In this post we go through how to get a shy whippet to warm to you, to help you build an unbreakable bond with your new pooch.
If you’re a recent whippet owner, or maybe there’s a new whippet in your life, but your new pet is a shy one, you’re probably wondering how to get your whippet to warm up to you.
After all, it can be pretty disheartening when an adorable furry ball of love seems more interested in hiding from you than cuddling up on the couch or playing fetch with a squeaky toy.
You may wonder how an animal that looks so similar to a dog can be so much more cat-like in its behavior.
Well, here’s the good news: shy whippets are just as wonderful and lovable as Social Butterflies! It just takes a little time for them to get comfortable with you.
And if you’re patient with your whippet, they will show you just how much they care.
Your whippet probably isn’t so shy that he won’t be responsive to your affection or even enjoy your company, but it’s important to remember that this is his home and you’re the guest here.
Let’s get into it…
Why Are Some Whippets Shy?
First, we need to try to understand the reason why your whippet is shy in the first place.
Whippets are shy, sensitive creatures by nature – possibly more so than other breeds.
They are also prey animals, which means that they have heightened alertness to their surroundings and are always ready to flee if they think that there is danger near them.
This genetic predisposition makes it easy for shy whippets to become even shyer.
Another reason why your whippet may be shy is if you’ve rescued them from a shelter.
Sadly, lots of whippets get abandoned and mistreated and left to fend for themselves, so if you’ve rescued your whippet there is a much higher chance that they will be shyer and less trusting than usual.
Shy whippets often take longer to warm up to new people and unfamiliar places than their bold counterparts.
There are many different ways that can help your whippet become more socialised and trusting of others.
Whether they’ve just acquired their shyness or it’s something that they’ve had for a long time.
Steps To Help A Shy Whippet Warm To You
Here are some proactive steps you can take to help a shy whippet warm to you as quickly as possible.
Let Your Whippet Take The Lead In All Interactions
A lot of people make the mistake of trying to force a dog or puppy into interactions before they’re ready.
This is all the more important with shy whippets because forcing them can result in a negative association with certain people, places, and things.
Allow your whippet to take the lead in all interactions and they will warm to you much more quickly.
Don’t Rush Physical Contact
Whippets are very affectionate dogs but they don’t tend to like being forced into physical contact.
Let them come to you for petting and cuddles rather than going up to them and forcing it upon them.
They’ll appreciate the respect and this will help you build a bond that they’ll want to be a part of.
Create A Safe Space For Your Whippet To Return To
Whippets are intelligent dogs and will remember good things that have happened to them.
If your whippet has experienced positive interactions with you then they’re much more likely to warm up the next time around.
Ensuring that your whippet has a safe space to return to, for example, a crate, will give your dog the confidence in knowing that if they don’t like a situation they can return to their crate for comfort.
Start Training Early
If you notice that your whippet is shyer than usual, it’s a good idea to try to start the training process as early as possible to help build confidence.
Basic training is a good start because they’ll learn the important commands which will help your dog become more comfortable in social situations.
The ‘stay’ command, for example, is particularly useful because if your whippet doesn’t feel safe they can stay there until you come back to them.
Whippets can be very stubborn at times, so it’s important to try to establish a dominant role from the start.
If you have a whippet who is already afraid of certain situations, they’ll take more time and patience in helping them gain confidence.
Whippets are naturally afraid of things they don’t know, so it’s important to teach them that new people won’t harm them.
Build A Bond With Your Whippet
Bonding with your whippet is crucial if you want them to trust you, and if they trust you, it’ll be easier to train them.
If your whippet is afraid of something like the vacuum cleaner or hairdryer, make sure you don’t use these things around them until you’ve built up a strong bond.
This will only reinforce the fact that these things are unsafe and bad.
A way that you can bond with your whippet is through a gentle massage.
Identify Triggers Early On
It’s crucial that you identify the triggers that make your whippet become shy as early as possible.
This is so that you can be prepared to deal with the situation before things get out of hand.
If your whippet is afraid of other dogs, make sure you avoid any situations where you might come across them.
This will help to reinforce the fact that their fear is justified and they don’t have to be scared around other dogs.
Avoiding any potential triggers whilst you are training and building his confidence is crucial, as you don’t want to take one step forward only to take two steps back.
There are many reasons why your whippet may be shy, but as a responsible whippet owner, it’s crucial that you handle this with patience.
Don’t be disheartened if making progress seems slow at first, your whippet will gradually come round to you given time and affection – it’s just a case of working patiently with him.
This is especially true if you’ve rescued your whippet from a shelter or they have been neglected in the past.
The last thing they need is for you to be shouting at them or becoming frustrated with their shyness.
How To Bring Out Confidence In A Whippet
Building a whippets trust is the key to getting them to warm to you.
It’s difficult to open up to someone you’re scared of because they’re loud and pushy, instead of giving your whippet patient encouragement when they do come round.
Whippets are naturally bold, confident dogs by nature, but they can also be shy and timid – but if their owners have frightened them in the past it’s no surprise that they close themselves off rather than risk being hurt.
Building your pet’s trust can be done by being gentle with your words and tone, remaining calm at all times, not shouting at them or becoming frustrated with their shyness.
Don’t force anything on your whippets, let them come round to you in their own time.
If they’re sniffing around the furniture give them time to get used to it before you offer any affection.
Another way to build trust is to reward good behaviours – if they’re playing with their toys, feeding them treats, or giving them any kind of affection.
Build up slowly to walking near the food bowl and eventually walking past them without too much fuss.
Whippets are naturally wary around people until they become used to you – it might take months before they approach you for affection.
It’s worth keeping in mind that a shy whippet is a whippet that’s still learning about the world.
They might be scared of noises or simply unsure so will need to learn what is expected of them in the human world.
If you’ve tried all of the above techniques to get your whippet to warm to you but they are simply having none of it, then it may be time to pay a visit to the vets.
There may be an underlying health issue that’s causing your whippet pain or discomfort that you’re not aware of.
Your vet will be able to identify if there is an issue and suggest the best treatment for your whippet.
If you feel that your whippet is in pain, then don’t delay a visit to the vets.
Any treatment required can be dealt with at a later date once your whippet has learned to trust you.
In conclusion, shy whippets are not uncommon. Although this breed is generally super social and friendly, there are always exceptions to the rule.
As long as you are patient with your whippet and treat them with love and respect, they should come around in their own time.
The more time you spend with your whippet, the sooner they will warm up to you!
Whippets have no idea that they’ve been adopted by humans, or that they are expected to fulfill certain roles.
They only know that they love you more than any other human they’ve ever met!
On the other hand, if your whippet has not warmed up to you after several months of careful conditioning, then something may be wrong and you should seek help from a professional dog and veterinarian.
Hopefully, this post has helped you understand how to get a shy whippet to warm to you and you now have some actionable steps you can take to bond with your future best friend!
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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!