Can I Let My Greyhound
©Dr Karen Dawson BSc BVSc Hons MANZCVS (Behaviour), Pet Behaviour Clinic
Yes, of course, but only in the right environment. For everyone's safety but particularly that of the dog, and others, please restrict off leash activity to fully fenced locations. Otherwise, the answer is no, for the majority of greyhounds and for reasons outlined in the predatory aggression discussion, the off leash environment is not recommended. In addition, by law greyhounds must remain under effective control when in a public place. This remains true for greyhounds granted muzzling exemption.
For some dogs, muzzling exemption assessment does not provide a green light for frolicking freely with unfamiliar small dogs in an off leash park. The green collar assessment, when performed correctly, should be an assessment of the dogs safety whilst on a leash and for polite interactions in passing. To expect the assessment to extend to off leash safety is grossly unfair on the dog and highlights a fundamental misunderstanding of the green collar assessment process, and prey drive/aggression.
However, for everyone’s safety, taking a greyhound into an off leash park is an unnecessary risk, especially in the early days until you become more familiar with your dog’s individual behavioural traits and thresholds. In fact it is where most incidents occur. If you do allow your greyhound into an off leash park, please ensure you utilise a well-fitting basket muzzle.
Greyhounds are often the targets of aggressive behaviour whilst in an off leash park environment. It is not uncommon to hear of greyhounds that have developed post traumatic stress disorder after being the victims of aggression in off leash parks. Furthermore, sudden bursts of activity in an unfit greyhound can put them at risk of acidosis and other injuries.