The 45mph Couch Potato
Contrary to what many people may think greyhounds do not need excessive amounts of exercise. Although they can reach up to speeds of 45mph, making them the Ferraris of the dog world, they are built for acceleration and not endurance. Once they have charged around like loonies for 20 minutes, they are ready for a long rest.
If an owner keeps their Greyhound on the lead at all times, I would suggest a daily one hour walk or two 30 minute walks. When they are younger, maybe they have a little more energy and when older a little less but this amount of exercise is ideal.
Of course, certain dog breeds require more exercise than others. Some require more attention and demand a gruelling playtime schedule. However, the typical greyhound is a rather a laid-back character.
Unbelievably, for such big dog, they make wonderful apartment pets. You are more likely to find a greyhound with their limbs entangled around themselves in a dreamy slumber than pacing around, bored. They are called couch potatoes for a reason. This breed LOVES to sleep. The greyhound sleeps an average of 16-18 hours a day.
Why is Exercise Important?
As with all dogs, it is very important that your greyhound gets adequate physical exercise. Exercise has an extensive list of benefits and, in my opinion, is a must-do activity for anyone who has chosen a canine companion. If an owner is unable to commit to exercising their dog regularly, they should seriously consider whether this animal is the best pet for them.
Regular exercise does not only benefit your grey physically; it benefits them mentally too. If an owner does not keep up a good routine of exercise, their pet pooch can face a whole host of physical problems, such as obesity, muscle degeneration, arthritis and heart disease, to name a few. These are obvious consequences of a lack of exercise, but interestingly, behavioural issues also come from an inactive lifestyle and are often not considered.
Canine obesity in the UK is unfortunately on the rise. Recent studies have reported that 1-in-3 dogs across the UK is considered overweight or obese. The Vet Report produced by Vets4Pets in late 2016 claims that obesity is currently one of the most serious welfare problems affecting pets.
With the majority of our dogs lives being sedentary (you know - with all that sleeping they do), exercise will reduce fat accumulation and maintain a healthy metabolism.
Being overweight puts undue pressure on their heart and bones. It also promotes premature ageing as their bodies struggle to cope with the excess weight. The demands placed on virtually every organ in their bodies can be fatal and something that every dog owner should take seriously.
Greyhounds are not known for gaining weight quite as rapidly as breeds like Labradors and Spaniels. However, they are equally at risk if a balanced diet and healthy exercise regime are not maintained. An ex-racer is especially susceptible to gaining weight when being rehomed as their routine changes dramatically. They are likely to put on a few extra kilos, which is acceptable, but I would recommend that all new owners find out the ideal weight for the size and height of their adopted greyhound.
If you would like to read more from The Vet Report and its comments on obesity, please use the link below:
Besides the physical well-being that is evident from daily walks and cardiovascular activities, dogs develop social skills from their time out of the family home. Whether kept on the lead or running freely, the interactions that occur organically when out and about, continue to improve our pet pooches' communication with others.
Greyhounds are naturally a little more reserved than most breeds. A retired greyhound even more so, due to their unusual upbringing which limits their exposure to other dog breeds and their owners.
As they are raised with little or no experience of commonplace situations, it can take time for this daily influx of unfamiliar smells, sounds and scenarios to become a comfortable and no longer a daunting part of their lives.
All breeds, young and old, benefit from everyday contact with each other. Understanding how to use their eyes, ears, tails, voice and body as a form of language is essential as a pup matures. As they grow, the continual day-to-day meetings will reduce antisocial behaviour developing.
When faced with new dogs, people, other animals and unusual noises day in - day out, they start to become ordinary occurrences and feelings of apprehension will diminish. This enables our much-loved mutts to take it all in their stride. Apologies for the pun!
The Outside World
Taking in the environment is another important benefit that comes from regular walks and exercise. Dogs are excited to learn and explore. In the wild, this would be done naturally with their mothers and in their packs, every day being an adventure into the unknown. Domesticated dogs rely on their owners to take them out and allow them to feed their innate curiosity.
Even the morning walk that is conducted along the same route every day is an abundant source of information to your pet pooch. A dog's smell can allow it to know the recent goings on in any particular area they take a few minutes to sniff out. It's like reading the local morning newspaper, so to speak.
The average dog's nose is tens of thousands of times stronger than our own. Greyhounds are sighthounds rather than scent hounds but don't let that term fool you; their noses are still insanely sensitive to smell. A good combination of walking and sniffing will lead to a content, well-stimulated canine.
A bored dog is quite often a disruptive dog, or even worse, a depressed dog. Exercising and dedicating some effort to "playtime" will reduce behavioural problems and result in a happy hound. Being ignored and left to sit around all day with little or no interaction with others would not be enjoyable for a child, or us and it is exactly the same for a dog.
Daily walks will almost certainly be one of their favourite times of the day as they will be able to have a brain workout as well as a physical one. Walking alone will get their brain cells stimulated with sensory enrichment as their nose receptors take in the smells around them and their eyes watch the activities of others.
If an owner chooses to keep their greyhound on the lead throughout the duration of their walk, it is worth allowing a few extra moments when they stop to sniff to really let their senses explore.
Introducing games and puzzles into exercise time is a sure way to mentally challenge a dog and tire them out inwardly as well as outwardly. The combination of the two contributes to the overall well-being of our furry friends. This quality time together will also strengthen your bond, and by working on recall, commands and self-control, obedience will improve.