Fostering Information

How strict should the foster home be with a new Greyhound?

As mentioned earlier, racing Greyhounds are used to a fairly regimented life with few options or choices to make in its day to day activities. The majority of Greyhounds are creatures of habit, and are most relaxed when a set routine is in place. Family life does not always fall into a perfect routine, but establishment of set meal times and regular exercise and toileting opportunities will help a new Greyhound to feel at ease.

When a Greyhound is suddenly given the freedom of an entire house, and has some choice in how it spends its time, it may revert to a (temporary) second puppyhood. It is important that some basic ground rules are established for the dog early in the foster period and that all members of the family abide by them. Restricting the dog to certain rooms in the house, at least initially, may make supervision easier. This may be achieved by simply keeping doors closed or by using baby gates or other barriers. Most Greyhounds will discover soft human beds or lounge chairs within the first few days (or hours) after arrival. Although Greyhounds are the ultimate "couch potatoes", taking lounging almost to an art form, it must be remembered that their future adoptive home may not condone such practices. Therefore it is suggested that fosters are discouraged from reclining on the furniture.

A soft bed of their own, located in a quiet corner, should be provided, and the dog encouraged to retreat there. The bed should be positioned so that the dog can take in most of the household activities without getting in the way. You may wish to move the dog's bed to just inside your bedroom or close by at night, so that the dog feels secure by your presence, and so that you can supervise the dog's nighttime activities. In the US, many Greyhounds are crated at night or if left in the house for short periods during the day.

Another vice of some Greyhounds newly introduced to the home is pinching food left on kitchen benches or tables (also known as "counter surfing"). Because Greyhounds are so tall, reaching such places is quite easy. The obvious solution is not to leave anything tempting lying within reach. Keeping one or more squirt bottles filled with water and ready to use can be effective in stopping such practices.

Certain concessions need to be made for a foster Greyhound which is encountering many new experiences over a relatively short period of time. However, some will need to be given firm guidelines as to acceptable and non-acceptable behaviour within the home, and when out in public. Most Greyhounds are quite sensitive creatures and gentle disciplinary measures such as a stern, disapproving tone of voice or a quick spray with the squirt bottle are usually sufficient to get the message across.

In spite of the warnings mentioned above, many Greyhounds will walk into a house for the first time, and proceed to take all in their stride, as if they had been there all their lives. They are generally fairly laid back creatures with tremendous adaptability and understanding.