Tips for the acclimatization period
From the country of origin, the galgo usually does not know life in the house, no regulated walks and is usually not housebroken. He knows no commands, no 24-hour human presence and, if kept very isolated, may not have met children, other animals or even other dog breeds. When you take in an adult galgo, you have to be prepared for a training program that is similar to that for a puppy. The only difference is that you first have to build up a relationship of trust and mutual communication with the dog, while puppies with healthy socialization usually willingly follow people from the start and demand communication of their own accord.
Everything that constitutes city life is unknown to the galgo. That’s why being placed in a city comes will be a big shock. The noise, the hustle and bustle are completely unknown to the galgo and often trigger panic attempts to escape. You should let the dog settle in and familiarize him with his new family, his home and the immediate surroundings. It is essential you do not flood/overwhelm them with new situations/people/environments. The character and past life of your galgo determine the rhythm in which you can expand the radius of action with him step by step. Regardless of whether they come from responsible breeding, where they have had good contacts with people and the outside world, a committed animal shelter, that socialized him with other dogs and showed him a positive interaction between humans and animals or from a completely isolated attitude in which he was not allowed to get to know anything. At first, only walk small laps around your home so that the dog can get to know and absorb his new surroundings. Don’t overwhelm him by inviting all your friends over to introduce him or taking him straight to the office or restaurant. Please try to see things from their eyes.
Stress, change of location and change of food can also lead to the dog developing gastrointestinal problems and possibly doing their business indoors. Therefore, prepare yourself for stress-related digestive problems for a few days when you take your galgo in. Your galgo needs every opportunity for relaxation and calm.
I. Preparation at home
Make your garden escape-proof, because galgos can also snake their way through narrow openings or crawl under the garden gate. Find out if your galgo is a jumper or a climber. The 6 foot high fence is mandatory for all our dogs. Ensure there is nothing they can jump on and over by the fence.
Clear the apartment of all valuable things, because your galgo may chew on objects under stress. Get chew bones to offer if your dog shows tendencies to gnaw. Counter-surfing goes hand in hand with sighthounds, so get used to putting everything away in cupboards/the fridge.
Get a soft padded dog bed. The Galgo’s skin is very sensitive on the joints and tends to form calluses when sleeping on hard beds. Allocate your galgo a safe spot to sleep, or give several options so he can choose where he feels safest.
Invest in some outerwear, especially for the winter – they feel the cold.
II. Preparation for collection
Prepare the car to ensure safe and secure transportation. You need to secure them in, by way of seatbelt or double ended lead which attaches to their harness. They need to be secured to a fixed point.
An extra pair of hands can be very helpful. You must never open the car door until you have checked they are still securely attached, with harness and lead intact. At that point you should still be extremely careful when opening the car door and ensure you have a very firm grip (with your hand through the handle of the lead and wrapped around your wrist) before disembarking them.
Particularly anxious dogs should only be transported in the box and only be let out in the secured garden or in the apartment.
Bring a bowl and some water.
III. In the new home
The most important thing you can do for your Galgo is to help them feel safe.
Let your dog inspect the home in peace. Give him the time and opportunity to avoid you or your family members if the new situation overwhelms him.
Don’t try to hug him. Children in particular are prone to this affectionate behaviour, which puts a great deal of pressure on an anxious dog. If you have children, you must not allow them to try and cuddle the dog. It will be seen as threatening and distressing. You need to supervise all interactions and be strict. You need to let the dog come to you and be guided by them.
Please only ever walk your dogs with a collar and escape proof harness, as stated in our contract.
When your dog is showing fear of places, people, animals, and things, give your dog some time to consider the situation. Perhaps, after a moment’s thought, he’ll calmly walk past it with you. If not, then arc around the “avoidable” obstacle. Remember: your calm and serenity are his support in this new world!
Do not overwhelm your dog with environmental stimuli. First, always go the same way so that your dog can get to know their new surroundings. Initially, avoid travel, visits, crowded places, etc.
Be your dog’s advocate. Don’t allow people to come close to him if you know he is scared or worried and be very careful where you walk him – busy places will likely be extremely scary for him and please do not walk in places where dogs are going to come running up to him – this is very intimidating for any dog, let alone a dog who is trying to adjust to so much. You want his experiences to be positive after all.
(Translated from Galgorettung – https://www.galgorettung-fs.de/)