment on them, so they're given fluffy beds and lots of attention. But we must remember, most of these things are unfamiliar to a greyhound that has been in a racing environment and they can be the source of fear and confusion initially.
The racing environment, beginning at a very early age, encourages competition and the desire to be "out in front" and in control. This is conducive to raising successful racers but it can be detrimental to cultivating a personality that will be appropriate for a pet. Most greyhounds will learn to abide by the rules that are established in its adoptive home, but adopters must be aware of certain considerations. Implementing changes to discourage undesirable personality characteristics that have been developed at the track can take lots of time and patience and above all, an understanding of what your dog may present with in terms of training challenges.
Dominance and Fear
Learn to recognize subtle signs of dominance or aggression, such as a greyhound positioning itself in a stiff stance (usually with tail held erect over back) above another pet that is lying down or playing with a toy or eating. This signifies a greyhound that wants to establish itself as "the boss" and wants respect from the rest of the "pack". Gently pull the greyhound away, with a firm "NO" to let it know you are the "leader of the pack" and will not tolerate this behavior from one of your "charges".
Watch for a greyhound that turns its head slightly to the side when someone approaches to pet it - this may indicate it wants to be left alone or is head shy. Never put your face directly into the face of a greyhound (or any other breed, for that matter) unless this has long been established as acceptable by your pet - you'll know by their response. If they suddenly become very still and the tail is not wagging, this means they may be interpreting your approach as a challenge or a threat to their well-being. Resist the urge to hug or join a greyhound that is lying down, especially if it is in its favorite "bed". Remember, these dogs have had very few "personal items" during their lifetime, and a bed and crate were at the top of the list. Of my three greyhounds, one cannot be trusted with face to face contact unless she initiates it with licking and tail wagging, then I know it is acceptable to reciprocate with a kiss on the nose, but never do I grasp her head to keep it in one position. My other two greyhounds are fine with face to face contact, but I still don't overdo it. You never know when a pet is having a bad day - they have moods, too, just like we do! Many people are tempted to enforce a "you must obey" rule with head shy dogs and they try to expose the dog to frequent, positive handling of the head, but this can backfire. It is best to avoid such interaction. The key here is let the dog initiate any face to face contact and hopefully the tail is wagging when this occurs!
If you have observed aggressive behavior in one or more of your pets when they are playing, especially outdoors in a large open area, you should look at this as a potential disaster if you allow this type of "free play" to continue. Racing greyhounds, are especially prey driven and competitive by nature and training, and can become frenzied into an attack mode if the right circumstances prevail. Competing for a toy or jockeying in position for the lead in a game of chase are perfect examples of "setups" for fighting. Even in the most friendly and companionable of dogs, there can be a sudden overwhelming need to possess a toy or be ahead, which can produce devastating injuries in a pack response. Muzzle any greyhound that exhibits aggression when running with other dogs. Muzzles on all greyhounds while running in groups is the safest bet.
Fetching Balls or Frisbees
Never play group "fetch" with dogs that have shown a competitive streak unless you can separate the competitive ones from the rest of the dogs. You may have to have two groups of fetch going so that all can participate, but it should be only with the aggressive dog isolated in another area where the game is between just you and the dog, rather than the whole "pack".
Aggression in dogs can be a result of any one thing or a combination of factors. When they are aggressive towards other pets, you must be vigilant of this tendency. Even the most subtle hint of "alpha" (dominant) behavior should be taken very seriously and it is your responsibility to avoid situations that may provoke this behavior.
"Fear Fighting" among animals often follows an injury to one of the "pack". This type of response is one of pain and confusion and results in the injured animal striking out at the nearest thing that may have caused the pain. If there are other animals present at the time of injury, the injured animal may attack and a very vicious fight may ensue - occasionally to the death. This is often the case when animal owners describe fights between animals that have been "best buddies" then suddenly become vicious toward one another. Very often, the owner was not present at the time of the altercation to know the details of how it happened and they speculating that one of the animals "just went berserk" and "tried to kill another". Rarely will an animal turn on one of its own "pack" unless provoked or in pain.
It should go without saying that handling an injured pet carries with it considerable risk that you could be bitten or at least growled at. Always muzzle an injured dog before attempting to transport or treat it.
You - The Pack Leader
Animals will almost invariably revert back to instinctual behavior without the presence of a "pack leader", and that pack leader should be you. Set guidelines for what is allowed and what is not when dealing with your greyhounds. Remember that the environment they have come from, in most instances, is one of a totally different natured compared to what they will experience in an adoptive home. They have been expected to do very few things at the track and kennel besides run and rest, and they were required to obey. Once in an adoptive home, multiple stimuli, (stairs, sliding glass doors, TVs, ringing phones, ceiling fans, children running, cat hissing, etc.) and new rules for socializing, can produce a very challenging adaptation period for the greyhound. These dogs rely on us as their human pack leader to keep things in order and to enforce rules that are meant to protect all those in the pack; human, canine, feline and otherwise.
A common human behavior towards new pets, especially ones we feel have come from abuse or neglectful backgrounds, is to try to relate to the animal on its terms. We may find ourselves crawling on the floor or lying with the animal (particularly when they are moderately to excessively shy) to attempt to comfort it in its initial adaptation period. When putting yourself at the dog's eye level, especially if you are crawling toward the dog, you are creating a situation that can easily be misinterpreted as a challenge or threat. This can produce instinctual fear akin to that of another pack member approaching for a "stand off". Similarly, being on all fours can give the "alpha" (dominant) dog the impression that you are just another litter mate that needs to be "put in its place".
If you want to establish a trusting relationship with a shy or timid dog, it is best to avoid direct eye contact, at least until the dog has determined you are not a threat.
Stay on your feet or sit - don't crawl. When approaching a shy dog, act as though you are walking past and gently touch its head or back and accompany this gesture with some reassuring words. Sit on a piece of furniture and let the dog approach you - don't rush the process of getting close to the dog. Let it advance on its own terms. Have treats in a pocket so you can offer a reward each time it comes to you for attention. Do not allow children to chase or persist in approaching a shy dog.
Crate For Safety
Don't hesitate to crate a dog for brief >periods. This can keep it out of trouble or safe from endangering itself or other family pets when you cannot be present to supervise. Do not confine greyhounds to small rooms, i.e., bathrooms, laundry rooms, etc.; this can frighten them and also can result in destructiveness. A dog in a crate is less likely to harm itself or its surroundings. Don't leave a dog in a crate for long hours unattended.
It's All Up To You!
Be aware of your role in promoting peaceful relations among the pack. Close supervision and recognizing subtle signs of aggression are paramount in providing safety for your family and your pets, especially when a new pet is introduced into the family. Be observant of all behaviors that may signal the onset of a problem. Protect your pets and yourself by practicing common sense.
This segment on greyhound behavior discusses indicators of aggression or fearfulness in greyhounds. Much of this information comes from my personal interpretations based on interacting with and observing many greyhounds in my home environment. My own pet greyhounds and those I have fostered for rehabilitative purposes have been the sources for my information.
This disturbing phenomenon is fairly common in dogs of all breeds, but is perhaps more pronounced in retired racing greyhounds due to the environment in which they have been kept during their racing careers. The saying, "Let sleeping dogs lie" must have originated from a source with personal experience in this area!
A dog that growls or bites upon being disturbed while sleeping is not generally considered to be an aggressive or vicious dog. These dogs are usually well adjusted, sociable, affectionate dogs in all other aspects of their ability to relate to people and other pets. Reacting negatively to sleep disturbance is not uncommon, even in human beings.
Understanding a typical day for a greyhound at the track or training kennel is paramount in learning to cope with this problem. Once a greyhound begins training for their adult racing life, a very strict regimen is adhered to. The dogs are kept individually in crates in a large room filled with crates and other dogs. The dogs are turned out to relieve themselves early each morning and about three more times during the day. They are exercised or "schooled" about twice a day if they are active racers. Dogs that are retired or rehabilitating from injuries do not go out for these exercise sessions as a general rule. The main focus is on preparing the active racers for their performance on the track. Each day is structured to provide exercise and uninterrupted rest for the racers. The key word here is uninterrupted.
Think of this as you scratch your head in bewilderment after your adopted greyhound has just snapped at you or your child when its sleep was interrupted. Combine this regimented lifestyle with the possessiveness of a dog that has had few personal items, none of which it was required to share, and you have a dog that is totally unfamiliar with the life of a household pet. These dogs must be recognized for what they are and what they have endured as part of the conditioning process for racers. They are athletes that have been in training for months or years to produce a dog that focuses on one thing - chasing a lure.
Deprogramming or desensitizing a greyhound to these acquired behaviors takes patience and understanding and, above all, time. Some dogs will never overcome the tendency to be startled upon awakening and some will never be willing to share their sleeping quarters. Desensitizing a greyhound to touching during sleep can sometimes be accomplished by exposure to frequent petting, touching, or verbal communication while the dog is resting, but not asleep. The problem with this technique is that greyhounds can sleep with their eyes open, thereby making it almost impossible to tell if they are visually aware of your approach as you attempt this "desensitizing" method. Another risk of this technique is that the dog may become accustomed to being handled during sleep by family members, but not by infrequent visitors whose approach and touch may signal the sudden compulsion for the greyhound to protect itself from this intruder. The best rule to enforce with friends and family is that the dog is to be left alone while resting or sleeping.
If your greyhound is known to be sensitive while sleeping or resting, it is best not to allow the dog to use your furniture as its "bed". A specific place for the greyhound should be designated with a soft bed or blanket on the floor or in a crate with the door left open and it should be understood by everyone that this is off limits for all but the dog. Teaching children this rule should be no different from teaching them anything else that is necessary for you to protect them from things that may injure them.
I think it is important to stress at this point that all types of aggression that may be encountered in greyhounds are also encountered in other breeds. The object of this article is to focus on why the greyhound becomes aggressive in certain situations, not to imply that greyhounds have an innate tendency to be aggressive.
Predatory aggression in greyhounds is quite common due to their training to chase, coupled with an inherent desire to hunt. This type of behavior is usually triggered by rapid movement of something away from the greyhound or, in some cases, a struggling, shrieking child or animal which is construed as prey that is wounded (wounded prey actions can generate a frenzied attack by healthy "pack" members). Some greyhounds can run and play with other dogs and/or children and not have any tendency to want to bite, however others may want to control and "bring down" this target. It is the responsibility of the adopter/owner to supervise all interaction among their greyhounds and other pets and children in order to avoid injuries. Remember to muzzle a greyhound with any inclination to chase and nip at anything moving quickly. Even a muzzled greyhound can inflict injury, so again, the key word here is: supervise.
Fearful or shy dogs can bite, too and there are a number of indicators once should be cognizant of when working with or attempting to socialize a dog of this nature. A greyhound's eyes can say a lot about its comfort factor around people or other animals. In my observations of shy or fearful greyhounds, it is apparent that the dog's blink rate, i.e., the frequency of blinking or upper lid movement, can be a good indicator in predicting aggression or fear. First, it is important to understand that dogs do not blink like human beings; their eyelids rarely fully close during blinking and is often just a very subtle movement of the upper eyelid. They can also go much longer periods between blinks than humans can. But it can be said almost without exception that a blinking dog is a content dog and as the blink rate becomes more rapid, the dog is becoming more relaxed. When a greyhound (possibly this applies to other breeds, too, but my research has only involved greyhounds) becomes wide-eyed and exhibits no upper lid movement, this is signaling a sudden concern or interest in something and often can be an indicator of fear in the shy or fearful dog. Eyes wide and fixed on something can be the precursor to a sudden attempt to bite or attack. A staring dog should be regarded with caution and face to face contact with a dog in this fixation mode should never be initiated.
On some occasions, staring may indicate particular interest of a benign nature; for instance a dog that is watching its food being prepared or observing a treat in anticipation of being rewarded. This can produce the same fixed stare, but I think it's pretty easy to differentiate this non-blinking response from one surrounded by contrasting circumstances where a dog may exhibit aggression.
The Dominant Dog
Tail carriage is another sign we can utilize to gauge a dog's perception of danger or challenge. In a relaxed, indifferent greyhound, the tail is usually hanging straight down, neither tucked between nor raised away from the hind legs. When observed outdoors on the property of their domicile, they generally begin to raise the tail slightly as they survey the yard when they first go out. If any threat is perceived, either by sight or sound, the tail raises almost to a horizontal position to the ground. If the threat increases, as in the approach of an intruder to property boundaries, the tail raises further. This behavior is especially evident in dogs of a dominant or territorial character. Barking may ensue and at this point, the tail is often carried high.
Observing tail carriage while dogs interact with other dogs is beneficial in predicting and preventing potential conflicts. The dominant or alpha dog attempts to establish its superiority over the other dogs in the "pack" by raising its tail stiffly while approaching another dog. If the other dog is dominant, too, both dogs will present with similar behavior and tails will be flagged up into the air. If an agreement is reached between the two that one will submit, one or both tails may begin to wag slightly or the level at which the tails are held may drop somewhat and the situation is then defused and can progress to indifference or play.
A dominant dog often displays its desire to dominate by raising its tail as it enters a room or an area where other dogs are. As long as the other dogs are willing to accept his dominance, all is well; it is as if they are appreciative of his announcement! However, if another dominant dog does not wish to accept this declaration, a stand off may occur. Usually, the dominance issue is resolved by acceptance within the "pack" and the dogs will respect this arrangement without further ado.
When adding a new dog to the family, watch for this indicator among pets in the household; the presence of this behavior is a signal to you that you must be conscious of situations that may provoke conflicts. Having a dominant dog does not mean sacrificing the peaceful coexistence of all the pets, but rather serves as a reminder that you may have to be a bit more guarded under certain circumstances. In the case of multiple pets, there will inevitably be the occasional conflict over turf or status, but you can keep this to a minimum with awareness of the combination of personalities you have in the household.
Of great importance here is to determine if a dog shows one or a combination of any of the aggressive behavior types and if so, these dogs should be monitored more closely when around children, other pets or anyone or anything that may approach your greyhound in what the dog may interpret as threatening or challenging. A dog with frequent or dangerous episodes of behavioral problems needs obedience training and possible pharmacological treatment to assist in desensitizing it to the stimuli that it perceives as a threat to itself or its family. Animal behaviorists can be invaluable in treating dogs with dysfunctional personalities and great strides in this area have been made in recent years. A book that I have found to be one of the most sensible and effective can be found at or ordered >from your local bookstore. The book is titled "The Dog Who Loved TOO Much" by Dr. Nicholas Dodman.
Don't give up on your dogs just because you don't understand them; enlist the help of someone who can enlighten you and give you the tools to work with the problem at hand. It's worth the time and effort, especially when you are rewarded with a pet you can trust.
I would like to thank Kris Drake for contributing to my research on blink rates through hours of observation and interaction with her greyhound, "Sophie". I also credit Kris for discovering and recommending to me the book "The Dog Who Loved Too Much".
Many thanks go out to all of the people who have been sending me UPC codes, Homeless Homer symbols and 9-Lives symbols. I think I need to clarify what it is I need to send in to the Heinz company.
This list is pretty long:
P. O. Box 1836PJ Knowles
Seabrook NH 03874-1836
I am very close to mailing out for our 1st $100 >from the Heinz Company. Your support is very much appreciated.
PS: I can only use one symbol from any package. If there is a Homeless Homer, Morris the Cat or 1 point symbol on any of the above mentioned products then that is all I can send in. UPC codes can only be used if the package didn't have one of the symbols on it. The UPC code is the bar code on the package.
Have you moved since October 1996? Are you planning to move soon? If so, please send your address changes to Carla. We are getting lots of mail returned because the addresses are not up to date. Please help me keep the data base current!
Vacationing with your Greyhound is possible and can be an enjoyable experience. My husband Kyle and I donât feel comfortable kenneling our two Greyhounds, Flas and Blue, so we look for places that accept pets when we vacation. Before we had Flas, we stayed at a beach house in Eastham with Blue. She loved the ocean and developed a taste for steamers and lobster - Blue knows how to enjoy the good things in life! We have also gone camping with both dogs a couple of times. Believe it or not, you can squeeze two adults and two greyhounds in a two man tent pretty easily - one of the dome-type tents, anyway.
One publication for people like us is "Farmer's On The Road Again With Manâs Best Friend - New England" by Dawn and Robert Habgood. Last year we looked through the book and chose The Skaket Beach Motel in Orleans. It was a nice place, very reasonably priced. We had a one bedroom suite with a kitchenette - plenty of room for two long dogs to stretch out in.
The book has many places around New England to bring your pet/s, some expensive and some quite affordable. There are inns, bed & breakfasts, motels, cottages and amazingly enough, hotels even in Boston. Would you believe that the Meridien and the Ritz-Carlton let you have pets? I donât think they were thinking of greyhounds, though.
This yearâs choice from the book was "The Red Clover Inn" in Mendon, Vermont. Itâs about a three hour drive from Arlington. The owners, Sue and Harris Zuckerman are very friendly and accommodating and give you the feeling that you are their special guest. The inn is a picturesque building with a carriage house and barn that houses a horse and a few ponies (one was born just this year - what a cutie!). Blue and Flas were so excited; all those new things to see and smell!
The "pet" rooms are in the carriage house, one upstairs and one downstairs. We were in the downstairs room - very clean and comfortably decorated in a classic country inn style, quite homey. The dogs tried out the bed right away, to our mortification. Iâm sure every one of you can identify with that! When we arrived, there was a package of homemade cookies for the humans and a package of doggy biscuits for the dogs and a note welcoming us - nice personal touch.
The main building has a common room with a bar and a couple of sitting areas. There are games and books and magazines to read. The main building also has a fantastic restaurant with a gourmet menu every night. The restaurant is open to the public as well as the guests of the inn.
We booked the inn for the weekend before July 4th. If there was anyone else there, we didnât see them. Sue explained that this was a quiet time of year for the inn. That was fine by us! Because it was so quiet, we had the dining room practically to ourselves for Thursday and Friday night. Saturday was quite a bit busier.
The first night Blue was a little restless. She needed a little reassurance, this being a new place and all. Flas was cool as a cucumber. He did his perimeter sniff, ate his complimentary cookie, fluffed his bed and relaxed. Obviously, he has no problem with vacation mode!
On Friday we decided we would do some hiking. Now, we have gone on some walking excursions with the dogs before, but not any trail hiking in the woods that involved any altitude. We chose an easy trail off of the Appalachian trail that led up to a rocky ledge. The dogs hiked it like they were professionals. Flas was very polite and went off the trail when nature called. Blue, however ... letâs just say she lives by "when you gotta go, you gotta go".
Everything that could be smelled was smelled. There were a couple of toads that had Kyle and me to thank for their lives. Blue tended to be the toad hunter. Flas just plugged along, occasionally sniffing something or eating grass without missing a beat.
On Saturday we hiked the Long Trail. This trail spans the length of Vermont, so you can see how it got the name. Once again, the dogs were up to the challenge. This was a flatter trail than the previous dayâs, but it was definitely a long hike. By the end of the day, we had hiked 8 miles. Kyle and I were beat - I could barely walk, but of course the dogs were hardly affected. They were in dog heaven.
We left on Sunday. The dogs just jumped in the back of our Jeep and positioned themselves for the long ride home. All in all, it was a fabulous long weekend. The dogs thoroughly enjoyed themselves, we had a great time and it wasnât the slightest bit inconvenient to vacation with our pups. They are so happy to see (and smell) new things. I think even Greyhounds like a change of scenery from time to time.
THE GREYHOUNDS MARCH ON
Well, the Greyhounds and their owners marched for the second time in the Manchester-by-the-Sea Fourth of July parade! Once again, we were a BIG HIT! The spectators cheered as we approached and they were waiting for us with glasses of water for the owners and buckets of water for the dogs. A couple of houses even had wading pools set up and the greyhounds knew just to do!!! Last year approximately 26 greys and their owners marched. We also won a trophy for "Judge's Choice" and we received a donation for Greyhound Adoption Service. This year we had 31 dogs! I am hoping we can add a few more participants each year.
I would like to extend my sincere and deepest thanks to all those who participated. You are responsible for the great success we are having! For those who couldn't make it this year, I hope you'll keep the parade in mind for next year. We'd love to have you!
Help - our demo list is very old! We have tried to contact some people on the demo list and have not been able to get in touch with them.
The newer adopters may well be asking, "What is a demo?" A demo is how we promote greyhound adoption. G. A. S. goes to various places, pet stores, malls and town days. We set up a table with brochures, pictures of kennel dogs waiting for homes and bring the photo albums with updates and pictures of adopted greyhounds. Adopters bring their greyhounds with them to let people meet some the wonderful greyhounds who have been placed in homes.
We answer questions about our experiences with our dogs. We tell potential adopters about the greyhounds looking for homes and how the adoption process works. Basically, it is a greyt chance to get to brag about your own greyhound and hopefully influence someone to adopt. It also helps to educate the public on what wonderful pets greyhounds make.
We have scheduled lots of demos for summer and fall. Please contact Carla if you would like to continue doing demos or are interested in participating in demos.
**** PLEASE be a responsible greyhound owner and do not let your dog run free. ****
Please feel free to contact any of us listed above
any problems, questions or if you need some advice. We look forward to
hearing from you.