If coming from the racing industry/a trainer, chances are your greyhound will likely have spent all of his life only with other greyhounds. But it is likely that your greyhound will find other types of dogs completely new and different, and even something to be scared of or growl at.
This Fact Sheet will help you if you already have another dog and are homing a new dog or if your new dog is worried about meeting other dogs.
- When bringing your greyhound home, ensure he meets the other family dog/s on neutral territory by walking outside – with all dogs on leads. Do not walk them side-by-side initially. Let them gradually come together to walk side-by-side when they are comfortable with each other (do not force it). Never bring the new greyhound into your house unless he has spent time walking down the street/around the block with your other dog/s first. Once the dogs are ignoring each other and not desperately trying to meet, Take them to a tree to have a mutual sniff of the tree and a short 3-second interaction with each other where they can sniff the other dog. At this stage, it is helpful if you can guide them to have a bottom sniff rather than a face sniff. Continue walking on a loose leash and then have another sniff – and further interaction where they may sniff the face this time (they may not wish to). Now, it is time to take them inside.
- If your dog is not green collar approved or living in a region where muzzling a greyhound is not required, always have a muzzle on him when in public. If your dog is green collar approved or lives in a muzzle-free area, initially have him muzzled when meeting other dogs in public until he is used to meeting them calmly.
- Consider if your dog wants to meet every dog in the park. Do you say hi to everyone in the park? Some dogs are social and love meeting strange dogs, but this is actually in the minority. Most dogs enjoy meeting their social group, and some are happy with solely their human company. If you are going to meet strange dogs, always ask permission from the other owner first. We recommend that you do NOT let the dogs meet face to face – let them arc around each other and have a bum sniff. Generally, a 3-6 second sniff is enough social activity, and then move them on.
- If another dog is coming to your home, ensure the dogs meet on neutral territory first. Put yourself between the dogs and go straight into walking together. Make the walk purposeful; give your dog something else to focus on (i.e. the walk). When you return to the house, go straight into the garden, and if all is going well, let the dogs off the lead in the garden but keep the muzzle on. They may chase each other wildly, so make sure nothing is lying around that they can hurt themselves on. There may be a few grumbles while they are sorting out the pack order, do not worry, it is normal. If they come into the house, the dog that already lives there might find that stressful. Give them plenty of space. Do not give out treats (that is often when fights start). Do not take the muzzle off until you are happy that they have settled together.
- If, at first, your dog is stressed and seems aggressive when it sees other dogs out on walks, and walking purposefully past is really difficult to do, turn and walk away until the other dog has gone. The aim is to keep your greyhound under the threshold – under the level where they react by lunging, barking or snapping.
- Do not expect two dogs to live together happily immediately. If you are going out or leaving them for the night, it is best to separate them until you are sure they are okay together.
- Do not expect dogs to be able to share treats or toys until they know each other very well. Just like children, two dogs and one toy cause arguments, and they may want the toy the other one has!