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7 Ways to Help a Greyhound Adjust to New Homes

By gapnsw.com.au

1 - Understanding timeframes to adjust to new environments

The length of time it takes for an individual greyhound to fully adjust to a new environment will vary. 3 days to 3 months is a general guideline, however, this could be longer.

Some greyhounds are confident and adjust quickly, others can be sensitive and take time to acclimatise to new surroundings.

To allow for this adjustment period, our adoption centres offer a six-week trial option. During this time, your greyhound should become familiar with their new surroundings, and you will have time to see whether your companion is the perfect match for you.

For new greyhounds in our program, we gather as much information as possible to better understand their personalities, likes and dislikes. For new applicants, we ask for details about their lifestyle in the hopes that we can match them with the perfect pet, which is further safeguarded by the aforementioned trial period.

There are other factors that can affect this timeframe, such as other pets, suburban vs rural environments and so forth.

A greyhound adopter will be able to tell their pet is settled if any mild to moderate signs of fear/anxiety have lowered, this is namely pacing, panting, following and isolation distress.

2- Knowing how long to leave a greyhound alone

When you adopt a greyhound through Greyhounds as Pets, the adoption centre should be able to give you an idea of how long that dog has been used to being alone and what we've noticed while that dog has been in care. This can serve as a general guideline.

In the early stages, you want to limit their time alone and aim to build that gradually, this may be as little as five minutes. As mentioned, it’s a new environment. It’s going to take a while for the dog to get used to:
  • When you are going 
  • How long you're gone for
  • When you return
  • The things that signal your departure/return
If you’re going to be changing the amount of time that your greyhound spends alone, it’s important to slowly introduce that new routine. It’s best to avoid a situation where your greyhound is suddenly alone for six hours a day after spending all day with you.

Individual greyhounds vary in regards to how well they cope with alone time. While some greyhounds won't want to leave your side, others are completely happy staying in and relaxing in their own space while you’re away from home.

When applying for adoption, it’s important to be honest about the amount of time that your greyhound will spend alone. Our team wants to be sure that we find the greyhound with the right personality to suit your lifestyle.

Our behaviour team is always available to answer questions or chat about specific steps to help your greyhound adjust to newfound independence.

3 - The use of crates

A crate is not essential, but it is advisable because a lot of these dogs have grown up in kennels.

They're very much used to their bed, and sleep time being sacrosanct. They're not used to being disturbed at all, and a crate in a way mimics that. It's also an easy delineation for children to understand the crate is the dog's space, not theirs.

Dogs love to feel sheltered, and a crate can provide that feeling of safety. To create an even more contained environment, try laying a blanket over the crate to make a den for them to retreat to. For greyhounds that are crate trained, you'll be surprised how often they will choose the crate as a place to relax and feel comfortable.

Crates are also helpful when taking a greyhound to the vet and, if they're ill or injured, they’ll likely end up in small cages at the vet’s office. Crate training greyhounds as early as possible will help them associate crates with comfortable, safe spaces, which means that they’ll be less stressed if they are confined to one at some point.

4 – Be conscious of temperature changes 


Greyhounds are athletes that have been bred for performance and subsequently have a low-fat percentage. They’re not a big fan of the cold and definitely need a coat.

This is another reason we advise you to bring your greyhound inside at night time.

As most places in Australia exceed 30 degrees throughout the year, try to limit strenuous exercise and make sure they’ve got access to cool water and shade on hot days.

5 – Minimising toilet accidents


Because greyhounds are used to being in kennels, many have experience holding their bladder and bowels until they're let out. Dogs typically don't like to go to the toilet in the same area that they sleep - which is an instinctive hygiene behaviour.

When you're adopting a dog from GAP NSW, a lot of them have a ‘leg up’ (excuse the pun) in terms of the toilet training department.

Having said that, it's always important to know that once they're in a home, it’s a completely new environment, so accidents will happen.

We advise setting a consistent routine to help your dog to predict the times they are getting taken out. In ideal circumstances, you can have your dog have access to the inside and outside, so they can let themselves out when they need to go. But that's not always possible for every home.

As a rule of thumb, being taken out first thing in the morning, after playtime and after eating/drinking.

We also advise two walks per day.

6 - Socialisation with other greyhounds


It's always a good idea that if you want to get a greyhound, that you understand that every dog's an individual.

Depending on the dog, some might not want to live with other dogs and cats, and vice versa.

If socialisation is something you're interested in doing, it's important to stipulate that to GAP NSW when you contact us (we ask if you have other pets currently). Then we can best match you to a greyhound that best suits what your future life is.

If your existing greyhound was previously adopted from us, that would make the process even easier as we could ensure an appropriate match given our records and your factors.

We can also schedule in-person meet-and-greets where we can bring the two dogs together to meet each other in a controlled environment. We can then monitor their interactions to ensure they are friendly and compatible.

It's also important to know that having two dogs at home is very different from having just one. When it comes to feeding and treats, you’ll want to take appropriate measures to ensure there are no squabbles that occur over food. You’ll also need at least two beds and two safe spaces to ensure both dogs have individual places to relax alone.

7 - Support from GAP NSW 

For each and every adoption, you will receive pre and post-adoption support from our organisation. This includes:
  • Meet and greets
  • 14-day foster experience
  • 6-week trials
  • Ongoing support from our behaviourists
We are proud to employ internal veterinarians, tertiary-qualified animal scientists, behaviourists and kennel staff that all contribute to our greyhound’s success in our programs.

If you think a greyhound is right for you, please view our currently available dogs here.