Saturday, December 17, 2011


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!


Marcia said...

I'm looking for a dog to join my grey as well. Good luck with your search! I love Summit's coats btw...where do you get them from?

Apex Agility Greyhounds said...

I actually make all his coats myself. I also recently started making his collars too.

Good luck to you in your dog search as well! It can be quite a process!

Hiking Hounds said...

I hope it works out and you have a new family member soon.

Sue BG said...

Your plans all sound so exciting and I'm hoping that all goes well. Where do you think you'll locate when the time comes. It would be great if you came this way.... Good luck on your searches!

The Lady said...

Eek! New dog planning is exciting. Good luck finding that perfect fit!

Apex Agility Greyhounds said...

Thanks for all the well wishes. :) I'm very excited and wish the summer wasn't still 6 months away!

Sue - I will probably be sticking around this area since my boyfriend works nearby. It would be nice for him to be able to stay at his current job for awhile longer.

Aragon greyhounds said...

When do you start competing with Summit in agility? It is a blast to successfully complete a course.

Greyhounds CAN Sit said...

Any news on the new Greyhound front yet? I'm slowly catching up on blogs and have just read about your plans. Hope the search is over for you:)

Apex Agility Greyhounds said...

Aragon - Unfortunately due to Summit's gun phobia I've had to effectively retire him from agility. Every agility club in this area seems to have a gun club down the road. We will be moving this spring and getting the second greyhound, and if I can find a new agility club with no guns within earshot I will bring Summit to the agility field with his new sibling and let him run a course or two just because he enjoys it, but I'll focus on the new dog as my agility prospect since Summit is getting a little old for starting a competitive career. Maybe I'll enter him for fun though. We'll see.

Greyhounds Can Sit - Still no dice. I can't have a second dog in our current house, and I'm in my last couple of months of vet school so I'm crazy busy. My plan is to move in May, get started at my first job, and then Summit and I are going to take a road trip down to Michigan to find his new sibling.

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

Crap! I'm really behind on blogs if I'm just now reading this. Thanks for the nice compliment. I love to hear that my blog has been inspiring. Good luck finding #2. Sounds like you have a good list of criteria.

One note about the young dogs.... I like 18 months to 3 years, but sometimes you'll get offered one that is only a year old and it sounds great, but its usually because the dog has insecurities, fears, or soundness issues. If it doesn't have the head and body to get through race training, its likely to not have it for agility also. So just beware of the too young. :-)

Also, I hear shooting occasionally from my field and my hounds do just fine with it... so hopefully you can find one similar.