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We’re Greytful you stopped by...
Hello and thank you for wanting to help GPA Greater Cincinnati (GPAGC) by fostering a retired racer. Without your help, the transition from racer to pet would be much more difficult for the new adopters. What we do is teach the dogs all of the things they know nothing about.
Your greyhound is accustomed to a regimented lifestyle. The schedule for feeding, relieving themselves and exercise is very strict in a racing kennel and consequently, the transition from racer to couch potato may be confusing for the hound. Your retired racer does not have an idea of what you expect from him. He has never been in a house, negotiated a staircase, heard phones or doorbells ring, seen a vacuum cleaner or even his reflection in a mirror. He doesn’t know that the glass in a window or sliding glass door is a solid surface.
The only thing that is ever expected of him is to run. Running is in his blood. It is in his heart. Winning is in his fate, or it is not. And when it is not, then suddenly he is expected to be a civilized person in a fur coat. He is expected to behave himself in places he’s never been taught how to act. He is expected to take responsibility for saying when he needs to go outside, to come when he is called, not to get on some or all of the furniture, and to not eat food off of counters and tables. He is unemployed, in a place where people expect him to know the rules and the schedule, even when there aren't any. That’s where we, the fosters, come in. A little humor, patience and encouragement will do wonders in easing your foster into his new environment. He will learn quickly, but he will need your help.
The following guidelines are meant to ease your foster Greyhound’s transition into
the home. The best advice is to combine these guidelines with a dose of common sense.
Our goal as foster is to turn ex-
If you run into trouble or have any doubts or just need some reassurance call or email us. We are a team. We will help you.
The Pick Up Top
You will be informed about the date of the haul and what time to be at the pick up location. Please plan on helping with the unloading, walking, and bathing of your foster dog. This is very likely their first bath. They will be dirty and you will most likely get wet. Please dress appropriately. The ‘Haul Crew’ has had two long days. A nice way for all of us to show our appreciation for making the long trip is to help with the cleaning of the Rental Van, and bathing their foster dog.
These are the items that will be given to you at the pick-
A coat if weather warrants
Before leaving the pick-
Loading into the Car Top
Greyhounds must always ride in an enclosed, temperature controlled part of the vehicle. If you are having trouble getting the Greyhound to hop in your vehicle, you can lift them into it. Support his chest with one arm between the front legs and put your other arm behind his legs, not under the abdomen. If you find it difficult to do this by yourself, ask for help. You can work on luring the dog into your vehicle with treats later. Dogs that can’t jump up into your car simply don’t know that they can because they were ‘bottom craters’. One of the ‘kind of’ funny things is watching a big 85 pound boy tremble when it comes time to jump back out of your vehicle. That 2 foot drop must look like the Grand Canyon. Just pull on his lead gently increasing the pressure until he starts to move forward then let the tension go slack.
The Introduction into Your Home Top
According to most dog experts, the four tools of fostering are: lead (leash), muzzle, crate, doors. Use of these tools is imperative in the peaceful transition of the foster into your home. Even if your yard is fenced, walk your foster on lead around the yard to show him the boundaries. Swimming pools and lakes or ponds are new experiences for most Greyhounds. Please be sure to use care when your Greyhound is near such areas. Teach the Greyhound that the water is not a solid surface and that they should stay away from it. Be prepared to help your foster out if they go in the water. Most Greyhounds are not swimmers. You may need to repeat this again in the morning if it is dark when you get home.
You don’t need to open the whole house to the dog immediately. While still on lead, introduce your new hound to one room at a time. Let the dog explore the room. When the dog is comfortable, move to the next room. Your home should be dog proofed as if you were child proofing it. As you and your greyhound explore, check for any hazards you may have missed. Electrical cords, poisonous plants, books, magazines, the TV remote control, reading glasses, video tapes, shoes left lying about, etc., may prove to be irresistible. These are all new things to your greyhound and frequently dogs ‘discover’ by chewing. When you are comfortable that your dog will not hurt himself you can take his lead off.
The Introduction to Your Other Pets Top
When introducing your foster to small dogs, cats, or other pets caution is the RULE.
If your current pet is a dog, it is wise to introduce him to the foster on neutral
territory, like out on the street, and on lead. Muzzle the foster as well as your
dog(s) for this first meeting and for the first few days when they are together.
This should allow them to go through the usual pack-
Introducing Your Foster to Small Children Top
When you introduce children to your foster do so with an abundance of Caution.:
Always make sure your foster is muzzled. Hold your greyhound on a short lead and walk him towards the child, Never let your child run at the foster. Teach your child the proper way to greet your foster by extending their hand for the foster to sniff. Teach your child to pet the foster gently and to begin under the neck moving up to the head and Not by reaching over his/her head to pat them. It is very important that your children or their friends respect your fosters sleeping quarters. Do Not let your children play in or around your fosters’ crate. Likewise, Do Not allow children to lie on the foster dog’s bed. Greyhounds have never had to share their sleeping quarters before and this is all new to them and something they might not be willing to share in the beginning. Never let your child approach a greyhound that is lying down without calling the greyhounds name first. Greyhounds can sleep with their eyes open. For this reason, it is important that the dog acknowledges your voice before you touch him. If he is in fact sleeping with his eyes open and you startle him by touching him first, a bite could result. Always keep your foster muzzled while children are playing near by as this will help prevent accidents should a child step or fall on your foster dog. Foster dogs should Not be allowed on the furniture, however, this is especially important when children are present in the house. Allowing your foster dog on the furniture places them in a superior roll above that of your children. If your foster is on the couch and a child tries to climb onto that couch, the child may get bit. To avoid this, Never Allow your foster on the furniture. Besides the child factor, a foster that is allowed to get on furniture in a foster home, may be denied that privilege in their new forever home. Since our goal is to help these hounds find there forever homes, starting them out on the wrong paw is not a good way to begin.
Below are the basics:
Never completely trust your animals to do the right thing. Treat your dog with kindness. It does not yet know how to please. All it wants to do is trust someone. Pleasing will come later.
Please correct your foster when he misbehaves. Dogs are pack animals and they show love and respect to the leader of the pack. Make sure that all the people in your family are above the dog in the pack order. For greyhounds, a firm “NO” is all the correction that should be needed. You should have discussed, with your family, what is to be expected of your new foster. Establish good habits at the start. Your family should be consistent in their commands. Your foster will be confused if you do not allow him on the bed but your child does. Everyone should use the same command words.
Do not use the word ‘NO’ and your dog’s name together. ‘NO’ stands alone and is for discipline only. You do not want to associate negativity with its name.
Never leave small children unattended around the new foster. Many Greyhounds have probably never experienced the quick, impulsive movements of children.
Your dog may drink more water at first due to anxiety and it may be dehydrated due to the trip. Make sure you give him plenty of water and a chance to relieve himself more than usual. He will drink a lot and go a lot. Be patient. Anxiety and a change of food may cause very runny, watery stools. If you see no change after two days, call us.
Be diligent about a potty schedule. If the dog is not ready to have the run of the
house, then keep a leash on him so you can quickly grab the leash and take him outside
if he appears to be looking for a potty spot. Don't let him out of your sight to
roam around the house in search of a spot. A new foster cannot be left uncrated
at night, especially until housebroken. Be prepared to either crate the dog in your
bedroom (if it quiets him down), or crate him in an out of the way area where he
cannot awaken you or your family. Although they have been crated their entire lives,
some Greyhounds seem to suddenly act as if it is torture and will bark or whine.
Understand, they are not whining about the crate. They are whining about this new
world they have been dropped into and we will touch on this later. Your sleep is
vital to a fresh, positive attitude about fostering, and we don’t expect you to enter
this endeavor sleep-
No free feeding and keep the foster separated from your other pets while they are eating. Never feed them from the same bowl as another pet. He may go to a home with a dog that doesn't care for this habit, which can lead to disaster.
No feeding from the table or kitchen counters. This is a hard habit to break.
Do not let your foster eat 1 hour before or after strenuous playing or exercise. This could result in serious problems, which could result in surgery or death.
Keep countertops free of food. Greyhounds, like most dogs, can be thieves.
Keep garbage locked away so your greyhound will not harm itself. Greyhounds find the smells simply delightful.
Do not allow them on the furniture. This is another hard habit for new owners to break.
If a Greyhound is sleeping, either on his bed or in his crate, leave him be. If you must wake the Greyhound, call out his name and be sure he is alert before attempting to touch him. Some dogs become startled when awakened suddenly and lash out instinctively.
Unless absolutely necessary, never reach into or go into a dog’s crate. That is his space, his sanctuary, his safe zone, where neither man nor child nor beast can harm him. Please respect that.
Your Greyhound is to be kept inside. It does not do well in extreme temperatures. A cold rain will chill a greyhound and a human the same.
One of the most important rules of Greyhound ownership or fostering is to never let the Greyhound off leash when outside of a fenced area. When inside a fenced area, make sure the gate is locked so a child can’t blast through the gate and leave it wide open. Make sure your child can’t blast through any door and leave it wide open.
Even if your yard is fenced, we ask that you walk your foster on lead from time to time to see if they will actually use the bathroom on lead. You may think this is an odd request for someone with a fenced yard but you must remember, the home they go into may not have a fence and we would not want to put the wrong dog in that home. Some greyhounds will not relieve themselves on a lead. It is better to know that up front than to have one returned because they used the bathroom in the house.
Walking a new foster straight off the track can be a bit of a challenge. Let me assure you their strength will amaze you. Having said that, it is VERY IMPORTANT to make sure their collar is on properly and secure. Greyhounds are sight hounds and can see up to ½ mile away. If something catches their eye, they could bolt and be gone before you know it. A greyhound can get to 45mph in three strides. For this reason, It is imperative that you do not use a Flex Lead on your greyhound. Besides the fact they can rip your arm out of the socket with that much leeway, they could hurt themselves severely with the handle of the lead hitting them as they are running to get away from it. There are to be no exception to this rule!
If you are walking your foster and something frightens it, immediately take hold of their collar and pull it around on their neck so the “D” ring is facing the ground. Hold it there until they have calmed down. If frightened, a greyhound can run backwards and back right out of its collar.
Never attach ID Tags to the D Ring that is attached to the tightening loop of a Martingale collar. This could pose a choking hazard to your dog in the event the ID tags would get caught on something. Never crate the dog with his ‘show collar’ on. Show collars are the fancy, 1 ½ to 2 inch wide collars. The D ring on these collars are large enough to get caught in between the wires of the crate.
You the Pack Leader Top
Animals will almost invariably revert back to instinctual behavior without a “Pack Leader” and greyhounds more so than most animals as they have been raised in the pack setting. It is important your foster knows you are the pack leader. As the pack leader you must set guidelines that they must follow. When setting these guidelines, remember the environment they have come from and what was expected of them there. In their past environment, they were required to do little more than run, rest, eat and potty and they were required to obey. They are now in a place where much is expected of them and more stimuli then they have ever faced before is coming at them from all sides, stairs, sliding glass doors, TV, ringing phones, ceiling fans, running children, hissing cats, vacuum cleaners, and the list goes on and on. It is no wonder they are confused and sometimes afraid. This new list of rules can cause a very challenging adaptation period for your foster. These fosters rely on you as the pack leader to keep things in order and to enforce rules that are meant to protect all those in the pack, human, canine, feline and the like. It is only human nature to want to relate to these hounds on their terms.
You may find yourself crawling on the floor towards the foster or lying with them on their bed in an effort to comfort them, especially if they are shy. Resist this urge. When you put yourself on the eye level of your foster, they may take this as a challenge or threat. This can produce instinctual fear that another pack member is approaching for a standoff. This behavior may also give the “alpha” dog the idea that you are just another pack member that needs to be put in their place.
Separation Anxiety Top
About one in 10 dogs exhibit unusual behavior when they are moved from the kennel environment to a home environment. This behavior is called Separation Anxiety or “SA”. Dogs are creatures of habit and any changes can be very unsettling and confusing to them. Because they have spent their whole lives with people and dogs around, a change in environment can be stressful to the hound.
The manifestations of SA may include urinating in their crate, excessive barking or howling and/or destructive behavior when the dog is left alone. Following are some ways you can comfort your foster through his transition. Throughout the first few days, allow the dog to see you walk out the door (numerous times) and return shortly after. Your foster will soon learn that when you leave, you will return. If you have other dogs in the house, have them sleep in the same room with the Greyhound. If you don’t have that luxury, the foster dog should sleep in an area so that he can see you. This should help your foster feel secure during the night. Urinating in the crate can be corrected by frequent outings as well as the use of a belly band or diaper. Limiting their water intake in the evening and cutting it off a couple of hours before the last turnout can be helpful, too. They may wet their own crate as a reaction to SA, but eventually they will tire of wetting themselves and will become comfortable with their new routine. Of course, there are varying degrees of SA and higher degrees require smaller steps over a longer period of time. Ask for help.
Preparing Your Foster for Its New Life in a Forever Home Top
Housebreaking: There are various methods and opinions on housebreaking. The best
way to prevent housebreaking accidents is to simply not let them happen. Take the
Greyhound out frequently, even hourly if needed, and establish location. Take him
out within twenty minutes of eating or drinking. Take him out, take him out, take
him out! It may seem overwhelming, but over a few days you can gradually cut back.
Even if you have a fenced-
Crating: At the track your dog has always lived in its crate, where it felt safe
and secure. A crate not only offers physical security for your dog it also helps
averting possible accidents during the adjustment period. It is a very effective
tool in graduating from crate broken to house-
Windows: Some initial ‘bumping into’ is usually the best teacher. You may need to purchase some ‘cling’ type decals or painter’s tape for your storm or patio doors and low windows to show the dog early on that this is a barrier to the interesting things outside. Pulling down blinds, even if they are left open, is a good deterrent. Also, watch your windowsills. A Greyhound might get so interested in the exciting events outside the window that the enthusiasm might carry over to windowsill chewing. Bitter Apple products are fine.
Slick floors: If you have hardwood floors, be prepared for a few skids and slides until the Greyhound learns to walk on them with confidence. You can scatter a few blankets or rugs around the house so the foster has a place to catch his balance if he needs to. Eventually, you may find that he will go sliding for fun!
Steps: Introduce the Greyhound to steps. This can often take a lot of patience and encouragement (sometimes even some physical help) but Greyhounds are usually quick learners. If you have another dog, let the foster watch him go up and down steps. Often this will give him the confidence to try the steps himself. Having a second person in front of your dog baiting him with a piece of cheese or doggie treat, may give your dog incentive to continue up the stairs. The person in back of the dog is there to give the dog security that it will not fall backwards. Place the dog’s front left paw on the second step. Then take the dog’s back right leg and put it on the first step. Then put the dog's front right leg on the second stair next to the left one. Take the dog's back left leg and put it on the first step next to the back right one. Get the idea? Make believe you are going up the stairs on all fours. Going down stairs can be more dangerous since greyhounds are used to jumping down out of their kennel crates. A greyhound can attempt to jump to the bottom of the stairs in a single bound, which can end in a broken leg or worse. ALWAYS hold your new greyhound by its collar with your palm on its chest as it goes down stairs for the first couple of days. To start your dog going down, you may need to gently put him on the first or second step. NEVER let a greyhound attempt to go down stairs by itself until you are sure they understand the concept of taking one step at a time. All greyhounds have gotten up and down, no dog has failed yet. Some take a little longer. If you don’t have any stairs, take the foster where there are some. Steps to a bridge on a nature walk or steps in an apartment complex will do just fine. Start simple and work up to more steps each time.
Counter surfing: Applying gentle pressure in bare or stocking feet on the back feet of a counter surfer (while he is surfing) can break the habit over time. Sometimes all it takes is a clap and a “NO” or a gentle shove and a “NO”. Stoves, knives, and glass dishes can be dangerous, and your foster does not yet have any ‘house sense’. Don’t let him learn the hard way.
Feeding: Feed your foster a high quality food . Acclimate your foster Greyhound to your particular routine to make it easier for you. You will need to separate dogs at feeding time so as not to stir up any competition. It is best to feed your foster dog in his crate, as this is what he is used to. Do not feed your foster dog people food and please do not allow your foster dog to get into the pantry. The certain results are diarrhea and three giant steps backward in housebreaking.
Greyhound Play Dates or Runs Top
While it is ok for you to get together with other greyhound owners for walks or runs,
remember it is important for them to be muzzled if doing the latter. Do not take
your foster to a dog park to run with other breeds for any reason. Being sight hounds
that chase a lure for a living, a small dog running across the field looks a lot
like prey. Even if you muzzle your foster, it is not allowed. If your foster is muzzled
and he gives chase, he can still kill something through his muzzle, however, being
muzzle, he is unable to defend himself if attacked at a dog park. Dog parks could
also be a flight risk with ‘non-
Socializing Your Foster Dog Top
It is your job as a foster parent to introduce your foster dog to as many new things
as possible. Remember, there is a big world out there just waiting for them, how
they perceive it is mostly up to you. While you have your foster try to introduce
him/her to as many new situations as possible. Below is a list of some of the things
they may encounter in this new world. Remember to proceed with caution while introducing
your foster to new things but always let them know you are there to lean on. Also
remember, greyhounds are very smart, if they think you are apprehensive about something,
they will be too. Always have treats on hand when they have conquered a new challenge
and reward them if they respond in a positive manner. Having said that, please keep
in mind your fosters’ waistline. Introduce your foster to as many people as you
can by taking them to the park, craft fairs, pet stores, Meet and Greets and any
where else that they may encounter new people. Introduce them to people with hats,
beards, uniforms, wearing sunglasses, back-
Introduce your foster to all sizes of children, keeping in mind to watch them carefully. If you see your foster is uncomfortable around children of certain ages or size, then forgo this step.
Introduce your foster to other breeds of dogs, cats, birds and any other animals you may see while out. The purpose of this exercise is to familiarize your hound to all that is around him, you never know if the adoptive family may live on a farm and own horses. Any new experience they master gets them one step closer to their forever home and also lets us know what type of home they may be best suited.
Take your foster into the pet store and see how they do on the slick floors. Show them ceiling fans if possible and the vacuum cleaner, hair dryer or anything else you can think of that might make a noise that could scare them. If they are afraid at first, continue to work with them.
If you are able, take your foster for a ride through the car wash or a drive thru window.
The more you introduce them to, the more you work with them on the things the are not so sure of, the better pet they will be in there new forever home.
Possible Issues To Watch For In Your Foster Dog Top
Sleep Aggression Top
Pay close attention to your new foster while they are sleeping. Keep in mind, at the track they have not had to share their space with anyone, so at first, there may have some space issues. Resist the urge to hug or join your foster if they are lying down, especially if they are on their favorite bed. Remember, while at the track, these guys have had very little personal items to call their own, a crate and a bed are at the top of their list.
Possessiveness of beds, food, toys or even their crate in the beginning is not out to the ordinary. Most of these things are new to them and therefore, they my feel the need to protect them. Usually a Stern “No” or the handy Spray bottle accompanied by a Stern “No” will do the trick.
Fear and dominance Top
Recognizing subtle signs of dominance or aggression on the front end and stop a bad situation dead in it’s tracks. Signs to watch for:
Your foster positioning itself in a stiff stance, usually with tail erect over it’s back, above another pet that is lying down, playing with a toy or eating. This signifies their desire to establish their place as the boss and want the respect from the rest of the “pack”. Should this happen, gently pull them away from the situation accompanied with a firm “NO”. Following this procedure will let them know that it is you who are in charge.
If your foster turns their head to the side when someone tries to pet them, this may indicate they are frightened and wants to be left alone, or that they are head shy.
Never put your face directly in the face of your foster unless you know that this is a behavior they are comfortable with. You will know they feel threatened as they will become still and rigid and their tail will stop wagging. Some dogs will see this as a challenge or threat and do what is required to protect themselves.
Fear fighting: Fear fighting among animals is usually the result of one of them being injured. This type of behavior is usually one of pain and the injured animal striking out at what or whoever may have caused the pain. If other animals are present during the injury, the injured animal may attack and a vicious fight may ensue, sometimes to the death. Very often the owner will not be present when the attack occurs and will assume the animal “just went berserk” and “tried to kill” the other animal. Very rarely will this be the case, as generally an animal will not turn of one of it’s own pack unless in a great deal of pain. Having said that, NEVER TRY TO HANDLE AN INJURED ANIMAL UNLESS IT IS MUZZLED FIRST.
Shy greyhounds Top
If you are trying to establish a trusting relationship with a shy foster, avoid eye contact until you are sure they do not perceive it as a threat. Stay on your feet or sit but do not crawl. When you are trying to form a bond with a shy foster do not rush the procedure. Act as if you are walking past them and gently touch them saying something kind and reassuring as you pass. Sit on a piece of furniture and let the foster approach you; it may take a while but as it becomes more relaxed it will happen. Have treats in your pocket and offer your shy foster one each time it approaches you on their own, this will help them bond with you and will instill trust.
Potential for disaster Top
If you have observed aggressive behavior in your foster or other pets in you household while they are playing, especially outdoors, consider this a potential for disaster. As soon as you observe this behavior, stop it immediately! Racing greyhounds are especially prey driven and competitive by nature and training and can become frenzied into an attack mode under the right circumstances. Competing for a toy or jockeying for position for the lead in a game of chase are perfect examples of a setup for fighting. Even the most gentle of dogs can have a sudden urge to posses a toy or be ahead, which can produce devastating injuries in a pack response. Better safe than sorry so keep a muzzle on your foster while they are running outside.
Games of fetch Top
NEVER play fetch with a foster that has shown a competitive streak unless you are playing with just your foster. If you have several dogs, play with the foster separately, thus avoiding a bad situation.
Playing with toys inside Top
If your foster growls at another dog or person while they (the foster) are playing with a toy either inside or out, correct them right away with a stern “NO”. If it continues, take the toy away and put it up. Do not let small children play with your fosters’ toys and vise versa.
Door savvy greyhounds Top
Greyhounds are sight hound and being such, will bolt out the door after something that catches their eye if the opportunity presents itself. Train your foster that it is not acceptable to hover around the door, likewise, teach any children in the home the rules of NOT standing in the doorway with it open and the foster near by.
Grooming your foster Top
Basic grooming care should be given to your foster while in your care. This includes brushing them and looking for fleas/ticks. Should you find any fleas or ticks, notify your foster coordinator and we will assist you with this problem.
Most greyhound will have already been bathed when you get them. You will find that they will not need a bath while in your care if they have had one already but you may want to wipe them off from time to time. Baby wipes are very good for spot cleaning. If you feel you need to give them a bath, do so with gentle shampoo and cool water. If the water is too warm, THEY WILL PASS OUT ON YOU IN THE TUB!!
Test Your Greyhound for Certain Behaviors and Quirks Top
See if your foster Greyhound is ‘foot shy’ by testing whether he will let you trim his nails, if you are comfortable doing this. Always muzzle the Greyhound, as you are not sure of his reaction to having his paws handled.
Try petting her gently while she is lying down. Dogs that prefer not to be touched in a prone position are not compatible for families with children.
See if she shows aggression at mealtime, or even just stops eating and hovers by her bowl.
Try brushing her teeth.
Child Testing: Many of our applicants will have children either living with them
When you have had time to somewhat evaluate your foster, please write a Bio for your foster and send this to our web site coordinator. Your foster coordinator will also email/call you for a “Foster Dog Report Card” asking you some basic questions about your foster Greyhound’s temperament and behavior in your home. Please fill the Report Card out as soon as you feel you can relay helpful information and send it back to your foster coordinator. This information will help with the Placement of your foster.
Meet and Greets Top
Part of being a foster is being able to have the dog at Meet and Greets. We will
contact you to see which M&G you will be attending. This helps us with people that
may be interested in your foster. While showing you’re foster, please be as candid
as possible. Answer questions strictly considering your own experience with that
particular Greyhound. Help the prospective adopters learn as much as possible about
your foster. We don’t want anyone to feel pressured into an adoption. If they have
never had a Greyhound before, explain about the two week fostering with intent to
adopt program. If you have any questions e-
Problems in the Process? Who to Call: Top
Please call/email __Duane McQueen 859-
To get medical attention for your foster hound, you must have authorization from:
Duane McQueen or Joan Buck
All of us at GPA -
Thank you for taking the time and making the effort to offer a foster home to these loving and dignified retired racers. Top