How To Cope With A Naughty Whippet

how to cope with a naughty whippet

So, someone has been naughty and you are at your wits end. Santa Claus has come and gone and you can’t even threaten with a lump of coal. Oh wait; it’s your whippet that’s the naughty one!

Well, the old coal in the stocking wouldn’t work anyway. How about time out in the corner? I don’t think so. Whippets are at times like children, but they’re a furry child.

Don’t worry. I’m going to steer you in the right direction to help eliminate bad behaviour and tell you how to cope with a naughty whippet.

Below is some information on the behaviour of whippets, why they may be naughty and why this sometimes may be your fault, not theirs!

Changing A Naughty Whippets Behaviour

There are many forms of naughty behaviour in whippets and all breeds and it may be exhibited in many ways.

They may chew and shred things that are off-limits and have accidents that might not be so accidental, steal food, beg for food, dig in the yard, bark constantly, whine, jump or suffer from terrible separation anxiety.

To change any of these bad behaviours, you must first understand why it’s occurring. Could it be that your whippet is just plain naughty? Look into those loving eyes; I think not.

Could it be that they do not understand at all what you expect of them? You may not be giving clear signals, which can confuse them.

You are thinking, “but I tell them and I yell at them, what’s not to understand?” Well, I don’t want to play the blame game, but dogs and people do not have the same brains and don’t think or understand problems in the same way.

Before we can understand naughty whippet behaviour, we have to understand why it’s happening. Whippets must be trained properly and you need to show them clearly what is acceptable and what is not.

They get confused and if you waffle and change the rules they become more bewildered. Something they do that is naughty can’t be bad one minute, but cute the next. Consistency is a key part of training.

I don’t want to lay blame, but you are the one in charge and the pack leader. The pack leader must always set the rules and stick to them to nip any naughty behaviour in the bud.

What Is Naughty Behaviour?

There are many forms of naughty behaviour. These problems can be bad but your whippet may also be trying to tell you something with their actions or they may just be perplexed about what you expect and just not understand.

Below are some types of naughty behaviour your whippet may exhibit.

Food Thief

This one is quite comical and can be funny but it is not acceptable and can’t be allowed. Food thievery is in your whippet’s blood!

They will snatch a pizza crust off a plate in seconds, hoover up anything on a countertop they can reach and don’t let the trash bag sit open waiting to go to the curb.

No food seems to be off-limits to these little panting vacuums. Begging can be another problem. Keep food out of harms way and if you don’t start offering them your food, you won’t create this problem. Table food should always be a no-no.

Jumping Up

Whippets especially love jumping. This is one way of showing their enthusiasm and happiness. It may seem cute but it can be dangerous if they jump on small children or knock an elderly visitor off balance.

This type of behaviour should always be discouraged, in fact ignoring your whippet is the answer.

They want your attention. If you simply walk away when they are jumping on you they will eventually realize they aren’t getting your attention, bad or otherwise. Bad attention is still attention.

Chewing

When your whippet is a young puppy, they usually begin chewing caused by teething. As your whippet gets older, this is not acceptable behaviour, unless they are chewing on a toy or raw hide chew especially for this purpose.

If you give your whippet an old shoe to chew on, think clearly about what may occur next. They may find your favourite running shoes and chew on them, causing you to go spastic. Who is to blame here? Not your whippet.

Chewing can be deterred by scolding and there are also non-toxic sprays to use on off-limits items that are tempting. These will give your whippet a bad taste causing them to leave these things alone.

Digging

To a dog, digging is in a way instinctive and they love it! If they absolutely love to dig, give them a designated “dig” area, like a pile of dirt off in the corner of your yard.

Do not allow them to dig in your flower beds or vegetable garden. Once again there are sprays you can use that won’t harm your plants, keep your whippet away and also any other creatures that like to nip off your flowers.

Dogs often dig out of boredom, so play some catch in the yard instead.

Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety itself is not exactly naughty behaviour, it is a behavioural problem that causes bad behaviour. Some whippets are prone to separation anxiety and don’t like being left alone.

When you leave, they become anxious and frightened and it may cause them to tear, chew, dig or even have accidents because they can’t control their feelings.

Whining and Barking

Although whippets are not at all big barkers, they can whine. Either whining or barking can be caused by separation anxiety, too much excess energy, boredom or they may just be looking for attention like a child.

Pulling On The Leash

This can make the anticipation of a lovely walk on a beautiful spring day turn into unenjoyable torture and frustration.

Your whippet needs to be trained properly to walk on a leash and must know what is and isn’t acceptable. Guess who this job belongs to?

Aggression

Whippets are rarely aggressive dogs but there are reasons for dog aggression.

If your dog was adopted and possibly an abused animal, they may be frightened and lash out with aggression or they may be trying to be the dominant force (alpha) in your household.

There are different types of aggression like food aggression, aggression towards other animals in your home and even aggression against children and strangers.

No type of aggression is acceptable and must be dealt with. You wouldn’t want your whippet to bite anyone.

Start Training Your Whippet

Training your whippet to be well-mannered and obedient should begin early if at all possible. It is easier to teach properly now than try to correct problems later when bad habits have been formed.

You are your whippet’s guide and you are in charge. This does not mean you must yell to get results. Your whippet needs to know and always understand what you want and what is expected of them. You need to guide them and set rules and boundaries as well.

From day one, whether your whippet is a puppy or an adult, you need to set boundaries. Your whippet should not have full run of the house with no limits.

naughty whippet
Image: Dave Gershkoff

They will be too overwhelmed with this new found “freedom” and proceed to jump, chew and even have an excited accident everywhere and anywhere.

Just as children need limits, so does your little whippet. You would not let a toddler unattended to have full run of the house. Dangers are everywhere.

Below are a few important things to prevent bad behaviour and train your pup properly.

  • Your whippet needs plenty of daily exercise. This is necessary for their health but will keep them from becoming bored and avoid bad behaviour.
  • Your whippet should get plenty of praise and treats but only for a job well done, not just because. They need to earn it.
  • Bad behaviour like jumping, whining and pulling on the leash does not need to be scolded, they need to be ignored. By yelling and scolding you may be giving them unfavourable attention, but it is attention none the less. If they keep jumping on you, simply walk away. If they pull on the leash, drop it and wait until they are calm to continue. By receiving no attention from these bad types of behaviour, they will soon stop.
  • If your dog is not doing what you want, correct them right away and show or redirect to what it is you want from them. Get their attention in a way that they look at you and you can fix the problem.
  • If your whippet doesn’t sit and stay like you’ve shown, then no praise or treat should be given. If they do what you ask, then it’s time for a big fuss.
  • Never yell. This will only cause more stress for everyone.
  • Never get physical. Your whippet may frustrate you, but step away and take a deep breath. It is never acceptable to use physical punishment. This will only exacerbate problems even more plus causing extra more dreadful issues.
  • Never correct after the fact. If your pup has an accident, chews something, tears something up. etc. and you are not a witness to it, correcting and scolding will be futile. Your pup will not understand what they are being reprimanded for unless you catch them in the act.
  • The most important thing for your whippet is a proper training program. This includes manners, commands and obedience. Either get a good training book, DVD or enrol your whippet in training classes. Classes are well worth the money.

When Training Your Whippet Doesn’t Work

You’ve tried everything you can think of, puppy classes, teaching manners and disciplining and your whippet is either having trouble grasping commands or they might be totally out of control and deep into naughty behaviour.

All of these things may be your cue to send in for reinforcements and call the cavalry before things really become too much to handle. You need to enrol your pup in obedience classes.

Now they may do fine in a group setting, but if they are already having trouble understanding what you want of them and following through, this may be too much of a distraction.

They may be too interested in sniffing their neighbour pup and will be unable to focus.

You may have to enlist the services of a private dog trainer. Shop around to see what type of training each offers as many have different methods.

Choose a trainer that uses a method you are comfortable with. Most private trainers have one-on-one classes where you attend and they help and show you how to solve problems every step of the way.

Others board your pup and they train them. This is entirely your call, but I wouldn’t be leaving my pup alone to be trained. Plus, when your pup is returned are you going to know what to do or are you going to fall back into the same bad habits?

Finally, If your whippet’s behaviour is just uncontrollable and you really don’t know what to do, ask your veterinarian about seeing a veterinary behaviourist or behaviour technician.

These are professionals for dogs with serious behaviour problems like aggression, debilitating anxiety, hyper-excitability and fear.

Other Considerations

Most likely, you will be able to deal with any naughty whippet behaviour on your own. Sometimes these behaviours are a puppy thing that they will outgrow when they mature.

Other naughty behaviours may just need firm and consistent reinforcement with you showing your whippet that their behaviour is unacceptable and that you are the leader of the pack.

Remember to always stay calm, confine your whippet, especially when they are new to your house and choose the right training method for you and your whippet. Clearly if you feel that this is way out of your league, seek help.

Final Thoughts

Whippets are generally all-around docile and mellow dogs except for their sometimes sudden bursts of energy. They are fairly easy to train and except for a slight stubborn streak, follow commands very well.

Just remember to be firm and consistent and stick with the rules. Changing them will only confuse and create problems.

Hopefully training your whippet will be a breeze and bad behaviour won’t crop up. The tips above will help if you do need to know how to cope with a naughty whippet.

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