TIPS FOR NEW IG OWNERS:
FOUR ON THE FLOOR: Always set all four feet of an Italian Greyhound on the floor - never drop, even if it is a couple of inches. Always set back feet first, then front feet on the floor before letting go. Allowing any IG to jump out of your arms (especially a puppy) can cause injury to the dog.
KEEP A FIRM GRIP. When holding an Italian Greyhound, keep a firm, gentle hand. The best way to hold an IG is to have one hand beneath him (under the chest) and the other hand gently wrapped around the neck. A calm puppy can become Monster Puppy in two seconds flat! Unaware adults/children holding puppies can suddenly have a slippery eel leaping out of their arms and crashing to the floor. When letting children hold puppies, I would highly recommend adult supervision and instruction on how to safely hold/set-down puppies.
COUCH RULES: Never put a puppy up on a couch and think that he will know how to jump down. Best rule of thumb is that if a puppy can JUMP up on a couch, he will usually know how to JUMP down. Some owners will pile soft pillows on the floor along couch edges. This assures soft landings on the first few supervised attempts.
BED RULES: Same rules apply as couch rules. However, beds are usually a little higher, so with puppies, I would recommend never leaving them unsupervised on a bed.
PUPPY PROOF: As with children (aka
child proof homes) it is best to get down on "all fours" and look around.
Assess the situation at puppy level to see what mischief can be found. Telephone cords,
power cords, hazardous material left under couches, toxic plants, etc. are all potential
hazards to puppies. All potentially harmful household cleaning products should be safely
locked away from puppies/children. A reminder! Please remember that
Antifreeze is a big killer to dogs and dogs seem to love the taste of antifreeze. If
your dog is allowed in the garage, puppy proof the garage! Spilled oils/antifreeze on the
ground is a potential hazard to puppies.
HIGH PLACES: Never yell at your Italian Greyhound if you discover him/her on a kitchen or dining room table. Doing so could make him scramble off the table, jump quickly at an awkward angle and in so doing break a leg. Gently take him off the table, DON'T Scold.
WALKING: NEVER let your IG off-leash in an unsecured area! These are miniature sighthounds and if they see something they want to chase, no amount of calling will be heard. Some call this "selective deafness". It is not a disease, but a part of the breed characteristic. When chasing, they focus on the object and ignore all else, including cars, cliffs, etc. Death can result. Your yard should be fenced, or if not, you should always take your IG out on a leash. NEVER tie an IG out in the yard and leave him without supervision.
HOUSETRAINING TIPS: There are plenty of good housetraining books on the market. These tips are meant to enhance the methods you use. Always use the same door in your house when training an IG to go outside. Before taking him out, always say the same thing..."Go potty outside" works for me. Keep your voice happy when teaching words or phrases (and yes, IGs are smart. They can understand several words if properly taught!). It is easy to miss a small IG standing by the door ready to go outside if there is a large dog occupying the same area. Watch carefully that a delicate iggy tail or paw doesn't get caught in the door. Keep an eye out for hints from your dog and when he goes to the door ask excitedly, "You need to go potty outside?" Get him excited about the prospect of going out... some IGs actually dance in preparation! The most important rule is to BE CONSISTENT.
LITTERBOX TRAINING: Like cats, Italian Greyhounds CAN be trained to a litterbox. The IG litterbox is larger than a cat's and is usually lined with newspapers.
Because litter boxes allow the IG to avoid his three greatest hates (cold, wet and wind) housetraining with a litterbox is relatively easy. The litterbox should always be kept in the same place and the puppy should be granted constant access. As with any other kind of housetraining, the key is patience, persistence and CONSISTENCY!
CRATES: Crates should be used as a training TOOL and not as a storage bin for Italian Greyhounds. It is important to remember that puppies cannot be expected to be able to hold their excretory system in check for more than four hours at a time. The majority of dogs bought through pet stores will not know the meaning of cleanliness in a crate. Puppies should be confined while unsupervised. A good alternative is "Exercise Pens". These are mobile, folding fences that can be set up in a 4 x 4 configuration or made larger by adding on "pens". Tops can be purchased too. These "pens" have enough room for a bed, food, water and newspapers in case of an accident. If you have a room that can be used as a confinement area for puppies and they cannot get into trouble, this can work too. A babygate across the entrance is preferable to shutting a door. Enclosing an IG in a bathroom behind a closed door can lead to destructive behavior. A babygate allows a feeling of "openness" and freedom. Dogs are curious and love to see the outside world.
RIDING IN CARS: I recommend crating Italian Greyhounds for car rides. While they travel extremely well, in the event of an accident (even something so minor as a small bump) the force can throw an IG and cause serious injury. Crating might save an IGs life but this is not the only benefit. After an accident, dogs are understandably upset and prone to take off at the first opportunity. An IG is especially difficult to catch because he is so fast. Never let your IG ride loose with a window down. Again, if he sees something he wants to chase there is no thinking twice. He WILL leap out of a moving car.