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Greyhound behaviour towards other dogs

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Looking for advice on my greyhounds behaviour (currently fostering him with a view to adopting).

He takes a lot of interest in other dogs while out walking, and occasionally lunges (& sometimes snaps) at dogs (both big & small) if they come very close to him and appear a bit excitable (he has the biggest reaction towards off lead excitable dogs). He'll often pull on his lead to try and get closer to another dog & can become quite fixated. (He is always muzzled while in public) Some dogs get no reaction - usually the calmer on lead bigger ones.

I brought him to a dog park early this morning to meet a friend's greyhound for a run around. The dog park was empty when we arrived and the 2 dogs ran around, no issues. Then a fairly excitable collie arrived & immediately my grey seemed to get over excited, jumping up on the collie. Before I had a chance to put him on lead the owner threw a tennis ball for her dog - both dogs (hers & mine) took off but my dog caught up with the collie, pushed him to the ground & pinned him down. The dog was yelping and the owner ran over & hit my dog with a stick before I took him away.

He was muzzled so no damage was done. But I'm wondering if this is normal behaviour for a greyhound & what might have triggered it. Is he just too reactive around other dogs or could his behaviour improve over time? I'm also wondering if he would have properly attacked the dog if he wasn't muzzled or was he just playing too aggressively. He was properly on top of the collie while it was on its back yelping & had to be pulled off.

Needless to say I'll be avoiding the dog park in future but I would like to understand what is driving this behaviour and if there is anything that can be done to desensitise him and stop him from becoming overly excited around other dogs. Thinking socialisation classes & walks with other greyhounds might be good? There is a weekly greyhound meet up nearby. 

I guess I'm worried about owning a dog that is aggressive towards other dogs and can't be trusted not to bite/attack. He is an ex racer but seems to have been well looked after.

He is the calmest, most laid back dog around all people big & small. Loves being petted & handled. The issue is only with other dogs, but as he is always muzzled I don't know if it is just excitement/play or if he is capable of causing damage.

Is this what prey drive looks like & if so, why is it happening with big dogs?

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Yes, that's normal behavior for a greyhound. They're competitive and they play rough, which is why they're all muzzled when they race. Most of us here don't do dog parks for that reason, but an all-greyhound meet-up sounds perfect. It levels the playing field and he'll probably have a blast.

You can work with him on walks to address the lunging at other dogs. Sweep used to do that as well; I always thought of it as her "correcting" them for some perceived rudeness. :lol Greyhounds speak fluent dog and are sometimes not very tolerant of those outside their breed. Is your boy food motivated? What worked with Sweep was the "watch me" or "look at me" command. As soon as I saw someone with a dog ahead on our path, if I couldn't avoid them altogether, I'd keep feeding her treats, holding them near my face and saying "look at me" until we safely passed by. It worked quite well, but she also mellowed a lot with age. If he's muzzled, on lead, and under your control on walks, you shouldn't have to worry about him causing damage. You might want to think about a harness if he's straining to get closer so he doesn't hurt his neck. He sounds like a lovely boy and with a bit of training and more time in your home, he'll be a gem, I'm sure!


Rachel with littermates Doolin and Willa, boss cat Tootie, and feline squatters Crumpet and Fezziwig.
Missing gentlemen kitties MudHenry, and Richard and our beautiful, feisty, silly

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Grace used to react to other dogs but nowhere near as reactive as yours but had a healthy interest in cats and squirrels. I found a quick tug on the lead (short sharp pull and immediate release, I'm not playing tug-of-war) to get her attention and at the same time NO in a firm voice curbed her enthusiasm followed by praise once she lost interest. Once she was calmer I would introduce her to other dogs we met on our walks as long as both of them were on their leads.

She is a lot better now but like other greyhound owners I don't let her off the lead unless it's in a secure area with no other breeds of dog.

Grace (Ardera Coleen) b. 18 June 2014 - Gotcha Day 10 June 2018 - Going grey gracefully
Guinness (Antigua Rum) b. 3 September 2017 - Gotcha Day 18 March 2022 - A gentleman most of the time


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The trick with redirection is to get his attention before he gets focused on whatever he's obsessed with.  This means you need to be as alert as he is!!  ;) 

It also sounds like he may not be tolerant/safe around dogs that are smaller than himself - they are the same as squirrels and cats to him.  Greyhounds often don't recognize other breeds - particularly smaller breeds - as "dogs" like themselves.  They don't encounter any other breeds while they are growing up or racing.  So be extra cautious when encountering dogs smaller than he is.

You can find some other strategies if you search through here for threads on "leash reactivity."

Dog parks are usually a big no for greyhounds.  You really, really don't want to muzzle him in mixed company so he has a chance to defend himself if something bad happens, but greyhounds do tend to bite and wrestle and many non-greyhound owners get nervous when they see how ferociously they play (and in your case, any smaller dog is going to get unwanted attention by your boy).  Lots of people have greyhound meet ups weekly at dog parks really early when they are empty, or in someone's large backyard.  But if a non-greyhound wants to enter the park, just pack up and leave them to it.

Chris - Mom to: Felicity (DeLand), and Andi (Braska Pandora)

52592535884_69debcd9b4.jpgsiggy by Chris Harper, on Flickr

Angels: Libby (Everlast), Dorie (Dog Gone Holly), Dude (TNJ VooDoo), Copper (Kid's Copper), Cash (GSI Payncash), Toni (LPH Cry Baby), Whiskey (KT's Phys Ed), Atom, Lilly

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi Fiona - maybe try a very very high value treat?  (Hot dogs, bits of cooked liver, etc..Something he would do ANYTHING for...)  And like greysmom said, you need to start the treating before he gets interested, so you have to be on the lookout...

Jeannine with Lili & Okie, the kitty sisters and Cody grey-girl waiting at the bridge (along with kitties Weenie & Merlin)

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