By Dominique Crapon de Caprona Ph.D.

      Although the breed is quite rare in the USA, it is a sad thing that Sloughis have been found in shelters since the 1980’s, and have been rescued on a regular basis by Sighthound lovers. This text does not pretend to cover all possible scenarios and all possible ways of dealing with them, but it is written in an attempt to help the wonderful people who have been or are willing to invest their time in fostering, transporting, rehabilitating and adopting Sloughis. 

      First and foremost, three distinctive features of the Sloughi temperament should be kept in mind when dealing with this breed. 
1) Sloughis are very sensitive sighthounds which under normal 
circumstances develop a very strong bond to their owner. They are protective of their owner and his/her territory: house, yard, car. Sloughis are very good watch-dogs, and differ in this way from some other sighthound breeds. 
2) They are typically aloof and wary of people and surroundings 
they do not know. They do not like to be touched by strangers, but they love to be cuddled by the person with whom they bond. 
3) Sloughis living in packs develop a very strict hierarchy very similar to that of Wolves, with a dominant dog and/or bitch, and subordinates of various ranks. 

      Sloughis which show up at shelters come there for different reasons: the owner cannot keep them anymore; they were found as strays and/or are injured; they were rescued from less than ideal living conditions; they were abused, and so on. The way they react to human beings will reflect the conditions in which they have been raised. Let us go through some of these potential cases, starting with the most severe scenarios. 

The Abused Sloughi 

What to expect 
1) extreme fear when approached by a human being, with overt signs of distress: strong shivering, cringing, hiding, tail between legs, ears tightly folded backward, all exaggerated signs of submission. 
2) Fear mixed with aggression, the dog bolts, highly nervous with tail between legs, ears tightly folded backwards, cringing and snarling/barking at the same time, trying to snap to defend itself. 
In both cases expect urinating and defecating as results of high stress. 

How to react 
The key here is to stay extremely calm and be a soothing presence for the dog, and not try to crowd a scared dog with too many new things at the same time. Always move very slowly. 
1) Take a day off, if not more, when the dog comes to your place.
2) Bring the dog crated into a very calm room, in which it cannot damage anything, away from other people or dogs, if possible with a direct access to a fenced run. 
3) Put the crate on the ground; let the dog settle 5-10 minutes. 
4) Bring a bowl of food and water outside of the crate, and slowly open the 
crate’s door.  Got sit down a bit further and wait. Avoid fast movements or trying to force the dog out of its crate: it will feel cornered and may snap.  The best is really to wait until this dog comes out of its crate by himself. When he does, do not move, let him look and sniff around, and give him time to adjust. Do not move if he approaches slowly to sniff you, usually from the back, but sometimes from the front. Let him investigate. 
When he approaches from the front a second time, extend your hand slowly with a treat on your flat palm (fingers extended like when you give a treat to a horse). 
5) When the dog reacts positively and approaches you, take treats from you, and you can see it is calming down, get up slowly, walk around a bit in slow motion, ignoring the dog and sit down again. The Sloughi will observe you closely. 
Repeat from the beginning. The more abused and the older the dog the more time it will need to adjust. 
6) Once the dog calms down and feels comfortable (it can take days) and 
you know what his favorite treat is, try to approach him yourself slowly by keeping at his eye level, kneeling if possible. Facing, bending forward and looking at a Sloughi’s eyes is perceived by him as a threat. Once it accepts that you approach him, you can approach standing from the side with that treat. 
7) Eventually when the dog is calm, try to very slowly pat him by touching 
his thigh or back; keep away from the head at the beginning. Talk soothingly. 
8) Once it has accepted all of this and is trusting you , and only then,  try to 
bring a leash and collar in, put it on the ground and let him sniff it, always using the same soothing words. Slowly put the collar on (even if he already has one on) with leash attached and held in your hand, leave it on 2-3 minutes, without trying to move your Sloughi, then remove it. Repeat several times, increasing slowly the time the collar is on. Praise often. 
Leashes are often used to beat dogs and are then perceived as a source of pain by abused dogs. What the dog needs to learn here is that a leash in your hand does not hurt. 
8) Once he does, proceed with normal leash training, enticing with treats so the Sloughi learns to follow the leash and not fight it. 

In general, well socialized Sloughis prefer a good cuddle than treats when they have done the right thing, and if your rescue Sloughi develops some affection for you, he will love that too. 

The Un-socialized/Feral Sloughi 

I used “un-socialized” here to describe a Sloughi, which had little or no contact with human beings, and possibly lived as a member of a pack. In the latter case, it is important to know whether that particular Sloughi was a submissive member of the pack or a dominant one. 
What to expect: 
Expect 3 kinds of reaction in such Sloughis when confronted with human beings 
1) fear (submissive) 
2) fear mixed with aggression (submissive) 
as in the abused Sloughi scenario, however not as exaggerated. 
How to react 
Go through the same steps as with the “Abused Sloughi” 
3) aggression.

A) He/she is the leader of a pack and is assertive on his/her turf. This does not mean that it will remain like this once this animal is removed from the pack and put in an entirely different set-up. The behavior of a dominant Sloughi is erect posture, head up, tail up, assertive stance, ears forward when attentive, growling and barking on its territory ears folded back, standing its ground. 
How to react 
I recommend here to watch this dog several days when removed from its pack, before sending it to a foster home, to see how it behaves away from its pack and role as leader.  It may become very submissive to people. In general, such assertive animals need a firm hand ready to praise and correct at the same time, and I recommend muzzling at the beginning of rehabilitation until the dog has adjusted to relate to an alpha human. Expect such a Sloughi to be assertive to other dogs later on. 
B) The dog has learned to be aggressive towards humans and has lost any  inhibition of biting them. 

How to react 
This is a highly extreme case, and one I have yet to encounter with Sloughis. However, there is, as in other breeds, always a possibility that such a dog may need attention. I do not recommend anyone with no experience in dealing with aggression in dogs to foster or adopt such a Sloughi, before extensive training and rehabilitation is undertaken, to assess how bad the problem is and whether it is to be corrected at all. 

The Abandoned Sloughi 

What to Expect 
I refer here to a Sloughi who is given to a shelter by its owner who for whatever reason cannot take care of him anymore. Such a Sloughi will be disoriented, scared, but should adjust to other human beings (unless he was abused) more easily than the cases treated above. 

How to React 
This is the least complicated situation, and with common sense and patience, and doing things one step at a time, such a Sloughi should not be a problem. 


       Before transporting the abused and the un-socialized/feral Sloughi, I recommend adding some sedative to their food before doing so. This will make them easier to handle and help ease their fear of these things they have no experience with: being in a crate, a car, traffic, etc., experiences which can be very traumatic. 
      Like Greyhounds Sloughis are sensitive to anesthetics, so the use of a mild sedative is recommended here. 
      For further questions, please contact me at and for urgencies at 712 545 9098


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