Everyone makes mistakes. Sometimes the mistake wasn't yours. Sometimes it was yours, but it was not intentional. If you find one has "happened" and don't do anything to rectify it, then it is now yours!
When a Grey is placed with a family and you start getting repeated reports of problems, please put the Grey first. This is not marriage counseling. Not all problems can be solved. The Grey is not on equal footing with the rest of the family and it is very likely bad things are happening to him. Several of the bad things will affect him for the rest of his life. These hurtful experiences are actually training experiences. The things he will be "trained" to do will make re-homing him a real problem. Biting or nipping is one of them.
A four-year old male I knew very well was placed with a family with children ranging in age from five to 16. I had handled this dog extensively for medical treatment, without muzzle or drugs. He never made a move to bite although he cried out from the painful procedures we had to use to treat severe nail-bed infection. In less than two weeks after being placed, a "nip" report came in. Then another, then another, all involving most of the children. What happened? Since it was all "unprovoked," no one knew. No one, but me, for a long time.
This was a very sensitive dog. Not timid, by any means, simply soft temperamented, deer-like, extremely easy to get any point across, and physically trusting beyond reason. Perhaps these are precisely the kind that should not be homed with rough or noisy units.
What had happened needed no verification. I know. He was "pushed." How does not matter; we all have our own buttons. He growled in protest and was ignored. He was pushed more and not allowed to seek respite. The next logical step was a snap. Voila! It worked. He was a smart dog. Why growl if it does not work? A snap will get you where you want to go. But, soon the children figured it out. "Oh, he won't bite, he just snaps." So, he was forced once again to modify his behavior to save his sanity. He nipped. It worked.
All this took training, folks! And these people should never have been allowed to train this beautiful Greyhound to do this!
Two months into the adoption, I received an e-mail asking my opinion. I said, "Get Him Outta There!! This dog is undergoing a very stressful experience. He is being forced to defend himself. Please, I beg you, don't make him stay."
My advice is often ignored when it is not what you want to hear. He was left in the home. Now he has suffered, now he has been forced to bear four months of abuse. Not benign neglect, but active cruelty, pushing, “training.”
Last week one of the kids had to go to the hospital for a bite,,,not a "nip." The family wants him gone. They are right and he should have been gone, months ago.
Now the organization is taking back a dog that "knows what he's got and knows how to use it." How sad. This sweet and lovely doe-eyed Grey has been trained to be, and is now legally labeled, a biter. In a "No Second Chance" law state, he would be dead. Whose fault would it have been? Put the Grey first. There is no reason other than your own ego not to make a wrong thing right. Give him a loving chance!
(This was written around 2001. We had just finished helping a group set up a pet kennel, which we then managed for four months, until time for our show schedule to begin. Our motorhome was plugged in outside, so we were on call to 30+ Greyhounds (plus our six) 24/7. PS. This lovely boy finally found an excellent home and was properly cherished ever after.)
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