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Vet warns of Greyhound Adoption Risk

35 posts in this topic

Maddy   
On 29/09/2018 at 8:47 PM, corvus said:

It's not "singling a breed out" to acknowledge or indeed warn that potentially dangerous decisions are being made about their management. I don't think many people appreciate what these dogs can be like. They may never have seen a small dog, but they have been trained to chase and grab things about the size of a small dog that are fluffy and make noises. They have been trained to do little else, and they have been so heavily conditioned to do it that often they are not able to think beyond doing it. I worry that many more people will appreciate this in the near future the way the industry is attempting to "address" their problems. It won't do greyhounds any favours, that is for sure. 

But these are still issues of prey drive, not of human aggression or abnormally high anxiety or fearfulness. Which is what I was getting at- Karen Dawson had an opportunity to talk about a real issue in managing the breed, but instead chose to focus on issues that are much less common in ex racers, in a manner that comes across as rather alarming, especially for new owners who might have children (and children's faces attached to those children).

In my experience, the general public has no idea why greyhounds wear muzzles and many will firmly assert that "greyhounds aren't aggressive dogs so they shouldn't wear muzzles", and that says a lot about the level of misinformation out there. When you explain to some of these people that greyhounds chase small animals to kill them (as was their original purpose), they are utterly horrified. But to be honest, I'm not sure what they expected? That a greyhound would chase something down and then.. cuddle it gently? Who knows :shrug:

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corvus   

I'm not sure exactly what Karen Dawson's experiences are with human-directed aggression and anxiety in ex-racers. Frankly, the industry has chewed her up and spat her out, and it's hard to know what is driving her comments. Whatever her stance and however right or wrong she is, no one deserves the sickening way she has been treated.

 

That being said, what do you do? She's still seen a lot more ex-racing greyhounds than I have, for example, and seen them from more sources and regions. The industry isn't the same everywhere, and in the past perhaps there has been more self-selection occurring with the greyhounds that get sent for assessment with GAP than there is now that in NSW at least, it's a lot harder to euthanise a racing greyhounds than it used to be. So, I wouldn't comment, I guess. I don't know what the situation is. I haven't seen much evidence of human-directed aggression or anxiety from dogs I've seen at tracks or in training. That might be because it's not very common or it might be because they don't usually make it to the track, or maybe I have missed out on seeing a sizeable portion of the greyhound population. 

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m-j   
On 10/6/2018 at 11:50 PM, corvus said:

I'm not sure exactly what Karen Dawson's experiences are with human-directed aggression and anxiety in ex-racers. Frankly, the industry has chewed her up and spat her out, and it's hard to know what is driving her comments. Whatever her stance and however right or wrong she is, no one deserves the sickening way she has been treated.

 

That being said, what do you do? She's still seen a lot more ex-racing greyhounds than I have, for example, and seen them from more sources and regions. The industry isn't the same everywhere, and in the past perhaps there has been more self-selection occurring with the greyhounds that get sent for assessment with GAP than there is now that in NSW at least, it's a lot harder to euthanise a racing greyhounds than it used to be. So, I wouldn't comment, I guess. I don't know what the situation is. I haven't seen much evidence of human-directed aggression or anxiety from dogs I've seen at tracks or in training. That might be because it's not very common or it might be because they don't usually make it to the track, or maybe I have missed out on seeing a sizeable portion of the greyhound population. 

I still would really like to know as to how many nasty greys she saw and how long for and what were the owners like. In the kennels I worked at we had dogs come from all over Australia and from many different trainers, breeders and rearers. You could tell the dogs that hadn't had the best life and one of the things that used to astound me was the great bounceback these dogs have, wallflowers would blossom, nervous wrecks would take on the world, with a little bit of encouragement and sensible handling, they are not hard dogs to train or convince they have got it wrong about whatever their issue was.

I don't want to seem to be being nasty to the vet but I just still find it difficult to believe that a large proportion of her human aggro cases were greys. Maybe she was seeing a lot of dogs that had come from the same racing kennel??? One of the big revolving door training establishments, where if the dogs aren't an instant asset they're a liability and get treated accordingly.

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corvus   

Like I said, it's hard to know what is driving her comments at the moment. :( She should be prepared to quote numbers, even if they are educated estimates at best, but lots of people are not, and I'm not sure if anyone has asked her to. I'd like to know what's going on for real as well. Wait for another Four Corners report, I guess. 

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m-j   
22 hours ago, corvus said:

 I'd like to know what's going on for real as well. Wait for another Four Corners report, I guess. 

*Sigh* probably, unfortunately.

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Maddy   
On 10/10/2018 at 5:52 PM, m-j said:

*Sigh* probably, unfortunately.

I can't see what major issues there would be with rearing, it's no better or worse than how many pet breeders (registered or otherwise) raise dogs. 

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m-j   
On 10/16/2018 at 8:28 PM, Maddy said:

I can't see what major issues there would be with rearing, it's no better or worse than how many pet breeders (registered or otherwise) raise dogs. 

From the pet breeders I know the practises were worlds apart. This is why the rearing of greys has come under scrutiny with the changes that have been introduced into the industry.

I changed some of our practises at the kennels years before the proverbial hit the fan in the industry by introducing aspects of the way pets are raised. According to the feedback we received the results were favourable, which is why my boss allowed me to do so. 

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Maddy   
10 hours ago, m-j said:

From the pet breeders I know the practises were worlds apart. This is why the rearing of greys has come under scrutiny with the changes that have been introduced into the industry.

I changed some of our practises at the kennels years before the proverbial hit the fan in the industry by introducing aspects of the way pets are raised. According to the feedback we received the results were favourable, which is why my boss allowed me to do so. 

Maybe pet breeders down here are worse but it all looks comparable to me. There was stuff I don't agree with- such as the culling out of very young pups with health issues or from the odd oopsy litter, even though they could have been good pets- but the fact is, euthanising unfit/unsuitable puppies is not exactly unknown in the show world either (white boxers come to mind). From what I saw, living conditions were much of a muchness (comparable, if not better than the conditions at the breeder we purchased our last pet dog from), socialisation as a whole was definitely lacking but pups were at least kept together, so social skills with other large dogs are generally great.

Most breeders that I know of down here, feed out a raw puppy mince, no one cuts off dew claws off puppies (which some registered breeders do themselves, even those toes attached by bone) and overall.. it's average care. 

It's certainly not ideal (very far from it, especially with regards to socialisation) but compared to the conditions you see companion bred puppies living in down here, it's no worse.  

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m-j   
On 10/18/2018 at 10:25 AM, Maddy said:

Maybe pet breeders down here are worse but it all looks comparable to me. There was stuff I don't agree with- such as the culling out of very young pups with health issues or from the odd oopsy litter, even though they could have been good pets- but the fact is, euthanising unfit/unsuitable puppies is not exactly unknown in the show world either (white boxers come to mind). From what I saw, living conditions were much of a muchness (comparable, if not better than the conditions at the breeder we purchased our last pet dog from), socialisation as a whole was definitely lacking but pups were at least kept together, so social skills with other large dogs are generally great.

Most breeders that I know of down here, feed out a raw puppy mince, no one cuts off dew claws off puppies (which some registered breeders do themselves, even those toes attached by bone) and overall.. it's average care. 

It's certainly not ideal (very far from it, especially with regards to socialisation) but compared to the conditions you see companion bred puppies living in down here, it's no worse.  

Yes their social skills with other dogs are good but with many of the older pups that came to us that was where their social and other skills ended. Acceptance of and not enjoying being handled was a common problem, but as I said easily fixed due to their nature.

Edited by m-j

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Maddy   
On 20/10/2018 at 10:07 AM, m-j said:

Yes their social skills with other dogs are good but with many of the older pups that came to us that was where their social and other skills ended. Acceptance of and not enjoying being handled was a common problem, but as I said easily fixed due to their nature.

Handling ears for any reason.. something I dread. Ear branding of puppies while they're wide awake, and during a critical socialisation period, is setting the dog up for issues. One of my greys would SCREECH if you touched his ear leathers, even if you were just gently touching. I was concerned enough to take him to our vet (who also got screeched at :o) and his ears were clean, healthy and very normal. Since him, I've had many others who weren't keen on having their ears touched, yet NEVER seen that issue in unbranded greys (which I've had several of).

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m-j   
11 minutes ago, Maddy said:

Handling ears for any reason.. something I dread. Ear branding of puppies while they're wide awake, and during a critical socialisation period, is setting the dog up for issues. One of my greys would SCREECH if you touched his ear leathers, even if you were just gently touching. I was concerned enough to take him to our vet (who also got screeched at :o) and his ears were clean, healthy and very normal. Since him, I've had many others who weren't keen on having their ears touched, yet NEVER seen that issue in unbranded greys (which I've had several of).

For that very reason I (and I got strangers to) handled the pups ears, put up on tables etc before they were branded. The stewards always remarked how calm they were and afterwards I dont recall any having issues. Most came already branded and yes there were issues to be resolved, but I was fortunate that the majority were still young 3mths or so they did learn to accept it fortunately, as throughout their racing life they were going to have it done alot.

The thing that used to bug me the most is the way they were generally handled, the guys were rough, not to be nasty, but just "that is how you do it, gotta show em who's boss" "gotta treat em rough or they wont cope with being knocked around in a race" That was what the guys had been taught, they believed they were doing the dogs a favor. That culture changed eventually thank goodness. 

Just going ot for minute have you had anything to do with corns?

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Maddy   
23 hours ago, m-j said:

For that very reason I (and I got strangers to) handled the pups ears, put up on tables etc before they were branded. The stewards always remarked how calm they were and afterwards I dont recall any having issues. Most came already branded and yes there were issues to be resolved, but I was fortunate that the majority were still young 3mths or so they did learn to accept it fortunately, as throughout their racing life they were going to have it done alot.

The thing that used to bug me the most is the way they were generally handled, the guys were rough, not to be nasty, but just "that is how you do it, gotta show em who's boss" "gotta treat em rough or they wont cope with being knocked around in a race" That was what the guys had been taught, they believed they were doing the dogs a favor. That culture changed eventually thank goodness. 

Just going ot for minute have you had anything to do with corns?

There's a Doler on here who had a boy with rather bad corns (Benny the greyhound) but I forget what her Dol name is. If his thread is still around, in rescue section, you should be able to find her name. I've only ever seen fairly minor ones, and they were good with just softening with vaseline on a regular basis. As my vet said (and I'm sure most others would), there's no point surgically removing them because they only come back. That said, if they're bad enough to cause lameness, something has to be done. Whether that's removal under GA, hulling or filing them with a dremel (:vomit:)

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Big D   

All Dog Breeds are not the same.  It's the same with most "domesticated" animals, but more so because Dogs have been bred for such different purposes.
Furthermore, many breeds, originally bred for a particular purpose, have over recent decades been bred as pets for temperament and companionship.

Greyhounds haven't.  To this day, they are bred to race.

 

Their reputation as "couch potatoes" is not surprising.  Even the fastest champion spends most of its life waiting around.  So I would imagine that "patience" and "calmness" would be characteristics inherently enforced.  (eg a dog that was constantly agitated would presumably not make a good racer and so would not be bred.)

But they are still sighthounds with a huge prey-drive.

 

I have Flatcoats.  A wonderful gentle, passive, breed.  But they can't be let lose anywhere near ducks, because, guess what, they want to retrieve them and break their necks.  Go Figure.

 

And I still come back to my original point, and I can't believe you would use the horrible euphemism "wastage."  Surplus dogs, especially those not good enough to race, are simply murdered.  It's horrific, and it should be stopped.
GaP is simply a very small band-aid.

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Maddy   
37 minutes ago, Big D said:

All Dog Breeds are not the same.  It's the same with most "domesticated" animals, but more so because Dogs have been bred for such different purposes.
Furthermore, many breeds, originally bred for a particular purpose, have over recent decades been bred as pets for temperament and companionship.

Greyhounds haven't.  To this day, they are bred to race.

 

Their reputation as "couch potatoes" is not surprising.  Even the fastest champion spends most of its life waiting around.  So I would imagine that "patience" and "calmness" would be characteristics inherently enforced.  (eg a dog that was constantly agitated would presumably not make a good racer and so would not be bred.)

But they are still sighthounds with a huge prey-drive.

 

I have Flatcoats.  A wonderful gentle, passive, breed.  But they can't be let lose anywhere near ducks, because, guess what, they want to retrieve them and break their necks.  Go Figure.

 

And I still come back to my original point, and I can't believe you would use the horrible euphemism "wastage."  Surplus dogs, especially those not good enough to race, are simply murdered.  It's horrific, and it should be stopped.
GaP is simply a very small band-aid.

You do realise that they continue to exist when they aren't on the track? And that they have to be handled, trained, moved around, and accept very close contact from strangers, on a regular basis?

Until the invention of the mechanical lure, they were coursing and hunting dogs, and lived beside people, just like any other breed of dog. In terms of temperament, in my experience (from actually rescuing them), they are very stable, gentle dogs who thrive on human company. They bond closely with their people but are still polite and friendly with strangers. As I've said before, as long as owners understand sighthound prey drive, greyhounds make amazing pets. If you prefer retrievers, good for you- other people appreciate different types of temperaments. 

 

As for whomever you were referring to with the wastage comment.. :shrug: it's really not that simple. The industry has many problems, and they absolutely need to be addressed. But equally, if the sport goes, the breed goes with it. Over three hundred years of recorded pedigrees, foundations that were built on fitness rather than looks, all the things that breeding for function brought to the breed, will be lost forever. And as much as I dislike the industry as it stands, I also don't want to see a breed that I love, simply cease to be.

There could be a sensible middle ground but as long as people refuse to hear the side and doggedly cling to either extreme, it won't happen. 

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m-j   
On 10/26/2018 at 5:51 PM, Big D said:

All Dog Breeds are not the same.  It's the same with most "domesticated" animals, but more so because Dogs have been bred for such different purposes.
Furthermore, many breeds, originally bred for a particular purpose, have over recent decades been bred as pets for temperament and companionship.

Greyhounds haven't.  To this day, they are bred to race.

 

Their reputation as "couch potatoes" is not surprising.  Even the fastest champion spends most of its life waiting around.  So I would imagine that "patience" and "calmness" would be characteristics inherently enforced.  (eg a dog that was constantly agitated would presumably not make a good racer and so would not be bred.)

But they are still sighthounds with a huge prey-drive.

 

I have Flatcoats.  A wonderful gentle, passive, breed.  But they can't be let lose anywhere near ducks, because, guess what, they want to retrieve them and break their necks.  Go Figure.

 

And I still come back to my original point, and I can't believe you would use the horrible euphemism "wastage."  Surplus dogs, especially those not good enough to race, are simply murdered.  It's horrific, and it should be stopped.
GaP is simply a very small band-aid.

Yes wastage is not nice terminology.

The surplus Greys are now not"murdered" it is against the law to do so, unless a vet verifies that they should be due to injury and the vet has to do it and a report must be sent to the governing racing body of the state.

A race dog has more interactions with people and other dogs on an average day than pets whose owners work. They are couch potatoes because that is the nature of the breed.

They bred from because they are fast regardless  of the anxiety/excitement levels. Prey drive is inspired visually or by noises or actions associated with that vision, just like the vision of ducks makes your dogs excited, the difference being the Greys get to go through the sequence of the fixed action pattern, unlike your dogs which remain frustrated, albeit with good reason.

 

Edited by m-j

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