The time has come when the whippet you so longed for is now one of the family. The beginning of many happy moments to share and years of complicity to look forward to. However in between time your pup will need to be taught the « dos and don’ts » to grow into the dog you always dreamt to have and not the nightmare you so very much unexpected. To avoid bad habits be regular and consistent in your training methods. A pup fails to understand why you change your mind from one day to the next.
The discovery stage
Give your pup time to find its bearings and settle down to new surroundings. Through your observations you will soon get to know each other and from there be able to follow a suitable pattern that works in nicely with your daily routine.
Sleep is an essential part of a pup’s cycle so be sure to provide a secure retreat, where your whippet can lie peacefully and not be disturbed. Whippets revel in warmth and comfort so a soft cushion and blanket should definitely be included on the « things to buy » list.
Being seperated from the company and protection of the pack, the first few nights will normally be enhanced by a chorus of whimpers on both high and low frequencies. Try to resist, otherwise you will just end up sharing your bed. Believe me, if given the chance, there is nothing a whippet likes more than snuggling up to you under the blankets. Breaking habits is difficult, so be sure to assume whatever option you decide to take.
N.B. : Leaving your pup to sleep alone at night, in a different room can help to reinforce the « leave alone » stage.
For comfort and reassurance, your body odour can sometimes help so try wrapping your whippet in a old wooly previously worn.
A whippet pup should never be thin and a good appetite needs to be sustained. Up to six months, I suggest 3 daily feeds then gradually ration out to two. On the market, a whole range of dog food exists. Ideally choose one that suits your dog’s digestive tract. A good sign is his stools that should be of normal appearance. Any change of food habits in dogs always causes tummy upset and diahorrea. To minimise the problem mix any introductory comestible with normal diet for at least a fortnight.
I highly recommend a raised dog bowl stand for your whippet, this is good for posture when feeding.
Always make sure a clean bowl of fresh water is available.
Young pups don’t have complete bladder and bowel control and can only hold for short periods of time (approximately about the same number of hours as their age in months +1.) Pups should be taken outside shortly after meals, play, naps, before being left alone and always first thing in the morning and last thing at night. House training is normally a simple process but requires positive training methods. This consists of taking the pup outside to a designated « elimination area » on a frequent and regular basis, always followed by praise and reward. Usually, most puppies can be reasonably housetrained by the age of four to six months.
– Keep to a regular daily feeding schedule.
– Avoid change of diet, which only causes tummy upsets.
– Watch out for the « signals » : pacing, whining, circling, sniffing or leaving the room.
– Caught in the act, startle by clapping your hands and firmly say « no » This normally stops your pup in mid-stream. Accompany outdoors immediately and give plenty of encouragment. Take your time before bringing the pup indoors, as this may tend to encourage the pup to hold longer.
– Should the accident happen unnoticed avoid punishment. Dogs do not associate with something they did previously. On the contrary, this will only unnecessarily frighten and make your pup nervous.
– rubbing your puppy’s nose in its waste.
– Confining too long.
– Ammonia-based cleanser, the smell only attracts to urinate again.
Crate training can improve bladder control but must be done properly. Only crate for short periods and remember puppies have physical limits to how long they can hold. It is very important they feel relaxed and secure in their crate.
LEAVING ALONE STAGE
Your pup will have to get used to the idea of being left alone. Seperation can cause anxiety, so it is best to start early by doing some practice runs previously.
Begin by leaving alone for a few minutes then gradually build up the time.
Never make a fuss on depatures or retuns and always wait until the pup is settled before petting.
The home should be safe to prevent destruction or injury and any excluded areas should be shut off.
Walk your pup before departure, this helps to induce sleep and relaxation.
Chew toys help to focus attention and teething. Kong toys are resistant, filled with treats they keep dogs happy for several hours.
Leave the radio on low, the sound will give a feeling of someone’s presence.
Avoid leaving your pup too long, there will be a need to eliminate.
COLLAR AND LEAD
Before walking on the lead your pup will have to become accustomed to wearing a collar, which needs to be comfortable and not too tight. Try attaching the collar when there are other distractions to divert attention from scratching.
When first holding on the leash, proceed calmly and gently, using plenty of praise and treats. Avoid yanking or tugging. Your pup needs to gain confidence and understand. Good results will only be achieved through patience and using a constant approach.
To preserve good posture in whippets avoid long walks, jumping and using stairs until maturity has been reached, (12 months old.)
Optimize concentration by keeping training sessions short and no longer than 10 mins at a time, but on a regular basis.
Socialize your Whippet using progressive introductory stimulation, but make sure each situation is confidently assimilated before moving on to something new.
Don’t forget :
– Up to the age of 12 months worm every month then 4 times a year at every change of season
– Keep the bugs away
– Check vaccination dates
– Regularly inspect your dog to make sure all is ok
– Use a soft brush or gloove for grooming and a dog shampoo when bathing
– When in doubt consult your vet
– Brushing your dog’s teeth with appropriate toothpaste delays the accumulation of scale, preventing gum disease and consequently other health problems.
– Dirty ears should be cleaned with a damp compress, but avoid fingering excessively as this will cause a permanant perk.
– Whippet’s nails tend to grow rapidly. Keep them regularly trimmed, especially if they practise lure coursing. Be careful not to cut the quick which causes bleeding and is painful. If you feel unsure ask your vet or go to a dog parlour.
I will always be happy to help with your queries.
Good habits make a happy whippet and a happy owner….