Sighthound Breed Lifestyle
As long as you remember to respect the instincts lying underneath your sight hounds otherwise passive demeanor, you will find that life with him can be a total breeze compared with many other kinds of dogs.
If you are prepared for his hunting streak and instinct for self-preservation, you can be living the dream, in love with a dog who is well adapted to a pet lifestyle inside and outside the home.
Sighthound Breed Home Life
Sight hounds have a reputation of being catlike to live with, and in many ways that is true. He is happy to waste the day away on your velour sofa or under the covers while you work at the office.
You will be greeted warmly when you return—and probably not to any evidence of mischievous doggie boredom in your absence.
The neighbors will not have left you a note on the door about incessant barking, and your dog will not appear to have had a nervous breakdown from spending another day confined at home.
Since he was never bred to work long, intense, and demanding days on the job, he wont be chomping at the bit to be a workaholic now.
That doesn’t mean he is disinterested in doing fun things or using his mind and body on a regular basis.
But indeed you can satisfy a sight hounds need for stimulation with far less time and energy than you might with a different type of dog.
He will appreciate his own space and time; and he will enjoy interactions with you and other fond human and canine friends on his own terms.
One of his few requests is that he not be exposed to high levels of stressful activity or excitement; which, for some of us, means he is not well matched to our home environment in the first place.
A half-dozen kids or pets running around, or simply one really intense personality in the home, can push his sensitive nature over the edge pretty quickly.
A critical condition for making a happy home with your sight hound is the provision of a quiet nest that reflects and honors his generally reserved personality.
As long as he is not overwhelmed, he is likely to be hospitable to visitors. He can, like any good gentleman, occasionally take offense to forward behavior or cursory gestures.
In these times, he can be quick to speak his mind. He does not intend to be the brute or bouncer; he simply has his standards.
As long as your company is good-natured and well-mannered,
you should have little trouble.
A fenced yard, or any yard at all, is not a requirement given his low demand for exercise.
Just use a leash at all times when you go out if there is nothing to keep him in. As a matter of fact, you need to be mindful of his relative intolerance to the elements, as he is not an outside kind of dog.
He is a far cry from the ideal candidate for the farm in the country scenario so many people imagine as the perfect home for every dog to run free.
But you should identify a local place and time in which you can release your hound in a secure area (such as a well-managed dog park) so that he can let his hair down and sprint on a regular basis.
In between such runs,
he will likely be content with the short daily walks you provide.
Sighthound Breed Public Life
When you are out in the world with your sight hound, you may be astonished by how elegant and poised he is in different circumstances.
As long as he is socialized enough to not be undone by its excitement, he will usually handle the modern world with the same calm demeanor he has at home.
He will be naturally steady—until some movement catches his sharp eye at a distance and momentarily absorbs his attention.
Even with such moments, sight hounds are almost always lovely to walk on a leash, rarely pulling or straining as they move.
Few things are enticing enough to inspire him into action, and the presence of the leash creates a suppression of his hunting instincts.
If you didn’t know what would happen if you removed the leash altogether, you might be tempted to believe he would simply stroll at your side to the end of the earth and back.
But don’t enjoy yourself so much that you walk for too long; these
dogs were not made for endurance, but rather short bouts of exertion.
As gorgeous as sight hounds often are, you may end up feeling as if you are walking a supermodel down the street as you negotiate a crowd of oohing and ahhing pedestrians.
One of the few great challenges you can face out on the town is simply keeping strangers from doting on your companion and causing him discomfort.
He will be unimpressed with many of the dogs he meets, finding them uncivilized or presumptuous.
It is important to bear in mind he is not one for spontaneous wrestling matches with a canine stranger on the sidewalk or bubbly jumping and licking on a first date with another dog.
Don’t put him in positions he will despise just because owners say their dog is friendly and really wants to say hi. Just let him keep that pretty nose in the air and keep on walking.
The bottom line for public life with your sighthound breed is this:
Make simple accommodations, and you will find him highly accommodating.
Sighthound Breed Personal Life
A Relationship with a sight hound may sometimes fail to
live up to the image people have in their minds about a canine pet.
He is unlikely to be the panting, drooling, fawning puppy who wiggles and writhes at your feet looking for belly rubs or another game of fetch.
He will not hang on your every word to see if walk or dinner are in there somewhere.
Unless you are ready to lose him, he isnt that hiking or mountain-biking companion youve been dreaming of. Nor is he the dog that many picture their kid growing up with, happy to enjoy everything from slumber parties to camping trips.
He is another kind of dog altogether. For those living a quiet, professional, urban single life or wanting to dance to a slower tune in retirement, he may be the ideal partner.
But he does require emotional maturity. With a sight hound, you may be faced with the uncomfortable fact that your own demand for attention and affection is higher than your dogs need for it.
A relationship with a sight hound is granted, not assumed. He will, therefore, not necessarily love your new roommate just because you think she is nice.
And he may find her puppy to be a complete nightmare and refuse to befriend the little thing.
On the whole, he will be fair and transparent about all of his positions. It will be your task to meet him there and find compromise.
Your hope that he will do as he is told or cooperate because you said so will not be effective, and harsh yelling or physical corrections can be seriously damaging to your bond.
These kinds of approaches not only fail to convince him of your
authority; they will cause great harm to the trust and respect he has for you.
To embrace a sight hound is to embrace the higher road of relationship with a dog, the payouts of which are immeasurable.
Good management with your dog is about far more than simply preventing an undesirable or problematic behavior from occurring by means of physical restraint and practical prevention.
It is about the creation of a global atmosphere of success through proactive steps.
While every dog human relationship can benefit from the practice of good management, it is rarely clearer than when partnering with a sight hound.
LAs a dog steward, you are responsible for your dog virtually all of the time. He is very rarely, if ever, responsible for you.
This means that you get the promotion to management, whether youre really up for it or not.
Step up to the plate and get it together for everyones benefit—for you, for your dog, and for everyone else who will interact with him.
You are the one who needs to be paying attention, thinking ahead, planning, taking precautions, and making good decisions.
He sure as heck doesnt know about the dangers of cars on the freeway, or the fallout of neighbor relations and lawsuits resulting from injured pet cats mistaken as prey.
The extreme frustration you feel after spending hours chasing him around the park every night when he wont respond to Come! is not his problem—he might think that you’re the one in denial about the circumstances.
There are no rabbits in his training class, after all. Sophisticated as he is, your sight hound is all instinct. Don’t make your job of living together harder than it has to be. Manage him well.
Its very simple. Think about what tools and other resources you will need to have before you get started, as if you were running your life with him like a business or a project.
A martingale slip collar he cant get out of—check. A leash—check. The string around your finger to remind you not to unhook the leash at the park—check.
The use of a baby gate to keep
your kid from accosting the dog—check. The details make the difference.
A sight hound is a laid-back and accommodating guy who neither
requires, nor responds well to, reactive micromanagement.
But he does need you to have higher-level control of the situation in place at all times—
a constant, unwavering, proactive preparedness for lifes circumstances.
He isnt the type to challenge you at every turn or stir the soup with drama and manipulation.
Benefits of Good Management
The benefits of good management with your sight hound will be immeasurable; and yet you will likely never get the chance to fully appreciate what a profound difference your organization and leadership
The lost dog, the poor kitty, and the bitten child will never happen—all because you have had good management in place all along.
Sight Hound Relationship Survival Key:
- Don’t take his GENETIC design for granted. His passion for independent hunting and sprinting after critters is in his DNA.
- Manage his ENVIRONMENT with good planning and decision making in order to set him up for success.
- Create LEARNING opportunities and routines that facilitate a strong bond built on trust and respect.
Treat your sighthound breed as the regal gentleman he is at all times.