I have been planning for a second greyhound to come home this summer. I would really like to have at least two. Summit does great as an only dog, so that really isn't an issue, but he probably does like to have a buddy around to some degree. I was worried that after our summer of travels and staying with people who had dogs that he would be lonely when he became an only again, but that has not been the case. We are currently dog sitting a little Eskimo dog and aside from trying to get her to play the odd time, Summit mostly just ignores her (she won't play with him anyway).
This will be the first greyhound I choose with agility and obedience in mind. I lucked out with Summit. I had always wanted to do agility when I had a dog, but I naively discarded that dream when I decided to adopt a greyhound. Hey, I was not only a first time dog owner, but I was new to the breed. Sure, I did a tonne of research and we fostered for a local group first, but let's face it, in the greyhound world the owner who actually treats their greyhound like a dog and trains it... is sort of the exception and not the rule.
I worked on the basics with Summit first. I wanted him to sit, lie down, stay, and come, but I foolishly thought I would be quite happy if he could do all of that. Then one day I stumbled across Jen Bachelor's website Never Say Never Greyhounds, and let's just say my eyes were opened. I was so excited to see greyhounds doing agility and obedience. That's when things really took off for Summit and I. I cannot thank Jen enough for her wonderful website. Thanks to a stroke of luck that day Summit is now better trained than the majority of dogs we meet, and he is certainly the best trained greyhound that I have ever personally met (he still can't compete with Jen's dogs, but I've never had the honour of meeting them). But as I said, I totally lucked out with him. I chose him for his small animal safeness and his lack of separation anxiety, which were the two most important attributes given our current living situation. This second greyhound has some very specific requirements.
1. Small animal safe - this still is and will always be my number one criteria. I have 3 little rabbits and their safety is my biggest concern. If a dog is not small animal safe then this is not its forever home. Supervision is a must of course even with a dog as safe as Summit, but why take extra risks?
2. Food motivated - Food is my main reward, so it's important to me that a dog will do just about anything to get a treat. It just makes training so much easier on my part. Which perhaps says something about my training abilities, but I've never believed in training ideologies that don't use treats. I had thought those ideas were mostly vanquished, but it seems that is not the case. We have run into many dog owners in our area and several trainers who don't think that treats should be used in training. My question then, is what are they using for a reward? It would seem that they're not. That the dog should just do as you say out of "respect" for you. Personally, I think Summit respects me. But I think I earned his trust and respect through positive reinforcement training. But what do I know... I'm a first time dog owner!
3. Active - I need an active dog. Even more active than Summit (though he's 6.5 so maybe he's just slowed down a tad). I'm hopeful I might even get a jogging buddy out of this, but at least I want a dog who is always ready for agility and always game for a hike.
4. Personality - Summit is relatively steady, but I'm hoping for bomb proof in this second dog. I'm really hoping for no gun phobias because it seems every agility club in the area has a gun club down the road from it which essentially killed any hopes I had for Summit having an agility career. I don't know that you can really test a dog at the kennel or in a foster home for response to gun shots, but I'm hoping I'll get lucky. Aside from that I'm looking for a dog with even more of an outgoing, confident personality than Summit. I'm going for as close to a Golden Retriever personality as I can get while still being a greyhound (because Goldens are just nuts).
5. Age - I'm looking for a younger dog. A younger dog will of course have a longer agility career (potentially), and it will provide me a good gap in age from Summit. I don't want to be worrying about two senior dogs at once or losing both close together. Aside from Summit's noise phobias he was almost 6 when I adopted him. A year later now that we've got a good obedience foundation (and would have had a good agility foundation too if not for those darned guns) he is almost 7 and doesn't have many years of agility left in him (especially now that it seems he has some serious arthritis flaring up). I am hoping for under 2 years old for the next one. I am even contemplating finding a puppy... though to be honest that's because my boyfriend really wants a non-greyhound puppy for a third dog, and I'm hoping if I can get a greyhound puppy I can end up with 3 greyhounds. ;)
I actually had someone contact me about a foster she has. I'm waiting to hear more but she knows what I'm looking for and thinks he would be perfect. Only problem I can see so far (aside from timing since I wanted to wait until the summer after we'd moved to a new place and I started my first job) is that he is a 2008 model which is just a little older than I really want. I'm waiting to hear more about his personality though. If any of you are involved in the greyhound adoption world and you come across my perfect small animal-safe agility greyhound, please give me a ring!