Retired Greyhound Trust
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Making Friends with Other Dogs/Your Cat

Other Dogs

greyhound_pup.jpgIf you already have a dog, please bring it with you to our kennels when you are considering a Greyhound - the dogs will pick each other!

The first meeting should always be in a neutral area, this does not include any areas where your dog regularly walks, as these are considered secondary territories.   Allow them to smell each other on loose relaxed leads whilst muzzled.   Continue walking until the dogs are relaxed with each other and then take them back to the house and into the garden.   Ensure your existing dog's toys, beds, bones, food and water bowls are taken up and put out of sight so there is nothing for them to argue over.   Your existing dog might not like another dog playing with their possessions at this stage.   When you put the possessions down, make sure there are more than enough for both dogs.

To avoid future problems between your dogs, remember to 'back up' your pack leader.   The pack leader will be first through the door, first to seek attention and the first at the food bowl.

Given that racing greyhounds have only ever really known other greyhounds it is surprising how quickly they get on with other dogs after a certain amount of initial caution.   Most greyhounds that leave our kennels will have been neutered and it shouldn't be too long before they are perfectly happy with their new 'house mate'.


homer_cat.jpgIt is important to remember that not only greyhounds chase cats - so do many other dogs!

Greyhounds are sighthounds after all,  and their instincts have been deliberately bred for chasing: they have been trained to chase something small that is moving.  

 Humans might not even realise this because a greyhound may see something seen to be worth chasing that could be up to half a mile away.  But just as Greyhounds show different degrees of competitiveness in a race, they show greater and lesser degrees of interest in small animals.

And, it is worth noting that some greyhounds can live with cats and other small animals.

You will have been advised if the dog you are choosing is considered suitable or not to home with a cat.   It is IMPERATIVE, however, that the following sensible precautions are taken until you are confident of your dog's temperament.

  • When you make the initial introduction, keep your greyhound muzzled and on a tight collar and lead.
  • Keep your cat in the room and if your greyhound pulls towards the cat, pull them back and say, "no, leave," in a firm voice.   You may find that a quick shot in the face with water from a water sprayer is also a great deterrent!   If your greyhound reacts to your commands as you wish them to - don't forget to praise them - treats of small cubes of cheese are often favoured!
  • Do not pick your cat up as this will heighten your dog's interest.
  • The next step is to get your greyhound to lie down and relax close to your cat.   This step may well depend on your cat's willingness to co-operate.

Some cats may spend time watching the dog from the highest and furthest place possible; others may be willing to give the newcomer a blow to show who's boss.   It is always best to favour the cat above the dog as this will give the cat higher authority in the eyes of the dog, and it should not be forgotten that we have two temperaments to work with in this introduction.

If your greyhound is scratched by a cat, bathe the scratch immediately with warm water.

When you think you are making progress, take away the muzzle, keep the tight collar and lead on and feed your greyhound and cat together.   By doing this they are alongside each other but do not have their minds on each other. When you are feeling confident, replace the muzzle and take away the collar and lead.   In time, the muzzle can also be removed.

Your greyhound will quickly accept the rules and accept the cat as a member of the family.   However, a sensible approach and all necessary precautions should be taken:  ensure the cat has a place to escape.   If necessary, put a baby gate at the bottom of the stairs so that the cat can get through but the dog cannot.

Even when the dog accepts your house rules, remember strange cats outside the home may well still be regarded as fair game for a chase, so always be alert when out exercising.   If you are letting your dog out into the garden, it is worth checking to make sure there are no cats in your garden.

Until you are confident, it would be unwise to leave your dog and cat alone in the same room.  If your cat is not used to dogs in its home, there is a risk that it might leave.  It is essential that your cat has a collar and identity disc to cover this possibility.

Feel free to contact a member of our Trust and we can put you in touch with one of our many happy dog and cat owners to talk through any of your concerns and questions with you.

Meeting Others Video  (9 minutes)


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