How to Train a Greyhound Off-Leash

How to Train a Greyhound Off-Leash
Hard difficulty iconHard
Time icon2-8 Weeks
General training category iconGeneral

Introduction

Your Greyhound wouldn’t hurt a fly. He’s calm, collected and friendly with everyone. So you want to be able to let him off the leash so he can stretch those running legs. However, you live in a busy area with lots of traffic and vehicles around. So you’re worried if you let him roam around off the leash that he might get involved in an accident. Therefore, you need to carefully train your Greyhound off the leash.

Get this training right and there will be a number of positives. Firstly, Greyhounds simply cannot get the same amount of exercise if they are walked on a leash. So if you are out at work for a lot of the day and don’t have too much time to walk him, then this could seriously improve his quality of life. Also, Buddy is simply far happier off the leash and what other motivation do you need than that?

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Defining Tasks

Training a Greyhound to walk off-leash won’t necessarily be easy and it certainly comes with risks. You may not be able to control your dog if other pets suddenly appear on the scene or they like the look of something on the horizon. So rigorous obedience training will be used, while you instill a dependence in them to stay close to your side.

If your Greyhound is still a puppy then they should be a fast learner and you could see results in just a couple of weeks. However, if your dog is older with years of bad habits under their collar then you may need a couple of months. If you get this training right you’ll never have to worry again about the gate being left over and them escaping. Furthermore, the increased exercise they will get from being off the leash is actually good for their mental health!

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Getting Started

Before you start work, you will need to gather a few bits. A training leash will be required. As will treats or their favorite food broken into small pieces. Another important component is a secure space where you can practice off-leash.

You don’t have to set aside specific time for training, instead, you can practice when you’re out on your daily walk. A friend will also be required for one of the methods below.

Once you have all that, just bring patience and optimism, then work can begin!

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The Concentration Method

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1

Setting up

Take your Greyhound into a confined yard. Ensure they are on a leash and then stand and look at them. You are waiting for them to ignore the distractions around and concentrate on you fully.

2

Unclip

As soon as they look at you completely, even briefly, say ‘yes’ in a light-hearted voice and unclip them. You will now always wait for that moment where they give you attention before you release them from the leash.

3

‘Yes’

Let them roam around and go about sniffing. But whenever your Greyhound returns to you, give a ‘yes’ in a quiet but positive voice. You can then hand over a treat or play with a toy for a minute or so.

4

Introduce distractions

Now take your dog into a more testing environment with distractions around. You may want to keep them on a really long leash or rope to start with. Then continue to praise them whenever they return to you in the same way.

5

Finish with fun

You don’t want your Greyhound to associate going back on the leash with negatives. So make sure they always get a treat or a quick play around once you clip them back to the leash. This will help ensure that if you do need to call them back, they will definitely return.

The Early Start Method

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Train off-leash

Most owners take their dogs to obedience classes and do all their training on a leash. Then when they let them off the leash they don’t know how to behave. So, teach ‘sit’ ‘stay’ and all other commands off the leash.

2

From a puppy

The earlier you can start training your dog off a leash, the sooner you will see results. If they have always grown up being able to roam around then they won’t be so difficult to control when they’re let off the leash.

3

Basic training

Teach your Greyhound a whole host of obedience commands. This will all increase your control ensuring they are more likely to stay by and return to your side when called. This will also help assert your position as pack leader.

4

Rewards

Whenever they are off the leash, regularly call your Greyhound over and give them a treat. Call their name in an animated voice and always be happy to see them. This is about getting them to associate you with positive consequences.

5

Never punish them

If they do misbehave off the leash, be careful not to punish them. If you scare them they may be less likely to stay close to you and well-behaved next time. Instead remain calm at all times.

The Recall Method

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Head out with a friend

Take your dog to a local field with a friend and some toys and treats in tow. You’re going to teach your pooch to always come to you when called. After a while this will ensure they naturally stay close to you at all times.

2

Call them

Have your friend call the dog over in a playful voice. Greyhounds learn best when they think they’re playing a game.

3

Reward

As soon as your Greyhound gets to their feet, have the friend hand over a reward or play with a toy for a minute or so.

4

Your turn

Now you need to call the dog over in the same way. Pat your knees and encourage them to come charging towards you. As soon as they reach you, hand over a reward and some tasty treats. Now you just need to practice this for a few minutes each day. Keep training short to begin with and then gradually increase the time over several days.

5

Different scenarios

After a couple of weeks they should soon be in the habit of coming to you whenever instructed. But more than that, they will probably naturally want to stay close by. To further reinforce the training, call your over when you’re in the house, before dinner and when distractions are around.

By James Barra

Published: 03/15/2018, edited: 01/08/2021

Training Questions

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Training Questions and Answers

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Raven

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Spanish Greyhound

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11 Months

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Question

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I got my pup from Spain when she was 4 1/2 months old. we have been working hard on recall and she is very good at returning. We live in a rural area and we walk in fields and she reacts to rabbits/hares etc, just bolts off after them. Will this always happen or is it possible to train not to react? I worry she will run too far or onto the road.

May 13, 2022

Raven's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello, I would start by working up to more distractions in your training. Pay attention to the PreMack Principle and long leash training sections from the article I have linked below. These need to be practiced around all types of distractions like dogs, the field where small animals appear, and people to ensure pup is reliable before attempting true off leash. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/train-dog-to-come-when-called/ Some many dogs, if you will consistently practice those methods I mentioned often (recall should be done hundreds of times in training, not just a few sessions for true reliability), but for those with really high prey drives, very scent driven, or high wander lust, some remote collar training might be needed following that training. Start with the methods I mentioned above because that are important to teach before attempting any remote collar training anyway. If you find pup is a dog who needs additional consistency with recall, then check out this trainer, who specializes in off-leash training and animal chasing behaviors. Overview of training: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rtJxSXu4rfs How to videos and examples: https://www.youtube.com/c/JamiePenrithDogTraining/search?query=come Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

May 16, 2022

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Olive

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Greyhound

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3 Years

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Olive is an ex-racing greyhound who retired in May, I’ve had her a couple of months now and although she is very lazy, she also enjoys exploring when we are out on our walks, I want to to be able to let her off the lead when on walks without worry of her running off. She shows an interest in squirrels when on walks so killing little animals is something that worries me! I have started letting her off the lead once we get back from our walks and we are outside the house (she just waits patiently on the doorstep while I unlock the door). The rescue centre I adopted her from also warned me never to let her off the lead due to her breed. Does this mean Olive will never be allowed off the lead? Or is there a way I can train her to be obedient off the lead?

Aug. 18, 2020

Olive's Owner

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Darlene Stott - Dog Trainer and Groomer

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104 Dog owners recommended

Hello, I am quite sure that the rescue centre had the right intentions, telling you to not let Olive off the lead. If she is recently retired, remember she has been spending lots of time being encouraged to chase small moving things.This is not easily trained out of a Greyhound and I do think that you would most likely be upset if she caught something and caused the little creature injury or death. You can work on perfecting her recall to see if she comes to you without any distractions or hesitation. But I would practice it at the dog park where it is highly unlikely that a squirrel would be around: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-whippet-to-come-back. If you would like her to be able to run, why not join a flyball club? Olive would be amazing at it!

Aug. 21, 2020


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