Whippet Puppies — Sensitive Sighthounds
As an agile sprinter, the Whippet makes an excellent hunting partner or calm house pet.
Whether you are looking for a sighthound to help in the hunt of small game, or a calm canine companion to watch TV with after work, the Whippet puppy can fight the bill! This dog needs a gentle and assertive owner to teach him basic manners and what you expect out of his behavior. He is sensitive and harsh or physical training techniques simply don't work for them. Instead of learning, they may shut down and develop behavioral problems. With a patient and loving leader, the Whippet can fit right in to most households.
It's his nature
The Whippet puppy must be taught with an easy hand and positive reinforemet. This medium sized, Greyhound look alike is a highly sensitive creature and his training should not include any form of negative reinforcement or corrections. Doing so will negate any real teachings, will break your bond with him, and he may shut down emotionally. A dog who shuts down may tuck his hind end, flinch when you reach to pet him, lay down and roll over and even urinate on himself. All of these are submissive behaviors in which the dog is offering you so that you won't hurt him. He does this because he is afraid and you are being too firm with him.
Raising your voice is not needed. Instead, when training your puppy always set him up to succeed the first time around. Mark the appropriate behaviors when they are offered and provide a calm but pleasant reward such as a “Good boy!” and a treat. He would prefer that you remain calm in your own behavior as well, so that he can remain relaxed and maintain a positive atmosphere. This is most important during training!
You are not the only one who needs to keep calm around this dog. The Whippet puppy will be happiest and thrive in a calm home with no rambunctious children or other rowdy pets. While he gets along great with other dogs, living with an out of control canine would not be beneficial to both his mental and physical health. The Whippet, especially as a puppy, is very fragile physically just as much as he is emotionally. Thin bones without much flesh to cover them means breaks, fractures, and other injuries are common in a home full of excitement.
He's a hunter!
Naturally, the Whippet is a born hunter. Created specifically to hunt smaller game that was quick and agile, he will follow his strongest instinctual drives to continue doing what his ancestors have done. For this reason, the Whippet should never be expected to behave while off leash and outdoors. At the sight of a small animal, such as a rabbit, squirrel or bird he may bolt. This dog is incredibly fast and can make sharp turns without slowing down in the slightest. He is virtually impossible to catch once he leaps after a prey animal.
If being worked as a hunting dog, the Whippet can be trained to return the hunted prey to his handler. He also can achieve ribbons in the show ring, titles in the obedience and Agility competitions, and even work as a calm and friendly therapy dog. However, if you wish for your Whippet puppy to be friendly with others, lots of controlled socialization should take place during his fear periods between 4 and 12 weeks of age. A Whippet who is not socialized young may become reserved towards strangers and only bond with his owner.
A couch warmer
When not being worked, the Whippet puppy can settle right in to any calm household as a pet. He can be lazy indoors, taking up most of the space on the couch and bed. He only requires moderate exercise, and thus makes an ideal companion for many individuals and small families. His new owners, though, should think twice about bringing home a Whippet puppy if they have a feline in the home, as this is a true sighthound and will pounce with his hunting drive in tact on a smaller animal. Social the puppy, train him with a gentle and loving hand and he will become the best couch warmer you have ever had!