Greyhounds & Behaviour
So, why do greyhounds stare?
Greyhounds are renowned for staring at their owners, sometimes intensely. You may wonder why your greyhound stares intently at you, too. Read on to discover why.
As a first-time grey owner, it can unsettle and even freak you out a little. Remember, they are trying to understand YOU and figure out where they fit in with you as their new pack leader.
Many people think staring is an act of aggression in dogs, (and for some it is!) but you also need to observe the dog’s body language. This tells you the full story. Most of the time, they are trying to communicate with you. The more you understand what they need from you, the happier and more bonded you and your grey will be.
Greyhounds, in general, aren’t regarded as an aggressive breed, unless they are resource-guarding. They are gentle and extremely calm and loyal.
Like humans, dogs communicate in different ways, depending on the circumstances and their moods. Staring is their way of communicating how they feel to you. Like new babies, you’ll begin to decode what each stare means as you really get to know your pup.
There are many reasons why your newly adopted greyhound stares at you, and I’ll cover some in this post.
The Greyhound Love Stare
This, to me, is the most intense and the most beautiful reason why greyhounds stare!
It didn’t come straight away with either of my greys. A while after we adopted Tiggs, I glanced at him and he was staring at me so intensely with those big, soulful eyes.
Lottie took a while longer to warm up to her new humans and had quite an aversion to looking anyone in the eye for a while. But it did come eventually. They’re known in greyhound owners’ circles as the ‘slow burners’.
Their body language and muscles will be soft and relaxed. They’ll have soft eyes and, most likely, the greyhound’s drippy nose!
The more you bond with your grey – stroking, walking, giving high-value treats etc. the sooner they’ll settle and realise you are the ‘top dog’.
The ‘Where’s My Dinner?’ Stare
Greyhounds LOVE routine. If they’ve come from the track or a trainer, they’ll be used to a routine of being turned out in the morning, fed, watered and trained.
Try continuing this routine early on and you should find their transition from ex-racer to pet will be as smooth as possible.
If it’s a little past their normal feed time (how dare you! lol), and they are a little fussy, they are probably hungry
The ‘Play With Me!’ Stare
Accompanied by the ‘play bow’ with their muscular butts in the air, there’s no confusing the play stare. We often receive an excited woof or two. Especially if their stare is ignored for a minute.
The ‘Protect Me’ Stare
Making the transition from racer to a pet can be daunting for a new greyhound. They live most of their life surrounded by other greys and are unused to all the noises which we take for granted. Vacuum cleaners, heavy traffic, washing machines etc. are all new sounds to them.
If they are scared, you may see their eyes look up at you with their whites showing, and their eyes will dart around more. They are worried and looking to you, their pack leader, for reassurance. You may find them moving their body closer to you as they seek protection.
Use a low, calm voice and slow body movements to reassure them there is no threat and they are safe.
The ‘Needy’ Stare
This is another example of why greyhounds stare.
This is more of an impatient, resource-led stare that will flick between you and the object of their desire – a water refill or their toy is stuck or has rolled out of reach.
A few may accompany it with irritated barks for added urgency.
The ‘Aggressive’ Stare
Now, this is the stare you want to nip in the bud!
As mentioned previously, greyhounds are not generally regarded as an aggressive breed. But, in certain circumstances, they can become confrontational.
Maybe you’re approaching their bed, and they have their favourite toy or a bone (resource guarding). Your grey will give you a hard stare, quite unlike their usual gaze. The best way to act is not to blink or stare straight back at them, as a dog will view this as a challenge. Make your body as big as possible and your body language and speech firm.
If it’s the couch or your bed, they are guarding – a firm no and command them down. They are testing your authority and position as pack leader. Only allow them on the couch/bed by invitation for a while. If they repeat the behaviour, command them straight back onto the floor!
If it continues, you may need to consider some professional behaviour training.
I hope this round-up helps to answer the question, ‘why does my greyhound stare at me?’
Please share any other reasons your greyhound stares at you in the comments below.