Most racing greyhounds eventually end up available for adoption after their racing years are over. Greyhounds are lovable, smart, sensitive dogs that make wonderful pets. However, there are a few things you should know about training them before you make the decision to adopt a racing greyhound.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
Establish pack leadership. Greyhounds are pack animals. They need to know which member of the pack is alpha dog. When you first bring a racing greyhound home he will spend a lot of time following you around and looking at you. He is looking for signs from you, as his alpha dog, to tell him what is expected of him in the new pack. If you do not take leadership, he will.
Be consistent when you train. A greyhound wants to please the alpha dog, but in order to please you, he needs to understand what you want. If the rules are changing all of the time he will get confused and frustrated.
Socialize your greyhound with other animals. Racing greyhounds have usually been well socialized with people but they have never seen animals other then other greyhounds.
Show affection to your greyhound. Racing greyhounds are typically not abused by their handlers, but their life to this point has been pretty much without affection. Retired racing greyhounds have a lot of love to give and will respond to shows of affection.
Control the environment while training your greyhound. If your greyhound is doing something wrong, it is because he is being rewarded for it in some way. It is important to remove the reward for the bad behavior. For example if he steals food from the counter, the food is the reward. Keep the counter clear of all food until you have your greyhound trained.
Reward good behavior quickly. You have about one second to give the reward when good behavior is displayed. The reward can be a treat or it can be a show of love and affection. If it takes longer than a second for the reward to be given, the connection to the behavior is not made.
Focus on what you want your new dog to do instead of what you want him to stop doing. By rewarding good behavior you will train your dog what is required of him from his new pack and the bad behavior will stop on its own.
Tips and warnings
- Be patient. Most racing greyhounds have never had a chance to be a puppy. You might find that your new friend acts out some puppy behavior when she comes into your home, such as chewing. In most cases, she will outgrow it very quickly.
- Avoid punishment. Most of the time punishment is not effective anyway. Like reward it needs to be given immediately following a behavior. It also has to be given every time the dog displays the behavior.