Are Greyhounds Easy to Train: the truth about training your greyhound


Greyhounds are not bred to be pets, so they require patient training to adapt to home life. That effort, however, will reward you with a magnificent pet.

Greyhounds are easy to train for these reasons: 

—They are usually adults when you get them

—They love structure

—They are exceptionally well-socialized dogs

A greyhound coming to live in your home will need three kinds of training – Potty, indoor behavior, and following commands. Unlike other breeds, your greyhound’s whole life has involved training, so he’s familiar with the concept and is eager to please; but it’s essential to understand how his mind works. 

It’s easy for a greyhound owner to become frustrated with the dog’s seeming lack of cooperation in training. I often faced this myself, until I learned to step back and ask myself these three things:

  • What is his reason for acting this way?
  • What result do I need from him?
  • What will I do to motivate him to produce this result?

You may be surprised when I tell you that the people who seem to struggle the most with training a greyhound are those who have long experience with other breeds. Greyhounds are a breed apart! They know they’re good dogs, and what you call “training” can seem, to them, like irrational behavior on your part. If you have ever stood there, snapping off commands like a four-star general, with your greyhound looking on in dogly concern, as though, perhaps, you weren’t feeling well, you’ll know what I mean.

Some Essential Truths About the Typical Greyhound Personality

They’re smart and can be trained; but are not always obedient, because of their independent/stubborn nature (some more than others). 

Training a greyhound isn’t just tricks and commands. You’re building a working relationship between you and a creature who’s coming to live in your home for the next decade.  

Now, this doesn’t rule out teaching tricks and commands, either. One of my viewers recently told me about how much fun he has teaching tricks to his lurcher…. but his underlying message was not so much a list of his dog’s accomplishments, as it was a testament to the relationship they have built up around this activity. 

If you think about your happiest parent-child memories, would any of them center around an activity that the child hated, but the parent forced upon him? It’s the same with dogs – You want to watch closely to learn your greyhound’s natural talents, and train using that as your foundation. 

 Dogs’ memories are basic – this is a double-edged sword. That’s why it’s important to be clear and consistent. Rewards need to be immediate, or they don’t make the connection. 

The time to train is right from the start. 

The way to begin is with the most basic things, things that your dog can already do; so he associates training with fun and positive feelings. 

Training is constant and preventative. 

The WORST time to train is after your dog does something you don’t want. 

Greyhounds don’t respond well to negativity of any kind. Negative reinforcement can damage your dog’s trust in you. 

Of course, this doesn’t mean they should be allowed to be threatening or otherwise misbehave. If your greyhound is acting out in any manner, get in touch with the person who adopted the dog out to you. 

Every dog is different. Some things are common to every dog, and some things are common to every greyhound, too; but there will always be differences. Your greyhound has his own unique personality. Observe your greyhound as much as possible! Knowing his unique personality is the key to effective training. 

What Do You Consider “Training?”

How successful you will be in training your greyhound depends heavily on what you consider training. If you’re thinking of the typical obedience school stuff and cute tricks, you may need to rethink that. Greyhounds are not circus dogs. They are purpose-bred. As such, everything you teach them needs to have a clear purpose that they can understand (even if the purpose if to have fun), not just be an act of entertainment or blind submission.

For example, the staple of most obedience school training is “sit.” It can actually be cruel to insist a greyhound sit, because often the reason the dog was available as a pet is that he has an injury to one of his back legs. Combine that with the tight muscles across his back quarters, and you have a creature for whom the typical dog sitting position may be very uncomfortable, not impossible, but uncomfortable. You may need to reframe your thinking: is it really necessary that your greyhound be forced to sit? What is your purpose, and can it be accomplished a different way?

In theory, a greyhound can certainly learn any command that can be learned by any dog, but in the time it takes to do so, you’ve taken that time away from teaching him other essential things. 

Let’s explore those things:

1. Establish yourself as the leader of your pack

I know this sounds like a fantasy, but everyone behaves better when they’re understood, and that includes greyhounds. Your greyhound has spent his whole life with strong leadership, and now he looks to you for that leadership. Without it, he’s just “winging it,” as far as behavior goes….

….and you don’t want your greyhound “winging it.”

I hate the popular misuse of “literally” but this is – literally – a matter of life and death for both you and your greyhound. One errant chipmunk, and you can go from a hale-and-hearty owner, out walking his dog on a sunny day, to total disaster. By that, I mean your greyhound, running in the path of a car, or chasing after the chipmunk,  with his leash still attached. The leash can catch on something, with fatal results. 

Sadly, it’s not unusual for a greyhound to just keep running, until he is hopelessly lost. Small animals, when being chased, do not run a straight path. It is part of their natural defense to zigzag and double back.

 In addition, the greyhound becomes horrified when he realizes that he is alone in a foreign place. Now, every noise will scare him into flight, propelling him further from home (that’s as painful for me to write, as it is for you to read). 

Being a Good Pack Leader Keeps You Safe, Too

My warning does not just refer to newly-retired greyhounds or those with first-time owners. It happened to me, after 18 years of greyhound ownership, with a dog I had been walking for nearly a year. Just to crunch the numbers, I‘d walked Lily, successfully, 600 times; and had completed over 10,000 injury-free walks with a greyhound. 

…but, you know what they say, it’s that 10,001st that’ll kill you!

I was stumbling along with Lily, early one morning. This is usually my husband’s shift with the dog, but he was working overtime, so I packed my kids off to school, and ventured out. 

Along the way, we encountered a couple walking a Weimaraner, who barked and lunged at Lily. The owners clearly had him under control, though; and we passed each other, a few feet apart, without incident…or so I thought. 

The next thing I knew, I was airborne, pushed forward, and came down hard on my chin. 

Do you know where your nearest Level One trauma center is? I do…now. 

It took me a while, and many more walks to put together what, exactly, had happened that day…and I have come to realize that it was all my fault. 

I allowed Lily to linger behind me, in that moment when we passed the other dog; and, in doing so, I lost touch with her at a critical moment. When I decided that the Weimaraner was not a threat, I assumed Lily would be in sync with me. She wasn’t. Her response was to step protectively between me and the other dog, and nudge me forward with her shoulder. She hit me behind my knees, and knocked me off-balance….

…which brings me to my next point:

2. Train and heavily reward loose-leash walking.

…So, even after walking thousands of miles with greyhounds, I had not yet learned to prevent blind spots when my dog is on a leash.  Leash manners are important.  They save you countless aggravation, as well as protect you from long-term injury.  Don’t worry – I’m not about to tell you another horror story about my dog knocking me over!  

…but I am going to tell you about a funny, little quirk that greyhounds have – The Greyhound Tizzy!  When most dogs encounter something startling during their walk, they will stop, stare, and bark – Not greyhounds! They will dart around you in little circles, and you can find yourself tangled up in the leash very quickly!

Another thing to consider is that your greyhound is a retired professional athlete, and you are probably not.  If he often pulls while you’re walking him, that puts a terrible strain on your wrists, shoulders, and back; the kind of strain that you don’t realize is causing any harm, until it is too late.  One day, you notice stiffness. Eventually, it might hurt a little on rainy days. Before you know it, your back or shoulder hurts all the time. If you’re blaming this on your age, have another look at your greyhound’s leash manners.

It’s Important to Heel

I always train my greyhound to walk with his head near my left leg, where I can see him out of the corner of my eye. The dog stays so close to me, I have to take up slack on a four-foot leash, to keep both of us from tripping over it.  This is much safer, because it prevents the dog from bolting and pulling me over; but it also protects your joints and spine from the strain of always holding back your dog.  I learned this the hard way, too; but, luckily, I figured out what was causing my sore shoulder and that funny pain in my back. Once I stopped the pulling, my aches and pains cleared up fairly quickly.

3. Prevent Behaviors & Remove Temptations

Remember earlier, when I mentioned how important it is to get to know your greyhound’s personality? Well, that is what you will need to prevent any behaviors you cannot control. 

Some preventative measures are obvious: greyhounds are tall, strong, and adore food, so don’t leave food where they can reach it. A friend found this out the hard way, when she set a stick of butter out on the counter to soften for a recipe… and it vanished, wrapper and all.  

My son has had the same problem with sandwiches.  He’ll make a real beauty, sit down with it, and realize he forgot his drink.  By the time he’s back, all that remains is the empty plate; and it happens because he puts the sandwich on a low table, or the edge of the couch, and Lily thinks it’s for her.  Then, she doesn’t understand why he’s upset with her, but she feels terrible.  “He seems unhappy,” she thinks, “How strange.  Everything seemed so matey last night, when he sat on this very couch, feeding me sandwich bits.” 

Teach your Greyhound to Eat in his Space

You’ll have far fewer problems with your greyhound, if you don’t feed him from or near your furniture.  If I want to give Lily the rest of my sandwich, I either put it in her bowl, or walk over to a clear place on the floor and make her do a trick for it.  I’ve noticed that if I occasionally walk away from my plate, she leaves it alone.  I don’t push my luck, though…

There is a training technique that is very effective for greyhounds, called NILIF. That stands for nothing in life is free. If you are having trouble with a particularly unruly greyhound, or you’re a new greyhound owner who wants to go into this relationship with a defined training plan, this is the one I recommend. There is plenty of detail on NILIF; just plug it into your search bar.  

4. Disrupt prey-driven behavior at the first sign (NIP IT!!!).

A greyhound’s impulse to chase is very strong. When that impulse takes over, your greyhound will tune you out. That’s why it’s important to keep your attention on your dog, and distract his interest while you still can. The window of opportunity on this is very short. No matter how angelic your greyhound is, you’re competing against generations of breeding. 

How successful you will be in distracting him is another matter. It all depends on your approach. If you treat the prey-driven greyhound as though he is rebelling against you, you will be completely ignored. When your greyhound is “on the hunt,” he tunes out his surroundings and intensifies all his focus on his prey. 

To regain his attention, you will need to do something unexpected. My favorite trick for this is from Cesar Milan, the Dog Whisperer!  Stand by your dog’s side, and – without turning around – sneak your foot up and tap him on the flank, while you click your tongue and say “Leave it.” If your greyhound happens to be leashed at the time, move him right along, shortening the leash, if necessary. 

What Works Vs. What Doesn’t Work When Training Greyhound 

Consistency vs. Redundancy

Greyhounds have very short attention spans (must be that tiny head!). They will learn very well if you work on a command once a day, with maybe one repetition. If you gave the same command at the same time every day for a week, he would learn it.  If you tried giving the same command seven times in one session, he’d probably drop out after the second time…maybe even after the first!

Specialized & Varied Rewards vs. Same Reward All The Time

Greyhounds love novelty and variety.  These things appeal to their natural curiousity.  If you give your greyhound the same treat every time, he may eventually lose interest in it.  We like to keep a few different types of treats available for Lily at all times.  A bonus benefit of this is that what I’m teaching her seems to stick in her head better, when she associates it with a certain, distinct treat. 

That’s why I always keep a Slim Jim aside for rainy days, when nothing else will get her to move!  I slice off a two small-ish chunks.  She gets the first one as soon as we step out the door, and the second one as soon as she does her “business.” She never gets the adored Slim Jim any other time.

Small, Immediate Rewards vs. One Big, Random Reward

I do a lot of breaking large cookies and treats into smaller pieces.  Greyhounds tend to value frequent, little rewards over occasion Big-Kahuna treats. Not that they’d turn one of those down; they just don’t have much training value.  Also, hand over the treat immediately upon getting the behavior you want, or your greyhound will never make the connection between treat and reward.  

Gentle Hands vs. Any Kind of Angry or Physical Punishment 

Never, ever use any kind of physical punishment on your greyhound.  Punishment is cruel and completely wasted on creatures who have no instinctive concept of it.  If you act punitively toward your greyhound, all you will train him to do is to mistrust you. 

The word “No” is effective only when used sparingly. Use it too much, and your greyhound will just tune you out.

Signaling Touches vs. Force

On the other hand, a gentle touch can be very effective in training your greyhound, as shown above, when I told you about giving him a sneaky tap on his flank to distract his prey drive.  Distraction works.  Pain, anger, and fear do not.  

You can, and should, be physical in your leadership. Your greyhound expects this, and if you aren’t physical, he will be!  A good example is training your greyhound to let you through the door first. He expects this of you, as pack leader; but you need to come and take it. 

Using Things He Can Do Already vs. Foreign Skill Sets

Your greyhound has learned a lot by the time you get him.  Watch him closely for any interesting things he does.  Try a few commands, and see if he recognizes any of them.  When you find something he can already do, then work on getting him to do it on command. I know that sounds more like the dog is training you; but you can never go wrong when you work according to a creature’s natural instincts.

For example, my son was a good swimmer, and we had a pool. I could have pushed him into competitive swimming, and he would’ve been quite good, except for one thing – He wasn’t interested.  He ended up choosing wrestling, and that was the sport that taught him the life-lessons I’d hoped he’d learn from swimming.

The first time I prepared Lily’s dinner, I was amazed to look up from my preparations and see her sitting!  My other two never sat, and I never tried to train them.  I know people do so, sometimes; but I see no value in training tha dog to do something that is not in his nature. Since Lily could already sit, I taught her the command, and we use it every day. 

Short Sessions vs. Long Sessions

As I mentioned earlier, keep it down to one or two attempts.  If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again…tomorrow!  If you can move on to another command, so he ends with a success, that’s great!  If not, just hang out with him and pet him for a few minutes.  Knowing that you love him is the most valuable thing you can train into your greyhound.

Greyhounds are not bred to be pets, so they require patient training to adapt to home life. That effort, however, will reward you with a magnificent pet.

Greyhounds are easy to train for these reasons:
1. They are usually adults when you get them
2. They love structure
3. They are exceptionally well-socialized dogs

A greyhound coming to live in your home will need three kinds of training – Potty, indoor behavior, and following commands. Unlike other breeds, your greyhound’s whole life has involved training, so he’s familiar with the concept and is eager to please; but it’s essential to understand how his mind works.

It’s easy for a greyhound owner to become frustrated with the dog’s seeming lack of cooperation in training. I often faced this myself, until I learned to step back and ask myself these three things:
* What is his reason for acting this way?
* What result do I need from him?
* What will I do to motivate him to produce this result?

You may be surprised when I tell you that the people who seem to struggle the most with training a greyhound are those who have long experience with other breeds. Greyhounds are a breed apart! They know they’re good dogs, and what you call “training” can seem, to them, like irrational behavior on your part. If you have ever stood there, snapping off commands like a four-star general, with your greyhound looking on in dogly concern, as though, perhaps, you weren’t feeling well, you’ll know what I mean.

Here are some essential truths about the typical greyhound personality:

They’re smart and can be trained; but are not always obedient, because of their independent/stubborn nature (some more than others).

Training a greyhound isn’t just tricks and commands. You’re building a working relationship between you and a creature who’s coming to live in your home for the next decade.
Now, this doesn’t rule out teaching tricks and commands, either. One of my viewers recently told me about how much fun he has teaching tricks to his lurcher…. but his underlying message was not so much a list of his dog’s accomplishments, as it was a testament to the relationship they have built up around this activity.
If you think about your happiest parent-child memories, would any of them center around an activity that the child hated, but the parent forced upon him? It’s the same with dogs – You want to watch closely to learn your greyhound’s natural talents, and train using that as your foundation.

Dogs’ memories are basic – this is a double-edged sword. That’s why it’s important to be clear and consistent. Rewards need to be immediate, or they don’t make the connection.

The time to train is right from the start.

The way to begin is with the most basic things, things that your dog can already do; so he associates training with fun and positive feelings.

Training is constant and preventative.
The WORST time to train is after your dog does something you don’t want.

Greyhounds don’t respond well to negativity of any kind. Negative reinforcement can damage your dog’s trust in you.
Of course, this doesn’t mean they should be allowed to be threatening or otherwise misbehave. If your greyhound is acting out in any manner, get in touch with the person who adopted the dog out to you.

Every dog is different. Some things are common to every dog, and some things are common to every greyhound, too; but there will always be differences. Your greyhound has his own unique personality. Observe your greyhound as much as possible! Knowing his unique personality is the key to effective training.

How successful you will be in training your greyhound depends heavily on what you consider training. If you’re thinking of the typical obedience school stuff and cute tricks, you may need to rethink that. Greyhounds are not circus dogs. They are purpose-bred. As such, everything you teach them needs to have a clear purpose that they can understand (even if the purpose if to have fun), not just be an act of entertainment or blind submission.

For example, the staple of most obedience school training is “sit.” It can actually be cruel to insist a greyhound sit, because often the reason the dog was available as a pet is that he has an injury to one of his back legs. Combine that with the tight muscles across his back quarters, and you have a creature for whom the typical dog sitting position may be very uncomfortable, not impossible, but uncomfortable. You may need to reframe your thinking: is it really necessary that your greyhound be forced to sit? What is your purpose, and can it be accomplished a different way?

In theory, a greyhound can certainly learn any command that can be learned by any dog, but in the time it takes to do so, you’ve taken that time away from teaching him other essential things.

Let’s explore those things:

1 Establish yourself as the leader of your pack

I know this sounds like a fantasy, but everyone behaves better when they’re understood, and that includes greyhounds. Your greyhound has spent his whole life with strong leadership, and now he looks to you for that leadership. Without it, he’s just “winging it,” as far as behavior goes….

….and you don’t want your greyhound “winging it.”

I hate the popular misuse of “literally” but this is – literally – a matter of life and death for both you and your greyhound. One errant chipmunk, and you can go from a hale-and-hearty owner, out walking his dog on a sunny day, to total disaster. By that, I mean your greyhound, running in the path of a car, or chasing after the chipmunk, with his leash still attached. The leash can catch on something, with fatal results.

Sadly, it’s not unusual for a greyhound to just keep running, until he is hopelessly lost. Small animals, when being chased, do not run a straight path. It is part of their natural defense to zigzag and double back.

In addition, the greyhound becomes horrified when he realizes that he is alone in a foreign place. Now, every noise will scare him into flight, propelling him further from home (that’s as painful for me to write, as it is for you to read).

My warning does not just refer to newly-retired greyhounds or those with first-time owners. It happened to me, after 18 years of greyhound ownership, with a dog I had been walking for nearly a year. Just to crunch the numbers, I‘d walked Lily, successfully, 600 times; and had completed over 10,000 injury-free walks with a greyhound.

…but, you know what they say, it’s that 10,001st that’ll kill you!

I was stumbling along with Lily, early one morning. This is usually my husband’s shift with the dog, but he was working overtime, so I packed my kids off to school, and ventured out.

Along the way, we encountered a couple walking a Weimaraner, who barked and lunged at Lily. The owners clearly had him under control, though; and we passed each other, a few feet apart, without incident…or so I thought.

The next thing I knew, I was airborne, pushed forward, and came down hard on my chin.

Do you know where your nearest Level One trauma center is? I do…now.

It took me a while, and many more walks to put together what, exactly, had happened that day…and I have come to realize that it was all my fault.

I allowed Lily to linger behind me, in that moment when we passed the other dog; and, in doing so, I lost touch with her at a critical moment. When I decided that the Weimaraner was not a threat, I assumed Lily would be in sync with me. She wasn’t. Her response was to step protectively between me and the other dog, and nudge me forward with her shoulder. She hit me behind my knees, and knocked me off-balance. …

…which brings me to my next point:

2 Train and heavily reward loose-leash walking

…So, even after walking thousands of miles with greyhounds, I had not yet learned to prevent blind spots when my dog is on a leash. Leash manners are important. They save you countless aggravation, as well as protect you from long-term injury. Don’t worry – I’m not about to tell you another horror story about my dog knocking me over!

…but I am going to tell you about a funny, little quirk that greyhounds have – The Greyhound Tizzy! When most dogs encounter something startling during their walk, they will stop, stare, and bark – Not greyhounds! They will dart around you in little circles, and you can find yourself tangled up in the leash very quickly!

Another thing to consider is that your greyhound is a retired professional athlete, and you are probably not. If he often pulls while you’re walking him, that puts a terrible strain on your wrists, shoulders, and back; the kind of strain that you don’t realize is causing any harm, until it is too late. One day, you notice stiffness. Eventually, it might hurt a little on rainy days. Before you know it, your back or shoulder hurts all the time. If you’re blaming this on your age, have another look at your greyhound’s leash manners.

I always train my greyhound to walk with his head near my left leg, where I can see him out of the corner of my eye. The dog stays so close to me, I have to take up slack on a four-foot leash, to keep both of us from tripping over it. This is much safer, because it prevents the dog from bolting and pulling me over; but it also protects your joints and spine from the strain of always holding back your dog. I learned this the hard way, too; but, luckily, I figured out what was causing my sore shoulder and that funny pain in my back. Once I stopped the pulling, my aches and pains cleared up fairly quickly.

3 Prevent behaviors & Remove temptations

Remember earlier, when I mentioned how important it is to get to know your greyhound’s personality? Well, that is what you will need to prevent any behaviors you cannot control.

Some preventative measures are obvious: greyhounds are tall, strong, and adore food, so don’t leave food where they can reach it. A friend found this out the hard way, when she set a stick of butter out on the counter to soften for a recipe… and it vanished, wrapper and all.

My son has had the same problem with sandwiches. He’ll make a real beauty, sit down with it, and realize he forgot his drink. By the time he’s back, all that remains is the empty plate; and it happens because he puts the sandwich on a low table, or the edge of the couch, and Lily thinks it’s for her. Then, she doesn’t understand why he’s upset with her, but she feels terrible. “He seems unhappy,” she thinks, “How strange. Everything seemed so matey last night, when he sat on this very couch, feeding me sandwich bits.”

You’ll have far fewer problems with your greyhound, if you don’t feed him from or near your furniture. If I want to give Lily the rest of my sandwich, I either put it in her bowl, or walk over to a clear place on the floor and make her do a trick for it. I’ve noticed that if I occasionally walk away from my plate, she leaves it alone. I don’t push my luck, though…

There is a training technique that is very effective for greyhounds, called NILIF. That stands for nothing in life is free. If you are having trouble with a particularly unruly greyhound, or you’re a new greyhound owner who wants to go into this relationship with a defined training plan, this is the one I recommend. There is plenty of detail on NILIF; just plug it into your search bar.

4 Disrupt prey-driven behavior at the first sign (NIP IT!!!)

A greyhound’s impulse to chase is very strong. When that impulse takes over, your greyhound will tune you out. That’s why it’s important to keep your attention on your dog, and distract his interest while you still can. The window of opportunity on this is very short. No matter how angelic your greyhound is, you’re competing against generations of breeding.

How successful you will be in distracting him is another matter. It all depends on your approach. If you treat the prey-driven greyhound as though he is rebelling against you, you will be completely ignored. When your greyhound is “on the hunt,” he tunes out his surroundings and intensifies all his focus on his prey.

To regain his attention, you will need to do something unexpected. My favorite trick for this is from Cesar Milan, the Dog Whisperer! Stand by your dog’s side, and – without turning around – sneak your foot up and tap him on the flank, while you click your tongue and say “Leave it.” If your greyhound happens to be leashed at the time, move him right along, shortening the leash, if necessary.

What Works Vs. What Doesn’t Work When Training Greyhound

Consistency vs. Redundancy

Greyhounds have very short attention spans (must be that tiny head!). They will learn very well if you work on a command once a day, with maybe one repetition. If you gave the same command at the same time every day for a week, he would learn it. If you tried giving the same command seven times in one session, he’d probably drop out after the second time…maybe even after the first!

Specialized & Varied Rewards vs. Same Reward All The Time

Greyhounds love novelty and variety. These things appeal to their natural curiousity. If you give your greyhound the same treat every time, he may eventually lose interest in it. We like to keep a few different types of treats available for Lily at all times. A bonus benefit of this is that what I’m teaching her seems to stick in her head better, when she associates it with a certain, distinct treat. That’s why I always keep a Slim Jim aside for rainy days, when nothing else will get her to move! I slice off a two small-ish chunks. She gets the first one as soon as we step out the door, and the second one as soon as she does her “business.” She never gets the adored Slim Jim any other time.

Small, Immediate Rewards vs. One Big, Random Reward

I do a lot of breaking large cookies and treats into smaller pieces. Greyhounds tend to value frequent, little rewards over occasion Big-Kahuna treats. Not that they’d turn one of those down; they just don’t have much training value. Also, hand over the treat immediately upon getting the behavior you want, or your greyhound will never make the connection between treat and reward.

Gentle Hands vs. Any Kind of Angry or Physical Punishment

Never, ever use any kind of physical punishment on your greyhound. Punishment is cruel and completely wasted on creatures who have no instinctive concept of it. If you act punitively toward your greyhound, all you will train him to do is to mistrust you.

The word “No” is effective only when used sparingly. Use it too much, and your greyhound will just tune you out.

Signaling Touches vs. Force

On the other hand, a gentle touch can be very effective in training your greyhound, as shown above, when I told you about giving him a sneaky tap on his flank to distract his prey drive. Distraction works. Pain, anger, and fear do not.

You can, and should, be physical in your leadership. Your greyhound expects this, and if you aren’t physical, he will be! A good example is training your greyhound to let you through the door first. He expects this of you, as pack leader; but you need to come and take it.

Using Things He Can Do Already vs. Foreign Skill Sets

Your greyhound has learned a lot by the time you get him. Watch him closely for any interesting things he does. Try a few commands, and see if he recognizes any of them. When you find something he can already do, then work on getting him to do it on command. I know that sounds more like the dog is training you; but you can never go wrong when you work according to a creature’s natural instincts.

For example, my son was a good swimmer, and we had a pool. I could have pushed him into competitive swimming, and he would’ve been quite good, except for one thing – He wasn’t interested. He ended up choosing wrestling, and that was the sport that taught him the life-lessons I’d hoped he’d learn from swimming.

The first time I prepared Lily’s dinner, I was amazed to look up from my preparations and see her sitting! My other two never sat, and I never tried to train them. I know people do so, sometimes; but I see no value in training tha dog to do something that is not in his nature. Since Lily could already sit, I taught her the command, and we use it every day.

Short Sessions vs. Long Sessions

As I mentioned earlier, keep it down to one or two attempts. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again…tomorrow! If you can move on to another command, so he ends with a success, that’s great! If not, just hang out with him and pet him for a few minutes. Knowing that you love him is the most valuable thing you can train into your greyhound.

Gail McGaffigan

The owner of the Greyhound Homecare website and YouTube channel, Gail has had retired racing greyhounds as pets since 1997. Please visit our channel, too! https://www.youtube.com/c/GreyhoundHomecare

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