Instinct, reactivity or lead aggression
What is the difference?
The main difference is ALL greyhounds and lurchers will have instinct. It is in their DNA and it creates a positive experience for them. You can only manage instinct – you cannot change it.
Not all greyhound will have lead aggression or reactivity. These problems both arise from your dogs background, lack of training and their current environment. It all causes stress and training (plus patience) will solve most issues.
You can read more about being trained to chase here
If your dog reacts to others things outside – bikes, noise, fireworks, then he has reactivity. This is very stressful for him, so the worst thing you can do is join him be stressed. You need to remain calm.
Teaching your dog to have trust in you will help, but more importantly you need to attend dog training classes . They will help with his anxiety – and yours! You need a dog trainer who uses reward based training, not a one who disciplines your dog.
Greyhound Lead Aggression
If your dog reacts to other dogs when outside he is probably lead aggressive not really aggressive. He has anxiety around other dogs, because of his lack of socialisation with other breeds.
This means he will probably be fine with other dogs off his lead (and muzzled) but the lead scares him because he has no escape from his perceived danger. In other words – he is being a baby, a chicken, a big wuzz and he is SCARED.
He may spin on his lead and make lots of noise and he saying I am scared, please help me. I want to escape and run off but I am attached to this lead so I cannot. The worst thing you can do is to be nervous on his behalf – as soon as he thinks you are worried his perceived problem doubles.
The best thing to do – however you do it, is to socialise your dog. So he learns other dogs are fun and nothing to be scared of.
We explain a lot about the early socialisation of greyhounds here, so please read
How do I manage?
You manage problems with instinct IN “the moment”
You have to manage the situation as it happens. So you need to remain in control and keep safe by using a muzzle, harness and double lead. Especially in the early months when you do not fully understand your dog.
The video explains about using the equipment we recommend. We sell everything in our online shop. We are all volunteers so all profits help KGR help more dogs
You manage lead aggression and reactivity BEFORE “the moment”.
You can do this with a combination of trust building, reward based training and socialisation. Training classes and socialisation classes really help.
We recommend dog classes, rather than a one to one session with a behaviourist unless you are willing to read the recommendations and implement the changes. Dog training reminds you to make changes every time to attend.