Helping a Greyhound Learn When They've Done Something Cheeky
When people adopt a greyhound for the first time, or indeed any dog, it's quite common that there's going to be some instances where the dog behaves in a way that we don't love. As much as we all want to set up our newly adopted dog for success, mistakes will be made while your dog learns about their new home and lifestyle.
Whether we label these undesirable behaviours as naughtiness or cheekiness, they remain something that we need to learn to navigate.
In this article, let’s learn how to work with our lovely greyhounds and live our best lives together!
Cheeky Behaviours We May Want to Improve
Nobody’s perfect, much like us, our dogs will make mistakes and have areas they could improve on. Some behaviours a greyhound owner might want to improve are:
The dog accidentally toileting inside
Chewing or pinching household objects
Counter surfing (grabbing stuff from the kitchen counter - but can you blame them for wanting your chicken?)
Greyhounds are largely sociable animals who don’t perform these behaviours to make you angry or act out for attention. So let’s learn how to effectively respond to these situations.
How do conscientious dog owners respond to these situations?
It's important to remember that even though cheeky acts are bothersome, it's critical not to punish the dog, even if you do catch them in the act.
The reason is - punishment will create a negative association for the dog between us and them. Punishment will not address the root cause of the behaviour and will not be effective in changing things long term. All punishment will do is exacerbate anxiety and fear rather than improving the situation.
Instead, we want to help the dog learn desirable alternative behaviours, and then reward those.
This involves setting up the dog’s environment so that in future, it's harder for the dog to perform the behaviors that we don't appreciate - and it's easier for them to do the things that we prefer them to do instead (i.e. changes to environment and your routine). For example, it’s a lot harder for a greyhound to counter surf if they aren’t left unattended in a kitchen with tasty food on the bench.
Timeliness is important because it helps the dog make an association between what's happening and a potential consequence.
Having said that, we still don't want the consequence to be negative because as mentioned, that can do things like exacerbate fear and anxiety. So if we do happen to catch our greyhound in the act of doing something cheeky, we want to interrupt them in a neutral way and redirected them appropriately.
How can we teach a Greyhound that a certain action was undesirable and instead do X?
Let’s use the example of finding a greyhound with your uggboot in it’s mouth.
When you walk inside and your lovely greyhound has your boot in their mouth. You call the dog to you when you have a treat in hand.
When the dog drops the ugg boot, you give them the treat. You take the boot and then you reward them for having the treat instead.
Then in future, we try to avoid having those items (especially in the early days) accessible to our dog.
That’s one way we can work together to develop an amazing relationship!