Exercising an Italian Greyhound
Every dog requires a different amount of exercise. Puppies have a lot of energy to burn while senior dogs may prefer to lay around all day, and get a burst of energy only once or twice a day. Other dogs may need more regular exercise. Here are a few ideas on how to keep your Italian Greyhound(s) fit and healthy. After all, a tired dog is a good dog!
Walking or Running
High energy Italian Greyhounds may make great walking or running partners. A daily walk is one of the best ways to keep your IG happy and healthy, not to mention burn off that extra energy.
For Iggy owners (not the dog) on limited activity, a dog park may be a good alternative for exercise, but only if the park has a separate area for large and small dogs. Since Italian Greyhound legs are easily broken, they should never be trusted in a dog park that mixes both large and small dogs, even when you are nearby. Many IGs are easily spooked, and an excited Golden Retriever or other large-breed dog may be too overwhelming, or potentially injure an Italian Greyhound.
Working with an Italian Greyhound on obedience may help them both learn to be a good citizen, and at the same time channel their wild behaviors in a positive manner. Obedience not only exercises their body, but also their mind. Most cities large and small have dog trainers or obedience clubs to help teach basic obedience skills, or even competitions in obedience events at more advanced levels.
For really ambitious active Italian Greyhounds and owners, agility is a fun and engaging activity allowing the dogs to run through tubes, jump over and weave through poles, and negotiate other obstacles in the agility course. Clubs exist throughout the country and world that help teach a dog and owner pair the basics of agility coursing. But, it does take a lot of extra time and dedication outside of classes on a daily basis to really master this activity.
This activity is something that Italian Greyhounds may really enjoy given they are a sighthound, especially those IGs with a high-prey drive. It takes advantage of their natural instinct to chase things. Lure coursing uses a mechanical device on a cord to engage and intrigue the dog to chase the device throughout the course. It is good exercise for the dog given the device keeps them moving constantly throughout the run, goes around corners, and across straightaways too.
This activity involves a short track where the dog must run down a short track, retrieve a ball which is attached to a mechanical device, and finally released by a trigger. After turning around the dog must run the ball back to the finish line of the track. Flyball is often done in sprints with one or multiple dogs working together in a team to earn the best times in a relay type race. IGs can be very quick when participating in this event, but should be in top physical health to participate to hopefully prevent broken legs during competition.
There are a few racing leagues where Italian Greyhounds can participate, but these amateur leagues are strictly for the pleasure of the dog, not for money or profit. There are ribbons and titles to be earned by dogs competing in such leagues. If you are interested in participating in such events, a good place to start is by calling your local Obedience or Agility clubs who should be able to refer you to nearby resources.
Watch for UFOs in this high-flying competition where the dogs get to catch a disc, and show off their jumping ability. High energy dogs may love to compete in disc events, and rescue dogs can participate and enjoy this event too!
Who said that bloodhounds are the only dog who can follow a scent? Believe it or not, Italian Greyhounds do participate in tracking events and can be quite successful in doing it. It is a great way for an Iggy and their human to participate in an event together, get some fresh air, and exercise too. Unlike events where the dog competes against other dogs, the dogs simply earn a pass or fail for their effort in following a human scent that has been left behind over various periods of time.
How to Get Involved...
Get more information at www.italiangreyhound.org about these exciting events for Italian Greyhounds. Next, reach out to your local agility or obedience clubs who should be able to direct you further on how to get involved, or who to contact for more information in your area.
It is important to remember, no matter what activity or exercise you select for your Italian Greyhound... it must is something the DOG enjoys.