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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
How to react
Go through the same steps as with the “Abused
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
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
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.
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.
Sloughis are sensitive to anesthetics, so the use of a mild sedative is
For further questions,
please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and for urgencies at 712 545