Griffons are wonderful dogs and adopting one is probably one of the most rewarding experiences for many people. They are very intelligent, very loving with an independent nature. They are scent hounds and many of them have an extremely strong scenting instinct. They are primarily bred for hunting but unfortunately the hunters are rarely real dog lovers which often results in the dogs being neglected, badly treated, and abused. The “lucky” ones are often discarded at the end of the hunting season to fend for themselves with others suffering a much more distressing fate. So unfair and cruel for such fantastic animals.
They are often nervous, and generally a bit pessimistic about their lives, however with much TLC and a lot of understanding and training they gradually develop into loving and loyal family members. Their daily progress is so wonderful to see. Many members of our Griffon Adopter/Foster group go onto welcome more than one or even multiple griffs into their family.
If you are reading this you have probably adopted or are in the process of adopting a griffon. They will arrive in the UK with one of our trusted animal transporters, they will have had all the medication required to travel from Spain, including rabies vaccs, lepto, parvo, distemper and flea, tick and worm treatment and have their papers /passport with them.
When they arrive in the UK
The first thing to think about is safety. It is necessary to have a slip lead and a normal lead and collar. Having two leads will guard your dog from possibly slipping out of the collar and disappearing. Once you get your dog home you can decide on the best harness for him /her. You may wish to use a halti/gentle leader type head collar. A nervous dog can be incredibly strong.
Griffons are scent hounds and are bred for hunting boar, deer, rabbit etc and many have an extremely strong hunting instinct which makes recall very difficult. If let off lead they WILL follow their noses and become deaf to any attempt at recall. This is extremely important to understand as off lead Griffons can all of a sudden decide they are going to hunt and can be away for hours on end which is fine in the forests of Spain and France, however in the UK the chances of them getting killed or badly injured on the roads is very high. Letting them off lead must be confined to secure gardens or fields. There are secure fields popping up all over the country that you can rent out by the hour, which is ideal for our lovely dogs.
Your garden needs to be fully enclosed with minimum of 5 ft fencing. (This will have been checked out during your home visit).
You should seriously consider having a dog crate big enough for your dog to stand up and fully turn around. If trained well your dog will come to love his crate. (Crate training advice is also in this files section ). It provides safety for them if you go out and safety for your furniture and carpets that may get chewed , scratched or pooped on. Dogs should not be left in a crate for extended periods of time.
Long lines are a good idea to give your dog a bit of freedom when walking away from traffic but give the owner the safe knowledge that he can’t disappear.
Diet, something light for them when they arrive. They will probably have been fed a very poor diet in the past so start off gradually with a small amount of a middle range kibble and maybe some white fish or chicken. Please stay away from any kibbles that have artificial colourings. Not good.
If your new dog is fearful and the chances are they will be initially .....
1. Just let him be. A fearful dog doesn't want to be seen so once he is home let him choose where he wants to lie or hide. Try not to let lots of people come to see him.
2. He really doesn't want to sniff the hands of strangers or get cuddles from people he doesn't know. He doesn't want eye contact from anybody at the moment.
3. Slow hand feeding or scatter feeding will help to build up trust. Remember he has come from living in the countryside, woods, sheds and then to very noisy and scary kennels. He now has to process cars, strange noises, tvs, lots of strange people, doorbells. It is a big ask!!
4. Initially he may he worried about everything.
Your dog is unlikely to be house trained so be prepared for that. He needs to be taken out regularly. You can choose a place in your garden for him to toilet and encourage him to do so by nice rewards and some gentle praise when he has finished doing his business. If he does toilet in the house then you weren't paying attention. Dogs are big body language communicators and will have given off some signs that he needed to pee or poop. If you missed them it isn’t his fault.....it’s yours. If your carpet needs cleaned try soaking up as much as possible with paper towels and then sprinkling on a good amount of bicarb and rubbing it into the fibres, leave to dry and then hoover. You can also buy an enzymatic cleaner from a pet store. Some people suggest a biological washing powder to remove the urine smell. A carpet steamer also works well killing off any bacteria that will cause any unpleasant odour. Although this might remove the smell from your carpet your dogs super charged nose will still he able to locate the odour and he is most likely to do it here again. So be vigilant.
Remember that up till now, all his life he has been able to pee and poop where and when he wants.
This is the start of a wonderful journey for you and your new dog. There will be ups and downs , tears and tantrums (hopefully not ) successes and failures but to watch your griffon grow in confidence , thrive and learn to love is an amazing thing to experience.