Activities For Polish Greyhounds

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Introduction

Polish Greyhounds are a rare breed in the North America but just like any sight hound, they do need activities to keep them from becoming excessively bored and destructive. There are many different activities that you can do with your Polish Greyhound that celebrate their sight hound capabilities. However, there are also activities that are excellent for any type of dog and encourage a strong bond between owner and dog. When picking an activity, take the time to research the pros and cons before deciding to give it a try.

Lure Coursing

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Sunny Day
Moderate
Normal
1 hr
Items needed
Treats or Toys
Vet Wrap
Flirt Pole
Basket Muzzle
Vest
Leash and Collar
Activity description

Lure coursing is when sight hounds chase a lure across a field in a pre-determined pattern. Most Greyhounds, including the Polish Greyhound, do not need extensive training in lure coursing because of their natural prey drive and love to chase things. You can test your dog’s ability to chase using a flirt pole. If your dog seems more than willing to chase the lure, then lure coursing is the ideal activity for your dog. It can be pricey to compete in lure coursing but the fun that you have while doing so makes up for the cost. All dogs must be at least one year old to compete. 

Step
1
Getting started
Experienced lure coursing handlers can easily train their dog at home, however, if you are unfamiliar with the sport or have never trained a dog before, find a dog club that offers lure coursing training. Take the time to properly train your dog in recall so they will be obedient and respond quickly to your command once the race has been run. This keeps them from becoming overly excited and becoming problematic.
Step
2
Prepping your dog
Most lure coursing activities will require your dog to wear a muzzle and they will also have to sport a vest so you can distinguish your dog out in the field. Their front legs should also be wrapped using a vet wrap to keep their dew claws from getting caught in the lure cord. Make sure your dog is properly warmed up prior to their first race so they do not pull muscles or quickly become winded. Keeping them in optimal weight is also important when competing in lure coursing.
Step
3
Competition
After you are comfortable with your dog’s performance in training, enter your first competition. Do not expect your dog to bring home the big prize their first time out. Be realistic and give plenty of praise and reward so your dog has fun while participating in lure coursing. There are plenty of lure coursing competitions to join and have fun with people with other sight hounds.
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Straight Racing

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Any Day
Moderate
Normal
1 hr
Items needed
Straight Track
Flirt Pole
Basket Muzzle
Treats or Toys
Vest
Leash and Collar
Activity description

Dog racing has earned somewhat of a bad name because of the treatment of some of the dogs. However, you can still enjoy straight line racing with your Polish Greyhound without the stigma of the large, professional dog racing rings. There are many dog clubs across the country that offer recreational straight racing and even award titles based on performance. Racing can be physically demanding on your Polish Greyhound so have them thoroughly checked by your veterinarian prior to beginning training. Straight racing can be expensive with training and entry fees, but most Polish Greyhounds are naturals in straight racing and training should be relatively easy.  Older dogs should not be raced and any dog under one year of age should also not be raced.

Step
1
Learn the rules
There are specific rules for straight racing verses oval racing and even lure coursing. If you are interested in recreational straight racing, visit a track or a dog club that offers training and see what it is all about. Research the rules and risks associated with racing and make an informed decision. Polish Greyhounds love to run and give chase but they can also develop premature arthritis if they are raced too much.
Step
2
Start training
Training for straight racing is similar to that of lure coursing. If you are an experienced handler, you can train on your own. However, if you are a novice you should seek the guidance of an experienced handler. Plan on spending about an hour three times a week working on the track. This time should include warming up, racing, and then cooling down. Never let your dog run without first warming them up or they could easily pull a muscle or stretch a tendon.
Step
3
Enter the race
Once you feel your dog is ready for competition, find a local race and enter. It is an adrenaline rush when your dog is doing straight racing but you also need to stay vigilant when they are on the track and quickly remove them once the race is finished. Dogs will be hyped up after the race and may become aggressive in the heat of the moment. The basket muzzle keeps biting from occurring but dogs can be mauled if not closely watched.
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Obedience

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Any Day
Moderate
Normal
1 hr
Items needed
Treats
Training Collar
Leash
Activity description

Polish Greyhounds are intelligent dogs that want to please their owner. They are more than capable of being competitive in obedience. Your dog must be able to safely be around small dogs without showing aggression. Having an obedient dog makes for a happier home and peace of mind for you when you are out with your dog. A dog that performs in competitive obedience can become a fantastic asset. You will form a close bond with your dog while you are training for obedience trials and your dog can earn several different titles while competing. Most obedience trials are held indoors so weather is not a problem; it can be somewhat pricey with the cost of classes and entry fees. 

Step
1
Find a club
Finding the right dog club that offers obedience training that you are comfortable with is the first step. There will be several different clubs but each one will probably have a different training style. Watch a few classes to make sure their training style matches yours. You may also look for someone within the club to become a mentor and help you get started. This person will encourage you while you are training and help you decide on the best classes and competitions for your dog.
Step
2
Enter a class
Once you have found a dog club that fits your style, look over the various obedience classes that are offered. If you are new to obedience, you will want to start in an entry level class so you can learn the basic commands. Dogs that know the basics will fit better into a class that is more advanced. Class lengths will vary but should never exceed an hour in length. Be sure to practice new commands outside of class as well.
Step
3
Compete
Your instructor will help you when determining when your dog is ready to enter any obedience competitions. Start small and do not put pressure on them. Dogs can sense when you are nervous or tense and will many times act out because they are not sure why you are nervous. Relax prior to going into the ring and simply have fun. Too much pressure right away can cause your dog to not have fun and not want to listen to you.
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More Fun Ideas...

Therapy Work

When properly trained, the Polish Greyhound is a well behaved and gentle dog. They do make excellent therapy dogs and enjoy going into hospitals, nursing homes and schools. There may be some instances where a high stress situation is too much for them to handle. As their handler, you should be aware of their moods and their abilities as a therapy dog. 

Agility

This fast paced sport may be a little too intense for your Polish Greyhound if they are sensitive in nature. They are expected to run off leash through an obstacle course while you control their movements with your voice and body movements. Training can be expensive and time consuming but it is a fun way to bond with your dog.

Conclusion

Polish Greyhounds need some type of activity to keep them happy and healthy. However, some activities can be physically trying on your dog. Some of these activities are not suitable for very young or very old dogs. Research each activity before diving in to make sure your dog is able to handle the strain of the activity. The main thing to remember when picking an activity is finding the one that will foster the bond between you and be the most fun.