Rescue Greyhounds/Ex racing dogs

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bendog
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Rescue Greyhounds/Ex racing dogs

Post by bendog » Fri Nov 11, 2011 6:28 am

I've had my heart set on getting a rescue greyhound for years.
I won't be able to get one for a while yet (like probably a couple of years at least) but I just thought I'd ask in advance what other people think of them.

I've only ever had terriers so a greyhound or greyhound cross will have very different needs and present me with very different challenges.

The ex racing greyhounds I have met have all been beautiful well mannered dogs, but they had all been very badly treated during their racing days and many bear physical and emotional scars. I am well aware they will also produce a lot of challenges, a guy told me his greyhound used to wee in her bed and lie in it and took ages to house train, and of course they will take off after prey.

Anyone had any experience with rescuing a greyhound?
How easy was it?
How well do they get on with other dogs?

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Nettle
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Re: Rescue Greyhounds/Ex racing dogs

Post by Nettle » Fri Nov 11, 2011 9:16 am

I've had a fair bit to do with greyhounds, as well as other sighthounds ands their crosses.

First off, by no means all have been treated badly. Most greyhounds in England live a life of luxury comparable to racehorses, so they will not be traumatised. Of course you get the odd bad place, but most are very good. I can't speak for other countries.

They are very trainable as long as you gel with the sighthound temperament, which IS prey-oriented as you say, and not at all task-oriented.

Many have never seen a dog that isn't a greyhound, so need careful introduction to other breeds especially small ones.

Contrary to the propaganda about them not needing much exercise, they are supreme athletes and LOVE a good blat around. They need proper walks and off-lead running. Recall must be soundly trained as it is largely a mystery to them while ion training.

Look over the greyhounds on offer carefully. Many have injuries to feet, legs or spine, many have bad teeth. My vet always recommends getting one straight from a trainer not from rescue, as the trainers have a much better idea of what is rehomable in a domestic situation - some greys are so predatory that they would be a huge challenge, some so badly injured that it would have been a greater kindness to euthanase. Please note these injuries are NOt from cruelty but an inevitable risk of being the fastest dog on the planet.

You can get lovely young greyhounds that are being discarded because they won't chase. These make much better pets than older ones that have been raced, and you are still 'rescuing' them because otherwise they have no future.
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bendog
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Re: Rescue Greyhounds/Ex racing dogs

Post by bendog » Fri Nov 11, 2011 9:47 am

Thanks Nettle,
I'm sorry, I should have said, the English greyhounds I met had been treated much better than the Irish. And young or old doesn't matter to me as long as I can give them a good home.

Exercising them isn't a problem. But I do like a dog that can relax and chill out in the house as well. I can deal with a lot of walking, but I couldn't deal with a dog like a collie for example that wants constant interaction.

Would you train recall the same way as is suggested on here (long line etc)?
I don't think I've ever seen a greyhound in a harness, they always seem to be in leather collars.

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Nettle
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Re: Rescue Greyhounds/Ex racing dogs

Post by Nettle » Fri Nov 11, 2011 3:21 pm

Oh BOY can they do relax and chill out :lol: Just walk, then home and they will be asleep on the sofa until the next walk.

Sorry I forgot you were in Ireland: very different picture.

Harness and long line (I use a horse lunge line) is the way, then free in a well-fenced area, not forgetting these chaps can jump very high, then plan your walks away from wildlife/cats/other dogs while you proof it. I also teach stop on a whistle - sometimes gives you that flash of time to distract and collect your dog. Short lead on collar for polite walking, long line on harness for ranging out and learning to come back.

It'll be a lucky greyhound that comes your way. :)
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JudyN
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Re: Rescue Greyhounds/Ex racing dogs

Post by JudyN » Sat Nov 12, 2011 1:48 pm

You may well be aware of this, but the collar does need to be a wide sighthound collar, to protect the neck and to stop it slipping over the narrow head.

A lot of rescued greyhounds can't be let off lead, but many are more than happy with a couple of lead walks a day and to snooze the rest of the day. I would humbly disagree with Nettle on this point. Obviously the ideal would be to be able to run off lead but there are a lot more greyhounds needing homes than there are homes and an older greyhound can be perfect for an older person.

Rather off topic, but I was perplexed by someone saying to me yesterday that he was too old to have lurchers any more because he couldn't run fast enough any more. I wonder what he thought I did when Jasper took off at 40mph? I'm pretty sure I don't look like Usain Bolt :lol:
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

Flyby
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Re: Rescue Greyhounds/Ex racing dogs

Post by Flyby » Sun Nov 13, 2011 6:16 am

I think another thing to be aware of is these dogs are bred to be light and fast, and pay the penalty that their frame is a bit more delicate than you might expect. I know of two instances locally when a greyhound broke a leg just while playing with other greyhounds, and a second occassion when the owner was sitting on the grass with his greyhound dashing around, but suddenly collided with the owners knee and broke two ribs. These dogs are born to run and run fast, but they're not just brilliant working out stopping distances.

Just to balance that up, I don't know what percentage of dogs injure themselves, so I'd never say don't buy a greyhound, but as always with any dog, be aware of their weaknesses when making your decisions.

Erica
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Re: Rescue Greyhounds/Ex racing dogs

Post by Erica » Tue Nov 15, 2011 10:02 pm

Both our backdoor neighbors and a family I know rescued several ex-racing Greyhounds. The one I remember best is Legs, who was sort of a velcro dog. :) He did love to run when he was a bit younger, but could also be a great couch potato! The family I spoke of had five Greyhounds at a time once, in a not-very-large house (though they did have a great yard!). They are beautiful dogs. :)

Edit to add: And yes, be sure to keep an eye on them! They are quite fragile!
Delta, standard poodle, born 6/30/14

bendog
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Re: Rescue Greyhounds/Ex racing dogs

Post by bendog » Wed Nov 16, 2011 9:50 am

Thanks all, interesting to know about the injury prone-ness, thats something I hadn't thought about.
I have a friend with 2 whippets and before Ben turned evil ( :twisted: ) we used to walk them together and Ben got himself knocked out clashing heads with one of them, so they have tough heads at least!

This guy actually saved his whippets life once as well because it was running full pelt downhil and tumbled. Stopped breathing and so his owner (a 60+ year old guy, but still fit) had to carry the dog a mile home over rough ground, stopping every few paces to give CPR to his dog and kept him alive long enough to get to the vet. They then had to drive 150 miles to a specialist vet (at my Uni coincidentally) to fix him.

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