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Rescue greyhound can't finish a walk.

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Rescue greyhound can't finish a walk.
  • Hello to all.  I am the new owner of a rescue greyhound for the last three days.  Everything is okay but I have a problem. He is 3, resuced from Florida, eats sleeps and does his business fine.  He wallks next to me on a loose lead, but about half way into a walk he begins to slow down and stop.  No amount of treats or encouragement works. Pulling on the leash does not work, Changing the route does not matter, The closer I get to my home the worse it becomes.   Any thoughts would be appreciated.  John

  • I'm no expert, although I do love greyhounds and plan on owning a whole bunch someday.  Maybe the walks are just too far.  How long are they?  He may just be so new to you and living in a home where he gets walks that he just doesn't get it yet.  Was he in foster care?  Did they mention anything about this.  I know greyhounds are big couch potatoes so maybe his idea of fun is sleeping on the sofa.

  • Does this start after you **turn around to go home**??  He may not want to terminate the walk.  I've known dogs who would literally not elminate because when they did their owners would stop and turn around to go home.

    this dog has lived a very limited life -- all greyhounds know is the track.  He may love being "out" so much he doesn't want to terminate the walk so he balks when he knows you are thinking of returning home?

    Try going out and going 10 feet beyond the doorstep.  Turn around and see if the behavior immediately repeats.

     DO have him checked out physically to make sure he isn't simply arthritic or impeded in some way that has pain become a trigger.

  • Greyhound John

     I am the new owner of a rescue greyhound for the last three days. 

     You've had him for THREE days... I cant say Im surprised that he gets uncomfortable on walks. He doesnt know where he is, he doesnt know YOU, and you dont know HIM.

    I'd give him time to adjust before taking him on anymore long walks (obviously still short potty walks in the yard) and just give him some time to get to know you and his new home.

  •  Agree with Chelsea. Give the dog some time to get acclimated to his new living situation.

  • I had to laugh when I saw this because my male greyhound, Bart, is the exact same way. I adopted him more than three years ago and still have trouble getting him to finish a walk. Bart is perfectly healthy, but has never walked well for me. If he sees a stray cat or hears a strange noise, he turns into a statute.

    I had a Bark Busters trainer come to our house and he was even a little surprised by Bart's unwillingness to walk. He suggested bringing treats on the walk and offering plenty of praise.

    I don't have a solution, but here are some tips I've found that work:

    -When I first adopted Bart, I lived in a heavily wooded area in Southwest Florida and had trouble getting Bart to walk beyond a certain point near our house. It turns out a panther had been living in those woods and ate some of our neighbor's goats. So my first tip is remember that dogs have much better senses than we do, and greyhounds are very sensitive dogs. There are things your dog may be picking up on that you are completely unaware of. Also, it's important to remember that greyhounds are sprinters and have short attention spans.

    -I have another adopted greyhound, Athena, (female) who loves to walk. If I'm walking them by myself, I walk one dog at a time. That way I can take Bart on a shorter walk, and Athena doesn't have to wait around while he's being a statute.

    -This may sound crazy, but I drive Bart to areas with less distractions than my neighborhood. (I started doing this when he was still an "only child," and this is how I walk Bart and Athena together if I don't have someone else with me.) He'll finish a walk if there's no traffic, no stray cats, etc. My boyfriend and I take Bart and Athena for walks at the local nature center on the first Sunday of the month when dogs are allowed on the nature paths. Bart does really well there, plus he often sees other greyhound friends. Bart also has no problem walking at greyhound/doggie adoption events or through the toy aisle at Petsmart.

  • Hi John,

    First of all, congratulations on adopting a rescue greyhound! I have had four rescued greyhounds of my own over the past 8 years, and have three right now. They are the most wonderful dogs. I will forever have greyhounds taking all the space on my sofa! 

    It almost sounds like he isn't ready to end the walk yet since he slows down close to home! But you will have to be the one who decides what they can tolerate. THEY may still want to keep going, but if it's hot or you have already walked a long way, they will need to take a break, cool off, and get a drink of water.  

    One thing to remember though, is that racing greyhounds live in small crates and are only let out for 3-4 times a day for a few minutes each time and race maybe once or twice a week. This insures that they have no endurance (and makes them couch potatoes!). They are sprinters, not endurance runners. No one has ever "walked" them before, except from the kennel to the track. You will have to acclimate them to longer walks. Another thing is that they don't have enough body fat to assimilate extreme heat or cold and can get overheated very quickly. Heat and humidity is more dangerous than cold for most greyhounds. I worked my guys up to being able to do 2-3 miles a day, but always in pleasant weather. In the heat we are having now, I don't even take mine out for walks unless it is very, very early in the morning or at dusk. It's just too hot. They go out in the back yard, do their business, and come right back inside to their couches and air conditioning! They are really quite lazy in the summer months!

    Secondly, if greyhounds are nervous or unsure about their surroundings, they will sometimes freeze up. What I used to do with one of my spooky greyhounds was when he froze up, instead of trying to get him going again in the same direction, I turned him in the opposite direction and walked him in a circle, and that seemed to get him going a lot quicker than trying to pull him in the direction I wanted to go. I also made sure that I thought "positive" and walked with authority, like I thought everyone would just follow me no matter what... that helps many times as well.

    Pulling on the leash doesn't work with greyhounds, it can damage their necks and it risks them slipping their collar altogether, which you never want to happen. 

    Be patient with him and good luck... he will give you years of loving companionship and unconditional love.

    Cyndi, Sweetie Pie, Joe and Dodd  

  • Hi again John,

    I forgot to add to make sure you check his pads. Racing greyhounds have mainly only walked/ran on sand in their lifetimes. The rough, uneven concrete of sidewalks and roads can quickly make their very sensitive pads very tender. Also keep in mind that if the pavement is hot to you - it's hot to him. I don't walk mine on any black ashphalt in the heat of the day, it gets so burning hot that it can actually burn and damage the pads!


  • Greyhoundadvocate those are PURELY EXCELLENT posts.  You have a deep understanding of your breed that is absolutely wonderful.  THANK YOU for sharing all of that and taking the time to type it out!!  Really superb posts!!


    Thanks calliecritturs!!! I just love these dogs so much and I know that for new owners, they can be a bit of a mystery at first! It is so important to have someone who knows them that you can talk to... I know it helped me with my first greyhound. I work with a greyhound rescue in my area and we give our adopters as much info as they can take! LOL...

    After what ex-racers have already been through at the tracks, we do all we can to help them find forever homes, they deserve at least that much.

    I love the pictures of all your kids! All completely adorable! and I see you have a house-full as well... Isn't it awesome??!! Smile



  • My old vet (RIP - sorely missed, too) was a major Grey afficionado.  Here in Orlando we have two big tracks and greyhounds are a huge business so you see a LOT of them adopted here.

    It was YEARS before they began to allow these dogs to BE rescued -- the track owners were adamant that if they became part of the mainstream that people wouldn't come to see them run *sigh*.

    But Dr. Acre was one of the original research and development team who developed ivermectin for use on dogs and they used greyhounds because they were the perfect test animals.  They lived "outside" so got heartworm a lot, but you had a large assortment of dogs, all different ages, but who were all fed the same thing in a relatively controlled enivironment.  So it made them PERFECT for R&D. 

    What they didn't know was by using ONLY grey's to do R&D they didn't discover soon enough that other breeds (like herders) didn't react the same way to them.

    But Doc LOVED greyhounds -- I learned a lot about them but I've learned a bunch more from you!!

  • Your vet sounds like he was a good guy :)

    Yes, unfortunately they are so perfect as research dogs (calm temperment, universal blood type, easy to get) that they sometimes end up in horrible lab situations. It's what is said to happen to many of the greyhounds who "disappear" from the tracks with no paper trail. Shady track people have even been known to say that they were taking the dogs to an adoption group and then they just sell them to research labs instead. It's a despicable practice but actually still occurs.   

    There are blood clinics in CA where anywhere from 50-100 greyhounds are housed for years at a time, being used as blood donors so the clinic can sell their blood to veterinarians and veterinary hospitals. It's sad since they lived in cages at the track for years, only to end up in another cage at a blood clinic. They can be very old if and when they are put up for adoption from these places. As far as I'm concerned, it's just another way to exploit them.

    Also, in the past, many veterinarians used to get greyhounds straight from the tracks and keep them in a cage in their office for years. It's actually still done by some in less educated areas. Responsible veterinarians now know that it is much better for the dog to use greyhounds that have already been adopted and live in homes. Plenty of adopters will volunteer to bring their greyhounds in once a month or two to donate blood. It's a win-win situation when done this way. 

    Humane university veterinary programs that use greyhounds for training purposes only keep them for a short time and then adopt them out. In many cases they also have staff take them home at night and on weekends and holidays. They vet the dogs (spay/neuter, clean teeth, fix injuries, etc... ) to get them ready for adoption. This is also a win-win for the dogs and it also saves adoption groups space and money!   

    You are so right about the owners not wanting people to think of them as pets. You still never see greyhound puppies, now do you?

    That is very interesting about the Ivermectin! I did not know that! I have also heard that sometimes whippets have trouble with Ivermectin... and they are so similar to greyhounds... I wonder if that's even accurate?

    I know some awesome greyhound people in Orlando... Carol Becker runs "God's Greats" greyhound rescue. I also know some folks who are with Gold Coast Greyhounds in Orlando (or at least were at one time :)

    We are lucky here that Tampa Bay Downs shut down live racing (YAAY!)... but that damn Derby Lane is still operating... but we keep protesting and keep fighting the good fight legislatively! That day is coming! It's a dying industry... the day will come. We just have to make sure that these other ways to exploit them are not what racing is replaced with!


  • GreyhoundAdvocate

    You are so right about the owners not wanting people to think of them as pets. You still never see greyhound puppies, now do you?

      Most NGA puppies are bought and sold within the racing community. They have to be "grown out" to see if they will be good racers or not, it isn't something which can be judged with young puppies. While I have known of people who have bought Grey puppies from racing breeders (for reasons other than racing), most people who have and raise Greyhounds from puppies have gotten them from or are AKC show breeders. AKC show Greys are much less common than the NGA dogs, although some show breeders do use NGA lines as well.

    That is very interesting about the Ivermectin! I did not know that! I have also heard that sometimes whippets have trouble with Ivermectin... and they are so similar to greyhounds... I wonder if that's even accurate?

      Actually there is only a handful of breeds documented to have the genetic ivermectin sensitivity (MDR1 mutation) and they are all breeds from the "collie family" or with such dogs in their background. Only two sighthound breeds are on the list: Longhaired Whippets and Silken Windhounds (created from longhaired whippets). Longhaired whippets (and this Silken Windhounds) were the result of whippets being crossed with shelties, so the MDR1 is coming from the sheltie in the background. http://www.vetmed.wsu.edu/depts-vcpl/breeds.aspx

  • Spazzy

    Greyhound John

     I am the new owner of a rescue greyhound for the last three days. 

     You've had him for THREE days... I cant say Im surprised that he gets uncomfortable on walks. He doesnt know where he is, he doesnt know YOU, and you dont know HIM.

    I'd give him time to adjust before taking him on anymore long walks (obviously still short potty walks in the yard) and just give him some time to get to know you and his new home.


    Spot on, Spazzy.  It still may be useful to have the vet check just to be sure the dog doesn't have a physical issue.  If the reluctance to walk is persistent after several weeks or a couple of months, then, at that point, it probably is not related to the fear factor.  Some dogs that have thyroid issues have an intolerance to exercise, so if nothing else shows up and he still doesn't want to walk, maybe have that checked, too, since it isn't part of a normal physical.

  • I have been involved with greyhound rescue for over 8 years now and in that time we have only had puppies come through our group a few times. They are almost exclusively "oops" puppies - where one female is accidentally let out (or left out) with the males and ends up pregnant - they can't be registered if they don't know who both the dam and the sire are so they can't race them... so they either kill them or give them to an adoption group. If I went to the farm to do pickups, I would see puppies all the time... but I just can't do it. It upsets me too much. They really are the cutest things in the world though... all gangly long legs and so soft and snuggly... just like any other puppy! LOL

    They still cull the grey ones too you know... grey ones being "bad luck" and all... it's sick.

    We have had several AKC greyhounds come through our group. We will get a call from the Humane Society or the SPCA saying they have a greyhound and asking if we have room for them. They will check ear tattoos but otherwise don't seem to know that there is a difference in the two (AKC and NGA). We take them if we can, they are, after all, still greyhounds! They are just generally not nearly as much "at risk" since there are so few of them in comparison to racing greyhounds, who are sickeningly overbred with no though to their lives after racing. It's such a disgusting business.

    I fostered two AKC greyhounds, and although they are the same as the racers in many ways, in others, they are completely different. Such big chests and no muscle mass/defininition in comparison to ex-racers. The two I had (at seperate times) were both young as well, and completely wild as bucks... which takes a bit of getting used to - you just don't find many ex-racers who aren't polite... so THAT was interesting. My 12 year old female was NOT amused with them causing chaos in her well ordered home... she would just lay on the sofa and look at me (as they tore around the house knocking things over and shredding stuffies...  and with her eyes she would say "Really?... Really mom? What in the hell were you thinking??!!!" LOL... but it was fun. I had to walk them all by themselves though, I can walk 4 or 5 ex-racers at one time but they are so well mannered... but the AKC's? Well it took all my strength to hold on to them all by themselves. :))