Activities For Greek Harehounds

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Introduction

The Greek Harehound is a very old breed of hunting dog, developed to track small game, particularly rabbits, and were extremely popular throughout Greece. This breed of dog is typically a friendly canine, both with people and with other dogs, but they have a high prey drive that may make them unsuitable for homes with other, smaller animals. They are a high energy, playful dog who requires a great deal of exercise and mental stimulation to avoid willful and temperamental behaviors.

Red Light, Green Light

Popular
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Any Day
Free
Normal
5 - 30 min
Items needed
Reward
Clicker
Activity description

The Greek Harehound, while quite intelligent and devoted, has a tendency to be impatient and becomes destructive when they are confined. For their own safety, and the safety of any cats or rabbits in the general vicinity, it is important for this breed of dog to learn how to control their impulses. One way that trainers recommend teaching independent dogs to control their impulses is through modifying games, like Red Light, Green Light, that many children played as schoolchildren. Red Light, Green Light helps to encourage impulse control in both dogs and children, as well as encourages a quick and clear response to spoken commands. 

Step
1
Clicker training
A clicker is a small device that, when pressed, makes a single clicking noise that is sharp and easily distinguishable from most other noises in the area. If your dog has not yet been trained to recognize this device, now may be a good time to begin introductions. A clicker is particularly useful as a way to mark a preferred behavior and communicate that to your canine companion. In order to orient your dog to the sound of the clicker, click the clicker and immediately give your dog a high-value treat. In order to ensure that they understand the concept, do this randomly several times a day especially when you see them performing behaviors that you would like to reinforce. The clicker should not be used to get the dog’s attention, only to mark an appropriate behavior.
Step
2
Red Light
When the leader of the game calls out red light while playing this game with children, all participants are meant to freeze in place. With dogs, it is just as effective to teach them to sit or lie down immediately when the words “Red Light” are called out. While your dog is playing, call out “Red Light” and give them the hand signal for either lie-down or sit. When they do what you request, click to mark the correct behavior and immediately reward your pooch. Eventually, the dog should associate just the words with the action and either sit or lie down as soon as you say Red Light.
Step
3
Green Light
When your dog has been sitting or lying down for a few seconds, you can give the “Green Light” command to release the dog, then quickly engage in a more playful activity such as fetch or flirt pole play. Neither the Red Light or the Green Light behavior should be expected too long, particularly at first, although it can be stretched out to a minute or two between switching as your dog begins to master the game.
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Hound Trailing

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Sunny Day
Moderate
Normal
30 min
Items needed
Anise Extract
Paraffin
Activity description

The competitive activity of hound trailing was developed in the eighteenth century as a way to evaluate the speed and tracking ability of English hunting dogs in Cumbria, like Beagles, English Foxhounds, and Bloodhounds. Trails of anise seed and paraffin are laid down over several different types of ground and the dogs race over the fields, and the dog that first reaches the finish line, where the scent ends, wins the race. The Greek Harehound was originally developed to track and hunt rabbits in the mountainous regions of Greece, and they have a very good sense of smell and a high drive to locate and catch their quarry. 

Step
1
ThesScent
While Greek Harehounds were originally developed to track and find rabbits, their exceptional sense of smell will allow them to track many other scents as well. Anise seed is typically used as a scent for the sport of hound trailing because it has a naturally stimulating scent and hunting dogs will often follow this scent without any real prompting.
Step
2
Practice
Find a large area where your dog can safely roam and lay down the scent, encouraging your dog to reach the end of the trail as quickly as possible. While this is eventually meant to be an activity with several dogs involved, it is easier for your dog to practice on their own during initial practices. As anise is highly stimulating for dogs, an area crowded with unknown dogs, like a dog park is typically not the most appropriate place to practice. Start with shorter trails and work up to the five or ten-mile trails that are typically used in competitions.
Step
3
Find or develop a group
While Hound Trailing is very popular in the United Kingdom, it has not yet taken off in other countries. There may be a few hound trailing groups in North America, but they are few and far between, so enthusiasts may need to develop their own groups. The Hound Trailing Association may be able to help point you in the direction of group closer to you, or you can try contacting like-minded individuals at dog sports facilities.
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Fast CAT

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Sunny Day
Cheap
Normal
15 - 45 min
Items needed
Leash
Lure and Pulley
Activity description

Another great sport for dogs with high prey drive is Fast CAT. This offshoot of Lure Coursing is similar in nature to Lure Coursing in that a lure is pulled along very quickly with a pully for dogs to chase. With Lure Coursing the lure is pulled along in a zig-zag pattern, requiring the dog to make quick changes to catch it but in Fast CAT, short for Coursing Ability Test, the lure is pulled on a straight 100 yard dash, with no twisting or turning, allowing judges to get a better idea of the dog’s actual speed. While only certain breeds are given the opportunity to compete in lure coursing competitions that are hosted by the major kennel clubs, any breed of dog can compete in Fast CAT competitions.  

Step
1
Prepare your dog
Before starting a new exercise routine it is recommended that you get a general examination with your doctor, and the same is true of your canine companion. While these dogs are typically very healthy, if your dog has not had a recent checkup, this is a good time to schedule one. Your veterinarian can check your dog's cardiovascular and respiratory system in order to ensure that your dog is in good enough health to participate. It is also important that they have a rock solid recall before participating in this sport.
Step
2
Learn the sport
Fast CAT is usually handled as a subset within other Lure Coursing groups and trials, although there are some club and associations that are dedicated solely to Fast CAT. Members of any of these groups can help to guide you and your pooch to the best competitions, as well as helping to keep you up to date on the current rules and regulations. In many cases, it may be a good idea to take your dog to a competition as a spectator before competing.
Step
3
They're off
Once your dog is at the starting line and the lure starts moving, the strong prey drive of most Greek Harehounds will typically kick in, and they will be off and running. It is important to make sure there is someone to meet your dog at the end of the course to get them off the field quickly, efficiently, and safely.
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More Fun Ideas...

Flyball

Flyball is a fast-paced race in which teams of four dogs run relay-style down a straight track, with hurdles to jump over every ten feet, and a flyball box at the end that releases a ball for them to return to the starting line. Greek Harehounds are athletic animals that are fast and determined, with a high prey drive, giving them excellent tools with which to compete.

Hunting

These dogs are still employed as trailing dogs in Greece and are particularly good at following a scent over long distances.

Conclusion

This striking breed of dog is typically a friendly and determined animal that has an athletic and energetic demeanor. They tend to be very adaptable canines with an excellent sense of smell who are capable of tracking animals for long distances, as well as being fun-loving and playful members of the family