Sunday, September 1, 2013

Fostering

I would like to introduce our foster boy Harry. I am afraid I have not been a very good foster sister as I got a bit jealous and bitchy with a new dog around. I have growled and snapped (but I didn't bite, honest) if I think he is getting more food. He had a bit of a cheek going on the sofa on my favourite spot, but now he has his own favourite spot and I suppose that is ok. Look, this is him in my favourite spot after only one hour of arriving here! And he was already housetrained by then.



Harry is from Whittingham Kennels who are having their roof fixed so he needed a place to stay. Mummy and Daddy chose to foster Harry because he is so good with cantankerous bitches like me.
Harry has been the perfect house guest, is now totally toilet trained (although he had no accidents in the house) and is a quick learner of all the new rules. This is his first time in a home and I think he likes the outside World. 

Harry has one tiny characteristic that some people think is daunting, but it isn't at all, which is that he has been quite excitable when he sees other dogs. Especially small fluffy ones. This is so typical of hounds, remember that they were first encouraged to be really excitable and chase a lure which is often a fluffy pelt or artificial thing that looks just like a small dog. Harry was a proper racer, unlike me. At first he went a bit wild barking, spinning and pulling, but actually on Day 3 of his walk all he did was a mild whine, two barks to let us know that small dogs were around but his Foster Daddy (remember this is MY proper and permanent Daddy though, so not really his Daddy) had him under perfect control. The thing is, being excitable also means he has other wonderful character traits that come along with it of being happy, confident, exuberant, cuddly and just very enthusiastic about everything....these are all characteristics that make Harry who he is and a very fun and comical hound to be with. But some new owners do worry that they will never be able to train the excitability over smaller furry things out, but yes you can and it improves all the time. Obviously he has to wear a muzzle (pic below without muzzle was just for a photo and not for the walk) but being on a martingale collar that he cannot slip and a body harness with an extra lead means he is not going to get loose so everybody can stay calm. Harry just needed a bit of exposure to the thing that makes him all excited, and then he needs to be shown what acceptable behaviour is and he really is getting it.



This is me on my harness when we first came here. It gives the added safety so that Mummies or Daddies feel calm and relaxed knowing I am going nowhere. If you add a martingale collar and an extra lead it gives the perfect control. I would recommend always using a buckle to attach leads and not a clasp. Sometimes with a lot of movement a clasp can come open and a dog like a greyhound can get away very fast and do some damage if they catch something but are more at risk of being run over. 




Anyway when it comes to excitable hounds often whilst an owner is struggling to hang onto them, their mind is fretting thinking ''oh no, he is going to get loose at any moment at this rate'' and it has been known for hounds to slip normal collars. Hounds can pick up the agitated vibes from an owner and it feeds into their excitement. Being safe and secure means that when a hound does play up, it is the perfect opportunity to show them your leadership. Remember that exposure, desensitisation and repetition all help to train a hound so an owner should welcome the triggers to certain behaviour as perfect opportunities. Exercising avoidance only means that the hound never gets to learn how to behave properly.

I hate to say this, compared with when Dizzy Rascal and myself arrived, Harry has been extremely easy to take care of and train. This is a bit embarrassing for me, so no wonder I have my greyhound knickers all in a twist over an extra hound coming back from the kennels. I am supposed to visit them, but being royalty, was not expecting one of my commoners to come back to the palace with me! Secretly though, I am enjoying my new position in the pack as a bossy little princess. I am much more confident and happy on my walks and can show off my model behaviour then.

1 comment:

houndstooth said...

He sounds a lot like my new sister, Flattery! Are you sure you won't just keep him? He sounds like a pretty good minion to me!

Bunny