Bored Dog

We've had a greyhound for a couple of months now and she's finally starting to relax and settle down. She's very calm and placid if rather nervous, but she's quite happily been left home alone for aproximately 6 hours on weekdays right from the start, although seemingly she never left the sofa during those 6 hours. She has finally learned to use the dog flap however so she can now access the garden, but she's taken to digging and trying to shove herself through the hedge to get out. We've come to the conclusion that as she's gained a bit in confidence and is not confining herself to the sofa she also starting to get bored. This is a dog however who has never been in a caring home before, having seemingly been a Spanish one-dog puppy factory in her former life, and as far as we can tell she has no concept of play. Our previous greyhound loved soft toys and balls (and the wife's underwear), but this one just doesn't seem to have any idea that the toys are hers or that they're things to play with. Even chews and chew toys have been ignored. We're going to try getting a rubber kong or similar toy that can be stuffed with food to see if that interests her, even though she doesn't seem to be food obsessed like most dogs. Anybody care to make any other suggestions to keep her ocupied?


  • I know this might be an obvious question but have you tried playing with the toys with her so that she gets the idea what they are for?

    If she has no idea of play then this will need to be taught with patience as with anything else - she needs to know its OK. She also may benefit with a lot more socialising with other dogs, when she can learn more normal dog behaviour - there may be a local club or training session you can take her?

  • Kongs are great, especially if you stuff them with things that can't just fall out. We have a huge one and put a boiled egg in it. It has to be thrown and dropped to get the egg out - eventally she might start doing the same with a ball?

    We also had a cube that has a maze constructed inside. You load it with tiny treats and it has to be manouvered in such a way (which they can't see) to get the treats out.

    I used to fill old ice cream containers with ice and freeze them too. Had hours of entertainment watching them being pushed by the dog's nose round the patio whilst it got smaller as it melted.

    She might not think these things are fun if she's not food oriented though image

  • Hi BotF *waves*

    It might just be that you haven't found the right food yet.  I make home-made liver cake for our's (recipe came from puppy school) and whilst Rascal likes other food - she'll do absolutely anything for liver cake - it does smell quite a bit which might be why!! Squidges nicely into a kong too and doesn't just fall out.  Here's the recipe if you want to give it a try:

    1lb of liver (I've used pigs, lamb, chicken - whatever's available and cheapest)

    2 eggs

    2 cloves of garlic, peeled

    a cup of milk

    1llb plain flour

    Whizz the liver, milk, garlic and eggs in a blender, then fold in the flour - add a bit of water if needed to make a cake like consistency. Line a large baking tray with baking paper then pour in the mixture.  Bake at 180 degrees for about 15-20 minutes until it's firm but not dry.  You can then cut it up into approx 1cm cubes and separate into individual bags - it freezes well so we just keep one bag out (it only lasts 2 - 3 days in the fridge). Works out pretty cheap too compared to shop bought treats!


  • Have you tried a very fast small furry thing??   image

    Seriously, the kong would be a good start but I do agree that she needs to be shown how to play

    How old is she?

  • She needs exercise...  lots of it... 


  • Good suggestions, thanks. We got a decent selection of toys and treats this morning and we've already got some of them out for her. We're lining up a training class starting in a couple of weeks time - the ignominy of a near 5 year old having to go into the puppy class. Judging by the way she is on a lead she's obviously had some training before, but we have no idea what she had or what the Spanish commands would be. She's also needs to overcome her fear of men - Spanish greyhounds are bred for hunting rather than racing and the owners have an awful reputation for mistreatment. Gracie was found completely emaciated having seemingly been abandoned in a forest.

    That liver cake recipe sounds like one we made years ago for our previous dog - the house stunk for weeks. image  We will be making it again though.

    As for exercise, now the marathon is done I do plan to take her running, but at the moment she's still a bit too fearful of me and a bit too skittish for anything more than very short sessions. We also don't dare let her off lead yet because we don't trust her to come back - a greyhound can cover a lot of distance in a very short time as we discovered recently when she bolted out of the front door and headed for the park!

  • Dogs are simple creatures..  they need structure and a pack leader to set the rules.  Toys won't solve the problem.  

    Get on to youtube and search the videos of Cesar Milan.   Follow his advice and all your problems will be solved...


  • E mmyE mmy ✭✭✭

    Dark Vader is right - the training class and pack mentality will help her no end. Most of all she needs to build trust in YOU to lead her and protect her. Keep being consistent and it'll pay off.

  • I'm afraid I disagree with DV's Cesar Milan recommendation - his methods are now not recommended at all, especially for dogs that have histories of mistreatment; they need positive reinforcement training, not physical dominance. (Check out the training links and articles on the RSPCA and Kennel Club websites for further information on this and I say this as a former Cesar fan too)

    Our last greyhound, who sadly passed away on Friday, never ever got the toy thing either, despite being with other dogs that played and loved toys (they even used to present their toys to her and still she didn't get interested!)

    I think the food thing is the way forward - you just need to find that one thing that is her favourite...
  • ok.. well..  there are several ways to get a dog to do what you want it to...  Cesar's training suggestions do work..  and they work remarkably fast... 

  • If you're interested, this vet puts a pretty considered case (there's lots of emotive stuff on the old tinterweb both for and against Cesar's methods): 

    We had loads of help from the RSPCA, trainers and vets while fostering Bear that very much supported the positive reinforcement methods and I have completely changed my point of view. 

  • So yesterday the wife got home from work around 2pm and there was absolutely no sign of the dog at all. There were no apparant holes in the fence, but somehow she'd managed to get out . We toured the neighbourhood and knocked on nearby doors but to no avail, so last night was dogless and tearful. This morning I posted a 'lost dog' flyer I'd made up through letterboxes of all the houses with back gardens in the block behind ours, and just as I was putting it in one of the last houses a lady opened the door, looked at and said she'd seen the dog yesterday on the street, and that the lady opposite her had tried to catch her. Spoke to the lady opposite and she said she'd followed the dog up the road but that she couldn't keep up and she was last seen heading for the centre of the village. Now I'd determined that she wasn't as thought in the back gardens somewhere I contacted the local council dog warden, and within 10 minutes they'd rung me back to say that she'd been picked up in the village yesterday, and that she was in a kennels in Prince's Risborough (36 miles away!).

    So we have the dog back, cost £75 to bail her out, and I've spent over £200 on new fencing materials which I've installed right round the garden. She's an expenxsive beast, but at least the wife has stopped crying now.

  • BotF, so glad you got her back and she's OK image

  • That's quite a story...  good to know you have her back...   but her determination to get out is another signal that she needs exercise...   lots of it...    can you run with her..? 


  • My wife was out walking Gracie yesterday and a lady walking two labs came over and said that she’d been the person who rescued her. Apparently this lady was walking her dogs when Gracie trotted over and introduced herself to the dogs. The lady realised that Gracie was obviously a pet and that there was no obvious owner in sight, so she clipped the lead she was carrying onto her collar. She did wonder whether to take her to the local gypsies as they tend to have greyhounds and lurchers, but after talking to a few fellow dog walkers she decided to take her home. Gracie quite happily hopped into her car, and when they got back to her house Gracie walked straight in and was on her sofa within 15 seconds (the sofa being the natural habitat of the greyhound). The lady then rang the dog wardens to say she’d found a dog and they came and collected her. Worryingly they scanned her and her chip didn’t show up, so we’ll need to get that checked.

  • That is a remarkable story..  what a friendly dog!

    And yes...  get that chip looked at!


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