Socialisation refers to a specific developmental period that normally happens in puppies (this period ranges from 3-17 weeks, depending on the particular breed).
Colloquially, many people use the term ‘Socialisation’ to refer to the ability of their dog to interact socially with other dogs and people in an appropriate manner, this is the concept of this article.
Do greyhounds need Socialisation?
Like every dog breed, we recommend that greyhound puppies are socialised at an early age so they experience a variety of people, environments, and other dogs, which will help them easily transition from racing to retirement.
Adult greyhounds don't have the same social requirements as a puppy as they're well past that developmental stage.
Appropriate social interactions that your adopted greyhound has with people or other dogs should entirely depend on your dog's temperament.
Some dogs will benefit from interacting with other dogs or unfamiliar people occasionally, whereas some dogs will be homebodies and will prefer to interact with their own families, it really depends on their individual personalities.
What are the recommended ways I socialise my greyhound?
This entirely depends on the temperament of your dog.
If you, at the time of adoption are told that your dog enjoys meeting other dogs and other people, then you should take them to suitable outings (once they have settled into your home).
These outings will include activities like walking with friends or family who have other dogs and going to quieter on-lead dog-friendly areas like parks.
We do not recommend going to these areas during peak hours, especially where there might be off-lead dogs, which can be particularly intense for greyhounds.
What will I learn about my dog's preferences before adoption?
After you apply with Greyhound As Pets, you will have stated particulars about your lifestyle and a dog in terms of energy and temperament.
Using that information, GAP staff will best match you to a dog that suits your needs.
This way, at the time of adoption, you'll be advised how your dog responds to other dogs, how your dog responds to other people, and how they behave on walks, and then you can use that information as a guide to setup social experiences moving forward.
What are the important socialisation training techniques to know?
Well, we recommend that any meetings with new people or new dogs be kept brief.
The best principle to follow is the ‘Say hello, 1 2, 3’, where dogs are allowed to interact with each other or new people in a brief window of time and then be allowed to recover from that experience.
That first interaction should be an absolute maximum of three seconds before the dog is moved away to calm down and then can re-engage if they choose.
It's also important to recognise your dog's body language and when they are feeling overwhelmed by or comfortable with the social interaction. Even using the three-second maximum rule, it's always good to amend that based on your dog's behaviour.
If you notice your dog is quite stiff and uncomfortable, you don't need to let the interaction progress for three seconds. Just simply take the dog away and only allow interactions if both parties seem calm and willing.
What equipment do I need?
The same equipment that you would take on a walk: a martingale collar or appropriately fitted harness, a lead and the wire muzzle that comes with your dog at the time of adoption.
This way you have the ability to move the dog away safely if they are uncomfortable.
Should I get a second dog socialise my greyhound?
This will entirely depend on your dog.
Usually, at the time of adoption, you'll be matched to a greyhound that already suits your lifestyle. If you've got an existing dog, we’ll have that data, and be matched to a greyhound that demonstrates they benefit from a canine social companion.
However, as behaviour is fluid, some dogs can change their preferences from when they're in kennels to when they're in a home.
It is sometimes a consideration to trial a second dog prior to committing to getting a second dog.
How much Socialisation does my greyhound need?
Dogs are social obligates, which means that they need social interaction to promote good welfare.
However, as mentioned, the ideal social interaction depends on the individual dog.
Some dogs will benefit from interacting with other dogs.
Other dogs might not need socialisation at all.
This is especially if the dog has a negative association with unfamiliar dogs, they don't need to necessarily interact with other dogs to have a good quality of life.
As long as that dog is happy and in good emotional health with their current lifestyle, that's the only thing that matters. Woof!