Tips for fostering or adopting a greyhound!

Jul 24, 2019

Tips for fostering or adopting a greyhound! Fostering or adopting a greyhound is one of the most rewarding things any animal-lover can do. While they’re known for their speed and athleticism, greyhounds are naturally quite docile, which makes them a wonderful, easy-going indoor companion. What’s more, their gentle and affectionate nature is bound to melt your heart. If you’ve decided to take the journey into greyhound foster or adoption, it’s important to take extra care to help your dog adjust to their new home. If you do this right, you will be comfortable in the knowledge you’ll have a well-mannered and loyal companion for years to come. While this isn’t an extensive how-to guide, these handy tips will help you navigate your greyhound’s first couple of weeks in his or her new home.

First things first Keep it simple! A greyhound has spent most of it’s life as a working dog in a rural environment. Going from this to a family home can be a huge leap! Imagine you’d just been dropped somewhere you have never been before and how to react to all the different things! You’d probably feel a bit out of sorts, a little scared, confused and even anxious. Provide lots of patience, try and keep things as routine as possible, allow the greyhound space and time to investigate new things, and don’t forget – lots of love!! The day you bring your new family member home is exciting! However, there are some important things to do to ensure that your ‘long doggo’ (don’t worry you’ll pick up all the greyhound related lingo in time!) has a smooth transition into your household.

Tip 1. Foster Handover Your foster and adoption officers are there to help! You will receive a wealth of information in your handover session around how to introduce your noodle horse (they go by many names) to your family environment taking into account other pets, children, and all the variants of these. ASK QUESTIONS! Your foster and dog adoption officers prefer to answer lots of questions no matter how silly you feel! They would rather you are comfortable in how to approach things.

Tip 2: Take them to the toilet training area as soon as you get home Depending on whether you are introducing them to another dog when getting home or not (GAP will cover this in your handover) once you get the dog out of the car go straight to the toilet area. Generally, this will be the backyard so take the dog through the house out to the yard on lead. You’ll find that 9.9 times out of 10 the dog will toilet – when they do give them lots of praise and let them know that they have done a good job! Some greys respond well to treats and others are just as happy with kind words and pats.

Tip 3: Let them explore and give them their own ‘space’ Whether it’s a bed or a mat, your new companion should have their own space that they can retreat to when they want time to themselves. It also becomes a space they learn to go to when you ask. Once they explored inside, you can introduce them to this new space by putting them there with a toy or raw bone and letting them settle in. Make it nice and cosy for them, keep in mind new things can be a bit overwhelming at times so if your grey wants to go have some quiet time let them be. If you do approach them when they are on their bed give a little clap and say their name to make sure they are fully awake before approaching. Greyhounds can sometimes sleep with their eyes open!

Tip 4: Supervise time with other pets to start off with Your foster and dog adoption officer will advise on the best way to introduce your new greyhound to existing pets in the home. This section is purely in relation to other dogs – if you have a cat, bird etc your foster and adoption officer will give specific instructions. Always make sure to introduce the dogs out the front of your house in a neutral space, go for a short walk up and down the street or around the block before coming in to the home. Make sure to have the muzzle on your greyhound – this is purely a safety precaution. Keep in mind the muzzle doesn’t hurt the greyhound – it’s the dog equivalent to wearing glasses. Take them to your yard and let them explore together whilst keeping an eye on the behaviour. Try and avoid confined spaces initially, also do a quick yard tidy up to make sure there is nothing that could cause arguments – ie bones etc.

Tip 5: Develop a routine To ensure a smooth transition to their new environment, put a routine in place from the first day. This means setting regular times for feeding, toileting, and attention/play, and stick to these times every day. Retired greyhounds have come from a background of huge routine where they have certainty to a large degree what their day is going to entail. Greyhounds love and thrive off routine and will respond positively to this and consistency. The next two weeks Greyhounds adapt to family life very quickly, and it won’t be long before your greyhound is loyally following you around and getting used to retirement! While they will usually start to settle in quickly, these final tips will help you establish a good relationship with them and keep your greyhound safe, happy and healthy through the greyhound adoption or foster process.

Tip 6: Stick to your routine! This is really a follow on from tip 5… stick to your routine as much as possible! Some people like routine, while others aren’t so great with it. However, greyhounds thrive from routine. With routine your greyhound will know what to expect and when. Continue to develop the routine you started on day 1, then keep to this schedule each day, or as close to it as possible.

Tip 7: Feed for general health and dental health Greyhounds and long snouted dogs can be prone to have poor dental health because of the shape of their jaw. You can help decrease the risk of this by feeding a combination of wet and dry foods. Large, dry kibble is abrasive against their teeth and assisting in removing the build-up of plaque and tartar. Uncooked bones such as marrow bones will go a long way to helping keep their teeth clean too plus provide a great treat if they are going to be spending a longer day home alone. With greyhounds keep in mind they are relatively slim dogs. Whilst we don’t want a bony greyhound, we also don’t want a fat greyhound! An overweight greyhound can be bad due to the added pressure on their long limbs and super flexible spine. Your foster and dog adoption officer should be able to provide you a guide in relation to your greyhounds’ weight. Have a look at our Feeding Guide for more information on the best way to feed your greyhound.

Tip 8: Always take your greyhound out on a lead It is a legal requirement to have greyhounds on lead in South Australia, this includes dog parks and beaches where other dogs may be allowed off lead. The only exception is in some council areas where they are trialling greyhound off leash days – this will need to be specifically sign posted. Even in this situation as part of your foster contract we ask that you do not let them off lead in this environment, once adopted it is your choice. Significant fines can apply if you’re caught with a greyhound off lead, but more concerningly it can create a significant safety risk to your grey and others. Greyhounds are like super heroes of the dog world – they can run at 60km/h, can see clearly 1km ahead and have 270-degree peripheral vision! They are sighthounds after all. They have not been trained to recall and this is something they can struggle with – a grey intent on chasing something has tunnel vision and spacial awareness is not a strong point. Your greyhound must also wear a muzzle unless it has a muzzle exemption from the Dog and Cat Management Board, which you can get once your greyhound passes it green collar assessment through GAP. If you have any questions, we are more than happy to help with this process! With the right preparation and care, greyhound adoption and fostering can be a stress-free and very rewarding process. If you’re ready to welcome your new family member, visit to find out more.

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