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How To Help Greyhound Know That Playing Is Okay

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I have to say, huge thanks to the greytalk community for putting up with my incessant posts about behaviour. Greyhounds are in a whole league of their own, and my husband and I are so unfamiliar with this and appreciate all the advice we can get.


Anyways, one more post I hope to get advice on.


We got our boy, Boo, 3 months ago. He has had some setbacks and is often spooky and shy, but is starting to come into his personality within the house. We have discovered that he has a SUPER silly side. When we first got him, he ignored ALL toys. Then, he started carrying them around with him and hoarding them. Once in a while, he would play when he knew we weren't looking. No matter how hard we tried to sneak up, we have creaky old floors and he always knew when we were peeking and would stop playing (even though we could hear it).

Now he is more comfortable and will play with stuffies when we are in the next room and can see him, but aren't directly with him. It's so great! He throws them around and has a fun time. He usually does this in between walks and other times when I think he is bored. He LOVES his secret stuffy playing time though.

He will usually continue playing if we walk into the room during the act and keep our distance, and he seems to always want to play when he is bored. But when we walk anywhere near him, he acts like he is ashamed of playing and stops immediately. When we try and throw or play with stuffies with him, he stops and retreats.

We are happy to respect his 'private play time' if that is what he needs, but because it seems to result from boredom (after being crated, or a big nap), we would like to show him that playing with toys while we are around can be fun and interactive.


Does anyone have any insights or advice? It is so hard to not watch or play with him, but he seems to not know how to continue as soon as he has eyes on him.



Bri and Mike with Boo Radley (Williejohnwalker), Bubba (Carlos Danger), and the feline friends foes, Loois and Amir

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I think it's quite normal for greyhounds to play with toys by themselves, and just in short bursts. Doc has learnt to play with me but I've never managed to implant the idea of 'retrieve' into his head - instead play consists of me throwing the toy for him, him grabbing and running off with it, and me grabbing it and throwing it again. With Boo this may just come with time, or to encourage him now I'd suggest

  • playing with the toy yourselves - throwing it to each other, having fun - with him in the room
  • Wiggling the toy around so he can see it but not you - e.g. from behind a door, on a string, thrown down the stairs
  • Moving outside to the garden and seeing if a change of venue helps
  • A 'lure pole' - a longish stick with a string, to which you attach the toy and then whoosh it around for him to catch. Often used for training greyhounds and usually pretty irresistable! You can buy one or make one yourself - I'm sure if you do a search on here you will find instructions, plus videos of greyhounds playing with them.

Clare with Tiger (Snapper Gar, b. 18/05/2015), and remembering Ken (Boomtown Ken, 01/05/2011-21/02/2020) and Doc (Barefoot Doctor, 20/08/2001-15/04/2015).

"It is also to be noted of every species, that the handsomest of each move best ... and beasts of the most elegant form, always excel in speed; of this, the horse and greyhound are beautiful examples."----Wiliam Hogarth, The Analysis of Beauty, 1753.

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Guest Jacks_Human

When I first got Jack, he seemed to think I'd punish him if he was caught playing with his toys. I actually demonstrated playing with one (batting it around, shaking it...I have no dignity :P) and it seemed to register with him that this was OK. Now he prefers to play with me, since I will tug the toys, throw the balls, etc. although he will play by himself if I'm busy. He'll throw his toys in the air and then pounce on them, or bat his balls down the hallway and chase them. It's really cute.

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Great suggestions! Summer plays with her toys, with or without me, so I don't have the concern. And she ADORES the lure pole.

As to the playing on his own and stopping when he sees you looking, hopefully that will change with time. He's still pretty new. I had a cat once who was like this, although he WOULD play with me. But different games than when he played alone -- and if I looked at him when he was playing alone, he'd stop, sit down and pretend he was just having a kitty bath. Certainly he was KNOT playing, that would be beneath his dignity, didn't I know better?


Lisa B.

My beautiful Summer - to her forever home May 1, 2010 Summer

Certified therapy dog team with St. John Ambulance

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Give him time :)


My Sammi was the same way. When I first adopted her, I was told that I adopted a serial stuffy killer. I swear I got the wrong dog. I had bought tons of toys & she even had her own toybox to house them all. Never touched them.


Then, about a month later, I was in the kitchen and heard out in the living room - Squeak!


Squeak.. Squeak.. Squeak!


As soon as I peeked into the room, she stopped.


It went on like this for a few weeks. Then she started not minding me watching. Then we progressed to me being in the room watching, but if I tried playing or even acknowledging her playing, she stopped. Then I could finally do a running commentary and talk to her while she was playing.


Finally I was invited to play by having a stuffy flung at me and her waiting expectantly for me to toss it in the air for her to jump, grab and slam to the ground in a plabow.


Nowadays, she has her zoomies (bursts of play energy) and doesn't mind if I watch or join in :) I've had toys flung at the back of my head when on the computer, I've had toys tossed at me in my chair reading, I've almost gotten sideswiped walking into the room as her and the stuffy are about to land where I am standing, I have woken out of a dead sleep to *thump thump squeak thump...silence.. :blink: WHOMP!* as 85 pounds of greyhound lands ON me in bed because her zoomies hit while I was sleeping. <_< I've had to confiscate toys she's trying to sneak outside with her to the car. I've giggled and watched her bring a toy down from the bedroom to play with, only to have the husky try to steal it and Sammi taking it back and walking it back upstairs in a huff.

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Boo is showing progress so I think it's only a matter of time.

Jan with precious pups Emmy (Stormin J Flag) and Simon (Nitro Si). Missing my angels: Bailey Buffetbobleclair 11/11/98-17/12/09; Ben Task Rapid Wave 5/5/02-2/11/15; Brooke Glo's Destroyer 7/09/06-21/06/16 and Katie Crazykatiebug 12/11/06 -21/08/21. My blog about grief The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not get over the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same, nor would you want to. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

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Guest Wasserbuffel

Mine only wants to play with toys when I don't want her to have them. So, I will grab a stuffy and start "playing" with it until she steals it from me and plays with it herself.

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Wow, some awesome advice here. Thanks! I think the lure pole will be a great way to get him some extra exercise and stimulation within our backyard. I watched some youtube videos (cute!) and I think I will visit home depot then fashion one up this weekend.

Also funny to hear that other hounds do this too.


if I looked at him when he was playing alone, he'd stop, sit down and pretend he was just having a kitty bath. Certainly he was KNOT playing, that would be beneath his dignity, didn't I know better?

:rofl !! That is EXACTLY how he acts. Too funny.



Bri and Mike with Boo Radley (Williejohnwalker), Bubba (Carlos Danger), and the feline friends foes, Loois and Amir

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