Greyhounds have a reputation for being formidable athletes. However, despite this, they are sweet-natured and undemanding. The breed is affectionate, gentle, and low-key and makes excellent family pets. Many organizations are running greyhound adoption programs and educating the public on the suitability of greyhounds as pets, especially for families with children.
So, are greyhounds good with children? Yes, greyhounds are great around children. Both children and greyhounds, however, need to be socialized and trained on how to behave around each other.
Greyhounds and Kids
Greyhounds are laid-back and gentle dogs making them great companions for kids. Usually, rehoming agencies run temperament tests on dogs under their supervision before putting them up for adoption. The test ensures a greyhound is suitable for homes with children.
Even though most greyhounds haven’t been around children, they seem to enjoy their company. However, there need to be guidelines to follow during the adjustment period for you, your kids, and the greyhound. The adjustment period may last between three to six months, depending on your greyhound and your family.
You and your kids are now part of your greyhound’s pack. Very small children aren’t likely to outrank your dog, therefore, it is vital to ensure everyone, including your greyhound knows their place in the pack. Greyhounds are likely to view the kids as puppies and may not hesitate to discipline them with a growl or snap if they are threatened or annoyed. The general thumb rule is that greyhounds are great around well-behaved kids.
Tips on how to establish a great relationship between a greyhound and your children
Creating a safe environment when introducing your greyhound
The first time you bring home your greyhound, ensure the environment is peaceful and quiet. Understandably, everyone is excited due to the new addition to the family, but your dog will likely be a little nervous. During the initial introduction, discourage your kids from surrounding or following your greyhound around. They should also avoid trying to give it food, toys, or bother it when lying down.
Parents should lead the introduction and ensure it goes calmly. The children may be allowed to pet the dog while avoiding sensitive areas such as the eyes. Give your greyhound time to relax, explore and get used to their new surroundings and routine. After a while, your greyhound will have gotten well acquainted with the environment, and then the kids can interact in play and spend time with the dog. Parents are also advised not to invite friends and family over to meet the new dog just yet. Wait until a while later when your dog is used to its new surroundings.
Do not disturb a sleeping dog
Teach your children not to disturb the greyhound when they are sleeping. Children tend to be rambunctious, and some greyhounds aren’t used to being awakened by touch. This may startle them and sometimes even cause them to react in an unfriendly manner, such as growling or biting. Remember, greyhounds love to sleep, and some of them also tend to sleep with their eyes open, so it is advisable to call out their name before approaching.
Privacy and crates
Greyhounds are used to being in crates, and it is okay to use them in the beginning. Ground rules should be set with the children on how to handle themselves around the crate. Your kids shouldn’t crawl into the dog’s crate whether or not they are in it. Petting or touching the dog while they are in the crate should also be discouraged.
A dog’s crate is their safe zone where they go to relax and get some peace. Your greyhound is entitled to peace and privacy in their crate whenever they seek it. This implies that the crate should be treated respectfully. Kids should not be allowed to beat on it, shove things in it or tease the dog while they are in it.
Whenever your children have friends over, crate your greyhound to avoid any issues. Other children may not have experienced living with dogs before or have any understanding about dogs. It will also give your greyhound a chance to get used to children in a safe space.
Food and treats
You can never be too careful when it comes to greyhounds, children, and food. Do not allow your kids to feed the greyhound with food from the table. This reinforces the idea that your greyhound can take anything it wants from the kids, including food. Your greyhound may also start to associate mealtime with snack time. If your dog steals food from your kids, don’t allow the kids to try and take it back.
It is alright to give your children the opportunity to feed your greyhound during the dog’s mealtime. However, until your dog knows that food will always be available, it is best to feed them yourself initially. This is because some dogs may be anxious to eat and, as a result, knock down your child.
As your hound is feeding, your kids shouldn’t be allowed to touch the dog, the food, or the bowl. A great way to allow your kids to feed the greyhound is using treats. This allows them to create a bond. Supervise this special bonding time to ensure both your dog and kids are safe.
Sofas and beds
As your greyhound gets used to the new surroundings, do not allow them to sleep on the sofa or bed with your kids. This physically elevates your hound, putting them in a place of dominance. At first, it may seem okay, but they may start to feel territorial and growl or snap when a child walks near or bothers it. It is essential to ensure your greyhound understands their position in the pack before giving them too much power. Give your dog such privileges slowly rather than quickly.
Yards and open doors
Known for their incredible speeds, greyhounds can cover great distances very fast. It is important to supervise play between your child and the hound in the yard or outside. Ensure they are interacting mindfully. Ensure your children do not yank or tag at toys in the hound’s mouth. Such games can escalate quite fast and reinforce negative behavior. It is easy for a child to leave the gate open, allowing your greyhound to escape; therefore, always supervise playtime. Teach your kids to be careful.
Greyhounds, children, and their toys
Like children, greyhounds love having toys. Your greyhound isn’t likely to know the difference between his toys and the kids’ toys. If there are toys that your kids love and that means something special, they should be kept away from the greyhound’s reach. Your greyhound may end up loving the kids’ toys more because they have the kid’s scent. The children’s toys are also likely to be made of materials that aren’t healthy or safe for the dog. Such toys include crayons, books, animals stuffed with plastic pieces, and plastic toys.
Taking your greyhound to obedience classes is also highly recommended. Obedience classes reinforce basic obedience to commands and establish who is in charge. It is advisable to attend the classes with your children as they will also learn how to communicate with the hound in a way they can understand. Most classes last for about six to eight weeks.
Establishing trust between the children and greyhound
Starting from the first time you bring your greyhound home, it is important to start establishing trust immediately. Start by ensuring the kids understand how to behave and interact with the greyhound. Teach your children to treat the dog with kindness. Then monitor and enforce these codes of conduct or rules. Simple activities that help build trust between your child and greyhound daily include petting, grooming activities such as brushing their coat and learning to affirm the dog as they do these activities. Your kids can also be involved in giving the hound treats, placing the dog’s food bowl down, closing and opening the crate door, and attaching the leash before a walk. These activities help establish trust and build a strong relationship between the kids and the greyhound.
FAQs about Greyhounds and children
Are retired greyhounds good with children?
Track dogs haven’t been around children, but they have no reason to dislike them. Actually, most greyhounds seem to enjoy being around children. However, there need to be guidelines to guide you, your kids, and the greyhound over the adjustment period to ensure the transition to a new environment goes smoothly.
Do greyhounds make great family pets?
Greyhounds are great family pets because of their gentle, laidback, and low-maintenance nature. They are easy to live with because they are quiet and unlikely to bark at guests. Additionally, they are affectionate and tolerant to being handled.
Are greyhounds aggressive?
Greyhounds aren’t aggressive. Actually, they are a docile and friendly breed that is very affectionate. In the face of confrontation, greyhounds are likely to walk away and isolate themselves. However, if your greyhound is acting unusually unfriendly, we have a great piece on how best to handle your hound.
Can greyhounds live with other small pets such as cats?
Greyhounds instinctively tend to change small things because they are sighthounds. Despite this, they can be trained to happily live with small pets such as cats. Necessary steps such as having your greyhound cat tested and proper introduction to the cat are the first steps towards socializing your cat with your greyhound.
Greyhounds are docile, friendly, and intelligent dogs. They make great companions for families and are great with children. However, they are sensitive to chaos and prefer peace and quiet. Remember, greyhounds that receive attention also behave better with children. If you are hoping to get a Greyhound and you have small children, you have nothing to worry about as long as you teach the children how to play and behave with the dog.