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Old October 22nd, 2009, 12:40 PM
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Need advice on training a greyhound

Hi, I am a new instructor in obedience. I have a new student with a 7 year old adopted greyhound. Came from racing. My student wants to get her dog certified to take her dog to nursing homes. This is a really nice dog. So other wise she needs to be obedient trained. Getting to my problem. I have never had a greyhound in my class and don't know a lot about them, Am doing homework. This lady told me that her dog will NOT sit. She said it was trained not to sit, with electric shock. I guess this is something they do to racing dogs? I never heard of this, but I'm still learning myself. Now I have to retrain this dog to sit. I have instructed her on how to help ease the dog into a sit. And told her to use lots and lots of praise and bait. My question is. Does any one here have any suggestions on how to help me with this, as the dog is scared to sit. And anymore info. on why greyhounds don't sit. I understand they have little behinds. Help me understand? Thank you.
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Old October 22nd, 2009, 12:48 PM
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Many greyhounds that are retired from the race track have never 'learned' sit. However, it's also structurally more difficult for them due to their body structure and some greyhounds find it quite painful.

My reccomendation would be to teach the dog to lie down, instead of sitting. As a fellow trainer, we need to take into consideration the breed we are dealing with first and foremost. Unless requested by a client, I reccomend all greyhounds be taught 'down' instead of 'sit' for this reason, and even then I am teaching the dog a 'trick'. It is not a natural position for them, unlike other breeds.
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Old October 22nd, 2009, 03:12 PM
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I agree with Bailey, many greys are just physically uncomfortable in sit and rarely or never do it ever, even by their own accord. commanding a down/stay or stand/stay is likely a better option. You also may want to check a greyhound forum (google) i know at least 1 forum has a whole thread devoted to teaching sit to greys, some with success some without
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Old October 22nd, 2009, 07:08 PM
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About a year ago, we were considering adopting a retired greyhound. We went through the interview process with the group taking care of placing them in our area. The woman explained to us that most greyhounds are trained not to sit because they don't want them to sit in the boxes before the door opens. She said it was very common in greyhounds. But she had 2 and they both learned to sit with time and patience.

Good luck, I love greyhounds.
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Old October 22nd, 2009, 07:19 PM
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It has almost become folklore that Greyhounds CAN'T sit. They can and do.
We have worked with several retired racers and taught them all how to sit. Yes, they have boney butts and it can be less than comfortable, some even do a partial sit where they keep the boney parts just off of the ground. After you get a sit, you can use a treat/toy as a target - as you bring the treat/toy around to the side of one shoulder the dog turns his head and he sits off to one side of the hip (more muscle to cushion him). This can be a more comfortable way to sit for some dogs. You could also use a thick cushion to help them get comfortable to sit on it.
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Old October 23rd, 2009, 02:07 PM
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Thank you for you fast info. This woman wants to certi. for nursing homes. It is my understanding that in order to certi. the dog must be able to sit. What do I do? This dog is very calm and obedient in everyother way. Should I still continue to help her teach sit?
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Old October 23rd, 2009, 02:10 PM
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wish I could help,

What a conundrum. Do let us know if/when you have results. I am interested in the fact that you teach obedience and was wondering how to get certification for that. thnx, Deb
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Old October 23rd, 2009, 03:06 PM
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I would ask the woman to contact the people that do the cert and ask if a downstay would suffice. She could explain the breed and the discomfort that is associated with the sit. I agree though that if it was not an extended sit the dog should still be able to do it to some degree. Good luck.
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Old October 23rd, 2009, 06:48 PM
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Does this dog ever sit at all? Even when at home in a non-training environment?

Counter-conditioning through positive associations and shaping has worked for our dogs for a variety of problem areas. It's hard for me to put into words but I'll try .

It's important to not view "sit" as a simple step but as a few steps that lead up to the final action/outcome. The dog's owner will have to watch her carefully and each time her dog just bends her hind legs, she should mark the action with a word such as "yes" "good" etc, and reward with a high-value treat. Every time she sees her dog performing any action that looks like she's about to sit (legs bent, chin up, or looking upwards), mark and reward. For example, if a treat is held over her head, and she bends her knees slightly, then that's a first step to sitting and should be marked and rewarded. Another example is if the dog goes to lay down and perhaps bends her hind knees, it's another time to reward. And yet another example, if the dog is about to jump up onto a couch, as soon as those hind knees bend, it should be marked. Eventually, the dog will associate the marker word and reward with having her hind legs bent.

Once she's caught on to this, the owner can withhold the marker/reward until the dog bends a little further each time. She can encourage her by holding a treat a little further over and behind her head. This should be done in baby steps and shouldn't last more than a minute at a time. Her mood should be upbeat and treats should be super interesting. She should also refrain from using any words, especially "sit" at this point, other than the marker word "yes." And when her dog's bum is even remotely near the floor, she should jackpot her by feeding little morsels of food one after the other to drive the message home that that particular action can be a wondrous thing.
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Old October 23rd, 2009, 06:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by katb View Post
Should I still continue to help her teach sit?
Just wondering, how do you teach sit?
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Old October 23rd, 2009, 09:36 PM
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I have read some recommendations from a Greyhound site saying to try holding the collar while using a treat to lure the head, holding the collar is to prevent backing up since the retired racers often try to back up rather then to sit.
Another recommendation was to lure to sit from a down position, so encouraging the front end up with the back end staying down.
Some also recommend if the sit looks uncomfortable to then lure the head to one side towards the shoulder and encourage sitting on the hip/thigh which has more padding.
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Old October 24th, 2009, 10:06 AM
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katb,

Luckypennys given you some great advice regarding the sit, but I just wanted to add that as her trainer YOU are going to have the best judgement call on how to move forward with this.

When it comes to greyhounds, the breed has a very difficult time with the sit - period. It is not a natural position and can be quite painful. It certainly is not that Greyhounds 'can't' learn to sit, HOWEVER if this 'job' that the woman is looking into requires her greyhound to be in a sit quite often, do you think that this may be the best opportunity for her dog? IMO I would probably talk to the owner and find out if they can call the volunteer group and explain their situation and their breed of dog- and if a 'down' stay or a 'stand' stay would be acceptable.
If not, it might be a better idea to put this dog into some other sort of socialization or group.
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Old October 24th, 2009, 05:40 PM
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This dog can be trained to sit..And remember, dogs don't really sit on their butts, they sit on their honches.

We actually have a few rescues and non rescues here..I have bumped into two who do therapy a few times..They are Pharoah and Cleopatra..It took some time and patience for the sit, but to be honest, this breed is really no different then any other for the sit..Even if it's a dog that hasn't raced, the owners will still teach sit as pups.



How is this dog with other things? Reactions to pots/pans falling, loud noises, walking by crowds, wheelchairs. Strangers. These are a few of the other parts of being cert.

A sit stay is safer for the residence.. Say you have a senior sitting in a chair, if the dog is standing close to him, he may trip over him...If the dog is sitting beside him, then the senior has more room....It's some what of a safety thing...This is what my neice has told me as she is cert with her dogs.
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Old October 24th, 2009, 09:04 PM
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Thank you for your response to my questions. You are all so helpful. The lady who owns this dog wants to be able to take it into nursing homes for visits with the elderly. The dog is a very nice quit dog. No Jumping, barking, handles very nicely on lead. Just doesn't sit or down on command. The lady has a couple other ones she has adopted also. She came in asking for a crash course to get cert. I have already told this woman that the dog must go through the whole course and learn sit,and down among other exercises. As it is required in my class. And I know it is required in the test. I did evaluation last Wed. night. She was able to get the dog to sit 3 times but not for long, about 3 seconds. Just butt on the floor and up again. The dog shook the whole time she did it. We used the treat over the nose method. She kept telling me grey hounds don't like to sit. That's why I'm asking. In the class I teach I use treats up over the nose and hold collars, we also gently pull up on the lead and push lightly into a sit on the butt. I feel this lady is pushing to just get the dog cert., and thought she could just come in and get one without the sit, and downs, and I won't be pushed. If you all say it is possible to retrain this dog then I am going to insist that she teach the sit, and down. I would love nothing more than to see this dog be able to visit the elderly. But I feel if others who take the tests have to sit and down, then so should she. Dogs must be obedient to visit the elderly. Can't have anything that would cause harm to the elderly. I have also asked to see the dog down. She said, he does it on his own at home of course, but won't do it on command. You all have been so nice in helping me. I am a new instructor still in training with learning how to deal with the people. The dogs are easy! LOL! Some of the people are pains in the you know where. So thank you all so much.
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Old October 24th, 2009, 11:40 PM
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One little suggestion don't use the word "sit" or "down" for this particular dog, find another word to use for each of these 2 desired actions. The dog may have negative associations with the words "sit" & "down".
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Old October 25th, 2009, 05:41 PM
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Was the dog praised like crazy after the sit? This command may take a while to learn. And it will take baby steps...So if the owner is rushing to get cert, It is not going to happen. You need to tell her that. As for the down, I really don't think the dog was taught this as a command also..And I know the dog does lay down, how else does she sleep.LOL..Again, the sit and down were not part of the commands..So this just needs to slowly be taught..
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Old October 26th, 2009, 08:37 AM
TinasTroops TinasTroops is offline
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Owned by 7 greyhounds and have many years expereince I have never heard of this electric shock treatment for teaching them "not" to sit.

However, why would a greyhound need to sit or be trained to sit or not sit during it's racing career? Dogs train, race, exercise, eat and relax. There is no reason for them to need to or be trained to sit during the career time.

All of my greyhounds were taught to sit, all took different amount of times doing many different tichniques.

Greyhound Care Manual is a good link to use for both yourself and the new owner,
http://www.recycledracers.org/FAQ/gr...re-manual.html

http://buddyschance.typepad.com/posi...ng_your_g.html

I am sure if you google "teaching a greyhound to sit" many helpful links will come up. Another goos resource is "Greyhound for DUmmies" book that provide many helpful hints.
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Old October 26th, 2009, 08:48 PM
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If the dog was truly trained using electric shock :sad:, make sure you take it slow. The comment you made about the dog shaking during the entire sit makes me think she's doing what she knows you want, but it's hard for her - now that could be because it's truly painful but I don't know greyhounds at all. But if the shaking is because she's afraid of the pain coming, then you won't be able to push this dog too far too fast. She needs to be taught a different association (that sitting is a good thing, not a bad thing) for the action and that is going to take some time.
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Old October 27th, 2009, 12:07 AM
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My border collie x was recently certified as a therapy dog. While we had to show they would obey "sit" and "down" commands, it's up to the handler to assess which position keeps both both the people and the dog safe.

For example, for dogs that sit with their tail sticking out, it would be safer for that dog to have it stand when greeting people. With a dog the size of a greyhound, there would be little likelihood of someone tripping over it.

The most important thing is for the owner to be able to manage their dog at all times, regardless of the dog's position.

Equally important is that the dog also enjoy doing this activity. You didn't mention how long she has had the dog, but I strongly agree with the others- pet therapy is definitely not something you rush a dog into.
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Old October 27th, 2009, 11:22 AM
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Tina, if you read above my other posts. This lady wants to use the adopted greyhound for nursing home visits. In order for her to do this she must complete the cert. for this. They have to sit for safety reasons inside the nursing homes around the patients. I thank you though very much for the site number info. Have marked it so I can use it. Thank you.
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Old October 27th, 2009, 11:31 AM
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Kandy- I had never heard of the electric shock thing either. Makes me sad to think of it. BUT, then again, I understand about the racing people not wanting the dog to sit while being ready to run. I think I would have found a nicer way. That's just me. LOL! I don't race dogs so that's not my area. The shaking? I'm thinking the dog is afraid to sit in fear of getting shocked. So I agree we have to take this very slow, and retrain that it is OK to sit, and lots and lots of praise. I will have this lady back in on wed. night, I guess we'll see if she is working with what I have taught her so far. I just love this breed. I never had one in my class, so this is a first. Soooooo beautiful.
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