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How are greyhounds trained and prepared to race?

Training a greyhound takes tremendous patience and it is a game of trial and error.

A greyhound is born with the instinct to chase and can potentially reach speeds of up to 45 miles per hour. They are also renowned for their calm and sensitive nature and they remain extremely popular around the world. There are many different paths in life that a greyhound is able to take and in countries such as the UK, Ireland, Australia and in five different US states, many of them are trained to compete regularly in races that tend to be staged over a variety of distances.

Greyhounds are naturally aerodynamic and their narrow frame coupled with their powerful back legs makes them perfect for sprinting. They have a reputation for being an energetic dog but in reality, they only need around an hour of exercise per day and this is likely to satisfy them.

Greyhound racing remains popular around the world, particularly in the UK and Australia, although there are a growing number of US states which also stage events on a regular basis. The process begins at an early age, beginning with leash training at around seven months old, and they are also taught verbal commands. They are then introduced into semi-competitive events at training facilities at around 12 months old. This will undoubtedly help with discipline and allow them to become acclimatised to exercising alongside fellow greyhounds. By around 14 months ago, the majority are considered experienced enough to visit one of the many racetracks at least once a week. In the USA, these tracks include Birmingham, Daytona Beach and Iowa.

A basic repetitive routine is advised for younger greyhounds. They are naturally obedient animals and generally creatures of habit, so persisting with the same surroundings and undertaking similar rituals will increase discipline. Tracks will regularly hold sprinting drills and trial races and these are ideal to get started. They generally start at around distances of 250m (273 yards) distances and that is gradually built up over time.

Training a greyhound takes tremendous patience and it is a game of trial and error. Every dog is likely to find its level eventually but trainers must determine which class of contest is suitable for their charge. Greyhound racing is far from a get-rich-quick scheme but carefully selecting the contests alongside diligent nurturing can help it move through the levels fairly rapidly. In the UK, the Greyhound Derby winner receives around £175,000 with the total prize money for the meeting totalling £350,000 and while few dogs will reach this level, it can be a lucrative game. It's always a competitive event and according to William Hill, there are three favorites for the 2018 event with Bruisers Bullet, Droopys Expert and Roxholme Nidge all priced at 20/1 for the March contest.

While horses often require weeks, possibly months of recovery time, it is fairly common for greyhounds to participate in two competitive events per week. Dogs must be checked over following each contest by a vet as injuries can easily be sustained around the bends, where bumping and barging between the participants is not uncommon.

Owning and racing greyhounds is extremely enjoyable but it is a lifestyle which requires dedication and unless you can commit to daily training drills and the possibility of racing twice a week, it can be difficult to sustain. The rewards can be lucrative and spending time with these gentle and affectionate creatures is also a hugely positive aspect of the training process.

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