Sighthound Charity Snood

 

Dizzy Lily: A Snood For a Hound 
knitting pattern is available from
Here on Erssie Knits or Ravelry 
All pattern proceeds go 
to Galgos del Sol

You can also apply for a free licence
to make your own snoods for fundraising:
erssiemajor@yahoo.co.uk 

If you don't knit but want readymade snoods you can buy some from
crafting4greyhounds.blogspot.com
who donate their own proceeds to dog rescue charities.

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Thursday
May172018

Greyhounds off lead. 

It's great to see greyhounds run with free abandon but can be nerve-wracking and a safety nightmare. Not every owner lets their dog off lead and its better to be safe. Even in enclosed spaces things can happen to them. We have only let one girl off (with excellent recall) in open parks. We had her from 1 and she was 100% reliable for 10 years. We used to run our other dogs in a farmers enclosed fields, on the beach, or in a RGT Kennel's exercise field on occasions and still took precautions.
 
Mobile phones: Remember to have one or two mobile phone numbers on the ID tag and to carry a phone for emergencies. I'll never forget the day our Dizzy Rascal ran through the woods to a group of builders who tied him to a van and fed him bacon sandwiches. No amount of recall works if your dog is tied to a caravan. I was panicking listening to his yelps, thinking he was injured, but he was just rooing for more bacon. Luckily the builders called my partner, who called me, and I tracked him down only metres away but hidden behind a fence and a caravan site.
 
Warming Up: Before letting dogs off, we walked, trotted and ran with them on the lead around the perimeter to warm up and avoid ligament tendon, or muscle strain. It also gave us a chance to check the field.
 
Type of fence: Barbed wire is dangerous but other types can be risky too if invisible. For example I have known one dog break its neck on a chain link fence while running away from another dog at top speed. Sometimes fences are not high enough and dogs will try to leap over and injure themselves too. And often in a farmers field there will be barbed wire fences lurking behind hedges. Some of the enclosed fields for hire use what is known as deer fencing which is mostly fine wire squares that allow smaller animals through. It's a type of fencing that tends not to impact on the beauty of the countryside but it's less easy to spot from a distance with its fine wire so could be dangerous to your hound if in a zoomie frenzy.  Walking the perimeter close to the fence shows it to your dog and they might mark it, as in pee on it, but also as in becoming aware its there.
Gates: If there is a gate, somebody could inadvertently open it during a zoomie, and your dog might spot it and be out of it at 45 mph. We usually plant someone at the gate to ensure if its opened by the public, it gets closed again. We also ensured if someone was about to enter the field with another dog, that we warned them to wait while we put our dog on the lead before they entered.
 
Type of ground: Look for potholes or rabbit Warren's. I've known of one dog locally break his leg getting it caught in a rabbit hole. Hard ground can tear up pads a bit, the racing industry tar them with hoof tar. I find keeping them in good condition helps them to be more elastic and rip less. Be aware that running downhill causes an overextension of the tendons at the wrist and this can cause a tendon injury. There are exercises you can do to help that but if be unhappy about my dog running down a steep slope. If the field has longish grass, the tough stems can get pulled between dew claw and pad and slice through like cheese wire. This happened twice with our dog so on the second time, realising it wasn't a unique injury, we had his dew claws removed by the vet and never had to worry about them as they were always getting caught. Some people tape the dew claws gdown to avoid it, especially when coursing. Vetrap works well to keep them safe too.
 
Climate: If it's a hot day and you've got a black dog they're going to create a lit of heat from running and not recover well. I wouldn't let my dog off on a hot day as they don't always make good decisions. On hot walks we use a white cool coat dampened with water and we carry a folding silicone bowl and a huge water container. You never know when you're going to need to wet a coat, pour water on an over heated hound as well as provide drinks.
 
Dog's apparel: Catching your dog if you need to will be difficult if you don't leave a collar or a harness on. And, just in case of a freak escape, you want to ensure your dog is microchipped and has an ID tag. With flighty dogs we normally leave a harness on because that is easy to grab hold of as they go by. Muzzles are advisable if you want to avoid them eating dead things or catching wildlife or small dogs. We use basket muzzles in plastic, but whippet sized for my girl. And if we're worried about it slipping off, we belt it through her collar. Our boy Dizzy was a blue brindle and remarkably camouflaged all year round as brindle is nature's best disruptive pattern. He was impossible to see the other end of the field so he wore a little hi-vis vest (his yellow bra we called it) and you see these on dogs that go coursing. 

 

 

 

Sunday
Apr152018

Holidays with your hounds

 Don't be nervous to take hounds on holiday thinking they'll hate it.  I've had 4 hounds and even the extremely nervous ones have loved their hols. Anywhere you go is their home. We let ours sleep on their own dog beds in our bedroom on holiday as its different rules from home. We find the first evening, they're a little bit unsettled, and we think "oh no, they hate it" but after they've had dinner, and a garden excursion, they come back in and plonk down on their beds and snooze. The more you take them away the quicker they settle. You'll really enjoy your hound in a different way and you'll be together 24/7, which is their ideal World.  Try to book a hol where you get at least one day at home with them afterwards as sometimes they get "going back to work blues" just like us if they've had a marvellous couple of weeks glued to your side but then they're left alone as you're busy and back to work.

Here are my top tips for preparing for doggie hols :

1. HARNESS
 If it's a long journey and you have an extremely nervous dog and need to stop at motorway services for a pee break, get a soft harness for your dog just in case you open the back and want to grab them easily. On our first hols, as we opened the back a massive lorry pulled in close to our car and leaned on their horn at us, our girl was terrified, jumped out and tried to bolt up the slipway of the motorway to get away from ignorant Hgv man but she was wearing a harness so grabbing her as she went past was easy. If you break down or anything odd happens a harness gives you double safety over a collar.
Also, try to use the bigger motorway services where Hgv, coaches and other annoying drivers will have a separate car park. You'll find that bigger places have better areas for your dog to pee away from traffic. 

2. NEW BOWLS, BEDS OR OTHER ITEMS
If you buy anything new for the holiday use it at home first as having a bed or bowl that smells familiar helps them settle in. You'll find as well that plastic bowls for food may seem better to pack, but actually start to absorb food smells and our dogs hated it. You can get bowl stands (with metal bowls) where the stand folds flat and its easy for packing. 

3. FIRST AID KIT
Take a dog First Aid kit: 
Roll of vet rap self adhesive bandage
Padding to put under vetrap
Antiseptic powder
Sudocrem or nappy rash cream
Sunscreen
Reflective Sun coats (if you're sit outdoors & no shade) 
Towels
Medicated Shampoo
Tick or insect repellent  or removal stuff. 
Anti wasp/bee sting pen
Ear and Eye Wipes
Toothbrushes and enzymatic toothpaste 
Nail clippers (in case you of split claw/hang nails) 
Cotton wool pads
Booties and baby socks
Sharp scissors to cut any bandages
Rehydration salts
Grooming brush
Bio washing liquid for any indoor pee accidents
Disinfectant for any I door accidents
A few incontinence bed pads as you can throw these onto an indoor pee and absorb it, or you can put them down to walk in if their paws are excessively muddy. 

4. VETS EMERGENCY NUMBERS
Find out where nearest vets are, phone and register or introduce yourself and dog if you want to see if they're used to greyhounds. Keep tel no on your phone.
Write down your dogs tattoo markings just in case, although you'll probably not need a vets visit. Over 12 years, we have used holiday vets 3 times for minor injuries they would have had at home like ripped claws.

5. VACCINATION CERTIFICATES
Take your vaccination certs, just in case you have a situation where you might need to Kennel your dog. We visited a cat sanctuary and put our dogs on a Kennel for 3 hours as it isn't on leaving dogs in the car. 

6. THROWS
Take a throw or two. Most rental places will ask you not to allow dogs on furniture or beds and if they find muddy prints or hair could adk you for a cleaning bill. You'd be surprised how many places have white of cream linen or sofas. We cover furniture with cheap throws.

7. DOG BEDS
Comfy dog duvets. We take 4 for 2 dogs, they lie on 2 each in the back of the car and it makes them snooze all the way there. When we get to the cottages, we take 2 indoors and they feel at home on their beds that they've been lying on in the car, 2 remain in the car and we don't have to keep dragging their beds in and out each time we do a day trip

8. WATER BUTT
Take a big container of water in case you get stuck in traffic and it's hot. Or on a day trip you can't find a water source.

9. TOYS
Favourite toys

10. CLOTHES:
Pj's or house coat for chilly nights
Light waterproof coat that can fold into your handbag
Warm waterproof coat with fleece lining
Normal, extra long leather lead if on lead only
Rope Slip leads, quick and easy if no enclosed garden

11. ROOF BOX
Roof box. This is so handy as we shove a new bag of dog food in there, a couple of other bags or any food, and it frees up the car and ensures dogs don't get access to stuff if we have to nip to the loo.
 
12. SUITABLE CAR
 Nissan X Trail. Optional but its a fantastic holiday car. It has refrigerated places to hold water, glorious sun roof, air conditioning, back folds down into enormous space for 2 or 3 dogs, roomy roof box can fit luggage on top, custom cages can be bought if you want to ensure dogs don't slip out, fits a 6'4" man in driving seat, loads of foot storage, loads of cubby holes for yourself but places to put the First Aid kit and dog bowls. 

 

 

Wednesday
Feb142018

Reactive Greyhounds

Harry is our reactive boy who is pretty much cured although it took a few years. He was reactive to all breeds. This is my personal experience with regards to dogs reactive to other dogs
Please note, this is personal experience only and I'm not a professional behaviourist. 
WHAT IS A DOG REACTIVE GREYHOUND?
A reactive greyhound that reacts to other dogs is often a dog that is only used to other greyhound breeds and so badly socialised with other animals and other breeds.  It can be a case of reaction by barking, yapping, whining, stamping and spinning when seeing small breeds, all other breeds of dogs or like our Harry it can be to anything that is living and breathing and non human. He was OK with humans unless he heard babies crying or young kids shouting. And he was even reactive to some greyhounds too. If allowed to,  reactive dogs can attack and bite either the trigger animal or in their frustration might take it out on the nearest person/animal next to them.
Harry was adopted on a Sunday morning and brought back Sunday afternoon by the family of adopters saying he was too uncontrollable and dangerous. He was spinning snarling and snapping at a spaniel on their first walk. . We love a dog challenge and as we've had many problem dogs rehomed with us, we fostered Harry to see if we could make a difference over 10 days. That was 5 yrs ago now!  We fell in love with his sweet nature at home cured him of that apparent "aggression" outside.
This is our approach which was also validated by several qualified dog behaviourists.
Firstly its important that however loud and aggressive the behaviour is, it's frequently not true dog aggression as you'd imagine it and rather than from a position of strength and dominance it's often coming from a place of fear. But fearful dogs can bite and snap. It's important that reactive dogs wear muzzles so you can be confident that nothing can go hideously wrong if the trigger animal gets too close. Poorly socialised dogs will look at another breed of dog and start alerting their human as well as warning off another dog. The frantic barking often means "What the f*** is that thing Mummy?!?" or "Can't you see it? I'm trying to tell you there's a threatening looking shape up there and it's got fur and teeth!" and even a warning to the thing "Stay away from me, I don't know what you are, but you're not coming near me.  I'm big and I'm scary and attached to my human!". Ex racing greyhounds aren't usually fearful as a result of a previous fight or encounter with another breed like some dogs who acquire aggression through experience. The racing life usually means that greyhounds spend time only with greyhounds and walk in paddocks or fields with little upfront contact with other breeds of dogs. Once you can understand why your dog would be fearful of another breed then you are truly listening to what they are trying to tell you, and it's then not as scary or daunting to tackle the problem.
The training for a dog who has behavioural problems when encountering specific triggers is to find a way to desensitise the dog. They need to become familiar enough with a trigger that their experience of it brings no bad results. However whilst introducing them to their trigger its important that they are not so overwhelmed by it that they learn to be more wound up. At a certain level of excitement, a dog reaches a point where they are consumed by the experience and won't learn anything. Introduction of a trigger needs to be gradual and your behaviour has to be consistent, calm and steady as a rock. It might not look like it but your dog,  as he bonds with you, will look to you to find out how to react. If you appear unflustered with a situation, then so will he eventually.
HOW CAN YOU TRAIN A REACTIVE DOG
POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT
Greyhounds respond well to positive reinforcement of good behaviour and do not react well to negative training. Therefore shouting at your dog, shouting No!!  or Leave!! and trying to pull him away in an angry way  is only going to teach him that you're wound up by the trigger too. Whilst training, don't tell him what he shouldn't be doing. It's best to say nothing until your dog is behaving well then heap praise and encouragement onto him. Greyhounds love to please and get it right. Then it becomes a habit. 
FEELING DISHEARTENED
Training like this does take time and there's no overnight fix. Often it feels disheartening and I've heard people say "But I've tried everything for a couple of months now and he's still not improving!"
The important thing is to believe it will and is getting better and trust that even if you can't see the tiny improvements on a daily basis, it is only when a significant amount of time has passed that with the benefit of hindsight, you'll realise training has paid off. Dogs aren't machines and can have bad days where they "plateau" which means their learning appears to hit a point of no improvement and an impasse. That's usually temporary but just think, it's a lot better than when they arrived. They might have a bad day and regress or they might test you, which is where you don't give up but just remain consistent and they'll soon fall back in line. As d ety dog despite being the same breed has a very distinct personality just like kids in school the majority will progress with generalised training but each will be at a different speed or have parts of it that just don't stick. Once again, this is where your positive thinking should be telling you "any improvement from the dog I took in, is a bonus"
DON'T SEVERELY  RESTRICT YOURS OR YOUR DOG'S LIFE
The worst thing you can do with behavioural problems that are trigger based and the triggers are common is to build a whole regime around your dog's phobias that attempts to avoid all contact with that trigger. A lady who lived in our next road had a very reactive greyhound who would kick off on the sight of every living thing and spent nearly a decade having to run out of a road where a dog or cat was walking, couldn't walk her dog unless it was dark or 5 am, and would often have to let her dog pull her around a winding route so that the 5 mins journey to the park would take anything up to an hour or more. The lady could have beeen walking with me and letting me help but she wouldn't let me. She also became sick and wasnt up to walking but nobody else could handle her crazy dog. I could have been walking the dog but I couldn't even get close enough to help out. Then I heard that she had taken her dog to a rescue service, but nobody really knew what happened. I did knock on her door but she said "I've tried everything dear, nothing works, she's always been like this, there's no point trying to change her" The lady had constructed a whole life based on her decision that a problem couldn't be solved so was best avoided. If you're OK with that and your dog is happy, continue, but ostly it makes for a miserable walk full of appreensionn and defeat. And this was one of those cases where you feel its the human who needed that training and not the dog! 
SUPPORT
If you need extra support and introductions to other breeds in a controlled manner find a local dog group that can help or contact a behaviourist. Our local dog group had an outdoor class and dog shows and we took him to a few dog shows and walked around the edge of it in a very wide berth. If he reacted, we would face him outwards and walk away a bit then when he stopped his aggressive barking we gave him huge praise. Eventually, he'd let us get closer and closer, but if he reacted again we'd take him out a bit until he was OK again. 
What we found useful was not getting wound up or anxious ourselves. You don't want to ruin walks by thinking Oh my God, there's another dog coming!!. What you need to think is, every time your dog gets to be exposed to a trigger, it's an opportunity to learn. Bring it on we'd say, because the more practise Harry had,  the faster he'd form good habits. Eventually, when he saw a dog that he knew he might react to, he was jumping to face away from it, correcting himself and containing his own energy. That surprised us but like I said, they will try to please you and they just need to know exactly what it is you want but so often a dog handler fails to communicate clearly what they're  after. 
DAILY EXERCISES
Every day my partner took Harry to the park and did not alter or avoid his triggers. If he saw a dog ahead and Harry started to react, he would say nothing, act like there wasn't a problem, keep a short lead and walk around the other dog and onwards, giving praise if he wasn't reacting. If we were not moving fast we found turning to face the other way and stopping Harry see the dog really worked. So we would step off a path and away and that might mean keeping the head steady, facing your dog into a bush or tree if the path is too narrow to take a circle around a person.  They are so often triggered by sight and removing the view can work.  But, we didn't push it and overexpose him or overwhelm him. If a dog approached us off lead, we would shout a warning to the owner if they were in earshot and walk briskly on as if we hadn't noticed the dog, all the time encouraging Harry on. We would keep a short lead and full control of head and body. We would praise him all the time he was not reacting. If he reacted, we would cease any praise and just continue moving not looking at or facing the trigger. If we were at a dog show, and he reacted to one dog then obviously we'd turn him away calmly to face a dog that he wasn't reacting to. 
EQUIPMENT
There are a few pieces of gear that help with a reactive dog. Often it's the other dog who causes a problem by coming too close and you need to be able to move along quickly and feel safe. Any anxiety about your dog managing to bite another dog will travel down the lead and make your dog defensive. 
MUZZLE: I'd advise using a muzzle but because a reactive dog can get into a frenzy the muzzle can easily be pushed off. Strap the muzzle through part of the collar and it won't fall off easily if you make sure it's snug. Be aware that even with a muzzle on a greyhound can stamp on a small dog. If one approaches and you're dog is not taking it well, do shout a clear warning to other dog owners. You can also get vests or scarves with In Training on them that sometimes makes it obvious. Usually if you have a muzzle owners are slightly better at understanding your dog might be reactive. 
COLLAR: However tightly you strap a normal hound collar or fish shaped collar on,  a greyhound's neck is wider than their head and a collar can easily slip off. It's a lot safer if you use a wide martingale (looped) collar which tightens if there is any pulling. 
HARNESS : One of the problems of having a lead attached to the dogs head is that they have the strength to keep pulling and spinning. You'll want to face your dog  away from the trigger but he will just keep trying to spin around again and it's a struggle to even get him to walk away from his trigger. However, if you use a harness you can use two leads. One attached to the dogs collar and controlling the head, and another attached to mid-back and harness. So not only can you stop him spinning but you won't worry about choking him by pulling hard and like a Puppet Master you'll be able to walk him along and away. A harness is easier to grab than a silky furry body should you need to. 
LEADS: Leads that are rope and nylon slip through your hands and can really hurt if you have a reactive dog. The nylon flat ones also hurt and aren't secure. A 1¼ inch double sided leather lead won't slip through your hands even if wet. They're not cheap but have lasted over a decade on 4 dogs with us. To ensure they are strong, it's best to purchase from a saddlery used to making horse reins and the stitching won't come undone easily. I like to have leads that have a buckle at each end. At the collar end a buckle is better than a clip. Often, even chunky clips can come undone with a dog wriggling their head. It used to happen once in a while with my collie but as he had perfect recall it didn't matter. I like to have a buckle at the other end of a 6ft lead because I can attach that end to a harness which gives me in effect, two leads. Or I just use two leads. When holding a lead I put the handle over my right arm up to the elbow then with the strap crossing my body I walk my dog on the left side of my body. Two leads, or one extra long lead doubled up and attached to two points on the dogs body means even with my disabled and weakened arms/hands  can still control my dog. 

 

Wednesday
Feb072018

Cleaning Greyhounds' Teeth

Greyhounds as a breed have poor teeth but we have managed to train our 4 previous hounds to accept a tooth regime and its really paid off. Our girl who was almost 11 had sparkly gnashers until her death and didn't have any dental work other than cleaning.

 

We clean our hounds teeth every day with Logic. Even if a Hound resists you cleaning,  just put some on your finger and rub around hound's mouth. I often have people telling us with our 5 previous dogs that we were "lucky our dogs let us do it" but actually,  it wasn't luck at all, we were determined to acclimatise them to it and built up training gradually as not brushing is not an option. Bad teeth and  infection or gum disease doesn't only affect the mouth. Dental bacteria can get into the system and cause infection of the heart valves. The bacteria can also affect the bowel and my good nose detected that the bacteria smell in the breath was also coming out in the dogs poop but I found that despite washing hands myself my gut and mouth also smelled of Harry's bacteria as he was a really licky dog. He is OK now but when he first arrived, I could smell his breath from the bedroom, when he was in our living room. His smell was streptococcus bacteria. Yes, I know what different diseases smell like. I should have been a Hound myself. 
You can also, in addition to Logic brushing, use dental tooth wipes with an extra squirt of dental plaque gel like this above and its great at neutralising acid in the mouth and treating smell from bacteria. But it's not as effective as an enzymatic toothpaste like Logic but Logic does have a meaty smell. I would try cleaning/wiping teeth with this in the evenings, and cleaning with Logic and brush in the morning.

In 2016 after having our 11 yr old for 10 yrs from 12 mths old had her teeth checked over and the vets were bowled over with her immaculate, white, plaque free teeth. 2 of our other greyhounds also had/have immaculate white teeth. Our regime pays off. Our 4th boy came with bad teeth as he was 5 and had spent 2.5 yrs in a rescue Kennel, so too late for 4 of his teeth.
However, after removing 4 loose teeth and keeping dental pockets clean, his bad mouth was cured. It really works.
However, most people tend to ignore tooth hygiene thinking bad teeth is just a reality of Hounds, or their hounds won't allow teeth cleans. None of our hounds were happy, but needed training to receive a youth brush.
This is our regime:
1. Daily brushing with Logic toothpaste making sure it goes right up to gums
2. Daily wiping of teeth and gums right at backs inside and out,  with bacterial dental wipes wrapped around a finger and 1.5 inches of Petkin plaque off gel
3. Weekly, or bi weekly scraping off of hardened plaque using a dental scraping tool. Requires a steady hand and one hand holding the mouth/jaw so they don't yank away. 
4. Regular vet dental even when not required. If our dogs need to be sedated/anaesthetised or admitted to hospital for any reason we take advantage of the opportunity, especially when young and IF anaesthetic is not a risk,  and we get the vet to scrape, check teeth, ensure pockets are not infected. Every time vets are amazed at how good our home dentals are. 
None of our 4 hounds have lost teeth due to tooth decay even up to 11 yrs old. 1 dog came with loose teeth that had to be removed and existing pockets, but even after that he is 10 this year and we have sparkly teeth. 
However, none of the hounds would tolerate a toothbrush and had be trained. This is how we did it.
Week One
1. 4 or 5 times a day. We examined the dogs mouth about 4 or 5 seconds only,  by holding their head, peeling back lips to expose teeth very quickly, and letting us peel back lips at corners gently to see back teeth. . Huge praise every second their head stays still. Follow with biscuit for letting you look at their teeth.
2. Daily. We put a finger toothbrush in, and squeezed about 1.5 inches of Logic toothpaste onto the brush. We do not put this right  into their mouths, we let them lick the meaty flavoured Logic gel from the toothbrush and as they're licking, just push the finger brush onto their tongue. Getting gel into their mouth at all, even without brushing,  is a priority as the enzymes will work even without brushing. If you can't progress beyond this at the moment, don't worry, just fall back to getting 1.5 inches of gel licked off a finger daily.
 
What To Do If Your Hound Keeps Backing Off
If they tend to walk backwards, just have another person standing behind their bum and holding the dog's body steady. Don't sustain if they don't like it. Literally do for a few secs and release, building up time gradually.
Week Two
Time to step up brushing a bit.
Now, as they're used to us examining frequently and know they like the taste of logic, we put 1.5 inches gel on our finger brush onto the non bristle side  and then rub into the gums and down onto teeth. Getting gel into their mouths is a priority even if not ready to brush. 
If they are taking well to the finger rubbing gel onto gums, we introduce a tiny bit of brushing with gel on a finger brush bristles just in front teeth. 
In the second week, introduce dental plaque wipes too. Put a bit of Logic toothpaste onto the dental wipe so they are used to the flavour. When they're used to accepting a dental wipe, you should aim to clean teeth twice daily. Once with finger brush and Logic, once again with dental wipe and a squirt of plaque off gel (bicarbonate of soda based).
Week 3
If they are accepting of fingers going into the mouth, try to progress to putting some gel onto a proper long dog toothbrush. Either small head or big head. Firstly they can lick a bit from the brush and you might, if you've done exercises of examination of mouth daily, be able to just brush front and sides. Go up to gums and brush down for a few secs. Build up slowly to being able to pull back corners and reach the backs.
Week 4 Onwards
Keep increasing the time they tolerate brushing gradually and if at any stage they're not keen and struggling, just step back a stage in training and build up again. One thing you must not do is give up altogether and not do it at all. 
Thursday
Feb012018

Toilet Training A Greyhound

For many years now I have been giving all my revenue from knitting patterns designs directly to a greyhound charity. Currently it goes to the charity for rescuing Spanish Sighthounds; http://www.galgosdelsol.org without any revenue for me. This means you can donate and get something in return. I make up the cost of listing the patterns and any tax from my own pocket money. You can see the designs I have available for both dog and human on http://www.ravelry.com/designers/erssie

Since I posted last time we adopted a new little girl, Jive Mistress (racing name) or Missy (pet name). She is our beloved Lily's niece and has a lot of similar but worse behavioural problems that Lily had. I often find it difficult to give people the details they need for benefitting from our experiences with rescuing and retraining dogs as there is rarely a problem we haven'r experienced here with the 4 greyhounds we've adopted since the mid noughties. We choose difficult greyounds that have been returned with behavioural problems so I'm always answering calls for help on Facebook, and repeating myself, or I take notes and get blocked from sharing them because of the detail or  moderator thinking it isn't relevant. I've started to keep notes and will post them here and link to them. I not an expert and would always encourage someone to take a dog to a vet to rule out medical causes but here are my notes on what we did. 

 

Advice on Toilet Training From A Non Professional

1. VET CHECK OR BEHAVIOURIST CHECK
Firstly double check with the vet that the dog is in full health with no urinary infections, no inflammations inside the urino-genital openings nor fever or excessive drinking. Take a sample to the vet of pee done first thing in the morning before food and hand to a reception nurse to run a test so there are at least some immediate results as soon as you get called in for your vet consultation.
 

2. PEE CHECKLIST
Discuss all the physical or behavioural reasons your dog is not learning your toilet training with the vet or behaviourist, they might help or suggest something. 
About  7 days before visiting the vets, chart the time and circumstances in which your dog peed. E. G. 
Did they pee while left alone?
Did they pee with you supervising? How close to their last garden trip? 
Did they pee when any visitors came, or when a family member entered a room? 
Did they pee when entering a new or different room? At might with you in bed? Was it moidy/rainingm/cold/windy outside? 
How much wee? Was it concentrated or odourous, watery or thin?
Where did they pee, was it near an entrance/exit? Where you sat  or stood? Any other significance to that spot like a previous wee or previous pets?

3. RECORD IT & FILM IT
DIARY: I would write down every pee incident. From experience my OH was too close to the problem and anxious and in his perception thought it was getting worse as every new pee incident remedy to negate any previous goodm/dry days. A scientific record showed that actually after several pees a day within 7 days, we had one pee a day for a couple of days then 5 dry days, followed by another pee incident. But my OH said "she's doing it all the time, it's never going to end". In my experience (although we've only trained 8 dogs total, 7 of whom were adult) if there is a dog behaviour problem that is improving often you can't quite see the tiny steps of improvement right up close and it means you only see it in retrospect and it's hard when you're going through it to see whether your training is working. If it's not working, and you have a clear record of statistics then at least if you have to get a consultation with a pro behaviourist you save weeks of them trying to get you to repeat the process. 

PETCAM: When making a record of peeing it is very useful to use a pet cam. Without that we wouldn't have been able to understand why our girl was doing it as they time she was doing it was a give away. You can mistakenly think it's a case of them being left alone for a few hours and going at the end of the period because they just can't hang on any longer. However most dogs who pee/poop when left alone do it near to the time the owner left rather than at the end of a longer period.  As we could see on our PETCAM, our girl peed:
-Around 90.secs after we'd gone to bed
-2 to 3 mins after her last bedtime pee, but we realised she was doing a short pee to satisfy us she'd been, but was mot fully emptying due to anxiety
Our boy though, was sprinkling and saving up his pee to mark. That improved over time with positive reinforcement and as his hormones settled as well as clearing up his penis sheath infection. It can take 18 mths to 2 years for adolescent boy hormones to settle down after neutering too 
At the foot of the stairs where we exited out of sight
She was peeing because being a new girl, she was anxious about us going to bed but peeing comforted her to appease us/her and diffuse the situation. Dog logic, not human logic. You can't guess what's in their doggy brain but you can record the incidents and see a pattern. We were able to keep taking training back to absolute basics. 
And if you use a webcam you can retreat to a different room and if you see them sniff, circle, or bold up to a pee you can interrupt them and take them right outdoors. 
My girl learned that if she wants to go, she can ask me. In weeks she went from peeing everywhere every day indoors to going and scratching on a piece of wood to make a noise, and comes to get us. 

4. INITIAL TOILET TRAINING SUITABLE FOR NEWBIES, FOSTERS & DOGS PREVIOUSLY REHOMED/BOUNCED BACK
We have a routine that has worked for my previous 6 dogs, and my partners previous 2 dogs. That routine stands even if a dog is coming from a different home where they had training. New house means new rules. Its all about reducing he opportunity to have an accidental pee and forming good habits. Greyhounds love to please and they like routine. They're happiest when we communicate what we need and t by ey J sees random it, so here we don't leave things to chance and hope. Our hounds though are ones that got returned and ones with known behavioural issues and they can relapse on their training but that's OK, we just step back a stage or two and reinforce good habits as if they're new again and they pick it up.
 
DAY 1:
BEFORE COMING HOME
Before putting a new dog right in the car we walk them. If we have 2 pets, the new one gets introduced to the old one away from the car outdoors in neutral territory a few times before we ever bring them here. Then we ask our older one to pee/poop in front of the newbie so they get to see how excited we are when dogs do their business outside. When Newbie has had a pee/poop they're praised too. Then we open the back of the car, allow oldie and newbie to get in together and sit with the back open. On adoption day it's the same process but then we make the journey home but we stop off at the local park that newbie will go to daily if our journey is longer than a few mins.
ARRIVING HOME
I believe its a lot easier if you can to pick up a dog as early as you're allowed so there is a good amount of time to start good habits before it's bedtime. That first might can be awkward. The preparation before coming home is so important to us because how the newbie feels entering a house with strange smells of previous people, pets or current dog will affect their alertness or anxiety level and drive a need to pee. As soon as a newbie arrives, one of us opens the front door, goes through the kitchen and unlocks/opens the back door. One of us stays near the doorstep, letting the dog have a sniff of the air and when the back door is open and the route is clear, we walk Newbie and Oldie into the garden on their leads then let them off in the garden, encourage to wee and praise.
 
COMING INDOORS
We note the time of the last pee, then we take newbie out for a pee every single hour. If we feel it's necessary we might keep them on a double length lead and let them explore the house with us attached. I even take them to the loo with me. It helps to bond. 

FIRST BEDTIME
As I have a med condition, and need quick access to go to the loo downstairs multiple times at night plus our stairs are too steep, it's mot practical to have dogs there. They stay down stairs and there is a gate. First bedtime is usually 1 am, and if I can go upstairs fine but my girl was awake all night, had Separation Anxiety nd my neighbours chose her 1st night to rip off their doors and windows and gut the house of floorboards. We had weeks if "the world is ending" types of renovation noise at evenings/weekends as the neighbours didn't live there and had work done in their spare time.  I had to retreat slowly IP the stairs, a few at a time and provide my girl with toys and supplements (more below about Ed Xtra-Funky help). 

DAY 2
I'm sometimes amazed when I hear that adopters got their dog at a weekend, slept in until 9 am but they wondered why there was a puddle on the floor on Day 2. Kennels I adopt from start waking dogs from 6 am, it varies but dogs are used to having a morning wee and sometimes they'll do it at the door of their Kennel which "magically has cleaned itself" by the time they get back from a paddock (by staff of course). If you want a dog that lies in a bit later you have to try to increase the waking time in increasing, end. Some respond to that, my boy can lie in til 9, but my girl is still an early riser (7.30 am but gets disturbed by neighbours shift work). 
Day 2 of a newbie's routine they go into the garden every 2 hours

DAY 3
Newbie goes every 3 hrs. 
If at any stage there are accidents and they're not getting it, we go back a stage or two. ticking yo the plan, mot getting overconfident reduces accidents. 

DAY 4 onwards. Inc time of between pee intervals.
 
POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT
REWARDING THE GOOD + A LITTLE BIT MORE
From the, moment our dogs arrive they are taken into the garden immediately and when they do go, we give them a huge fuss and a small treat. They know peeing in the garden, on the lawn, makes us very happy. At the same time we attach a word to the act "Good boy for doing a Wee Wee!" or "Good Girl for going a Poo Poo". Firstly they learn that it's right to go n that place and secondly they pick up the words you use for pee and poop. Is so useful because I can take her anywhere and say "Do a wee wee" and she goes. 
She doesn't get a biccie all the time now, but she always gets a cuddle, a kiss. She even waits by the back door, puts each paw in the air while I wipe them.
 
IGNORING THE BAD AND ABSENCE OF PRAISE REINFORCING THE GOOD
Its easy to reason that when dogs are good you tell them, so equally if they're bad they should be told off. It's also easy to get your wash bucket, Bio Washing liquid and sponges out with a face like thunder and look at your dog with a "Yes, you did this to Mummy you little nuisance" face on, or even have a fed-up body posture of annoyance. But in the case of a separation anxiety pee dog us being even mildly put out and exasperated, or shouting at the OH cos he's making ridiculous comments that don't help,  just makes an anxious dog want to piddle more to stop Mummy being angry.
We never reprimand nor even look from pee to dog as if we've connected it and are annoyed with their peeing, we act like we haven't noticed it. I sometimes get my OH to take a dog out so they can't see me clearing it up. The dog then doesn't attach anxious emotions to the act as, ironically, they will pee again to appease you. It's natural for dogs to pee in stressful situations in order to release stress busting pheromones that appease anybody present. That can be observed in Wild packs. One dog might snap at another to establish dominance or show displeasure often, everyone in the pack starts cowering, cringing and piddling to diffuse  the situation. Scientific thinking has moved away from the one pack, one top dog, rigid hierarchy and submission etc. It appears that relationships are dynamic and leadership isn't forced but dogs do squabble a bit and if they see anger in another member, they'll pee and say "smell that, it's not me who's angry, I concur" etc. Obviously we have to communicate what we want and show leadership as humans, and we do control food and environment so that is going to make a dog a bit anxious already "oh no, mummy is angry,  have I blown my chances of getting dinner? What's going to happen?".  Hounds are, more sensitive than other dogs. They easily think you just don't like them peeing at all so will then do secret peeing indoors and be too shy to ask. 
The only time we would acknowledge an indoor pee is if they are interrupted and just about to do one. We would say No, no, not there, in the garden... cheerfully and lead them out to the garden to finish and praise there.
 
5. EXCEPTIONALLY DIFFICULT CASES & GETTING HELP
Our girl was a genetic "spook" not suited to racing. She'd had her side ripped open by her Racing Kennel mate but was locked in with him all night afterwards. On her first night we had our neighbours completely gutting the house. She was too scared to empty her bladder completely in the garden due to noise and was peeing in the house but even outdoors needed to go too frequently. And there were fireworks constantly after she arrived. Despite training we worried about the peeing forming an entrenched habit. So we did the following in partnership with vet advice. 
- Tested her pee. Ruled out a medical reason for frequency
- Put her on natural supplements that with behavioural training supported it without drugs. She had Valerian and Skullcap, natural calmer. She also had Zylkene, a milk extract Tryptophan that acts as a natural tranquilliser (sends babies to sleep!). t actually worked but takes about 10 days to be fully effective. My vet felt the need to advise these herbal remedies in order to get her over the anxiety and avoid peeing becoming a bad habit. We tried weaning her off after a month trial and she had a little relapse in bb ehabiour so S they weren't  medicine, my vet said keep her on for 6, this if necessary. We kept her in Skullcap and Valerian for a mth, Zylkene for 3½ months then weaned off and she was fine. 
- Temporarily changed her diet. We reduced the amount of protein in her diet. This is because proteins can increase urine frequency as out of all basic food groups proteins are not converted to fat to be stored under the skin, some that is needed that day is extracted and used, then the rest is waste and peed out in urine. Also proteins increase the rate at which Seratonin, the "happy" hormone in the blood is depleted and can lead to anxiety or a state of being too alert. Our vet got us to remove about 15-20% protein and replaced with carbs. She had a dog muesli mixer for a couple of mths then got weaned off as ideally my dogs are on grain free diets. 
I am careful about treats too. For a while she had no food, nor any treats, after 3pm and no water down between 1am and 5am. She was lapping up water from a habit and needing to pee mot long afterwards between 12am and 6 am. 
- Exercised her a little more and on her own. I took her to see something new every day. It helped cure her anxiety of new things, mentally tired her and so she as more snooze and less active indoors. A lot of behavioural problems stem from lack of exercise or stimulation. 
-Devised intellectual games. Missy was disqualified from Romford track because she kept playing like a puppy. I noticed she used play as a comforter. So I left her for short spaces of time on her own with a Kong ball filled with kibble. She learned to redirect her nerves into an enjoyable game. I also taught her new words nd she's a clever little thing. 
Missy was my most difficult case with regard to anxiety peeing. She gradually got better and she's been with us about 15 months. Her last pee accidents were once on holiday in Feb 2017 (didn't understand the layout of our cottage 1st morning there as windows were doors), once on hols Sep 2017 (was a massive electrical storm outside) and once on hols Oct 2017 because she sneaked into a room unnoticed while we were asleep, shut the fire door, then couldn't get out, didn't bark as she got to sleep on a cosy sofa all night and had a pee in there in the morning). 
My partner collapsed and was unconscious at home with blood and vomit all over the floor and Missy and Harry were so freaked out when Daddy got carted off on a stretcher by 6 paramedics with flashing lights, they peed and pooped n top of Daddy's vomit and blood... 
Here is Missy being Pissy caught on the Petcam the little Minx! 
.
So although I'd still be a bit wary if circumstances are stressful, day to day Missy is very good.  It was driving us potty and we used to feel like we'd never get there but I felt like all the effort we made came together and did make a big difference. When you've had 6 dogs with mild wee problems, and then a dog like Missy, you can easily think "Why on earth could I cure the others quickly but not her!" But in retrospect, it was not that long before dramatic improvement I just couldn't see it close up and was getting so little sleep.