Whippets are a sighthound breed that often worked in tandem with scent hounds.
Their primary responsibility was to chase small game over short spans of time but with a high burst of speed.
Whippets have become popular as pets in the US, UK and Europe.
However, like all dogs, they sometimes engage in behaviour that is frustrating to their owners. We will be examining one such topic today.
The question is “do whippets dig holes”?
Let’s find out…
Why Do Whippets Dig Holes?
Whippets are ultimately dogs and their instincts are to have fun, look for new smells, get exercise unless they are tired and sometimes to bury stuff – maybe a toy or a bone.
There’s not much you can do about it, except to occupy your pet in ways that hopefully curbs or tempers their zeal to keep digging holes.
Also, whippet puppies tend to indulge in destructive behaviour at times, especially if they don’t get enough exercise or are left alone for more than 2-3 hours at a time.
Whippets have been known to go on tears where nothing or no one seems to stop them.
Such behaviour should slow down considerably after they reach 2 years of age and completely phase out past age 5.
But again, you have a dog and sometimes their instincts will take over.
Before you get started, though, realise that you are dealing with an animal (beloved pet though s/he may be) who will not understand your frustration or anger if you blow up at them for digging holes.
Be constructive and not impatient. They will not be able to tell why you’re yelling – it’s almost certain that they won’t understand why it may be wrong to dig holes, something that they feel the urge for from time to time.
How To Get Your Whippet To Stop Digging Holes?
Like we discussed above, don’t panic or blow up. First, determine if the problem is acute enough to warrant serious, concerted action to slow your whippet down.
Here are some general guidelines that may help with your whippets digging:
- Exercise your dog at least a couple of times a day, a minimum of half an hour each session. Whippets have a ton of nervous energy built up, they need to work it off regularly, otherwise, they get bored and engage in destructive behaviour.
- In the context of exercise, it would be best to take them on long runs, or perhaps engage them in “coursing” schools where they are taught to chase and/or race. If your whippet is more tired during the times when s/he is not exercising, chances are s/he will be curled up next to you sleeping – whippets, like all dogs, love to sleep, sometimes as much as 18-20 hours a day.
- Do not leave them alone for long periods of time until you have them well trained. A whippet puppy should not be left alone, uncrated, for more than three hours at a time. Whippets are very social creatures, they do not like being alone. If your whippet is into digging holes anyway, chances are that solitude will exacerbate those behaviours.
- Focus on drilling commands like “No” and “Stop” into them. Reward them with treats if they obey those commands. If they do follow commands and hear you employ those words often enough, it’s possible that they may understand that you are not terribly fond of them digging holes all over the place.
- Try to distract them. Consult your nearby pet store or a vet about a toy that may work to occupy whippet’s mind. If distracted, chances are good that your dog will stop digging.
- If you cannot stop them from digging, there may be some other measures called for – which are listed below.
How To Know If Your Whippet Is Digging Too Much
This should not be a hard thing to figure out. If your back yard looks like a whole colony of gophers went to town on it, your dog is likely digging way too much.
You will be able to tell the difference between an occasional hole to bury a bone or a rooting around to follow a target that escaped underground and compulsive digging – whether with you present, or not.
Another indication is to notice that your whippet tends to bury anything that around it, even chew toys and the like that it regularly plays with.
Combine the incidence of digging with how much exercise your whippet is getting, the picture should be clear in terms of cause and effect.
Boredom and pent up energy will be a sure-fire trigger in such cases.
Things To Consider If Your Whippet Won’t Stop Digging
If your whippet won’t stop digging, even if you follow the steps outlined above (e.g. they have exercised quite a bit, they do stop when you yell a voice command) but they continue to dig whenever they can (e.g. when you’re not paying attention or have left the house), some extreme measures might be called for.
A few guidelines are mentioned below:
- First, do not leave your dog unattended for long periods of time, especially in areas where s/he has dug previously. So, for example, you may need to crate them if you’re gone for a few hours. Confining them inside the house may channelize their destructive behaviour in an unwanted direction. Putting them in the backyard will raise obvious problems since they can continue to dig. Leashing may also be an option, but they can still dig where they are. A concrete dog run is another option.
- Create a safe area where they can dig. This might be a spot in your back yard where you have sod or a sandpit – somewhere you don’t mind your whippet digging. Make sure that there are physical boundaries, especially when you start this experiment. Next, induce them to visit the spot regularly, perhaps through putting snacks or their favourite food inside the boundaries of that area. This will lure them there, and once they find out that they don’t get yelled at for digging there, perhaps the lesson will stick.
We hope that the discussion above clears up the question of “do whippets dig holes?” The bottom line is that they are dogs and have natural instincts.
Most whippets should grow out of random, destructive behaviour by the time they are 5 years old and settle down as an adorable, quiet house pet.
But do remember the need for regular exercise.
If your whippet has shown a propensity for bad behaviour in the past, the last thing you want is to let them get bored or have too much pent up energy – you don’t want them to regress back to their bad habits.