Preventing predatory behaviour in greyhounds
Greyhounds can become good companion animals after their racing career is over. However, predatory behaviour in greyhounds may keep some of these sighthounds from being adopted. Predatory behaviour is when greyhounds chase smaller animals such as rabbits or cats.
Greyhound adoption programs find appropriate homes for greyhounds who need and are suitable for adoption. However, some adoption programs have limited resources and funding. It is currently unclear if greyhounds who show predatory behaviour can be rehabilitated to adequately reduce their predatory drive. According to RSPCA Science Update69 July 2020, a study explored the potential for greyhounds who show signs of predatory behaviour from repeating this behaviour in the future.
Predatory behaviour in greyhounds study
The study included a 23-question online survey of 84 dog training and behaviour experts with 12 of these experts participating in follow up interviews. The respondents (from Australia, UK/Ireland, and the USA) agreed that predatory behaviour is not associated with aggressiveness and can even be related to play.
Respondents also agreed that greyhounds can be taught early in life to be friendly to small animals by being rewarded for not chasing them. There was consensus among respondents that dogs who have shown predatory behaviour can still be adopted if the new owners carefully manage the environment so that the dogs are not exposed to conditions that would elicit predatory behaviour.
Overall, this study suggests that dogs who show predatory behaviour can still be suitable for adoption if their environment is managed appropriately.
Researchers: Howell T, Bennett P (2020) Preventing predatory behaviour in greyhounds retired from the racing industry: Expert opinions collected using a survey and interviews. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 104988.
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