I had the pleasure of talking to Professor Kathleen Marchetti about her two greyhounds, Odie(Black) and Cyder(Tan). Odie is four years old and they have had Odie for about two years. Odie was a racing greyhound in Alabama. Odie had started to go blind and was unable to race at his prime and was put up for adoption. Cyder is two years old and will be turning three this month. They have had Cyder for almost a year. Cyder was also a racing greyhound, but in Florida. Cyder’s racing career was cut short when Cyder broke its leg. Cyder has a plate in its leg from the injury preventing Cyder from racing at top speeds. In their primes Odie and Cyder could travel as fast as a car with Odie having a top speed of 35 miles per hour and Cyder having a top speed of 36 miles per hour.
With the dogs history of being racing hounds I questioned Professor Marchetti about their transition into the home and her communication tactics with them. As racing dogs they had been trained to be peak athletes and nothing else throughout their life. They were fully matured dogs, but lacked many nuances that household dogs hold. They had to learn simple things like how to go down a flight of stairs or how to go into a crate. They have also learned specific commands. Nowadays, much like any household dog, they have come to learn terms like sit, stay, walk, or food. Alongside these vocal commands they have come to also understand hand signals done with the vocals. As “sight” hounds they were bred for hunting and speed. They were meant to be able to flush out and retrieve foul and other such games. This gave them amazing eyesight and ability to visually understand a situation. This has led them to understand specific hand signals sometimes more accurately than the vocal commands.
These two dogs were once speed driven dogs with the sole purpose of racing, but have now come to be household pets. They have still shown their sight hound traits of speed and visual perception, but are goofy all the same.