How to Train a Greyhound Recall

How to Train a Greyhound Recall
Medium difficulty iconMedium
Time icon2-3 Weeks
General training category iconGeneral

Introduction

Owning a dog means knowing the typical behavior of the breed of dog that you have. While mixed breeds and mutts can be a bit of a mixed bag, you usually know what you’ll get when you have a purebred. For owners of working dogs, awareness of the high energy and exercise required is critical. For owners of toy breeds, behavior issues and fear aggression might be things to keep in mind. However, for the owner of what is known as a “sighthound”, the biggest challenge is the breed’s prey drive.

Sighthounds are typically tall, lean dogs with acute vision and the ability to run at high speeds. These dogs rely on their sight to hunt and chase, rather than their nose. Well-known members of the sighthound group are the Whippet, the Borzoi, the Saluki, and the popular Greyhound. Bred for hunting large animals like deer and antelope, the Greyhound has a heavy desire to run and chase, making it difficult to get his attention if he’s in mid-sprint towards something interesting. For this reason, teaching Greyhounds to come when called can be difficult, especially for dogs with high prey drives and stubborn temperaments. However, as with all dogs, a safe and effective recall is necessary to avoid accidents and injury to both owner and dog.

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Defining Tasks

Teaching recall should begin as soon as you bring your Greyhound home with you. The sooner you get him into the appropriate habits, the better, though there are appropriate cautions to be taken during this training period. Puppies as young as eight weeks can begin to learn recall and mastering the command should take two to three weeks with the right amount of repetition and persistence. Be prepared, however, to continue to reinforce the recall even after your Greyhound has a proper grasp of the command.

The foundation of a good recall relies heavily on being more interesting than whatever is drawing your dog’s focus. This means that there are a number of ways to teach your Greyhound a reliable recall. The method you choose should depend on your dog’s behavior, history, and temperament.

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Getting Started

Before anything else, your Greyhound will need a sturdy and safe leash. Training on-leash can help maintain control of the situation while your dog is still learning. Whether you decide to take training off-leash after the initial learning period is up to you, but a good leash is essential for starting out.

Second, you’ll need to find out what motivates your dog. Most dogs can be heavily swayed by treats, but others may prefer toys. Run some tests to see what will keep your Greyhound’s attention for longer and use that to begin your training.

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The Chase Method

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1

Secure the leash

Make sure your Greyhound’s leash and collar are on him properly so that he can’t slip away.

2

Let your dog wander

While keeping an eye on your dog, let him drift away from you for a little bit. Do not overuse the recall, as your dog may learn to ignore you. Keep it a rare occurrence.

3

Call your dog

Using his name, call your Greyhound to you.

4

Use a verbal command

Use a command that will be unique to your dog’s recall. Don’t use a word that you use often in the house or around your dog casually. This word should be a non-optional recall.

5

Run backwards

Take some quick jogging steps backwards and away from your dog. This should encourage him to run towards you with interest, as Greyhounds love to chase.

6

Reward for coming to you

Stop when he catches up and reward your dog for coming to you. Make sure the reward is a good one.

The Condition Method

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Get your dog’s attention

Use a sound or an item like a treat or a toy to get your dog to look over to you.

2

Hold focus

Keep your Greyhound’s attention for some time while she comes over to you.

3

Use a unique word

Choose a word like ‘come’ or ‘here’, which can be used solely for your Greyhound’s recall. This should be used as she’s in the process of coming towards you.

4

Reward for appropriate recall

Always reward when your dog returns to you and be sure that the reward is worth the effort. The higher value the reward is, the more likely she will return to you every time.

5

Introduce distractions

Over time, introduce small distractions like other people, dogs, nearby cars, or other similar daily occurrences. Practice holding your dog’s focus around these distractions and reward when she makes positive progress. Take a step back if necessary and try again if she struggles.

The Collar Method

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1

Encourage your dog over to you

Use a toy or treat to get your dog to focus on you and come your way.

2

Use your verbal command

Use your command for recall, such as 'come' or 'here' while he is coming to receive the reward.

3

Place a hand on the collar

Get your hand securely on your Greyhound’s collar and maintain a hold on it. Your dog will get used to you taking and holding his collar whenever you call him over.

4

Reward only when secure

Offer the reward to your dog once you have a firm grip on his collar. He will soon learn that he only receives the reward once you have a secure hold on him.

5

Keep rewards high in value

Make sure that the rewards you give your dog for appropriate recall are always very high in value. Tasty treats like real chicken or a particularly fun squeaky toy can all be very useful in teaching appropriate recall.

By TJ Trevino

Published: 03/02/2018, edited: 01/08/2021

Training Questions

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Training Questions and Answers

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Petal

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Greyhound

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3 Years

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Question

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Hello! Petal has been home with me since July so almosy 3 months! She's becoming good at staying (about 50%) and come when i have a treat. (Chicken balls are choice). I am wanting to progress on from here and im giessing the next step is to reduce the treat reward...at the stage where she'll cohoperate to a point but as she realises there no treat, she ignores. Or in one more recent case, a zoomie and cheerio across the road, completely blanked me even when i still had chicken left which we had been 100% on in the 15 minutes prior with recall.... Any advice would be appreciated!

Sept. 21, 2021

Petal's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kirsty, Check out the article I have linked below. Once you get to the point where you are at, it's time to use a long training leash and padded back clip harness and practice around distractions with the long leash on for safety, then you can also begin to reduce rewards to every third, fifth, ect...come, or extra attentive, quick comes, ect... I would also check out the PreMack Principle from the article I have linked. That's a great method to practice on a long training leash too, to gain reliability around distractions. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/train-dog-to-come-when-called/ Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Sept. 21, 2021

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Jet

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Greyhound

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6 Years

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Question

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1 found helpful

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Hi I've had jet for nearly two years . He's very stubborn and latly has got worst . He gets this look in his eyes and dose not won't to cm back to me . He's very spoilt and he's starting now to scare me that I'm afraid to let him off the lead .he use to be not so bad but now is just unprictable can u help plse

July 28, 2020

Jet's Owner

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Alisha Smith - Alisha S., Dog Trainer

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257 Dog owners recommended

Hello. So to help with overall stubbornness, it might be wise to refresh some of his basic commands. Sit, down, stay, etc if he knows those ones. Pet parents often think that once a dog knows commands, that they don't need to continue practicing. But spending 10 minutes a day on basics, really helps with their overall behavior by keeping things fresh. I am going to send you instructions for teaching him coming when called. Teaching your dog to come to you when called is an essential part of proper dog training. Often referred to as a "recall," it is one of the most important basic dog commands. You can teach a puppy to come when called as soon as it learns its name. Training your dog for the recall cue can help you keep it under control while allowing it some off-leash freedom. Once this cue is mastered, you can protect the dog from a potentially dangerous situation by calling it to you. Plan Short Training Sessions Training your dog to come when called is fairly simple, but it takes some dogs longer than others to learn. Your dog's ability to learn the recall command largely depends on its attention span and vulnerability to distraction. You must work on training regularly and use valuable rewards. Plan to train your dog in short training sessions of between five to 15 minutes at least three times a week but no more than twice a day. Avoid Distractions While your dog will have to learn to filter out some distractions, don't try to train it in an environment where it will be overstimulated by noise or smells. Ideally, you and your dog will be the only ones in the house with everyday conditions (such as lights and ambient sounds) when you start the training. Use Treats In the beginning, use a favorite toy or your dog's favorite training treats. Hold up a toy or treat, then say your dog's name followed by "come" in a clear, excited tone. If necessary, make movements such as tapping your knees and stepping backward. As soon as your dog comes to you, reward it, then praise it lavishly—but try not to cause overexcitement. Don't Chase Your Dog Never run after your dog if it bolts during these training sessions. This will confuse the dog and turns training into a game. Try turning it around by calling the dog's name and running away from it. Your dog may then run after you in play. If so, reward it with praise when it gets to you. Problems and Proofing the Behavior Repeat five or six times, gradually moving to different areas of your home, including outdoors. As your dog improves, move to areas with more distractions. Gradually increase the distance between you and your dog. You may wish to use a longer lead. Once your dog has mastered the recall while on the long leash, practice it without any leash, but only indoors or in a fenced-in area. Slowly phase out the toy or treat rewards, but keep rewarding with much praise. Your dog must learn to come to you without food or toy rewards. In the real world, you may need it to come, but not have anything to give it except praise. Tips for Teaching Your Dog to Come When Called Never use the recall command with an angry or frustrated tone in your voice. You want your dog to have a positive association with the "come" command. If your dog does not come to you at first, you may need to decrease the distance between you and your dog to make sure it knows what you want it to do. If it's not responding, you may also need to make the reward more valuable—such as a squeaky toy or stinkier treats—or lightly tug on the leash to encourage your dog. If you or your dog get too frustrated, end the training session. Please let me know if you have any additional questions. Thank you for writing in!

July 28, 2020


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