Ainne (Granree Ainne) The First Nine Months
Here are some of the phrases/sayings that I find myself constantly repeating to the dog or my husband (sometimes both!!) since adopting Ainne on 10 October 2020.
- Where is my other shoe? (Ainne)
- Put that away. (Husband)
- Give me a poo bag (or three). (Husband)
- Is that you with the stinky bottom? (Both)
- Calm down. (Both)
- Barking at me doesn’t get you belly rubs. (Ainne)
- Can you move back so I can get off of the toilet? (Ainne)
- That must be another Amazon delivery for Ainne. (Husband)
- Don’t eat the cat/fox/your own poo. (Ainne)
- Out of the way. (Both)
Ainne chose us as her new Mummy and Daddy on a sunny Saturday afternoon in September last year when she came bounding out of the kennels and gave my husband a great big kiss (just him – and I still don’t get kisses). We had to wait three weeks before we could take her home whilst she was being neutered. Although we had done some research prior to visiting the kennels, we spent the three weeks doing even more and buying all the equipment that we thought we may need.
I mean how hard can it be? Well it turns out harder than you think – but well worth the time and effort!! It is good to go to the kennels with a list of attributes that you are looking for in your greyt but remember that you won’t get them all in one dog – the perfect pooch does not exist ( sorry about that). Be clear on what you will and won’t compromise on and be realistic about your expectations.
So Ainne bounded into our lives and home and changed our lives from that moment on. Eight months on four words sum up what we have learnt so far – patience, common sense and confidence. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and although there are things we would have done differently there are also things that we wouldn’t. Let’s take the main things one at a time!
- First couple of nights – make sure your sofa is comfy because unless you are really lucky your greyt will not want to sleep alone to start with!! Remember everything is new to them, they probably have never been in a house before, slept alone and they don’t know you.
- Sleeping arrangements – every greyt needs more than one bed (or is that just Ainne). Doesn’t have to be expensive beds as they don’t really care as long as they can mess it all up and only sleep with half their bodies on it. We have two – one downstairs and one upstairs in the bedroom as she sleeps with us in the bedroom overnight. Cheap ones with washable covers are good – but just be prepared for the sulks when you wash the covers!! Otherwise they will sleep wherever the fancy takes them – usually getting in the way resulting in being a trip hazard!
- Toilet training – carpet cleaner, poo bags and disinfectant are all essentials. To be fair we have had very few accidents in the house and those were mainly our fault. Knowing your dog, routine, persistence and praise is the key here – oh and I invested in a carpet washer too!! One key trick is to let them out for a wee as soon as they have finished eating and take for a toilet walk before leaving them alone and taking them in the car.
- Wind – the dogs that is. Air freshener and pegs for your nose are a good investment. You will be given lots of different (and often conflicting) advise as what, how and when to feed your greyt. I have to admit that we still feed Ainne the same as she was fed in kennels but add yoghurt to her meals. Remember the botty pops are usually silent but violent and can creep up on you when you least expect and when you look at your greyt they are fast asleep!!
- Feeding – As above we have stuck to the same kibble and wet food as Ainne was fed in kennels. Greyts tend to have very sensitive stomachs and any change in diet will need to be done gradually otherwise you will find yourselves clearing up very sloppy, cow pat poos – try getting one of those in a poo bag and you will know what I mean!!! No advice for what to feed – that is personal choice and what is best for you dog. We have adjusted feeding times over the months to try and tie in with walkies (see below) and you will find what works best for you. Twice a day and a bedtime snack is good for us (bedtime snack so she doesn’t wake us up hungry at 1.30am).
- Leaving your greyt alone – this is one area that is still work in progress. Ainne does get quite stressed when we leave her alone and it has taken the last eight months to get to the stage where we can leave her for three hours without too much issue. Distraction is the key for us – having come back from a simple 10 minute station drop off to find chewed carrier bags, coats pilled of their hooks (we no longer have any coats with hanging tabs in them and the coat rack is hanging loosely from the wall), pink recycling sacks emptied all over the floor and on one occasion (which lead to the distressed call to Diane mentioned below) poo in the hallway which had been walked all over the house including the bed!!. Leaving the tele on and ignoring her makes no difference and so I will let you into a little secret. A licky mat and kong with peanut butter, a treat ball and puzzles have been our saviour.
- Walkies – now this is the exciting bit. Ainne is a gentle docile animal around children and adults alike but add squirrels, cats and small dogs into the mix and that is a different matter! I have read that boys are more ploddy and lazy than girls but I am not sure that is true. Ainne has quite a high chase instinct – even now but the trust can advise you (we always muzzle Ainne when outside and you will be supplied with one). Be prepared to find yourself purchasing different types of attire for your greyt to suit all weathers. We have a thick fleecy waterproof coat for winter (you will be supplied with this), thin showerproof coat for spring, cooling coat for summer and a house fleece for cold nights and chilly morning/evening walks.
We originally started to walk Annie using a basic harness, however, after being pulled over a couple of times, and on the advice of a behaviourist we now walk her using the fishtail collar and buckle lead that we were supplied with. This gives us control over her head and doesn’t allow her to exert her full body power into a harness. You just need to do what is right for you and your dog – training helps too (see below). We have bought a different harness which we use to secure Ainne into the car.
- Training/Advice – take a chill pill and calm down was the best advice I was given in the first couple of months. Help is always available to you but the best advice I can give you is time, patience, love and confidence. You will need all of these (and more) but I can honestly say that eight months in we have a different dog. She plays with toys, obeys basic commands (when she feels like it) and sometimes evens lets us go to the toilet alone!!
We didn’t start formal training until we were six months in – mainly due to the training centres being closed during lock down. It is advised that formal training doesn’t start until your greyt has really settled and knows the house rules. Experience so far – I think easily distracted is the phrase to use!!! Remember that if they are an ex racer they have been trained to chase and that is going to take a long time to break. We have learn’t that you can get treats through a muzzle and that squeezy cream cheese is the easiest.
- Health and wellbeing – your greyt will come with four weeks pet insurance and I would suggest that you carry on with insurance. We have Ainne’s vets phone number on speed dial and she is known by name by everyone. Ainne retired from racing due to a damaged tendon and zoomies tend to aggravate this injury so we regularly are giving painkillers and anti inflammatories. Did you know that greyts are little bleeders? Ainne ripped a toenail and the house looked like a murder had taken place!! Another trip to the vets and a very sorry for herself dog.
All I can say is that we are both absolutely besotted with Ainne and we cannot imagine our lives without her now. If you are looking for a kind, gentle, loving dog then you cannot go wrong with a greyhound. You will need to find one that is a good fit with your circumstances.
Thanks to Sue for sharing her experiences with Ainne.
Living With Adriel (now Bentley)
In early April 2019 I was delighted to take home my first greyhound from Dunton after having walked 4 boys at the Trust that I had viewed on the website and wanted to meet. I visited twice and decided on Adriel, now called Bentley as he was the most affectionate to me. When I took him home I could not have been more excited! I was all prepared with raised food bowls and a large bed, both of which turned out to be far too small and were quickly replaced with higher and bigger items! Finding a bed a greyhound will actually fit on without some extremity hanging off it is still proving difficult even after quite a few different varieties, or maybe I just enjoy buying him things, as I’m sure many GH owners will agree.
I knew there would be teething problems and I was prepared for that, as no dog, especially an ex-racer from kennels was going to be perfect from the outset. However, there turned out to be different problems than I had envisaged. He is a fairly laid back dog and he didn’t have any difficulty in staying downstairs on his bed the first night or any nights after that in fact. I quickly learned, anything kitchen counter height, was fair game and a box of eggs, my cooked dinner and a large Belgian bun became fairly immediate casualties. I do not have any photo frames on window sills or books on coffee tables etc as they are far too tempting. I had to laugh and take a picture of him when he shredded my barely touched book “Greyhounds for Dummies” and he seemed very pleased to have decorated the lounge with it. He had very few accidents in the house although “Vanish” was high on my shopping list for a couple of weeks.
My biggest surprise was, that I seemed to have a fairly successful ex racer, that didn’t want to walk. Or rather, he would walk but then put on the brakes when we were furthest away from home, turning a 20 minute walk into 2.5 hours of frustration and being my first doubt that I may have made a mistake, as that was adding stress to my day not enjoyment at this point. That was about three weeks after first taking him home and I am very glad I persevered and arranged walks with other GH owners and he was a lot better “in a pack” at first. It happens rarely now but I know from experience that he will stop if he’s not sure about something, so we stand still, if, strange dogs, (not sure what his criteria is on this!) walk by and then he happily trots on. We avoid parks with bouncy dogs running after high speed balls and play grounds full of children. It seems it is excitement or information overload and he grinds to a halt and won’t move in any direction. I do however always have with me bribery in the form of a box of cheese which seems to do the trick if required.
I have now had him 6 months and cannot imagine not having a large black dog draped somewhere around my house (usually with a tongue poking out) or magically appearing behind me, from what would appear to be a deep sleep, moments after opening the fridge or rustling a cheese wrapper. He has a fetish for shoes and if excited can be found looking for a trainer to steal. He really is the most laid back, gentle, sweet, funny dog I could have hoped for and I feel lucky ‘he picked me’ when I went to choose a dog from Dunton Greyhound Trust.
Our thanks to Cara for sharing her experience with Bentley.
A greyhound owners warning!
I’m sure you think it most peculiar to come onto a website about rehoming greyhounds to be met with a serious (health) warning! But a warning I feel obliged to give you and it’s a warning about owning a greyhound.
It’s NOT a warning to potential owners because greyhounds often succumb to lots of diseases (they don’t), or the hounds find it difficult to acclimatise to home life (they really don’t) or they need lots of exercise (they really, really, really don’t!)
No, none of the above:
I need to warn you that greyhounds can become addictive!
There, I’ve said it, and not even in a whisper!
The Oxford English dictionary defines being addicted as:
“(informal): Enthusiastically devoted to a particular thing or activity.”
I realise I am confessing to my own weakness, as I am guilty, as charged! But dear readers, I know of whispers between owners (whilst rattling tins outside of supermarkets) that they also share this dark secret!
I have tried in vain to analyse why this addiction is so common, after all there are so many other wonderful dogs out there to pull at the heartstrings (beautiful beagles, magnificent mutts, and tenacious terriers) who also have their devotees.
And I’ve had different dogs over the years (a Jack Russel, Springer Spaniel, rescue GSD cross) and loved them dearly, but there is something about the greyhound…….
But what is it about these hounds that can get such a firm grip on your psyche? Could it be the placid and trusting nature, or the endless patience and gentleness with children?
Or what about the interesting juxtaposition of the supreme athlete of the canine world, who also has the ability to sleep 22 hours a day? Or maybe the endearing, if somewhat weird, habit of placing one shoe from each family member onto their bed. (How can this even be a common behaviour across the breed?)
To be frank, I have no idea why the addiction is so common! But, just like Pringles, you can’t just have one greyhound! Well, you can, but be warned, the urge to have more can just overwhelm you! Which it did to me, and not just once, but twice! And having three greyhounds did help me develop more dexterity (have you tried weaving in and out of 12 long spindly legs in repose, while holding onto a hot mug of tea?)
But compared to some people I am a mere amateur! Having 6 or more hounds is not unheard of!
Some common signs of greyhound addiction:
- You sit on the floor, while your hound(s) sprawl across the sofas
- You are compelled to go over to hounds and owners you spy at 50 paces away
- You actually enjoy spending a weekend fundraising/showing people your hounds
- You feel obligated to buy a new car, as the old one is never quite big enough for a new hound
- You realise the hounds holiday stuff takes up more car space than yours
- You are almost as excited as your hounds, when they meet another new sighthound
OK, the last one really does make me sound like I may have to seek help!
So, if you are viewing the website as you are considering offering a forever home to one of these wonderful hounds, I would wholeheartedly recommend that you do. You won’t regret it.
But just be mindful of the hidden dangers! And in the longer term if you do succumb to the obsession, just remember there are plenty of us out there to support you.
So there you have it! Don’t say I didn’t warn you!