Reading time: 8 minutes.
Greyhounds are the fastest dogs alive and naturally, there’s one first question that pops into every owner’s mind. Do Greyhounds run away? What can I do to keep my dog safe?
While they mean well, Greyhounds are indeed fast and worse, they know it! This means that if they are startled or simply think it’s a game, they can and might well bolt away from you and this could be dangerous. Strategies such as obedience training and leads of proper thickness are a good start to help avoid this.
Today we’ll talk about this subject in-depth, so that you’ll know how fast your Greyhound really is, understand what’s going on in their minds a little better, and we’ll also give you some useful tips to help keep your little lightning-bolt safe. Let’s talk about the fastest dogs in the world and keeping them safe!
Do Greyhounds Run Away?
Congratulations… you are the proud owner of a ‘furry Ferrari’! In the dog world, the fastest dogs alive are the Greyhound breed, which averages about 45 miles per hour at a full-sprinting run. If this is your first Greyhound, then you are truly in for the time of your life!
The fastest Greyhound on record is one named Fanta, who was clocked-in at a robust 50.5 miles per hour. Your dog might well be capable of this, so it’s best to invest a lot of time in obedience training, at least if you ever want to feel safe setting down a sandwich ever again.
Only one dog comes close to the Greyhounds swiftness and that would be a distant cousin of theirs called a ‘Saluki’. This breed has been clocked at 43 miles per hour, which is below the Greyhound record, but they have a little more endurance for keeping up that frenzied pace.
As such, some argue that if the racing course is over ½ of a mile, the Saluki might well win by outlasting the sprint-centric Greyhound. Suspiciously, we don’t find any records of this being thoroughly tested, so for now we’ll just file it away as ‘something Saluki owners seem to say a lot’ and leave it at that.
Do Greyhounds forget you while running?
Dogs have very short-term memories. With the exception of truly memorable events, such as traumas, it is believed that their short-term memory is around 2 minutes TOPS. Greyhounds share this with other breeds and because of their speed, walking them without a leash could be potentially fatal.
The problem is that the running on their part and the chasing on yours is not the worst thing about your dog getting away – not by a long shot. It’s that your dog gets focused on their sprint and momentarily forgets anything but the fun of running or the animal or item that prompted them to run to begin with.
They’ll forget that you’ve brought them there and that you’re behind them and with the speed that they can move, it’s quite possible they might try to cross a busy street believing that it’s not a danger for them at all!
It’s not intentional, they’re just forgetful, and this is a dangerous combination with super-speed involved. As such, you must ALWAYS make sure that your Grey is safely and securely tethered in a harness with a lead – and not a harness on their collar, which can cause trauma to their fragile necks if they bolt!
How can I stop my Greyhound from chasing everything?
Can you let ex racing greyhounds off lead? Greyhounds simply love to chase things. While we suspect that this is because they know darned well that they can catch just about anything, this type of behavior presents a frustrating challenge for Greyhound owners. The best way to tone this down is going to be by stopping this habit in its tracks.
The way that you will do this is to teach your Grey the ‘stop’ command. This will take a bit of patience, but it’s vital that your Greyhound learns this – think of it as a little extra insurance just in case they try to bolt.
To teach ‘stop’ get a retractable lead that is thick enough not to break and you will attach this to their harness, and you will also need a light plastic pipe or even a thin stick. Keep the lead short in the beginning and with a pocketful of treats, it’s time to take your dog on a walk.
While walking, let your dog get a little ahead, and then say ‘stop’. If your dog ignores this, don’t worry, try again and put the pipe or stick in front of them to block their passage. When your dog stops, give a treat, and repeat the process. Train for 10 minutes, 3 times daily, and your dog will quickly learn!
Should my Greyhound always be leashed?
Yes. Unless you are at home, your dog needs to be wearing a harness and you should have a lead attached to it. Greys are simply too fast to do otherwise, and if your dog is not on a lead and decides to sprint off, even Usain Bolt couldn’t help you.
What CAN help immensely is a solid choice in leads. For instance, a leather lead that is 5/8 to 1 inch thick can keep your Grey in check and since their harness will distribute the force when you pull it or stop in place, then the stress on your dog will be safe and minimal.
As long as you take care of the lead, it can last years, and leather is one of the most durable options around. You can also go with a nylon as well, and try to avoid retractable leads unless they are for specific training purposes. These give a little too much freedom and are at more risk of snapping.
Finally, an ideal length for the lead is about 4 feet. While this seems a bit restrictive, your dog can still have a little room to go potty and they won’t be getting too far away from you. This is very important with these little lightning dogs and can keep them out of trouble.
How can I keep my Greyhound safely inside?
Outside is not the only dangerous spot with a dog that runs like the Flash. When your Grey is indoors, even the front and back door can be a bit risky to open, and so you’ll need to adopt a few strategies to help limit where they can go and when.
First off, if you just want to keep them out of certain rooms, then baby barrier gates are an easy way to accomplish this. These small, plastic gates are designed for keeping toddlers out of rooms or away from stairs, and this can be helpful for you unless your dog is VERY determined and tries to jump them.
They are a good idea if you have stairs, which Greys are a little clumsy with, so that you can walk them up or down as needed and safely. For the front and back doors, the ‘stop’ command we mentioned is the best way to keep them away from using the doors.
If they don’t know this yet, then the easiest way is simple distraction. Tossing a chew toy or a favorite ball away from the door can get your Greyhound out of range, but be sure to move FAST – unlike most dogs, your Grey still has a good chance of getting to the door, so a quick exit is a MUST.
Obedience training can help
Can you train a greyhound not to chase? Obedience training is important with any dog, but doubly so with Greyhounds. The more commands that you teach them, the better, as aside from them learning how to do something new, your Greyhound also becomes more expectant of you to always TELL them what you want.
Good commands to teach include the following:
- Fetch – Fetch is one of a Greyhound’s favorite games and this is important because it can quickly divert their attention from something you don’t want them doing or looking at and this makes it extremely useful for them to know.
- Tug of war – The second most popular Greyhound game is ‘Tug of War’. These little grey guys and gals love pulling at thick ropes or old leads ropes when you are also pulling on the other end. If your dog is about to do something bad or go somewhere, whip out a little piece of rope and distract them with ‘Tug of War’.
- ‘Find it’ – After you teach fetch, teaching ‘Find it’ simply requires taking their favorite fetch toy and putting it briefly behind something close, then further out later. Say ‘find it’ and give your dog a treat when they do. Walk them over, like with teaching fetch, if they don’t go to it, and they’ll quickly learn this useful distraction game.
Electronic location option for emergencies
On the rare chance that your Grey does escape, time is of the essence, and you might do well to consider a GPS collar for your dog. These collars are designed to instantly determine location, with the same technology that your phone uses, and are accessible on your computer or through an app on your phone.
Time is of the essence when they get out, so while you might never use it, if your Grey does manage to get out on their own and out of view then you can immediately turn on your app and follow them. Don’t sprint unless it is absolutely necessary – follow along and try commanding and calling your dog.
This is because chasing may encourage your dog to keep running, as they might think it’s a game. Just be as calm as possible and try to coax them to you and try to keep running to a minimum (such as when they can’t see you and you need to get close quickly).
While you can’t outrun them, with a little luck the GPS collar will help you to find them and get them safely back to home.
Do Italian Greyhounds Run Away – closing comments
In this article, we’ve taken an in-depth look at what it means to own the ‘furry Ferrari’ of the dog world – the lovely Greyhound. As you can see, it’s going to be about learning how to divert their attention, as well as sealing-up areas to limit impulsive getaways and a good amount of obedience training.
Electronic GPS collars can be purchased as well for an emergency option, as the outside world is too dangerous for dogs that think they can outrun everything – sadly, they can’t, but with a little preparation you can help to make sure that this never happens. As the years pass, you and your little Grey buddy will be very happy that you did!