FOR THE LOVE OF ZOI
You, you're new to rescue & now you're Family!
You must expect an adjustment period and during this time, you must spend quality time with your new Borzoi. If you work, your evenings will be committed to helping your new dog feel secure in his or her new home. You will also probably have to get up a little earlier in the mornings to spend some quality time with your new dog before leaving for work. If you are home all day, or an adult member of your family is, this should pose no problem, but please remember that your new Borzoi does need rest. The adjustment time varies from dog to dog. You should see a marked improvement in a few days, but the total readjustment can take from four to eight weeks.
A FEW BASICS:
Always have water available in a location where the dog has easy access to it, and it will not be knocked over by human or animal.
Dogs are creatures of habit. A schedule for exercise, eating and sleeping will add to the dog's security.
Public access gates to the dog's area should be padlocked; those within your property should be latches the dog cannot open.
Your Borzoi should have its own area. A place with a blanket or crate that is theirs alone. This is not a place for punishment. Placing your dog in a corner with a dunce cap does not work. When the dog is in his or her special place, it should be left alone and children should be instructed not to bother it. Everyone, including children and yourself, needs privacy. That includes your Borzoi.
Dogs like to please the pack master (YOU, as its owner). Regular training exercises will benefit both owner and dog. Training may be as little as the "shake hands" trick or an obedience course. Obedience classes are highly recommended. There is no better way to get a dog to respond to a new owner (and vice versa)! The rewards are tremendous.
Patience, kindness and love will be returned to you tenfold.
NBRF and Team Borzoi are always here to help! Never hesitate to reach out with questions and concerns.
Don't forget to share your breakthroughs and successes! Happy stories are what rescue is all about!! Pictures are a must!!!
Hints and Tips
A FEW TIPS AND THINGS TO WATCH FOR:
All sighthounds are chasing (coursing) hounds. Your new Borzoi should NEVER be allowed off-lead in any area that is not closely fenced. Borzoi can wiggle through surprisingly small openings. Do not leave your windows open more than a few inches and of course do not ever leave your dog in a car during warm weather!! Watch your dog’s behavior in your yard for a week or so. If your new Borzoi exhibits signs of climbing, jumping or digging under your fence, you will need to take appropriate measures, such as a "HOT WIRE".
You can purchase a unit from most feed stores made for household pets that plugs into a wall socket. Stay away from battery powered units. They do not work well if you have a determined Borzoi. Run the wire at the bottom, middle and top of your fence. This will discourage your dog from trying to get out. After the first "shock", your Borzoi may be reluctant to go away from the outside door, but he or she will get over this soon and use the yard as usual.
The former life of your rescued Borzoi is not always known. Most Borzoi get along wonderfully with children IF they have been raised around them. It is dangerous to assume your new Borzoi will like children. It is threatening to a dog when a toddler or young child staggers, runs walks or jumps towards it. You must remember the Borzoi were hunters and this ancient art is inborn in any hound, no matter how many years his or her forbears have spent on the couch being fed by humans. Cats, small dogs, chickens, etc.. are "game" and unless you KNOW for a fact that your new dog does well with any, or all of the above, go VERY CAREFULLY! Remember also, until your dog has time to get to know and trust you, no kisses on the dogs face or head and no hugs! You need to develop a bond of trust with your dog first. Never allow strange adults or children to kiss or hug your dog! Some dogs think of this act as a threat.
There are many brands of dog food on the market and making a good choice can be confusing to any new owner. A high quality, non soy food is recommended. Most Borzoi do well on a self feed program where dry food is left out all the time for the dog to nibble on when ever it is hungry, or you may choose to feed regular meals. Just remember not to feed two hours prior to or after vigorous exercise. This may contribute to bloat. Until your dog adjusts to his or her new home, keep children and other dogs or animals away from the dog and its food bowl while he or she is eating.
Grooming should be considered quality time by you and your Borzoi. Brushing, nail trimming, etc.., can be done in a relaxed manner, maybe while watching TV. Some Borzoi do not like their feet touched or their nails trimmed. Unless you have had experience with the breed before and can deal with a dog pulling away while you try to cut its nails, it is best to have this done by a professional groomer or your vet.
The MOST important thing to remember regarding your new Borzoi is to call the Foundation at the very first moment you have a question, no matter how trivial or silly it may seem. The first few days or weeks are very important and we are there for you, to help in any way we can. As a matter of fact, call us with all your good stuff too!! Pictures are also a must.
Baxter and proud mom
Training and Discipline
Most Borzoi are eager to please their owners and rarely need to be punished: a stern "NO" is usually sufficient. It is necessary to establish control over your dog, and an obedience class is often the easiest and most rewarding way of doing so. Be careful to choose a good trainer, possibly one with sighthound experience. It is not necessary to hit your Borzoi, but discipline must be consistent, fair and firm, without being overly rough. A pronged choke collar is NEVER used as Borzoi are very sensitive. Remember to make training fun for your dog and always end the session on a happy note, with an exercise the dog does well. Lots of praise and sometimes a dog cookie work very well.
Alcide and family
Small Children in the Home
Adaptability to small children varies with the individual dog. Many are tolerant and loving toward toddlers; others resent the rough treatment a small child can unknowingly inflict. The former life of a Rescued Borzoi is not always known. It is threatening to some dogs (not only Borzoi) to have an 18 month to a 5 or 6 year old child stagger, run walk or jump towards them. Some breeders recommend waiting until children are at least school age or preferably older before getting any large breed. The space in your home, the age of your children and the amount of time the dog will be in contact with the children, as well as your ability to "read" a dog, should all be considered when making your decision.
Since Borzoi were bred to course (chase) other animals, they should be closely watched around cats and small dogs, although many do live happily with both. Remember also that even though a Borzoi may live happily in the house with a cat or small dog, and actually be very affectionate with the animal in the house; outside may be a different matter, particularly with a cat.
June Bug and friends
The Florida Puppy Pack
Borzoi are puppies for a long time (18 months or more). The level of destructiveness (digging, chewing, etc...) varies with age, training, temperament and the activity level of the individual dog. In general, the younger the dog, the more damage it may do. Any dog left alone for long periods will often be destructive from boredom. Lots of attention and daily exercise will usually help a great deal.
Ellie and Dad
We recommend crate training your Borzoi to insure against any destructive behavior. This is not hard, nor is it cruel. What is cruel is leaving a dog for any period of time alone and being upset when the dog as done something destructive, chewed an electrical cord or injured itself, or ingested an object which may require a trip to the veterinarian. If your dog is safely in his or her crate, the dog as well as your home are secure. You do not have to worry about what your dog is doing while you are out and both you, and the dog, are happy upon your return.
Be sure to purchase a crate that is large enough so an adult dog can stand, move around and lay down comfortably. We recommend a wire crate as opposed to an airline crate. This way, even when the dog is in the crate, it can see its surroundings and still feel safe. Remember to keep the crate pulled away from the wall, electrical outlets or anything the dog may be able to pull into the crate such as curtains.
Every time you put the dog in the crate, use a word or phrase such as "kennel-up". At first, the dog may not willingly enter the crate, so you must put it inside. Stay with the dog for a short time (5 minutes or so) and talk reassuringly to it, then let the dog out and give it lots of praise and a treat. Repeat this two or three times. Next, put the dog into the crate with a treat, secure the door and leave the room for 5 or 10 minutes. If the dog barks, cries or whines, ignore it. At the end of the allotted time, return to the dog and let it out. Give him or her a treat and lots of praise. After doing this several times, start leaving the dog for longer periods, always leaving the dog toys or treats in the crate and giving the dog a treat and praise upon your return. If the dog is left for long periods of time always leave clean food and water inside the crate.
You will find that after a period of time, your Borzoi will actually like the crate and go into it when tired or when it just wants to be left alone. DO NOT USE THE CRATE AS PUNISHMENT! You want your Borzoi to like the crate and to think of it as their "den". It is alright to put the dog into the crate for a "time-out" period to settle down if it has become over active in the house as most puppies do at times.
A large yard with a six foot fence is ideal, but Borzoi have been successfully kept in apartments. A fenced yard or large dog run is essential for a puppy or young dog; it will help keep the dog exercised and reduce boredom. If you do not have adequate space, or the time to walk a dog several times a day, you may want to consider a smaller dog.
Borzoi tolerate cool weather better than excessive heat. Dogs should never be left outside in direct sun during the summer weather. Regardless of the locale, the dog must have shelter.
Grooming your Borzoi
A Borzoi's coat requires little care other than occasional shampooing and a weekly brushing. Yearly veterinary check-ups, immunizations as well as heartworm and fecal checks are of course, imperative for continued good health.
REQUIRED GROOMING EQUIPMENT:
A medium metal comb
A large, heavy duty, slicker brush. (The best ones are referred to as universal brushes)
A pair of heavy duty nail clippers
Ear cleaner and real cotton balls. The best ear cleaner can be made in your own kitchen. (In a plastic container such as an empty rubbing alcohol bottle mix 1/3 part water, 1/3 part rubbing alcohol and 1/3 part white vinegar. This can be stored till used up.)
A pair of sharp, slightly curved scissors
After toughly brushing your dog with the slicker brush, comb the dog with the metal comb. In this way you can be sure there are no mats or tangles left in the coat. If there are, work with your fingers and the brush to remove them. Pay special attention to the dog’s rear feather area, chest, behind the ears, tail and underbelly. Particularly with a male, be sure not to pull or tug on their private areas.
If you are up to it, trim the dogs nails only a little at a time. It is best if you have a professional groomer or your vet show you how to do this before you attempt it at home. In case you trim the nail too far back and cause it to bleed, you should have a product on hand to stop the bleeding. The powdered products work best and can be purchased at your local pet supply store. A good one is called "Quick-Stop".
Now you can scissor any hair growing on the bottom of your dogs pads (bottom of the foot). Be careful not to cut the pads of the foot. Sometimes a curved scissor is the best using the curve of the scissor level or just above the curve of the dog’s pads. (The curve of the scissor and the curve of the dog’s foot should be the same. Never cut the hair when the curve of the scissor is opposite the curve of the dogs foot; you will cut the dog). With your brush lift the hair on top of the foot up and with your fingers, gently pull the hair between the toes up. While holding the dog’s foot in your hand, scissor the hair level with the dog’s foot.
Most Borzoi are quiet house dogs, but all need regular exercise for good health. Since the Borzoi is a Sighthound, (using its eyes to find quarry) it is very alert to movement and may run off unexpectedly after what it perceives as "game" (a cat, squirrels, blowing leaves, etc...). For this reason, your Borzoi must ALWAYS be kept on a leash when not in a fenced area.
Eye disease is common to many breeds including the Borzoi and many cause blindness. An annual check by a canine ophthalmologist is recommended. Bloat (gastric dilation) and torsion are not uncommon in all deep-chested breeds. Prompt recognition of symptoms and immediate veterinary attention are imperative.
Bloat and/or Torsion
Know what to look for!!
Disinclination to move or the inability to get comfortable
Walking with legs held outward from the body
Shock (pale mucus membrane, rapid, thready pulse, drop in body temperature (normal rectal temperature for a dog or cat is 101 to 102 degrees.
Abdomen tense and painful
Whining and nuzzling of dogs side or flank
TORSION OF THE SPLEEN
Inability to keep food or water down
Abdomen may or may not be distended
ANYTIME YOUR DOG DISPLAYS ANY OR ALL OF THE ABOVE SYMPTOMS, YOU SHOULD IMMEDIATELY SEE YOUR VETERNARIAN. IF YOUR VETERINARIAN IS NOT AVAILABLE, SEEK THE CLOSEST VERTERINARIAN POSSIBLE. SYMPTOMS MAY BE CAUSED BY SOMETHING ELSE, BUT WITH BLOAT/TORSION, TIME LAPSE IS CRITICAL!!! THIS IS AN EMERGENCY SITUATION!
Trust - A Deadly Disease
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 are inoculations. The disease is called trust.
You knew before you ever took your Borzoi home that it could not be trusted. The people who provided you with this precious animal warned you, drummed it into your head. A newly rescued Borzoi may steal off counters, destroy something expensive, chase cats, and must never be allowed off his lead!
When the big day finally arrived, heeding the sage advice, you escorted your dog to his new home, properly collared and tagged, the lead held tightly in your hand. At home the house was "doggie proofed." Everything of value was stored in the spare bedroom, garbage stowed on top of the refrigerator, cats separated, and a gate placed across the door to the living room. All windows and doors had been properly secured and signs placed in strategic points reminding all to "CLOSE THE DOOR"
Soon it becomes second nature to make sure the door closes a second after it was opened and that it really latched. "DON'T LET THE DOG OUT" is your second most verbalized expression. (The first is NO!) You worry and fuss constantly, terrified that your darling will get out and a disaster will surely follow. Your friends comment about who you love most, your family or the dog. You know that to relax your vigil for a moment might lose him to you forever.
And so the weeks and months pass, with your Borzoi becoming more civilized every day, and the seeds of trust are planted. It seems that each new day brings less mischief, less breakage. Almost before you know it your racer has turned into an elegant, dignified friend.
Now that he is a more reliable, sedate companion, you take him more places. No longer does he chew the steering wheel when left in the car. And darned if that cake wasn't still on the counter this morning. And, oh yes, wasn't that the cat he was sleeping with so cozily on your pillow last night? At this point you are beginning to become infected, the disease is spreading its roots deep into your mind.
And then one of your friends suggests obedience. You shake your head and remind her that your dog might run away if allowed off the lead, but you are reassured when she promises the events are held in a fenced area. And, wonder of wonders, he did not run away, but came every time you called him!
All winter long you go to weekly obedience classes. After a time you even let him run loose from the car to the house when you get home. Why not, he always runs straight to the door, dancing a frenzy of joy and waits to be let in. Remember, he comes every time he is called. You know he is the exception that proves the rule. (And sometimes, late at night, you even let him slip out the front door to go potty and then right back in.) At this point the disease has taken hold, waiting only for the right time and place to rear its ugly head.
Years pass--it is hard to remember why you ever worried so much when he was new. He would never think of running out the door left open while you bring in the packages from the car. It would be beneath his dignity to jump out the window of the car while you run into the convenience store. And when you take him for those wonderful long walks at dawn, it only takes one whistle to send him racing back to you in a burst of speed when the walk comes too close to the highway. (He still gets into the garbage, but nobody is perfect.)
This is the time the disease has waited for so patiently. Sometimes it only has to wait a year or two, but often it takes much longer.
He spies the neighbor dog across the street, and suddenly forgets everything he ever knew about not slipping outdoors, jumping out windows, or coming when called due to traffic. Perhaps it was only a paper fluttering in the breeze, or even just the sheer joy of running--
Stopped in an instant. Stilled forever--your heart is broken at the sight of his still beautiful body. The disease is trust. The final outcome, hit by a car.
Every morning my dog Shah bounced around off his lead exploring. Every morning for seven years he came back when he was called. He was perfectly obedient, perfectly trustworthy. He died fourteen hours after being hit by a car. Please do not risk your friend and your heart. Save the trust for things that do not matter.
I would like to offer two additional accounts about the dangers of an unfenced area.
This first account is really a basic tragic accident, due to an improperly fitting collar. The owners actually had the dog on a lead, but unfortunately were using only a flat buckle collar on the dog. The dog became frightened at something, and just backed out of her collar. She took off away from them at top speed. Before they could manage to even get close to catching up to her, she had run out onto a road, and was instantly killed by a car. This is one of the reasons we advise using a halter while walking your Borzoi in an unfenced area.
The second account involves too much trust and a lack of common sense. The owners lived somewhat out in the country. Their home was surrounded by woods and they were well off any major roadway. They had their new Borzoi about three weeks, when I got the phone call that I hate the most, "Our Borzoi is lost!" I knew these owners did not have a fenced yard, but they had sworn they would keep the dog on a lead when taken outdoors. Upon further questioning, I discovered that they quit using the lead after about the first week. The weather had gotten cold, and so early in the mornings they would simply turn her out the back door, wait for her to "do her business," then call her back in. "she ALWAYS came when she was called," the woman lamented to me. They felt it was safe enough to allow her off the lead for just short bits of time, as they didn't live near a high traffic road, and she had never ventured into the woods before. Unfortunately, the Borzoi DID bound off into the woods this particular morning. Perhaps she heard a squirrel rustling in some nearby leaves, or smelled a rabbit, but whatever the reason, she had taken off into the woods, and they could not find her. Our hopes of finding her safe and sound faded a little more with each passing day, and no sign of the pretty Borzoi
After several weeks, our worst fears were confirmed. We got a call from a very nice man, who had been walking through the woods with his son when they discovered the still, cold body of a Borzoi. He got our number off her collar ID tag. She was found many, many miles from her home.
Why did she run off this time when she had been so reliable before? Why didn't she come racing back as she always had when her family called for her? who knows? What we do know is that ultimately dogs will be dogs. No matter how much or how long you train and teach your dog, there may come a point where their instincts will win over learned behavior. Please don't be fooled into a false sense of security with your Borzoi. Take the time, make that little extra effort, to ensure your Borzoi will be safe. Remember, they are depending on you.