A popular myth about Greyhounds is that as ex-athletes, they require a lot of exercise. In reality, the Greyhound is a pretty lazy dog.
However, we do recommend a certain amount of exercise, which is both good for the dog and you. Most Greyhound pets can be kept happy and healthy with a 10-minute daily walk. Although romping and running in a large fenced area is fun, it is not essential.
The most obvious and easiest exercise answer is in your own fenced backyard. The typical Greyhound enjoys a few laps around the yard at top speed and then is finished.
Care should be taken in introducing your new Greyhound to your yard or any new fenced area before turning him/her loose in it. This means a walk around the fence so that the dog can familiarize himself/herself with the boundaries. You also should let the dog investigate the hazards in your yard such as a barbecue pit or planter.
The first time your dog exercises in your yard off the leash should be in daylight and under an adult’s supervision. You may need to restrict your dog’s activity in a new area. Greyhounds have been conditioned for sprinting and may become so excited and interested by a new exercise area that they overdo it. They may even injure themselves by running into a fence or a tree until they are familiar with their new yard.
If you plan to use your Greyhound as a partner in a walking or jogging fitness program you ‘must’ start slowly. Greyhounds are exercised primarily on sand in their kennel situation, which means the pads on their feet are smooth and soft. A little time must be taken to build up the calluses needed to exercise with you on cement or blacktop. Remember, concrete or blacktop can get too hot for your pet’s feet. Start your dog’s regimen the same way you did yours, slowly. Walk or jog two or three blocks at first and then gradually increase.
***NOTE OF CAUTION -- Care should be taken during extreme temperatures. Your dog is VERY susceptible to heat stroke, just as you are. During hot weather it is NOT advisable to let your Greyhound jog. Longer walks should be in the morning or evening. Remember Greyhounds have no fat layer or undercoat to protect them in either too hot or cold situations. Make sure your dog is completely cooled down before feeding.
Cold weather presents other hazards for this desert breed. A warm-up blanket (coat) made for Greyhounds is an excellent idea for walking or jogging in temperatures in the fifties.
Each dog is an individual with different activity levels. Generally, younger dogs enjoy higher activity than older dogs. If your dog has a medical problem that would indicate a restricted activity program your adoption manager will advise you of those restrictions.
***NOTE OF CAUTION -- exercising your dog off leash in an area that is not entirely enclosed is asking for a ‘DISASTER’. The Greyhound has been bred to scan the horizon and run after anything that moves. Something as small as a paper cup blowing across the street from the open park could mean your dog’s death or your neighbor’s cat may suddenly find himself mistaken for the lure. Once your pet is focused in on this moving object, he no longer hears you. He is running on pure instinct.
If your Greyhound gets off the lead and will not come to you, stop where you are, bend down, call his name, and clap your hands. If he does not respond, turn and walk away, still calling his name. Break into a slow run and he should respond. Make every effort to get him to come to you. Do not reprimand him when he does. Running is a big game for him, and if he can get you to chase him, this is even more fun. The use of a ‘squawker’ is highly recommended.
Most Greyhounds walk very well on a leash. If your pet starts to pull or freezes as he sees something on the horizon, ‘pop’ or ‘snap’ the leash to quickly tug the collar and give the command, ‘heel’ or ‘let’s go’. You can also stop moving entirely until the dog no longer pulls if he has a tendency to drag you along.