Why Do Greyhounds Sometimes Refuse to Walk on Certain Types of Floors?
If you've ever noticed your greyhound hesitating or acting reluctant to walk on specific types of flooring surfaces, you might be wondering what's causing this behavior.
In most cases, it's simply a matter of unfamiliarity with the surface. Many greyhounds are used to walking on familiar surfaces like grass or concrete and haven't encountered anything in between. Surfaces that are highly reflective, slightly slippery, or even just noisier when they walk on them can all be overwhelming for a greyhound because they've never experienced them before.
Another possible reason for your dog's hesitation could be a negative past experience with that particular surface. For sensitive dogs, this might mean a simple slip or fall that has made them more cautious when walking on that type of flooring.
Do Greyhounds Have Trouble with Specific Flooring Types?
They can do.
Greyhounds, like many dogs, can sometimes find certain flooring materials or textures challenging. The reason behind this lies in their early socialisation and habituation experiences. Any surface that significantly differs from what a dog has encountered during their formative years can pose a challenge. This could include tiles, floorboards, or various other materials.
One example of a surface that tends to be confronting for dogs, including greyhounds, is grating-type surfaces where they can see underneath. This can be particularly unsettling, especially if it's on a bridge or any structure that exposes what's beneath their paws.
Example of Understanding The Psychology: “My Greyhound Doesn’t Want to Get In the Elevator”
When it comes to a greyhound's aversion to certain surfaces, like elevators, it's not solely about the flooring itself. There are several psychological factors at play. Elevators introduce a whole new context for dogs, which can be quite overwhelming.
Firstly, elevators are small enclosed spaces, a far cry from the open areas most dogs are used to. Secondly, they often feature mirrors and sometimes, unfamiliar people
Furthermore, the elevator's movement introduces changes in pressure and might involve sudden movements, depending on how ‘rickity’ the elevator is. These physical sensations can add to the dog's confusion.
When the elevator reaches its destination and the doors open, the dog is suddenly in an entirely different environment, which can be disorienting. All of these elements combined make riding an elevator a challenging experience for a greyhound. There's a lot happening simultaneously, especially if they are new to an apartment complex or a similar setting.
It's not just the unfamiliar surface; it's the entire experience and sensory overload that can make an elevator ride feel like "life on hard mode" for a greyhound.
Recognising Signs of Discomfort in Greyhounds on Unfamiliar Flooring:
Here are some signs and behaviors to watch for:
Avoidance: The most straightforward sign is if the dog avoids walking on the surface altogether. They might stand still or try to leap over it.
Altered Gait: When a greyhound is on an uncomfortable surface, you'll notice a change in their walking or moving pattern. They might walk awkwardly, take hesitant steps, or move slower than usual.
Body Posture: Pay attention to their body posture. An anxious greyhound may appear hunched over, stiff, or tense. This is in contrast to their usual relaxed and loose posture in a comfortable environment.
Changes in Body Language: Look for signs of anxiety in their overall body language. They may exhibit signs such as drooping ears, a lowered tail, or even trembling in extreme cases.
Vocalisation: Some greyhounds may vocalize their discomfort through whining, whimpering, or barking when confronted with an unsettling surface.
Effective Techniques to Support Adaptation to Flooring
To help your greyhound become comfortable with unsettling flooring, follow these steps:
Gradual Introduction: Introduce the challenging surface slowly and positively. For example, if it's floorboards, lay down towels or mats initially so your dog can move without touching the surface.
Positive Reinforcement: Reward your dog for small steps towards walking on the surface. Treats can be given for sniffing or even placing one paw on the floorboards.
Elevator Training: If dealing with elevators, break the experience into manageable steps. Start by having your dog watch the doors and people entering/exiting. Reward calm behavior. Progress to entering the lift without changing floors, then gradually increase elevation as your dog becomes comfortable.
Set Your Dog Up For Success: Ensure your dog remains in a positive emotional state during these experiences. Keep them calm and happy.
Separate Skills: Train your dog in a separate exercise, like "touch," to redirect their focus and provide comfort when they are uncomfortable on unfamiliar surfaces.
Equipment: Placing a mat in the desired position, such as the entrance grate of a lift, can work wonders. Other items to consider are booties and nail guards, however, the effectiveness of this approach can vary.
Interested in Adopting Your New Best Mate?
At GAP NSW, we have a range of amazing greyhounds that are available for adoption today.
Our greyhounds typically spend 6 weeks with us to receive professional dog training ready for their new home
We provide support both before and after adoption
We will match you to a greyhound for your lifestyle