The Highs & Lows Of Owning A Hound

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Although I’d like to say there are absolutely no downsides to owning a sighthound, there are but I think that’s the case when it comes to any breed. Just like humans, there is no way any living creature can be perfect but the highs always outweigh the lows and for me, these are the ups and downs of the breed.

THE HIGHS

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HOW LOVING THEY ARE

Most dogs are very loving to their humans but I’ve never known love from a dog as I have from Josie and Edie. They’re always so happy to see me, whether than be at home if I’ve been upstairs or if they’ve been off snuffling in a bush somewhere when we’re on a walk. I can’t sit on the sofa without one of them joining me to squish in as tight as they can next to me with the hopes of a belly rub, even when having a bath they’ll often poddle in despite hating that room to see what I’m up to.

HOW THEY LOOK

I’ve always adored the way sighthounds look, they always look so elegant and graceful trotting along lovingly with their human. And for the most part, Josie and Edie do look very regal but if you’ve ever seen two hounds zooming at full speed playing bitey face you will know they’re far from elegant then. I’m a complete sucker for their pointy snoots, whiskers and their beautiful little eyelashes.

HOW EASY THEY ARE TO GROOM

My family dog is a little Westie called Bella and I adore her, but after living with a small fluffy white dog for eight years I knew when it came to getting a dog of my own I didn’t want a dog that was high maintenance when it came to grooming. Josie requires more upkeep than Edie as she does need a good brush a couple of times a week during shedding season but other than that the pair of them never need brushing and bathing is minimal unless they've rolled in something stinky. Shedding can be a little pesky when those seasons roll around but they don’t last long and as the majority of my clothing is dark it doesn’t show up much.

HOW FAST but lazy THEY ARE

Whilst sometimes their speed can be a little troublesome to work around seeing Josie and Edie run at full speed with each other (preferably not into me) is one of my favourite things in the world. Whippets have the quickest acceleration in the dog world and can get up to speeds of 35mph which is incredibly fast, but because they’re sprinters by nature that means they only run in quick spurts and then they’re quite content to sleep for the rest of the day. Having dogs that are quite content to sleep all day wrapped up in a blanket with me when the weather is bad is not something I take for granted at all as I’m certainly not someone who loves to go out in the rain either.

THE LOWS

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how quick they are to chase

Sighthounds have a pretty high prey drive due to what they were bred for and that is something that you absolutely have to be aware of and always be cautious of when out on walks. Some hounds cannot be off lead at all due to their severe chase instinct but most can be generally allowed off lead. Josie is way more of a chaser than Edie so there are certain spots where we keep on her lead just incase and certain woods we know to avoid as they’re full of deer. Much like the name suggests they’re highly driven by things moving so their likelihood to chase things such as runners and cyclists is something you have to be wary of. When on walks I always just move the girls to the side just in case and, over time that has worked well at desensitising them to those things.

how sensitive they can be

Something I had no idea about when it came to owning a sighthound would be just how sensitive they are, we all know they’re not great with cold climates but mentally they are quite sensitive too and are easily upset. We have to be so careful with not only their routine (which they absolutely love) but their environment too as they don’t do well with places that are super loud and busy. And in the house we have to very careful about arguments and shouting, it upsets them both so much and it’s awful to see.

how difficult they can be to train

Having never trained a dog before by myself I didn’t know what to expect and training a sighthound is a whole different ball game. Every single thing I read and watched looked great, the dogs were super responsive but when it came to doing it with my dogs it wasn’t as simple. A lot of people think hounds are impossible to train and it’s a waste of time but with the right tools (mostly food) it is possible to do and even though there are plenty of times I just wanted to give up and say Josie was untrainable you do have to persevere as one day things will click. For us, making training super fun and rewarding has been the only way to go as strict and harsh forms of training simply do not work. Even when you feel like shouting and screaming because you’re frustrated staying as calm as possible is key. Josie and Edie certainly aren’t perfect by any means but we try and help them learn every single day.

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WHAT ARE THE HIGH AND LOWS OF OWNING A HOUND FOR YOU?