Oh yes. He does!
All dogs need to be familiar with a muzzle and accept it without demur. There are lots of reasons for this - safety round other dogs, keeping other dog-owners away, scavenging and picking up stones and slugs, for treatment at the vets - the list goes on.
I think a lot of the antipathy to muzzles is because of some wrong thinking. People think that if a dog is muzzled it is dangerous. In fact, it’s the safest dog around! His armoury is all behind closed doors.
But people seldom think this through. That doesn’t matter when we’re talking about other people. But when we’re talking about you, the owner, it does matter!
Why do owners resist teaching their dog to wear a muzzle, and why should they anyway?
I go into detail on this subject in my post at https://www.brilliantfamilydog.com/blog/should-my-dog-wear-a-muzzle
So here I want to focus on the most depressing thing I see.
I know personally of two gruesome cases where unmuzzled greyhounds attacked a small pet dog. In one case a beloved puppy was ripped to pieces in front of his family. In the other case a small dog was almost pulled apart by two unmuzzled greyhounds but rescued by brave passers-by. It took many months of care from her vet and her distraught owner for her physical wounds to heal, and her PTSD-type memories are still needing work, years later.
It’s fashionable for people to adopt ex-racing greyhounds. These dogs are usually spent by about 3-5 years of age (if successful) and earlier if they were not winning.
Sighthounds are naturally quiet and biddable most of the time. They can make great pets in the home. They like to sleep 23 hours a day, wake up for a bit of food then go back to sleep.
But you have to remember:
These dogs are killing machines
Now before you throw up your hands in horror and stuff my inbox with complaints, think about what they have experienced all their lives. They have been trained to chase down anything small, fluffy, or fast-moving, and kill it. That’s what they’re bred for, and that’s what they are encouraged to do.
They are muzzled from an early age, usually with comfortable, light, racing muzzles that allow them to pant freely and drink.
In some countries, greyhounds must be kept on lead at all times in public, and the number of greyhounds led at a time is limited. In some countries also, greyhounds need to be muzzled at all times.
To be fair, some of the greyhound adoption agencies recommend that at least to start with your ex-racer should be muzzled in public, though it’s not the law in most of the UK (Northern Ireland excepted - where all sighthounds must be muzzled in public). It’s so easy, because it’s what they’re used to!
Your newly-adopted ex-racing greyhound is an unknown quantity to you. You need to take precautions for many months before you know whether you have one of the lazy ones who couldn’t be bothered to chase anything, or one whose switch can be flipped in a second, triggering a chase that no dog or cat can escape.
The owner of the greyhounds in one of the instances I mentioned above had only had her two dogs for a couple of weeks. She had NO idea how dangerous they were, singly, and together. The adoption agency had not told her anything about the dangers, only that these were gentle pets. This nonsensical approach caused the horrible incident where the new elderly owner watched - screaming helplessly - while her two new dogs attempted to pull the small dog apart.
She was traumatised by the event, paid the victim dog owner’s vet bills, and returned the dogs immediately to the adoption agency.
These horrors were totally unnecessary!
If the adoption people had faced the truth and told it to the new owners;
If the new owners had had the sense they were born with and took steps to take the firing pin out of their dangerous weapons;
If an inexperienced elderly lady had not taken on two large dogs trained to kill;
And if owners of small dogs were aware of the danger;
all this may not have happened.
Small-dog owners need to take care
My smallest dog is fluffy and fast. So whenever I see ex-racing greyhounds on my travels, Coco Poodle is either close to my feet on lead, or I pick him up, to remove the instinctive visual chase response from the hounds.
And before you all sharpen your quills and dip them into poison ink, I declare that I have a sighthound too. She was never raced, but her chasing instincts are strong. See the power in her leap! But yes, she does sleep most of the time!
More commonsense tips to be found in this free 8-lesson email course to get you started with your dog
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