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Greyhound running

It’s every pet parent’s nightmare: your best friend has gotten loose and is running away from you at breakneck speed. You see him rounding the corner and no matter how much you yell he is not coming back or even slowing down. So what do you do to catch a loose Greyhound? Here are some tips for corralling that escaped pup.

Understanding your dog’s motivation is the first thing. There are two main possibilities: most likely your dog is frightened out of his mind, or he is having a grand time being free (or a combination of the two). Be familiar with dog body language so you can judge which is the case. It will make a big difference when deciding which approach to use. This article may help Your Greyhound Wants You to Know .

Do not yell. It is incredibly counterintuitive, when you see a loose dog, not to call to him, slap your leg encouragingly, or otherwise send an auditory signal that you are happy to see him and would like him to get closer. But that’s exactly what you shouldn’t do. When dogs are flooded with adrenaline, they are very reactive, and they make associations with sounds and quickly panic. The dog may then associate those overtures with something frightening and overwhelming, and bolt whenever he hears them, even if it’s his owner who makes them; he may simply react without processing any of that information.

Do not chase the dog.  Running towards a dog is a threatening move and will startle any animal. You’ll need to override your biological programming here: It’s human nature to run after something you want. The problem is, the dog will likely run even faster, sometimes directly into danger – in particular, oncoming traffic.

The same applies if you see a dog wandering in traffic, in particular a highway or busy road: Don’t jump out. Instead, put on your flashers and follow the dog as best you can, provided you do not create a traffic disturbance. Or pull over somewhere safe, and call highway patrol to see if an officer can assist in stopping and slowing traffic. Bottom line: Don’t take any chances in getting hit yourself.

Do use calming signals, such as yawning, using peripheral vision and blinking (never long, direct stares), and oblique approaches (moving from the side, not head on). If you are moving towards a dog, do so in a casual manner and turn your body slightly sideways so you do not face the dog head on.

Do go “low and slow”. The key is to get down to the dog’s level and be extremely patient. Sit on the ground, not looking at the dog, toss treats in his general direction, and wait for him to approach. You could also pretend to eat some of the treats yourself, dropping bits on the ground. Lip-smacking noises are like a universal language to a dog. They’ll be interested in what you’re eating and think you are not even watching them. If they get close enough at this stage, some dogs will catch the scent of a familiar person and immediately recognize that you are his long lost human.

Chase me! If your Greyhound is just having fun being free, you definitely do not want to chase this dog as that just makes running more fun. The key here is to be much more fun that whatever your dog is exploring. Get close enough to your dog to get his attention then call his name in a super excited voice. Next, run the opposite direction. Greyhounds love nothing more than to chase things, especially their best friend. Run away from your dog while calling their name and often they will chase right after you and be so happy that you came out to play with them. Ideally, you could get them to follow you into a fenced yard or at least a safe area.

Try bringing another Greyhound with you. If you are following the dog on foot, try giving the other Greyhound a treat. This will likely draw the loose Greyhound in. Or if your dog stops to say hi to another dog on a walk ask the person to grab your dog for you. A dog having fun will often visit with other people and dogs, even though he will not come to you.

“Wanna go for a ride?”  If the chase game does not immediately work then try out the car trick. What is more fun than a car ride?  “Wanna go for a ride?” This phrase inspires most of the canine community to race headlong for the nearest vehicle. The key is to get the car close enough, open a door and move out of the way while calling out phrases like “Car ride? Let’s go!” Try leaving your car door open overnight and you might be surprised in the morning (don’t try this if your car’s battery is old).

Try calling other people to help corral your dog, even if that means you have to follow along behind for awhile to keep track of him. Often, Greyhound adoption groups have a lost dog coordinator, who can help. Take time now to find their number.


Lost Dogs. Another scenario is when the Greyhound has been loose for awhile, or you see a dog that has obviously escaped. In that case, you can try these measures to catch him:

  1. Place food and water near recent sightings. They will need food and water, so if this becomes a reliable source for him, he’ll keep coming back – giving you the chance to come by and get them back home! You may even want to leave pieces of bedding nearby to put the Greyhound at ease. You’ll need to be consistent with this.
  2. Try to put food in a fenced or gated area. If the Greyhound comes into the area, shutting a gate is much easier than trying to chase and grab him.
  3. Sometimes a predator call works for luring in Greyhounds when they are on the run. Greyhounds are used to this call, particularly if they are retired racers.
  4. Live traps are also an option. Make sure you set these up near your feeding station. Place a familiar blanket on the floor of the trap. Greyhounds are notorious for having sensitive feet, plus this gives the trap a friendly smell.
  5. Chemical capture is one that carries more risks. Greyhounds are super sensitive to drugs! The best way to use this is through a dart and a radio transmitter. This will make sure that the Greyhound goes unconscious in a safe area and can be easily found.


Ultimately, keep trying these different methods and stay consistent. Do not give up hope! You’ll catch that spooky Greyhound eventually!

Above all else, once you catch your dog you want to praise him and tell him what a great dog he is. If he gets away again you do not want him to avoid you because you yelled at him.


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