Greyhound Trust South Lakes
Charity numbers:  269668 & SCO4404

Fostering and Homing Greyhounds in Cumbria and the South Lakes

This website covers all the Greyhounds coming to the branch from 1st January 2018. To see the 500+ Greyhounds homed between July 2004 and December 2017 visit

Teaching Basic Commands

We are not experts, but having had greyhounds for many years and been homing greyhounds since July 2004 we can draw on the training we received during that time along with our experiences in order to help others.  What is written here is a new revision of my book 'Caring For My Rescued Greyhound'.  It's a guide only because every incident and dog is different.  Jenny Stott

(The term him also refers to her)

Back to the list of tips:
To enjoy and own a well-behaved dog under control in a variety of situations you need to teach him a series of commands that are not too difficult but are clear, concise and consistent. You can never give your dog too much training.  A trained dog who knows your boundaries is a happy dog.

Imagine the scenario:-
You drive along a road each day which has a 30mph speed limit. You know if you drive over 30 you stand the chance of being caught and reprimanded because you have broken the rules. Imagine the speed limit on the road differs daily - 30 one day, 40 another and 20 another but you don't know what the speed wil be on what day. As you don't know the rule you will take chances and drive at the speed you think you can get away with because there is no boundary against which if you pass you will be reprimanded. The same goes for a dog who doesn't know his boundaries. 

You can never give your dog too much training - thus the old saying ‘a trained dog is a happy dog' because it knows your boundaries.  He will be content because he knows that beyond this point you will not be pleased, and this he won't want. 

A few guidelines for training:

1.   Use single or two word commands (in, out, off, back soon).
2.   Your voice should reflect the nature of the command (soft/nice or firm/strong).
3.   Use a different word for each command (sit, wait, stay, lie, off, down).
4.   Praise good behaviour only.
5.   With more than one dog the command should follow the dog's name (Bob down, Sue off).
6.   If the command is of all the dogs just use the command (stay, leave).
7.   If your dogs pre-empts the command because he's worked out what you want you must always say the command as well otherwise he may become confused when given other commands later on.
8.   Use treats for rewards as appropriate and always be careful when using them.
9.   Always be consistent.
10.  Never shout, hit or loose your temper because it can cause undesirable behaviour problems later on.

When training puppies it's important to remember that like children they develop through stages towards adulthood.  A puppy will do well with his training until he reaches 9 to 12 months when he goes through adolescence. Suddenly, like a teenager, the rebellious stage begins and he will try to push the boundaries as far as he can to see how far he can go.  All the good you've taught him prior to this seems to fly out the window and you need to remind him that YOU are the pack leader and he does what YOU want him to do, and not the other way round.  If your puppy goes through this stage you need to take a step back and re-iterate the training you did when he was younger, which will help him through adolescence into adulthood.

As with all training try and avoid making him do a level that may cause him to fail and never end a training session with a failure.  Do something you know he can do and do that so the session ends with a success.  If you move from one training level to the next and he hasn't thoroughly understood what is required of him he will fail.  Should this happen, take him back to the previous training he was good at to reinforce his success. do a little more before moving him forward again.  When he is ready he will move to the next phase easily.

A few simple commands:  In, Out, Up, Back, Down, Close, Side, Wait, Stay, Away, Leave, Bed, Walk On, This Way, Back Soon, Watch Me.

NEVER use NO.  This is a 'human' word that trips off the tongue.  A person can work out what's required, but a dog can't so he will be confused by it. He will react according to the tone of your voice, but he won't understand what he shouldn't be doing.  If you accidentally say 'No' tag the correct command on the end. (No, Wait).

Most Greyhounds can't sit because the shape of their back makes it too uncomfortable.
If your Greyhound happily sits of his own accord you can teach him to 'Sit'.
If you've never seen your Greyhound sit it's because he finds it too uncomfortable, so never train him to sit.