Greyhounds make amazing, loving pets that work well with most families. They’re pretty easygoing, love children, and don’t need too much exercise, so they’re ideal for a busy lifestyle.
However, they do have their quirks. Training a Greyhound can be tricky as they aren’t the most intelligent breed, and their bodies work differently from other dogs. This can pose problems for first-time Greyhound owners.
Greyhounds need to be exercised at least twice a day. These are usually short walks because, despite their reputation for speed, they aren’t particularly equipped for stamina. This means they often get tired easily and will spend the rest of the day chilling on the sofa.
However, many Greyhound owners have found that they randomly stop still as a Greyhound statue in the middle of the walk and refuse to move. Greyhound freezing on walks is a common problem and owners struggle to get them moving again.
Why It Happens
Greyhounds freeze on walks when they feel overwhelmed (eg. when they experience the real outdoors). While this behavior can be incredibly annoying, your Greyhound isn’t doing it to be awkward. In fact, it’s usually because they’re very scared!
This behavior occurs most often in ex-racing Greyhounds. Racing Greyhounds are brought up in very different circumstances to their domesticated counterparts.
They spend most of their puppyhood in concrete kennels or outhouses and aren’t usually trained like normal dogs in regard to household luxuries.
Their walks often consist of a short trip around a track to keep them fit and healthy and their travel experience will usually only be from the track to their kennel.
They may overreact to external stimuli that other dogs would find totally normal. This could include rustling leaves, cars driving by, or other animals.
How to Prevent Greyhounds from Freezing on Walks
When Greyhounds feel frightened or threatened, they might react in several ways. They could either fight – meaning they’ll bark or act aggressively, go into flight mode and run away, or freeze – meaning they’ll stand completely still, hoping that whatever scared them will go away.
If you’re a new Greyhound owner, you might be tempted to pull them along, thinking they’re just being stubborn. This isn’t the best solution though. While you may achieve the results eventually, Greyhounds are heavy.
You’ll have to put a lot of energy into moving them. It also won’t resolve the situation next time around and the same thing will continue to happen.
What you really need to do is help them to overcome their fears and reduce the risk of the issues occurring in the future.
Greyhound Training Tips
To encourage your dog’s confidence and prevent the typical Greyhound statue freeze, it’s important that you take on some practical Greyhound training tips.
Adopted Ex-racing Greyhound
When you first adopt your ex-racer, you’ll want them to become accustomed to the home environment before putting too much external pressure on them. You shouldn’t walk your Greyhound for at least 4-5 days after they come home with you.
This allows them to get used to the typical home routine before venturing outside.
During these first few days, your Greyhound will likely be more tired due to increased stress levels.
These first few days can be perfect for building your bond with your new companion. This will also help them get used to the normal things within the home. Remember that normal potty training and standard commands may be a little more difficult for your Greyhound to pick up than other dogs – so be patient!
First Steps in the Garden
If you have a backyard, trying out your first steps on a leash somewhere enclosed and near your home is a good idea. If it all gets too much for your Greyhound, you can retreat indoors in an area they’re more comfortable with.
While in the yard, you should use a loose leash and practice walking at your side. This leash training will help get your Greyhound used to walking with you and is one less thing to worry about when they leave home.
Using a leash with the right harness for your pup is essential.
How to Overcome Distractions
Greyhound freezing on walks usually occurs when your dog is distracted by something they aren’t used to. The key is to pull their attention back to normality in order to get them moving again.
While training with food as the incentive works for most dogs, Greyhounds also respond very well to their favorite toys. Once you’ve established which toy is your Greyhound’s favorite, take it out on walks.
When your Greyhound freezes on walks, try to get your dog to look the other way with their squeaky toy. This distracts them from the thing that’s worrying them. It focuses on the toy or game you’re about to play.
Reassurance is Key
Your Greyhound will quickly develop a bond with you. They’re a very loyal and loving breed, and it won’t take them too long to start trusting you. Start to take their favorite toy and spend time around what scares them the most.
If a specific tree is upsetting them each time, then you should hang out in that spot with the toy. Seeing you feeling safe and behaving naturally around the ‘danger zone’ will encourage them to come closer and feel that there’s nothing to fear.
Select Your Walks Carefully
Try to go to the same place for the first few weeks and build upon your dog’s experience from there. While it’s good to give dogs variety eventually, it’s best to ensure they’re comfortable first.
Always choose somewhere quiet at first. Giving them the extra stimulation of other dogs could make the experience feel even scarier.
Greyhound Freezing on Walks: Long-Term Prevention
Once your dog is settled and has started walking normally, keeping on top of their training and encouraging their confidence is important. The signature Greyhound statue freeze can reoccur anytime, especially in new situations.
Attending classes with your Greyhound is a good idea to keep them socialized and happy with their surroundings.
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