5 common care mistakes you could be making with your Greyhound
1 - Holding the lead incorrectly
What are ways you recommend not holding the lead, and instead, how should you hold the lead and why?
We recommend not wrapping/coiling the lead around your fingers or wrists. Greyhounds are an especially large breed of dogs. If the dog should pull or if unexpected happens (like your dog sees its best doggy friend and tries to dive in that direction), this can put your body at risk of injury.
We recommend that you use your thumb through that loop and use the joystick method which is the easiest type to implement.
2 - Focusing on the length of the walk over enrichment
Greyhounds, in particular, are not endurance athletes. A lot of people have the mistaken belief that they need to take their Greyhound on a long walk, to satisfy them and ‘get their energy out’.
What we want them to get out of the walk - isn't just the physical component, it's the enrichment component.
It's important that we go on walks where dogs are able to sniff because that is their primary sense - even for sighthounds. It’s good for dogs that might be predisposed to anxiety, or similar conditions.
Enrichment is like a canine way of practising mindfulness; because it gets them to focus on the here and now in their current environment. Plus, it’s great for their heart and respiratory rate.
3 - Washing the dog too often
What are problems associated with washing a dog too often and instead, how often should we wash them and why?
Shampoo can strip a dog's skin of their natural oils. Excessive washing can cause dry skin, and even infections down the line.
We don't want to deprive dogs of a healthy, bacterial skin environment by washing them every week. Greyhounds, usually, if they've got a good diet and they're in good health, only needs to be washed every few months.
If they're dirty, it's fine to wash the mud off, which just a light sponge bath or hose. But you don't need to give them a full scrub that often.
A lot of the time when people will bring a dog home, (especially if it's their first dog), they are concerned with undesirable actions, such as picking up household objects or trying to steal food off the counters.
It's perfectly reasonable to not want your dog to do those things, however, it’s very important to give your dog information about what you do want them to do, so that way it's not that the dog's constantly feeling like they're getting punished or told off for everything.
Positive reinforcement gives the dog an idea of what behaviours will get rewarded and helps them to form good habits.
The biggest one, especially for a Greyhound, is to learn to go to their bed and chill out, it’s the best thing. Reward your dog for going to their bed as much as possible. This will create a positive association with going to their bed and it forms good habits as well.
5 - Providing toys, but no enrichment
Some people will report that their dog is seemingly destructive, bored or have isolation distress.
People are confused by that because they provide the dog with toys. However often when you examine what those toys are, a lot of them are interactive toys like tennis balls or tug ropes, which are perfectly fine to provide with your dog.
However, the main enjoyment that the dog derives from these toys is playing with you when you are there.
Toys, in their inanimate form, are not necessarily enriching.
Toys don’t always give the dog something to do when you’re not there. That’s why we always say enrichment feeders, toys or DIY toys (i.e. cardboard with peanut butter smeared on it - yum!) are a great solution because they give your dog something to do, that doesn’t require constant interaction from you.
It also promotes autonomy/independence which is great! Particularly for owners who work full time.