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Small Child, Add A Greyhound

National Greyhound Adoption Program has been adopting greyhounds for twenty years now. Many of these greyhounds have been successfully placed with families with small children even though most of them have just come from a racing facility and are not used to little ones crawling around or walking up to them. If we look at the big picture, it works out almost all of the time. If we look a little closer, we find that almost all of the dogs returned to our program for biting a child happened because the parents either didn't follow our instructions or did not use common sense.

Greyhounds are strong and they can certainly hurt a child, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't adopt one. Most greyhounds, if uncomfortable when approached by a small child, will get up and walk away. A few will become protective of their space and because of that you will need to be diligent whenever your child is with your greyhound, especially in the beginning. Some greyhounds may set up an invisible barrier around themselves that they want to protect once they arrive in their new home. It's probably not a bad idea for your greyhound to be muzzled in the beginning until you are comfortable that they are getting along together and that the greyhound is not protective of the space around it or of its possessions. If your child is old enough to follow your instructions, you can simply tell them not to go into the dog's space, but rather call the dog to them. Small children, and even older children, should always call a greyhound off its bed and have it break that invisible barrier so it is no longer protecting anything. Your child should not be permitted to give your greyhound bear hugs in the first few months of adoption. The greyhound will need time to get to know your child. In time, they may be able to sleep next to one another in an embrace.

My own grandchildren, ages 7 through 15, can approach our dogs, curl up with them, play with them, kiss them and hug them and the dogs respond appropriately. They know each other well and the dogs are not surprised by their appearance or by having them in their space. Their invisible barrier has gone away. But until that occurs, you need to be a diligent parent and not put your child at risk. Doing that will help insure that the transition from canine athlete to couch potato will be a good one for the entire family.

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