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Leash Rules...

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2006 1:43 pm    Post subject: Leash Rules... Reply with quote

Adopters and foster parents…

Every once in a while it is vital that we all reminded of the grace and beauty of the breed we have chosen to care for, as a pet. Greyhounds, though known as the 45 mph couch potato, are a fast and an instinct-driven breed. Because of that, we have also agreed to take the necessary steps to keep our greyhound safe. Many of us do this every day without even considering an alternative; while others take the special steps for granted and risk the safety of the greyhound.

When you chose to adopt/foster a greyhound, you agreed to the following precautions in order to keep your greyhound safe:

*Greyhound will only be left off leash if in a completely enclosed fence.
*Greyhound will be on leash at all times if not in a completely enclosed fence.
*Greyhound will never be tied out.
*Greyhound will only be connected to you while on leash.

This point was driven home on the application you filled out; in the materials you were required to read about the breed, during your home interview, in the materials handed out at adoption and again verbally, at adoption. Yep, we probably sounded like a broken record; however, it is for the safety of the greyhound. No matter how much we trust the greyhound in our care and feel he/she would not take off or would come back when called, that trust will kill him/her. Even the most obedience-trained greyhound has horrible recall, because of their ability to focus on whatever has their attention. Their intelligence and independence can be their downfall when their focus isn't on the owner.

When walking your hound or doing any activity outside of a completely fenced area, place your hand through the leash loop, wrap the leash around your wrist, and hold the leash firmly. Allow a bit of slack between your hand and the dog's neck so the dog will not feel like you have a stranglehold on him. If the hound is startled, hang on. You will not be able to run after and catch your loose greyhound. It if is loose, do the opposite of what you want to do – do not chase.

The only acceptable alternative to not having your greyhound attached to your wrist is to attach your greyhound to your waist. This can be done with a hands free leash that actually hooks to itself and is designed for this purpose or can be done by putting the leash around your belt loop securely and then connecting it to the greyhound's collar. It is unacceptable to loop the leash around your ankle, to hold it between your knees, hold the middle of the leash without having the loop around your wrist, or to lay it on the ground – stepped on or not – even if the greyhound is asleep. If you need to do something that you are unable to hold onto the leash for, ask another greyhound owner to help you out by holding your greyhound.

It is also unacceptable to pass the leash off to a complete stranger at a meet and greet. We never know what could happen and at a public event we don't want to risk the safety of a greyhound or a member of the community.

We completely understand that accidents happen and a leash gets dropped. When that happens, we respond calmly and quickly to get the greyhound back. However, intentionally being lax about leash rules is wishing a death sentence upon the greyhound – a risk that should not be taken, no matter how much you feel your greyhound won't run off or will come when called. No matter how much your greyhound loves you, knows you, and responds to you in the house, all bets are off when you are outside.

Are there exceptions to this rule, you may ask. To be completely honest – nope, not on your greyhound's life. Some people feel that you can let a greyhound off leash in a large meadow, field or on the beach – if they are far away from roads, etc. Did you figure out how to run 45 mph in a sporadic pattern to keep up with your greyhound, rid the area of any rabbits, squirrels, birds, deer, or other wild life that may cause your greyhound's prey instinct to kick in and teach your greyhound the boundaries of the "play-space"? In reality, we know you cannot do any of those things, so it is never safe to let him/her off leash.

Regardless of your personal opinion about dogs on leash, your greyhound needs you to follow these rules. In fact, you signed a contract stating you would never let him/her off leash unless in a completely enclosed area. There is no exception to this rule… his/her life depends on you. It is always a good idea for all of us – myself included – to go back through the material you were given on your home visit and at adoption and read Trust is a Deadly Disease – this is a great reminder to all of us about why our greyhound needs us to follow the leash rules.

A few other true experiences I pulled from that might get you to reconsider setting that leash down or taking it off…

* Stevie Nix slipped away from her foster mom this morning as she was being loaded into the back of the van to go for a turnover. Location: Newark, Delaware. She was last seen crossing 896 toward the White Clay Creek Park (HUGE park) Time: 915 Friday morning, July 28, 2006 Description: Fawn Female, about 54 pounds. Had on a purple martingale collar with GPA-Delaware ID tags... a 6 foot long purple leash was attached to the collar. She is very shy, and very spooky. The foster mom feels she would be most likely to go to another dog and not to a human. (There are many people who walk dogs in this particular park, so that's good.) She is very spooky-- given the run of a huge fenced backyard, she goes all the way to the back and pretty much hides. Name of Adoption Group: GPA-Delaware. It is REALLY hot and humid here today. If she was headed toward the park, she is probably in the shade (we hope). There is also a stream that runs through the park, so she should have access to water. A dog w a leash still attached is at a greater risk of getting hung up on something and not being able to escape. Let's hope this pup can is found soon or can get rid of the leash, ASAP. As of now, this greyhound is still out there…
* Leo escaped from his collar. Leo is a Brindle, 80 lb male. He is not wearing any ID or collar. He is Timid, probably will not approach people. Great reminder to check the collars to make sure they are fitting well! As an incentive to get good fitting collars on your greyhounds, CfG is offering LUPINE collars at 15% off retail price to any adopter looking for a safer collar option than Premier. We've recently had some problems with the Premier collars slipping on themselves causing them to get too big. The collars should fit nicely up by your greyhound's ears, not around the lower part of their neck.
* There is a greyhound that escaped from his owner's home on Monday, 6/5/06. The home is located on S. Lutheran-Church Rd. in the Dayton/New Lebanon, OH area, about a mile south of Rt. 35. His name is Groove and he's a light red brindle wearing a black collar with an outdated Team Greyhound of Ohio ID tag. If you have any information or happen to find or see him, please contact (937) 835-3789 or (877) TGA-OHIO ASAP. Thanks! This greyhound is still out there…
* I just spoke to Eric who lost his male greyhound, Iggy, on February 13. Iggy is a red brindle with tattoos. Eric said he has a red collar with only the shelter ID tag. He was in the process of switching collars and had not put his name on the collar yet. The dog was lost in the Woodlawn area of Cincinnati, Route 4 near 747 at the Century Lake Apartments. The very good news is that Iggy has been seen several times and is starting to come for food at the same time according to Eric. I have a trap at my house (from the Phantom days). Eric lives only about three or four miles from my house. I have Eric's cell phone number. Yes, he has put up about 200 signs in the area. We have a really bad storm moving through. Today its 60 degrees, but the temps will drop to below freezing by tomorrow a.m. with a lot of wind. It's been warm here for the last week and this dog will be very cold come tomorrow.
* Today on our usual walk through Greeley Park in Nashua, NH, a family approached us and told us that a GH appeared in their yard last night. They had to keep her tied up outdoors (in the shade, with water and food) because she was riddled with fleas. I checked on her, and she seemed fine. They keep tabs on her and move her to keep her in the shade. They have two goldens and three kids to consider. They treated her with Frontline to get rid of the fleas, and when they are sure they're gone, they'll let her in the house. I let them know the two main groups who place hounds in the area are GPA-CNHC and GPS... For a place for them to start. This very nice family lives on the backside of Greeley Park, along Manchester Street, in Nashua NH. Female, born April 1996 I have her LE tattoo, too, but am not publishing it for her security. Dark brindle with small amount of white markings. Medium sized, thin, right ear scratched, probably her scratching fleas. Wearing a light blue Coach collar, non-martingale. NO TAGS. Black nylon leash. Very sweet and calm. Do you know this girl? The family has phoned the police and will phone the animal shelter tomorrow and try to get her scanned for a chip, but police said nobody had called them looking for her. The family has left a message with GPA-CNHC's 888 number. Any info, please reply here. And we have all said it won't happen to us. I'm sure this owner said the same thing… accidents happen.
* We were at a Meet 'n Great and I was holding my foster and someone asked me to hold another foster. My Foster's leash was wrapped correctly around my hand, but I since I was holding the other dog just for a moment, I didn't take the time to wrap the leash. Well, my foster got a bit snarky with a puppy who was all over him and in the commotion of trying to make sure no fights broke out, the other dog's leash just kinda slipped out of my hands. Luckily we were inside and someone grabbed him. Now, my hands are ALWAYS through the leash loop and 99% of the time the leash is wrapped in my hand. It only takes a moment for a dog to startle or see something and be off if you aren't extra prepared.
* Check and double check collars every single time you leave the house. Don't assume that it is still a good fit because it was earlier in the morning. Brady backed out of a collar four months ago. He ran straight home (THANK doG!), but even thinking about what could have happened brings tears to my eyes. Always check the collar!!
* I was taking my gang to the dog park. Parked the car and opened up the back of the SUV. Jack and Andrew bolted! They are running fast on the soccer field, Andrew takes off toward the duck pond and goes for a swim, once he gets out of the water he is super hyper and starts running laps again. Woman was walking her small fluffy dog, Andrew charges towards it and tries to eat it; the woman starts yelling at me. After about 10 very LONG min. I get them on lead. At this point I was shaking uncontrollably.
* Anyway, this person kept extra leashes in the SUV, which are already looped through the headrests. Before they would get out of the car, they would hook the greys to these permanent leashes, then open the back (they greys are now hooked to the headrests), and then rehook to their walking leashes
* I let loca off of the leash with other greyhounds (one just off the track) just because she came when i called her at home. It's bad enough to let her off the leash at all, but to do it with other greyhounds was just plain stupid. It might be ok with some hounds, but not loca.
* Don't assume all greyhounds are alike. Last month i went to woofstock with a friend and one of his greyhounds. As he was paying for parking, i decided to open up the hatchback door of his jeep, because my dogs know never to get out until i tell them it's ok (not that they might one day get out) and it is easy for me to grab their leashes. Also, the hatchback door of VW golf is much different than the hatchback door of a jeep Cherokee. Needless to say, my friend's dog snuck out through the bottom of the hatchback door, and i couldn't even see it happening because the door was so big. Watching him race down the centre of a parking lot in the middle of a bush Toronto neighborhood was one of the worst experiences of my life. Luckily he returned to my friend, but i am still horrified at my stupidity.
* I was letting the dogs out of the car. Jack has no prey drive and Jilly never showed any interest. So I was holding her leash as Jack got out without it looped and wrapped. A squirrel ran by and she took off like a bat out of hell or a greyhound after a lure. I could no more have held that leash in my hand than fly to the moon. Thank God the street was quiet one and there were no cars as she ran across it and thankfully into a back yard that was otherwise fenced on 3 sides. As I ran up that drive feeling sick, out she pranced feeling pretty impressed with herself and right to me. So the lesson I learned was the obvious, wrap the leash stupid! But also not to take behavior for granted.
* The first week of my first Greyhound (Simon) I took him for a walk and tied him to a newspaper vending machine while I popped into a convenience store. He panicked, pulled it over and dragged it. I never did that again.
* I've learned to always pull down on the leash (not up!) when my dogs start to back up. It took 1 time of Battle slipping out of his collar. Always pull down...

And the stories continue... All things people have learned from mistakes that could have cost them their greyhound's life. Please be safe and follow the leash rules. Your greyhound's life depends on it...

"Live life with no regrets..."
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