Greyhound Training to Modify Behavior Problems
If your greyhound has behavior problems, always use firm but kind and consistent methods of training. This is true in the case of any dog, but in greyhounds it is particularly important, since greyhounds, having been bred as sprinters, have light, delicate bones without much soft tissue to protect them.
One problem some greyhounds have is their instinct to chase prey. Being fast, they can be dangerous to cats or other pets. Since greyhounds are frequently taught to race, and pets may often be retired racers, they have never been socialized with other pets, and know only their own breed from having spent time at the track.
An important part of greyhound training is to teach your greyhound not to chase the family Pomeranian is by using the lure method. When your greyhound sees the smaller pet, offer the greyhound a treat, moving the treat away from the other pet. The greyhound will have to turn away from the little guy to receive the treat. Keep this up until your greyhound loses his or her desire to chase Fluffy.
Another method, which has the advantage of being generalized, is to teach your greyhound the command, “Leave it.” It requires the use of two treats, one to leave and one to reward. Show the greyhound a treat, and when it has his attention, say, “Leave it,” while offering another treat with your other hand. When your greyhound leaves it as he is supposed to do, he or she gets rewarded. The command can be generalized to the family’s pet bunny or to your dinner, so it is quite useful.
A greyhound who is retired from the racetrack is not used to living in a home, so it may be frightening at first. Greyhounds who race spend a great deal of time in crates between races. Crates are not cruel for dogs. Many owners think of how they’d feel in a crate and think of it as a jail, but a dog, particularly one in new, unknown circumstances, can find a crate a comforting den. Get your greyhound a crate large enough for it to sit, stand, and turn around, and put the crate into a place where the dog will have some privacy. Provide a dog bed or blanket and some water. Your greyhound will find this a safe den for staying when you are not at home, and this will prevent it from becoming frightened and abandoned during the day and chewing the furniture. Take your greyhound out its crate when you come home and take it for a walk. The dog will not understand about traffic, so a leash is a must.
Crates are also an effective method for greyhound housetraining. A dog will not do its business while inside its den, because it does not want to live in a mess. Take your dog out of its crate on a regular basis and take it outside immediately. Take it to the same spot to eliminate each day. Greyhounds who have been retired from the track are used to a schedule, so doing everything at the same time each day will lower their stress levels.
Greyhounds are pack dogs, and need to know who the alpha member of the pack is. That should be you. Always eat your dinner before feeding your greyhound, since pack leaders eat before the rest of the pack. Dogs should sleep in the same room as the rest of the family to avoid behavior problems, but your dog should have his own bed on the floor to let him or her know who is the alpha member of your family. When you are walking your dog, you should precede him or her when going through doors, to maintain your status as the leader.
Dogs who understand consistent rules and their place in the family are happy dogs. Let your greyhound know appropriate behaviour and have a good time with your new pet.