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How We Help Greyhounds That Enter Our Program

By gapnsw.com.au
The Greyhounds As Pets program is a dedicated part of Greyhound Racing NSW, which rehomes greyhounds as they leave the racing industry.

These greyhounds can be rehomed at any stage of their racing careers—from an early exit from their careers to retirement due to becoming older. As a result, we receive greyhounds of all ages at GAP.

One of our primary aims is to ensure that we properly match each greyhound with their new forever home. We consider the nuances of each dog and its potential owners to make sure that their personality and other lifestyle factors work well together.

At the end of the day, we want both our greyhounds and their new adopters to be happy at home.

All greyhounds visit the vet for a health check prior to adoption

We take each of our new dogs to a vet for a comprehensive assessment.
  • This includes an assessment of heart rate, vision and respiratory health
  • The greyhound is checked for any physical injuries from their past life
  • We check that they're current with their vaccines and worming
  • They will also undergo a dental exam to ensure their teeth are clean and healthy. 
  • All dogs are desexed before they’re rehomed
We do this for the welfare and to assist adopters to receive a dog whose health status is known.

We use vets in the communities where our programs are based

GAP NSW often engages public veterinary clinics.

We’re proud to support local vets in the community. We have found that these clinics become familiar with the greyhound breed and our programs.

Behavioural assessments

We use a structured behavioural assessment to better understand each new dog’s personality and temperament.

The assessment doesn't assign “pass or fail” marks; it exists to give us as much information as possible on the greyhound we’re examining.

We currently use the Greyhound Emotional Wellbeing Assessment, which was developed by our internal behaviourist team.

It helps us to gauge what the dogs like and dislike, what behavioural training they might need to become good pets, and how we can prepare them to assimilate into the right home.

Length of stay

Our greyhounds can stay anywhere from a couple of days to much longer.

While there’s no defined time period at GAP - the average stay is approx 6 weeks.

We assess them upon their entry into GAP and then repeatedly at set intervals depending on where they fell in the initial assessment.

Our team continually assesses the dogs during everyday activities, such as walks and cleaning kennels. That way, we have updated knowledge of each greyhound's behaviour and personality.

All this information is collected and recorded in a database and made available to our entire team.

What's the average daily routine for a greyhound in GAP’s care?

The average day would involve:
  • Mental enrichment toys
  • 40 mins exercise/walking/hydrotherapy
  • Appropriate socialisation with other greyhounds
  • Time spent in our residential housing
  • Behaviour training and testing
We do our best to care for greyhounds holistically and take care of their physical, emotional and cognitive requirements.

Upskilling our kennel staff

We always support the professional development of our staff to help them grow and learn current practices in rehoming and animal welfare.

The last example of this was supporting kennel staff to attend a conference called the G2Z conference, which is centred around best practices to support sheltered animals.

This granted the team the chance to speak and network with other professionals in similar roles.

High-quality pet food

All of the food that our greyhounds eat daily at our facilities comes from The Real Pet Food Company.

They produce a brand called Ivory Coat, which we feed to all our greyhounds.

The company is kind enough to donate the feed to our greyhound adoption centres so that we can feed them a well-balanced and nutritious diet.

Why offer a foster caring program when dogs could just stay at your facilities?

Our foster care program is important because it enables our greyhounds to leave our facilities and live in a real home environment.

Interestingly, we set up our offices like houses so that the dogs can learn about what they would normally encounter in a home.

However, nothing replaces the immersive experience of being in a real home 24/7. The dogs become acclimatised to residential living quite quickly.  Many dogs in foster care have a successful transition into their new homes.

Foster carers are able to provide GAP with more information on how the greyhound behaves in a normal house. This detail is important as it further helps us match the dog to their perfect forever home once they’re ready for adoption.

Our foster carers are an invaluable resource to our program.

Constructing science-based rehabilitation plans

The behaviour team at Greyhounds As Pets plays an important role in developing our rehabilitation goals. Our team consists of qualified Vets, Animal Scientists and Behaviourists.

These team members come to us with significant behavioural training experience and qualifications

It is our shared role to develop best practices in human-greyhound interactions as this has a fundamental role in the success of our rehoming program.

One example of this is the development of our behavioural modification plans, which have structured behavioural progressions and training activities to ensure our dogs are fully ready for rehoming.

Innovation and research

One example of research and innovation is our work with a company called AlphaVet on a project aimed at the physiological monitoring of greyhounds through a device.

These are a small monitoring device placed on the greyhounds tail (like a bracelet), it is non-intrusive. It can measure physical attributes such as heart rate.

This will allow us to confirm the efficacy of our current assessment, which is based on observations against physiological data to confirm specific conditions (such as whether the greyhound is in a relaxed or stressed state).

It’s important that we not only continually evaluate our procedures but that they are validated as well.

How you can help

If this article has you motivated to help our work at GAP NSW, please consider -

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