When you get your dog home:
- Take him to the area where he will be doing his business and let him sniff around and hopefully go. If he goes, say something that you will be using as a phrase in the future to tell him that's what you want. I say "go potty". Many people say "hurry up" or "do your business", etc. Give big praise. A high-pitched, happy voice saying "good potty!" or your phrase should be repeated. If you keep doing this the dog will eventually associate your phrase with the action.
- Take the dog in the house on the leash. The dog will want to sniff and explore. Watch for leg lifting from the males because some of them try to mark their territory (and it may be your couch!). If that happens say a sharp "NO!" and take the dog out. Let it eliminate outside and give big praise for going where it should.
- If you don't have to go to work that first day, you should take your dog out frequently (every couple of hours). He will be nervous and may be drinking more water than usual. Go with him even if you have a fenced yard. That way you can see him go, say the reinforcing words, and give big praise for going where he should. Once you are making housetraining progress, try to get into a potty schedule as soon as possible. Greyhounds love a schedule.
- For the first few days it is a good idea to keep the dog in your sight. If it isn't crated, keep it with you so it can't sneak off and potty in a different room. Dogs don't generalize well and some take a while to figure out that all the rooms in the house are part of the den or crate and are not to be soiled. One way to keep the dog with you is to tie its leash to your belt.
- The crate makes a good "playpen" when you first get your dog. If no one can supervise the dog (you are the only one home and you need to shower, for example), crate him. You wouldn't leave your 3 year old child wandering around with no one to watch him while you're showering, right?
- NOTE: unless you catch the dog in the act of pottying in the house, do not punish the dog. Minutes or hours later the dog will not connect the wet spot you are going ballistic over as anything he did. He will just look submissive because in his eyes you are acting very angry. If you do catch the dog going in the house say NO! loudly and hustle him outside. When he eliminates outside as he should, then heap on the praise.
- Some times that you should be sure to get the dog outside (at least until you get to know him better) include: first thing in the morning, after eating (many dogs poop after meals), after a long nap, and when you let him out of the crate.
NOTE: Try to figure out your greyhound's potty signals. They can be very subtle. Maybe he will walk to the door that leads to the yard and then walk back. He may look at you. He may stand near the door. He may stand there and whine. Try to learn his signals because if you ignore them he may just give up and eliminate in the house. Most dogs catch on quickly and within a few days are housetrained.
Good luck and feel free to call us with questions. We can help!