Utah Whippet

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Whippet Training

Whippet Training
Expect to spend some extra time house training. Whippets take a little longer to catch onto house training techniques. Some whippets have been known to have accidents in the house up until they’re about a year old. Be patient, use positive reinforcement and create training. Remember that dogs only remember behaviors for about 30 seconds. Unless you catch them in the act of spoiling the carpet they will not understand what they are being punished for.  Rubbing a whippet’s nose in a fecal or urine mess is not a productive training method and will only confuse the dog.

If you see your whippet messing in the house, clap your hands, use loud noises and startle the dog so he/she stops what their doing. Immediately take the dog outside and wait for them to finish their business outside. Once a successful potty occurs outside, praise, praise, praise. Your whippets need to know when he/she has done a good behavior. You can even give treats when you’re training to potty outside. Remember that after your puppy has ate, drank, played or slept, the will need to use the potty between 5 min to an hour. Never let an un-potty trained whippet have free run of a house. You need to have constant supervision so you can watch for behaviors that suggest outside potty time is required. Only when your whippet has good house behaviors and are in control of their potty habits, can they have free run of the house.

Whippets & Obedience
Whippets are highly intelligent dogs. They are bred to be independent thinkers while hunting in the field. This independence can prove to be a challenge to train. Consistency and patience is needed during training sessions. Keep training sessions short and frequent. Training sessions can be as short as 5-10min daily. Once the whippet succeeds with the desired behavior 2-3 times, move on to the next training command. Use these same training commands throughout the day. Repetition is hard for whippets so training sessions need to become a fun game. Remember that this is not a Border collie or Retriever and their drive is different.  Be creative with your training sessions. Use treats and toys as rewards. Whippets respond well to positive reinforcement dog training styles. Most whippets are highly food motivated and train well with treat rewards.  Never call a dog to you for a punishment.  If you punish a dog after it comes, they associate coming with punishment.

Whippet Training

NEVER use a choke chains, prong collars or shock collars on whippets. These training techniques can severely injure a whippet physically and emotionally.  Never use physical force, they are emotional dogs and will respond badly to being hit, kicked or choked with a choke chain. These methods will cause anxiety and sever emotional distress.

Separation Anxiety
Because Whippets have a strong drive to be around people, they are very prone to Separation Anxiety. This is a disorder where the whippet becomes anxious, distressed, chews, excessively barks, whines and howls, when left alone.  If the case is sever, they can even injure themselves trying to escape the crate or house. This is a hard habit to break and may require an experienced behaviorist-training specialist. The best way to avoid separation anxiety is a consistent routine and desensitization to you leaving the house.  When working with a new dog, start training by leaving the house for a few short seconds and coming back in. Even put your coat on and grab your keys, go outside but then come back in and sit on the couch. Start increasing the length of time where the whippet is left alone. Have them left alone in both short and long spurts of time. Never make a big deal when you leave the house or come back in. DO NOT give affection if the whippet is extremely anxious or excited. Just ignore the dog when you leave and come back in. Wait for the whippet to settle down and become calm before affection is given. Remember that affection is a reward. You do not want to reward the dog when it exhibits unwanted behavior.

Whippet Crate

Use special treats and favorite toys when leaving the house. Use these special items ONLY when you leave and pick them up after your home. These should be their most favorite items. Give them to the dog just before you leave so leaving is a positive action. Find busy toys that you can fill with treats that dispense slowly or that take a long time to work the treat out. Look for Kong’s, hollow bones chew toys that you can fill with soft treats. These toys will keep their brains busy while you’re away. While in training use tons of treat rewards. As the dog becomes more comfortable while your away, you will be able to reduce the amounts of treats given to something more reasonable.

Another big key to avoiding separation anxiety is to make sure the whippet is properly exercised before you leave them alone in the house or crate. If the whippet is tiered, he’ she should fall asleep while your gone. Never put an active energized whippet in a confined area. Too much energy will result in destructive behaviors or self damage from anxiety. Aerobic exercise is the best exercise to tire out your whippet. Biking with a whippet is a great way to get them moving at a fast pace. They make bike attachments that keep whippets safely away from the bike and leashed so they can run safe in a high traffic areas.
Counter Surfing
This is a term Whippet owners use to explain their whippets food steeling habits. Whippets are notorious for taking food off the counter when the owner is not looking. Sometimes this involves the whippet jumping onto the counter with all 4 paws to see what food they can find. It’s best not to leave any food on the kitchen counter or table to entice this bad habit.

Counter Surfing

The more they get the reward of steeling the food, the harder it is to break this habit. Sometimes the reward is worth the punishment. It’s easiest to store all food and garbage in secure areas where whippets can’t get to it. Discourage activities around the kitchen and counter area. Have places in your kitchen that is a no whippet zone. Teach your Whippet to respect the space in the kitchen where you eat and prepare foods. Teach a “leave it” command which means to take their attention off the food or away from the area.

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