Breaking in is an intensive form of physical and mental training where a greyhound first learns to chase a lure around a racetrack, which in essence is what they need to do in order to become a racing greyhound.
Breaking-in can occur from as early as 12 months of age, although upon advice from leading breakers, GRV strongly advises that around 14-15 months of age is a more suitable age. At 14-15 months greyhounds are better physically equipped to cope with the intensive training that comes with breaking-in, and are therefore far less susceptible to developing injuries.
The breaking in process is complete when:
1. Your greyhound can competently exit the starting boxes at speed
2. Chase the lure all the way around the track with the 100 per cent commitment
A lot of experienced greyhound trainers are capable of breaking in greyhounds, while there are also a number of professional breakers around Victoria who specialise in this field. Professional breakers have knowledge and experience on their side, however if your greyhound hasn’t had some prior experience being kennelled, walking on a lead or if it hasn’t had a lot of handling from people they may struggle to cope in a professional rearing farm set up.
PREPARING FOR BREAKING IN
To source a professional breaker, speak to leading breeders or contact your local greyhound club http://www.grv.org.au/Clubs.aspx
The breaking-in period lasts for an average of four weeks, although some greyhounds can take around two weeks and others can take six or eight. The quicker it takes your greyhound to break in the better, as this means your pup doesn’t have to endure as much of this physically and mentally demanding training while their bones are still growing.
Breaking in is usually the first time your greyhound is timed, giving you an indication of how fast he or she is at this point in time. However, it should be said that impatient greyhound owners can be over-obsessive about breaking in times. On the contrary, those in the know understand that breaking in is all about your greyhound learning to come out of a the starting boxes and chasing a lure – and that times at this age are largely irrelevant.
It would be silly to write off a greyhound’s racing prospects purely because it is running moderate times, especially considering that breaking in occurs over short distances of around 300 metres. With time and patience, greyhounds can improve dramatically in a short space of time, especially if time is put into them during the next phase of their lives – the Spelling phase.
CHAMPION BREEDER PAUL WHEELER’S WARNING ABOUT BREAKING-IN TIMES
Greyhounds need regular free galloping (off lead) in a paddock or secure long run or straight track in the weeks leading up to breaking-in. Otherwise you run the risk of your greyhound developing acidosis, which is a build up o f excess lactic acid in the muscles. Acidosis is a potentially career ending condition which comes from overworking a greyhound beyond its fitness levels or physical capabilities.
Because of the physical and mental demands involved with breaking in, it is imperative that the following occurs immediately following the process:
1. Your greyhound undergoes a medial assessment from a specialised greyhound vet
2. Any treatment prescribed by the greyhound vet is followed through
3. Your greyhound is spelled for a period of 4-12 weeks