Supporting a Greyhound Who Has Experienced a 'Scary' Event

July 13, 2023 12:50
Greyhounds are sensitive and gentle creatures that thrive on stability and a sense of security.

However, sometimes unforeseen events can occur, which can totally spook our furry friends. As caring greyhound owners, it is essential to provide support and comfort when our greyhounds encounter something like this.

Lets explore some  ways to help our greyhounds overcome and cope with 'scary' situations, ensuring their emotional well-being and building their confidence.

Recognise the Signs of Distress

Greyhounds may display various signs when they are scared or anxious. These signs can include trembling, hiding, excessive panting, pacing, drooling, or growling (see our resources for more comprehensive guides on recognising behavioural signs of fear and anxiety).

It is crucial to observe and understand your greyhound's body language to identify when they are feeling fearful and respond accordingly.

Provide a Calm and Safe Environment

After a scary event, it is vital to create a calm and safe environment for your greyhound to retreat to. Ensure they have a designated 'safe space,' such as a cozy crate or a quiet room, where they can retreat when they feel overwhelmed. Make this space comfortable with soft bedding and their most loved toys.

You can even consider a lovey scent like lavender for sniffing !

Maintain Consistency and Routine

During times of stress, greyhounds find comfort in stability and predictability. Stick to their regular routine as much as possible, including meal times, exercise, and sleep schedules.

Consistency provides a sense of security, helping your greyhound feel more at ease during the recovery process.

Use Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool for helping your greyhound overcome fear. Reward and praise them when they exhibit calm and confident behaviour.

Offering treats, gentle pats, and soothing words can help them associate positive experiences with potentially frightening situations, gradually reducing their fear response.

Notes on Gradual Exposure and Desensitisation

If your greyhound was fearful of something that they might need to encounter on a regular basis (such as a household appliance), you could consider gradually exposing them to the trigger.  Break down the scary experience into manageable steps, starting with the lowest possible and gradually increasing the intensity as long as your dog remains calm throughout.

For example, if your dog was scared of the blender when it turns on, you might reward them for being in the room as the appliance when it is turned off, then reward the dog for remaining calm while a recording of the blender is played at the lowest possible volume. This process, known as desensitisation, can help your greyhound build confidence and develop a positive association with the previously scary event.

Be Patient and Understanding

Supporting a greyhound through a frightening experience requires patience and understanding. Remember that each dog is unique, and their recovery time may vary. Avoid forcing them into situations that cause distress and be prepared to adjust your approach based on their individual needs.

Always prioritise your dog’s comfort and trust. With your love and support, your greyhound can regain their confidence and thrive once again.

Considering Adopting a New Best Mate?

At GAP NSW, we’re here to support people with adopting an amazing retired greyhound.
  • We provide a wealth of resources and support
  • You can work with our caring staff with any pre or post-adoption questions
  • We have multiple locations throughout NSW
  • We are a non for profit organisation