Adopting a greyhound is a rewarding experience, especially saving one from a shelter after a career in racing. Retired racing greyhounds aren’t necessarily abused in their previous lives, but it’s tough for any dog to adjust to a new setting. Raising a greyhound is much different compared to other breeds, but with a few steps, you and your new pal will be on a road to new friendship in no time.
Know the Language
Like a hunting dog, greyhounds are very closed off from other dogs (except other greys) and are very skeptical of new environments. They’ll likely be on edge when they first come home with you. Most dogs will act jittery and hyper under stress, but greyhounds will freeze and stay motionless when nervous. You can see how this nervous greyhound is acting in this video with dog expert Cesar Millan.
When this happens, give them some space before continuing any sort of training.
Reward the Rights
Greyhounds respond more to positive reinforcement than negative criticism. Instead of scolding your dog when you see it making a mistake, catch it doing something right, and give a reward. The retention of good habits will be much stronger, and the dog will grow a stronger bond when you show it happiness.
Make Training Short
A greyhound doesn’t respond well to repetition. Keep training sessions short — 30 minutes or less — and try to keep practices varied for each one. Sometimes, training tools are an effective way to let the dog learn on its own. Bark collars at Petsafe.net are a humane way to squash any noisy habits without going through repetitive exercises.
Let Him Run
Just because your greyhound’s done racing doesn’t mean it still doesn’t love running. If you’re training you dog to sit, for example, let the reward be chasing the squirrel in the yard or pacing around the butterfly it’s had an eye on. Use your greyhound’s past as a reward while also ensuring it gets the right amount of exercise each day.
At the end of the day, you need to understand that your greyhound is thrown into an entirely new lifestyle and set of surroundings. Success won’t come overnight and losing patience (remember reward versus scolding) only makes the process worse. Have a good time with your dog and learn along the way. Once greyhounds settle into their new environments, their bond with owners is rich and rewarding.