On Thursday’s post, I was talking about teaching Flattery to sit. There is a lot of mythology out there about Greyhounds and whether they can or can’t sit. I noticed several questions about it, and I thought I’d try to address some of them here.
One question asked was why Greyhounds can’t sit. Actually, they can, but sometimes their physiology makes it tougher for them than for other dogs. Greyhounds have incredibly tight muscles across their back ends. If only men had such tight muscles, but I digress. Sometimes, especially when they come right off the track, it is difficult for them to sit because those muscles are so tight. Usually, after a few months of retirement, those muscles loosen up some.
We had a friend on a Greyhound message board that I have met in person on more than a few occasions and he had adopted a very unique Greyhound. The dog had escaped through the first adoptive family’s front door when some careless movers left the door open. The dog ran out the door, across the street and was hit by a car. His back was broken, but in an amazing turn of fate, he was very lucky that he was a Greyhound. The dog was still able to walk, and the owners were told by the vet that it was because of the incredibly tight muscling in his back end. Sadly, he could no longer go up and down stairs, and the family had stairs in their new home. That’s how he came to live with my friend and his wife, and he lived to be an old, happy dog before he passed away. The point of the story isn’t for you to feel bad for the dog, it’s to explain how powerful those muscles are. Trust me when I say that he lived very well.
Those tight muscles mean that you can’t push on the dog’s behind a little to encourage him to put it down like you can with other breeds. Any time a person tries to force a Greyhound to sit this way, it will end in frustration for the human. Not that I would recommend teaching a sit that way, anyway, but a lot of people think it means that they can’t put their back ends down. You just can’t make them do it if they decide they’re not going to.
They also usually don’t completely put their butt on the ground when they do sit, either, and I think this confuses some people. What I consider a sit might not be by some people with other breeds of dogs. Their rear ends are usually tucked in over their haunches a few inches off the ground, just because of the way they’re put together. Physically, their back end isn’t capable of completely touching the ground most of the time, but they do something that I consider a sit. I think it’s where some of the confusion comes from, though, among people who aren’t familiar with the breed.
I think a lot of people are told that Greyhounds can’t sit from the get go, and so they never pursue teaching their dog to sit. I have had some of our senior dogs get to a point where I no longer asked them to sit, but even then, I still saw them regularly do it on their own. When their back ends start getting a little shaky and wobbly, though, I leave whether they sit or not up to them. Aside from that, and some injuries, I don’t know of any reasons why Greyhounds can’t sit, as long as you know how to teach them.