Bringing your new hound home
It is ESSENTIAL you transport your new hound home safely and securely. It is now against the law for your dog to travel without being secured in your vehicle, with a special dog seat belt and/or harness, or of course a crate.
Please do not underestimate the confusion and stress a hound feels when they are taken to a new home, with new people. A dog may seem to be taking it all in their stride, but not every dog will whine or bark to show stress. Some will be quiet and subdued. This doesn’t mean they will get spooked any less. There are others who may be excited and can’t wait to get out of the car. When you arrive at home, and are ready to take your dog out of the car, please be extremely careful and do not take anything for granted. There has been a frightening rise in escaped dogs, a lot of the time within the first 48 hours of being in their new home - some have not even made it into the house. It only takes a split second for a dog to bolt.
Once home it is naturally a very exciting time and so tempting to want to shower your hound with affection and reassurance. Please for your dog’s sake, try and refrain.
It is inevitable the dog will find it very confusing in a new home, with new smells, new people, new dynamics and routines. For Galgos, they would have travelled a great distance, left everything they knew and had come to trust at the shelter in Spain and are suddenly in a different country, with a different climate, different people, sounds, sights, smells, routines etc. It is only natural for them and indeed any new dog to feel sad, worried, scared, insecure, lost. Remember this will ease and they just need time to get their heads round it all. When you bring your hound home, it is vital they are just given time to decompress. Decompression is crucial in helping your dog settle in and it should be your priority.
They need a comfy area, somewhere quiet and some space. They need to rest. Please do just try and leave them be. They may follow you about, or they may do the opposite and want to hide. Each dog will react differently. So top tip is to remove all your expectations and just take each moment as it comes.
The first thing to do when you get them home is take them into the garden and let them have a really good sniff and relieve themselves. Don’t worry if they don’t go to the toilet. Try again later. With nervous dogs, we ask you to keep a harness on them and use a long line to begin with.
Please don’t overload them by taking them to new places, training classes and meeting people and other dogs. Just let them get used to their new home and people. There is all the time in the world to have new adventures with them, a new home is an adventure in itself.
Walk them in quiet places to begin with to get to know your each other without distractions and again keep it nice and calm, keeping stress to the absolute minimum. Giving them a routine will help as will having places that become familiar to your dog. Give them natural chews or kongs to help alleviate some anxiety and let them sleep. Rest is great for dogs and essential for any new dog, in order for stress levels to reduce and for their systems to rebalance.
Your dog may well show signs of stress, which may manifest as pacing, panting, whining/barking/howling, restlessness, hyperactivity, toileting issues (loose stools/constipation). Noises will probably startle them. Nearly all our hounds, in a new home, will have accidents in the house, even if they have been clean in their foster homes. Please do not be angry at them. Just clear it up. They are not doing it to be naughty. They are doing it because they are stressed or anxious. Take a look at the Toilet Training section for tip
The Three Threes!
Please be advised this is a general outlook of the phases your new hound will go through. Some take longer with some phases. Please appreciate their unsettled pasts and do not place unfair/unrealistic expectations on them. Also important is to not compare them to other dogs. Each dog is unique.
3 DAYS: The first three days your hound is home, they’re usually just trying to cope with being in a new place (again). Who are these people? What am I doing here? What’s going to happen next?
3 WEEKS: By the end of three weeks, your hound has usually figured out they’re going to be living with you. They probably understand who else lives there, when and where they eat, sleep and go to the toilet. Routine has been established and they are STARTING to settle in.
3 MONTHS: After three months, they have usually blended into your routine and lifestyle. They have become part of the family. Their personality may well be blossoming which is a marvellous thing to see!
In a multi-dog household
If adopting from Lurcher SOS, you would have been invited to meet your new hound, bringing any current hounds with you to see how they get on. If all goes well and you proceed with adoption, please remember:
- Do not expect instant bonding. These dogs have only just met and need time to suss each other out and adjust. Dynamics will change. Expect spats - growling, snapping and lunging. It is natural for there to be disputes between dogs when they are suddenly living together. The new dog will be overwhelmed and insecure, and resident dogs will also feel insecure. Disputes generally look and sound far worse than they are. If tensions are escalating or either dog is injured in a dispute, please separate, give them time to calm down and of course tend to injuries.
- Please put all toys away before bringing your new hound home. Introduce them once they are a bit more settled with each other and supervise.
- Feed separately to begin with and determine if there are any signs of food guarding. It is quite natural for hounds to protect their food, particularly between dogs who do not know each other properly.
- Lurchers are renowned for their unique play, bitey face, bitey ankle and so on. Their play can be quite intense and vocal, lots of “chase me chase me” and zoomies. If you have any concerns that there is anything other than good old fashioned lurcher play going on, then do get in touch. It can be a highly arousing activity for lurchers so if you feel it is getting a little out of hand, then distract them and give them a break.
- You need to give them time to get used to each other’s play styles. Please supervise playtimes. Accidents can easily happen, this includes collisions. Recently, three lurchers were in a field together, playing hard and fast, and one ran into the other, killing them instantly. Never underestimate their speed and power.