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Is everything I’ve heard about ex-racing greyhounds true?

Every greyhound is an individual, so do not automatically assume that everything you heard or read will apply to your newly adopted greyhound. The following pointers will help to unravel some of the key questions relating to greyhounds discovering a new life.

Will all greyhounds like living in an apartment?

Not all greyhounds will feel comfortable living inside a home and as most are not toilet trained, apartment living will be a significant challenge to start with. However, some have successfully adapted to apartment living, especially as they are generally quiet, so barking is not usually a problem. Remember though that all greyhounds need daily exercise and enrichment to keep their minds and bodies healthy.

Do all greyhounds like lazing on a couch?

Some will and some won’t, so try not to be too disappointed if yours is not a couch potato. Remember, it is highly unlikely that any greyhound would have seen a couch before, so allow more time and give gentle encouragement if you want a couch potato.

Do all greyhounds like being walked?

Some greyhounds may not initially like being walked, especially if they haven’t been on a leash before. If your greyhound is hesitant about walking on a leash they will need to be trained using reward-based methods to help them get used to this. If they are reluctant to go for a walk, encourage exercise through playing in the backyard. Freezing (suddenly stopping and refusing to move) on walks is a sign your greyhound is feeling extremely fearful and overwhelmed. If this happens, just give them time to relax and talk to them reassuringly and then follow-up by seeking advice from a veterinary behaviour consultant.

Can greyhounds live with cats and other small animals?

Like all dogs, some greyhounds can happily co-exist with cats, while others can never be trusted around cats or other animals, and behaviour in between. Some greyhounds will be quite predatory towards other animals. Dogs are carnivores, and their ancestors had to hunt, chase and kill other animals in order to survive. Genetics play a role and for many greyhounds, the instinct to chase is especially strong. However, genetics only tell us what a dog might do, not what it will do. Previous experience (sadly through some unethical and illegal training techniques) and environment (a lack of enrichment) may also influence the extent of predatory aggression and to which animals it might be directed. So, although many greyhounds will make friends with cats, rabbits and other small animals, it is best not to expect that yours will automatically be or become best buddies with other furry family members, including small dogs. Add Read the following article: Can greyhounds live in harmony with other pets? and What is prey drive and why I do need to understand this?

Do greyhounds wear muzzles because they are aggressive?

Although currently under review, it is still a legal requirement in most States/Territories that greyhounds must wear a muzzle in public, unless they have been exempted through a recognised assessment program. The muzzling law was introduced as an extension of the greyhound racing rules for race dogs living and possibly being trained within the community. Due consideration was not given for implications this may have on retired greyhounds. For further information, read: Should pet greyhounds have to wear muzzles?

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Updated on May 10, 2021
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