Four-Legged Lightning: The Best Toys for Greyhounds
Ask anyone about the greyhound breed, and “fast” will most likely be the first thing mentioned. While speed put this sleek, aerodynamic dog on the map, the breed’s lovable side is what makes it endearing. Owners can enjoy both traits during playtime – but what toys touch the breed’s soul best?
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Greyhounds in Brief
All it takes is one look at a greyhound to know the breed is built for speed. Blessed with a slender, aerodynamic frame and marked by long legs, narrow head, and a muscle-bound butt, this member of the hound class can reach speeds up to 40 miles per hour. It’s no wonder why some refer to the breed as the Ferraris of the canine world.
The breed's speed was put to good use back in the day, and we do mean back in the day – the dog is the only breed name-checked in the Bible. It used its wheels to hunt foxes and game back in Europe and to flush out jackrabbits and coyotes from properties in the United States. They were also used for racing, something that continues today.
However, when they aren’t bursting with speed, they practically behave like a cat. This is an independent breed that thrives on plenty of sleep. Because of this trait, they make for arguably the most unusual of dogs – a large breed that does well in apartments and small homes.
In fact, the docile nature of the greyhound breed makes him a lot easier to live with than you may think, given his apparent need for speed. Additionally, his thin coat means that you won’t have to spend a whole lot of time on grooming or sweeping up dog hair. That said, you may find yourself spending more time tending to nicks and scrapes.
When the pooch is out and about, his iconic thin frame and gentle stride give him a noble appearance that is inherently eye-catching. Fortunately, the breed handles all this attention with great zeal, as he’s known to be quite friendly toward people and other dogs.
The breed is also smart enough to be able to sense even the slightest bit of potential danger. He’ll even be able to detect if there’s a bit of tension in the air at home. He’ll let you know if something’s off – just watch for his tiny folded ears to perk up.
Finally, if you're interested in getting a big dog and don't have your heart set on getting a puppy, it may behoove you to put a greyhound on the top of your wish list. While Greyhound racing is still a thing, it's a controversial practice, as many “retired” racers tend to be abandoned or worse. Adoption could help stave off this problem, one dog at a time.
How Does a Greyhound Like to Play?
It may be easy to assume that a greyhound is going to require a ton of exercise and playtime because of his racing reputation. This assumption is inaccurate. While the dog does boast levels of high energy, he’s primarily a docile doggie that enjoys slumber above everything else.
Of course, even the laziest of dogs should never be sedentary. You should prep yourself for a solid walk with your greyhound each day. If you want these treks to be a little more active, your pooch will be happy to keep up with you on a jog or a run.
Because greyhounds were bred to go after prey like foxes or jackrabbits, it’s a great idea to create games that tap into this part of the breed’s instinct. This method of playtime could involve fetching, or it could be something as simple as placing an object in a conspicuous place in your backyard.
While greyhounds tend to be docile dogs, it’s still a wise idea to put up a solid fence around his play area. His penchant for chasing animals could cause him to try and escape to go after objects that catch his eye. This could be expected things like a squirrel, but it can also be a car if he feels the vehicle is driving too close to home.
Something to bear in mind: Greyhounds enjoy playing outside, but their thin coats mean the breed does not handle cold all that well. If you live in places known for having cold temperatures in the winter, be sure to dress your greyhound in a warm jacket or sweater before letting him play.
What Types of Toys Best Suit a Greyhound?
Any type of toy that feeds a greyhound’s predatory instincts is enough to keep the breed happy. A simple arrangement of stuffed bunnies, plastic snakes, and the like will keep your greyhound bemused for quite some time.
If you’re looking for something a little more interactive, a rope toy can be an excellent idea. You can use this kind of toy to teach and fine-tune basic training commands, such as “drop.” Plus, rope toys have a tendency to double as teeth cleaners.
If you have a little bit of ingenuity, you can even buy a measure of plain rope and tie a stuffed toy to its end. That way, you can simulate moving “prey” by casting out and moving around the rope from your end. This technique could make for a fantastic way for you and your greyhound to bond.
What are the Worst Toy Types?
Despite the greyhound’s reputation for athleticism, buying toys that would seemingly tap into that athletic streak would be a waste of money. Avoid things like Frisbees or anything related to competitive dog sports. Your pooch won’t want to give them the time of day.
The reason for this is because these toys don’t play into their instincts as well as you may think. Unlike herding or working class dogs that treat athletic games as a job to do, a greyhound does not have the drive to carry out such tasks embedded into their bloodline.
Our Final Recommendations
There seems to be certain animal shapes that naturally play into a greyhound’s predatory instincts, and a rabbit is one of those critters. The JPI American Classic Rabbit works so well because, unlike other stuffed bunnies, this looks like the real deal.
This is good news for your greyhound because he'll instantly recognize the toy as prey. This will naturally stimulate his predatory instincts, and playtime will ensue.
The toy also makes a solid base for you to deploy the rope trick, where you tie an object to the end of the plain rope and control its "movement." This obviously will simulate the movement of the stuffed toy, which will in turn make your pooch feel like he's doing his instinctive duty.
Like all dogs, greyhounds need some gentle training in order to bring out their desirable qualities. In the best cases, the training tools that you use can also double as fun, interactive toys that you and your pooch can continue to enjoy well after he’s mastered what you’re trying to teach him.
This motif is what makes the Pet(S)tyle Set of Four Interactive Cotton Rope Dog Toys such a solid choice for to engage in playtime with your pooch. The quartet of toys will allow you to train your pooch important commands like “drop” or “leave it” in a gentle way that will help him learn that you’re in control.
The toys are versatile enough to transform to toys for other activities once training is completed. This could include fetching activities, which when done in an open space, could allow the greyhound to rev up and unleash his famous speed. The fact that there are four unique toys to the set is a bonus, too.
Because of the closeness that is involved with using the rope toys during training, they can make it easy for you and your pooch to foster the kind of close bond that you’d want in an owner/dog relationship. This could especially be important if you pick up a greyhound via adoption, as they may need to hone their socialization skills.
The important thing to remember as you use these toys is that the greyhound’s primary motivation when it comes to playtime is to tap into predatory instincts, and not to show off his speed. By honing playtime to highlight his ability to hunt down varmints and such, you’ll be crafting a happy environment for your pooch.
And if you ask any dog owner, a happy dog leads to a happy life; one in which the dark side of dog ownership like aggressive and destructive behavior is minimized. And if these negative behaviors are suppressed because of proper playtime, making sure that you play with your pooch on a daily basis should be an effortless endeavor.