How to Train a Greyhound to Race

Hard
6-24 Months
Work

Introduction

Ever since you’ve had Rocket, he's been quick on his feet. You take your Greyhound out for a walk, as soon as you throw that ball he's off. Half the time he's sprinted across a field and ready to catch the ball before it has even hit the ground. When he sees another dog on the horizon he's also off at lightning fast speeds. You always intended to train your Greyhound to race and now you know he definitely has the attributes needed to become a speedy racer.

Training your Greyhound to race is fun for both of you! You get to work closely together and bond while also working towards a goal. You then get the proud parent moment when you see them bolting around a track overtaking other Greyhounds. Training is also fantastic exercise for them, helping to keep them fit and healthy into old age.

Defining Tasks

Training a Greyhound to run is pretty easy. But training them to race to a high standard is no easy feat. You will need to set goals and gradually build up their speed and stamina. You will also need to get them used to the racing environment and running around other dogs. To do all this, you will use a range of positive reinforcement techniques. Training will also consist of looking at their diet and other lifestyle changes to make sure they are in peak physical condition.

Remember you’ll need a serious amount of willpower to successfully train Rocket to race. It will be challenging to keep both of you motivated and working hard, so this training isn’t for the faint-hearted. It could take anywhere from a few months to years to get them race ready. The methods below will work with both puppies and adult dogs. But if they are older it may take them a little while longer to respond to training.

Getting Started

Your Greyhound will need a few things before you get started. A launch box will be the first thing to train them with, so you will need one of those. You will also need a lure, a long leash, gates and a coat to keep them warm during winter training.

You will also need a generous supply of high-quality dog food to ensure they are in top shape. Some healthy dog treats will also be used to motivate them during training. Lastly, make sure you are patient. Rocket doesn’t speak human so stay calm and take it slow! Further down the line, you will also need a track and other dogs to train around.

The Take it Slow Method

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Step
1
Launch
Take your Greyhound for a generous amount of daily exercise for the first fourteen months. At that point you can then start getting them used to the launch box. Allow them to sniff around and then stay upbeat as you get them to practice leaving the launch box for a few days.
Step
2
Lure
Once Rocket is comfortable with the launch box, move onto training with a lure. Over a three month period, gradually increase the distance they run from 50 to 500 meters. The trick is to build up their stamina slowly.
Step
3
Distractions
At around 18 months your Greyhound will be ready to race train around other dogs and people. So take them down to your local track and start getting them to practice with these new distractions around.
Step
4
Praise
The dog may be uneasy around all the people and noise, so give them lots of praise and affection. Your Greyhound will relax if you shower them with love. So stay close and keep encouraging them as they train.
Step
5
Winter coat
Greyhounds have a thin coat, so make sure you fit them in a thin coat when training during winter. Training in the cold increases the chance of injury and Rocket may be less interested in training.
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The Every Aspect Method

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Short training sessions
Some owners make the mistake of pushing their Greyhound too hard. Instead you should keep training sessions relatively short, especially if they are puppy. Your dog will need rest if they are to race to a high level.
Step
2
Diet
Your dog's body will be under considerable stress. Therefore, you need to make sure they get all the right nutrients. You should also measure out their food and factor in that they will need extra calories if they are doing lots of exercise each day.
Step
3
Lose the snacks
Don’t feed your Greyhound too many unhealthy treats. Just like an athlete, you need to feed them the right fuel. So even if they beg, stay strong and resist. Alternatively, feed them something healthy instead.
Step
4
Care
It’s important your take your dog to a vet if you see any problems. Any injuries in a race dog must be addressed quickly. If they continue to train without treatment, a serious injury could be the result, which may halt their racing days in their tracks.
Step
5
Don’t punish them
Unfortunately, some owners turn to unfair techniques to motivate their Greyhound to race. This could seriously harm the dog, not to mention make them miserable. Instead stick to positive reinforcements, which are much more effective when training.
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The Management Method

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Step
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Gates & leashes
You are training your Greyhound to be a race dog. That means you need to keep him safe and secure. So ensure they are on a leash when they’re out in public. Also make sure you use gates to prevent them escaping onto roads, for example.
Step
2
Make it fun
Although you may have serious goals, the best way to motivate your dog is to keep training fun. That means running alongside them with toys and food lures to start with. Simply shouting in a high-pitched voice will make them more eager to keep training.
Step
3
Diversity
Although your Greyhound will be racing on an official, well maintained surface, it can help to train them early on in different environments. If they can race across uneven fields then they will have no problem on a real race track.
Step
4
Socialization
Rocket will have to race next to a number of other dogs. So make sure they are at ease around other Greyhounds, in particular. Take them to the track to meet other dogs, take them to obedience classes and stop to say 'hello' to other dogs on walks.
Step
5
Build up the speed
You shouldn’t just build up the distance your dog can run. You also want to improve their speed, which will come as their muscles grow stronger and if you gradually make that lure harder to get hold of.
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Success Stories and Training Questions

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