What is my gut telling me?
When doing a home visit it is important to use all your senses, including your ‘sixth sense’, your intuition. To use your intuition remember the concept of permanence, what can be discussed and changed and what is just absent. Often what you see is not as important as what you hear. For example, a house might be a bomb site but what questions are they asking? Are they talking about a family holiday that they will take the dog on? Asking you about the best vets or tick treatment?
A gut test fail doesn’t mean the applicant is automatically binned (though sometimes it does), it usually means that someone else will be in touch to have a second/ targeted conversation with the applicant as we all respond differently to different people.
The questions below are intended to help guide and challenge your thinking about a visit to understand a feeling of comfort or unease with the applicant.
• Would it make me sad to leave my dog here? Explore: Would the hound be part of activities or left in the yard? Are they focused on what would make the dog happy?
• Do I believe these people will love my hound? Explore: Are they excited about the hound? Have they started making plans about what life will be like, the activities they will do with the new hound? Have they told friends and family about getting a hound?
• Will these people make changes for my hound’s comfort? Explore: Do they ‘tell’ me things rather than listen and ask? Do they talk about ‘dogs’ or ‘greyhounds’ – e.g. as a very simplified example, ‘dogs like to be outside’…rather than ‘do greyhounds like to be outside?’
• Am I happy to go home and write this visit up or do I still have questions or unease? Am I relaxed leaving the house or tense or uneasy?
For homes with children: Are the children listening to the parents instructions? Is the house one large crèche i.e. the child controls all spaces?
One house checker spoke about using a rating scale of 10, each time she saw, heard or felt something ‘out of place’ a point was deducted, a score of less than 5 failed on the ‘gut test’.
These are also things to note, some most can be resolved with discussion.
• Absence of a toilet plan – may indicate little thought has been given to the reality of owning a hound.
• Show home – may indicate that a messy dog or toilet accident could be an issue.
• Don’t want an ‘aggressive’ (sub also black, old) dog, may indicate unrealistic expectations and poor knowledge of dog behaviour.
• Protective parent of companion animal, may indicate that dog will not be treated equal – e.g. dog outside and cat inside.