Greyhounds can become good companion animals after their racing career isover. One of the behavioural issues that keeps some greyhounds from beingadopted is predatory behaviour. Predatory behaviour is when greyhounds chasesmaller animals such as rabbits or cats. Greyhound adoption programs findappropriate homes for greyhounds who need and are suitable for adoption.However, most adoption programs have limited resources and funding. It iscurrently unclear if greyhounds who show predatory behaviour can berehabilitated to adequately reduce their predatory drive. This study exploresthe potential for greyhounds who show signs of predatory behaviour fromrepeating this behaviour in the future.
The study included a 23-question online survey of 84 dog training andbehaviour experts with 12 of these experts participating in follow upinterviews. The respondents (from Australia, UK/Ireland and USA) agreed thatpredatory behaviour is not associated with aggressiveness and can even berelated to play. Respondents also agreed that greyhounds can be taught earlyin life to be friendly to small animals by being rewarded for not chasingthem. Respondents who use positive, reward-based training methods were lessinclined to believe that predatory behaviour could be resolved compared tothose who used both aversive and reward-based methods. However, there wasconsensus that dogs who have shown predatory behaviour can still be adopted ifthe new owners carefully manage the environment so that the dogs are notexposed to conditions which would elicit predatory behaviour.
Overall, this study suggests that dogs who show predatory behaviour can stillbe suitable for adoption if their environment is managed appropriately.
Howell T, Bennett P (2020) Preventing predatory behaviour in greyhoundsretired from the racing industry: Expert opinions collected using a survey andinterviews. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 104988
Reported in RSPCA Animal Welfare Science Update
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