Crating Retired Racing Greyhounds

by Glenda on May 7, 2013

A few years ago, the majority of racing greyhounds released to adoption groups were three years or older. More recently, dogs retrieved from a racetrack are young, usually between eighteen months and two years, which mean they still have that puppy bounce and sass. Initially, these youngsters may need a little more time and attention than an older dog during their training to acclimate to home living, after a life of racing.

Crating should never be a form of punishment, but is appropriate as a training tool or for security purposes. Greyhounds range in size from around 50 lbs. to 90 lbs, and are approximately 30” tall. It is important to get a crate that is sturdy and big enough for the greyhound to stand up in and move around. As greyhounds have little fat on their bodies, they need the protection of a thick doggie bed in the bottom of the crate to lie on.

1) If someone adopts a young retired racer, the greyhound will be active and extremely inquisitive in the home. Thorough doggie proofing cannot be stressed enough to adopters. A stray electrical cord sneaks to the fore, a nylon sock escapes the sock drawer, leather sandals are left on the floor, or the door to the cleaning products’ cupboard is ajar. Chewing and/or ingesting any of these items can make your greyhound ill. Should the dog chew the adopter’s favorite couch, this could make the adopter ill!

Young dogs in particular need vigilant supervision and constant training. Greyhounds are smart dogs and learn quickly, so investing time in training your new fur companion at the outset will pay off in the future. Always keep plenty of Nylabone around on the floor so that you can instantly redirect the greyhound’s chewing to the Nylabone and away from, for instance, your couch!

For someone who lives alone, works away from the home all day, and does not have a doggie door, adopting a retired racing greyhound is probably not a good idea.

2) There are times when the family greyhound has to be left alone for a few hours. If the greyhound suffers with separation anxiety, the dog can be crated, but not for more than four hours, per the adoption agreement. Toss in some sturdy squeaky toys, and a Kong stuffed with dog biscuits. If the separation anxiety is severe, you may need to check with your vet. Alternatively, send an email to SAGreys so that volunteers can share their experiences and solutions with new adopters regarding separation anxiety.

3) Some greyhounds like their crate; they feel safe in their crate – as long as the door remains open. They will voluntarily go into the crate at night to sleep or during the day to get away from toddlers, or just to have some private time and take a nap between bouts of play. Greyhounds straight from the track can sometimes find their new, large kennel [your home] a little intimidating. If the greyhound lives with children, when the dog retreats to the crate, make sure that the children are instructed to leave the dog alone.

4) If Fido is getting a little rambunctious in play, or starts nipping, a brief timeout in the crate will help him settle down, and then he can rejoin the rest of the family. If a crate is set up in the home and the dog voluntarily goes in and out, when a timeout is necessary, the dog will be less resistant to being crated.

5) Crating is acceptable when traveling with your dog in the car. If you plan on stopping over in a hotel or motel, take the crate into the room with you and Fido can sleep in the crate at the side of your bed. Protects you, the dog, and prevents any potential damage to the room.

It’s worth remembering that racing greyhounds are confined to cages, muzzled, most of the day. They are let out for potty breaks and to race; other than that, they are in a cage. Therefore, before someone decides to crate a greyhound, make sure it’s for a good reason and not just for the convenience of the owner.

(Originally published September 28, 2012)

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