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Greyhounds are a special breed of dog, and they love to learn and use their brains. Teaching your dog some simple tricks is a great way to enhance playtime and tire her out. She'll never get bored when she's learning with you, and with each new trick she'll trust you even more and see you as a leader.
Whether it's 'shake', 'bow', 'high-five', or 'roll over', teaching your Greyhound easy tricks will take some patience. Remember to take your time and try not to push her too quickly. Be clear in your commands and gentle in your corrections. If it seems like she's getting bored or losing interest, stop the session and do something fun. With practice, your dog will be able to do a number of new tricks.
Before you begin teaching your Greyhound, you need to understand her limitations and needs. Long training sessions without playtime first just won't be successful. Greyhounds are bred to run and love to play, so long training times will never keep their attention. Be sure to run and play with your Greyhound to get her extra energy out. Then she will be ready to learn.
You'll also want to teach her basic commands first. Obedience training creates the foundation for responsiveness, good manners, and a willingness to learn. Teaching commands like 'come', 'sit', 'stay', and 'down' establish your bond and set your dog up for successful training later in life. If you have adopted a retired racing Greyhound, you may have a lot of work to do to get her ready to learn a few tricks. Make sure you know your dog well and what she needs before you move on.
After you've finished the groundwork, you're ready to move on to easy tricks. Make sure you have these items on hand to help you out and make training easier.
- Training treats
- A leash
- A martingale collar your dog can't slip out of
- A quiet place to learn
You can read directions to train three easy tricks below. Take your time and be sure you are training on your dog's schedule. With time, you'll add three fun tricks to her repertoire and have a fun time bonding together.
The Crawl Method
Set up the location
For this trick, make sure you're working on a carpet or rug. Make sure she has a soft place to work.
Ask for a 'down'
Start by asking her to lay down and stay.
Lure her with a treat
Show her a treat and slowly lure her forward by moving the treat just out of reach.
Reward small movements
As soon as she starts to pull herself forward without standing up, tell her "good girl" and give her a treat.
When she's crawling a few paces, introduce the command "crawl" right before you give her a treat.
Increase the distance
Slowly increase the distance you ask her to crawl before she gets her treat. If she stands up, ask her to lie down and start again, not going quite as far.
Remove the treats
Once she's crawling a few feet consistently, slowly decrease the use of a treat as a lure and reward when you ask her to crawl.
The Shake Method
Always start in a place with no distractions so she can focus on you.
Ask for a 'sit'
Traditionally this trick is taught from a sit, but often retired Greyhounds don't sit comfortably due to training on the track. If your dog doesn't like to sit, you can try this from a standing position.
Touch her leg
Touch the top of her leg to encourage her to lift her paw. As soon as she starts to lift it, give her a treat.
Paw in hand
Touch her leg and hold out your hand. When her paw touches your hand, give her a treat.
Teach her 'shake'
When she is consistently placing her paw in your hand, start to say "shake" before you give her a treat.
Reduce the treats
She should start to offer her paw when you hold out your hand and say "shake". Gradually stop giving her treats until she's shaking consistently on command without them.
The Bow Method
Pick your spot
Find a quiet spot where she is less likely to be distracted from the lesson.
Get in position
For this trick you'll want her to be standing but relaxed. She should be standing at attention with a loose leash.
Guide her with a treat
Place a treat under her nose and slowly guide her head down between her legs. Give her the treat.
Introduce the command
When she is consistently following the treat into a 'bow' position without moving, start to say "bow" before you give her the treat. Practice for several days to a week.
Take away the treat
When she is consistently bowing, start to treat her less, while still using your command. Eventually, she should bow on command without the need of a treat.
By Katie Smith
Published: 02/27/2018, edited: 01/08/2021