Fact Sheet 5: Responsible Ownership

Please remember that your dog must be microchipped and have an identification tag at all times.

When you let him out into the garden off the lead the first few times, pop his muzzle on. This will give local cats and wildlife a chance to register that a fast dog has moved in. Even if your dog is cat friendly he will regard other visiting cats in his garden as easy game.

When you walk him in public, be aware if he may be required to be muzzled according to council laws in your area. Remember, he may have recently come from the race track where he has learnt that chasing small furry things with a view to kill is the right thing to do. It will take him some time to learn that you want a different response. If people you meet seem frightened by the fact that he is wearing a muzzle, do take time to explain that he is not a dangerous dog, but that you are a responsible dog owner with a rescue dog.

Please note that many councils throughout Australia are removing the muzzling laws.  As a responsible owner, we recommend you contact your local council to ascertain the current requirements in your specific area. If your dog has achieved green collar status, muzzling will not be required.

Never let a child hold the lead. These dogs can have huge power and acceleration; they could, on seeing a cat, rush onto the road dragging your child into danger.

Please spend time on teaching your dog recall. He may never have learned his name. He will never have been off the lead except on the racetrack. However good his recall is at home, when he is out, and he sees small animals running, there is a strong possibility he will forget all that he has learned.  So, it will be some time before you will be able to let him off the lead. When you finally feel he is ready to be let off the lead, find a safe, enclosed space where you can do it. Keep his muzzle on in case someone’s cat should wander across his path.  Have treats ready. He will be very fast and it is very scary to see the speed with which these dogs can disappear into the distance.  So if in doubt – do not let him off. When he returns give him a treat and let him mooch off again, otherwise he will soon learn not to come back if it means being put on the lead straight away.

We are not great advocates of dog parks as too many things can go wrong for your dog.  We believe “bad things happen to good dogs” in a dog park.  Examples of situations we have heard about time and again are:

  • Uneven surfaces, dog agility platforms and jumps, together with holes dug into the ground by other dogs, can all present a very real danger to your greyhound when he is running at top speed around a dog park.
  • Muzzling your greyhound in a dog park can leave him vulnerable to attacks by other dogs – he will be unable to defend himself.
  • Your greyhound may be best friends with your small fluffy dog while inside your home and in your backyard, but other small fluffy dogs running around a dog park can sometimes be far too tempting – often leading your greyhound to become more “serious” about the chase, followed by panic from small dogs and their owners.

If you do want to exercise your dog in a dog park, we recommend doing so outside of popular hours when the park is not being utilised by others.

We do not recommend greyhound ever being off lead outside fenced locations – it is highly dangerous to the safety of your dog, along with other animals.  However, if you do decide to take this approach, much time is required to rehabilitate ex racing greyhounds to being safe off the lead, so patience is required.  Do not worry if your dog is only getting lead walks.  This is what they are used to.  The world outside kennels is a big scary place and they feel safer on a lead beside you.  They are sprint dogs and do not need lots of exercise. Their favourite past time is sleeping on a nice soft bed.

Please arrange pet insurance for your dog. He may get ill or injured and you could be suddenly faced with huge vet bills. He could also cause an accident and therefore liability insurance is essential.

Never leave your dog tied up outside a shop or unattended in your garden.  Pet dogs are far too frequently stolen as “bait” dogs for dog fighting rings or specifically in the case of greyhounds, as hunting dogs.  It sounds melodramatic but it does occur.