Grey-Save of Northwestern Pennsylvania

Adding Another Greyhound To Your Pack




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Adding Another Greyhound

If you are considering adding a second greyhound (or other dog) to your family, there are things that you must know and consider.

The first considerations are obvious. You must be certain that you have the space in your home and automobile to accommodate another greyhound. You must also be certain that you have the financial capability to properly care for multiple greyhounds. Although you can generally just double your current expenses, you must consider that since they will be playing together, you do have an increased risk of injury (however minor that risk may be). You must also be willing to make some committments in the form of time dedicated to introducing the two greyhounds in a safe manner.

Assuming that you've thought this through and decided that you want to add another greyhound, you will want to be sure that you do so in a manner that will be safe for both pets. This requires a little forethought.

Grey-Save always recommends that first-time adopters get their greyhound from an adoption agency instead of directly from a track or mail order style program. Since you already own and understand a greyhound, you may wish to bypass an adoption group. But there are still advantages in going through a conventional adoption group, as they do still have experience on their side and can help to select your second grey for temperament and help to guide you through the addition. It is also much easier to return the new grey to the adoption group if the two pups do not get along. Although rare, it does happen and most groups will work with you under those circumstances. The final choice is, of course, yours.

Regardless of where you get your second grey, we do offer the following advice.

Both greyhounds should be muzzled during the initial introduction. Both greyhounds should remain muzzled for at least the first 24 hours together indoors (48 hours would be preferable). You need to monitor their behavior closely for any sign of a problem, such as competitiveness or possessiveness of a toy or food. The mistake of removing either muzzle too soon could be tragic. It is always better to err on the side of safety. If you are uncertain, leave the muzzles on for a longer period of time. Your greyhound is accustomed to wearing a muzzle. He has done so for years. A couple of days to be safe will not bother him at all (although he may be a tad insulted!). The dogs should also be closely supervised during this initial period, and should not be left alone even while muzzled.

Greyhounds are very adept at using their muzzles. Many a grey has been injured during dog fights even when both participants were muzzled.

The muzzles should remain in place when the greys are outside until you are absolutely positive that they will get along, even when running and playing together. Greyhounds can become VERY competitive when running together, and things can get out of hand. It may take up to a few weeks or longer before you feel comfortable removing the muzzles outdoors. Close supervision is also a must while outdoors, both while muzzled and once the muzzles are removed.

It is not always easy to know when you can consider both dogs as trustworthy. You will have to be the judge of that, based upon their behavior during the entire period.

Many people feel that it is best to mix a male and a female to avoid same sex conflicts. If you have no objection to mixing the sexes, a male/female combination would be the best. If you want two of the same sex it can work, but you just need to monitor the situation a little more closely.

If you are adding your third greyhound (or other dog), the rules change. Once you exceed two dogs in the same household (regardless of breed), pack behavior becomes much more prevalent. You may not automatically be seen as pack leader anymore. You may have to work to maintain control. There will also be more jockeying for position between the three dogs. Pack behavior may cause the two stronger dogs to turn on the weaker one. This is not because any of the dogs are "mean". It is simply true pack behavior. To avoid injuries, you may need to muzzle at all times when the dogs are outside. You should also muzzle or crate whenever the dogs are left alone in the house, no matter how trustworthy they have been. Do not make the mistake of thinking that your dogs are "different". Do not be lulled to sleep by the gentle nature of the greyhound. They are still pack animals and will respond accordingly. If you do not feel comfortable taking these precautions, then please DO NOT add a third dog to your family.

If you attend greyhound picnics or get togethers where the dogs are going to be allowed to run loose, they should all be muzzled.

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Signs To Watch For

Although a growl or two during introductions may occur, this behavior should cease quickly. It should be a cause for concern if it continues.

A dominant dog will be able to control the other with just a stare. Watch to see if either dog is affecting the behavior of the other by staring it down.

Watch the tails. A tail curled up and over the back, kept tense and moving very slightly from side to side may be a display of dominance (sometimes referred to as "flagging"). A playful wag will not be as tense and will have more of a side to side "wagging" motion instead of a "flagging" motion.

If any of the dogs should try to attack by going for the throat of the other dog, you may have a serious problem. Both dogs should be muzzled for a longer period of time and closely supervised and corrected as necessary. If the problem persists after corrections, you should seriously consider not adding the new dog, and should contact your adoption group for advice. This would not mean that you cannot add an additional dog. It may just be that these two do not get along. If your dog was the aggressor and tries it again with yet another new greyhound, you may need to forego adding a second dog.

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Things You Can Do To Maintain Pack Order

If you feed your dogs any type of treat at dinner time, do so after the family has eaten. Pack leaders always eat first.

When going through doors with your greyhounds, such as when going outside, always go through the door first and let them follow. The pack leader always goes first.

If your greyhounds are in your way, have them move rather than going around them.

Do not let your greyhounds sleep on your bed. If they share the same space as the pack leader, they may think that they are the pack leader (this item may be critically important).

If you discipline your greyhound for any reason, do not allow another family member to immediately coddle the dog. This may send the wrong message.

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©2008 Grey-Save of Northwestern Pennsylvania