6. Greyhounds and Other Pets
One basic philosophy will describe the way to handle this situation. You are in charge; the Greyhound is not.
When introducing your Greyhound to other animals follow these simple rules.
Dogs and Greyhounds
- Introduce them on neutral ground. This means having each dog on a leash and allowing him/her to meet in an area neither pet ‘owns’. For example, do not introduce the dogs in his/her yard or his/her house or his/her bed. Try introducing them a few blocks away from both of their territories.
- Have the dog act as a ‘host’ to the new Greyhound. After the initial sniffing, you should walk the dogs together for a short time and then bring them into the house together.
- Accept no signs of aggression. Any sign of growling or aggression should be met with a quick tug of the leash and a sharp ‘NO!’ Although Greyhounds are used to sharing attention, your other dog may feel jealous and need a little extra attention.
- Make use of basket muzzles when your dogs are exercising. In the heat of competition a Greyhound can become nippy, or if bumped hard you could be dealing with a full out combat. The muzzle prevents injury until the situation calms down, which in the case of the Greyhound does not take too long. But, remember the muzzle is not 100%. Supervision is the key.
- Always feed the dogs separately. Feeding together could create competitive feelings. Either feed in different areas of the house, or at different times.
- Do not leave them unsupervised in the yard together. Until you feel confident that both dogs are comfortable with the new arrangement, you should not let them out in the yard together. A playful romp could easily turn into a competition. Once you feel that they have accepted each other, you’ll be in for a treat as you watch the two of them play. If your other dog is older or overweight, make sure he/she doesn’t overdo it as he tries to keep up with his/her sleek new roommate.
- Special rules for tiny partners. If your other pet is a very small breed, you should supervise play situations closely, especially at first. Your Greyhound’s playful chase and lunge could be too rough for a toy breed. You will need to teach the Greyhound how to play gently. Remember, you are in charge. Again use the muzzle for any introductions and until completely comfortable. Do not allow a small dog to torment your Greyhound. ‘Every’ dog has its limits, even the gentle Greyhound.
Cats and Greyhounds
Many Greyhounds have no problem making friends with cats and even grow to love their small companions. A few Greyhounds can be described as ‘high prey’ and they see the cat as something to be chased. It is important that you protect your cat until you are sure that your new Greyhound has no predatory feelings towards your cat.
GPA has ‘cat tested’ your pet using the same procedure below, but you should follow the same steps again when you bring your Greyhound home.
- Shut the cat in one room while the Greyhound explores the house.
- Keep the dog on a leash and put the muzzle on.
- After the initial exploration, one adult should take the Greyhound on the leash while the other lets the cat out.
- You don’t need to lead the dog, but you should follow him and be able to tug and correct sharply if he tries to dart for the cat.
- After the initial introduction, you may remove the leash, but keep the muzzle on until you feel confident. If your cat is familiar with dogs, this process usually goes quickly, especially if your Greyhound has been to ‘cat school’ in his adoption program. If your cat is older, or very shy, the process could take several weeks.
- The Greyhound should be crated when no one is home for the initial transition period.
- Cat food has an irresistible smell to dogs and should be placed in a high spot so that the greyhound cannot get to it.
- Litter boxes should be hooded and turned into a corner to ensure peace for the cat and no access for the dog. Keep a squirt bottle filled with water on hand, just in case.