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A few questions

3 replies to this topic

#1 buchananandy


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Posted 11 March 2017 - 11:42 PM

Hi there, I joined the Forums to ask a few questions about my Lurcher, Moss.


We got Moss as a puppy when he was 3 months old and it has been an incredibly funny roller coaster with him so far, he is a 3/4 greyhound 1/4 saluki mix and on the same day we picked him up we adopted a pug cross who was 10 months old.

Moss and Manny are the best of friends and love running and playing together.


Moss is approaching his first birthday next week, and in the last week or so has become quite a naughty boy, I am pulling my hair out wondering if i've done something wrong!


Like most puppies I've met, he's quite easily distracted, and just constantly wants to run and jump all over everyone and every dog - which has not really been a problem up to now.

In the last week though his recall seems to have dissapeared - we had a trainer in a few times when he was a month or so old and have taught them both to recall to a whistle, but lately when we let him off lead on a walk he can run off for up to 5 mins at a time, no recall and no sign of him until he saunters back in his own time. I can blow the whistle until i'm blue in the face and it doesn't make a difference.


He also seems to have started running off to other people and jumping/yipping around them - quite embarrassing when there is a jogger going past and Moss won't come back to us. We have been recalling them and putting them back on the lead when we spot other people and before he gets a chance to notice.


In the last week or so he has also become very choosy about his food, often leaving half or more of both his breakfast and dinner. There's been no change to his food and we've scaled up the portions as he's grown. As a puppy he'd wolf down whatever we gave him and still look hungry, but not anymore. I worry that he is a bit TOO skinny (I know his breeds are very slim) but surely if he was hungry he'd eat?


Sorry for such a long post, but some 2nd opinions would be helpful. He hasn't been neutered, as our vets don't do that until they are a year old. I keep thinking this is him acting out as he's presumably in his adolescence now and pushing his place in the pack, but when he won't behave off-lead it is very frustrating.

Neither he nor his parents were trained as sight hounds, just family pets, and i wouldn't like to think he has to always be walked on a lead when he loves to run so much.


Thank you!


#2 dogmatize


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Posted 12 March 2017 - 08:44 AM

I think he will be reaching sexual maturity now and so will be developing a whole new set of drives and interests.
I have to say that I have experience of saluki and recall is extremely challenging with them I would argue that as a rule it can be non-existent.
I know of a chap who became a champion long distance runner because he spent so much time chasing after his saluki who was also an escape artist- which indeed they all are, most being able to clear a 5' fence in a single bound.

#3 gypsysmum2


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Posted 12 March 2017 - 02:16 PM

Yes the Saluki genes are used on the Greyhound to beef up their determination! They can be very strong willed.


Having said that he is a juvenile and he will be listening to his hormones and testing his boundaries so all is not completely lost. Being off his food may well be a hormone related issue. He may well know that there is a bitch in season somewhere within a five mile radius (lol) and be pining for her.


I would go back to basics with his training and ensure that he has no chance to practice his naughty behaviours. The more they are practised the harder they are to overcome. Limit the places you let him off lead to ones where he cannot enjoy the "running off" experience more than he enjoys the "coming when he is called" experience. Find something that he absolutely loves (might not be food at the moment) and use it to reward him for responding to recall. Some dogs love cuddles and attention, some love a thrilling game of tug or a fantastic ball chase. Turn around and run the other way when you call him. Hide behind trees etc to make it exciting. If you can find a food such as chicken or liver etc that he loves then use that. Whatever reward you use it must be better than the fun he is having when he is away from you! Think of your boss offering you a pat on the back or a huge bonus and then decide which would motivate you to do the horrible job he is asking you to do :)


It is understandable that you would put him on lead when he, eventually, returns but this can be totally counter productive. He will have learned that all his fun is going to end when he returns and that will make him even more reluctant to return. Yes, it is sometimes the only safe thing to do but he should not expect it to happen when he hears a recall signal. Once he reaches you - give him whatever reward he loves and then take a few minutes to fuss over him and distract him until he has forgotten about responding to the recall. Then is the time to put the lead on. Never ask for a sit when a dog returns before giving him his reward. He may associate the reward with the sit and not the recall. Try to make roughly four recalls out of five to be ones where he does not go back on the lead.


Even if, at first, it takes him ages to come back to you he must find it rewarding. As his recall improves you can start to be selective over the reward he deserves depending on how hard it was for him to leave what he is doing and return to you. If he is having a ball with other people and dogs or chasing after something he needs a five star reward when he returns. This could be five lovely bits of chicken, given one after the other, plus a lovely fuss and a game with you. If he just comes away from a boring sniff around a post then a "good dog" and a pat, before being released to sniff again, should suffice.


If you can find a trainer who runs classes outdoors it may be worth joining so that you can work him, when he is ready, with distractions.


By the way, you have an enlightened vet if they recommend waiting for sexual maturity before neutering your dog. There is a theory that sexual maturity has arrived when they can cock their leg and they can be up to eighteen months old. It is hard, though, for us owners to live with a hormone ravaged juvenile delinquent!

#4 buchananandy


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Posted 12 March 2017 - 11:33 PM

Thanks for getting back to me in such detail,and thankfully I can say that a lot of what you recommend we already do with Moss, especially making sure to recall them without going back on the lead.
Funny you should mention liver as we make liver cake treats for the dogs and they absolutely LOVE it.Cheap and freezable too, it's great.
We had a really good walk today in a local forest, despite being a busy Sunday he was off lead for most of it and came back when called.
It sounds like we will just have to be patient, ride out the bad parts and keep up the practice. I am trying to teach him fetch to keep him interested in us and to give us another distraction tool.
Luckily he is only a small part Saluki, I'm hoping the cuddly greyhound genes will win out.

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