Your Sighthound can never go off-leash in an unfenced area. EVER. And we really, really mean that. It's Sighthound 101. It’s the first commandment of most Greyhound rescue groups. It’s drilled into the heads of adopters from coast to coast.
And, yet, inevitably, tragically, some people think they and their dogs are the exception. The rules don’t apply to them and their very special Sighthounds.
CG Magazine ran a heart-stopping article on this very subject some time ago. It’s a subject that bears repeating. As the article says: "There is a deadly disease stalking your dog. A hideous, stealthy thing just waiting its chance to steal your beloved friend. It is not a new disease, or one for which there inoculations. The disease is called trust."
What is the point? The point is we hear the warnings, we believe the warnings, we heed the warnings. For a while. But then we begin to trust. We begin to notice our dog stays right by our side on the leash. He ever runs around in the fenced backyard. He doesn’t dart for the door when the bell rings. We start to relax. Our dog LOVES us. Our dog wants to be near us. Our dog will never run away from us.
Maybe we get careless around the front door. Maybe we let the dog run from the car to the front door without a leash. It’s so fun! They love the little dash of freedom!
Maybe your dog is old now. And you want to let them run on the beach. What looks sweeter than a senior tiptoeing over the sand? What looks more devastating than a picture of a senior on a lost dog poster?
Your trainers have made you confident about your recall. It just takes training, they tell you. NO. This is the TRUTH: no amount of good training can overcome thousands of years of breeding that designed a dog to SEE prey and CHASE it. Good training may bring a fantastic “recall” 99 times out of 100. But that one time. That one exception. That is the exception that will kill your dog.
And so the CG Magazine article says that trust is a deadly disease.
It happened to the writer of the article. Their dog died 14 hours after being hit by a car after one morning he didn’t come back when called. It happened to the family who lived in the country, away from roads, and let their Greyhound out to do her business in their unfenced yard. Her dead body was found miles from their home weeks later.
Take heed. Please, don’t trust your Sighthound off leash in an unconfined area. Ever.
Now take a deep breath (and have a box of tissues handy) and read the entire article here.