Other dogs and animals
Greyhounds will have only been exposed to... other greyhounds. This means that any other kind of dog is a new experience for them. They may, or they may not, get along. Factors in this include the size, colour, breed or temperament of the other dog.
You should try to take your dog to socialisation classes, to avoid embarrassment when out on walks. Your dog needs to learn that a puppy is a dog like him - so is a Terrier, so is a St Bernard!
When meeting dogs on walks, good signs are wagging tails and going to sniff each other tentatively. If your dog growls (even gently) do NOT let him meet the other dog; he may snap or bark. Instead distract him and lead him away. If in any doubt carry and use his muzzle; he is quite used to it and this is much better than him hurting another dog or being hurt himself in a fight.
Small dogs - particularly white ones - can be mistaken for prey. So can the tip of a wagging tail seen over the top of tall grass!
My own dog gets on most well with dogs similar to greyhounds - he met a Saluki at a barbecue and was very good with him - and least well with big, dark, shaggy dogs such as Alsatians. In fact, he is quite aggressive towards all Alsatians. I believe this is due to a guard dog on a neighbouring property which runs along the railings barking and challenging my dog to a fight. My dog responds in kind, and I have to hold him off and take him straight home. Unfortunately the lazy security guard rarely supervises the guard dog. My dog is tentative with many other dogs such as Labradors and generally gets on with them, particularly if they are light in colour.
This information relates to animals seen outside the home; if you have a resident cat or other animal, seek advice from your rehoming centre, as well as from online guides and from your vet - it's imperative that your greyhound is not able to harm other animals, and that you introduce and train them accordingly.
Large animals, such as horses, may initially spook the dog but in my experience cause no problems at all. However small animals can be a problem. Squirrels are particularly interesting, and probably the animal which excites my own dog the most. Birds are not very interesting as the dog soon learns they can fly away.
If your dog is interested in an animal (as prey) he may be alert, tugging on the lead, jumping, growling or licking his lips. If he barks and jumps it will be hard for you to train him to ignore the animal (a good reason for greyhounds to be "cat tested" before rehoming with smaller pets). If he is merely quite interested, you should be able to distract him and to train him that the animal is out of bounds.
The most interesting animal is one that is moving, like the lure in a race. A cat that is sitting still does not attract as much interest and sometimes my dog walks right by without even noticing. Similarly a rabbit in a hutch is not very exciting because it is not bounding about in a tempting manner.
If you have a small animal in your home, take specialist advice from your rehoming centre about choosing a dog with a low prey drive. You may also find your resident animal's behaviour changes (my cat has decided to stay upstairs and not come down to meet the dog, and every attempt at introductions results in a fleeing cat when the dog has done nothing but look at him quizzically). If you are worried about your resident animal, check with your vet. ALWAYS supervise the animals, never leave your greyhound alone and able to access another animal even when you are sure things are going well. Like many dogs, your greyhound loves to chase cats. Unlike other dogs, he has the ability to quickly catch and kill it.
If in doubt, use the muzzle. An ex-racer is used to this so it really is not cruel, and it is preferable to let him have some freedom while wearing a muzzle rather than shutting him in a small space.
This page last updated: 19 July 2004
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