Wednesday, December 23, 2009


When we were preparing for Kassa the Greyhound Pets of America in Nashville recommended that we read Adopting the Retired Greyhound By Cynthia Branigan and The Dog Listener By Jan Fennell. Both of the books were very informative and I highly recommend them both to anyone thinking of adopting a greyhound. Adopting the Retired Greyhound was very insightful regarding the greyhounds special needs and past life in racing. For example you must be careful to choose a vet with greyhound or sight hound experience because the anesthesia used on normal dogs can harm them. Evidently this is due to their low body fat. The Dog Listener gave a holistic approach to how to live with your dog. In all honesty I believe the message is quite simple (or at least the portion of the message that I retained). You need to establish that you are the alpha / alpha pair of the home. You can do this in a non aggressive way by using dog pack/wolf pack signals.
  • Ignore your dog for 5 min when ever you are reunited with him. This gives him a chance to calm down. Generally the 5 minutes begins after the dog calms down. Establishes that you can come and go as you please and that you are the protector of the pack so he does not need to worry about you in your absence. This is to be a way of life not a short term quick fix.
  • Gesture Eating establishes the alpha in the relationship. Before you give him his food, eat some crackers (as though from the bowl.) It shows that you get to eat your fill before he gets his food.
  • Control the food. When you put the bowl down for feeding he must eat it all. If he does not eat it all remove the bowl. You must control the food.
  • You lead. You are the first in and out of the door. Your dog should walk nicely with you and not pull. If he does pull turn around and go back inside.

So in my opinion those were the major elements of "The Dog Listener" that I retained. The book is rich with stories of situations where she applied those rules. It also provides the background and justification that many people need to be convinced. I have been following the rules she sets up and can only say that Kassa is doing fine. I can't say how he would be behaving if I followed a different set of rules given that I started him on it as soon as I got him.

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