Despite being bred for coursing game and racing, your Greyhound is still pretty fantastic to have in the house. He’s gentle, intelligent and affectionate. Yours may be a puppy, so his racing days are still in the future. However, for him to be an effective hunter or sprinter, he needs to be well-trained and that means starting with the basics, such as ‘sit’ and ‘down’. But currently you are struggling to get him follow any of your instructions, so it’s time proper training was introduced.
Training him to lie ‘down’ will prove invaluable. It is precisely the sort of command you may need when out hunting. However, even at home, it will come in handy. For example, the ‘stay’ and ‘roll over’ commands start with going ‘down’ first. So, it will help instill discipline and start the training for a number of other instructions too.
This is one of the first and easiest commands you can teach your Greyhound. Plus, because they are relatively smart, he should get the hang of it in a matter of days. Training will consist of initially conveying to him what it is you want him to do. Once he understands the ‘down’ command, you simply need to reinforce training with the right tasty motivator.
This type of obedience training can take just a day or two if your Greyhound is a receptive puppy. However, if he is older and stubborn, then you may need a while longer. It could be 10 days before you see consistent results. Having said that, don’t be put off by a few days of training. It will be more than worth it when he responds and is on the path to being a well-trained and responsive Greyhound.
Before you get to work, you will need to collect a few bits. Stock up on some tasty treats. Alternatively, break his favorite food into small chunks. You will also need a favorite toy, such as a tennis ball, plus you will require a clicker.
Set aside just 5 to 10 minutes each day for training. Choose a time where you both won’t be distracted and practice in a room where valuables aren’t at risk of getting broken.
Once you have all that, just bring patience and a can-do attitude, then work can begin!
I can’t get her to go down and I don’t want to hurt her by pushing to hard on her back. What can I do.
Hello John, There are two basic ways to get a dog to lay down when treat luring and similar methods fail. First, attach her to a leash and keep the leash short enough that she has to stand within a foot of where you are and things around her are very boring. Keep treats in your pocket out of view while you do this. Now, simply wait. The first time it might take up to thirty-minutes to lay down, so read a book and prepare for this to take awhile at first. After a while of standing and not being able to do anything interesting, most dogs will eventually lay down. As soon as she does so, very calmly reach down and drop several treats between her front paws. She may pop up when you do this, that is okay if she does not know the down command yet. Practice this often. When she starts to lay down more quickly when you stand still with her on a leash, then when you stop, tell her to "Down", and because she is used to laying down when you stop, she should eventually do it on her own. If you practice telling her "Down" and then rewarding her when she does so, she should learn the "Down" command. If you are sure that she already knows the "Down" command well but is simply refusing to obey it, then attach a leash to her regular collar. Tell her "Down" and then slip the leash underneath your foot so that your foot is pulling her to the ground with the leash. Pull the leash downward until her head lowers to the ground a bit and she looks uncomfortable. Keep it there. Do not force her to the ground. You are simply making the standing position uncomfortable for her so that she will get tired and decide to lay down on her own. This method is a bit more disciplinarian, and assumes that she already understands what she is supposed to be doing but is simply choosing to disobey. When she lays down, even though it took some coercion, give her a treat between her paws and give slack in the leash again. Essentially, you want her to learn that disobedience equals discomfort until she obeys, and obedience equals the discomfort stopping and a reward being given. When she will consistently lay down without the treat or leash pressure, then you can practice her command without either most of the time and only use those two things when she is practicing it in a harder location or needs a reminder. You are correct not to push her to the ground. That is never the best option for enforcing a "Down". It is less effective at helping the dog learn because the dog does not choose to do the action herself, and it can be dangerous if the dog locks up her joints. The second leash method above will involve a bit of discipline but it still gives the dog a choice and does not physically harm the dog. The first week that you practice "Down" this way, she might take fifteen or more minutes to lay down, even with the discomfort. She should get faster as she learns that you are consistent with enforcing it. Be patient and simply wait for her to make the choice to lay down. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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