5 Tips for Getting the Basics Right with a New Greyhound
August 13, 2023 10:29
When adopting a Greyhound, it can be a tremendous experience for both dog and adopter, mainly if there are many other things happening in our lives.
In this topic, we'd like to focus on the core five things that you can do to address setting your dog up for success. Focus on these 5 things and you’ll be doing it right!
1 - Predictability and Routine
Dogs thrive on consistency, and the best dog trainers are those who know to be consistent, to get the best out of their dogs.
Greyhounds during their previous lives often had a very predictable and regimented routine.
So, if you can bring some predictability to your newly adopted greyhound’s life, you will help them learn what to expect of their new home. Of course, you don’t need to always follow a strict schedule, but initially, it’s a great idea to feed, walk and leave your dog alone at the same time every day. This helps your dog to anticipate the important things in their routine and is less likely to cause them stress or panic.
As the dog becomes more comfortable, of course, you can introduce more variation into the schedule.
2 - Safe Space and Comfort
Providing a secure and comforting haven is highly beneficial for our greyhound mates. This will typically take the form of a comfortable bedding spot or crate that your dog can retreat to when they need.
This arrangement offers them a chance to unwind and recover. If they've encountered overwhelming situations, having a designated safe spot enables them to regain their sense of well-being.
The most effective approach is to acquaint your dog with their bed or a crate and consistently associate this place with positive experiences. This could involve receiving treats, engaging with enrichment feeders, or enjoying toys. These gestures collectively contribute to establishing a reassuring environment for your dog.
It's crucial to be strategic when selecting the spot for this specific safe haven. Opt for a location that allows the dog to choose to withdraw from social interactions. Placing it in the middle of a bustling living room with all the furniture directed at the dog might not facilitate the relaxation they might need, especially during moments requiring a break from social engagements, such as when guests are around.
Comfort is another crucial aspect to consider. Unlike some outdated advice, it's actually important to provide comfort to your dog when they're distressed. Ignoring a distressed dog is not the right approach, as it can inadvertently communicate to them that their distress is justified due to a lack of support. Offering your dog support and comfort, helps manage their emotional state.
Just as we humans feel better when comforted by others, the same applies to dogs. It's a positive way to strengthen your bond with your furry companion.
3 - Mental Stimulation
In addition to physical exercise, providing mental stimulation is equally important for your greyhound. This doesn’t need to be anything too intricate, so we recommend incorporating activities that encourage them to slowly sniff, lick or chew something in their environment.
This could also be referred to as low-intensity seeking behaviour.
Specific examples include:
Treat scatters (in our opinion, the #1 form of mental stimulation)
Setting up a snuffle box with cardboard (try putting in balls, peanut butter, scrunched-up paper and treats)
Stimulating their cognitive abilities and encouraging learning not only contributes to their emotional well-being but also strengthens the bond you share with your furry companion.
4 - Training Techniques
Engaging in training sessions with your dog holds a wealth of benefits. Not only are you instilling desirable behaviours, but you're also fostering a stronger bond between you and your furry friend. The wonderful aspect of this process is that you're guiding your dog toward actions that result in positive outcomes.
Embracing positive reinforcement, i.e. rewarding your dog for behaving in ways that you like, not only reinforces good behaviour but also cultivates a positive emotional connection with your dog.
Specific examples include:
Rewarding a dog for going to their bed (On your bed!)
Rewarding a dog for looking at you in response to their name
Loose lead walking
Through positive reinforcement, you're enhancing the bond you share and increasing the likelihood that your dog will willingly exhibit those behaviours in the future. After all, these behaviours are associated with pleasant experiences, making them more appealing to your dog.