Often, Greyhounds will be shy, timid, or easily spooked. We always want to “fix” them in order for them to become social and fit in with a family. Of course, this is easier said than done. A key thing to realize when adopting is that Greyhounds are often coming from a racing background. They can find themselves frightened by a new environment no matter how comforting you try to make it. Other times, Greyhounds can have a rougher past where humans have handled them inappropriately. It is an unfortunate circumstance when this occurs as these dogs can often be untrusting or fearful of humans. Some can even get so bad that they bite humans due to fear. Here are a couple ways to handle fearful or shy hounds:
- Shy or Timid dogs are usually this way due to the sudden change in surroundings. They have a LOT to get used to. These dogs haven’t quite figured out how cool it is to be a loved member of the family yet. The trick here is to continue handling them and showing them love! Easy enough with such a sweet breed like the Greyhound.
- Some Greyhounds are spooked easily. These types of dogs usually exhibit similar behavior as the Shy and Timid dogs, just on a more extreme level. Their actions can sometimes be bolting out the door if there is even a hint of an escape route, urinating when touched, or rolling over when approached. They are extremely timid and likely to spend hours cowering somewhere they feel safe. You have to approach these dogs even more gentler than a timid or shy dog and use very slow movements. Ultimately, handling the dog still works best at acclimating them to their new environment. Eventually, the dog will approach you. It is important to not try to pet or touch the Greyhound in this scenario for the first few times. This is building trust and showing them that you are not a threat.
- Finally, there are Greyhounds that will bite out of fear. These are the most extreme cases that require a ton of time to help. If you are not familiar with these types of dogs, it is best to work with a professional to get you started. You will likely want to use some kind of muzzle at first so the dog can get used to you and trust you. Sometimes, aggressive dogs will manage to bite you through the muzzle. It is absolutely critical to not raise your voice or strike the dog if this happens. That only damages the trust relationship! Instead, pull up on his or her collar slightly, look them in the eyes, and firmly say “No!” Then attempt to pet the Greyhound. If the dog does not snarl, growl, or attempt another bite, then reward your dog! These types of protocols will ensure an eventual settling in with your family.
Working with spooky Greyhounds is difficult. Make sure you hire a professional trainer if you are uncomfortable with any behavior. You can read more details about how to handle shy, timid, or aggressive Greyhounds here.