Retired Greyhound Trust
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Fidget's First Fortnight

fidget.jpgIt is common knowledge that greyhounds are soooo lazy, but nobody told Fidget!

OK, so not so hot on getting into a car, but travelled well once on board.

HOME.  Whilst Rachael opened the front door, Fidget and I went round the side and into the back garden. What a long wee! Then we went into the house through the back door. Was he hungry? You bet he was. Could he reach the back of the worktops? Of course he could! Just as well I had foreseen that one! Whilst still on the lead we explored downstairs and then back to the kitchen diner. His early supper was pounced on and eaten almost before it was in his bowl. Was he still hungry? He wasn't, but he thought he was.  He went straight into the sitting room and left me a very easy to pick up parcel. Silly me, my fault for not knowing that it was in one end and straight out the other!

It was then that he spotted the almost lifesize bronze of a greyhound head on my dining table. Without any effort his front paws sent papers skidding across the table so he could reach it and give it lots of wet kisses. It was the first familiar thing he had seen since leaving the kennels. Having lifted his paws down from the table and saying the D word firmly, he then decided to see if there was anything else to eat, which there wasn't. So he went back to his new greyhound friend on the table to tell him all about it.

Then I took his lead off so he could have a wander by himself. Rachael and I decided to have a coffee. It took the 2 of us to keep him away from the kettle and the mugs. However, he dipped his tongue in my coffee, and as he withdrew rapidly, I said " HOT " To try and encourage him to settle in his bed for a post supper snooze, Rachael and I sat at the table guarding our coffee and saying soothing words to him to try and make him settle. Naturally it didn't work. Then Rachael had to leave.

He then saw his reflection in the back door, the microwave and the old school bookcases with glass doors in the sitting room. He was transfixed  and then started to paw at the bookcases with some force. I brought him into the kitchen and shut the sitting room door.  By the time it got dark we were both in the kitchen and the microwave and back door had a cover over them to stop him oggling himself.

I turned on the small TV in the dining room. Not unduly fazed at all but stared at the moving pictures for quite a while before he got bored and lay down beside my chair. Cooked supper for me was out of the question. I didn't trust him with the cooker. So cold food it was then.

The first night was a suck it and see event. He would not lie in his bed at all, only stand on it. So, as a last resort, I checked that the sitting room door was closed, grabbed myself a cushion, turned out all the lights but left the TV on quietly, and sat at the table with my head buried in the cushion. With some relief I heard him go to his bed and lie down. He stayed there until about 4.30 am when he came to wake me. I had dozed on and off but I'm sure he was more wide awake at this point than I was. I took him out in the garden and the security light came on so at least we could see. He did a wee, lots of praise, and then back inside. I managed to postpone breakfast until about 6 a.m. Note to self, 7 a.m would  be better and more civilized.

He enjoyed his morning walk and did lie in his bed when we got home. However, he is my shadow at the moment.  If I move, he moves. Keeping him out of the downstairs loo is fun!

Another friend, also called Rachel popped over in the afternoon with a tray of sardines. We covered the glass bookcases and he lost interest. However, he did take a liking to the armchair in front of them and decided to curl up in a tiny ball whilst I was working on the computer next to him.

We then went for a walk with my other Friend Rachael and her greyhound Magpie. ( I also have a daughter called Rachel so it all gets very confusing! ) Both dogs behaved very well.

Actually managed to cook something in the oven for supper, but had to guard it whilst I was eating.

That night, I decided to give Fidget the run of downstairs to see where he would sleep. I crashed out on the sofa with lights out but the TV on quietly, and he slept in the chair. He did Fidget a bit, but then he would, wouldn't he. Up again at 4.30 for a trip to the garden and then another sleep until 6.30 when breakfast just wouldn't wait any longer.

Within the first week  he has stopped counter surfing. I can go to the fridge without him grabbing a milk bottle and I can use the cooker and grill without him putting his head in the oven!  He has learned the word HOT and so keeps away. In the morning if I want him to wait for his breakfast he has learned that ' TOO SOON ' means just what it says. He no longer pounces on his food when I put it down for him. He has learned that down means down and no means no. He will wait at the kerb before crossing the road and he will stay...even if only to let me dive into the downstairs loo and close the door before he can beat me to it. For the first ten days or so I could not move without him following me. Now, he will sometimes walk out of the room I am in and not always follow me. So he is a little more secure now. He is also clean in the house.

HOWEVER, I cannot go outside the front door without him trying to follow me. If I do get outside and shut the door he leaps.....very high. First he leaps at the front door, then at the closed sitting room door, and then he tries to scale the stair gate. As it is the tallest one that can be bought off the shelf this is a problem. I can imagine coming home and finding him straddled over the gate and not being able to move. Not a pretty picture!  I could easily make a second gate to go on top, but he might end up with a shorter nose or something just as awful. He is so nosey. He obviously has no sense of direction! How did he ever get round a track?!

The problem has been solved. I now have a second gate about 18" tall on top of the other one, courtesy of a friend, and now Fidget has got to learn that it is ok to be left. I will come back.

I have left him a few times, pre new gate, but a friend has sat with him. I get a lovely welcome when I return, and maybe he is learning that even if I do go out and leave him, sitter or no sitter I will come back. Going upstairs is also heaps better. He has given up trying to get over the gate and he doesn't whinge. I have been able to disappear for longer periods each time, and when I reappear, it's like I have been gone for months!

We are getting there, slowly but surely. He has only barked at one dog and that was because it was small, furry and yapped at him in a soprano voice.

It has been five weeks now and he is learning new words and commands every day. I think in a few months I shall have a socialised dog who can stand on his own four feet and not be a mummy's boy. He walks beautifully and never pulls. He loves his food, being stroked and lots of fuss. Patience is a wonderful thing and once he fully trusts me, the bond will be there. But it won't happen overnight. I can wait and take it slowly, one step at a time.

Sally Glen