Anyone that has ever spent time with any of the sighthounds, which includes Italian greyhounds, knows that is not something always easily accomplished. That does not mean that the dogs can not or should not be trained!
One of the sports that might be most ideal for is agility. Agility is a fast-paced, fun, and addictive sport that really bonds a handler to his dog and relatives on not just spoken commands but also body language.
Agility requires a fast, agile dog and a dog that can learn to follow your lead. Training IGs for agility takes advantage of the dog’;s natural quickness (sighthounds are some of the fastest dogs in the world) and his agility. Getting him to follow commands takes a bit more time!
Italian greyhounds, like most sighthounds, are very sensitive. You can not be a heavy handed or harsh dog trainer or the dog will not work for you. Any kind of training you do with these dogs must be positive, upbeat, and motivational.
Use higher pitched voices, happy body language, and a lot of reward. Not all Italian greyhounds will work well for food, but try to determine what food items your dog most values. Do not be afraid to use very high value food items like chicken as it might be necessary.
Especially in agility, Italian greyhounds can utilize their natural instinct to chase small moving objects. Create a lure stick by tying a small fuzzy toy onto a pole with a light rope. This can be used as a reward for any type of training, but it will work well for agility.
How to Do Training in Agility
Most of agility is about constant movement over jumps, through tunnels, up obstacles, and weaving througholes. Some dogs can easily be heard these maneuvers with food, and if your Italian greyhound is very food motivated, you can go that route as well.
But, this will not work for all of them or all of the time. Instead, make it a game using your lure toy. Use the toy to begin teaching skills by luring the dog or enticing him to follow your toy. It can be used for almost every obstacle and command in agility. Allow your dog to catch the toy at the end of the behavior and even play a short tug game, if he likes tug.
As he understands the skills, beginning switching from luring with the toy to using it only as a reward at the completion of a behavior. Italian grayhound training utilizing a motivation that is very powerful for most of the breed really helps make the sport fun and teachers the dog the necessary skills.
Do not worry if your dog does not take to the course or sport as quickly as the nearest Border Collie. Once he gets the hang of it, your Italian greyhound will find it to be quite fun. Just keep it light and fun. Do not get frustrated or angry and remember to reward him through motivation for the most success.