Bringing a new domesticated animal into your home requires a lot of planning and consideration. For example, if it will get along well with the existing pets, you have enough capital and supply needed to care for it, other family members’ opinions, and more.
Individuals with pets that can be prey, such as rabbits, usually find it challenging to decide the best dog breed for their household, especially those with or planning to bring a whippet home.
Considering the high prey drive whippets have, it can be almost impossible to believe they can live with rabbits without harming them. So, can a whippet live with rabbits? Surprisingly, whippets can live with rabbits, but it takes hard work and patience for this to happen.
Generally, all dogs interact with rabbits differently. Some can be gentle and nice, while others can be rough and ready to attack. Which category are whippets in? The answer is both, depending on how the whippet is trained.
So can a whippet live with a rabbit? Let’s find out…
Understanding Your Whippets Prey Drive
Prey drive describes the animal’s natural craving to pursue and kill prey. Understanding and controlling a dog’s prey drive is one of the most challenging dog traits that most dog owners face today.
The prey instinct is a hereditary trait in whippets since they’re bred from extremely predacious dog breed, the terriers. If you don’t do something about your dog’s prey instinct early, it’ll be impossible for him to live with most pets, including rabbits.
It’s rare to find a whippet without preying instincts unless he’s already trained. If you’re planning to keep rabbits and a whippet, you should be ready to introduce them to play and live safely together. Whippets aren’t highly trainable like the GSDs and collies, so this training will require more patience and informed approaches.
Is It Safe For A Rabbit To Live With A Whippet?
Dogs and rabbits can live together, but after proper training and bonding through frequent exposure in a safe environment to both pets. Doing this will help your whippet learn how to resist his preying instincts when placed together with rabbits.
Even with training, it’s still advisable to closely monitor these two pets when placed together. Prey drive is usually an unpredictable behaviour to most dogs; sometimes, your whippet can forget and try to attack the rabbit.
For your whippet and dog to stay comfortably together, you should ensure they develop an inseparable bond so that the dog takes the rabbit more of a friend, not a prey.
Learning To Live Together
Can whippets really live with rabbits comfortably and safely? This is among the most disturbing questions that most dog owners strive to answer.
Introducing a whippet to a rabbit isn’t something you can wake up one morning and do; it requires proper planning, carefulness, and proper technique.
Your plan should aim at making the dog see a rabbit as one of its pack members. Immediately you achieve this, your whippet will guard the rabbit more than hunt it, learn that the rabbit isn’t a toy, and want always to behave well when he’s with the rabbit.
The stubborn question now is how you’ll achieve these three objectives. Some of the things to remember when introducing your whippet to rabbits include;
Which Animal To Focus On: Whippet or Rabbit
Most people fail to successfully introduce their dogs to rabbits because they don’t know whether they should train the dog or rabbit? It’s recommendable to train the dog, not the rabbit. Rabbits can’t fight against dogs, and their training level can’t be as intense as that of dogs’.
If trained well, older dogs tend to be more tranquil than puppies. Puppies are easy to train, but they aren’t as calm and understanding as their seniors. They’re usually loud, agile, boisterous, and distractive.
Such behaviours can scare rabbits or make them flee. Due to the whippet’s high hunting instincts, they start chasing after the rabbits when they flee, and that’s how the hunting begins, thus ending the bonding process and making it dangerous.
If you already have rabbits and want a whippet, you can opt for the older ones for your rabbit’s sake. If you wanted a whippet puppy, you could still go for it, only that you’ll have to be more careful and patient.
Obedience Train Your Whippet First
Before introducing your whippet to rabbits, he should teach him the basic commands and socializing behaviours. Your whippet should be able to acknowledge you as his master for the training to work. Some of the commands your dog should learn are ‘sit,’ ‘stay,’ ‘come,’ and ‘no.’
It’s improper to introduce dogs to rabbits without this training. If your dog hasn’t yet undergone obedience training, you should keep him away from the bunny until he’s trained and mastered obedience cues.
Safely Introducing Your Whippet To A Rabbit
For this exercise, you’ll need a cage. First, put the rabbit in a closed cage and release your whippet to investigate it via the bars. It’s best if your isn’t on leash to prevent from being excitable. You want your dog to examine the rabbit in a relaxed and casual setting.
This approach aims to h develop restraint and tolerance when around a rabbit. Achieving this goal will probably take several lessons and training days, but after a while, your dog will learn how he should behave when a rabbit is around him.
After your whippet learns to keep his cool when with a rabbit, you can now go to the second stage, allowing your rabbit to roam with the dog.
To make the dog feel more comfortable, start by sitting beside the cage and instruct it to lie next to you, with its head on the ground too.
Doing this makes the dog be submissive and look less-threatening to the rabbit. Next, open the cage’s door for the rabbit to roam. Please don’t force the rabbit out of the hutch. Allow it to come out voluntarily. You want the rabbit to feel safe and relaxed around your dog; that should come naturally.
If you repeat the above steps severally, your dog and rabbit will eventually develop a strong bond. However, you should be keen on any lapses from your dog and correct them immediately. For example, jumping, nipping and barking at the rabbit.
In case the lapses become consistent, you should start up again. After the two pets bond enough, your life will be easy. Mostly, the dog will want to play with the rabbit after it relaxes.
It would be best if you didn’t discourage them as it may be dangerous for the rabbit. It’s best if you gently stopped your dog by praising him and ensuring he keeps his head down.
Remember, it isn’t necessary for them to interact. You aim to teach them to be calm and feel safe when together. You’ll know your pets have bonded when they can stay together calmly and comfortably.
Chances are they bond to an extent they snuggle up together or show indifference. Most domestic animals never get to the first option. Nonetheless, it doesn’t matter so long as they respect their boundaries.
Your whippet should always be calm and submissive, while the rabbit shouldn’t flee when placed near the dog.
Controlling Your Whippets Prey Drive
Controlling a dog’s prey drive can be a nightmare, especially if you’re not the patient and tolerant type. However, it’s a crucial task, especially if you have other small pets around the house. Some of the effective ways you can control your whippet’s prey drive;
Keep Your Whippet In A Crate Whilst Your Not At Home To Supervise
You should contain your whippet if his prey drive escalates. Doing this protects him from hurting other animals and himself. You can crate him, fence your compound well, and make a doggy door.
Training Your Whippet Properly
You can train your pup to be gentler and obey. Dogs that know obedience cues are easy to instruct and control during emergencies; for example, the cue ‘come’ makes it easy to call your dog.
Don’t Ignore Aggressive Or Predacious Behaviour
If you want your canine buddy to quit his predacious behaviour, you should show him you don’t like it by condoning it every time he behaves that way.
Here are some quick tips to do so:
- Introduce him to a rabbit’s scent early.
- Avoid letting your whippet off-leash in areas where there are cats, rabbits, and kids until he learns the come’ cue and responds promptly.
- Be patient, this will take time.
Invest In A GPS Tracker For Your Whippet
No matter much training your dog gets, its no guarantee that his prey instincts will always be in check. Sometimes they can lose control and wander off chasing prey. If it has its GPS tracker on, it gets easier to find it.
Can a whippet live with a rabbit?
Yes, whippets can live with rabbits. However, they need adequate training and watching due to their high prey instincts. Whether it’s a puppy or a fully-grown whippet, the essential thing is ensuring the two pets create a stronger bond.
Either way, it’s always best that keep proper distancing between your rabbit and dog, be aware of territorialized spaces, and always be watchful whenever they interact.
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Hello. I’m Luke- the founder of WhippetCentral. I’m somewhat of a whippet nut and have been for most of my life. In that time, I’ve owned and raised numerous whippets. Bonnie is my latest girl; she is currently eight years old and keeps me very busy! Understanding the need for whippet-specific content, I decided to create this blog to share what I have learned and to share my expertise regarding owning and raising whippets – the right way!